Animal fight
(1,020 words)

The term animal fight refers to fights between animals organized as sport or pleasure (sometimes associated with betting). Animal fights in the early modern period were often highly ritualized events, and often took place in connection with Christian or secular festivals[3. 24]. They functioned as symbols of masculine status and sexuality, as an educational tool on what it meant to be human, and as an analogy for the human struggle, contest and social inequality (see below) [4. 111 f.]. Even in the early modern period, the animal fight was attacked for its cruelty, at…

Cite this page
Boddice, Rob, “Animal fight”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 23 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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