The First White Elephant Gift
October 8, 2006 1:49 PM   Subscribe

Around A.D. 800, the storied Caliph Haroun Al-Raschid sent a diplomatic delegation some two thousand miles from Baghdad to Aachen, the seat of Charlemagne's empire. Among the many gifts for the Frankish ruler that accompanied the delegation was Abul-Abbas, the first recorded elephant north of the Alps.
posted by Iridic (4 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Fantastic post.
posted by LarryC at 2:14 PM on October 8, 2006

Brings to mind another gift animal's trek north --

Zarafa: A Giraffe's True Story, from Deep in Africa to the Heart of Paris. It was a gift from Muhammad Ali, the "Renaissance Barbarian" viceroy of Egypt to King Charles X in 1827.
posted by ericb at 2:21 PM on October 8, 2006

Far and away the best of the elephant posts. Thank you, Iridic.
posted by saladin at 5:41 PM on October 8, 2006

Huh? I suppose that Hannibal's elephants were only West of the Alps. But they were still transalpine.
posted by alloneword at 7:10 AM on October 9, 2006

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