The Stag

Church in Brajac. XII century
The Stag Capital. Church in Brajac. XII century

The Stag

Stag
The Stag Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 1, f. 50

Weasel

Weasel /mustela/ 10.3X2.4 cm Empedocles and Anaxagoras shared the antique notion that the weasel conceives by mouth and gives birth by ear, the notion which Aristotle called “a naive and rash utterance” /On the Origin of Animals, III.756 b 15/. Neither Albert the Great /XXII.I.79/ nor Brunetto Latini /I.V. 181/ mention it and still “Physiologus”…

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The Weasel

The Weasel Miniature
The Weasel Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. N 1, f. 53

Ant

Ant /formica/ 9X5.5 cm The Saint Petersburg Bestiary similarly to the early versions of “Physiologus” begins the story of the ant with a quotation from the Proverbs of Solomon: “Go to the ant, О sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise”. /Proverbs 6:6/. “Physiologus” treats the ant in strict adherence to the moral of the…

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The Ant

Manuscript
The Ant Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 1, f. 52 v.

Chamois

Chamois /ibex/ medallion 5.7 cm in diameter The chapter on the ibex or a stone ram is not included in the original “Physiologus”. It takes rise from Isidor /XII.1.16/ who derived his information from Pliny /VIII.53.79/, and from the symbolic interpretations of Gregory the Great to be found in his “Moralia in Job” /XXX. 10.36,…

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The Chamois

Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford
The Chamois. Miniature. Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford. N 764, f. 14 v.

Fire Stones

Fire Stones /lapides igniferi, terebolem, turrobolen, terroboli/ medallion 6.3 cm in diameter “Physiologus” and the bestiaries ascribe to the fire stones such qualities which the antique writers did not see in “lapides piroboli” /pyritis/ /Pliny, XXXVI.21.39/. The bestiary distinguishes male and female stones and says that their contiguity produces an all-consuming flame. The bestiary tries…

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The Fire Stones

Miniature. Manuscript
The Fire Stones Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 1, f. 44

Ostrich

Ostrich /assida, struthiocamelon, struthio/ medallion 10.3×6 cm In the Latin versions the story of the ostrich which was among the latest additions to Greek “Physiologus” underwent considerable changes. The ostrich does not fly though she has wings. She has feet like those of a camel. That is why the Greek call it Struthiocamelon. She lays…

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The Ostrich

The Ostrich Miniature Manuscript
The Ostrich Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 1, f. 18

The Ostrich

The Ostrich Miniature. Manuscript
The Ostrich Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 131 f20

Tiger

Tiger /tigris/ 9.7X8.3 cm The story of a tiger is one of the most moving and poetical tales of the bestiary. It proceeds from Isidor /XII.II.7/ and St. Ambrose /VI.4.21/ who derived information from Solinus /37.5/ and Pliny /VIII.18.25/. The tiger gets his name for his speedy pace, for the Persians and the Medes used…

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The Tiger

Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford
The Tiger Miniature. Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford. N 764, f. 6 v.

The Pard

Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford
The Pard Miniature. Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford. N 764, f. 9 v.

Lynx

Lynx /lynx/ 10.2X3.9 cm The text originates from Isidore /XII.II.20/ who proceeds from Pliny /XXVIII.8.32/. The lynx is a spotted beast, a kind of wolf. They say that his urine hardens into a precious stone called ligurius /”lynx-urins” is lynx’ urine/. For fear that the stone should get into the hands of man, the lynx…

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Griffon

Griffon /gryphus/ 9.6×6.3 cm The tale of the griffon repeats the story told by Isidor /XII.II.17/ whose version takes rise from Pliny /VII.12: X.49.70/. Of the antique sources Herodotus is known to be the first to mention it /III.116/. The impressive miniature of the Saint Petersburg bestiary shows the griffon clutching a wild boar. Of…

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The Griffon

Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford
The Griffon Miniature. Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford. N 764, f. 11 v.

