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Octopuses, Foxes And Hares: Animals In Early Modern Latin And German Proverbs

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Chapter Summary

Proverbs teem with animals: foxes and hares, dogs and cats, midges, elephants, and octopuses. This chapter analyses the occurrence of animals in four 15th and 16th-century collections of proverbs: the Dutch-Latin Proverbia communia (ca. 1480), the Proverbia Germanica collected by Heinrich Bebel (1508), the Low German-Latin Proverbia [. . .] Germanorum monosticha by Antonius Tunnicius (1514) and the Latin-German Germanicorum adagiorum [. . .] centuriae septem by Eberhard Tappe (1539). It shows which animals are used in proverbs and why, and what differences can be found between the Latin and the vernacular versions of a proverb. In the vernacular and Latin versions of the Proverbia communia, different species seldomly occur, though may be found more often in Tunnicius's collection. It is the behaviour of animals, and also the behaviour of man towards animals, that reflects the human world.

Keywords: Eberhard Tappe; foxes; Germanorum monosticha; hares; Heinrich Bebel; Latin; octopuses; Proverbia communia ; Proverbia Germanica



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