Latin name: Asinus
Other names: Ane, Asellus

An animal that is slow and resists commands

General Attributes

Large and tall asses come from Arcadia, but the smaller animals are more useful because they can sustain hardship. Asses are slow and resist commands.


Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 8, 68): Asses are useful for ploughing, and for the breeding mules, which are the offspring of an ass and a horse. Though female asses have great affection for their young, they have an even greater dislike of water, so that they will go through fire to reach their foals but will not cross even a small stream to do so. Asses will only drink from a stream they are used to and can reach without wetting their hooves; they will refuse to cross a bridge if the water of the river can be seen through cracks in the bridge boards.

Isidore of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 1:38): The ass (asinus) takes its name from "sitting" (sedendo, taken as a-sedus). It resists commands for no reason, and is a slow animal.