Ganda the Rhinoceros.

Albrecht Dürer, The Rhinoceros, 1515.

Ganda the Rhinoceros was going to be the Pope’s rhinoceros, that is Leo X, but Ganda drowned in 1515. Ganda was immortalized by Dürer, and so remains the most famous European animal of the renaissance. And I don’t blame the elephant for running away. I’d run too. There’s a short video below, but you can read all about Ganda at Medievalists.


  1. says

    It’s sad to think that someone thought “we’ll just haul this big guy over there…” not caring if the animal would make it, or what kind of experience it would have.

    Imagine hauling the pope over to Assam and putting him on display…

    Except humans aren’t that interesting.

  2. says

    People had barbaric notions about animals back then. Ending up in a wealthy asshole’s menagerie was better than what happened to most animals, which was to be slaughtered for whatever reason. Ganda had survived one ship journey, I doubt it ever occurred to anyone what might happen if the ship wrecked.

    Exotic animal menageries were very popular with wealthy clergy.

  3. springa73 says

    Although it has some inaccuracies, Durer’s drawing is pretty impressive considering that he never actually saw Ganda -- he apparently worked from sketches and notes made by another artist who was an eyewitness.

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