Saturday, August 13, 2005

Medieval Bestiary: Animals in the Middle Ages

Medieval Bestiary: Animals in the Middle Ages - Annotated listing of materials related to the genre and on the subject of "animals in the Middle Ages" in general. Also listings are by author and subject.

The annotations are well done although not all entries are annotated. In addition, web sites are included as well as books and periodicals.

From the site:

In the Middle Ages, animal stories were immensely popular throughout Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. The people of the time were, of course, dependent on wild and domestic animals for their survival, and so had an obvious interest in the animals around them. But there is more to it than just a requirement for knowledge of the animals they knew and used; there is a distinctly spiritual and even mystical aspect to the animal lore of the Middle Ages.

The medieval period was intensely religious. In western Europe, the religion was Christianity; in North Africa and the Middle East it was primarily Islam. The Jews and their religion were found almost everywhere, living among Christians and Muslims, sometimes tolerated, sometimes not. Despite the frequent violence between them, all three religions were closely related and shared many of the same spiritual and historical texts. In particular, all three considered all or most of the Hebrew Bible (called the Old Testament by Christians), which contains many references to animals, to be sacred.

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