Hsen, BURM. Hasthi, . . . .SANSK.
Olyphant, DET., SE0EEH. Fiel, . . . . SCAND. Elepbas, . . . GR., LAT. Gallah, . . . . SINGH. Hathi, . , . . . HIND. Elepbante, . . . . SP.
Elephantes, . . . IT. Ani TAIL Beram, . . . MALAY. Yeni ; Yenuga, TEL. Fel, . . . AR., l'ERs. Fil, TURK. Pil ; Gaja, . . l'USHTE.
The source of the word elephant is doubtful. Sir J. E. Tennant supposes it to be the Ilebrew Elepli, an ox, and Hindi, Indian. Pietet derives it from Aimvatzt or Aimvana, the elephant vahan of Indra, from Airavanta, son of the ocean. Burton says (Pilgrim. i. p. 275) it is from Pilu, in Samkrit, or, as we now have it in Pushtu, Pil, in Persian Fel, which in Old I'ersian becomes Fil, and, with the Arabic article, E1-111, turned to Elephas in Greek. Lassen thinks it may be from the Arabic Al, and the Sanskrit Ilhadanta. The elephant is mentioned but two or three times in the Rig Veda, by tho name Mrigo-basti, the beast with a hand, and in such a way as to show that he was still an object of wonder and terror. In the Atharvan he occurs also, only rarely, under the mune Hastin (the mriga now left off), aud is exalted as the 'flightiest and most magnificent of animals. Nothing appears there to show that he had been reduced to the service of man. In the Syrian armies, anciently, the elephant seems to have been much employed. According to tho Apocrypha (1 3faccabees vi. 33, 37), Antiochus, when warring against Judas Maccabzeus, had in his army elephants guided by Indian drivers, each 'siated to have had on his back a strong wooden tower, containing thirty-two fighting men. But this would amount to about 2i tons -weight, quite beyond what any elephant could easily carry.
The African elephant is not now known to be tamed, but there is no doubt that the Cartha ginians availed themselves of the services of this species. Also, on the stupa at Bharhut, at least 2000 years old, there is a representation of a captive untamed elephant being led off by monkeys.
The elephant is the largest of terrestrial mammals.
Though the Sumatran has been considered to differ, there is, according to most authors, only one African and one Asiatic species. The Asiatic species, E. Indicus, is found in Ceylon, in the southern and western parts of the Peninsula of India, in the forests at the foot of the Eastern Himalaya, in Nepal, in the sal forests, Tiperah, Chittagong, Burma, the Malay Peninsula, and the larger islands of the Eastern Archipelago. There are differences ; the elephants of the same locality even vary in form and character. They .attain their full height when 18 or 24 years of age, and range from 7 feet to 10 feet in height, up to the top of the shoulder. Twice round its forefoot gives nearly the exact height of an elephant. Elephants of Ceylon do not average above 8 feet in height, and never. exceed 9 feet ; yet Wolf says he saw one taken near Jaffna which measured 12 feet 1 .inch, of course to the arch of the back. The Ceylon elephants are not so large as those of other parts of India. Mr. Corse says the greatest height ever measured by him was 10 feet 6 inches. He mentions the case of an elephant belonging to the Nawab of Dacca, which was said to be 14 feet high. The driver assured him that the beast was from 15 to 18 feet, yet when carefully measured it did not exceed 10 feet. The skeleton of an elephant in the museum at St. Petersburg, which was sent to Peter the Great by the Shah of Persia, measures 16i- feet in height, and probably this is the tallest authentic instance on record. In Ceylon an elephant is measured at the shoulder, and 9 feet at this• point is a very large animaL The African elephant is perhaps not inferior to that of Pegti. Major Denham, in his expedition into Central Africa, met with some which he guessed to be 16 feet high ; but one which he saw killed, and which he characterized as an immense fellow,' measured 12 feet 6 to the back. The fossil remains of an elephant discovered at Jubbul pur measured 15 feet to the shoulder.