Snakes

Snakes /anguis/ 10×2.6 cm The introductory text about snakes was borrowed from Isidor /XII.IV.1.—3/. They are called “anguis”, a modification of “angulosus” /bent/, “coluber” because a snake looks for a shade /colat umbras/ or “serpens” because it sneaks or creeps /serpit/ to an object. Snakes vary in shape and colour. The miniature pictures two intertwined…

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Viper-echidna

Viper-echidna /vipera/ 10X5.7 cm Although the story of the viper-echidna is traced back to the tales of the original “Physiologus”, the bestiary mainly follows the description by Isidor /XII.IV. 10—11/, deriving the name from the word “vis” /force, violence/, as the birth of a viper is accompanied by violence /generatio viperarum/ /Matthew, 3:7/. The Greek…

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Asp

Asp /aspis/ 10.1X7.2 cm The borrowings from the text by Isidore /XII.IV.12/ are joined together in the bestiary with the story of the asp from the “Physiologus”, a development of what had been written about the asp in the chapter about the weasel, which later in the Latin versions grew into a separate chapter. In…

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Hydra

Hydra /hydrus/ 10X6.1 cm The text repeats the description by Isidor /XII.IV. 22—23/ and is close to the text of ff.l6v. and 17. The miniature pictures a crocodile swallowing a hydra, but the crocodile on the miniature largely differs from the fantastic bristled-up animal drawn on ff.75 and 16 v. where it is shown lying…

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The Lizard

The Lizard Relief. Church in Saint-Denis. XII century Lizard /lacerta/ medallion 5.4 cm in diameter The text, which was borrowed from Isidor /XII. IV.34—35/, enumerates several kinds of lizards. Listed among them are salamandras, tritons and frogs. The early Latin versions of the “Physiologus” included the tale about the sunny lizard /saura/ in the chapter…

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Scitalis

Scitalis /scitalis/ 10.1 X5.2 cm The text of the bestiary and that of Pseudo-Hugh /11.43/ is a borrowing from Isidor /XII.IV.19/ who qouted Lukan /Pharsalia, IX, 717/ and repeated Solinus /27.29/. The scitalis is distinguished for the beauty of its spotty skin. It never follows its prey but waits until the prey, charmed by its…

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Amphisbaena

Amphisbaena /amphisbaena, amphivena/ medallion 5.7 cm in diameter The text is taken from Isidor /XII.IV.20/ who quoted Lucan /Pharsalia, IX.719/ and used the description by Pliny /VIII.23.35/. The amphisbaena has two heads: one where it belongs and the other in the tail-end. This enbles it to move in any direction without turning back. Its eyes…

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Boa

The Medieval Bestiary
Boa /boa/ 10.1 X2 cm
The text about the boa was taken from Isidor /XII. IV.28/ drawing on the information provided by Pliny /VIII.14.I4/. The same text is adhered to by Pseudo-Hugh /111.45/ and Albert the Great /XXV. 11.14/. The boa habitates in Italy, it follows herds of cattle and feeds on cow milk.

Jaculus

The Medieval Bestiary
Jaculus /jaculus/ 10X1.8 cm
The text about the jaculus, the snake jumping down from a tree on animals passing by, was taken from Isidor /XII.IV.29/ who used the writings by Pliny /VIII.23.35/ and Aelian /VI.18/ and quoted Lucan /Pharsalia, 18.720/. It is repeated by Pseudo-Hugh /111.46/ and Albert the Great /XXV.II.32/.

Hypnale

Hypnale /hypnalis/ 10.3X3.7 cm The text is taken from Isidor /XII.IV.13—14/. This snake is in the same species with the dipsa. A person bit by the hypnale falls asleep and then dies. This was how Cleopatra died. The hypnal is mentioned by Pseudo-Hugh /11.30/, Albert the Great /XXV.II.33/ and Philippe de Thatin in the section…

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