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Animals and mythical creatures in the Middle Ages

Animals and mythical creatures in the Middle Ages Published by

Sabine Obermaier

Walter de Gruyter · Berlin · New York

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ISBN 978-3-11-020137-6 Bibliographic information from the German National Library The German National Library lists this publication in the German National Bibliography; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at 쑔 Copyright 2009 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, D-10785 Berlin. This work including all of its parts is protected by copyright. Any use outside the narrow limits of copyright law without the consent of the publisher is inadmissible and punishable. This applies in particular to reproductions, translations, microfilming and storage and processing in electronic systems. Printed in Germany Cover design: Christopher Schneider, Laufen

Preface The prelude to this anthology was the lecture series "Animals and Mythical Creatures in the Middle Ages", which I was able to organize in the winter semester 2007/08 at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz for the interdisciplinary working group Medieval Studies. I was very happy when Mr. Heiko Hartmann was not only won over for a lecture, but was also immediately inspired to consider a corresponding anthology. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Heiko Hartmann and his colleagues, namely Angelika Hermann (production) and Julia Rintz (editing), for his personal commitment in including the volume in the publisher's program and for the loving care of the book. The idea of ​​part of the contributions that were held at the International Medieval Congress “The Natural World” 2008 in Leeds in the two sections organized by the animaliter project group (, as well as another contribution from the animaliter- Integrating Kreis into the anthology, to our great pleasure, met with open ears at the publisher, and so the volume was given its present form. The contributions of Henryk Anzulewicz, Bettina Bosold-DasGupta, Leonie Franz, Heiko Hartmann, Marco Lehmann, Andreas Lehnardt and Anette Pelizaeus go back to the lecture series; they were supplemented by the Leeds contributions by Thomas Honegger, Kathrin Prietzel, An Smets and Clara Wille as well as the contribution by Andrea Rapp. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the success of this volume: the contributors who, through their speedy work, made it possible for the volume to be published promptly, Lea Dombrink for their help in standardizing the contributions, Jessica Quinlan for the critical review of the English-language contributions and especially Anuscha Monchizadeh, without whose tireless and conscientious cooperation in printing and registering this volume would not have been possible. Mainz, March 2009

Sabine Obermaier

Table of contents SABINE OBERMAIER Animals and mythical creatures in the Middle Ages. Introduction and overview ............................................... ......................... 1

The knowledge of the animal HENRYK ANZULEWICZ Albertus Magnus and the animals ....................................... ....................... 29 TO SMETS The Falconry Treatise by Artelouche de Alagona ................. .............. 55 CLARA WILLE The heron, the lamprey and the hedgehog. Animal names in the Romanesque Middle Ages .............................................. ........................ 79

Dealing with mythical creatures ANDREAS LEHNARDT Leviathan and Behemoth. Mythical primordial beings in the medieval Jewish tradition ........................................ 105 THOMAS HONEGGER Draco litterarius. Some Thoughts on an Imaginary Beast ................... 131


Table of Contents

Theriomorphic sign languages ​​HEIKO HARTMANN Animals in the historical and literary heraldry of the Middle Ages. An outline ................................................ .................. 147 ANETTE PELIZAEUS Griffin, lion and dragon. The depictions of animals at Mainz Cathedral - provenance and succession ................................ 181 ANDREA RAPP Ir bîzzen something so tender, wîblich, fîn On the interpretation of the dog in Hadlaub's author's picture in the Codex Manesse ..................................... ........ 207

Literary animals KATHRIN PRIETZEL Animals in religious and non-religious Anglo-Saxon writings ......... 235 LEONIE FRANZ In the beginning there was the animal. On the function and meaning of the deer in medieval founding legends ...................... 261 BETTINA BOSOLD-DASGUPTA Floating, circling, gliding, fluttering ... On the semantics of birds and flight movements in Dante's Divina Commedia .............................. 281

A look into the modern age MARCO LEHMANN Ars Simia - Aesthetic and anthropological reflection under the sign of the monkey. On the survival of medieval picture programs in the Romantic era, with Raabe and Kafka .................. 309 REGISTER OF ANIMALS AND FABULOUS BEINGS .............. .................................. 339

Sabine Obermaier (Mainz)

Animals and mythical creatures in the Middle Ages. Introduction and overview "Les animaux ont une histoire" 1 - with this book, Robert Delort in 1984 made the historical and cultural dependency of the animal world and the animal-human relationship emphatically aware. But the Middle Ages not only have a different understanding of animals than the modern age, they also prepare essential elements of the modern understanding. Alterity and (!) Continuity characterize the epoch difference, also with regard to the animal. Even what is called an animal and is thought of as an animal is determined differently in the Middle Ages. B. also the mythical creatures to the animals. This is also the reason for the amalgamation of animals and mythical creatures in this volume. The aim of this volume, "Les animaux ont une histoire", resulted in a series of studies and anthologies devoted to the history of the animal-human relationship from different perspectives3 - up to the 6-volume "Cultu_____________ 1 2


Robert Delort, Les animaux ont une histoire, Paris 1984. Brigitte Resl, "Introduction: Animals in Culture, approx. 1000-approx. 1400 «, in: dies. (Ed.), A Cultural History of Animals in the Medieval Age, Oxford, New York 2007 (A Cultural History of Animals 2), pp. 1-26, here pp. 3 and 9 (with examples also for the vernaculars) . Alain Couret / Frédéric Oge (eds.), Histoire et animal, 2 vols., Toulouse 1989 (Homme, animal, société 3); Aubrey Manning / James Serpell (Eds.), Animals and Human Society. Changing Perspectives, London 1994; Paul Münch / Rainer Walz (eds.), Animals and People. History and topicality of a precarious relationship, Paderborn 21999; Peter Dinzelbacher (Ed.), Humans and Animals in the History of Europe, Stuttgart 2000; Il mondo animale / The world of animals, 2 vols., Florence 2000 (Micrologus 8); Frank Meier, humans and animals in the Middle Ages.


Sabine Obermaier

ral History of Animals «(2007) .4 Relevant anthologies have also appeared on the medieval conception of nature5 and archeozoology, 6 on animal symbolism, 7 on bestiaries8 and mythical creatures9. So one could rightly ask: Why another anthology? The volume presented here wants to set a new accent and has a decidedly focused focus on the animal as an object and, above all, as a medium for the spiritual understanding of the world and humans by humans. The aim of this interdisciplinary volume is to show how the animal becomes a medium of knowledge and visualization, of structuring and order, as well as of interpreting and coping with the world, in relevant medieval discourses (religion and science, everyday hunting and heraldic beings, literature and art). Contradictions and disclaimers_____________

4 5

6 7



Ostfildern 2008 (popular science). See also: Sieglinde Hartmann (Ed.), Fauna and Flora in the Middle Ages. Studies of the Medieval Environment and its Impact on the Human Mind. Papers Devlivered at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds, in 2000, 2001 and 2002, Frankfurt a. M. 2007 (Supplements to Medieval Studies 8); Nona Flores (Ed.), Animals in the Middle Ages, New York, London 1996. Fundamental to the question of the boundary between humans and animals: Joyce E. Salisbury, The Beast Within. Animals in the Middle Ages, New York, London 1994. Coming soon: Udo Friedrich, Menschentier und Tiermensch. Discourses on drawing and crossing borders in the Middle Ages, Göttingen 2008 [i. E.]. Linda Kalof, Brigitte Resl (Eds.), A Cultural History of Animals. 6 vols., Oxford, New York 2007. Albert Zimmermann / Andreas Speer (eds.), Mensch und Natur im Mittelalter, 2 vols., Berlin, New York 1991 (Miscellanea Medievalia 21); Joyce E. Salisbury (Ed.), The Medieval World of Nature. A Book of Essays, New York, London 1993; Peter Dilg (Ed.), Nature in the Middle Ages. Concepts, experiences, effects. Files from the 9th Symposium of the Medievalist Association, Marburg, 14.-17. March 2001, Berlin 2003. Aleks Pluskowski (Ed.), Medieval Animals, Cambridge 2000 (Archaeological Review from Cambridge 18). Paul Michel (Ed.), Tiersymbolik, Bern 1991 (Writings on Symbol Research 7); Luuk A. J. R. Houwen (Ed.), Animals and the Symbolic in Medieval Art and Literature, Groningen 1997; Dora Faraci (ed.), Simbolismo animale e letteratura, Manziana 2003 (Memoria Bibliografica 23). Willene B. Clark / Meredith McMunn (Eds.), Beasts and Birds of the Middle Ages. The Bestiary and its Legacy, Philadelphia 1989; Gisela Febel / Georg Maag (eds.), Bestiaries in the field of tension between the Middle Ages and the modern age, Tübingen 1997; Marie-Hélène Tesnière / Thierry Delcourt (eds.), Le Bestiaire du Moyen Age. Les animaux dans les manuscripts, Paris 2004. John Cherry (Ed.), Mythical Beasts, London 1995; Ulrich Müller / Werner Wunderlich (eds.), Demons, Monsters, Mythical Creatures, St. Gallen 1999 (Medieval Myths 2).

Introduction and overview


Changes within a discourse come into focus as well as transfer phenomena and interferences between the discourses, whereby - which happens rarely enough - the interdisciplinarity is carried into the contributions themselves. It is thanks to the genesis of the volume (see foreword) that the contributions are introductory on the one hand and offer new research impulses on the other, so that reading can be just as rewarding for the interested layperson as it is for the expert. Animals and mythical creatures in the Middle Ages. A first overview In a (necessarily incomplete) »tour d’horizon«, a framework is now set up in which the following contributions are to be located and against which they are to be put into perspective. In view of the inexhaustible nature of the topic, I concentrate on the aspects which, on the one hand, show the alterity and the continuity of the Middle Ages and modern times in dealing with animals, and, on the other hand, complement the topic of the individual contributions to a more complete picture and the guiding principle of the volume - make the animal visible as an object and medium for the spiritual understanding of the world. A. Life with animals Historical change is not only subject to human understanding of animals, but also the animal itself10 as well as - and this is the subject here - the everyday interaction of humans with animals.

