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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Thursday, September 04, 2008

the medieval english lion and its lack of fun thereof

So you're a lion and you've somehow fetched up in England in the 13th century.
You're housed on the Tower of London grounds, where hopefully you can at least catch one of those ravens that makes such a point of wandering about. You're part of the Royal Menagerie, but that doesn't mean your house is nice or even very big. In fact it's probably about 6 meters by 6 meters, and you don't get out much except to be baited in lion-vs-dog fights.
And when you die, they dump you unceremoniously in the moat.

You know - this kind of thing is why I find medieval studies so blasted grim.

About that moat? In the 30's excavations turned up two lion skulls, and recent carbon dating reveals one is dated AD 1420-1480, the other AD 1280-1385. Thing sdid get better for the lions and other exotica at the Royal Menagerie n later centuries. Find out all about it here.

3 comments:

Whicky Wuudler said...

An enlightening article Curator! Animals in medieval times really did have it rough. I'm glad I'm a cat in modern, more humane times.

Rather perversely I would be pleased if human skulls with holes made by lion teeth were also found!

curator said...

You know. . . I would, too :P

parlance said...

I felt a little sick at the thought of the poor 2.5 metre lion stuck for its entire life in a 5 metre-square cage.
Then I remembered a castle - somewhere in Scotland, I think - where they used to drop people into a bottle shaped dungeon and forget about them. I think it was a Bishop's residence.
Maybe we're not so bad in the twenty-first century.