Sources : Peacock

Ovid [1st century CE] (The Metamorphoses, Book 15, 361-390): Who would believe, if he did not know, that Juno’s bird, the peacock, that bears eyes, like stars, on its tail ... is born from the inside of an egg? - [Kline translation]

Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 10, 22-23): The peacock is conscious of its own beauty and takes pride in it. When praised, it spreads out its feathers to face the sun, so they shine more brilliantly, and curves its tail to throw shadows on its body, because the colors there shine more brightly in the dark. It is pleased when others look at the eyes on its tail feathers; it pulls them all together in a cluster for this purpose. When the peacock's tail feathers drop out during the fall moult, it is ashamed and hides itself until new feathers grow in. Peacocks live for 25 years, but their colors begin to fade at the age of three. Some say that this bird is spiteful as well as ostentatious. The orator Hotensius was the first person to kill a peacock for use as food; later Lurco made great profits in the fattening and sale of peacocks for the table.

Aelianus [170-230 CE] (On the Characteristics of Animals, Book 5, chapter 21): The Peacock knows that it is the most beautiful of birds; it knows too wherein its beauty resides; it prides itself on this and is haughty, and gathers confidence from the plumes which are its ornament and which inspire strangers with terror. - [Scholfield translation]

Martial (Epigrams, xiii, 70): You are lost in admiration, whenever it spreads its jewelled wings; can you consign it, hard-hearted woman, to the unfeeling cook?

Augustine [5th century CE] (City of God, Book 21, chapter 4): For who but God the Creator of all things has given to the flesh of the peacock its antiseptic property? This property, when I first heard of it, seemed to me incredible; but it happened at Carthage that a bird of this kind was cooked and served up to me, and, taking a suitable slice of flesh from its breast, I ordered it to be kept, and when it had been kept as many days as make any other flesh stinking, it was produced and set before me, and emitted no offensive smell. And after it had been laid by for thirty days and more, it was still in the same state; and a year after, the same still, except that it was a little more shrivelled, and drier.

Isidore of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 7:48): The peacock (pavo) takes its name from the sound of its voice. Its flesh is so hard that it barely decays and is difficult to cook.