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Nasty, Brutish and Short: The Lives of Cattle and Sheep in Medieval Finland

For thousands of years, the ancestors of today’s Finncattle and Finnsheep survived on scarce nutrition, but actually starved in the Middle Ages in particular.

Bites and stings: A medieval perspective

Venomous creatures and their poisons loom large in the medieval medical European imagination.

The Noblest of Sports: Falconry in the Middle Ages

The Noblest of Sports: Falconry in the Middle Ages By William H. Forsyth The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series, Vol. 2, No. 9 (1944) Introduction: “Ah, what great pleasure God our Lord conferred on man when He gave him the sport of dogs and birds … and when He willed that beasts and birds […]

Resident Aliens: The Literary Ecology of Medieval Mice

Not surprisingly, in the Middle Ages mice had very bad reputations as invaders of human space, as pilferers and contaminators of people’s food, and as instigators of fear quite disproportionate to their tiny size.

Cats and Dogs: The Development of the Household Pet through Symbolic Interpretations and Social Practices in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

The shifting attitudes and social practices between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Western Europe fostered the reexamination of the relationship between humans and animals.

Historical rise of waterpower initiated the collapse of salmon stocks

We demonstrate that populations declined by up to 90% during the transitional period between the Early Middle Ages (c. 450–900 AD) and Early Modern Times (c. 1600 AD).

The Poetics of Wolves: Mapping a Metaphor in World Literature

In my paper I want to trace the ways in which the metaphor of the wolf transforms over time and cultural space, how it epitomizes different and shifting cultural anxieties, trauma, but also hope.

A Most Convenient Relationship: The Rise of the Cat as a Valued Companion Animal

Of all the animals domesticated by humans the cat is one of the most unique.

Call for Papers: Special on Sessions Medieval Equestrianism at IMC 2017

Following the success of Medieval Equestrianism Sessions at the IMC Leeds 2016, we invite papers for special sessions on medieval equestrian history for the International Medieval Congress at Leeds in 2017.

The Associative Branches of the Irish Barnacle: Gerald of Wales and the Natural World

There are many birds here that are called barnacles, which nature, acting against her own laws, produces in a wonderful way.

Good Dog/Bad Dog: Dogs in Medieval Religious Polemics

From its positive attributes, the dog became a Christian symbol for conscientious prelates and preachers who guarded the community from the devil and applied the dog’s curative properties to heal the community of sin.

The Law is an Ass: Reading E.P. Evans’ The Medieval Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals

In this essay I address a little-known chapter in the lengthy history of crimes against (nonhuman) animals. My focus is not crimes committed by humans against animals, as such, but a practical outcome of the seemingly bizarre belief that animals are capable of committing crimes against humans

Dolphins in the Middle Ages

Like just about everyone else on planet Earth who’s been lucky enough to see them, medieval people shared a friendly admiration of dolphins. Their smiling faces seem to have garnered them human respect, and curiosity enough for medieval people to study them carefully and share dolphin stories.

Horse Power: Social Evolution in Medieval Europe

My research is on the development of the horse as a status symbol in Western Europe during the Middle Ages.

The Wolf-Warrior: Animal Symbolism on Weaponry of the 6th and 7th centuries

Decorative art in Scandinavia during the late Iron Age and Viking Period was largely dominated by animals in stylized forms.

Medical Lore in the Bestiaries

Some time in the first part of the Christian era, perhaps as early as the second century, there emerged a curious collection of zoological fables and religious moralizations called Physiologus.

Shrews, Rats, and a Polecat in the ‘Pardoner’s Tale’

The animals of particular interest to us are creatures that function in two distinct ways: as familiar dead metaphors and as familiar live animals.

Old Companions, Noble Steeds: Why dogs and horses were buried at an Early Medieval settlement along the Old Rhine

Excavations at the Early Medieval site of Oegstgeest, located in the Dutch Rhine estuary, have yielded the burials of three horses and three dogs

Pets in the Middle Ages: Evidence from Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

How, then, did people in the High and Late Middle Ages categorize the relationships between people and animals?

‘There Came a Hart in at the Chamber Door’: Medieval Deer as Pets

John of Maidstone paid a visit to Gregory de Rokesle, then mayor of London. With him, he brought some writs from court, which he left on a counter in Gregory’s chamber, presumably for his review, before they were dispatched to Boston and elsewhere. This routine matter was disrupted, however, when a hart (the male red deer), which was in the house, entered the chamber and devoured the writs.

Cat Pics from the Middle Ages

August 8th is International Cat Day! We thought Medievalist.net should do something to commemorate this day and let you know that cat pics existed in the Middle Ages as well.

Medieval Beekeeping

Beekeeping has been a practice going back to ancient times, and during the Middle Ages one could find many farms that kept beehives and collected honey. However, few medieval texts offer indepth information on how this was done. One

Medieval poaching site discovered in England

Archaeologists working in northern England have uncovered a stone-lined cess pit that was filled with dozens of bones from deer. The evidence suggests that they were dumped here by poachers.

Medieval Pest Control

Have a pest troubling you? In the Middle Ages, you could try these remedies to get rid of them – poisons, traps, or even writing a letter to them!

Human-Bovine Plagues in the Early Middle Ages

In other words, when spreading among cattle, a now-extinct morbillivirus episodically colonized and spread in human populations during the early Middle Ages.

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