Release the Hounds (Mmm… Marginalia #79)

Just a quick pair of marginal images for you this week. From the bottom margin of the opening page of The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek MS 78 D40, a fourteenth-century Festal missal illuminated by Petrus de Raimbaucourt, a monkey rides off to hunt on a ram.

The thing that always strikes me about medieval hunting illuminations is how many hounds it takes to catch a single stag. Here there’s four chasing the poor thing. And in this next image, from Bodleian Library MS Douce 336, a fifteenth-century copy of the Miroir du Monde, there’s ten hounds (and eleven men and five women) per stag:

But at least two of the hounds get to splash around in the pool with the stag, and as this hot summer drags on, that seems like a pretty good idea to me.

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  • Terry Karney

    I was doing some reading on medieval hunting, and the number of hounds to catch a stag was… staggering (sorry, it was just lying there).

    A dog like a bloodhound to find it, a pack to flush and harry it, perhaps a second pack, should it be a strong stag, and then greyhounds to bring it to bay/ground, where it could be killed.

    So there might be fifty dogs in the hunt.

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