As I went to London Zoo today, I thought I’d have a quote on one of the animals in the zoo. Although I m not aware of any ancient zoos, unusual animals were put on display. Athenaeus includes a quote from the comic poet Philemon showing that Seleucus had sent a tiger to Athens. Here the deipnosophists are more interested in the gender of the tiger than the animal itself. Even male animals, such as bears or dogs, could be assigned the feminine gender unless you particularly wanted to distinguish the fact it was a male animal.
καὶ ὁ Οὐλπιανός, ὥσπερ ἕρμαιόν τι, ἔτι λαλοῦντος τοῦ Μυρτίλου ἔφη, εἰ ἔχομεν ἀρρενικῶς εἰρημένον τὸν τίγριν. ‘ Φιλήμονα γὰρ οἶδα τοῦτ᾽ εἰρηκότα ἐν Νεαίρᾳ:
ὥσπερ Σέλευκος δεῦρ᾽ ἔπεμψε τὴν τίγριν,
ἣν εἴδομεν ἡμεῖς, τῷ Σελεύκῳ πάλιν ἔδει
ἡμᾶς τι παρ᾽ ἡμῶν ἀντιπέμψαι θηρίον.
β. τρυγέρανον οὐ γὰρ γίγνεται τοῦτ᾽ αὐτόθι.
Ulpian, as if hitting on some godsend, while Myrtilus was still speaking said “Should we accept that tiger is masculine. I know Philemon said this in Neaira
As Seleucus sent the tiger (feminine) here (Athens), we should send a wild animal from us back to Seleucus.
How about a trugeranos because they don’t get them there.
Trugeranos is unknow. It could refer to a crane or an unknown animal or it could have been a slang word equivalent to thingagybob or wotsit. All we know is that there is a joke in there somewhere.