The Medieval Bestiary
Crocodile /cocodrillus/ 10.1 X 9 cm
The impressive miniature featuring a fantastic monster, all bristled up as if it is about to rend its prey, illustrates the text describing the crocodile reappearing in the bestiary, this time in the section on reptiles. The text is taken from Isidor /XII.VI.19—20/ who drew on the knowledge provided by Pliny /VIII.25. 37/ and derived the name “cocodrillus” from “crocus”, meaning saffron, the colour of crocodile skin. The crocodile lives in the Nile, the story tells us. Its teeth are sharp. It spends its nights in water and in the daytime it plays on the river bank. The she-crocodile lays eggs and digs them in the sand. A similar description of the crocodile is to be found in writings by Pseudo Hugh /II.8/ and Albert the Great /XXIV. 1.32/ where the crocodile is described as a big lizard.