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Luparii were royal officials responsible for controlling wolf populations in France during the Middle Ages. The office was created by Charlemagne in 813. Luparii were paid for each slain wolf, and their hunts were funded by the crown. In severe cases of lupine aggression, extra finances were appropriated to the luparii that were typically spent in organizing grand hunts with beaters or by lacing dead animals with poison and leaving them in afflicted areas. Pastoral societies such as France depended on the survival of livestock such as sheep and goats - perennial quarry of wolves - and thus the luparii enjoyed great renown and favour at court. Wolf "plagues" were also common and luparii often found themselves defending the kingdom from predatory aggression. The tradition of rewarding wolf kills with a bounty existed even into the modern period, and shepherds in France could expect payment from local government officials if they presented a wolf carcass. Luparii were responsible for the initial reduction of the wolf population in France, which would become decimated in later centuries. The luparii had a vast terminology; a grand vieux loup was an old, solitary male; a loup chevalier was a wolf that regularly attacked horses; a loup lévrier was an exceptionally fast wolf, and a loup moutonnier was a wolf that specialised in killing sheep. A wolf den was referred to as a lovière. Wolf-dog crossbreds were referred to as lycisca.

The office of luparii is today known as the Wolfcatcher Royal.

See also[edit]


  1. Thompson, Richard H. Wolf-Hunting in France in the Reign of Louis XV: The Beast of the Gévaudan. Lewistown: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1991.
  2. Impact of Wolves (Canis lupus) on wild and domestic ungulates in the massif of Mercantour [1]
  3. (French)Élise Rousseau Anthologie du Loup. delachaux et niestlé, 2006.