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

The Crane

Crane
The Crane Miniature. Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford. ms.Ashmole 1511

Parrot

Parrot /psittacus, psitacus/ 10.2X4.4 cm The text is taken partly from the story by Isidore /XII.VII.24/ and also makes use of the knowledge provided by Pliny /X.41.58/ and Solinus /52.43/. It is a green bird with a red collar which lives in India only. It imitates human speech and while it is young it can…

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The Parrot

Parrot
The Parrot Church capital XIII century

Stork

Stork /ciconia/ 10×6 cm The text which depicts the stork as an enemy of serpents and a herald of spring is taken from Isidor /XII.VIII.16—17/. The name “ciconia” is an ono-matopoec word as it imitates the sound produced by storks. It is first mentioned by Ovid /Metamorphoses, VI.97/. Pliny says that old storks are looked…

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The Stork

Stork
The Stork. Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill N 1, f. 24

The Stork

The Stork Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. I, N 134, f. 27
Storks

Haltion

Haltion /halcyon/ medallion 6.1 cm in diameter The alcyon, the halcyon of romantic poetry and the “alkonost” of ancient Russian folklore, is a sea-bird. Halcyon was fabled by the ancient to have the power to charm winds and waves into calmness. In the middle of winter the bird lays eggs in coastal sand. For seven…

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Cinomolgus

Cinomolgus /cinnamolgus/ 8.7 X 14 cm Though the miniature showing the bird is placed next to the text about the halcyon and later the word “alciona” was written on the margins, it is a traditional illustration to a chapter about the cinomolgus given on f.51 v of the Saint Petersburg bestiary. The cinomolgus is an…

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Ercinee

Ercinee /hercinia, ercinee/ medallion 6.8 cm diameter The text is the exact repetition of the story by Isi-dor /XII.VII.31/. The ercinee is the bird of the German forests, her feathers shine so brightly that even in darkness they are dazzling. The bird is mentioned by Pliny /X.47.67/ and Solinus /20.3/ Pseudo-Hugh devotes a whole chapter…

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Partridge

Partridge /perdix/ medallion 5.4 cm in diameter The text is fairy similar to that to Pseudo-Hugh /III.32/. It tells about the partridge stealing eggs from other birds’ nests. The miniature is somewhat different from most miniatures in the bestiary. The thick colour layer, the bold black line, the use of colours that are rare in…

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Hawk

Hawk /accipiter/ medallion 5.7 cm in diameter The text repeats Isidor’s story /XII.7.55—56/ about a bird of prey better equipped in spirit than in its talons. He does not distinguish between a hawk and a falcon, deriving its name “accipiter” from “accipiendo, accipio” which means “to seize”. The story tells us about the courage of…

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The Маgpie

Маgpie
The Маgpie. Miniature. Bestiary °f the Bodleian Library. Oxford. ms.Ashmole 1511, f. 48 v

Nightingale

Nightingale /luscinia, lucinia, lucina/ medallion 5.5 cm in diameter The ancient writers /Pliny, X.29.43/ and the medieval ones /St.Ambrose, V.12.39; Isidor, XII.VII.37; Psuedo-Hugh III.33/ as well as New European men of letters, especially poets, are unanimous in praising the wonderful singing of the nightingale. The text, originating from St.Ambrose and Isidor, relates the story of…

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Bats

Bats /vespertilio/ 10X6.3 cm Following Isidor /XII.VII.36/ in the bestiary “vespertilio” is derived from “vesper” /evening/. The writer seems a little surprised by the strange creature when he repeats the story by Isidor saying that these “mean creatures” have wings and four legs, and they do not lay eggs but bring forth the living young.…

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Bats

Bat
Bats Relief of pews. Poitiers. XIII century

Raven, Crow

Raven /corvus, corax/ medaUion 5.4 cm in diameter Repeating Isidore /XII.VII.43/ the bestiary indicates that the name „corvus” comes from the croaking sound of the raven’s voice. It is said to be a bird which refuses to feed his children until black feathers grow on them and he recognizes in them his younglings. The belief…

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The Raven

Raven
The Raven Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 1, f. 14 v.

Swallow

Swallow /hirundo/ medallion 3.2 cm in diameter The tale of a swallow comes to us from Isidor /XII. VII.70/ and not from original “Physiologus”. Isidor explains the meaning of “hirundo” by the fact that the bird takes food while on the wing, that is in the air /haerendo, aerendo/. The swallow flies in circles and…

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The Swallow

Swallows
The Swallow Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ш, N I, f. 23

The Swallow

Swallow
The Swallow Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. I, N 131. f. 26

Quail

Quail /coturnix/ medallion 3.5 cm in diameter The text is borrowed from Isidor /XII.VI.64—66/ who says that the Greek called the bird “ortygia” because quails were first seen on the island of Ortygia /Delos/ and describes the quails’ flying across the sea. While the flock is flying, the birds guard their leader against a falcon.…

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The Quail

Quail
The Quail Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. I, N 131, f. 32.

The Quail

Quail
The Quail Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 1, f. 29 v.

