HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE MIDDLE AGES (PART 10)

Dick Whittington and his Cat: A cat plays a pivotal role in the true story of Sir Richard Whittington, who became the Lord Mayor of London from 1397-1420, and was knighted by Henry V. The story, not written down until 1605, describes the plight of a poor, destitute orphan by the name of Dick Whittington.  […]

HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE MIDDLE AGES (PART 8)

History of the Cat in Medieval Literature Tibert the Cat in the fable Reynard the Fox By the 12th century the cat had transitioned from solely a model for illustrations to a full blown character in medieval literature.  The cat’s first starring role was as Tibert in the story Reynard the Fox.  Written by Pierre […]

HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE MIDDLE AGES (PART 7)

Representations of the Cat in Middle Ages Manuscripts, the Moralia of Job and other books.     Other miscellaneous religious books such as the Moralia in Job, written in the latter half of the 12th century, also include portrayals of the cat.  In an initial letter a spotted cat claws a mouse and holds one in its […]

THE HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE MIDDLE AGES (PART 6)

Cats in Books of Hours: The Books of Hours were another source of devotional literature, which included psalms, a calendar of the church feasts and other religious writings. In the 14th century, these reached their height of popularity becoming even more common than Psalters.  Usually written in Latin, cats and mice amongst a myriad of […]

THE HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE MIDDLE AGES (PART 5)

Cats in Psalters and Bestiaries: Cats were present in psalters and bestiaries, which were second in popularity only to the bible.  These books as well as books of hours and even books of poetry, were widely read by the nobility and those well to do enough to purchase them.  They contained many illustrations of cats, […]

HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE MIDDLE AGES (PART 4)

The Cat in Church Architecture: Despite the grim background of the Black Death, art managed to flourish in ornate church architecture.  In addition to Reading Abbey and Tarragon Cathedral, built in the 12th century, various other churches built from the 13th through 16th centuries contain evidence of the cat in either their architecture or in […]

HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE MIDDLE AGES (PART 1)

OVERVIEW HISTORY OF THE CAT Social and religious strife plagued The Middle Ages.  The world  suffered through 9 crusades from 1096 to 1272.  Muslims, Jews and non-believers alike would be the victims of the wrath of the Christian church in its goal to secure its pervasive control over all. “The powerful Christian authority structures of […]

HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE DARK AGES (PART 9)

The Cat in China: By Western accounts the cat arrived in China around 200BC (Turner et al., 2000) most probably acquired from Roman merchants.  However, Chinese mythology mentions the cat goddess Yifan Zhang, who was known to have led a legion of cats to uphold righteousness and to found the Chinese nation before the Shang […]

HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE DARK AGES (PART 8)

The Cat in India: In India the cat, known in Sanskrit as Acoubouk† or Margara, was frequently mentioned in the original fables of Bidpay, also known as the Panchatantra (Hered, 1829, p.309).  The original of the Panchatantra, or the “Five Discourses”, is credited to a King who feared that his sons would not be able […]

HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE DARK AGES (PART 4)

Because Viking raids continued into the 9th century, Irish monks continued to flee the on-going invasions by travelling to far off havens.  One such monk exiled in Reichenau on Lake Constance is immortalized for writing a now famous poem in honor of his cat, Pangur Bán†. The cat, not yet completely identified with the devil […]

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