epopus, upupa
Hoopoe /epopus, upupa/ medallion 4.7 cm in diameter
By medieval tradition hoopoe is an “unclean” bird /Isidor, XII.VII. 66/ but it is noted for its love and affection for its parents. The birds, when they grow up, preen the feathers of the parents and keep them warm as if wishing to thank them for being raised. The interpretation of the text about the hoopoe, originating from the biblical text and the story of the hoopoe’s respect for its parents /Exodus 20:12; Exodus 21:17/, is complemented in the bestiaries and in “Physiologus” by a moralization setting the man the example of the hoopoe, its kindness and consideration. In the “Hexaemeron” Basil the Great relates the story of the hoopoe’s love for his parents to the stork /Patrologie Graeca, v.VIII.p.176/. “Aviarium” /52/, deriving its interpretation from Hrabanus Maurus, treats it as an unclean repulsive bird feeding on cadavers and living by bodily interests only. The lengthy poetical moralizations by Phillipe de Thaiin /2575—2604/, Guillaume le Clerc /821 — 870/ and Gervasius /989—1002/ originate from the remonstrations of “Physiologus”. Albert the Great /XXXII.I.112/ and Brunetto Latini /I.V.166/ preserved the story of the hoopoe.