Over at the Forbes blog this week, I discuss the ancient and medieval history of falconry in the Mediterranean. After seeing the new documentary film ‘The Eagle Huntress,’ about a 13-year-old girl named Aisholpan learning to become an eagle hunter with her father in Mongolia, I went back to some class notes on Greco-Roman attitudes towards the eagle and the later development of falconry. This post was a good excuse to emphasize that there is little material evidence for falconry in the Roman world until the period of Late Antiquity. It is possible that the Vandals or Visigoths popularized the sport within the late Roman world. During the early middle ages, falconry and particularly the use of not only falcons, but also hawks, became popular among both male and female elites. Falconry was a courtly sport and in the late medieval period, we even have writings from women on the topic. I am certainly not a bird expert, but writing this piece was one way to commemorate the majesty of birds of prey and to establish humanity’s long connection to them.
Published by sarahemilybond
I am an Associate Professor in the Classics Department at the University of Iowa. I am interested in Roman, late antique, and early medieval history, archaeology, topography and GIS, Digital Humanities, and the role of Classics in pop culture. I obtained a BA in Classics and History with a minor in Classical Archaeology from the University of Virginia (2005). My PhD is in Ancient History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2011). My book, Trade and Taboo: Disreputable Professionals in the Roman Mediterranean, is out now from University of Michigan Press (Fall, 2016) and looks at the lives of marginalized tradesmen like gravediggers and tanners. Follow me on Twitter @SarahEBond, read my Blog, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. View all posts by sarahemilybond