A catalogue of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and selected Oxford colleges

MS. Bodl. 764

Summary Catalogue no.: 2543

The Bodley bestiary

Contents

Language(s): Latin with some Greek; a few added Middle English annotations.

(fols. 1r–137r)
Bestiary

An illuminated bestiary related to London British Library, Harley MS. 4751; Aberdeen, University Library, MS. 24; and MS. Ashmole 1511.

Classified as part of the ‘second family’ of bestiaries, as devised by M. R. James and revised in W. B. Yapp, ‘A New Look at English Bestiaries’, Medium Ævum 54, no. 1 (1985): 1–19, who classifies MS. Bodl. 764 with Harley MS. 4751 as ‘subfamily IIC’. Willene B. Clark, A Medieval Book of Beasts (2006), edits London, British Library, Add. MS. 11283 (subfamily IIB). The Bodley manuscript is a longer text with chapters in a different order. Sources are noted below where the text is different from Clark’s. Though Clark labels the longer form an interpolated text, the relationship between different versions has yet to be established; see Ilya Dines, ‘The Problem of the Transitional Family of Bestiaries’, Reinardus 24 (2012): 29–52.

(fol. 1r–v)
Adam names the animals
Incipit: Omnibus animantibus adam primus uocabula indidit
Explicit: greges uero caprarum et ouium.

Clark, ch. 32.

(fols. 3r–4v)
Lion
Incipit: Bestiarum uocabulum proprie conuenit leonibus
Explicit: rex quidam plurimorum dedignatur consorcium.
Incipit: Phisici dicunt leonem tres principales naturas habere
Explicit: set dilaniatas exnimant pedum nisibus.

Clark, ch. 1.

(fols. 5r–6r)
Lioness
Incipit: Leene nomine mens humana designatur
Explicit: que in nobis sint flenda discamus.

Garnier de Saint-Victor, Gregoriarum 18.134–136 (expanding on Gregory, Moralia in Iob 9.56–57).

(fol. 7r)
Tiger
Incipit: Tigris uocata propter uolucrem fugam.
Explicit: et uindictam amittit et prolem.

Clark, ch. 2.

(fols. 7v–9r)
Panther
Incipit: Est animal quod dicitur pantera
Explicit: intrinsecus se mouentibus catulis.

Clark, ch. 4.

(fol. 9r–v)
Antelope
Incipit: Est animal quod dicitur autalops accerimum nimis.
Explicit: homines a deo.

Clark, ch. 5.

(fol. 10r)
Pard and leopard
Incipit: Pardus est genus uarium ac uelocissimum
Explicit: ad ueritatem fidei conuertuntur.

Clark, ch. 3; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.1.

(fols. 10v–11r)
Unicorn
Incipit: Unicornis qui et rinoceros a grecis dicitur
Explicit: uulneratum prosternit.

Clark, ch. 6.

(fol. 11v)
Lynx
Incipit: Linx dicta quia in luporum genere numeratur.
Explicit: et ceteris prodesse poterant. inutiliter seruant.

Clark, ch. 7; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.1.

(fol. 12r)
Griffin
Incipit: Gripes uocatur. quod sit animal pennatum et quadrupes.
Explicit: uisos discerpit.

Clark, ch. 8.

(fol. 12r–14r)
Elephant
Incipit: Est animal quod dicitur elephans
Explicit: uulneratosque in medium receptant.

Clark, ch. 9; Caius Iulius Solinus, Collectanea rerum memorabilium 25.7.

(fol. 14r–v)
Beaver
Incipit: Est animal quod dicitur castor mansuetum nimis.
Explicit: Castor dicitur a castrando.

Clark, ch. 10.

(fol. 15r)
Ibex
Incipit: Est animal quod dicitur ibex
Explicit: lectionis attestatione sustentant.

Clark, ch. 11.

(fols. 15r–16r)
Hyena and crocotta
Incipit: Est animal quod dicitur yena in sepulcris mortuorum habitans.
Explicit: naturaliter capsularum modo clauditur.

Clark, ch. 12.

(fol. 16r–v)
Bonnacon
Incipit: In asia animal nascitur quod bonnacon dicitur.
Explicit: noxia submouet insequentes.

Clark, ch. 13.

(fols. 16v–17r)
Ape
Incipit: Simie uocantur latino sermone
Explicit: ad feritatis obliuionem.

Clark, ch. 14.

