12th Century animals

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  • charger (old french destrier) - war horse of a knight, probably mostly stallions
    • spanish stallion - prized variety of destrier
  • palfrey (old french palefroi)- gentle riding horse used by both knights and ladies
  • pack horse
  • cart horse - probably a job description, but may also be a sturdier variety of horse. Might be ridden by a farmer as riding in the cart was a ridicule reserved for condemed prisoners
  • mule - gentle riding beast used by ladies and priests
  • ass - a donkey, used as a riding beast only as a punishment, as a sign of pentance or of someone being forced to undergo ridicule
  • 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

tame animals


  • white animals- signifier 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. (One 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 person's 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.