Nommer les animaux des Indes : quelques considérations sur la faune décrite dans les récits de voyage entre la fin du XIIIe et le début du XVIe siècle

Rafael Afonso GONÇALVES

fr Anthropozoologica 55 (7) - Pages 107-115

Published on 15 May 2020

This article is a part of the thematic issue Appréhender les catégories zoologiques dans les sociétés du passé

Naming the animals from India: considerations on the animals described in travel accounts between the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 16th century

In 1498, ships of the fleet commanded by Vasco de Gama berthed in the port of Calicut, fulfilling the objectives pursued by the Portuguese Crown to reach India by sea. The expectations that motivated the Portuguese enterprise were fed by texts whose content was dedicated not only to the presence of spices, stones and precious metals, or even of men who were committed and receptive to the establishment of military and commercial alliances, but also the existence of various species of animals. Prior to the arrival of the Portuguese, however, other Christians who claimed to have visited the Indies, especially from the 14th century, and have contributed to the dissemination of diverse and sometimes detailed descriptions of animals from these regions. Based on an examination of the species mentioned in travel reports from the late 13th to the early 16th centuries, this article aims to analyze the postures adopted by the travelers to describe and name the animals from India.


Animals, travel accounts, India, Middle Ages, Orient.

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