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Elephants and Kings
Author: Thomas R. Trautmann

ISBN: 9780226264363
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 17 August 2015
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 6.0 x 9.0 x 1.91
In this book, renowned historian of India Tom Trautmann presents an ecological history of Indian kingship in which elephants play a surprising role. Despite the fact that the economic landscape of ancient India was tied to agricultural fields, and kings depended on the taxation of farmers, they were also tied to forests because of the institution of war elephants. Given the enormous food requirements and slow maturation of elephants it was not economic to raise them from birth. Rather, they were captured as wild adults at age 20 and trained for warfare. Thus kings had to have forests containing wild live elephants and they had to protect them from hunting. This unusual form of domestication was devised in India around 1000 BC and explains the persistence of elephants in India as opposed to China where the population of Asian elephants declined precipitously due to poaching for the international ivory market. Trautmann explains the differences between India and China on the basis of their differing attitudes toward domestic animals and the persistence of use of war elephants by Indian kings. His book covers the entire span of the war elephant as a living institution; its prehistory in Egypt, Assyria...

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