Boar

Boar /aper/ 9.3X4.3 cm The text repeats the story by Isidor /XII.I.27/; who derived the word “aper” from “feritas”, meaning the beast’s ferocity. In the Saint Petersburg and New York manuscripts the chapter on the boar is detached from the section “De pecoribus en jumentis” by Isidor and is placed among chapters on fabulous beasts.…

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The Boar

Bestiary, of the Bodleian Library in Oxford
The Boar Miniature. Bestiary, of the Bodleian Library in Oxford. N 764, f. 38 v

Bonnacon

Bonnacon /bonacon, bonasus/ 10.5X6.5 cm The story of the bonnacon is one of the latest insertions into the treatise, derived from Solinus /40.10/ and Pliny /VIII.15.16/. Isidor does not mention it. Pseudo-Hugh /III.5/ and Albert the Great /XXII.1.12/ give the description of the bonnacon. The bonaccon lives in Asia, he has a bullish head and…

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The Bonnacon

Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford
The Bonnacon Miniature. Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford. N 764, f. 16

Bear

Bear /ursus/ 9.6X6.9 cm Proceeding from the text by Isidor /XII.II.22/ who derived information from Piiny /VIII.36.54/, the bestiary as well as Pseudo-Hugh /III.6/, emphasises the fact that the mother-bear gives premature birth to her cubs who appear as shapeless lumps. By licking them the mother gives them a proper shape. Bears often stand urpight…

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The Bear

Bestiary of the Bodleian Lidrary. Oxford
The Bear Miniature. Bestiary of the Bodleian Lidrary. Oxford. ms.Ashmole 1511, f. 21

Manticora

Manticora /manticora/ 10.1X6.1 cm The tale of the manticora belongs to the latest additions to the tractates on animals derived from Solinus /52.31 /. The legend about the manticora — a terrifying monster which has three rows of teeth, a human face with bloodshot eyes, a lion’s body and a tail of a scorpion —…

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The Manticore

Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford
The Manticore. Manticore. Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford № 764, f. 35

Parandrus, Yale

Parandrus /parandrus/ 9×5 cm The story of the parandrus whom Pliny /VIII.34.52/ calls “tarandrus” is derived from Solinus /30.25/. In the bestiaries and the writings by Pseudo-Hugh /Ш.9/ and Brunetto Latini /I.V.197/ the parandrus is an animal living in Ethiopia which has the tracks of an ibex, the branching horns of a stag, the colour…

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Sheep

Sheep /ovis/ medallion 6.8 cm in diameter The greater part of the text about the sheep in the bestiary and in the work by Pseudo-Hungh /III. 13/ is taken from Isidor /ХИЛ.9/ who had derived the name of the animal from “oblatio” — “offerings”. Describing this placid and defenseless creature, the text says that with…

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The Sheep

Church in Aosta. XII century
The Sheep Capital. Church in Aosta. XII century

Ram

Ram /vervex, aries/ medallion 6.1 cm in diameter The bestiary and Pseudo-Hugh /11.14/ reproducing the text by Isidor /XII.1.10—11/ who quotes Celi-us Sedulius, a famous poet of the fifth century, explains the name “vervex” by “a viribus” which means strength, by his being a male /”vir”/ or else because he has maggots /vermes/ in his…

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Lamb

Lamb /agnus/ 10.2X4.8 cm The text of the bestiary and of Pseudo-Hugh /III. 15/ follow Isidor who derives the name “agnus” not from the Greek “ayvo’g” /pure/ but uses it as “pius”, which is “pious”. It is also believed that the name originates from “agnoscat” since the animal can recognize his mother among other animals.…

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The Rams

Church in Saint-Aignan. XII century
The Rams Capital. Church in Saint-Aignan. XII century

He-goat

He-goat and Kids /hircus et haedi/ 10X6.5 cm The text about the he-goat reproduces the text by Isidor /XII.1.13—14/ who says, referring to Suetonius, that the he-goat has narrow eyes. In all probability, the medieval writer mistook “hircani” for “hirci”. The Hyrcani are the Mongoloid inhabitants of Hyrcania described by Suetonius. The story mentions that…

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The He-goat

Church in Mozac. XII century
The He-goat Capital. Church in Mozac. XII century

The He-Goat

Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford.
The He-Goat Miniatre. Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford. N 764, f. 36 v.

Bullock

Bullock /juvencus/ 10.3×6.9 cm The text of the bestiary and that of Preudo-Hueh is a repetition of the story by Isidor /XIII 28/ who, following Varron /V.96/, derived “juventus” from juvare” /to be useful for tilling soil/ Or it may be because it was always the bullock who was sacrificed to Jupiter. The wild Indian…

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The Bullock

 Church in Saint-Pons-de-Tomiere
The Bullock Capital. Church in Saint-Pons-de-Tomiere. Late XI century. Paris. Louvre

Ox

Ox /bos/ 10.1X6.5 cm The chapter on the ox reproduces the text by Isidor /XII.1.30—32/ who repeats Varron saying that the Latins called them “triones” because they walked on the ground /terra/ /VII.74/. The chapter emphasizes the kindness of oxen, their extraordinary sense of comradeship which was mentioned also by St.Ambrose, and says that they…

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The Ox

The Morgan Library
The Ox. St. Luke Evangelist and his symbol. Miniature of the manucript. XII century. New-York. The Morgan Library. N 777, f. 37 v.

