In 48 BC, the celebrated Roman consul Julius Caesar embarked on a successful campaign in the East where he eventually ended up entwined in the arms of the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra. Before leaving his paramour, he decided to bring back a menagerie of exotic animals including lions, panthers and green monkeys. Most beguiling of all was one strange, long-necked half-camel, half-leopard (as the Romans saw it) creature: a giraffe. Romans and Greeks in antiquity looked at giraffes in total befuddlement. The ancient Greek historian Strabo observed that "it has the height of an ox ... but the head reaches much higher up than that of camels." Seeing its docility, the Roman natural historian Pliny thought it was perhaps a "wild sheep." Whatever the case, it seems Caesar wasn't too preoccupied. He fed the giraffe to the lions of his Coliseum in front of a baying Roman public, offering up his pet prize as a sign of his wealth and magnanimity.