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‘An Art unknown to the Ancients’: Falconer’s Parlance in Jacques Auguste de Thou’s Hieracosophioy sive de re accipitraria libri III (1582/84–1612)

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Chapter Summary

Jacques Auguste de Thou adopted a variety of strategies to convey the technical aspects of falconry. In the introduction to the First Book of the Hieracosophion, de Thou describes his poetic endeavour as 'traversing a field that was previously unknown' and as a 'bold undertaking'. More difficult has been the assessment of de Thou's indebtedness to French hunting manuscripts. It is worth noting that de Thou certainly did not limit himself to hunting-related sources. The first set of linguistic pitfalls that de Thou encountered in his 'unknown field' was the classification and nomenclature of various species of birds of prey. De Thou seems more at ease with the third, and vital, distinction made by falconers, who assign different aptitudes to birds of prey according to the stage of their development at the moment of capture.

Keywords: birds of prey; falconers; French hunting manuscripts; Jacques Auguste de Thou



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