Peacock

Peacock /pavo/ 10X5.7 cm The tale of the peacock given in the bestiary is remote from the late Greek versions of “Physiologus”. Many antique descriptions of the peacock /Varron, V.75; Aelian 111.42/ and early Christian ones “Patro-logia Graeca” v. XLIII, p. 527/ are not used in it either. The image of the peacock associated with…

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The Peacock

Peacock
The Peacock Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 1, f. 31

Cock

Cock /gallus/ medallion 5 cm in diameter The text follows the story by Isidor /XII.VII.50/ and includes interpolations from St.Ambrose’s “Hexa-meron” /V.24.88/. The cock is named “gallus” after the emasculated priets of Cybele. The crowing of a cock wakes the sleeping, forewarns the anxious, consoles travellers. On hearing the cock the robber leaves his wiles,…

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Duck and Goose

Duck and Goose /anas et anser/ medallion 4 cm in diameter The text is taken from Isidore /XII.VII.51—52/ who explains the name “anas” by the bird’s capacity for constant swimming /ab assiduitate natandi/, “anser” — by its likeness to the duck. The story of the goose announcing the night hours by cackling and his ability…

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The Cock

Cock
The Cock Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. III. N 1, f. 16 v.

Bees

Bees /apes/ 9.5X4.5 cm The story of the bees is one of the fullest in the bestiary. Accounts from Pliny /XI.5.4—20.23/, St.Ambrose /V.58.21—70/, Isidor /XII.VIII.I/ the medieval compilers, Pseudo-Hugh among them /III.38/, describe their way of life, their art of making honey, the construction of their hives, the laws and customs of the bees’ kingdom.…

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The Bees.

Bees.
The Bees. Miniature. Miniature of the Bodlein Library. Oxford. ms Ashmole 1511 f.75 v.

Caladrius

Caladrius /caladrius/ 10.5X6 см Caladrius — charadrius in Deuteronomy translated by St.Jerome /14:18/ — is one of the most mysterious birds of the medieval bestiary; it is a completely white bird. Its dung cures the blind. The caladrius can tell whether the patient is going to live or die: when the sickness is mortal, the…

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The Caladrius

The Caladrius Miniature
The Caladrius Miniature. Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford. N 764. f 63 v.

The Caladrius

Caladrius
The Caladrius Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.LatQ.V. I, N 131, f. 30 v.

Pelican

Pelican /pelicanus, onocrotalus/ 10.2X5.8 cm The Latin versions of the text about the pelican take rise in the Greek version. The bestiary, like version “B” of Latin “Physiologus”, opens the tale of the pelican with the quotation of the woebegone psalmist compared to a pelican in the desert /Psalms 101:7/. When the pelican younglings have…

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The Pelican

Pelican
The Pelican Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. III, N 1, f. 13

The Pelican

Pelican
The Pelican Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. I N 131, f. 15

Eagle-Owl

Eagle-Owl /noctua, nycticorax/ medallion 5 cm in diameter In the bestiary, like in the old Latin versions of “Phy-siologus”, the story of the eagle-owl follows the story of the pelican since the former is mentioned in the psalm of the same woebegone psalmist /”I am … like an owl of the waste places …, Psalms…

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The Eagle-Owl

Miniature
The Eagle-Owl Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. III. N 1, f. 13 v.

The Eagle-Owl

Eagle-Owl
The Eagle-Owl Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. I, N 131, f. 15

Phoenix

Phoenix /phoenix, fenix/ two medallions 4.1 cm in diameter each The legend of the phoenix, which originated in the sphere of ancient oriental symbolism, occupies pride of place in Greek and Latin culture and is widely interpreted by medieval writers (Hubaux J., Levy M. Le Mythe du fenix dans les litteratures greque et latine. Liege,…

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The Phoenix

Phoenix
The Phoenix Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. I N 131, f. 31

The Phoenix

Phoenix
The Phoenix Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. П1, N 1, f. 29

Hoopoe

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…

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The Hoopoe

The Medieval Bestiary
The Hoopoe Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. I, N 131, f. 33

The Hoopoe

Hoopoe
The Hoopoe Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. III, N 1, f. 30

Ibis

Ibis /ibis, ibex/ 10X5.8 cm Ibis, which the bestiary mistakingly calls “ibex” taking it for a chamois, is one of the foulest birds. Isidor /XII.VII.33/ takes his information from Pliny /X.28.40; VIII.27.41/ and Aelian /X.29/ when he says that the bird feeds on cadavers and snakes’ eggs which he also brings to his younglings. The…

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The Ibis

Miniature
The Ibis Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. III, N 1, f 34 v

Coot

Coot /fulica/ medallion 6.2 cm in diameter The early Latin versions of “Physiologus” did not distinguish between a heron and a coot /version “Y” says: “Herodius id est fulica”/- Version “B”, which the bestiary adheres to ascribes the qualities of the heron to the coot, while the heron itself is given other features. In the…

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The Coot

Coot
The Coot Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.LatQ.V. Ill, N 1, f. 34

Partridge

/ medallion 4 cm in diameter Following version “В” of Latin “Physiologus” the bestiary expands the symbolic interpretation of the partridge and adds to it some information from Isidor /XII.VII.63/ and St.Ambrose /VI.3.13/both of whom obviously proceeded from Pliny /X.33.51/. Telling us about the bird’s cunning and malice the bestiary refers to the indication made…

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