Lion

Lion /leo/ 9.7X5.5 cm Initial »B« with the figure of the Creator 3.6X4 cm Put at the beginning of the treatise on animals, the only initial of the manuscript in which capital letters are generaley simple and in no way rivaling the colourful miniatures, is adorned with the figure of the Creator as if announcing…

Details

Antalop

Antalop /antalops/ 9.4 х 6 cm The text on the antalop provides no clue for identifying it with the antelope we know. The text reproduces the narrative of “Physiologus” and is also given various intepretations in the writings by Pseudo-Hugh /II.2/, Pierre of Beau-vais /11.116/, Brunetto Latini /I.V.177/ and in the versed bestiaries of Philippe…

Details

Onocentaur

Onocentaur /onocentaurus/10X5.5 cm The onocentaur of the antique mythology was included in “Physiologus” due to the Greek translation of The Book of Isaiah, in which the prophet announced the destruction and fall of Babylon, on the ruins of which “wild beasts will lie down” /Isaiah 13:21 — 22/. Among them the Greek translation gives ovoxevTaupog…

Details

Hedgehog

Hedgehog /herinacius, ericius, echinus/ 9.3X3 cm According to Isaiah’s prophesy of the end of Babylon, the hedgehog is among the “unclean” animals /Isaiah 13:22, 34:1/. In “Physiologus” he is placed after the centaur. The text of the Saint Petersburg bestiary follows version “B” about the hedgehog “armed with spines” on which he sticks a bunch…

Details

The Fox

The Fox /vulpes/ Traditionally the fox is a symbol of cunning and guile. The text of the bestiary combines the description by Isidor /XII.2.29/ with the tale of “Physiologus”. The origin of the word “fox” /vulpis/ from “volubilis pedibus” /walking in circles”/ is borrowed from Isidor. The implication is that a fox makes those circuitous…

Details

Unicorn

Unicorn /unicornis, monoceros, rinoceros/ 9.8X6.6 cm “Unicorn is the best of all animals” says an old Russian song about the Dove’s Book. Indeed, the unicorn is most popular in the fantastic animal world; he has undergone all sorts of transformations during his legendary history. It is the most poetical image in the bestiary perceived by…

Details

Beaver

Beaver /castor, fiber/ 10×5.7 cm The story of the unfortunate beaver and his symbolic interpretation is in itself clear evidence of profound inner links between the naturalistic, the symbolic and the etymological elements in an animal as depicted in the bestiary. The story about the beaver is a combination of the text by Isidor with…

Details

Hyena

Hyena /hyaena, hyena/ 10.5X7 cm In the Middle Ages the hyena feeding on carrion was believed to be the most repulsive creature of all. The Old Testament refers hyena to unclean animals /Lev.II, Deuteronomy, 14/. The image of the hyena hovers above the ruins of Babylon /Isaiah, 13:22, 24/, though there is no mention of…

Details

Hydra

Hydra /hydrus, hydra/ 10X6.8 cm The bestiaries of the twelfth century and the text by Pseudo-Hugh (II.7) follow the story by Isidor /XII.IV.22, 23/ who continued the story in “Physiologus” about the unceasing hostility between the hydra and the crocodile living in the Nile. When the hydra saw the crocodile sleeping on the bank with…

Details

Hydra

Hydra /hydrus, hydra/ 10×4.6 cm The second chapter about the hydra reproduces the text about the hydra of Lerne by Isidor and repeats the story about the hydra’s fight with the crocodile. Such repetitions are not infrequent in medieval compilation since the latter derived material from several different sources. The inclusion of the second chapter…

Details

Sirens

Sirens /sirenes/ 10.1×7 cm “The sweet singing… of perilous sirens”, the fairy charms of which the ingenious Odysseys was lucky to escape, are viewed by the medieval mind as the incarnation of a worldly boon which is ruining human soul. In the course of their long, ages-old existence the treacherous and alluring sirens of the…

Details

Wild Goat

Wild Goat /capra/ 10.2×6 cm Built according to the heraldic symmetry, the miniature illustrates the story of a wild goat who lives in the high mountains and sometimes comes down to the valley. She is known to be very sharp-sighted. The text of the bestiary originates from the description and interpretations of Greek “Physiologus”, in…

Details

Onager

Onager /onager/ 10X6 см The text of the bestiary about the onager combines two narratives of Greek “Physiologus”, the one about the onager castrating his young offsprings “for them not to multiply”, and the other about the onager and the monkey registering time. “Physiologus” compares the onager castrating his young ones with the Apostles preaching…

Details

Apes

Apes /simia/ 10.2×6.2 cm In the Latin versions of “Physiologus” and in bestiaries the text about the ape follows the story of the onager. The story presented in the bestiary is in fact a combination of passages from Isidor with the symbolic interpretation of “Physiologus”, though it does not associate the features of the monkey…

Details

Panther

Panther /panthera, pantera/ 10X6 cm Panther is the loveliest of all animals in the medieval bestiary. She is gentle and beautiful. “Physiologus” spares no colours describing its bright coat, which he compares to the many-coloured robes of Joseph and the queen in gold of Ophir /Psalms, 44:10/. In the bestiary the story taken from “Physiologus”…

Details

Wolf

Wolf /lupus/ 10X5.5 cm The chapter about the wolf, missing in original “Physiologus”, is based on the information derived from Isidore /XII.II.23—24/, Pliny /VIII. 22.34/ and Solinus /2.36/ who described the wolf as a rapacious and greedy animal. The wolf has a big chest and strong jaws. He steals up to the sheepfold and catches…

Details

Dogs

Dogs /canis/ 10.2 X 6 cm; 10.2×2.5 cm; 10..2 X 6.5 cm In original “Physiologus” the chapter on dogs was omitted. In the bestiary the antique tales about the dogs collected by Pliny and Solinus are being revised and newly interpreted. The text of the bestiary includes passages originating from Isidor /XII.II.25—27/ and from St.…

Details

Stag

Stag /cervus/ 10.2X6.1 cm То the text derived from Isidor /XII.1.18—19/ the bestiary adds the narrative from “Physiologus” about the stag which drove a snake away from its hole and thus came to be associated with Christ defeating the dragon. The idea that the stag and the snake are enemies comes from Oppian /Cinegetica, II/…

Details