BYKI, PSY I NIEDŹWIEDZIE NA ANGIELSKIEJ ARENIE. WALKI ZWIERZĄT I ICH ZNACZENIE W OKRESIE WCZESNONOWOŻYTNYM

Paweł Rutkowski

Abstrakt


SUMMARY

Bulls, Bears and Dogs in the English Ring: Animal Baiting and its Early Modern Meanings

Baiting animals played a very important role in the early modern English culture, which is confirmed by contemporary sources, especially accounts of foreigners surprised by Englishmen's fondness of such shows. Animal sports had a special status of royal entertainment but they were loved, in fact, by people from all sections of the English society. Numerous bears, bulls and dogs were made to fight in the purpose-built amphitheatres or improvised one-off arenas. Their spectacular struggles always evoked very strong emotions in the audience, offered them the opportunity to gamble, and promoted particularly valiant animals that thus became well-known champions and celebrities. The English spectators' positive attitude towards, and care for, fighting animals followed from their preoccupation and fascination with combat as such. It was also associated with their great respect for those that possessed features indispensable in champions and good fighters, paradoxically irrespective of whether they were humans or animals. Special admiration was reserved for English fighting dogs, which was, at least partly, linked with the Englishmen's national pride and sense of their collective identity.

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