Was heißt es, eine Tiergeschichte des Mittelalters zu schreiben?

  • Isabelle Schürch (Autor/in)


What would it mean to write an Animal History of the Middle Ages? This article focuses on this question and is intended as a reflection on the relationship between the study of Medieval History and the (socio-)historical foundations of human–animal relations. It makes a plea for a social history of the Middle Ages beyond an anachronistic anthropocentrism. The conception of a history of animals in the Middle Ages must move away from a juxtaposi­tion of humans and animals and locate human–animal relationships in the hierarchically stratified world order of the pre-modern era. This article aims to raise aware­ness of the necessity to write a medieval social history based on assemblages that are more than human. Such a social history is to be understood as a relational history that was shaped by historically specific human–animal relations and in turn helped to shape them. On the basis of three assemblages, namely the knight–warhorse duo, the agricultural collaborative work of peasant and ox, and the handling of so-called ‘pests’, the article argues that social and gender orders and their logics of domi­nation cannot be adequately grasped without explicitly including human–animal relationships into the study of medieval societies.


Animal History, Chivalry, Human–Animal Studies, Pests, Social History