Hunting in the Middle Ages: Articles and Theses

Here is a list of articles, dissertations and theses about the hunting during the Middle Ages that you can access online for free:

Khohchahar E. Chuluu, The Encircling Hunt of Mongolia: Institutional Structures and Socio-Political Implications, The memoirs of Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (2017)


This Mongolian style of collective hunt was defined by a specific term aba, or the encircling hunt, which distinguished it from the individual hunting practice, the ang. It was not a mere war-like collaborative activity for killing game, but constitute a social institution.

Rebekah Pratt-Sturges, Illuminating the Medieval Hunt: Power and Performance in Gaston Fébus’ Le livre de chasse, PhD Dissertation, Arizona State University, 2017


Vivid illuminations of the aristocratic hunt decorate Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS. fr. 616, an early fifteenth-century illuminated manuscript of Le livre de chasse composed by Gaston Fébus, Count of Foix and Viscount of Béarn (1331-1391 C.E.), in 1389.

Alex Davis, ‘Game’ in The Tale of Gamelyn, Medium Aevum, Vol. 85:1 (2016)

This article investigates the extent to which the dynamics of the Tale can be thrown into relief by inserting it into a late medieval culture of ‘game’.

Shawn Hale, Butchered Bones, Carved Stones: Hunting and Social Change in Late Saxon England, Master’s Thesis, Eastern Illinois University, 2016

Late Saxon lords set aside woodland for hunting, built impressive fortified manorial centers, and established parishes where they erected commemorative stone sculpture.


Naomi Sykes et al., Wild to domestic and back again: the dynamics of fallow deer management in medieval England (c. 11th-16th century AD), STAR: Science & Technology of Archaeological Research, Vol. 2:1 (2016)

This paper presents the results of the first comprehensive scientific study of the fallow deer, a non-native species whose medieval-period introduction to Britain transformed the cultural landscape.

Cristina Arrigoni Martelli, Ducks and Deer, Profit and Pleasure: Hunters, Games and the Natural Landscapes of Medieval Italy, PhD Dissertation, York University, 2015


This dissertation is an ample and thorough assessment of hunting in late medieval and Renaissance northern and central Italy.

Richard Swinney and Scott Crawford, Medieval Hunting as Training for War Insights for the Modern Swordsman, Acta Periodica Duellatorum, Vol.2:1 (2014)

Since antiquity, hunting (the pursuit of large game with dogs, swords, spears and bows) has been advocated as the best means of training men for war. The cognitive, psychological and physical demands of hunting in this fashion develop a fundamentally different skill set from that of standard modern Western Martial Arts training. Still legal in the United States, hunting wild boar employing medieval weapons and methods provides insights into swordsmanship readily available nowhere else.

Frode Iversen, The name of the game! The changing role of hunting on royal land in Norway during the Middle Ages, Hunting in northern Europe until 1500 AD: Old traditions and regional developments, continental sources and continental influences (2013)


This article argues that changes in property structures, from clustered estate systems in the Early Middle Ages to more scattered systems in the Late Middle Ages are an indication of the reduced importance of hunting for the royal household economy in Norway during the Middle Ages.

Fiona Beglane, Parks and Deer-Hunting: Evidence from Medieval Ireland, PhD Dissertation, National University of Ireland, Galway, 2012

This thesis examines aspects of hunting in later medieval Ireland, with particular reference to the Anglo-Norman period, from 1169 to c. 1350. The focus is on deer hunting and on parks, in which fallow deer could be kept.

Ryan Russell Judkins, Noble Venery: Hunting and the Aristocratic Imagination in Late Medieval English Literature, PhD Disssertation, Ohio State University, 2012

This thesis examines hunting, the major leisure pursuit of the aristocracy, in medieval English literature.

Katherine Correa, Hunting in Medieval literature: Satisfaction of Conquest or Thrill of Pursuit?, The Adelphi Honors College Journal of Ideas, Vol. 11 (2011)

In the medieval period, hunting was a pastime reserved exclusively for the nobility. While hunting in ancient civilizations was the primary way of obtaining food, furs, and other useful animal parts, hunting among medieval nobles was viewed as an invigorating sport and as a means of entertainment.

Olgierd Ławrynowicz and Piotr Nowakowski, Hunting arms and equipment in medieval iconography, Fasciculi Archaeologiae Historicae, Vol. 22 (2009)

Although medieval hunting practices have already been researched using both written records and iconographie sources they have not yet become the subject of archeological and arms studies. The situation is a result of the fact that medieval hunting tradition has survived until post-medieval and modern times and that pieces of hunting equipment are difficult to recognize among the archaeological material.

Ewa Łukaszyk, Mediterranean Falconry as a Cross-Cultural Bridge: Christian – Muslim Hunting Encounters, Birthday Beasts’ Book: Cultural Studies in Honour of Jerzy Axer (2011)

The wars between Christians and Muslims created opportunities for cross-cultural hunting encounters, exchange of knowledge and zoological species, such as mammals and birds trained to hunt.

Marco Masseti, Pictorial evidence from medieval Italy of cheetahs and caracals, and their use in hunting, Archives of Natural History, Vol. 36:1 (2009)

Cheetahs and caracals have been used for hunting in the Near and the Middle East since antiquity. In Iran and India the caracal was mainly trained for hunting birds, but in Europe this practice was rare, and is documented only in southern Italy and Sicily by iconographic evidence as far back as the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

An Smets and Baudouin Van den Abeele, Medieval Hunting, A Cultural History of Animals in the Medieval Age (2007)

Panorama of the available sources for a history of medieval hunting, with particular emphasis on treatises on falconry and hunting, iconography, and literature.

María Luz Rodrigo-Estevan and María José Sanchéz-Usón, Hunting and Hunters in Medieval Aragonese Legislation, Hunting Food – Drinking Wine: Proceedings of the XIX Congress of the International Commission for the Anthropology of Food (ICAF) (2006)

Our research on hunting in the kingdom of Aragón in the 12th-15th centuries is based on the information provided by two groups of legal texts: those for local or regional areas (local charters, town letters, royal privileges, municipal statutes) and those that were applied to all the kingdom after the 13th century (general charters passed in the Courts).

Richard Lewis Almond, The Hunting Hours: London, British Library, MS Egerton 1146, M.Phil Dissertation, University of York, 1999

Late medieval Books of Hours have long been a favoured area of research for scholars and much has also been written about the medieval hunt, particularly its aristocratic aspects.

William John Slayton, Medieval Hunting and Fishing Practices and the Court Epics, PhD Dissertation, Rice University, 1970

Thus, in the area of actual practice, research can be found concerning hunting methods and treatises; animals and weapons employed; the role of the hunt in the lives of emperors, kings, and other nobles; and the laws which regulated medieval hunting procedure.

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Top Image: Picture from Livre de la Chasse showing relays of running hounds set on the path of the hart