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1 Revolting Beasts: Animal Satire and Animal Trials in the Dutch Revolt

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that animals were omnipresent in the Dutch Revolt, first of all metaphorically-as villains and heroes-but also literally-as intended victims of political and juridical violence. It confronts animal satire with animal trials and reviews both as ways of coping with enormous political and religious tensions. The chapter examines that thinking and acting with animals are not only revealing for a period's anthropomorphic and zoomorphic beliefs but also for wider cultural anxieties about human identity and about where to draw the line between right and wrong. It shows that from the early stages of the Dutch Revolt onwards the identification between animals and religious confessions or political factions is well-documented. Importantly, the animal language of the Dutch Revolt was a common language, shared by city magistracies, visual artists, rederijkers and ordinary people in the streets.

Keywords: animal satire; animal trials; anthropomorphic belief; cultural anxieties; Dutch Revolt; human identity; religious confessions



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