Ancient Greek belief that donkeys are stubborn not true, says expert
By Suzannah Hills
PUBLISHED: 06:36, 14 May 2012 | UPDATED: 14:12, 14 May 2012
The age-old saying 'stubborn as a mule' is unfounded and donkeys are misunderstood animals, according to an expert.
The belief dates back to ancient Greece when writers Homer and Aesop portrayed donkeys as stubborn, servile and stupid.
But that view was rejected by experts during a two-day conference on ‘donkey, mule and hinny cultures worldwide’.
Donkeys reputation for being stubborn is unfounded and they are simply misunderstood, an expert claims
Ben Hart, from the Donkey Sanctuary, claims that their behaviour is in fact misunderstood at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.
He said: 'Donkey’s behaviour is commonly misunderstood principally because their behaviour is compared to that of the horse, rather than viewed as a separate species.
'By looking at the domesticated donkeys’ evolutionary niche and the behaviour of both free-living donkeys and domesticated donkeys, it is possible to explain the different behaviours of donkeys and to lay to rest their reputation for stubbornness and their misrepresentation as small horses with big ears.'
Other lectures included the importance of donkeys in Turkish folk songs and dances, donkey populations in Eritrea and Portugal and the history of donkeys in countries in the Indian Ocean.
Read more: Ancient Greek belief that donkeys are stubborn not true, says expert | Mail Online