Contents of the Manuscript
Judging by its contents, the number of chapters and by their 59 order, the Saint Petersburg Bestiary belongs to the transitional type of treatises on animals between “Physiologus” and the bestiaries of the thirteenth century.
The manuscripts of the transitional group (The following books make up the group of transitional manuscripts: 1) ms. 81, Morgan Library, New York; 2) Lat. Q.v.V. 1, S.P.L, Saint Petersburg; 3) Royal ms. 12.C.XIX, British Library, London (all of them belong to the end of the twelfth century); 4) the bestiary of Alnwich Gastle, the middle of the 13th century; 5) Royal 14,9 (884), XIII century, Trinity College Library, Cambridge; 6) Royal 2.B. 7th, 14th century, British Library, London (ff. 85—130 v. in the Psalter of Queen Mary) came as a result of the development of version “B” of Latin “Physiologus” which is most complete and is “enriched by additions from the writings by Isidor of Seville /version “B + Is”/. These manuscripts differ from Latin “Physiologus” by their manifest tendency for a zoological classification of the animal world, by their inclusion of new chapters from “Etimologiae” by Isidor and of the text of the sermon “Quocien-scumque peccator…” However, since the. material was derived from different sources, the chapters were still mixed up. They were properly arranged only in the manuscripts of the thirteenth century.
The manuscripts of the transitional type as well as versions “B” and “B-Ms.” of Latin “Physiologus” open with the description of the beasts of prey and not with the chapter on cattle to be found in Isidor and the bestiaries of the thirteenth century.
At the beginning of the manuscript the chapters are arranged in the order of version “B+Is.” or that of the first and third books on animals believed to be written in the Middle Ages by Hugh of St.Victor /later on referred to as Pseudo-Hugh/ and corresponding to the transitional second family of bestiaries.
Then come long extracts from Isidor, similarly arranged, stories about exotic animals derived from Solinus and interpolations from “Hexameron” by St.Ambrose. In the Saint Petersburg Bestiary the generally accepted sequence of chapters, typical of the version “B” manuscripts, is often broken by varions interpolations. Some chapters, though close to Isidor in content, are differently arranged, some follow the sequence of Pseudo-Hugh’s compilation, others approach the arrangement of “Etimologiae” but differ in content. The chapters on hydra and crocodile appear twice: in the section on beasts /ch. 9—10/ and in that on serpents /ch. 97/. The chapters on snakes, concluding the manuscript, follow Isidor’s arrangement. The material about fishes, derived from Isidor, is extremely disarranged. Interpolations from Genesis on the creation of the earth, the plants, the heavenly bodies, the Man and the animals serve as introduction to the Saint Petersburg Manuscript /ff. 1—4/. Then follows an extract from Isidor de Seville which provides an etymological explanation of the world “homo” /f. 4/ which Isidor derives from “ex humo” /of dust/ in accordance with the Biblical notion about a man being made out of dust /Genesis 2:7/. After a brief account of the story of Adam /ff. 4—4 v./ there follows a long text adopted from Isidor and devoted to the denomination of animals and the classification of the animal world /XII.I.I—8; XII.VII.l—9/ /ff. 5 v.—7/. Then follows an anonymous sermon “Quocienscumque peccator” “Whensoever the sinner wishes to please his Maker…” /ff. 7 v.—8/ moralizing on the basic spiritual features of Man, which are: a weeping of the heart, a true confession and a real penitence. After this introduction, long and heterogenous, though profoundly logical as it is, there follows the text of the bestiary proper. The chapters are arranged in the following order:

Lion Leo f. 9 v.
Antalop Antalops f. 10 v.
Onocentaur Onocentaurus f. 11 v.
Hedgehog Herinacius f. 11 v.
Fox Vulpes f. 12 v.
Unicorn Unicornis f. 13 v.
Beaver Castor f. 14 v.
Hyena Hyaena f. 15 v.
Hydra Hydrus f. 16 v.
Hydra Hydrus f. 17
Sirens Sirenes f. 18
Wild Goat Capra f. 19
Onager Onager f. 20
Apes Simia f. 20 v.
Satyr and Callitrix Satyrus et callitrix f. 21 v.