Camel

Camel /camelus/ 10.2X7.2 cm The story of the camel repeats the text by Isidore /XII.1.35/ who drew on writings by Pliny /VIII. 18.26/ and Solinus /49.9/, it is repeated by Pseudo-Hugh /111.20/. The word “camel” comes from the Greek — “camurus” which stands for “curved” or from “cami” which is “inclined” or “bent”. The text…

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Dromedary

Dromedary /dromedarius/, Ass /asinus/, Horse /equus/ The two sheets right after the story of the camel with the text on the dromedary and the ass and the beginning of the chapter on horses are missing in the Saint Petersburg bestiary and the text continues on sheet 44. The relevant texts in the New York bestiary…

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The Camel

Camel
The Camel
Enamel Plate. XII century. London. Victoria and Albert Museum

Cat

Cat /catus, musio/ 10X5 cm Pseudo-Hugh /III.24/ and the bestiaries which are close to Isidore’s version /XII.2.38/ derive the word “musio” from “mus” /mouse/, and “catus” from “captare” /capture/ because of the cat’s abilities to catch its prey; or from the Greek “catus” /acute/ implying the cat’s acute eyesight and his ability to see in…

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The Cats

Cats
The Cats Miniature. Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford. N 764, f. 51

Mouse

Mouse /mus/ medallion 3.3 cm in diameter The text of the bestiary and that of Pseudo-Hugh /III.25/ come from “Etymologiae” by Isidor /XII. III.1.2./ who derived the word “mus” from the mouse being born of soil humidity /ex-humore, humus/. From Pliny /XI.37.76/ is derived the idea that the liver of a mouse gets bigger and…

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Mole

Mole /talpa/ medallion 4 cm in diameter The text of the bestiary and that of Pseudo-Hugh /III.26/ repeat the story by Isidore /XII.III.5/. The mole is condemned to life in eternal darkness underground. He has no eyes and always digs through the ground and eats the roots of plants. The description of the mole comes…

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The mole

mole
The mole Miniature. Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford, N 764. f. 51

Leucrota

Leucrota /leucrota/ 10X8.7 cm The legend of leucrota comes to the bestiary, to the treatise of Pseudo-Hugh /III.7/ and to writings by Brunetto Latini /I.V.194/ from Pliny /VIII.21.30/ and Solinus /52.34/. Leucrota lives in India and is very swift-footed. He is the size of an ass, has the haunches of a stag, the breast of…

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The Leucrota

Leucrota
The Leucrota Miniature. Bestiary of the Cambridge University Library. II.4.26

Eagle

Eagle /aquila/ 10×7.5 cm The chapter on the eagle, the king of all birds, opens the section on birds, just like the legend about the lion opens the section on beasts. In the original “Physiologus” the story of the eagle was not assigned so important a place, which is accounted for by the fact that…

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The Eagle

Eagle
The Eagle Miniature. Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford. N 764, f. 57 v.

Vulture

Vulture /vultur/ 10X6.1 cm Absent in the early versions of “Physiologus”, versions ” Y”, “C” and “B”, the tale of the vulture is based on texts by Isidor /XII.VII.12/ and St.Ambrose /V.20.64; V.23.81/. Like Isidor, the bestiary compilers form the name “vultur” out of “a volatu tardo” which means slow flight. The text describes the…

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The Vulture

Vulture
The Vulture Capital. Church in Chauvigny. XII century.

Swan

Swan /olon/ 10X7 cm The whole text is taken from Isidor /XII.VII.19/ who used a story by Pliny /X.23.32/. The swan is all white, and is called “olor” from the Greek “holos” which means “all”, since “Nobody has ever heard of a black swan”. The singing of the swan, already mentioned by Plato /Phedon 85…

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The Swan

Swan
The Swan Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 1, f. 30 v.

The Swan

Swan
The Swan Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 131, f. 33 v.

Crane

Crane /grus/ 10.2×6.9 cm The text originates from Isidor /XII.VII.14/ who quotes Lucan /Pharsalia,7.716/ and draws on writings by Pliny /23.80; X.29.42/ and Solinus /10.12— 16/, his story is also traceable to Aristotle /IX.614.B. 18/. In the text the chief emphasis is on the cranes’ strict orderliness in life; they fly in a strict line…

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The Crane

Crane
The Crane Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 1, f. 22