The Art of Falconry

Topics: Falcon, Falconry, Peregrine Falcon Pages: 5 (1962 words) Published: April 2, 2013
Mary Driscol
History Research Paper on Renaissance Entertainment
The Art of Falconry

Five hundred years ago there was no Xbox games, no television, no Netflix, but there was sports on horses known as jousting, there were men flailing swords in sword fights for entertainment, and there was also the art of falconry. Falconry provided not only food for the table, but entertainment to the masses. It is commonly mistaken as a sport for falconers, but it is easy to say that art is not confined to canvases, or drawn with mere utensils such as brushes, the art of falconry is man using the sky as his canvas and the falcon as his utensil, and it is an ancient art and entertainment as well.

Falconry started in Japan and china over thirty five hundred years ago. It was brought to the Middle East through raiders such as Genghis Khang (Gang-us Kong), who used thousands of falcons to feed his thousands of men in his army (Beebe 43). It is fair to compare a falconer of this time, to a rock star today, nobody interfered with the falconers. Falconry is not presented with its full history, in fact it’s hardly studied or mentioned in history at all. Falconry controlled many choices made by royal families, such as marriage. Many marriages were arranged because the prince’s family knew the art of flying short winged hawks, otherwise known as hawks of the forest, while the princess’s family knew the art of the long winged falcons, and with marriage they could bring these arts together. (Beebe 294). The art of falconry not only was a shared art, but it also initiated ranks among royals and peasants. As the nobles decreed then, a Gerfawken was flown by and belonged to the kyng, the Fawken gentill, were for the prynce, the fawken of the rock, was for a duke, the fawken peregryne, was for an erle, the bastarde, was a hauke for the Baron. The sacre and the sacret, was for a knight, the lanare and lanrett, belonged to the squyer, the merlyon, was a hauke for a lady, and there was a hoby, a hauke for a yong man. This list may seem long, but there were more types of hawks. A Goshawke and a hawke is for yeman, a tercell, for the powere man, a spare hawke a hawke for a prest, a muskyte for a holiwater clerke (Blaine 188). So in the time of the falconry one could know someone’s status socially through the bird they flew.Falconry was essential in this time, one couldn’t just walk down to the store and ask for two rabbits and some lettuce, they grew their own crops and caught their own food, using traps, weapons, and hawks or falcons. During the great Christian crusades, king Arthur lead raids into the Middle East, and came across the art of falconry which infatuated him immensely (Blaine 58). Arthur had falconers captured and he would take them back to Europe to teach the art of falconry to the Europeans, which lead to falconry continuing into the renaissance era.

So now that we have the history of the art of falconry and how it came to the east and into the renaissance era, it can be explained as entertainment very simply. The beginning of Falconry as entertainment began with the kings announcing the flight of his birds, and inviting other falconers to come and fly as well. It was like being invited to a Olympics today; everyone would prepare for this day and make a great outing of it. The men and women would anticipate this day, and pack up their finest clothes and finest gear, head to the country side and prepare for a festive day. Many people would bring their good and set up tents and sell their goods, this is what refer to as venders today. The children would play in the vast fields of grass with toys of their time, and it was a huge community event. Although it was a community event, hundreds of people would come from hundreds of miles around including other kinds and royal families. This was not a small even by any means, and it was some of the best entertainment of the times. There would be birds of prey everywhere, they would take to...

Cited: Beebe, Frank Lyman, Harold Melvin Webster, and Abie Jean Burdette. North American Falconry and Hunting Hawks. Denver: North American Falconry and Hunting Hawks, 1964. Print.
Blaine, Gilbert. Falconry. Newton, MA: Charles T. Branford, 1970. Print.
Cummins, John G. The Art of Medieval Hunting: The Hound and the Hawk. Edison, NJ: Castle, 2003. Print.
Michell, E. B. The Art and Practice of Hawking. Boston: C.T. Branford, 1960. Print
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