Bestiary: Being An English Version Of The Bodleian Library, Oxford M.S. Bodley 764

Bestiary: Being An English Version Of The Bodleian Library, Oxford M.S. Bodley 764 Download Bestiary%3A+Being+An+English+Version+Of+The+Bodleian+Library%2C+Oxford+M.S.+Bodley+764

Bestiary: Being an English Version of the Bodleian Library, Oxford M.S. Bodley 764

Bestiaries are a particularly characteristic product of medieval England, and afford insight into the medieval mind. Richly illuminated and lavishly produced, they were luxury objects designed for noble families. Their three-fold purpose was to provide a natural history of birds, beasts and fish; to draw moral examples from animal behaviour, like the industrious bee and the stubborn ass; and to reveal a mystical meaning, for instance, the phoenix as a symbol of Christ's resurrection. Bestiaries drew their inspiration from classical sources, to which were added very early Christianized versions of the work of natural historians. Thus, unreal animals and whimsical names derive from travellers' tales, from the symbolism of oriental art and from misunderstood observations of animal behaviour, giving form to the mysterious unicorn, the man-eating manticore and the phoenix-phenomenon of "anting" in birds. Mixed with this are descriptions of familiar and readily recognizable creatures. It is the combination of engaging text and a vividly depicted animal world, put together with an entirely serious purpose, that makes bestiaries objects of such fascination. This "Bestiary", MS Bodley 764 in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, was produced around the...

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