Download PDF by Richard Barber: Bestiary: being an English version of the Bodleian Library,

By Richard Barber

Bestiaries are a very attribute fabricated from medieval England, and provides a distinct perception into the medieval brain. Richly illuminated and lavishly produced, they have been luxurious items for noble households. Their three-fold function was once to supply a traditional historical past of birds, beasts and fishes, to attract ethical examples from animal behaviour (the industrious bee, the obdurate ass), and to bare a magical which means - the phoenix, for example, as an emblem ofChrist's resurrection. This Bestiary, MS. Bodley 764, used to be produced round the center of the 13th century and is of singular attractiveness and curiosity. The vigorous illustrations have the liberty and naturalistic qualityof the later Gothic sort, and make fabulous use of color. This e-book reproduces the 136 illuminations to a similar measurement and within the similar position because the unique manuscript, becoming the textual content round them. Richard Barber's translation from the unique Latin is a pride to learn, shooting either the intense reason of the manuscript and its allure.

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Additional info for Bestiary: being an English version of the Bodleian Library, Oxford M.S. Bodley 764 with all the original miniatures reproduced in facsimile

Example text

Then the great elephant came, namely the Law, and could not help him to rise, any more than the priest could help the man who fell among thieves [Luke 10:30]. And even the twelve elephants (that is, all the prophets) could not help him, like the Levite and the wounded man of whom we spoke. But the cunning elephant, that is our Lord Jesus Christ, although He was greatest of all, became very small, in that He humbled Himself before death, in order to raise mankind up, a true compassionate Samaritan who set the man who had fallen among thieves on his beast of burden.

They are hairy almost all over, and are different from the others. They have beards and broad tails. They are not difficult to catch, but difficult to keep alive. They can only live under their native Ethiopian sky. Deer Image not available Page 51 The Latin name for deer, 'cervi', comes from the Greek 'ceraton', horns. Stags are the enemies of serpents: as soon as they feel the symptoms of illness, they entice snakes out of their holes with the breath of their noses, and overcoming their harmful poison, feed on them and are cured.

Writes our compiler. I have translated Physiologus as 'the naturalists', because the Page 9 Physiologus represents a Christian version of the accumulated knowledge of the natural historians of the ancient world. The Greek text of the Physiologus was put together in Alexandria, the home of knowledge par excellence where pagan and Christian learning met and mingled, at some time between the second and fifth centuries AD. The inheritance of the Classical world was, so to speak, frozen, or rather, preserved in a kind of Christian aspic, until the Renaissance; the recorded habits of the beasts were fixed as unwavering traditions, and only the commentary varied.

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