(fol. 17v)
Satyr and callitrix
Incipit: Sunt et quos uocant satiros facie admodum grata
Explicit: hoc est sub celo.

Clark, ch. 15.

(fols. 18r–19v)
Stag
Incipit: Cerui dicti apotoy ceraton id est a cornibus.
Explicit: solida cacumina esse meruerunt.

Clark, ch. 16; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 13.1.

(fol. 20r–v)
Tragelaph
Incipit: Tragelaphi a grecis nominati qui dum eadem specie sint ut cerui uillosos
Explicit: secundum carnem orginem duxit.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fols. 20v–21r)
Goat
Incipit: Est animal quod latine dicitur caper. eo quod captet aspera.
Explicit: appropinquat qui me tradet.

Clark, ch. 17.

(fols. 21v–22r)
Roe deer
Incipit: Caprea has habet naturas
Explicit: et peccatum ignsoscit.

Clark, ch. 18.

(fol. 22r)
Monoceros
Incipit: Est monoceros monstrum mugitu horrido.
Explicit: capi autem uiuus non potest.

Clark, ch. 19.

(fols. 22v–23v)
Bear
Incipit: Ursus fertur dictus quod ore suo formet fetus quasi orsus.
Explicit: et tollebat arietem de grege.

Clark, ch. 20; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.1.

(fol. 24r)
Leucrota
Incipit: In india nascitur bestia nomine leucrota.
Explicit: loquentium sonos emulatur.

Clark, ch. 21.

(fols. 24r–25r)
Crocodile
Incipit: Crocodrillus a croceo colore dictus gignitur in nilo flumine.
Explicit: tunc omnis ille decor laudis uelut fumus euanescit.

Clark, ch. 22.

(fol. 25r–v)
Manticor
Incipit: In india nascitur bestia que manticora dicitur.
Explicit: nec obstacula latissima.

Clark, ch. 23.

(fol. 25v)
Parandrus
Incipit: Ethiopia mittit bestiam parandrum nomine boum magnitudine. ibico uestigio. ramosis cornibus. capite ceruino ursi colore. et pariter uillo profundo.
Explicit: quem alium modum preferat.

Clark, ch. 24.

(fol. 26r–v)
Fox
Incipit: Vulpis dicitur quasi uolupis.
Explicit: partes uulpium erunt.

Clark, ch. 25; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.2.

(fols. 26v–27r)
Hare
Incipit: Lepus. leuipes quia uelociter currit.
Explicit: habere refugium.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.2.

(fols. 27v)
Cameleon
Incipit: Cameleon non habet unum colorem sed diuersa est uarietate conspersus
Explicit: hunc ethopia gignit.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.2.

(fols. 27v–28r)
Yale
Incipit: Est bestia que dicitur eale
Explicit: acies succedat alterius.

Clark, ch. 26.

(fol. 28r–30r)
Wolf
Incipit: Lupus greca deriuacione in linguam nostram transfertur.
Explicit: et dimittit oues et fugit.

Clark, ch. 27; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.1.

(fol. 30v)
Dog I
Incipit: Canis nomen latinum grecam ethimologiam habere uidetur
Explicit: extra hominem esse non posse.

Clark, ch. 28; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.1.

(fol. 31r–v)
Dog II
Incipit: Legitur in tantum suos diligere dominos. ut Garamantem regem
Explicit: et sic falsitate repudiata⹎ inuenit ueritatem.

Clark, ch. 29.

(fol. 32r–34r)
Dog III
Incipit: Sepe eciam necis illate euidencia canes ad redarguendos reos indicia prodiderunt
Explicit: set quia illis non adquieuit hereditatem suam amisit.

Clark, chs. 30–31.

(fol. 34r–v)
Sheep
Incipit: Ouis molle pecus lanis corpore inerme
Explicit: mors depascet eas id est diabolus.

Clark, ch. 33; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fol. 35r–v)
Wether and ram
Incipit: Veruex uel a uiribus dictus quod ceteris ouibus sit fortior
Explicit: cum edis et agnis et arietibus.

Clark, ch. 34; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fols. 35v–36r)
Lamb
Incipit: Agnum quem greci uocant a potu agno quasi pium. latini autem ideo n hoc nomen habere putant.
Explicit: que est contemplatiue uite figura.

