Middle Ages

Pig and human history timeline
456 to 1350 AD

c. 625
God, via Mohammed, forbids the eating of pork.
France’s King Charles “The Bald” decrees that a traveling bishop may requisition from the local populace 5 suckling pigs, as well as 50 eggs, 10 chickens, and 50 loaves of bread for himself and his entourage at each halt in his journey.
October 14
The Battle of Hastings seals the Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy. The French words porc, boeuf, mouton, veau, and poularde introduced by the Normans will be the basis of the English words pork, beef, mutton, veal, and poultry.
More pigs are dissected in the name of medicine in the Italian city of Salerno, some 125 miles from Monte Cassino. Here a Benedictine monastery supports a medical school whose teachers are mostly members of the clergy, but include some women physicians. One of their principle teaching texts is that written by Galen of Pergamum (c. 130-201 AD).
William the Conqueror orders the creation of The Doomsday Book — a written record of a census and survey of English landowners and their property. Included in the records is an suggestion of pig populations in England, where in the counties of Norfolk, Sussex, and Essex alone there were over 31,000 domestic pigs.
c. 1100s
In England, the first laws are enacted that forbid commoners the use of dogs for hunting. Stories — most unsubstantiated — of the lower-classes’ utilizing “hunting pigs”, especially from the south-central area around New Forest persist until the fifteenth century.
An aristocratic British lady identified only as Juga, is said to have begun the custom of “flitching” or kneeling on sharp stones at the door of a church and swearing to have been happily married for the last twelve months with no arguments or desire of separation and thereby winning a prize of a “flitch” or side of bacon. Numerous rural areas of Britain are known to have followed this custom which has frequently been revived since medieval times, even as late as 1855.
London’s Smithfield meat market has its origin in the priory founded beside the “Smooth” field just outside the city’s walls. The field will soon be the scene of St. Bartholomew’s Fair, where country folk will exchange goods and where pigs, poultry, beef and horses will be sold.
Heir to the French throne, Crown Prince Louis Philippe son of Louis VI — “The Fat” — dies when his horse trips over a pig in the streets of Paris.
The date of the earliest known manuscript version of “The Story of Mac Dathó’s Pig,” part of The Book of Leinster. It belongs to the heroic Cycle of Ulster, and depicts some of the events which lead to the Táin Bó Cúalnge, the Cattle Raid of Cooley.
St Anthony’s hospital is founded in London by monks of that order who were widely known for their efforts in the treatment of various acute skin diseases collectively called St. Anthony’s Fire. Until the hospital burned in 1666, pigs were kept by the monks and used for the benefit of the patients, supplying them with meat to eat and lard to be used in the treatment of skin diseases. These pigs were acquired free from the general population, being pigs that were deemed unsuitable for sale and so let loose in the city with bells around their necks, supplied by the Proctor of the hospital. Allowed to roam freely and scavenge, these pigs of St. Anthony or “tantony pigs” would gladly follow for a while anyone who fed them, and the term tantony pig came into use as an idiom to describe any person who showed similar sporadic loyalties.
Robert de Fitzwalter revives the English custom of flitching — kneeling on sharp stones at the door of a church and swearing to have been happily married for the last twelve months and thereby winning a prize of a “flitch” or side of bacon.
Marco Polo arrives at Hangzhou (Hang Chow), China and, in the restaurant of Wei “the Big Knife” at the Cat Bridge, eats Mu Shu Pork, thus establishing the world record for the distance traveled to eat Chinese food.
The wild boar, Sus scrofa, that was a native British species probably became extinct in England as a wild species at the end of the 13th century. After this date wild boar were maintained for use by nobility as game and as a status symbol. This was achieved by the introduction of new boar stock from France and Germany and through hybridization with domestic pigs and existing feral stock.
Pigs, already the most popular livestock animal throughout Europe, become one of the earliest representations used in commercial art. Pig effigies are used to announce the location of butcher’s shops, attracting the attention of customers in a world where the vast majority of the public could not read.

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A random image of a pig, hog, boar or swine from the collection at Porkopolis.