menagerie(redirected from Menagery)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
a collection of wild animals kept in cages and intended for exhibition. Menageries go back to the time of the Assyrian and Babylonian kings, the Egyptian pharaohs, and the ancient Persian rulers. In Europe, menageries were associated with the ancient Roman circuses; their animals were used to persecute people.
In the late 18th century and early 19th, traveling menageries owned by private entrepreneurs began to appear in various European countries, including Russia. They exhibited for purely commercial purposes what were considered the “wonders” of the animal world—for example, elephants, lions, tigers, monkeys, bears, crocodiles, peacocks, boa constrictors, and parrots. These menageries were essentially amusement enterprises, and they have been eliminated in the USSR. Menageries were the precursors of zoological gardens.