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Introduction : Pour une histoire des animaux aquatiques des mers septentrionales : Avant-propos aux Actes du colloque de Cerisy (31 mai-3 juin 2017), Animaux aquatiques et monstres des mers septentrionales. imaginer, connaître, exploiter, de l’Antiquité à 1600

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Olaus Magnus, a highly educated Swedish priest and scholar, published his geographically and ethnographically remarkable map of the Northern countries, the Carta marina, in Venice in 1539. During his travels in southern and central Europe Olaus Magnus had noticed how little people knew about the northern regions. Through the map he wanted to remove this obscurity.The map - which was one of the largest maps of its time (woodcut, 125 x 170 cm) - changed the cartographic representation of the Northern countries profoundly for nearly a hundred years. Due to its numerous illustrations and commentaries, the map was and is a fascinating description of the life in the region during the sixteenth century.The Carta marina was accepted, and it became a model for many cartographers in depicting the Northern countries. Even today the map fascinates the scholars, and many questions are still left unsolved.
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Un ours blanc nommé Blanchart apparaît à plusieurs reprises dans Renart le Nouvel , la continuation satirique du Roman de Renart que Jacquemart Gielée écrivit aux alentours de 1288. Les caractéristiques comportementales que Gielée attribue à son personnage animal, et dont il tire habilement profit tout au long de son récit, frappent par leur vérité zoologique: comme un véritable ours polaire, Blanchart se nourrit principalement de “poisson de mer” et il sait plonger aussi bien que nager sous l’eau. Nous passons en revue les sources qui ont pu être celles de l’auteur de Renart le Nouvel . Si l’ours polaire est absent des textes antiques comme des bestiaires médiévaux et qu’il est confiné à la seule Scandinavie jusqu’au XIIe siècle, il fait ensuite une apparition remarquable dans l’Europe du XIIIe siècle: on le retrouve tant dans les encyclopédies d’Alexandre Nequam, de Thomas de Cantimpré, de Barthélémy l’Anglais et d’Albert le Grand que dans les ménageries de l’empereur Frédéric II, d’Henri III d’Angleterre et de Philippe le Bel dont les animaux, probablement d’origine groenlandaise, constituent des cadeaux diplomatiques des souverains norvégiens.
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When did the market economy come to Europe? Fish might seem an unlikely commodity to throw light on the matter, but the authors use fish bones from English sites to offer a vivid account of the rise and rise of the marketas a factor in European development from the late tenth century.
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Animals from distant lands fired the imaginations of people living in Europe throughout the Middle Ages. This is attested by a considerable wealth of iconographic and written material which has been explored from many perspectives, providing valuable insights into medieval western conceptualizations of the fringes of the known world and the otherness of exotica. However, the physical remains of non-indigenous species - both those recovered from archaeological contexts and extant in private collections - have generally been examined in isolation and rarely incorporated into a broader framework exploring the reception and utility of exotica. This article offers a new perspective on the topic by focusing on the zoological identity of non-indigenous animal body parts as ‘material culture’.
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The rather sparse and dubious data about Arctic regions known to Antiquity were taken over, mostly via Pliny, by the middle ages and reinforced and expanded in significant ways. This paper, which was delivered as an Inaugural Lecture at the University of Groningen in November 1982, reviews the activities and reports of medieval explorers, colonists and traders in or about the Arctic and considers the handful of medieval writers who display some real knowledge about Arctic regions. The generality of medieval writers on history and geography knew little or nothing. Even so, it is shown that here and there references are made to many of the features which are thought of as typically Arctic in the modern popular consciousness, with the exception of igloos and muskoxen. Commercial connections with the Arctic through Novgorod and Bergen are examined, and some account given of contacts with Iceland and the disappearance of the Norse settlement in Greenland. Polar bears and white falcons in western Europe, both of nearly indisputable Arctic origin, are discussed, attention is drawn to the very inadequate portrayal of the Arctic on medieval maps, and the paper closes with a glance at Olaus Magnus's account of northern peoples published in 1555.
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