_____________ 10

Delort, Les animaux (note 1), p. 28 “Les premières et les plus évidentes conclusions scientifiques découlant de la stricte étude des vestiges zoologiques sont que nos animaux, domestiques et sauvages, sont différents, parfois très différents, de ceux qui vécurent il ya quelque millénaires et même quelque siècles à peine: nombre de races de chiens, la plus grande part de races de chats et de lapins n'existaient pas au siècle dernier; inversement, bien de races de moutons, de bovins, de porcins ou d’équidés domestiques ont disparu au bout de quelques décennies, notamment depuis le Moyen Age. "


Sabine Obermaier

1. Dog, horse, ox and pig: medieval livestock husbandry In a feudally structured agricultural culture, regular handling of animals - and that means within an agricultural culture: possession, keeping and use of animals - is part of almost every medieval person's everyday life well known which animals were kept for what purpose. The dog is the first animal to be domesticated; 12 it serves as a shepherd or guard dog, but also as a hunting dog. In addition, there were also courtly and urban new breeds of lap dogs. Oxen are used for plowing, but also as draft animals and pack animals, 13 and their skin is an important supplier of leather and parchment. Horses are the most important means of locomotion and transport (in peacetime as in war, in agriculture and hunting) .14 Sheep provide wool, meat and milk (the sheep, not the cow, was the main supplier of milk in the High Middle Ages!) And skin for parchment, dung and tallow, 15 goats mainly leather. The pig is the main source of fat and meat; 16 it is kept in herds in the forest or in the field, and later also in the house. Finally, chickens, ducks and geese17 provide eggs and meat. _____________ 11

12 13 14


16 17

Cf. Esther Pascua, “From Forest to Farm and Town”, in: Resl, A Cultural History of Animals (note 2), pp. 81-102, here p. 81: “Wherever one looked, there were animals: the forests, fields and farms, towns, fairs and markets, and the household itself. ”See also Salisbury, The Beast Within (note 3), chap. 1: "Animals as Property". Norbert Benecke, Man and his pets. The story of a millennia-old relationship, Stuttgart 1994, pp. 68-77, 208-228. Pascua, From Forest to Farm and Town (note 11), p. 90. Erhard Oeser, Pferd und Mensch. The story of a relationship, Darmstadt 2007, chap. 7. Cf. Benecke, Man and his domestic animals (note 12), pp. 288-310, on horses as domestic animals in the Middle Ages: pp. 306-308. On the horse, you can also see that the use of an animal is based on a class: the aristocracy sees the horse as a war horse, the peasants pack and draft horse, see Pascua, From Forest to Farm and Town (note 11), p. 91. Pascua, From Forest to Farm and Town (note 11), p. 84 and especially p. 92: "The sheep was the most common medieval farm animal as well as the most versatile." Benecke, Man and his pets (note 12), pp. 228-238. Benecke, Man and his pets (note 12), p. 248; Pascua, From Forest to Farm and Town (note 11), p. 85 and p. 99. For the history of poultry, see Benecke, Der Mensch und seine Tiere (note 12), pp. 362-390.

Introduction and overview


The livestock mentioned therefore primarily serve as: - Workers, means of transport and locomotion; - Suppliers of materials and food, - or even as food. However, not only domesticated animals were kept in the Middle Ages. Animals that have never completely given up their wildness also serve people, 18 so z. B. bees to produce honey, cats to control mice and - unlike today - ferrets to hunt rabbits.19 In aristocratic circles, birds of prey are trained to hunt. The animal is not only seen as property, but also as an enemy, feared as a destroyer of property, 20 above all the wolf21 (to a lesser extent also the wild boar and the bear). Modern man is generally immune to such dangers - unless a "problem bear" appears. Medieval man has an irrational fear of being eaten by wild animals, which corresponds to the disgust that the human body will be eaten by worms and toads after death. Where one owns animals as property, one regards animals as value. Theft of cattle is severely punished (sometimes even with the death penalty); and it applies: The owner is responsible for his animals. Extensive livestock ownership is therefore a status symbol. Furthermore, a certain hierarchy of values ​​can be recognized in legal regulations and price lists of the Middle Ages (only the perspective of the nobility is attested here): 22 The animals that have the same ›work‹ (meaning: warfare and hunting) as noblemen occupy the highest place , so horses, hunting dogs and birds. In second place are the workhorses, that is, the draft and pack animals. On _____________ 18

19 20 21 22

Salisbury, The Beast Within (note 3), p. 14, speaks of animals, "that existed on the border of the two realms of wild and domestic"; Pascua, From Forest to Farm and Town (note 11), p. 102, describes the cat as "probably semi-wild". Benecke concludes from the dentition anomalies in cat bone finds, Der Mensch und seineätze (Note 12), pp. 352f. however, that the cat is "obviously increasingly becoming a pet". Benecke, Man and his pets (note 12), pp. 353-356 (whereas the rabbit is a rather young domestic animal, see ibid. P. 356). Salisbury, The Beast Within (note 3), p. 14. In some regions this almost leads to the extermination of the animal, see for a fundamental part Aleksander Pluskowski, Wolves and the Wilderness in the Middle Ages, Woodbridge 2006. Salisbury, The Beast Within ( Note 3), p. 28, see p. 33f.


Sabine Obermaier

The only food-giving animals are at the bottom of the hierarchy.Ownership of an animal can therefore also be regarded as a status symbol.23 Overall, it becomes clear that in the Middle Ages, animals were more determined by their utility value than they are today (even if the animal in the form of lap dogs, tamed birds, dancing bears, menagerie exotic animals and fighting animals can have a maintenance function ) .24 2. From deer and falcons: Hunting as a noble privilege In the Middle Ages, hunting always had two functions: It was used to acquire food, to protect against predators and to gain hides; 25 but it has also been encountered since the early Middle Ages as "sporty Activity "of the nobility and kings.26 Since the Merovingian era, larger forest areas have been converted into so-called royal forests, for which special rights of use are claimed: 27 Hunting becomes a" privilege of the nobility ".28 In this context, some farms are also involved new, own court office: the office for the venator, the hunter master. The aristocratic hunt is well documented through hunting tracts, archaeological finds, legal texts, but also literature and art: 29 »Hunting _____________ 23 24


26 27 28


Salisbury, The Beast Within (note 3), p. 17: "As property, domestic animals were valued for three things: materials […], labor, and status." Keeping. Gender, Status and Emotions (PhD diss., University College London). See also: Lisa J. Kiser, "Animals in Medieval Sports, Entertainment, and Menageries," in: Resl, A Cultural History of Animals (note 2), pp. 103-126. Werner Rösener, "Hunting and court culture as an object of research", in: ders., Hunting and court culture in the Middle Ages. Göttingen 1997 (publications of the Max Planck Institute for History 135), p. 11-28, here p. 15. Werner Rösener, "Jagd, Rittertum und Fürstenhof im Hochmittelalter", in: ders. (Ed.), Jagd und Courtly culture (note 25) pp. 123-147, here p. 125. Rösener, Jagd, Rittertum und Fürstenhof (note 26), p. 128. See Rösener, Jagd und Höfische Kultur (note 25), p 15. Rösener, Jagd, Rittertum und Fürstenhof (note 26), p. 129. Cf. Rösener, Jagd und Höfische Kultur (note 25), p. to expand their dominant position also in the field of hunting. «An Smets / Baudouin Van den Abeele,» Medieval Hunting «, in: Resl, A Cultural History of Animals (note 2), p. 59- gives a good overview of the sources. 79, here pp. 64-73.

Introduction and overview


is [...] one of the most generously documented aspects of the interrelationship between man and animal during the Middle Ages. «30 There are three forms of hunting that are primarily cultivated by the medieval aristocratic society: 31 - Stalking: Here it is Wildly driven towards hunters armed with bows and arrows or crossbows. The animals that are mostly only shot are then tracked down by the dogs and brought down.32 The stalking hunt was mainly carried out in Germany, as it is suitable for impassable forest terrain, as was typical for many German low mountain range regions.33 - Hunting: Here there is no action a stag chased by firearms by mounted hunters and dogs until it confronts the dogs tiredly (depending on the strength of the animal, this can take the whole day) .34 This type of hunting, which is very common in France, was there considered to be the most gracious and noble form of hunting - Beizhunting: This form of hunting, adopted from the Orient, "developed into the most distinguished knightly type of hunting." 36 Here, birds of prey (mostly falcons, hawks, sparrowhawks) trained for this purpose are used to hunt herons, pheasants or ducks, and this in flat terrain you can enjoy the aerial battles between the bird of prey and its prey. For this, the birds of prey have to be tamed and trained in a lengthy process that requires a great deal of ornithological knowledge. 37 _____________ 30 31 32

33 34 35 36 37

Fundamental to the type of hunting literature: Baudouin Van den Abeele, La littérature cynégétique, Turnhout 1996 (Typologie des sources du moyen âge occidental 75). Smets / Van den Abeele, Medieval Hunting (note 29), p. 79. A prestigious form of hunting, on the other hand, is hunting with traps and nets; see Smets / Van den Abeele, Medieval Hunting (note 29), p. 63f. Helmut Brackert, »› deist rehtiu jegerîe ‹. Courtly representations of hunting in the German epic of the High Middle Ages ”, in: Rösener, Jagd und Höfische Kultur (note 25), p. 365-406, here p. 373; see also Smets / Van den Abeele, Medieval Hunting (note 29), p. 62 ("Archery"). Rösener, Jagd, Rittertum und Fürstenhof (note 26), p. 141. For the exact process, see Brackert, Höfische Jagddarmachen (note 32), p. 372; see also Smets / Van den Abeele, Medieval Hunting (note 29), p. 61f. (»Venery«) Rösener, Jagd, Rittertum und Fürstenhof (note 26), p. 141. Rösener, Jagd und Höfische Kultur (note 25), p. 21. For the exact process, see Brackert, Höfische Jagddarmachen (note 32 ), P. 374; see also Smets / Van den Abeele, Medieval Hunting (note 29), pp. 59-61 ("Hawking or Falconry").


