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The Forgotten Beasts in Medieval Britain

This thesis identifies and discusses historical and literary sources describing four species in the process of reintroduction: lynx, large whale, beaver and crane.

A Singular and Plural Beast

In the early Middle Ages, the pig was a caricature for greed, dirt, and disorder (and not much has changed).

Like Master, Like Horse: Five Famous Horses in Medieval Legends

In many medieval legends and literary works, great knights and great horses are often found in pairs; the master’s worthiness manifests in the extraordinariness of his horse.

Man is Not the Only Speaking Animal: Thresholds and Idiom in al-Jāhiz

Furthermore, according to the language of the Arabs, every animal is either eloquent or a foreign-speaker … Man is the eloquent one even if he expresses himself in Persian, Hindi, or Greek.

How did a cockatoo reach 13th century Sicily?

Frederick II’s cockatoo provides a rare window into that world – a medieval world that was surprisingly interconnected.

The archaeology of the Black Rat in Roman to Medieval Europe

David Orton is Lecturer in Zooarchaeology at the University of York

A Pious Mouse and a Deadly Cat: The Schede tou Myos, attributed to Theodore Prodromos

The text, here translated and commented on, is a school exercise but comic in tone, and so appropriate both for pupils and as court entertainment, as it echoes contemporary criticism of monks.

Companions, Servants or Signifiers?: The Role of Assistance Dogs in the Late Middle Ages

Medieval dogs as companions were most valuable in providing humans with emotional and material support.

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

In comparing the roles of whales, walrus, and seals, this study will examine the themes that recur throughout the Old Icelandic literary tradition, and how these may have been influenced by the circumstances of the time.

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.

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