IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 213: Beastly Behaviour: Knighthood and the Natural World

Monday 7 July 2008, 14.15-15.45

Sponsor:Nottingham Trent University
Organiser:Natasha Ruth Hodgson, Department of History, Heritage & Geography, Nottingham Trent University
Moderator/Chair:David Green, Centre for British Studies, Harlaxton College, University of Evansville
Paper 213-aBeating One's Chest: The Importance of Peer Approval in 12th-Century Narrative
(Language: English)
Malcolm Dunn, Department of History, University of Hull
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Military History, Social History
Paper 213-bEncounters with Animals and Bestial Imagery in Crusade Narratives
(Language: English)
Natasha Ruth Hodgson, Department of History, Heritage & Geography, Nottingham Trent University
Index terms: Crusades, Historiography - Medieval, Military History, Social History
Paper 213-cKnights, Lizards, and Orchids: The Biological Roots of Medieval Military Display
(Language: English)
Robert W. Jones, School of History, Archaeology & Religion, Cardiff University
Index terms: Anthropology, Heraldry, Military History, Social History
Abstract

This session has been organised in order to examine the use of the natural world and social order in relation to constructions of knighthood and chivalry. It aims to demonstrate how contemporaries interpreted inherent discrepancies between moral expectations and the reality of social interaction amongst the knightly class, and used Nature to elucidate ideas about proper and improper behaviour. Animals and their imagery in narratives which employed the chinoiserie of the exotic will also be considered: from knightly encounters with wild beasts, to the dehumanisation of the enemy by emphasising their bestial qualities. To conclude, the session will look at the anthropological and biological basis for knightly display on the battlefield.