Bisonomachia in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania: From myth to chivalric spectacle

Keywords: European bison, hunt, spectacle, courtly culture, tournament, chivalry
Language: In English

From 2005, the Regional Park of Krekenava in Lithuania offers a kind of passive safari — a possibility of watching European bison living in controlled yet natural environment. The platform from which visitors watch the bison herd has historic antecedent — the ladies’ tribune mentioned in the Neo-Latin poem “Carmen de statura, feritate ac venatione bisontis” (Krakow, 1523) written by Nicolaus Hussovianus. The paper explores the poem’s description of grand ducal hunt regarding it as a nodus of cultural bonds. Edited out from paradisiacal scenario of tamed nature, wild beasts nourished human bodies and minds and were provided with roles in myths, definitions in laws, and functions in economies. The research argues that while forms of relations between the man and the beast have changed across centuries, yet they retained common denominator of subjugation, even if the lance has been replaced

by gaze.