Animalia extranea et stupenda ad videndum. Describing and Naming Exotic Beasts in Cairo Sultan's Menagerie

Abstract : The description of exotic animals (African or Asiatic beasts as seen in European medieval context) is an interesting paradigm of otherness, especially in the construction of the image of the oriental world. Zoological marvels coming from India or Ethiopia were not imaginary beasts, but real animals that could be observed in nature or in Egyptian menageries. The paper studies three aspects of the description of foreign animals (especially elephants, giraffes, and other big animals) by occidental pilgrims: 1. The difficulty of describing the unknown, whether in zoological terms (detailing the external features of the animals), or in more affective terms (surprise, marvel, emotion); 2. The problem of naming unknown animals, whence the adoption of Arabic zoonyms; 3. The choice of species in the menageries selected for description in the travel account
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 4:50:05 PM
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Thierry Buquet. Animalia extranea et stupenda ad videndum. Describing and Naming Exotic Beasts in Cairo Sultan's Menagerie. Francisco de Asís García García, Mónica Ann Walker Vadillo, María Victoria Chico Picaza. Animals and Otherness in the Middle Ages Perspectives across disciplines, Archeopress, pp.25-34, 2013, British archaeological reports, International series, 2500. ⟨halshs-00845246⟩

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