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Early Modern Attitudes to the Ravens and Red Kites of London

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Ravens (Corvus corax) and red kites (Milvus milvus) were commonly seen in London in the early modern period. The aim of this paper is to reconstruct the diversity of attitudes towards these birds. Previous historiography on the subject has failed to contextualize its sources. The excited accounts of travellers like Schaseck, the Venetian Ambassador’s amanuensis and Lupold von Wedel need to be counter-balanced by considering the bored antipathy common amongst the British naturalists; William Turner, Francis Willughby and John Ray and the descriptions of sanitation services provided by European naturalists and local poets. The final part of the paper reconstructs the patchwork of legislation and custom relating to the species from early modern London.




Raye, L. (2021). Early Modern Attitudes to the Ravens and Red Kites of London. London Journal.

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