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May 28, 2012

Medieval Mondays: The Wolves of Paris

Back in 1450, the people of Paris were terrorized by a ravenous pack of wolves. Wolves rarely attack humans, and when they do it's usually a lone person out in the middle of nowhere, like in this atmospehric image.

In the winter of 1450, however, the wolves got bold. It was a hard winter and food was scarce in the countryside. This led a pack of wolves to get closer to human habitation. Paris was the largest city in Western Europe at the time but that didn't stop the wolves. The city walls were poorly maintained and the wolves were able to slip through. They prowled the streets, descending on pedestrians.

The pack killed forty Parisians and the city went into a panic. The pack became the object of fear for everyone and the alpha male was even given a name--Courtaud, meaning "bobtail".

Eventually the Parisians banded together. The hunters became the hunted and the wolves were chased and corralled into the square in front of Notre Dame, where they were killed with spears and stones. No doubt Courtaud's distinctive tail was taken as a trophy.

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


  1. Think any of those were werewolves :)


  2. It's interesting, but reading into European werewolf / "wild beast" mythology, France seems to have a long history of wolf-related incidents, such as the terror of the Beast of GĂ©vaudan.