International Colloquium 2015



Exotic Animal

With the support of

FCG_01_FundacaoCalousteGulbenkian_BLK_02   CHAM_vertical_vectorial

 Tec Labs – FCUL, Lisbon, 26 & 27 February 2015

The main objective of this colloquium is to highlight the importance that exotic and strange animals had in the Renaissance world, during the Age of Discoveries, and to point out their role in the Early Modern society, the dimension of their trade and exploration and the impact they had on the emerging natural sciences. Moreover we would like to consolidate and establish the early modern natural history as a discipline in the Portuguese scholar world of the 21st century. The colloquium will also give a contribution to the current international debate about the Iberian role on the emergence of Modern Science in Western culture. Using examples and case-studies of the 15th and 16th century of Portugal and the Overseas, as well as from all over Europe, we aim at placing exotica and strange animals into the European mainstream of natural history. Animals from air, water and land will be addressed by different researchers with distinct backgrounds, providing a framework for students and scholars to develop their work and further deepen their investigation and networking in this scientific domain. The colloquium also aims at attracting students and researchers from the history of science, environmental history and even from biology and environmental conservation.



Day 1

9h30, Reception of participants

10h00, Opening and Introduction

Cristina Brito & Cecilia Veracini: Exotic and strange animals in the Renaissance Europe: diffusion, role and importance.

10h15, Keynote lecture – Luis Vicente (FCUL) The Historia animalium of Aristotle and its influence on the 16th century naturalists.

11h15, Coffee break


11h45, Dante Teixeira (Natural History Museum of Rio de Janeiro). “Com o diabo no corpo: uma breve história dos papagaios no Brasil Colônia”.

12h15, Jacopo de Grossi (University of Salento). The diffusion of turkey in Italy: an historical and archaeozoological analysis.

12h45, Discussion

13.00, Lunch


14h30, Cristina Brito (Escola de Mar / CHAM-FCSH-NOVA, Lisbon). Underwater beasts and beauties: local perceptions towards aquatic animals in 16th century Portugal and Brazil.

15h00, Cristina Picanço (CIUHCT/FCUL, Lisbon). Old maps as screens of Nature: Marine animals as real or imaginary beings?

15h30, Ana Roque (Institute of Tropical Sciences, Lisbon). Towards a new perception of nature: Southern African marine biodiversity in the Portuguese registries of the 16th century.

16h00, Coffee break

16h30, Florike Egmond (Leiden University). Aquatic creatures between the categories: visual records of the 16th century.

17h00, Brief discussion

Day 2


9h30, Marco Masseti (University of Florence). Exotic and strange animals in Lorenzo the Magnificent’s Florence (15th century).

10h00, Cecilia Veracini (University of Lisbon). Luxury pets at Renaissance courts: the importation and role of non-human primates.

10h30, Catarina Casanova (University of Lisbon).How African non-human primates were perceived in the 16th and 17th century Portuguese chronicles: from anatomical descriptions to tool-use behaviour.

11h00, Coffee break

11h30, Luís Ceríaco (California Academy of Sciences / CEHFCi-Universidade de Évora / MUHNAC).The first encounters between the Portuguese and the Brazilian Mata-mata (Reptilia: Chelidae) (XVII to XVIII century).

12h00, Francisco Fonseca (Grupo Lobo / DBA-FCUL, Lisboa). Wolves in the Portuguese culture.

12h30, James Novoa (University of Lisbon). Portuguese merchants as purveyors of “marvelous” animals in Early Modern Italy (1580-1640).

13h00, Closing remarks




Exotic Animals 2015                   Visit Zoology Galleries