Clark, ch. 35; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fol. 36v)
Young goat
Incipit: Edi ab edendo uocati
Explicit: Numquam dedisti mihi edum ut cum amicis meis epularer.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fol. 37r)
He-goat and kid
Incipit: Hircus lasciuum animal et petulcum
Explicit: cum ueneris in regnum tuum.

Clark, ch. 36; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fols. 37v–38v)
Sow
Incipit: Sus dicta quod pascua subigat id est terra subacta escas inquirat.
Explicit: in uasis eorum. id est in cordibus eorum.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fols. 38v–39r)
Boar
Incipit: Aper a feritate uocatur ablata f littera et subrogata p
Explicit: agrestes auieque semper existunt.

Clark, ch. 37; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fols. 39v–40r)
Bullock and bull
Incipit: Iuuencus dictus quod iuuare incipiat hominum usus in terra colenda
Explicit: Tauri pingues obsederunt me.

Clark, ch. 38; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fol. 40r–v)
Ox
Incipit: Bouem greci boetem dicunt.
Explicit: os boui trituranti.

Clark, ch. 39; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fol. 41r)
Wild ox
Incipit: Bubali uocati sunt per deriuationem quod sint similes boum.
Explicit: Sed cum austeritate imperabatis eis et cum potentia.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fol. 41v)
Cow
Incipit: Vacca dicta quasi boacca.
Explicit: nec inuentus est dolus in ore eius.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fol. 42r–v)
Calf
Incipit: Vitulus et uitula a uiriditate uocati sunt
Explicit: tauri pingues obsederunt me.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fol. 43r–v)
Camel
Incipit: Camelis causa nomen dedit.
Explicit: Quicumque enim in cristo baptizati estis cristum induistis.

Clark, ch. 40; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fols. 44r–45r)
Ass
Incipit: Asinus et asellus a sedendo dictus.
Explicit: quorum carnes sunt ut carnes asinorum.

Clark, ch. 42; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fol. 45r–v)
Wild ass
Incipit: Onager interpretatur asinus ferus.
Explicit: leo rugiens circuit querens quem deuorat.

Clark, ch. 43; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fol. 46r)
Dromedary
Incipit: Dromedarius genus est camelorum minoris quidem stature sed uelocioris.
Explicit: reuocatur animalibus.

Clark, ch. 41.

(fol. 46r–48v)
Horse
Incipit: Equi dicti eo quod quando quadrigis iungebantur equabantur
Explicit: et factus est michi in salutem.

Clark, ch. 44; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fols. 49r–50r)
Mule
Incipit: Mulus autem ex greco tractum uocabulum habet.
Explicit: conclusi creatoris subdantur imperio.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 7.8.

(fol. 50v)
Badger
Incipit: Est taxus qui et melota dicitur.
Explicit: non absque intuencium admiratione trahuntur.

Gerald of Wales, Topographia Hibernica 1.25

(fol. 51r)
Cat
Incipit: Musio appellatus quod muribus infestus sit
Explicit: Vnde a greco uenit catus id est ingeniosus. apotoyragestai.

Clark, ch. 45.

(fol. 51r–v)
Mouse
Incipit: Mus pusillum animal grecum illi nomen est quicquid uero ex eo trahitur latinum sit.
Explicit: et predam de aliena substancia subripientes.

Clark, ch. 46; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.2.

(fol. 51v)
Weasel
Incipit: Mustela dicitur quasi mus longus. nam telon greci longum dicunt.
Explicit: ut in leuitico demonstratur.

Clark, ch. 47; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.2.

(fols. 51v–52r)
Mole
Incipit: Talpa dicta quod sit damnata cecitate perpetua et tenebris.
Explicit: dente malicie corrodere et subuertere conantur.

Clark, ch. 48; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.2.

(fol. 52r–v)
Dormouse
Incipit: Glires dicti sunt. quia pingues eos efficit sompnus.
Explicit: nullo modo cum iustis habebit.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.2.

(fols. 52v–53r)
Hedgehog
Incipit: Hericius animal est ex spinis coopertum. Quod exinde dicitur nominatum.
Explicit: petram cristum firmissimum noscitur habere refugium.

Clark, ch. 49; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.2.

(fol. 53v–54v)
Ant
Incipit: Formica dicta ab eo quod ferat micas farris.
Explicit: horreis propriis formica reuocauerit.

Clark, ch. 50; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.2.

(fol. 54v)
Frog
Incipit: Rane a garrulitate uocate.
Explicit: non desinunt. ut in exodo.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.2.

