Snakes

Snakes /anguis/ 10×2.6 cm The introductory text about snakes was borrowed from Isidor /XII.IV.1.—3/. They are called “anguis”, a modification of “angulosus” /bent/, “coluber” because a snake looks for a shade /colat umbras/ or “serpens” because it sneaks or creeps /serpit/ to an object. Snakes vary in shape and colour. The miniature pictures two intertwined…

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Viper-echidna

Viper-echidna /vipera/ 10X5.7 cm Although the story of the viper-echidna is traced back to the tales of the original “Physiologus”, the bestiary mainly follows the description by Isidor /XII.IV. 10—11/, deriving the name from the word “vis” /force, violence/, as the birth of a viper is accompanied by violence /generatio viperarum/ /Matthew, 3:7/. The Greek…

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Asp

Asp /aspis/ 10.1X7.2 cm The borrowings from the text by Isidore /XII.IV.12/ are joined together in the bestiary with the story of the asp from the “Physiologus”, a development of what had been written about the asp in the chapter about the weasel, which later in the Latin versions grew into a separate chapter. In…

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Hydra

Hydra /hydrus/ 10X6.1 cm The text repeats the description by Isidor /XII.IV. 22—23/ and is close to the text of ff.l6v. and 17. The miniature pictures a crocodile swallowing a hydra, but the crocodile on the miniature largely differs from the fantastic bristled-up animal drawn on ff.75 and 16 v. where it is shown lying…

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The Lizard

The Lizard Relief. Church in Saint-Denis. XII century Lizard /lacerta/ medallion 5.4 cm in diameter The text, which was borrowed from Isidor /XII. IV.34—35/, enumerates several kinds of lizards. Listed among them are salamandras, tritons and frogs. The early Latin versions of the “Physiologus” included the tale about the sunny lizard /saura/ in the chapter…

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Salamandra

Salamandra /salamandra/ height 7.7 cm, width at the bottom 9.1 cm, width at the top 7.6 cm The enigmatic salamandra, which does not burn in fire, is the most poisonous of all creatures. Its poison penetrates into growing fruits and contaminates water. Upon eating a fruit from a tree poisoned by the salamandra a man…

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Scitalis

Scitalis /scitalis/ 10.1 X5.2 cm The text of the bestiary and that of Pseudo-Hugh /11.43/ is a borrowing from Isidor /XII.IV.19/ who qouted Lukan /Pharsalia, IX, 717/ and repeated Solinus /27.29/. The scitalis is distinguished for the beauty of its spotty skin. It never follows its prey but waits until the prey, charmed by its…

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Amphisbaena

Amphisbaena /amphisbaena, amphivena/ medallion 5.7 cm in diameter The text is taken from Isidor /XII.IV.20/ who quoted Lucan /Pharsalia, IX.719/ and used the description by Pliny /VIII.23.35/. The amphisbaena has two heads: one where it belongs and the other in the tail-end. This enbles it to move in any direction without turning back. Its eyes…

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Boa

The Medieval Bestiary
Boa /boa/ 10.1 X2 cm
The text about the boa was taken from Isidor /XII. IV.28/ drawing on the information provided by Pliny /VIII.14.I4/. The same text is adhered to by Pseudo-Hugh /111.45/ and Albert the Great /XXV. 11.14/. The boa habitates in Italy, it follows herds of cattle and feeds on cow milk.

Jaculus

The Medieval Bestiary
Jaculus /jaculus/ 10X1.8 cm
The text about the jaculus, the snake jumping down from a tree on animals passing by, was taken from Isidor /XII.IV.29/ who used the writings by Pliny /VIII.23.35/ and Aelian /VI.18/ and quoted Lucan /Pharsalia, 18.720/. It is repeated by Pseudo-Hugh /111.46/ and Albert the Great /XXV.II.32/.

Snake siren

Snake siren /sirena serpens/ 10×3 cm The text about the syren, the winged Arabian snake moving faster than a horse, was borrowed from Isidore /XII.IV.29/. Its venom is so strong that a man dies before he feels pain. The same story is repeated by Pseudo-Hugh /III.47/ and Albert the Great /XXV.II.51/. The painter of all…

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Hypnale

Hypnale /hypnalis/ 10.3X3.7 cm The text is taken from Isidor /XII.IV.13—14/. This snake is in the same species with the dipsa. A person bit by the hypnale falls asleep and then dies. This was how Cleopatra died. The hypnal is mentioned by Pseudo-Hugh /11.30/, Albert the Great /XXV.II.33/ and Philippe de Thatin in the section…

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The Volga River

The Volga River is the longest river in Europe, about 2,300 miles (3,700 km). It originates at an elevation of only 740 feet (225 m) in the Valday Hills northwest of Moscow, connects with the Rybinsk Reservoir. The river heads east past Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan. From there it turns south past Samara and…

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Mussa Jalill

POETRY OF TRUTH AND PASSION Jalil never kept a diary. “I don’t feel inclined to and I cannot and will not make myself keep one,” he once said. But when he left Kazan for the frontlines early in 1942, he felt an urge to entrust his feelings and thoughts to paper. The result, as he…

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