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Conclusion From Medieval To Modern: The Legacy Of Premodern Whaling

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Chapter Summary

Whales were feared and valued, sought out and avoided. The meat made the difference between starvation and survival. The bones were an irreplaceable material in regions that were resource-challenged. It also gives historical depth to the cultural practices of the descendants, early modern and modern Scandinavians who continue to use whales till date. Equation of the opportunistic hunting of medieval Norse whalers with later industrial pelagic whaling is unrealistic. While some traditions of the Middle Ages did persist, by the seventeenth century it had become clear to the whalers that traditional hunting methods has been lost. The laws dictate how whales could be used and by whom. Premodern whaling in the North Atlantic, both in practice and application, bears little or no resemblance to medieval whaling, with the exception of Faroese drive-whaling. Modern perceptions of whales retain some of the ancient fascination with the great creatures.

Keywords: Faroese; Norse; North Atlantic; premodern whaling

10.1163/ej.9789004163980.i-326.18
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