(fol. 55r–v)
Star lizard
Incipit: Est animal quod dicitur dea. quod dicitur salamandra grece. latine uero stellio.
Explicit: non uritur set etiam extinguit incendium.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.3.

(fols. 55v–57r)
The natures of birds
Incipit: Unum autem nomen auium. sed genus diuersum.
Explicit: per cristum dominum assumpti sunt. illa uero relicta.

Clark, ch. 51; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.6.

(fols. 57v–58r)
Eagle
Incipit: Aquila ab acumine oculorum uocata.
Explicit: plebere auis excusat clemencia.

Clark, ch. 52; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.6.

(fols. 58v–59v)
Barnacle goose
Incipit: Sunt in ybernia aues multe que bernace uocantur.
Explicit: solis quia raro accidit totus orbis obtupescit.

Gerald of Wales, Topographia Hibernica 1.15.

(fols. 59v–60r)
Osprey
Incipit: Aues quoque biformis nature sunt ibi multe quas aurifrigos uocant.
Explicit: animas tanquam pede rapaci predo cruentas rapit et dispergit.

Gerald of Wales, Topographia Hibernica 1.16.

(fol. 60r–v)
Kingfisher
Incipit: Sunt in hibernia auicule multe quas martinetas uocant merula minores.
Explicit: quociens sequentibus priora uincuntur.

Gerald of Wales, Topographia Hibernica 1.18.

(fol. 61r)
Coot
Incipit: Auis cui nomen fullica est que grece dicitur fene.
Explicit: quos nostros recognoscimus abdicamus.

Ambrose, Hexaemeron 5.61.

(fols. 61v–62r)
Vulture
Incipit: Vultur a uolatu tardo nominatus putatur
Explicit: futura preda uulturibus.

Clark, ch. 53; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.6.

(fol. 62r–v)
Crane
Incipit: Grues de propria uoce nomen sumpserunt. Tali enim sono susurrant.
Explicit: nam senectute nigrescunt.

Clark, ch. 54; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.6.

(fol. 63r)
Parrot (ring-necked parakeet)
Incipit: Sola india mittit psitacum
Explicit: paulo senior⹎ obliuiosus est et indocilis.

Clark, ch. 55; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.6.

(fols. 63v–64r)
Caladrius
Incipit: Caladrius sicut dicit physiologus totus est albus.
Explicit: quia leo rex ferarum est et aquila uolatilium.

Clark, ch. 56.

(fol. 64r–v)
Stork
Incipit: Ciconie uocate a sono quo crepitant quasi cicanie.
Explicit: quo sancta ecclesia in aduentu saluatoris congreganda erat in unum.

Clark, ch. 57; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.6.

(fols. 64v–65r)
Heron
Incipit: Ardea uocatur quasi ardua propter altos uolatus.
Explicit: exemplum salutis dat religiosis.

Hugh of Fouilloy, De avibus 52.

(fol. 65v–66r)
Swan
Incipit: Olor auis quam greci i cignum uocant
Explicit: in abyssum descendens fit cibus ignis.

Clark, ch. 58; Hugh of Fouilloy, De avibus 58.

(fol. 66v)
Ibis
Incipit: Est auis que dicitur ybis.
Explicit: manus suas⹎ superabat amalech.

Clark, ch. 59.

(fol. 67r–v)
Ostrich
Incipit: Est animal quod dicitur assida. quod greci stratecamelon uocant.
Explicit: populi sui in regno glorie sue.

Clark, ch. 60.

(fol. 67v)
Coot
Incipit: Est uolatile fulica satis intelligibile
Explicit: super mel et fauum suauissimis eloquis domini.

Clark, ch. 61.

(fols. 68r–69v)
Jackdaw
Incipit: Graculus a garrulitate nuncupatur.
Explicit: exeunt quia terrarum diuersitates norunt.

Hugh of Fouilloy, De avibus 50.

Annotation in the upper margin, ‘angli. a iaye’ (15th century).

(fols. 69v–70r)
Halcyon
Incipit: Alcion maritima auis est que in littoribus fetus suos edere solet.
Explicit: tempestatis horrescat.

Clark, ch. 62.

(fol. 70r–v)
Phoenix I
Incipit: Fenix arabie auis dicta quod colorem feniceum habeat.
Explicit: et tertia die resurrexit.

Clark, ch. 63.