Panther Panthera f. 22
Elephant Elephas f. 24
(In the Saint Petersburg Bestiary the chapter on the diamond is put at the end of the chapter about the wolf). Wolf Lupus f. 26
Dogs Canis f. 28-29
Stag Cervus f. 31
Weasel Mustela f. 31 v.
Ant Formica f. 32 v.
Chamois Ibex f. 34
Fire Stones Lapides igniferi f. 34 v.
Ostrich Assida f. 35
Tiger Tigris f. 36
Pard and Leopard Pardus et leopardus f. 36 v.
Lynx Lynx f. 37
Griffon Gryphus f. 37 v.
Boar Aper f. 37 v.
Bonnacon Bonacon f. 38
Bear Ursus f. 38 v
Manticora Manticora f. 39 v
Parandrus Parandrus f. 40
Yale Eale f. 40
Sheep Ovis f. 40 v.
Ram Vervex f. 41
Lamb Agnus f. 41 v.
He-goat and Kids Hircus et haedi f. 41
Bullock Juvencus f. 42
Ox Bos f. 42 v.
Camel Camelus f. 43
Dromedary Dromedarius
Ass Asinus
Horse Equus
Cat Catus f. 45 v
Mouse Mus f. 46
Mole Talpa f. 46
Leucrota Leucrota f. 46 v
Eagle Aquila f. 47
Vulture Vultur f. 47 v
Swan Olor 48 v
Crane Grus f. 49
Parrot Psittacus f. 49 v. 63
Stork Ciconia f. 50
Haltion Halcyon f. 50 v.
Cinomolgus Cinnamolgus f. 51
Ercinee Hercinia f. 51 v.
Partridge Perdix f.52
Hawk Accipiter f. 52 v.
Magpie and Woodpecker Pica et picus f. 52 v.
Nightingale Luscinia f.53
Bats Vespertilio f. 53 v.
Raven Corvus f. 54
Crow Comix f. 54
Swallow Hirundo f. 55
Quail Coturnix f. 55 v.
Peacock Pavo f. 56
Cock Gallus f. 56
Duck and Goose Anas et anser f. 56 v.
Bees Apes f. 57
Caladrius Caladrius f. 59 v.
Pelican Pelicanus f. 60 v.
Eagle-Owl Noctua f. 61
Phoenix Phoenix f. 61 v.
Hoopoe Epopus f. 62 v.
Ibis Ibis f. 63
Coot Fulica f. 64
Partridge Perdix f. 64 v.
Turtle-dove Turtur f.65 . 66
Dove Columbus f. 67 v.
Peridexion Tree Arbor peridexion f. 69
Amos the prophet Amos propheta f. 69 v.
Sea pigs Porci marini f.70
Serra — flying fish Serra f. 71
Whale Aspidochelone f. 72 v. —73
Fishes and sea animals Pisces et animalia marina f. 75
Crocodile Cocodrillus f. 79
Dragon Draco major f. 80
Basilisk Basiliscus f. 80
Scorpion Scorpio f. 80 v.
Snakes Anguis f. 81
Viper-echidna Vipera f. 82 v.
Asp Aspis f.84
Asp Emorroris Emorroris f. 84 v.
Hydra Hydrus f. 84 v.
Lizard Lacerta f. 85 v.
Salamandra Salamandra f. 85 v.
Scitalis Scitalis f. 86 v.
Amphisbaena Amphisbaena f. 86 v. 65
Boa Boa f. 87
Jaculus Jaculus f. 87
Snake siren Sirena serpens f. 87
Seps and Dipsa Seps et dipsa f. 87 v.
Hypnale Hypnalis f. 87 v.
Saura-Sunlizard Saura f. 88
Stellio Stellio f. 88
Snakes Serpens f. 88 v.

The Saint Petersburg and the New York bestiaries have no chapters on the heron /ardea/, the sparrow-hawk /milvus/, the thrush /merula/, the rook /graculus/, the pearl oyster /mermecolion, margarita/, the frog /rana/, the spider /aranea/ which are often, though not always, to be found in other manuscripts on beasts of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Of the tales about stones, which are present in the early versions of “Physiologus”, these two manuscripts include a chapter on fire stones and a story of a diamond placed in the chapter about the wolf.