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Hunters and PoachersA Social and Cultural History of Unlawful Hunting in England 1485-1640$
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Roger B. Manning

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203247

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203247.001.0001

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Poaching as a Symbolic Substitute for War

Poaching as a Symbolic Substitute for War

(p.35) 2 Poaching as a Symbolic Substitute for War
Hunters and Poachers


Oxford University Press

This chapter describes and analyses the symbolic content of poaching in order to show its simulation of the rituals and elements of traditional land warfare in medieval England. The analysis reveals that hunting was a ritualised simulation of war involving calculated and controlled levels of violence carried on between rival factions of the gentry and peerage, and that the various rites of hunters were derived from the elements of traditional land warfare including the wearing of arms and armours, and feasting after victory. In addition to being a simulation of war, it was also used by kings and aristocrats as a political theatre, and provided an occasion to display power.

Keywords:   poaching, warfare, medieval England, gentry, peerage, hunters, kings, aristocrats, political theatre, feasting

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