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

By Richard Barber

Bestiaries are a very attribute fabricated from medieval England, and provides a special perception into the medieval brain. Richly illuminated and lavishly produced, they have been luxurious gadgets for noble households. Their three-fold goal was once to supply a usual historical past of birds, beasts and fishes, to attract ethical examples from animal behaviour (the industrious bee, the obdurate ass), and to bare a paranormal which means - the phoenix, for example, as a logo ofChrist's resurrection. This Bestiary, MS. Bodley 764, was once produced round the heart of the 13th century and is of singular good looks and curiosity. The full of life illustrations have the liberty and naturalistic qualityof the later Gothic kind, and make spectacular use of color. This booklet reproduces the 136 illuminations to an identical dimension and within the related position because the unique manuscript, becoming the textual content round them. Richard Barber's translation from the unique Latin is a pride to learn, taking pictures either the intense rationale of the manuscript and its allure.

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

Sample text

The panther's bright colours remind us what Solomon said of Christ, who is the wisdom of God the Father: 'An understanding spirit, holy, one only, manifold, subtle, lively, clear, undefiled, plain, not subject to hurt, loving the thing that is good' [Wisdom 7:22]. It is a beautiful beast, just as David said of Christ: 'Thou art fairer than the children of men' [Psalm 45:2]. It is a tame beast, as Isaiah [Zechariah] said: 'Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee' [9:9].

Page 58 Bear Image not available The bear gets its Latin name 'ursus' because it shapes its cubs with its mouth, from the Latin word 'orsus'.

It is a tame beast, as Isaiah [Zechariah] said: 'Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee' [9:9]. As soon as He is sated, He conceals his true self in the mockery of the Jews, the floggings, blows, injustice, scorn and thorns; He is hung from the cross by His hands, pierced with nails, given gall and vinegar to drink and wounded with the lance. He falls asleep and rests in the grave, and descends to the underworld, where He chains the great dragon.

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