12th Century animals

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horses (riding animals)

  • destrier/charger - war horse of a knight, probably ostly stallions
    • spanish stallion - prized variety of destrier
  • palfrey - gentle riding horse
  • pack horse
  • mule
  • hunting horse - probably a descriptor, not a breed


  • setter
  • bloodhound - hunting dog, flushes out and chases down the prey

farm animals

  • chickens
    • in coups with hedges surroundung them.
  • cows
  • oxen - pull the plow, or a cart

wild animals

  • deer - hunted
  • boar - hunted
  • fox - typified as cunning, see Rennard the fox
  • hares


  • falcons - hunting with birds a common pasttime, mark of the nobility. Special stands kept indoors (living room) for falons to sit upon.
  • peasant, peacock, etc - birds for eating


  • white animals- sigifier of the supernatural in 12th Century stories.
    • Hunting a white boar or deer often leads one to meetings with fairy folk, or strange happenings, and unusually good or bad luck. Seldom does the white animal being hunted actually get caught. (exception - guingamor - where the beast is caught only with the help of the fairy maiden). White beasts are often depicted as having a wily cunning - the hunter doesn't realise he is hunting a special animal, he just thinks the beast is more intellegant than the average one. White animals also appear when not hunted, for example a white deer crossing the path signifies that the persons path who is crossed is about to have some experiences tinged with the supernatural. 12th century readers would probably have been very familiar with this device for marking when a story stops being logical to the everyday world and enters a realm where supernatural intervention can make the unusual commonplace and the impossible possible.