Sabine Obermaier

Conversely, the expansion of royal and princely hunting rights led to a restriction of the farmers' right to hunt small game.38 Deer, boar and bear, on the other hand, are among the game species with the highest reputation - deer, boar and bear hunting scenes are accordingly often found in medieval literature, art and heraldry.39 Werner Rösener rightly emphasizes the parallels between hunting and tournaments as part of courtly-knightly representation (which is specifically medieval): 40 A good ruler also had to be a good warrior and a good hunter. 41 In this sense - as Helmut Brackert has worked out42 - hunting scenes also find their way into literature. They seldom give detailed information about real historical aspects of the hunt; the hunt serves here rather as a nobility sign and as a metaphor for love. 3. Pigs and grubs in court: animals and law in the Middle Ages One area in which the Middle Ages are particularly "foreign" 43 to us is the area of ​​law: not only that animals were used as instruments of execution (and then not only the delinquent but also the animals were cruelly tortured), not only that animals, insofar as they were involved in human crimes (e.g. in sodomy), were punished44 - the animals themselves were also accused and convicted of criminals in the context of proper and costly proceedings, imprisoned ____________ 38

39 40 41 42 43 44

Rösener, Jagd und Höfische Kultur (note 25), p. 16. The division into large and small game, which is no longer in use today, goes back to medieval hunting law. The big game (game reserved for the nobility for hunting) includes the cervids, the wild boar and pair-hoofed hornbears, but not the deer, but also the capercaillie, the golden eagle, the white-tailed eagle, the bear and birds such as swans and cranes. All other game belongs to small game. Rösener, Jagd, Rittertum und Fürstenhof (note 26), p. 136. Hunting animals are often heraldic animals (ibid., P. 143), see also the article by Heiko Hartmann in this volume. Rösener, Jagd und Höfische Kultur (note 25), p. 18. Rösener, Jagd und Höfische Kultur (note 25), p. 16. Cf. Brackert, Höfische Jagddarmachen (note 32), p. 406. Peter Dinzelbacher , The Alien Middle Ages. God's judgment and animal trial, Essen 2006, p. 11. Dinzelbacher, Mensch und Tier (note 3), p. 196f .; ders., The Foreign Middle Ages (note 43), pp. 124-128.

Introduction and overview


taken and even executed.45 From the 13th century on, animal trials repeatedly occurred, particularly in France, but also in Switzerland, Germany and other regions. They were first brought before secular courts against pets that had injured or killed people, 46 later also before church courts against entire pest collectives47 - even though the codified law only provided for the liability of the owner.48 It is surprising that animals in context Law enforcement treated like people. However, insofar as the offenses (in addition to child murder, destruction of the harvest, disruption of Holy Mass or triggering an epidemic) involve "hierarchy violations" 49 on the part of animals, the line between animals and humans is sharply drawn again. In addition, critics of medieval animal trials pointed out from the outset that unreasonable animals, who cannot distinguish between good and evil, cannot be held responsible for their behavior and are therefore not guilty.50 The still puzzling phenomenon of medieval animal trials cannot be derived from existing legal traditions, from the Bible or from a belief in demons. The simultaneity and parallelism with the witch and heretic trials as well as the pogroms of the Jews suggest that it is a reaction to the late medieval recession

47 48 49 50

Fundamental: Edward P. Evans, The criminal prosecution and capital punishment of animals, New York 1906; Dinzelbacher, The Foreign Middle Ages (note 43), pp. 103-156. Examples can be found in Dinzelbacher, Das Fremde Mittelalte (note 43), pp. 113-166. The Falaise Tribunal caused a stir when a sow was hanged for mutilating and biting to death a three-month-old baby. Documented in Evans, pp. 16 and 140f., With reference to a no longer preserved fresco on the west side of the Falais Holy Trinity Church; the frontispiece of Evans' book shows the scene in a modern reproduction. Examples in Dinzelbacher, The Foreign Middle Ages (note 43), pp. 116-124. Dinzelbacher, The Foreign Middle Ages (note 43), p. 114. Dinzelbacher, The Foreign Middle Ages (note 43), p. 113. The legal practitioner Philipp de Beaumanoir (1283) sees the reason for this legal practice in the greed of the court lords , quoted in Dinzelbacher, The Strange Middle Ages (note 47), p. 129f. Further evidence for the arguments of the critics, ibid., Pp. 130-132. For similar reasons Thomas von Aquin had already doubted that animals could be summoned (Dinzelbacher, Mensch und Tier (note 3), p. 282).


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hen.51 The animal processes restore disrupted order and thus serve to cope with a world that has become unmanageable.52 Animal ownership, livestock husbandry and hunting can be understood as forms of material appropriation of the human world - in direct implementation of Gen 1, 28. Animal husbandry and Hunting (and in a certain sense the animal trials) are documentaries of human power over the animal world. Insofar as animal husbandry and hunting reveal a glimpse of the medieval social hierarchy, animals in this context also serve as a medium for demonstrating power and social status. With the animal process, on the other hand, disturbed order is restored, the punished animal becomes a symbol of a restored, orderly human-animal hierarchy. B. Knowledge of the animal Zoology (in which, by the way, mythical creatures still had their fixed place for a long time) was not yet a separate science in the Middle Ages. Empirical animal observation initially only takes place where the animal is of direct importance for the human environment (e.g. in falconry or horse medicine). The occupation with animal science knowledge was not an end in itself, but rather served in the Middle Ages to understand God's creation and God's plan of salvation or to receive information on godly conduct of life.53 1. The lion and God's plan of salvation: the tradition of the Physiologus In popular representation, the Physiologus is popularly traded as a ›medieval zoology book ‹.54 This originally Greek theory of nature, the _____________ 51 52 53 54

So Dinzelbacher, The Foreign Middle Ages (note 43), pp. 141-143. Cf. Dinzelbacher, The Foreign Middle Ages (note 43), p. 142. Cf. Pieter Beullens, “Like a Book Written by God’s Finger. Animals Showing the Path toward God ”, in: Resl, A Cultural History of Animals (note 2), pp. 127-151, here p. 128. Examples from Nikolaus Henkel, Studien zum› Physiologus ‹im Mittelalter, Tübingen 1976 ( Hermaea, NF 38), pp. 139f.

Introduction and overview


probably originated in the 2nd century in the context of the early Christian communities in Alexandria, but offers an allegorical interpretation of the plants, stones and animals described therein.55 The title (›der Naturkundige‹) names the anonymous informant to whom the Scripture always calls; the actual author is unknown.56 In the Middle Ages, this book was received intensively in Latin as well as in the various vernacular languages57 and is also updated in the Latin and vernacular bestiaries.58 The chapters of the Physiologus are structured according to a uniform pattern: the introductory Bible quote This is followed by the description of the natural properties (the so-called proprietates) of the animal, which are then subjected to a theological59 interpretation (often with reference to other biblical passages). The Physiologus thus belongs in the context of Bible exegesis.60 An example: The chapter on the lion begins with Genesis 49: 9, in which Jacob's son Judah is compared with a young lion. Then the three proprietes of the lion are interpreted as follows: _____________ 55 56





Christian Schröder, Art. »› Physiologus ‹«, in: The German literature of the Middle Ages. Author's lexicon, vol. 7/1988, col. 620-634, esp. Col. 621. In the widespread text tradition of the Physiologus one finds numerous author attributions, e. B. to church fathers such as Epiphanios of Cyprus, Petros of Alexandria, Chrysostom, Ambrosius, but also to Solomon (also mentioned in Schröder, Art. Physiologus (note 55), column 621). None of these attributions has yet been verified. Friedrich Lauchert, History of the Physiologus, Strasbourg 1889 (Reprint Geneva 1974); Henkel, studies on the 'Physiologus' (note 54). For reception in German-language literature, see Dietrich Schmidtke, Geistliche Tierinterpretaion in der Deutschensprachigen Literatur des Mittelalters (1100-1500), 2 Bde., Berlin 1968. One usually speaks of a bestiary when the chapter inventory and chapter sequence are significant compared to the usual Physiologus inventory differ, d. H. when a significant number of new chapters and new animals are added to the usual Physiologus chapters; but even if material from other sources (e.g. from the ›Hexaemeron‹ by Ambrosius or the ›Etymologiae‹ by Isidore of Seville) is inserted into the existing chapters, Willene B. Clark / Meradith T. McMunn, "Introduction" , in: dies., Beasts and Birds of the Middle Ages (note 8), pp. 1-11, here p. 3. Clark / McMunn, Introduction (note 58), p. 3: »The animal interpretations in the Physiologus tend to be more theological, that is, ›mystical‹, while the bestiary expands the moral-ethical content considerably, making the work more obviously didactic than its predecessor Contribution by Andreas Lehnardt in this volume.


Sabine Obermaier

(1) When the lion is hunted, it covers its trail with its tail. So did Christ, who in his Incarnation obliterated the trace of his divinity. (2) When the lion sleeps, he keeps his eyes open. This is a sign of the resurrected Christ who only slept in the flesh but awoke in his divinity. (3) When the lioness gives birth to her cubs, they are initially dead and will be looked after by the lioness for three days. Then the lion father comes along and blows the cubs in the face, which brings them to life. The Almighty did likewise to his son when he raised him on the third day.

The description is obviously not based on one's own empirical observation, but is mediated by authorities. It is also characteristic of the animal allegory, which is in the tradition of the Physiologus, that one and the same animal is interpreted both in bonam partem and in malam partem. B. can stand for Christ and (!) For the devil.61 The spiritual-historical basis for the creation of a book of the type of Physiologus is formed by the so-called "two-book teaching" (Bible and nature as two equal paths to the knowledge of God ), connected with the Christian conception of the symbolism of the world - succinctly summarized by Alanus ab Insulis († around 1203), a French Cistercian monk from the School of Chartres: Omnis mundi creatura / quasi liber et pictura / nobis est et speculum, / nostrae vitae, nostrae mortis, / nostri status, nostrae sortis / fidele signaculum.62 It remains controversial whether the Middle Ages considered the Physiologus' natural accounts to be true and which concept of truth is appropriate here. Klaus Grubmüller initially assumes: »Physiologus truth is the truth of creation; it can only retain its full reference character if it is taken literally and in real terms as factual truth. «63 Nevertheless _____________ 61 62


Examples in Schmidtke, Geistliche Tierinterpretation (note 57), pp. 331-347: III (king of the animals), IV (circling the prey), XIX (hostility towards the forest donkey). Alanus ab Insulis, Rhythmus de natura hominis fluxa et caduca, Str. 1, in: Sacred Latin Poetry, Richard Chenevix Trench (Ed.), London 1874, p. 262. Transl .: The entire creation of the world is one for us, as it were Book and a picture and a mirror is a true sign of our life, our death, our condition [and] our fate). Klaus Grubmüller, "Considerations on the Physiologus's Claim to Truth in the Middle Ages", in: Frühmittelalterliche Studien, 12/1978, pp. 160-177, here p. 169. In contrast, Henkel,

Introduction and overview


The following also applies: "The picture remains illustrative, regardless of whether its elements can actually be proven." 64 You don't just believe what you see. 2. Of land, air and sea wonders: animal knowledge as book knowledge Aristotle is considered the father of scientific zoology.65 But until the 13th century, the Middle Ages only knew Aristotle's zoological writings through Pliny, 66 Solinus67 and Isidore of Seville68 - without that the authorship of Aristotle was always very clear in the individual case. Animal science - in the Middle Ages that means above all: book knowledge, read-in knowledge, non-empirical knowledge gained from observation and experience. In the encyclopedia, too, zoology was not an end in itself, but was still entirely in the service of theology: "All authors, even if they behaved as empiricists, were religious or religious, but by no means fighters for a natural science emancipated from theology." 69 For example, Hrabanus Maurus created his encyclopedia De rerum _____________ 64 on the basis of Isidore




