Medici Giraffe

The Medici giraffe was a giraffe presented to Lorenzo de Medici in 1486 possibly by al-Ashraf Qaitbay, the Burji Mamluke sultan of Egypt, in an attempt to win the support of the Medici.

It caused a great stir on its arrival in Florence: although the Medici maintained a large menagerie, and had previously featured a giant mannequin of a giraffe in the animal entertainments they provided to the citizenry, this was the first time a living example had been seen in the city. It was also reputedly the first living giraffe to be seen in Italy since the days of Ancient Rome. It did not survive for long and another giraffe was not seen in Europe for almost 300 years.

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Medici Giraffe - History
... by returning to Rome with a vast menagerie, the star attraction of which was a giraffe, the first ever seen in Europe ... Lorenzo had read of the success of the spectacle of Caesar's giraffe and saw a way to cement his reputation in Florence by emulating it ... Whether the giraffe was provided by Qaitbay is uncertain as there is no record of its procurement, but it seems likely he is known to have had giraffes in his menagerie he appealed for ...

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