(fols. 70v–71r)
Phoenix II
Incipit: Fenix quoque auis in locis arabie perhibetur degere.
Explicit: repleuit odore martirii.

Clark, ch. 64.

(fols. 71v–72r)
Cinamolgus
Incipit: Cinnomolgus et ipsa arabie auis proinde ita quod in excelsis nemoribus texit
Explicit: quam alia mercatores probent.

Clark, ch. 65.

(fol. 72r)
Waxwing
Incipit: Ercinee aues dicte ab ercinio saltu germanie ubi nascuntur.
Explicit: indicio plumarum fulgentium.

Clark, ch. 66.

(fol. 72v)
Hoopoe I (Epops)
Incipit: Auis que dicitur epops quando uiderit parentes eius senuisse et caligasse oculos eorum⹎
Explicit: quasi patricida et matricida.

Clark, ch. 67.

(fols. 72v–73r)
Pelican
Incipit: Pelicanus auis egytiaca habitans in solitudine nili fluminis
Explicit: uitam eternam.

Clark, ch. 68.

(fol. 73r–v)
Little owl and nycticorax
Incipit: Noctua dicitur eo quod nocte circumuolat.
Explicit: filii alieni. et cetera.

Clark, ch. 69.

(fol. 73v–74r)
Owl
Incipit: Bubo a sono uocis compositum nomen habet.
Explicit: Infelix ergo bubo est qui ea que prediximus operatur.

Hugh of Fouilloy, De avibus 49.

(fols. 74v–75r)
Siren
Incipit: Syrene sicut dicit phisiologus mortifera sunt animalia.
Explicit: aduersariorum auidissime prede.

Clark, ch. 70.

(fol. 75r)
Patridge I
Incipit: Perdix de uoce nomen habet.
Explicit: et se cristo commendant.

Clark, ch. 71.

(fols. 75v–76r)
Partridge II
Incipit: Nidificantur a perdicibus munitione sollerti.
Explicit: ut lateant deprehensi.

Clark, ch. 72.

(fol. 76r)
Magpie
Incipit: Pice quasi poetice quod uerba in discrimine uocis exprimant ut homo.
Explicit: sicut superius de graculo diximus.

Clark, ch. 73; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.6.

(fols. 76v–77r)
Hawk
Incipit: Accipiter auis animo plus armata quam ungulis.
Explicit: accipitrem renouata gentilitas designari.

Clark, ch. 74; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.6.

(fol. 77r)
The feathers of tame hawks
Incipit: Domesticis accipitribus quo melius plumescere debeant mitia ac tepentia requiruntur loca.
Explicit: ad desiderata celestia toto nisu mentis seipsum leuet.

Hugh of Fouilloy, De avibus 18.

(fol. 77v)
Carrying hawks on the left hand
Incipit: Accipiter in sinistra manu gestari solet.
Explicit: in melius sancti spiritus recipiet graciam.

Hugh of Fouilloy, De avibus 19.

(fol. 77v)
The perch of a hawk
Incipit: Pertica accipitris designat nobis rectitudinem uite regularis.
Explicit: uita que pie uiuentium rectitudinem uite portant.

Hugh of Fouilloy, De avibus 20.

(fols. 77v–78r)
The fetters of a hawk
Incipit: Quasi compedes in pedibus accipiter habere consueuit ne cum uoluerit exorta qualibet occasione euolare possit.
Explicit: ne ad optata progrediantur affectus animi ligat.

Hugh of Fouilloy, De avibus 21.

(fol. 78r)
The cord of a hawk
Incipit: Corrigia per quam accipiter in pertica ligatur est mortificatio carnis.
Explicit: Sed cum reuertitur eadem corrigia qua prius seipsum ligauit⹎ firmius postmodum se ligare peribetur.

Hugh of Fouilloy, De avibus 22.

(fol. 78r–v)
Bat
Incipit: Vespertilio animal ignobile a uespere nomen accepit.
Explicit: in hominibus huiusmodi reperitur.

Clark, ch. 76.

(fols. 78v–79r)
Nightingale
Incipit: Lucinia auis inde nomen sumpsit
Explicit: tamen eam sedulitate pietatis.

Clark, ch. 75.

(fol. 79r–v)
Raven
Incipit: Coruus siue corax nomen a sono gutturis habet
Explicit: Vox cantantis in fenestra⹎ coruus in superliminaribus eius.

