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Onager grece asinus silvestris, sed grecus onagros dicit.


Onager AC ef | Onafer B {'g' misread as 'f (?) or simply a printing error}


Onager is an originally Greek word {sc. loaned into Latin}, meaning wild asinus {"ass, donkey"}, but a Greek calls the animal onagros.

Commentary and zoological remarks:

Onagrus and a more Latinized variant onager are the Latin words for "a wild ass". Their Greek source is ὅναγρος /ónagros/ < ὅνος ἄγριος /ónos ágrios/ "a wild ass".

The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African Wild Ass, Equus africanus [[1]]. Domestication started between 3000 and 4000 BC, presumably in Egypt or Mesopotamia. Domesticated Equids reached Europe by ca. 2000 BC.

Today the word "onager" is reserved for the notoriously untameable Asian Wild Ass, Equus hemionus [[2]].

Wilf Gunther 08/05/2014

See also: Onos

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