68 69

Studies on the 'Physiologus' (note 55), pp. 140-146, evidence that shows that even the medieval authors do not believe all the Physiologus stories. Grubmüller, Truth claim of the Physiologus (note 63), p. 169. Cf. Beullens, Like a Book (note 53), p. 134: “What really counted was the similitude, the suitability of the subject matter to illustrate theological or moral learning. "Christian Hünemörder," Aristotle as the founder of zoology ", in: Georg Wöhrle (Ed.), Biologie, Stuttgart 1999 (History of Mathematics and Natural Sciences in Antiquity 1), pp. 89-102. With his Naturalis historia, Gaius Plinius Secundus (1st century) created a "type of natural history encyclopedia" which has proven to be extremely successful (Christian Hünemörder, "Ancient and Medieval Encyclopedias and the Popularization of Natural History", in: Sudhoffs Archive, 65/1981, H.4, pp. 339-365, here p. 343). On Pliny reception in the Middle Ages: Arno Borst, Das Buch der Naturgeschichte. Pliny and his readers in the Age of Parchment, Heidelberg 21995. Pliny is also the main source for the Collectanea rerum memorabilium by Gaius Julius Solinus (3rd / 4th century), which was also eagerly received in the Middle Ages, three quarters of which are drawn from Pliny. Bernard Ribémont, "L’établissement du genre encyclopédique au Moyen Âge" [1997], in: ders., Littérature et encyclopédies du Moyen Âge, Orléans 2002, pp. 5-23. Hünemörfer, Antiquity and Medieval Encyclopedias (note 66), p. 351.


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naturis (better known under the title De univserso, 842-846) for teaching purposes and with a decidedly Christian objective. 70 The Augustinian canon (later Dominican) Thomas von Cantimpré understands his - ordered in descending order of being - Liber de naturis rerum (approx. 1225 / 26-1241) as a manual for preachers, so that one has spoken of an "encyclopedia as a preaching aid" 71. The same applies to the French Dominican Vinzenz von Beauvais, who arranged his Speculum naturale (1256-1259) according to the first six days of creation. Together with the »Speculum doctrinale, morale and historiale, this work forms a compendium (the Speculum maius), which is unique in its comprehensive conception. The nature encyclopedia of the Franciscan Bartholomäus Anglicus (completed around 1240), De proprietatibus rerum, is structured according to the doctrine of the four elements.72 Even if allegories and moralizations are missing here (experienced preachers do not need such a thing!), One finds Marginal notes in the manuscripts that indicate the possibility of interpreting the motifs in sermons and example literature.73 Soon the great natural encyclopaedias also appeared in a moralized form.74 Accordingly, natural science and animal science in the Middle Ages spring from the same spirit as the physiologus and the bestiaries. _____________ 70



73 74

Hünemörder, Antiquity and Medieval Encyclopaedias (note 66), p. 348. The material offered by Isidore is also gladly brought into Florilegien; to be mentioned is z. B. the Summarium Heinrici and the Liber floridus by Lambertus of St. Omer (ibid., P. 350). Christel Meier, »Fundamentals of the Medieval Encyclopedia. On the contents, forms and functions of a problematic genre «, in: Ludger Grenzmann / Karl Stackmann (eds.), Literature and lay education in the late Middle Ages and in the Reformation period. Symposium Wolfenbüttel 1981, Stuttgart 1984, pp. 467-503, here p. 491. For the classification of De proprietatibus rerum in the encyclopedia of the time: Baudouin Van den Abeele, "Introduction générale", in: Bartholomaeus Anglicus, De proprietatibus rerum. Edition latine. Sous la direction de Christel Meier, Heinz Meyer, Baudouin Van den Abeele, Iolanda Ventura, Vol. 1, Turnhout 2007, pp. 3-34, here pp. 4-6, and Heinz Meyer, Die Enzyklopädie des Bartholomäus Anglicus. Investigations into the transmission and reception history of ›De proprietatibus rerum‹, Munich 2000 (Münstersche Mittelalter-Schriften 77), chap. I.3. Heinz Meyer, The Encyclopedia of Bartholomäus Anglicus (note 73), chap. IV.3, here with the plea to understand the marginal notes as "part of the work". Baudouin Van den Abeele, “Béstiares encyclopédiques moralisé. Quelques succédanés de Thomas de Cantimpré and Barthelémy l’Anglais ”, in: Reinardus, 7/1994, pp. 209-228.

Introduction and overview


It was only with the translation of Aristotle's zoological writings into Latin by Michael Scotus (a little before 1220, from the Arabic) and later - less successfully - by Wilhelm von Moerbeke (1260, from the Greek) that Aristotelian zoology was received more intensively. 75 The most important testimony to this reception is the commentary De animalibus by Albertus Magnus (written around 12561 260), because it is most intensely involved in the Aristotelian system.76 But even in the animal books that were still committed to Thomas von Cantimpré, we are impressed today by the good powers of observation and his source criticism which paves the way for empiricism. Wherever humans have practical contact with animals (such as falconry or equine medicine), one can find a lot of empirical knowledge about the animals in question. The most original work here is and remains the falcon book of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, De arte venandi cum avibus (1244-1250). As an author, Frederick II may really be - remarkably enough - himself. In addition to the usual classical authorities and practical falcon tracts (especially of Arabic provenance), Friedrich's own observations and experiments are the main source. However, Friedrich's writing did not have a great effect on the Middle Ages.77 In the tradition of the Physiologus and the bestiaries, animals make the world legible as God's creation and provide orientation about the moral quality of human action. This also applies to the nature encyclopedias, which are to be understood as aids to preaching. In the more “empirical” texts, the animal itself becomes the object of the spiritual apprehension of the world. On the other hand, the observation, description and class

_____________ 75



Fundamental to the medieval reception of Aristotle: Baudouin Van den Abeele, “Le› De animalibus ‹d’Aristote dans le monde latin: modalités de sa réception médiévale”, in: Frühmittelalterliche Studien, 33/1999, pp. 287-318. Christian Hünemörder, "Die Zoologie des Albertus Magnus", in: Geribert Meyer / Albert Zimmermann (eds.), Albertus Magnus, doctor universalis 12801980, Mainz 1980 (Walberberger Studies 6), pp. 235-248 offers a good overview. See also the contribution by Henryk Anzulewicz in this volume. It is all the more astonishing that Artelouche de Alagona Frederick II is named as one of the sources under the name »Sultan« (see the contribution by An Smets).


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sification of animals78 in turn to a spiritual order of the world by humans and - if this preoccupation with animals serves very practical purposes, as in the case of hunting tracts or horse drug customers - to a material empowerment of the world. C. The animal in medieval literature and art Animals are ubiquitous in medieval literature and art. The field is wide, so I limit myself to a few significant examples that can clearly show the alterity of the Middle Ages. 1. Fox and Wolf: The Medieval Animal Poetry The literature of the Middle Ages has genres that place the animal as the protagonist at the center of its texts: the fable and the animal pose.79 The animal pose in the form of the fox epic is a genuinely medieval genre, 80 it there is no ancient tradition.81 However: the material one

_____________ 78 79



Clara Wille's contribution to this volume shows how difficult it was to name animals in the Middle Ages. The animal controversy poem, on the other hand, is less prominent (and also not limited to animals), see Jan M. Ziolkowski, Talking Animals. Medieval Latin beast poetry 750-1150, Philadelphia 1993, chap. 5; Thomas Honegger, From Phoenix to Chauntecleer. Medieval English Animal Poetry, Tübingen, Basel 1996, chap. III; Petra Busch, The Bird Parliaments and Bird Languages ​​in German Literature of the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Times, Munich 2001; Günter Prinzing, "On Byzantine Rank Dispute Literature in Prose and Poetry", in: Römische Historische Mitteilungen, 45/2003, pp. 241-286, here pp. 260-286. Hans Robert Jauß, Investigations on Medieval Animal Poetry, Tübingen 1959 (Supplements to the Journal for Romance Philology 100), p. 20 and others; Fritz Peter Knapp, "Tierepik", in: Volker Mertens / Ulrich Müller (eds.), Epic Materials of the Middle Ages, Stuttgart 1984 (Kröner's pocket edition 483), pp. 229-246, here p. 229; Klaus Düwel, Art. "Tierepik", in: Reallexikon der deutschen Literaturwissenschaft, Vol. 3/2003, Col. 639a-641b, here Col. 640a. Research: Kenneth Varty, The Roman de Renart. A Guide to Scholarly Work, London 1998. The ancient animal pens have no after-effects. The Batrachomyomachia, the ›Frog-Mouse-War‹, z. B. is not until the end of the 16th century. with Georg Rollehagens Froschmeuseler, which has been easily accessible since 1989 in Dietmar Peil's critical edition.

Introduction and overview


The basis is not radically new: it is the Aesopian fable. In contrast to the present, however, the Middle Ages is an 'age of fable' .82 We encounter the first two medieval animal peoples - the Ecbasis cuiusdam captivi per t (r) opologiam (1043/46) and the Ysengrimus (1148/49) 83 Already central motifs of the future fox epic (e.g. the enmity between fox and wolf), but the fox is not yet the protagonist. The fox only becomes this in the old French novel de Renart, a collection of various "branches" that come from different, mostly unknown authors.84 The oldest branch II-Va.85 is a direct continuation of Ysengrimus.85 The author assumes the popularity of Renart and Isengrin ahead and wants to tell of the beginning of their feud.86 From the first episodes (fed from well-known fables) Renart always emerges as "the deceived deceiver". Only in the relationship with the connetable Isengrin does Renart come into full form: he seduces the she-wolf Hersant, abuses and insults the puppies. The wolves' persecution of Renart ends in a burlesque rape of the she-wolf in front of her husband. Isengrin and Hersant bring charges against Renart before the lion, who is on Renard's side. At the end of the trial, which can be read as a parody of a »minne trial«, there is an oath on the dog's tooth (planned by Isengrin as a ruse, but noted by Renart, who can escape). The open ending provokes various continuations, which I cannot go into here. But one thing is already clear: comedy and Beleh_____________ 82

83 84



This is well documented in the fable catalog by Gerd Dicke / Klaus Grubmüller, The fables of the Middle Ages and the early modern times. A catalog of the German versions and their Latin equivalents, Munich 1987 (Münstersche Mittelalter-Schriften 60). Fritz Peter Knapp, Das lateinische Tierepos, Darmstadt 1979 (income from research 121). Still fundamental to the reception of the Roman de Renart in French literature of the Middle Ages: John Flinn, Le Roman de Renart dans la littérature française et dans les littératures étrangères au Moyen Age, Paris 1963, on the branches: Chap. II. This short epic was previously ascribed to a Pierre de Saint-Cloud (1174-77). Critical to this R. Anthony Lodge / Kenneth Varty, The earliest branches of the Roman de Renart, Leuven 2001, pp. XXIV-XXVII. Or oez le conmencement / Et de la noise et du content, / Par quoi et por quel mesestance / Fu entr’eus deus la desfiance (RdR II, 19-22); Edition cited: Le Roman de Renart, Helga Jauß-Meyer (Hrsg./Übers.), Munich 1965 (Classical texts of the Romanesque Middle Ages 5).


