Leonum simul plurium pugnam Romae princeps dedit Q. Scaevola P. f. in curuli aedilitate, centum autem iubatorum primus omnium L. Sulla, qui postea dictator fuit, in praetura; post eum Pompeius Magnus in circo DC, in iis iubatorum CCCXV, Caesar dictator CCCC. capere eos ardui erat quondam operis, foveisque maxime. principatu Claudii casus rationem docuit pudendam paene talis ferae nomine pastorem Gaetuliae, sago contra ingruentis impetum obiecto, quod spectaculum in harenam protinus translatum est, vix credibili modo torpescente tanta illa feritate quamvis levi iniectu operto capite, ita ut devinciatur non repugnans. videlicet omnis vis constat in oculis, quo minus mirum fit a Lysimacho Alexandri iussu simul incluso strangulatum leonem.
(Pliny the Elder, Nat. Hist. 8.53-54)
A fight with several lions at once was first bestowed on Rome by Quintus Scaevola, son of Publius, when consular aedile, but the first of all who exhibited a combat of 100 maned lions was Lucius Sulla, later dictator, in his praetorship. After Sulla Pompey the Great showed in the Circus 600, including 315 with manes, and Caesar when dictator 400. Capturing lions was once a difficult task, chiefly effected by means of pitfalls. In the principate of Claudius accident taught a Gaetulian shepherd a method that was almost one to be ashamed of in the case of a wild animal of this nature: when it charged he flung a cloak against its onset – a feat that was immediately transferred to the arena as a show, – the creature’s great ferocity abating in an almost incredible manner when its head is covered with even a light wrap, with the result that it is vanquished without showing fight. The fact is that all its strength is concentrated in its eyes, which makes it less remarkable that when Lysimachus by order of Alexander was shut up in a lion’s cage he succeeded in strangling it. (tr. Harris Rackham)