* topics : animals in history the falcon

Animals and History: The Falcon

Figure 1.-- Falconry throughout the ages has carried with it trememdous prestige. This has been the case over time and in most cultures. We do not know who this was, but he was Flemish painted about 1650. The artist was Wallerant Vaillant from Lille on modern Belgium. Vaillant trained in Antwerp and was well established as a portraitist in Amsterdam (1650). Falcons in Dutch and Flemish portraits identify the person, in this case the child as from an aristocratic family. This child is too young to have trained the falson, but he is old enough to have taken an interest. But he is to small to have sctully participated. He could not have held tht bird for very long. We only see men and on these falconry paintings. .

Falconry is hunting using a trained raptor. Falconry is an ancient endevor. Most describe it not as huning, but more od an art. This ancient activity is probably most associated with medieval Europe. The word raptor is derived from 'rapio', a Latin word which means to seize or capture. It has come to mean a bird of prey. This includes several species uch as eagles, hawks, owls, and many more. It is the falcon that is most used in hunting, in part because it is amedium msized bird that can be more easily handled than the larger birds, but still large enough to take small mammals. Falconry is a type of hunting, but not fpr subsistence. It takes a great deal of time an effort to train a falcon. This requires extended hours, realt devotio n, and a combination of finesse, subtlety and skill. The falconer has to train a captive bird of prey to hunt for a human being when released. The falcom must willingly accept a return to captivity. As the effort involves is far greater than the yoeld produced, falconry is primarily associated with the nobility or other elite groups. Cave paintings depicr raptors, but thais does not mean pre-historic people practiced falconry. Falconry is believed to have originated in the Middle East where the first cvivilizations appeared. The first actual reference is ancient (1700 BC). The Hittites left stellae depicting falconrym (1300 BC). They were contemperaneous with Egypt whre falconry was also practived. One of their most imprtant Egyptian gods was Horus, depicted with a falcon head. Falconry appeared on the Asia Steppe and China (1000 BC). Gradually it appeared subsequently in Mesopotamia, India, Japan, and the Arabs. European falconry may have appeared first in Russia because of their contacts with Steppe peoples and Turks. Other Europeans took up falconry later. The first firm indication comes from Greece (500 AD). For the next over a thousand years, falconry was a very popular activity. It had enormous cultural and social prestige. Falconry was considered an imprtant aspect essential part of a nobel education, demanding the cultivation of valuable personal qualities, including patience, endurance and skill.


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Created: 6:15 PM 1/28/20205
Last updated: 6:15 PM 1/28/2020