Tag: The Medieval Bestiary

  • Creation of Heaven and Earth

  • Creation of Firmament

    Creation of Firmament 9.6X8 cm

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • The Hoopoe

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

  • Fishes and sea animals

    Fishes and sea animals /pisces et animalia marina/ 9.9X13.5; 9.8X13.5 cm For the most part the vast text about fishes and sea animals is taken from Isidor /XII.VI.I—57/, who classed fishes into species by analogy with animals although the order of Isidor’s story is much more confused. Among fishes and sea animals mention is made […]

  • Crocodile

    Crocodile /cocodrillus/ 10.1 X 9 cm The impressive miniature featuring a fantastic monster, all bristled up as if it is about to rend its prey, illustrates the text describing the crocodile reappearing in the bestiary, this time in the section on reptiles. The text is taken from Isidor /XII.VI.19—20/ who drew on the knowledge provided […]

  • Dragon

    Dragon /draco major/ 10.1X7.7 cm Dating back to Pliny /VIII.II.ll —13/ and Solinus /25.10—13/, the story of the dragon strangling the elephant had come all through the Middle Ages /Isidor, XII.IV.4—5; Pseudo Hugh, 11.24; Guillaume le Clerc, 2221—2238; Albert the Great, XXV.II.27; Brunetto Latini, I.V.142/. The text of the bestiary is close to the description […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • The Viper

    The Viper Miniature. Manuscript of the LPL.Lat.Q.V. Ill, N 1, f. 49 v.

  • 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 […]

  • Asp Emorroris

    Asp Emorroris /emorroris, haemorris/ width 9.8 cm, height in tha smaller part 5.1 cm, height in the long part 12.2 cm The text is traced back to Isidor /XII.IV.15/ who drew on the story by Solinus /27.32/ and enlarged upon it, adding to it the story of the asp that was present in the “Physiologus” […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Salamandra

    Salamandra /salamandra/ height 7.7 cm, width at the bottom 9.1 cm, width at the top 7.6 cm The enigmatic salamandra, which does not burn in fire, is the most poisonous of all creatures. Its poison penetrates into growing fruits and contaminates water. Upon eating a fruit from a tree poisoned by the salamandra a man […]

  • 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 […]

  • Jaculus

    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/.

  • Seps and Dipsa

    Seps and Dipsa /seps et dipsa/ 10X3.2 cm The text, which includes quotations from Lucan, repeats the story by Isidor /XII.IV.31 —32/ and Albert the Great /XXV.II.21.52/. The venom of the seps penetrates right into the bones of a man bit by the snake, and the venom of the dipsa works so instantly that the […]

  • 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 […]

  • The Seps Relief.

    The Seps Relief. XII century Paris. The Louvre.

  • Saura — Sunlizard

    Saura — Sunlizard Miniature. Manus — cript of the LPL.Lat.Q.v .III, N 1, f. 49 Saura-Sunlizard /saura/ 10×2.5 cm The tale of the sunny lizard originated from the Greek “Physiologus”. As it grows old, the lizard creeps out through a chink in a fence overlooking the east. Upon turning its blind eyes to the rising […]

  • Stellio /stellio/ 10X2.2 cm

    The text about the stellio-triton is taken from Isidore /XII.IV.38/. Its skin is covered with star-like spots. Its appearance alone gets the scorpion stunned. Referring to Pliny and Avicenna, Albert the Great /XXV.II.48/ says that the antidote for the stellio’s poison is the meat of a scorpion.

  • Snakes /serpens/ medallion 5.2 cm in diameter

    The text about the three “natures” of the serpent is traced back to Greek “Physiologus”, though it does not include the traditional quotation from the Gospel /Matthew, 10:16/, and in the bestiaries of the 12th century it is placed in the section about snakes in keeping with the zoological classification that was taking shape in […]