The medieval book “The Bestiary” describes the different characteristics of animals that are based of ideas which are unreal and only typical to this book. These typical characterizations of animals could only be found in this book. Some of these descriptions illustrate the ideas that elephants could be afraid of mice or there could be existence of deceptive foxes. In recent days, the book is not very popularly known to people but some of the concepts and techniques used in modern day movies come from the ideas illustrated in this book. The concept of magical beast in the series of Harry Potter is directly extracted from this book. There are other descriptions of different animals such as unicorns, phoenixes, basilisks and centaurs which are included in this book.
The bestiary is a medieval book which is also referred to as the medieval encyclopaedia that identifies as well as defines a selective group of plants, animals and precious stones. Existence of some of these groups could be really found in the real world while some of the ideas are imaginative of the author. The entries given in the book generally describes the physical appearance of these groups of plants and animals. The books also describes the characteristic that an animal is supposed to have and also defines some of the moral qualities of these animals. The other parts of the book shows certain illustrations. The bestiaries were created long before the discovery of printing press. As a result, the bestiaries have been copied by hand and are time and place had been different for different copies. As a result these books show a wide range of variations.
Each entry in the Bestiary lacks some of the scientific information that might be entertaining to the readers. The bestiary describes a beaver as a gentle soft animal who has testicles in its body which could be valuable for medicinal purposes. If there is some kind of sensation that strikes the beaver that its enemies are trying to hunt, the beaver itself bites off his testicles and try to throw them at the direction of its enemies to save its own life. Even after doing this there is always a chance of the beaver that it would get hunted by the enemies. In such cases, the beaver stands on its hind legs in order to fake it to the hunter that there no presence of testicles in its body which would automatically keep the hunter away and prevent him from hunting the beaver. The bestiary further provides a text in the favour of Christian moralisation stating that the each man who would heed God’s commandment and wants to live chastely should cut off all the vices and the acts which are shameless and should cast them from him into the face of the devil.
There are several components that make up the bestiary. The bulk of texts used in the book comes from a second century Greek text which is named as “Physiologus” and written by anonymous author. There is presence of other relevant comments which are created by ancient authors such as Aristotle, Herodotus, Aelian, Pliny the Elder, and many others. A significant portion of the text is extracted from different works such as “The Etymologiae of Isidore of Seville, the late fifth and sixth century Archbishop”. These texts also include certain other materials such as Christian commentary and moralisations.
The beginning of bestiary constitute of the retelling of the creation story adapted from Genesis. Another important event that has been marked in the book is the presence of Adam who had been recognised as the first man and who had named all the animals. It was firmly believed by Adam that an etymological study of the name of each animal would be used to reveal important features as well as nature of each animal. The content of the Bestiary could be found in many texts of the medieval times, starting from sermons to stories, The part of bestiary focussing on these texts had been the moralisations on the animals. Another piece which has extracted the ideas used in Bestiaries have been “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” which was written by Chaucer. This is an animal story from the Canterbury Tales. The main characters used in this story are sly, a fox which is deceptive and chanticleer, a rooster who is foolish as well as egoistic.
The bestiary had been a tremendously famous book which had been written in the Middle Ages and there had been sale of 130 copies in the medieval ages. The copies came from all around the Western Europe. The earliest manuscripts were dated from the tenth century and many of these manuscripts have survived from the thirteenth and fourteenth century. The drawings and the illustrations shown in the book have been done by artists who never had the chance of seeing a relevant valid animal. From the imagination of these artists the illustrations, drawings and the diagrams are done in the book. The guidance that these artists used has been the physical descriptions of these animals. The text used in Bestiary has been very influential and these texts are used as models for animals in different kinds of illustrations such as manuscript illustrations, stone carving, painting in the walls, glasses that are stained and other media.
The bestiary includes all forms of animals ranging from the unicorn who is considered to be noble to the hedgedog who is considered to be humble and many other animals counting to over hundreds of variations. The lion has been the first animal to appear in the bestiary and he had been considered to be the king or ruler of all the beasts. This concept had been such widely known that it had become the basis of all the movies made in the name of Disney movies after hundreds of years. The bestiary was considered to be the closest thing to the encyclopedia of the natural medieval history that explained the habitats, the scientific classifications or eating preferences of animals and creatures.
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