This valley made an excellent corral. Animals were enclosed with a fence around the top and a ditch and bank at the open end. The remains of the
enclosure can be seen on google street view and in many other images.
Never the sort to let a good crisis go to waste our Tribal Leaders ordered the perimeter barrier to be raised and improved with ditches and overhangs.
Female leopards were enclosed and provided with breeding dens. Cubs were taken for domestication. A big cat raised by humans bonds strongly.
Deer were driven into the enclosure to feed the leopards. The humans took their share. Male leopards found their way over the overhangs when the
females were in season. They could be released later if necessary. The valley was a source of captive european leopard cubs. They were trained for
hunting and war. This relief shows more recent use of offensive big cats. Notice the harness.
Rare white animals are often considered very special. At the top of the valley is this figure. It was made thousands of years ago. Apart from one
foreleg it looks remarkably leopard like. Try studying several different pictures and you'll see the feline characteristics.
The most commonly repeated legend about the 'White Horse of Uffington' is that it goes down to 'The Manger' to graze in the moonlight. Horses do
most of their grazing during the day. At night they stay quiet and listen for predators. Leopards are more likely to 'graze' at night. This legend
is a memory of the ancient times when leopards would help themselves to deer corralled by hunting tribes.
There is a strong case for the original design having been inspired by natural erosion. It's a very steep hill, too steep to safely take a horse
down. The lip of a steep chalk slope can erode in very similar shapes to the Uffington hill figure. A natural shape suggesting a white leopard above a
valley frequented by leopards would be any artists inspiration. Particularly if a white leopard was seen as an auspicious omen.
Cheese rolling is the living version of the test for the most able warriors. The Manger was a cheese rolling venue.
Is cheese rolling.
At Uffington they went cheese rolling into a valley full of leopards.
This was said about skeletal remains found in England and thought to be a Roman Gladiator.
"One of the most significant items of evidence is a large carnivore bite mark - probably inflicted by a lion, tiger or bear –– an injury which
must have been sustained in an arena context, " said Kurt Hunter-Mann, the lead archeologist on the dig."
If this was a big cat bite it adds to the evidence suggesting numbers of big cats were brought here by the Romans.
"The Historia Augusta records that, at the millennium of Rome's founding (AD 248), Philip I (the Arab) displayed thirty-two elephants, ten elk, ten
tigers, sixty tame lions, thirty tame leopards, ten hyenas, a hippopotamus and a rhinoceros, ten "archoleontes," ten camelopards (giraffes), twenty
onagri (wild asses), forty wild horses, and a variety of other animals (Gordian, XXXIII)."
The common use of lions and leopards in heraldry suggests that the presence of big cats was relevant to the warriors of the past. The White Lion
Society is a modern and slightly confused offshoot of the White Leopard Society.
The white lions seen in heraldry are derived from the ancient tribal emblem of the white leopard
"The lions in the coat of arms of Wales, England, and Estonia are passant gardant. In French blazon this charge is called a léopard; a lion rampant
gardant is a léopard lionné; and a lion passant with his head in profile is a lion léopardé.[discuss] The position of the head, in this case,
determines the species. This practice leads some people to insist that the beasts in the royal arms of England and Estonia are
leopards, not lions."
The evidence indicates leopards are native to Britain. This doesn't prevent otherwise intelligent people from making rude, ignorant comments
belittling those who are better informed.
"King Henry I of England (1068–1135) established Britain's royal menagerie in the town of Woodstock. Later this collection was moved to the Tower
of London, where it remained for several hundred years. It featured many exotic animals that were captured from the wild or presented as gifts to
British royalty by the leaders of other countries (the practice of government leaders presenting each other with gifts of wild animals still existed
in some parts of the world in the twenty-first century). At various times, these animals included African elephants, leopards, lions, camels, and even
a polar bear and a porcupine. The royal menagerie was the longest continuously running animal exhibit in the world."
Woodstock, Oxfordshire, the site of the first recorded zoo in Britain is only 20 miles from Uffington where I speculate leopards were bred and
domesticated over 3,000 years ago.
Of Henry's grandson, King Henry the 2nd, we are told....
"He was probably the first king of England to use an heraldic design: he had a signet ring with either a leopard or a lion engraved on it, and late
in his reign one of his court is said to have worn this device on his tunic; this would be altered in later generations to form the royal seal of
my wife's regular sized cat doesn't appreciate my cuddles, not sure about a cat that's big enough to eat me. In fact I think house cats are only as
domesticated as they are because they realize they're not quite big enough to turn on us.
Edit: I will consider a compromise and am willing to cuddle with one if I can dress it up as Battle Cat from He-Man.
wow...that cat got him some, made those hunters earn that kill. I feel sorry for the leopard but hearing that guy scream with the cat on top of him
made me literally laugh out loud, which doesn't happen often. so I give you my first official "lol" of the year...and in caps...LOL...
I see the link to the photograph of the valley is not working. So here's a video of this valley. It's called 'The Manger', it's below the Uffington
white 'horse' and it's where the 'horse' is said to graze at night. Can you see how suitable it would have been for use as a corral in the distant
past when herds of deer, boar etc. inhabited the plain beyond? Then in came the leopards.
Given the amount of wood available at the time and the strength of the tribespeople it would have been quite possible to build a leopard proof barrier
along the top of the surrounding slope. With an overhang and the steepness of the slope the leopards would not have been able to jump out.
Here we see claims that the Romans killed up to 400 leopards a day in the arena.
I seriously doubt that is true and sounds like more horse # someone put in a book.
...if there were only cute bunny rabbits and others like them...
Thank you for your valued input.
History? That's just his story!
However, it is commonly accepted among naturalists that leopards never returned to some areas from which they were removed by the Romans. The method
of capture was this. Beaters would drive the leopard towards the hunters. The hunters were equipped with extremely long spears with bunches of tassels
attached to the end. They carried rawhide shields. Forming a circle around the leopard they would close in, dropping the tasseled end of the spear in
front of the leopard if it tried to break past them. A cage was placed in the circle and covered with rocks and branches to give the appearance of a
den. The leopard would take refuge in the den and the door would be dropped. One live leopard in captivity.
Black leopards were very highly valued and quotas were set. It is probable breeding programs were established as black leopards breed true if both
parents are melanistic. The orders given to supply a minimum number were enforced with serious penalties. Given the high level of organisation in
Roman society and the very large territory used to supply central parts of the empire with its requirements, the high numbers suggested may be
indicative of the actual numbers. After all this time it's difficult to be sure.
Now, on the cute little fluffy wuffy bunny rabbits issue. The behaviour seen in this well researched historical documentary is not entirely
I myself once had a pet rabbit hanging from my hand by its teeth. In that case we discovered later the rabbit had a health problem that caused it
extreme pain. Mother rabbits have been known to attack and repel predators. They can be quite aggressive, using teeth and claws. They are not really
suitable pets. The ease of breeding makes them attractive to the pet industry. Having worked in an animal sanctuary I cannot personally support the
breeding of pets. Some of my friends are animal breeders, I'm not fanatical about my opposition to breeding. Very careful thought needs to be given
to the future of the animals bred.
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