The Vulture Capital. Church in Chauvigny. XII century.
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…Details
The Swan Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 1, f. 30 v.
The Swan Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 131, f. 33 v.
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…Details
The Crane Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 1, f. 22
The Crane Miniature. Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford. ms.Ashmole 1511
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…Details
The Parrot Church capital XIII century
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…Details
The Stork. Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill N 1, f. 24
The Stork Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. I, N 134, f. 27
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…Details
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…Details
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…Details
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…Details
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…Details
Magpie and Woodpecker /pica et picus/ medallion 5.5 cm in diameter Following Isidore /XII.VII.46/ who quotes a line from the epigram by Martial /1.14.76/ in the chapter about the magpie, the bestiary compares the garrulous magpie with a poet, since the magpie utters the words as distinctly as a man during a recital does. The…Details
The Маgpie. Miniature. Bestiary °f the Bodleian Library. Oxford. ms.Ashmole 1511, f. 48 v
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…Details
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.…Details
Bats Relief of pews. Poitiers. XIII century
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…Details
The Raven Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 1, f. 14 v.
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…Details
The Swallow Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ш, N I, f. 23
The Swallow Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. I, N 131. f. 26
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.…Details
The Quail Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. I, N 131, f. 32.
The Quail Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 1, f. 29 v.
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…Details
The Peacock Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 1, f. 31
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,…Details
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…Details
The Cock Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. III. N 1, f. 16 v.
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.…Details
The Bees. Miniature. Miniature of the Bodlein Library. Oxford. ms Ashmole 1511 f.75 v.
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…Details
The Caladrius Miniature. Bestiary of the Bodleian Library. Oxford. N 764. f 63 v.
The Caladrius Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.LatQ.V. I, N 131, f. 30 v.
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…Details
The Pelican Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. III, N 1, f. 13
The Pelican Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. I N 131, f. 15
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…Details
The Eagle-Owl Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. III. N 1, f. 13 v.
The Eagle-Owl Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. I, N 131, f. 15
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,…Details
The Phoenix Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. I N 131, f. 31
The Phoenix Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. П1, N 1, f. 29
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…Details
The Hoopoe Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. I, N 131, f. 33
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…Details
The Ibis Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. III, N 1, f 34 v
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…Details
The Coot Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.LatQ.V. Ill, N 1, f. 34
/ 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…Details
The Partridge Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. I, N 131, f. 31 v.
Turtle-dove /turtur/ medallion 4.7 cm in diameter The chapter about the turtle-dove in Latin “Physio-logus” and in the bestiaries differs from that of the first Greek versions. It repeats the quotation from the Song of Solomon /Song 2:12/ about the voice of the turtle-dove foretelling the approach of spring but ascribes to her the qualities…Details
Dove /columbus/ 10.5×6 cm In the story of the dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit /John 1:32/, the bestiary follows the narration of “Physiologus” about the diversity of colours in the dove’s plumage comparing it with the diversity of means by which the Holy Spirit addresses himself to Man. The white doves seem to…Details