La consommation de produits de la mer à la cour du duc de Bretagne pendant son exil en Angleterre (1377-1378)


fr Anthropozoologica 53 (5) - Pages 73-80

Published on 30 March 2018

This article is a part of the thematic issue Animaux aquatiques et monstres des mers septentrionales (imaginer, connaître, exploiter, de l’Antiquité à 1600)

Seafood consumption at the court of the Duke of Brittany during his exile in England (1377-1378)

From May 1373 to August 1379, the Duke and Duchess of Brittany, exiled in England, stayed mostly in their possessions in the center-east of the country, bordering on the North Sea. The departmental archives of Nantes retain four rolls of table expenses accounts for the years 1377-1378, rigorously kept by the controller. The daily deferral of expenses incurred for the Duke’s and Duchess’s tables allows a relatively accurate assessment of the consumption of thirty one marine species: 22 species of fish, five of molluscs, two of cetaceans and two of crustaceans. It reveals the tastes more or less asserted for fresh or canned fish, for molluscs, the weight of food constraints (lean days and Lent), seasonal consumptions specifics to this coastal region, and the expected consumption of species considered to be criteria of distinction (cetaceans), even frankly unexpected. The comparison with an account preserved when the duke is in Brittany makes it possible to evaluate the differences in the diets and the way the ducal court has folded or not to the English practices.


Fishes, molluscs, cetaceans, crustaceans, elite consumption, Middle Ages.

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