Kamel – E.4 – II.2 Tierkunde, Enzyklopädik

The relevant sections of Konrad von Megenberg’s Buch der Natur combine material from various sources,transmitted in the main via Thomas Cantimpratensis, and offered without any spiritual interpretations. Konrad’sprincipal chapter on the camel (3. A. 8, p. 149) contains various details of its mating habits, whilst also stressing(contrary to some other medieval perceptions) that it is not unchaste – preferring to copulate in private, forexample, and intensely hostile to the notion of parent–foal incest. Several other proprietates adduced by Konradare used elsewhere in interpretations of either anger or Christ: the camel has a long memory for wrongs done to it, which it always eventually avenges; it will bear no burden »über reht«; yet, out of compassion, it will fast whenever one member of the herd is too ill to eat. Konrad also tells us, unusually, that young camels are always keen to graze in the field in which they were born. In a discrete chapter on the dromedary (3. A. 23, p. 159), he stresses above all its speed, which enables it to cover 100 miles in a day.

Nigel Harris

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