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Other changes in the significance of wild places and creatures during the latter part of the Middle Ages reflect changes in the social significance of hunting. Before the tenth century,small farmers throughout northern Europe had Been allowed to hunt more or less freely on their own land. But as new techniques of... 顯示更多 Other changes in the significance of wild places and creatures during the latter part of the Middle Ages reflect changes in the social significance of hunting. Before the tenth century,small farmers throughout northern Europe had Been allowed to hunt more or less freely on their own land. But as new techniques of agriculture produced a surge in medieval crop yields and population,and Europe*s forests retteated before the ax and the plow,hunting rights were increasingly taken over by the aristocracy,who put the remaining patches of woods off limits as royal hunting preserves and ruthlessly punished any peasants suspected of taking game (White,1962,39ff;Dalby,1965,v;Eckardt,1976,27-31;Hobusch,1978,117-19).
Hunting thus took on opposite connotations for the peasants and the aristocracy. For the elite,the hunt became an elaborate ritual encrusted with jargon and courtly ceremoney,which served to validate the aristocratic credentials of the hunt-ers. The peasantry,on the other hand ,associated hunting with freedom,feasting,and
Rebellion against the authorities in the songs and stories they soon began to tell about Robin Hood and other deer-poaching forest fugitives,from the eleventh century onward(Keen,1961).
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