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Parody and satire are decisive elements of the animal pose.87 The animals always appear anthropomorphized, they represent certain types of people. The animal world serves as a mirror of human society. The medieval Fuchsepik was born with the Roman de Renart, and it is now on a triumphal march through the European literature of the Middle Ages.88 The most important stages are briefly presented here: The Middle High German Reinhart Fuchs of the Alsatian Heinrich processed part of the Roman de Renart branches a short epic with a final structure.89 This "anti-Staufer satire" 90 has had no further aftereffects. The Central Dutch adaptations of the Roman de Renart were more effective: Willems Van den Vos Reynaerde (Reynaert I, around 1250) and Reynaert's Historie (Reynaert II, after 1373, before around 1470) .91 On the version of Hinrek van Alkmar, which has only survived to us in fragments (1487) the material reaches Middle Low German, where Reynke de Vos appears in Lübeck in 1498. Features of this version, but also a challenge for

_____________ 87 88 89



Flinn, Le Roman de Renart (note 84), chap. III, and Jauß, investigations (note 80), especially chap. 4.D, 5.C and 5.D. See also note 90. This goes well beyond the animal spades genus, see: Kenneth Varty, Reynard, Renart, Reinaert and Other Foxes in Medieval England. The Iconographic Evidence, Amsterdam 1999. This is what Hansjürgen Linke, "Form and Sense of› Fuchs Reinhart ‹", in: Alfred Ebenbauer et al. (Ed.), Structures and Interpretations. Studies on German Philology Dedicated to Blanka Horacek, Vienna, Stuttgart 1974 (Philologica Germanica 1), pp. 226-262, worked out with desirable clarity. Ute Schwab, On the dating and interpretation of Reinhart Fuchs. With a text-critical contribution by Klaus Düwel, Naples 1967, chap. II to V, has exposed the historical background of this political satire; Accordingly, she understands Reinhart Fuchs as a "warning fable" in the tradition of the Greek ainos (Chapter I). Jürgen Kühnel interprets the text as “anti-Christian satire”, “Zum› Reinhart Fuchs ”as anti-Christian social satire,” in: Rüdiger Krohn (Ed.), Stauferzeit. History, literature, art, Stuttgart 1977 (Karlsruhe cultural studies works 1), pp. 71-85. For a summary of the dating problem, see: Paul Wackers, »Nawoord«, in: ders. (Ed.), Reynaert in tweevoud. Deel II: Reynaerts historie, Amsterdam 2002, pp. 327-359, here pp. 329-331. Reynaert's history also forms the basis for Caxton's translation into English, see Rita Schlusemann, "Die hystorie van reynaert die vos" and "The history of reynard the fox". The late medieval prose adaptations of the Reynaert material, Frankfurt a. M. 1991 (Europäische Hochschulschriften, I, 1248).

Introduction and overview


The research is the spiritual and moral glossing of the text, which seems to undermine the narrative.92 The dawning modern age received this work with great enthusiasm: In the Rostock print of 1539 the verse was given a "Protestant" gloss, in 1544 the text (under the title Von Reinicken Fuchs) translated into standard German for the first time. In 1752 the enlightener Johann Christoph Gottsched published a Low German-High German edition including the Lübeck and Rostock glosses. It was in this form that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe got to know the text. In 1793 he wrote a hexameter adaptation of the verse (and relates the material to current political events during the turmoil of the French Revolution). Then it becomes quiet about the animal pose. A reception comparable to the mediaeval and early modern broad impact no longer exists in modern times. But beyond fable and animal poses, animals also play an important role in medieval literature.93 I only remember Enite's horses and Iwein's lions in Arthurian epic, 94 indeed of the knight's close ties to his horse in the courtly novel. 95 but _____________ 92




Hartmut Kokott, "Reynke de Vos", Munich 1981 (UTB 1031), chap. IV.1. See also: Ralf Henning Steinmetz, »› Reynke de vos ‹(1498) between animal poses and commented collection of fables«. In: Robert Peters et al. (Ed.), Vulpis adolatio [Festschrift for Hubertus Menke], Heidelberg 2001, pp. 847-859. See e.g. B. the material in Otto Batereau, The Animals in Middle High German Literature, Diss. Leipzig 1909; Gertrud Jaron Lewis, The animal and its poetic function in Erec, Iwein, Parzival and Tristan, Bern, Frankfurt a. M.1974 (Canadian Studies on German Language and Literature 11); Friedrich Bangert, The animals in the old French epic, Marburg 1885. Ingrid Bennewitz, "The horses of Enite", in: Matthias Meyer / Hans-Jochen Schiewer (ed.), Literary Life. Role drafts in the literature of the High and Late Middle Ages [Festschrift for Volker Mertens], Tübingen 2002, pp. 1-17; Xenja von Ertzdorff, "Hartmann von Aue: Iwein and his lion", in: dies. (Ed.), The novels of the knight with the lion, Amsterdam et al. 1994 (Chloe 20), pp. 287-311. On the reception of the lion motif in the late court Arthurian novel: Sabine Obermaier, »Lion, Adler, Bock. The animal knight motif and its transformations in the late court Arthurian novel «, in: Otto Neudeck / Bernhard Jahn (eds.), Tierepik and Tierallegorese. Studies on the poetology and historical anthropology of premodern literature, Munich 2004 (Mikrokosmos 71), pp. 121-139. Dietmar Peschel-Rentsch, »Horse men. Small study on the self-confidence of a knight ", in: ders. (Ed.), Horse men. Seven essays on socialization and its effects in medieval literature, Erlangen, Jena 1998 (Erlanger Studies 117), pp. 12-47; Udo Friedrich, »The knight and his horse. Semantization strategies of a human-animal connection in


Sabine Obermaier

also to Kriemhild's falcon dream in the Nibelungenlied96 and to the dogs, the boar and the 'wonderful' stag in the Tristan novel.97 But also less prominent animals - such as For example, the war elephants of the Persian king Porus in the Alexander novel - can have very specific meanings that are central to the interpretation of the text.98 Here, the animal becomes a complex metaphor that is indispensable for the interpretation of the works. It is impossible to sketch this in the context of a short introductory contribution, even approximately exhaustively.99 It may suffice to point out that in this area the animal is advancing to a medium for the construction and interpretation of imagined worlds.100 2. Between symbol and ornament : The animal in medieval art In medieval art, animals come across at every turn. There is hardly a cathedral that is not populated by animals and mythical creatures - _____________ Middle Ages «, in: Ursula Peters (ed.), Text und Kultur. Medieval literature 1150-1450, Stuttgart, Weimar 2001, pp. 245-267. For friendship not only between horse and human in the mhd. Epic, see Sabine Obermaier, »› The Foreign Friend ‹. Animal-Human Relationships in the Middle High German Epic «, in: Gerhard Krieger (Ed.), Friendship, Relatives, Brotherhood. 12th Symposium of the Medievalist Association, Berlin 2009, pp. 363-381 (in press). 96 Sabine Obermaier, »› Dream Animals ‹, will soon offer an overview of animal dreams in mhd. Animal dreams in the Middle High German epic «, appears in: Christine Walde / Annette Gerok-Reiter (eds.), Traum und Traumdeutung im Mittelalter, Berlin 2009. 97 Still fundamental: Louise Gnädinger, Hiudan and Petitcreiu. Shape and figure of a dog in the medieval dreary poetry, Zurich and others. 1971; Klaus Speckenbach, "The boar in the German literature of the Middle Ages", in: Hans Fromm et al. (Ed.), Verbum et signum [Festschrift for Friedrich Ohly], Munich 1975, Vol. 1, pp. 425-476; Johannes Rathofer, "The 'wonderful stag' of the Minnegrotte" [1966], in: Alois Wolf (Ed.), Gottfried von Straßburg, Darmstadt 1973 (Paths of Research 320), pp. 371-391. 98 Sabine Obermaier, »Alexander and the elephants. Ancient zoology and the Christian ideal of rulers in the German-language Alexander novel «, in: Jochen Althoff / Sabine Föllinger / Georg Wöhrle (eds.), Ancient natural science and its reception, Trier 2008, vol. 18, p. 77100. 99 It will be the task to comprehensively develop this area of our Animal Lexicon project, see 100 See the articles by Leonie Franz, Kathrin Prietzel, Bettina Bosold-DasGupta and Marco Lehmann in this volume.

Introduction and overview


they adorn capitals and misericords, windows, portals and roof ridges.101 Animals are also one of the most common decorative motifs on everyday objects and coats of arms.102 The physiologus, the bestiaries and the encyclopedias, as well as the fable books and animal pens, are very richly illustrated from the start. Ulrich Boner's Edelstein, a late medieval fable book, is actually the first illustrated book ever printed in German. But animal motifs are also common in the illustration of other texts.103 No wonder that animals have always been of great interest in medieval art.104 Three aspects should be emphasized below: a) The Christian foundation of pictorial representations of animals: In the Middle Ages there are fixed types of images that reliably give space to animals. These include B. "The Creation of Animals", "Adam gives names to animals". “Noah's Ark” and “David (also: Orpheus) plays in front of the animals” .105 These types of images are based on the Bible. The animals have no allegorical meaning, they merely represent the animal part of creation. This is different with the theriomorphic evangelist symbols, the Lamb of God and the dove as a symbol for the Holy Spirit. Here the animals clearly have a reference function. On the other hand, the symbolic content of the animals, which are attached to the saints as fixed attributes and which are reminiscent of legend or cult.106 Fixed iconographic types, the medieval depiction of animals also develops in the tradition of the Physiologus, _____________ 101 See the contribution by Anette Pelizaeus to the Animal sculptures at Mainz Cathedral in this volume. 102 See the article by Heiko Hartmann in this volume. 103 The contribution by Andrea Rapp in this volume shows that animal motifs are part of the established imagery of the Middle Ages. 104 From the diverse literature, the following are only mentioned here: Francis Klingender, Animals in art and thought to the end of the Middle Ages, Evelyn Antal and John Harthan (eds.), London 1971; Janetta Rebold Benton, The Medieval Menagerie: Animals in the Art of the Middle Ages, New York 1992. More general: Claudia List, Tiere. Shape and meaning in art, Stuttgart, Zurich 1993, esp. Pp. 65-120 on the Middle Ages and early modern times (with detailed picture section). 105 Examples in List, Tiere (note 104), pp. 76-80. 106 Now fundamentally Dominic Alexander, Saints and animals in the Middle Ages, Woodbridge 2008; on the problem of assignment Sabine Obermaier, »The saint and his animal, the animal and his saint. Ein Problemaufriss «, in: Thomas Honegger / W. Günther Rohr (eds.), Animal and Religion, in: Das Mittelalter, 12/2007, H. 2, S. 46-63.


