Volume 29, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0925-4757
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9951
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This article explores the role of hunting birds in the definition of the knight in twelfth- and thirteenth-century French chivalric literature. After some introductory remarks on the identity-shaping role of hawks in the hunting practices of medieval aristocracy, the article focuses on the multi-faceted identity correlation between knights and hawks across romance and chansons de geste. The analysis of episodes drawn from various texts provides evidence of three levels of this human/animal relationship: the use of hawks as aristocratic and chivalric badges (); the use of hawks as visual doubles of knights (, ); the representation of the link between knight and hawk as a flow of actions and values going in both directions of the human/animal divide (Jean Renart’s ). Through this analysis, the study demonstrates that chivalric literature established between knights and hawks a multi-layered and two-fold identity shift, which contributed to convey the ambiguities of the chivalric ethical model.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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