Animals as gifts

(From the treasury of medieval diplomacy)

Authors

  • Radivoj Radić Department of History, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia
  • Marko Šuica Department of History, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v11i4.7

Keywords:

animals, diplomacy, hunting dogs, the Byzantine Empire, elephant, India, giraffe, gift, horse

Abstract

Medieval diplomacy often implied the exchange of gifts between rulers or two delegations. It was customary to give expensive cloth, jewellery, weapons, everyday objects made of precious metals, richly decorated manuscripts, and relics. Often, the gifts were animals - those used in hunting or warfare (such as horses, dogs or falcons), as well as rare and exotic animals (elephants, giraffes, tigers). The value and preciousness of these "living gifts" was measured through the strength, symbolic value or rarity of the animals which were a key part of diplomatic gift giving. The presence of animals in court ceremonies, royal processions, and later in ruler insignia through different heraldic markings, was, from ancient times, a key part of the manifestations of power and standing of rulers. The inclusion of animals in diplomatic protocol gained a certain political and cultural dimension of mediation between different states and cultures.

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Published

2016-12-08

How to Cite

Radić, Radivoj, and Marko Šuica. 2016. “Animals As Gifts: (From the Treasury of Medieval Diplomacy)”. Etnoantropološki Problemi / Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 11 (4):1073-86. https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v11i4.7.