Suleiman (elephant)

Suleiman (or Suleyman) (?1540-18 December 1553) was an Asian Elephant that was presented to the Habsburg Prince Maximilian (later King of Bohemia, King of Hungary, and Holy Roman Emperor) by John III, the King of Portugal. Suleiman may have been a gift following Maximilian's wedding to Maria of Spain in 1548, or after the birth of his short-lived heir, Ferdinand of Austria.Fact|date=February 2007 Known in German as "Soliman", he is named after the Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent.

Suleiman was transported from the Portuguese colonies in the Far East to Lisbon, and then to Valladolid, then the capital of Spain. Accompanied by Maximilian, his wife and their two children, and their attendants, Suleiman was shipped from Barcelona to Genoa, where he arrived on 12 November 1551, and then travelled overland via Milan, Cremona and Mantua.Fact|date=February 2007 He reached Trent, where the Council of Trent had just finished meeting, on 13 December. He crossed over the Brenner pass to enter Austria, where he was transported along the River Inn and Danube to Vienna. He reached Innsbruck on 6 January for the feast of the Epiphany, and Wasserburg on 24 January 1552. The procession entered Vienna on 6 March 1552. A wave of "elephant enthusiasms" followed, and Suleiman was a popular subject for artists and poets. Suleyman was installed in the menagerie at Schloß Kaiser-Ebersdorf, but died only 18 months later, in December 1553.

Maximillian had a commemorative medal issued after Suleiman's death to a design by sculptor Michael Fuchs. Parts of Suleiman's carcass were distributed around the Holy Roman Empire. His front right foot and part of a shoulderblade were given to the mayor of Vienna, Sebastian Huetstocker; the bones were fashioned into a chair that currently resides at the Kremsmunster abbey. The elephant's skin was stuffed and exhibited in Kaiserebersdorf until Maximillian, as Emperor, presented it as a gift to Albert V, Duke of Bavaria.

After standing more than 100 years in the Old Academy in Munich, the body was transferred to the Bavarian national museum in 1928. The remains were destroyed in a World War II bombing raid in 1943.

ee also

*History of elephants in Europe
*List of historical elephants

Further reading

*"Suleiman the Elephant: A Picture Book", a children's book by Margret Rettich, translated by Elizabeth D. Crawford, ISBN 0-688-05741-1 or ISBN 0-688-05742-X
*"They Called him Suleyman: The Adventurous Journey of an Elephant from the Forests of Kerala to the Capital of Vienna in the middle of the sixteenth Century", Karl Saurer & Elena M.Hinshaw-Fischli, collected in Maritime Malabar and The Europeans, edited by K. S. Mathew, Hope India Publications: Gurgaon, 2003 ISBN 81-7871-029-3


*"This article is based on a [ translation] of the equivalent article of the German Wikipedia, dated 2006-07-30"

External links

* [ Vienna celebrates its 250 year old Schönbrunn Zoo with a special exhibition]
* [ The Wedding Gift Had Tusks] , review of Rettich' book, "The New York Times", 9 November 1986
* [ The elephant logo] , Caslon Analytics
* [ The Ambassadors, from Ancient Egypt to the Nation State] , Jonathan Wright, book review, July 2006
* [ An elephant's European conquest] , "The Hindu, 21 January 2005

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