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bestĭa, ae, f. [perh. akin to fera and to belua], a beast (as a being without reason; opp. to man; while animal, = aliving being, includes man; bestia includes both fera, the beast as distinguished by fierceness, and belua, as distinguished by its size or ferocity; cf. Doed. Syn. 4, p. 290 sq.).

I. Lit.

A. In gen. (in the classical per. mostly in prose; esp. freq. in Cic., who uses it in its most extended signif., of every kind of living creature excepting man): disserens, neque in homine inesse animum vel animam nec in bestiā, Cic. Tusc. 1, 10, 21; 5, 13, 38; id. N. D. 2, 11, 31; id. Agr. 2, 4, 9: quod si hoc apparet in bestiis volucribus, nantibus, agrestibus, cicuribus, feris... quanto id magis in homine fit natura, etc., id. Lael. 21, 81; id. N. D. 2, 48, 124.—So of the serpent, Plaut. Poen. 5, 2, 75.—Of the crocodile and other amphibious animals, Cic. l. l.—Of the dog, Cic. Rosc. Am. 20, 56. —Of the elephant (for the more usual belua), Liv. 33, 9, 7.—Of the ass, Suet. Aug. 96.—Of a caterpillar, Plaut. Cist. 4, 2, 62.— Of the ostrich: sequitur natura avium, quarum grandissimi et paene bestiarum generis struthiocameli, Plin. 10, 1, 1, 1; cf. Dig. 3, 1, 1, 6; 9, 1, 1, 10.—With muta, Cic. Fin. 1, 21, 71; Liv. 7, 4, 6 (cf. mutae pecudes, Cic. Q. Fr. 1, 8, 24).—And for the designation of a wild animal, with fera: vinctum ante se Thyum agebat, ut si feram bestiam captam duceret, Nep. Dat. 3, 2 Dähne; Liv. 26, 13, 12; 26, 27, 12; Auct. Her. 2, 19, 29; Just. Inst. 2, 1, 12 sq.

2. As a term of reproach (cf. belua and our beast): mala tu es bestia, Plaut. Bacch. 1, 1, 21; id. Poen. 5, 5, 13.—And, humorously, of the odor of the armpits (cf. ala and caper), Cat. 69, 8.—

B. Esp., when the contest with animals became more usual in the public spectacles at Rome (not yet customary A.U.C. 583, B.C. 171, Liv. 44, 9, 4), bestia designated, without the addition of fera, a wild beast destined to fight with gladiators or criminals (v. bestiarius; usually lions, tigers, panthers, etc.).—Hence, ad bestias mittere aliquem, to send one to fight with wild beasts, Cic. Pis. 36, 89; so, bestiis obioere aliquem, Asin. ap. Cic. Fam. 10, 32, 3: condemnare aliquem ad bestias, Suet. Calig. 27; id. Claud. 14: dare aliquem ad bestias, Dig. 48, 8, 11; Gell. 5, 14, 27: ad pugnam bestiarum datus, Gell. l. l. 10: tradere aliquem ad bestias depugnandas, Dig. l. l.: bestiarum damnatio, the condemnation to fight with wild beasts, ib. 48, 13, 6 al.—Hence the expl.: bestiarum vocabulum proprie convenit leonibus, pardis et lupis, tigribus et vulpibus, canibus et simiis ac ceteris, quae vel ore vel unguibus saeviunt, exceptis serpentibus, Isid. Orig. 12, 2, 1 (but cf. supra, 1.).—

II. Transf., as a constellation, the wotf, Vitr. 9, 4 (7) (called by Cic. Arat. 211 or 455, Quadrupes vasta).