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z. B. the pelican tearing its side, the self-castrating beaver, the tigress looking at itself in the mirror. With these pictorial formulas the viewer is reminded of the corresponding spiritual teaching. In the context of religious art, animals do indeed function as “didactic and mnemonic tools” .107 b) The question of the relationship between typology and realism: In medieval art, strongly stylized and typified representations stand alongside those that were already quite realistic. It is in particular the cultivated courts of northern Italy that played a decisive role in the training and European dissemination of animal painting around 1400 through artists such as Giovannino de 'Grassi, Michelino da Besozzo and Antonio Pisanello.108 They point the way to the animal portrait of the Renaissance.109 True-to-life animal pictures can also be found before the 14th century, especially in practice-oriented hunting tracts or medical writings, so that a linear development from the stylized animal image to the animal portrait can no longer be assumed.110 Obviously, the context for which the image was created is also decisive 111 Particularly exceptional achievements such as the elephant visibly drawn from nature in the Chronica maiora by Matthew Paris (1255) and the frontal view of the lion in the sketchbook by the French artist Villard de Honnecourt (1230/35) make it clear that more realistic representations in the Middle Ages are possible, but apparently not the vo form the primary aim of representation.112 c) Ornament or symbol? The question of whether the animals depicted always have a meaning or whether they are simply jewelry_____________ 107 Brigitte Resl, “Beyond the Ark. Animals in Medieval Art ", in: dies., A Cultural History of Animals (note 2), pp. 179-201, here p. 180, see p. 179. 108 List, Tiere (note 104), p 98-103. 109 One could think of miniatures such as those commissioned for the animal book of the Zurich polymath and city doctor Conrad Gesner (1563) or for De animantium naturis by Petrus Candidus (text: around 1460, illustrations: 16th century), as well to the popular animal studies by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528); see List, Tiere (note 104), pp. 121-124. 110 As shown in Klingender, Animals in Art and Thought (note 104), chap. 3.10, and Benton, The Medieval Menagerie (note 104), chap. 2. 111 This is shown by Resl, Beyond the Ark, pp. 179-201. 112 Sabine Obermaier, “In the footsteps of the lion. On the image of the animal in the Middle Ages and early modern times «, in: Imprimatur. Yearbook for book lovers, N.F. 21/2009.

Introduction and overview


function is controversially discussed in art history for some areas, especially for the legion of animals and mythical creatures in the marginal illustration: Michael Camille most emphatically advocated the thesis of the connection between the marginal drawings and the text content.113 And it is indeed It is difficult to imagine that in the Middle Ages, the age of signs, the function of animals should be exhausted in ornament.114 The function of animals in literature and art is diverse and cannot be fully grasped in this brief introduction: the animal can be used as a model and Warning, act as a mask and metaphor, as an instrument of remembrance and interpretation. It is the task of the literary as well as the art historian to determine the meaning of the respective literary or figuratively represented animal. Perspectives for this band What did our (necessarily incomplete) "tour d’horizon" make clear? Animals are omnipresent in all areas of medieval life - and in medieval intellectual culture they are indeed the object and medium of human comprehension of the world and people. Animals can appear as the first medium of knowledge and visualization of the world: in the tradition of the physiologus and bestiaries, but also in the nature encyclopedias intended as a preaching aid, the animal served medieval people as a medium of direct insight into what is expressed in the world Creator divine will: The animal is - as _____________ 113 Michael Camille, Image on the Edge. The Margins of Medieval Art, London 1992. 114 The phenomenon that is commonly called the Germanic animal style or Nordic animal ornamentation also remains a mystery. In the form of the Anglo-Carolingian animal style, this art form found its way to the continent in the course of the Anglo-Saxon mission (in the 8th century). The interpretation of the content of animal ornamentation is still one of the most difficult problems in interpreting early medieval art. The choice of animals (bird of prey, boar, snake and unidentifiable quadruped) suggests sacred functions - at least for the Germanic era; the possibility that totem animals would be represented here was also considered. However, in view of the advancing Christianization, it is now assumed that this animal symbolism - at least on the continent - has lost its meaning and was only understood ornamentally.


Sabine Obermaier

Creature of God - a central tool for the knowledge of the divine plan of salvation. In pictorial representations that refer to this tradition, the animal functions as a memory »tool«. 2. Medium of structuring and ordering the world: In the more empirically oriented texts (and images) the animal becomes on the one hand the object of the spiritual understanding of the world, on the other hand man creates spiritual order in the natural world around him through the classification of animals. In contrast, animal ownership and hunting reflect the social (human) hierarchy. The animal thus also becomes a medium for demonstrating power and social status (which is also reflected in the animal-rich heraldic art). The animal processes restore disrupted order and thus actually serve to cope with a world that has become unmanageable. 3. Medium of interpreting and coping with the world: The animals give immediate help in life where they are seen as role models for human behavior, e.g. B. in the moralizing bestiaries and encyclopedias. In Fabel und Tierepik, on the other hand, the anthropomorphized animal society serves as a mirror of medieval (human) society: social grievances and conflicts are parodistically and satirically overcome. On the one hand, animals have the function of 'masking' the truth, on the other hand, being an animal itself is semantized. In poetry and epic beyond fable and animal spades, animals can take on the function of leitmotifs or leading metaphors, making them an indispensable instrument of interpretation of the text. With these few key words, let us outline the framework before which the rubrics chosen in this volume and the articles are to be understood. The first column - »The knowledge of animals« - combines articles in which the animal appears as the subject of intellectual debate among medieval scholars, be it in a philosophical-scientific (Henryk Anzulewicz), a technical-practical (An Smets) or a taxonomic one -philological perspective (Clara Wille). In the second column - »On dealing with mythical animals« - there is space for contributions that show how certain strategies for dealing with 'monsters' are used to interpret the world (Andreas Lehnardt), but also how one is interpreted

Introduction and overview


modern times make a typical medieval animal like the dragon manageable in a very unique way (Thomas Honegger). The third section - »Theriomorphic Sign Languages« - uses the example of historical and literary heraldry (Heiko Hartmann), church sculpture (Anette Pelizaeus) and an author's portrait from the Codex Manesse (Andrea Rapp) to show how animals - also across discourse - as conventionally agreed signs, able to function as fixed communication systems. With the fourth column - »Literary Animals« - the animal comes into view as an instrument of interpretation of literary texts, as a metaphor: Thus the literary ›use‹ of animals in Anglo-Saxon literature, especially in Ælfric (Kathrin Prietzel), becomes literary-historical neglected founding legends (Leonie Franz) and in Dante's Divina Commedia (Bettina Bosold-DasGupta). It concludes with an “outlook into the modern age”: Here it is shown how the ape - also with recourse to medieval ape discourses - became a medium of aesthetic and anthropological reflection for romanticism through to modern times (Marco Lehmann). In the end, the band is able to confirm this: Animals - and not only real animals, but also imaginary, literarily and artistically imagined animals - have an - exciting - story.

The knowledge of the animal

Henryk Anzulewicz (Bonn)

Albertus Magnus and the animals I. Animal stories before Albertus Magnus Animals and animal stories have accompanied and occupied homo sapiens since archaic times. For Western Europe, among other things, testify to this. the 17,000 year old pictorial representations of various animals on the rock walls of a cave in Lascaux in the Pyrenees. Other ways of dealing with animals have been handed down to us from antiquity, which found their expression in animal stories and animal books. One of the earliest animal stories is the book of Genesis (1, 20-31), which describes the creation of all animal species to adorn our earth, as the medieval interpreters of the biblical account of creation saw it.1 The most comprehensive and scientifically most important collection of zoological writings comes from antiquity by Aristotle († 322 BC). He was followed by other authors who became famous through poetry and real-life stories, who tried to convey both instructive and entertaining as well as interesting facts about and through animals. Mention should be made of the poets Lucretius († around 55 BC), Virgil († 19 BC) and Horace († 8 BC), Juba II of Mauritania (25 BC - 25 AD). BC), which became known in the Middle Ages under the name Iorach, 2 Pliny the Elder († 79), Aelian († 235) and Solinus (3rd / 4th century). _____________ 1


See Albertus Magnus, De IV coaequaevis tr. 4 q. 72 a. 2 part. 2, Stéph [ane] Caes [ar] Aug [uste] Borgnet (ed.), Paris 1895 (Opera Omnia 34), p. 743b: Volatilia et natatilia pertinent ad ornatum quintae diei; gressibilia autem cum homine pertinent ad ornatum sextae diei. See Henryk Anzulewicz, "Marginalie zu› Iorach ‹", in: Bulletin de Philosophie Médiévale, 38/1996, pp. 115-118. Isabelle Draelants, “Le dossier des livres› sur les animaux et plantes ‹de Iorach. Traditions occidentale et orientale «, in: Isabelle Draelants / Anne Tihon / Bau-


Henryk Anzulewicz

The ancient animal stories that continued into the High Middle Ages include the Physiologus (›the natural scientist‹), a collection of over 50 moralizing depictions of various animals and mythical animal creatures.Little books written in Greek, based on older sources, used the description of the characteristics and habits of animals to convey Christian wisdom. The literary history research of the last century. went harshly to court with the anonymous author and the presumably monastic environment of the book and called them the "executioner of the scientific knowledge of nature in antiquity." 4 In fact, the animal stories of the Physiologus were only discovered with the rediscovery of the natural philosophical writings of Aristotle in the Latin West in the 12th and 13th century. Since Isidore of Seville († 636), medieval authors tried to capture knowledge of the natural world encyclopedically. Such compendia of natural history, in which animals were taken into account, left a. Hrabanus Maurus († 856), Alexander Neckham († 1217), Arnold von Sachsen († before 1250), Bartholomaeus Anglicus († after 1250), Vincent of Beauvais († around 1264) and Thomas von Cantimpré († around 1270). II. Animals in the writings of Albertus Magnus The turn to a critical-scientific view of animals in connection with Aristotle in the Latin world is due in particular to a scholar who bore the name Albertus and whom posterity with the surname Magnus (›der Great ‹). 5 We devote our attention to him with a view to his scientific occupation _____________ 3 4 5

douin Van den Abeele (ed.), Occident et Proche-Orient: Contacts scientifiques au temps de Croisades, Turnhout 2000, pp. 191-276. The 'Physiologus'. Animals and their symbolism. Transferred and explained by Otto Seel, Düsseldorf 2003, p. 83. Max Wellmann, Der ›Physiologus‹. A study of the history of religion and the natural sciences, Leipzig 1930, p. 116. Otto Seel, "Afterword", in: Der ›Physiologus‹. Animals (note 3), pp. 92-94. See Michael W. Tkacz, "Albert the Great and the Revival of Aristotle’s Zoological Program", in: Vivarium, 45/2007, pp. 30-68, here pp. 32, 68.

