Raptors have captured the hearts and imagination of mankind for thousands of years. Their grace, power and determination are enveloped in a stoic, inquisitive and vigilant esprit.
Often referred to as the “noblest of sports,” falconry emerges from the mists of antiquity in both the Asian steppes and Persia, though its birthplace is yet to be firmly established. According to the International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey, “…the one who used birds of prey for the first time was Tahmooreth, a king of the Pishdadid dynasty, 2,000 years before Zoroaster who himself lived around 6,000 BC.”1 No one knows where or why the sport began, but its pedigree goes back to the roots of recorded human history.
More recently (in the 13th century), the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily and Jerusalem Frederick II von Hohenstaufen who was known in his time as “Stupor Mundi” or “wonder of the world,” took some 30 years to compile the falconer’s bible of Western falconry, entitled De Arte Venandi cum Avibus.23 This incredible work is a complete manual of falconry as well as a rich source of ornithological information. What other sport has as its textbook one that was written over 700 years ago?
1 http://www.i-a-f.org/history.html Accessed 13 February 2010
2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_II,_Holy_Roman_Emperor Accessed 13 February 2010
3 http://www.scribd.com/doc/20486846/De-Arte-Venandi-Cum-Avibus-1 Accessed 13 February 2010