Animals are woven almost unnoticed into the complex web of human existence. They permeate every part of our social lives, from mundane subsistence questions to attitudes about the world around us.
Animals could be regarded as sources of wealth but were also seen as being destructive. They were portrayed as both familiar companions and dangerous creatures at odds with humans. They were considered sources of sustenance but could also be represented as harmful beings. They were used to express and mirror human relationships. Animals, both wild and domestic, present as having both profane and sacred elements. Animals functioned as symbols and metaphors as well as tangible part of daily life.
The attitudes towards animals seem to be surrounded by intriguing ambiguities of perception and meaning, crossing numerous cultural boundaries in the way they were conceived by medieval people. The course aims to have students explore the complex interdependences inherent to human-animal relationships int he medieval world.