Albertus Magnus and the Animals


the animal world and the epistemological reflections on the scientia de animalibus, which he identified as a scientific discipline: zoology. Before we turn to it, two other names from the High Middle Ages should be mentioned that are significant for the history of zoology: David von Dinant († after 1206), who dealt with zoology on the basis of the Greek corpus Aristotelicum and his writings in 1210 and were found heretical, banned and burned in Paris in 1215, 6 as well as Petrus Hispanus (Medicus), Albert's contemporary, from whom the first extant Latin commentary on Aristotle comes from.7 Albertus Magnus' scientific interest in animals and his extraordinary Intensive zoological studies accompanied by third-party reports, own observations and experiments (such as the dissection of smaller living beings) were reflected in several writings. First of all, his monumental work De animalibus (»On the Senses«) should be mentioned, which originally comprised 28 books and now consists of 26 books. The first 19 books of this work form a commentary on Aristotle's zoology, which was available to Albert in the Latin translation from the Arabic.8 The writings Liber de natura et origine animae ("On nature and the origin of the soul") 9 and Liber de principiis motus processivi (»About the

_____________ 6




Henryk Anzulewicz, "David von Dinant and the beginnings of Aristotelian natural philosophy in the Latin West", in: Ludger Honnefelder / Rega Wood / Mechthild Dreyer / Marc-Aeilko Aris (eds.), Albertus Magnus and the beginnings of Aristotle's reception in the Latin Middle Ages , Münster 2005, pp. 71-112. Kenneth F. Jr. Kitchell / Irven M. Resnick, "Introduction," in: Albertus Magnus On Animals. A Medieval Summa Zoologica. Transl. and annotated by Kenneth F. Kitchell Jr. / Irven M. Resnick, Baltimore 1999, p. 39. Theodor W. Köhler, Fundamentals of the Philosophical-Anthropological Discourse in the Thirteenth Century, Leiden 2000, pp. 10-11, 254-255; ders., Homo animal nobilissimum. Contours of the specifically human in Aristotle's commentary on natural philosophy from the thirteenth century, Leiden 2008, p. 24. The translation was made by Michael Scotus († around 1235). Albert's comment is preserved in the autograph: Albertus Magnus, De animalibus libri XXVI, 2 vol., Hermann Stadler (ed.), Münster 1916-1920. Albertus Magnus, Liber de natura et origine animae, Bernhard Geyer (Ed.), Münster 1955 (Opera Omnia 12), pp. V-XX, pp. 1-46.


Henryk Anzulewicz

Principles of the Progressive Movement «), 10 once books 20 and 22 of Albert's main zoological publication, were separated out by the author and published as independent works. While the former is an original creation of Albert, the latter is a commentary on Aristotle's work "On the Movement of the Sensory Beings", which Albert got his hands on in the Greek-Latin translation during a business trip to Italy. It is interesting to know that Albert, before finding the Greek-Latin translation of this script, which was missing in the Arabic-Latin corpus Aristotelicum, reconstructed it "out of his own inventiveness," as he writes.11 The motive and aim of his reconstruction was to close a gap, which he had established in the series of commentaries on the natural philosophical writings of Aristotle. Albert's last zoological work is the Quaestiones super De animalibus ("Treatises on the Sensory Beings"), which represent a commentary on Aristotelian zoology written in the form of a quaestion.12 Albert's enormous interest in animals and his scientific involvement, stimulated by his acquisition of Aristotelian science they can be ascertained long before his main zoological work De animalibus was written.13 We learn from this text that he made important observations in this area in his youth, which he later incorporated into his zoological studies.14 Another level for the learned Dominican monk in theology, the encounter with animals offered itself. It allowed him to use the animal symbolism and animal metaphor used in the Bible and the Physiologus, even after the Aristotelian animals _____________ 10 11 12 13


Albertus Magnus, Liber de principiis motus processivi, Bernhard Geyer (Ed.), Münster 1955 (Opera Omnia 12), pp. XXI-XXXII, pp. 47-75. Bernhard Geyer, "Prolegomena ad Librum De principiis motus processivi", in: Albertus Magnus, Liber de principiis motus processivi (note 10), p. XXIII f. Cf. Albertus Magnus, Quaestiones super De animalibus, Ephrem Filthaut (ed.) , Münster 1955 (Opera Omnia 12), pp. XXXIII-XLVIII, pp. 77-309. See Henryk Anzulewicz, "The Aristotelian Biology in the Early Works of Albertus Magnus", in: Carlos Steel / Guy Guldentops / Pieter Beullens (eds.), Aristotle’s Animals in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Leuven 1999, 159-188. Cf. Albertus Magnus, De animalibus l. 8 tr. 2 c. 4 Paragraph 72, p. 600 line 38 - p. 601 line 6. Heribert C. Scheeben, Albertus Magnus, Cologne 31980, p. 19.

Albertus Magnus and the Animals


customer to use. He gave the reasons for the admissibility and usefulness of metaphor in theology, among other things. in his Summa theologiae. The metaphor, he states there, is a permitted methodological means in theology, while it is impermissible in other sciences, since it does not explain their objects, which are per se visible to reason, but conceals them. Theology, on the other hand, which deals with God as the inconceivable light, needs metaphor as a support for reason in order to be able to approach that light.15 Even as a practical science that combines virtuous action with insight and affect, theology makes use of Metaphor and poetry, insofar as they are inspired by divine wisdom.16 An example from his first moral theological treatise De natura boni ("On the nature of the good") makes it clear that and how Albert uses the animal metaphor. With the aim of showing a way how a person can correct his wrong lifestyle on his own, he takes up the following verses from the Book of Proverbs (6, 6-8): “Go to the ant, lazy one! and see their ways and learn wisdom. Although it has no guide, teacher or master, it creates its own food in the summer and gathers its food in the harvest. "17 Albert presents the ant as a model of practical wisdom. He makes no reference to the Physiologus, its history of ants takes the same passage from the Bible as its starting point, but ties in with another statement from the Book of Proverbs (30, 24-28), in which four animal embodiments of wisdom appear in the form of ants, rabbits, locusts and lizards. 18 Since Albert in shows his writings more attention to the ant than to the other three sensed beings mentioned, let us briefly introduce his preoccupation with animals using their example. Before that, as announced, some formal, know_____________ 15

16 17 18

Albertus Magnus, Summa theologiae sive de mirabili scientia dei l. 1 tr. 1 q. 5 c. 1, Dionysius Siedler / Wilhelm Kübel / Heinz-Jürgen Vogels (eds.), Münster 1978 (Opera Omnia 34/1), p. 17 lines 10-21. Ibid. c. 2, p. 18, lines 11-15; ibid. q. 3 c. 3, p. 13 lines 58-81. Albertus Magnus, De natura boni tr. 2 pars 1 c. 2 § 3, Ephrem Filthaut (ed.), Münster 1974 (Opera Omnia 25/1), p. 10 lines 16-19. Ibid., P. 10 lines 19-27: Et hoc optime quattuor metaphoris in fine Prov. (XXX, 24-28) a Salomone docetur […].


Henryk Anzulewicz

economic theoretical and scientific systematic aspects of his conception of the scientia de animalibus outlined, which are of outstanding importance for the history of the subject zoology. III. The scientific doctrine of the scientia de animalibus of Albertus Magnus Although Albert used the term "zoology", apparently a new formation of the 18th century. to the Greek τό ζῷον, d. H. Animal, 19 does not know, he has a clear and distinct concept of the science of animals. He calls it the scientia de animalibus. According to his understanding, it is the science of the body of animals, or rather of its different forms, insofar as these are produced by the soul principle.20 The principle that shapes the body of the sensory beings and that works in it, the sensible soul, he also moves with the etymological Interpretation of the Latin terms animal and animale in the foreground.21 In the series of scientific disciplines that he set up with a view to the natural philosophical writings of Aristotle at the beginning of his physics commentary, he places the scientia de animalibus in the last place due to the peculiarity of its subject .22 It is preceded by the general part of the natural sciences, in which the psychological forces and properties of living beings as well as their origins and functions are treated. _____________ 19

20 21


See Friedrich Kluge, Etymological Dictionary of the German Language. Edited by Elmar Seebold, Berlin 231999, p. 914. Wilhelm Pape, Greek-German concise dictionary. 3rd edition reprint. von Max Sengebusch, Graz 1954, vol. 1, p. 1142 and p. 1144. Cf. Albertus Magnus, De animalibus (note 8) l. 1 tr. 1 c. 1, p. 1 line 1 ff., P. 2 lines 5-12. See Albertus Magnus, Super Ethica l. 1 lect. 9, Wilhelm Kübel (Ed.), Münster 1968/72 (Opera Omnia 14/1), p. 46 lines 38-45: animal, quod apud Graecos dicitur psychicum, et sic dicitur animale, quod est animae secundum actum ipsius in corpore. Ders., Physica l. 1 tr. 1 c. 4, Paul Hoßfeld (Ed.), Münster 1987 (Opera Omnia 4/1), p. 7 lines 59-64: Quibus habitis sufficit addere scientiam de corpore animato vegetabili et sensibili, cuius differentiae quoad vegetabilia traduntur in libris De vegetabilibus, et quoad differentias animalium traditur scientia sufficiens in libris De animalibus. Etali liber est finis scientiae naturalis; ders., De animalibus (note 8) l. 1 tr. 1 c. 1, p. 1 line 1 ff., P. 2 lines 6-7: relinquitur hic dicendum esse tantum de corpore; ibid. 11 tr. 1 c. 1, p. 764 lines 12-14: oportet nos hic scientiam aliam inducere, quae sit per propria singulis convenientia, quia aliter doctrina naturarum a nobis non erit perfecte tradita.

