lupus
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 sheep. The wolf’s eyes shine at night like lamps. His neck is never able to turn back. If he is the first to see the man in the forest the man would be dumbfounded, but if the wolf is seen first, he loses all his strength. The bestiary gives a lengthy interpretation of each feature of the wolf’s nature, it associates him with the Devil prowling round the flock of the faithful. The bestiary advises the man on how to escape the wolf’s jaws. If on encountering a wolf the man is so smitten with fear that he can neither call for help nor run, let him then take off his clothes to be trampled underfoot and pick up two stones which he must beat together. Seeing this, the wolf, losing all courage, will run away. The clothes taken off is the sin, the two stones are the apostles, or prorhets, or Christ. The mention of the stones symbolizing the Saviour might have prompted the compilers of the Saint Petersburg and New York manuscripts to include the text about the diamond into the chapter on the wolf though in “Physiologus” and in many bestiaries of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries a separate chapter is devoted to the diamond. The story of the diamond is hardly connected with the original text of “Physiologus”, though it preserves its symbolism in associating the hardness of the diamond with the staunchness of Christ resisting all evil. The story contains numerous references to the Holy Writ mentioning the diamond /Amos, 7:7,8; Dan., 10:5; Corinthians (2), 11:2; St.John, 4; Psalms 18:29; Corinthians (1), 15:55; Timothy (1), 3:16 and others/ The description of the diamond from Isidor /XVI.13.2—3/ and Pseudo-Hugh /11.34/ can be traced to Pliny /XXXVII.4.15/. Philippe de Thaun and Guillaume le Clerc do not have the chapter on the wolf but they give quite a detailed description of the diamond. /Philippe, 2894—2922; Guillaume, 3333—3362/ though they mistook the properties of the magnet for those of the diamond. Richard de Fournival and the author of the “Bestiary of Love in Verse” /252,355,1416/ compare the wolf’s insatiability with the state of a man in love. Pierre of Beauvais repeats the tales about the wolf /IV.71/ and about the diamond /IV.65/. Brunetto Latini gives a brief description of the wolfs qualities /I.V.192/.
The illustration of the tale about the wolf is one of the most expressive miniatures of the bestiary. It conveys the essential features of the wolf’s nature.