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Wild animals and medieval towns

In the year 1166, the town of Carmarthen in southern Wales was attacked by a rabid wolf, which bit 22 people.

Seven Wonders of the Medieval Far North

By Minjie Su Imagine that you are Scandinavian sailor, and that you earn your living on the bellowing waves. Every summer, you and your mates travel from port to port, city to city, trading with the locals, perhaps also doing a bit raiding and fighting. Since your life depends on it, it’s not hard to […]

Were rabbits first domesticated in the Early Middle Ages?

Scientists from Oxford University test dating methods to challenge whether our relationship and affection for rabbits dates back to any single event, or, if it is instead better explained as a continuum that has evolved over time.

Famous Dogs in Medieval Literature

Four famous dogs from medieval literature.

Rabbits and the Specious Origins of Domestication

Rabbits are commonly thought to have been domesticated in c. AD600 by French monks. Using historical and archaeological records, and genetic methods, we demonstrate that this is a misconception.

How the parrot tricked the knight

In the following story from the late twelfth-century, Alexander Neckham describes how deceitful parrots could be.

‘To Talk of Many Things’: Whales, Walrus, and Seals in Medieval Icelandic Literature

The use of whales, walrus, and seals in the sagas illustrates a cultural map of the ocean. This network of places, known and imagined, is filled in by trade goods, species and place names, and stories that incorporate the denizens of the deep.

The Medieval Magazine: (Volume 3: No. 20): Issue 103: New Year

A behind the scenes look at the British Library’s Harry Potter exhibit, book suggestions for your 2018 Reading List, a closer look at the meaning of the Grail, a troubadour’s famous manuscript, a look at a new Tudor planner, and a review of King John.

How the Pope’s rhino drowned and was immortalised in art history

The story of one of the most infamous gifts, and one of the most influential images in art history, has been brought back to life thanks to research at the University of Warwick.

The Dog in the Middle Ages

In my project, I will be looking at the inextricable link between dogs and humans in the Middle Ages, and how dogs had their place among humans, forged relationships with humans, and had their own function in the human world. 

Medieval Fur Trade May Have Led to Spread of Leprosy

The authors of a new study suggest that an explanation for the prevalence of leprosy in medieval East Anglia may possibly be found in the sustained Scandinavian trade in squirrel fur – an animal known to carry the disease.

Hunger and the Clerical Canine: The Dog as Metaphor in Piers Plowman B

Hunger in Piers Plowman B is a controversial and perplexing figure in passus 6, one that has garnered considerable and remarkably divergent critical attention over the years.

Wild to domestic and back again: the dynamics of fallow deer management in medieval England

The medieval fashion for parks transformed the English landscape: it is estimated that by 1300 AD over 3000 had been established, covering about 2% of the total area of countryside

Video: Porpoise found in medieval graveyard

Here is the video of an interesting archaeological discovery on the island of Chapelle Dom Hue near Guernsey.

Animals came with medieval trade in Indian Ocean, researchers find

The earliest introduction of domestic chickens and black rats from Asia to the east coast of Africa came via maritime routes between the 7th and 8th centuries AD.

Horses for work and horses for war: the divergent horse market in late medieval England

Rivaled perhaps only by the medieval knight, horses evoke some of the most familiar images associated with England in the Middle Ages.

Medieval Dog Tricks

Can your dog dig up rings, dance to music, or tell if a lady is pregnant? Find out what strange tricks dogs could perform in the Middle Ages.

The dragon’s skull: how can zooarchaeologists contribute to our understanding of otherness in the Middle Ages?

This paper explores how the study of animal bones, and the material practices associated with responses to other species, can build on the foundations of existing scholarship on otherness, alterity and monstrosity. 

Birds of the Mongol Empire

The Mongol Empire, the largest contiguous empire the world has ever known, had, among other things, a goodly number of falconers, poultry raisers, birdcatchers, cooks, and other experts on various aspects of birding.

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).

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