Albertus Magnus and the Animals


In what order one has to proceed in the scientia de animalibus in order to gain knowledge about the whole body of different animal species, Albert explains based on the order of the zoological books and the procedure of Aristotle. First - in books IX - parts and Members of the sensory beings, their anatomical-morphological properties, functions and the procreation of animals are described and the natural causes for the findings are explored.23 In the second part of this science, which deals with the members of animals - in Books XI-XIX - applies it to determine the causes for the differences and similarities of the limbs and for their physiological constitution as well as the properties of the inner and outer limbs. This is followed by questions about reproduction, about the forces that shape the sensory being mentally and physically, and about a number of other properties of animals.24 Albert is not satisfied with the framework given by Aristotle and expands it by seven, originally even as mentioned to nine books. In it he offers an inquiry into the nature of the body of animals as a whole in general (Books XX-XXI) and in particular, i. H. individual animals classified by genus and species (books XXII-XXVI). While the general part of this study is largely regarded as Albert's original achievement, the special part, an animal lexicon, has its model and main source in the zoological part of the encyclopedia Liber de natura rerum of Thomas von Cantimpré. 25 _____________ 23



Ders., De animalibus (note 8) l. 1 tr. 1 c. 1, p. 2 lines 17-20: Tangemus igitur in primis decem libris membrorum animalium diversitates et compositiones et anathomias et actus et generationes: et postea in novem sequentibus horum omnium dabimus veras et physicas causas. Ibid., P. 3 line 22 - p. 4 line 1: Secundam autem partem scientiae membrorum animalium complebimus in novem libris: ita quod promittemus in universali, quae causae et quomodo assignanadae sint omnium diversitatum inductarum de membris animalium. Et deinde tangemus causam omnium membrorum consimilium et dissimilium et complexionis eorum. Et deinde tangemus causas physicas interiorum membrorum et naturam ipsorum. Et consequenter hiis naturas et causas determinabimus exteriorum membrorum secundum diversitates communes generum ipsorum. Et sic a membris transibimus ad assignandas causas generationum animalium et spermatis eorum in communi. Et huic connectemus inquisitionem de virtutibus facientibus et formantibus animal tam secundum animam quam secundum corpus. See Heinrich Balss, Albertus Magnus als Zoologe, Munich 1928, p. 17. See Balss, Albertus Magnus (note 24), pp. 9-12. Miguel JC De Asúa, The Organization of Discourse on Animals in the Thirteenth Century. Peter of Spain, Albert the Great, and the Commentaries on ›De animalibus‹, Diss. Notre Dame, IN 1991, pp. 206-216. John B. Friedman, "Albert the


Henryk Anzulewicz

Albert's remarks on the subject of this science and its approach are of interest to us here only insofar as they are characteristic of his scientific doctrine of this discipline. In contrast to the organization of the natural sciences and the sequence in which their objects are treated, namely starting with the simpler and progressing to the more complex, 26 Albert uses the body structure and physiognomy of man as the most perfect of all sensory beings as the starting point and reference point for the descriptive and comparative representation of the anatomy of animals.27 Accordingly, the commonalities and differences in the anatomy of the simpler and, in the second step, the heterogeneous body parts and organs of the vertebrates should be shown. As a justification for this order of investigation, Albert points to morphogenesis, namely that the heterogeneous members emerged from the homogeneous ones. The invertebrates should then be treated in the same comparative way.28 If the anatomically more highly developed sensory beings form the starting point and point of reference for Albert's comparative investigations, he is true to his principle "the more complex is looked at for the simpler" (compositiora considerantur post simplicia) 29 in this respect when he applied it to particular, anatomical facts and not to the sensory being as a whole. Another characteristic of Albert's animal science is that it contains not only physical characteristics, but also psychological powers _____________

26 27



Great’s Topoi of Direct Observation and His Debt to Thomas of Cantimpré ", in: Peter Binkley (Ed.), Pre-Modern Encyclopaedic Texts, Leiden 1997, pp. 379-392. Leen Spruit, "Albert the Great on the Epistemology on Natural Science", in: Alexander Fidora / Matthias Lutz-Bachmann (eds.), Experience and Proof, Berlin 2007, pp. 68-69. Albertus Magnus, De animalibus (note 8) l. 1 tr. 1 c. 1, p. 1 lines 10-11: in omnibus compositiora considerantur post simplicia et minus composita: eo quod minus composita sunt in magis compositis. Ibid. § 3, p. 2 lines 20-25: Oportet enim primum maxime membra perfectissimi determinare animalis, quod homo est, secundum divisionem membrorum suorum, quae anathomia a Graecis dicitur, et secundum significationes physionomiae et secundum figuras suorum membrorum: et deinde considerare comparationes aliorum animalium ad membra hominis secundum convenientiam et differentiam. Ibid. § 4, S. 2 Z.25-31: Et quia omnia membra etherogenia a similibus habent ortum membris, oportet iterum considerare consequenter ortum et principium similium membrorum in sanguinem habentibus omnibus, quae perfectiora sunt hiis quae sanguinem non habent. Et tunc demum comparare ad hoc secundum convenientiam et differentiam ea quae sanguinem non habent. As note 23.

Albertus Magnus and the Animals


that are causally connected with the conception and formation of the body as well as the behavior of the sensory beings are taken into account.30 The consequence of thinking, which is guided by causality, is the connection between the doctrine of animals and metaphysics, which is characteristic for Albert , a connection that should complete the business of the natural philosopher and the natural scientist, especially with regard to the question of the ultimate principles and causes of the phenomena. This metaphysical expression is not unreflected, but a principle that is succinctly summarized and made an axiom in the formula "the natural occurrence is the work of intelligence" (opus naturae est opus intelligentiae) .31 In the introduction to the work De animalibus, Albert announces that he his study of the anatomy of the parts and the procreation of animals as well as the causes of their properties will be supplemented by an analysis of the animal body as a whole. He will consider all animals known to him, classified according to genus and species. What is noticeably missing in the introduction are statements on the philosophy of science and the scientific ability of the scientia de animalibus. This question was dealt with in general in the physics commentary and answered for all scientific disciplines, provided that the subject matter is general. 32 In animal science, it is not answered at the beginning of _____________ 30 31


Albertus Magnus, ibid. § 4, p. 3 line 32 - p. 4 line 1: Et huic connectemus inquisitionem de virtutibus facientibus et formantibus animal tam secundum animam quam secundum corpus. See the other, De natura et origine animae (note 9) tr. 2 c. 17, p. 44 lines 16-20: in eis quae hic diximus, cum naturalibus metaphysica composuimus, ut perfectior sit doctrina et facilius intelligantur ea quae dicta sunt; haec enim est consuetudo nostra in toto hoc physico negotio. James A. Weisheipl, "The Axiom› Opus naturae est opus intelligentiae ‹and its Origins", in: Gerbert Meyer / Albert Zimmermann / Paul-Bernd Lüttringhaus (eds.), Albertus Magnus Doctor universalis 1280/1980, Mainz 1980, p. 441-463. Ludwig Hödl, »› Opus naturae est opus intelligentiae ‹. A Neoplatonic axiom in the Aristotelian understanding of Albertus Magnus «, in: Friedrich Niewöhner / Loris Sturlese (eds.), Averroismus im Mittelalter und in Renaissance, Zürich 1994, pp. 132-148. Spruit, Albert the Great on the Epistemology (note 28), pp. 62-64. Tkacz, Albert the Great (note 5), pp. 42-43, 63-65, 67. Albertus Magnus, Physica (note 22) l. 1 tr. 1 c. 2, p. 3 line 44 ff., P. 4 line 81 - p. 5 v. 17, esp.p. 5 lines 8-17: Est autem abstractio universalis ab hoc particulari signato, sicut quando consideramus lignum secundum esse ligni et rationem et non in eo quod est hoc lignum, quod est haec cedrus vel haec palma. Et talem abstractionem in omni scientia oportet esse, quoniam omnis scientia de universali est, sive


Henryk Anzulewicz

Work, but only at the beginning of the eleventh book, d. H. taken up at the point where Aristotle also comments on it in his work (De partibus animalium I), which Albert comments. It is significant that Albert's discussions do not start with the concept of "science" (scientia), but with the concept of "doctrina" (doctrina) and "opinion" (opinio) .33 This expresses his view that knowledge about the Animals do not meet the criterion of universality, necessity and provability on which the Aristotelian concept of science is based. According to Albert, an opinion about any thing contains two things: it teaches by means of the definition what the thing in itself is and what its properties are. These two approaches are necessary for a complete knowledge of both the psyche and the sensory being in its psycho-physical constitution. If the knowledge of the latter is able to be complete, Albert still qualifies it as an opinion, since it is obtained from probable premises (ex probabilibus). According to Albert, there can be no science in the strict sense that is the result of a proof (effectus demonstrationis) about the nature of individual things. In addition, the particular objects are of different value, which influences the value of opinion as a form of knowledge. The opinion is nevertheless useful because without it there could be no knowledge at all about the nature of animals.34 The knowledge that Aristotle qualifies as an opinion provides knowledge of what a thing is based on its definition _____________ 33


illud secundum intentiones communes accipiatur, quod est intendere logice, sive accipiatur secundum naturam et esse physicum, quod est intendere physice et per propria rei. Ders., De animalibus (note 8) l. 11 c. 1, p. 761 lines 1-6: Incipit liber undecimus de animalibus cuius primus tractatus est de ordine doctrinae tradendae de animalibus. Cap. I. Quod duo necessaria sunt in omni opinione nobili et vili, quae est de animalibus. See Spruit, Albert the Great on the Epistemology (note 25), p. 65. Ibid. § 2, p. 761 lines 22-29: Neque dicitur hic scientia, quae est effectus demonstrationis, quoniam illam habere non possumus de naturis particularibus animalium, sed opinionem ex probabilibus possumus concipere, quae licet in aliqua parte sui sit de rebus nobilibus et pulchris, sicut de vita animalium et animae operibus, et alicubi videatur esse vilis, sicut de egestionibus et urinis et huiusmodi: tamen per totum est utilis, quia scientia naturarum animalium sine hiis haberi non potest. Cf. Albertus Magnus, De homine, Henryk Anzulewicz / Joachim R. Söder (eds.), Münster 2008 (Opera Omnia 27/2), p. 393, line 9 - p. 394, line 55.