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Ducks and Deer, Profit and Pleasure: Hunters, Games and the Natural Landscapes of Medieval Italy

By Cristina Arrigoni Martelli

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This dissertation is an ample and thorough assessment of hunting in late medieval and Renaissance northern and central Italy. Hunting took place in a variety of landscapes and invested animal species. Both of these had been influenced by human activities for centuries. Hunting had deep cultural significance for a range of social groups, each of which had different expectations and limitations on their use of their local game animal-habitat complexes. Hunting in medieval Italy was business, as well as recreation. The motivations and hunting dynamics (techniques) of different groups of hunters were closely interconnected. This mutuality is central to understanding hunting. It also deeply affected consumption, the ultimate reason behind hunting. In all cases, although hunting was a marginal activity, it did not stand in isolation from other activities of resource extraction. Actual practice at all levels was framed by socio-economic and legal frameworks. While some hunters were bound by these frameworks, others attempted to operate as if they did not matter. This resulted in the co-existence and sometimes competition between several different hunts and established different sets of knowledge and ways to think about game animals and the natural world. The present work traces game animals from their habitats to the dinner table through the material practices and cultural interpretation of a variety of social actors to offer an original and thorough survey of the topic.


Katie Carroll

Date 2015
Publisher York University
Department History
Degree Doctor of Philosophy
Language English
University York University
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Animals in culture
  3. Birds
  4. Deer
  5. Ducks
  6. Game animals
  7. History
  8. Hunting
  9. Italy
  10. Mammals
  11. recreation
  12. Wild animals