Clark, ch. 77; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.6.

(fols. 79v–80r)
Crow
Incipit: Cornix annosa auis quod latinos greco nomine appellatur.
Explicit: substituti sunt inuidere.

Clark, ch. 78.

(fols. 80r–81r)
Dove
Incipit: Columba simplex auis est
Explicit: gressibus ad deum properamus.

Clark, ch. 79.

(fol. 81r–v)
Turtledove
Incipit: Turtur de uoce uocatur
Explicit: prima conubii sorte premissam.

Clark, ch. 80.

(fols. 81v–82v)
Swallow
Incipit: Hirundo dicta quod cibos non sumit residens
Explicit: lumina interempto uisui reformare.

Clark, ch. 81.

(fols. 82v–83v)
Quail
Incipit: Coturnices a sono uocis dictas quas greci ortigias uocant.
Explicit: iustus peccat tociens adicit ut resurgat.

Clark, ch. 82; Hugh of Fouilloy, De avibus 56.

(fols. 83v–84v)
Goose
Incipit: Anser uigilias noctis assiduitate clangoris testatur.
Explicit: nisi eas in aliquo nobis forte prodesse uellet.

Hugh of Fouilloy, De avibus 51.

(fol. 84v)
Peacock
Incipit: Pauo nomen de sono uocis habet.
Explicit: sicut et onocrotalus et ericius.

Clark, ch. 83; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.6.

(fol. 85r–v)
Hoopoe II (Upupa)
Incipit: Hupupam greci appellant. eo quod in stercoribus humanis considens⹎
Explicit: in necessitate cum senueriunt parentibus uicissitudinem reddat.

Clark, ch. 84; Hugh of Fouilloy, De avibus 57.

(fols. 85v–86r)
Cock
Incipit: Gallus a castratione uocatus.
Explicit: sed ex sententia domini lectio docet.

Clark, ch. 85.

(fol. 86v)
Hen
Incipit: Galline nomine sapientia dei designatur.
Explicit: et habitauit in nobis.

Garnier de Saint-Victor, Gregoriarum 2.77.

(fols. 86v–87r)
Duck and goose
Incipit: Anas ab assiduitate natandi nomen aptum accepit.
Explicit: custodiam suam bene uigilantes signficare potest.

Clark, ch. 86; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.6.

Annotation in the upper margin, ‘auis aquatica angli. a dukke’ (15th century).

(fols. 87v–88v)
Sparrow
Incipit: Passeres sunt minuta uolatilia.
Explicit: sed consuetudinum qualitate consimiles.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.6.

(fol. 89r)
Kite
Incipit: Siluus[sic]. mollis et uiribus et uolatu⹎
Explicit: milui abies domus eius.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.6.

(fol. 89r–91r)
The bee
Incipit: Apes dicte. uel quod se inuicem pedibus alligent. uel pro eo quod sine pedibus nascuntur.
Explicit: fecunditate preponderant.

Clark, ch. 88.

(fols. 91v–92r)
Perindens tree
Incipit: Perindens est arbor in india.
Explicit: a demone deuoratus est et periit.

Clark, ch. 89.

(fol. 92r–v)
On serpents
Incipit: Anguis omnium serpentium est genus
Explicit: tot dolores⹎ quot colores habentur.

Clark, ch. 90.

(fol. 93r–v)
Great dragon
Incipit: Draco maior est cunctorum serpentium siue omnium animantium super terram.
Explicit: sine dubio in inferno dampnatur.

Clark, ch. 91.

(fols. 93v–94r)
Basilisk
Incipit: Basiliscus grece latine interpretatur regulus.
Explicit: sicut dicta sunt absoluta ueritate constabunt.

Clark, chs. 92–93; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.3.

(fols. 94v–96r)
Viper and moray eel
Incipit: Vipera dicta quod ui pariat.
Explicit: quod euomuerat rursus haurire.

Clark, ch. 94.

(fols. 96r–97r)
Asp and other serpents
Incipit: Aspis uocata quod morsu uenena immittit et spargit.
Explicit: spinam non habere uideatur.

Clark, ch. 95.

(fol. 97r)
Scitalis
Incipit: Scitalis serpens est uocata.
Explicit: Exuuias positura suas.

Clark, ch. 96.

(fol. 97v)
Amphisbena
Incipit: Amphiuena dicta. eo quod duo capita habeat.
Explicit: Cuius oculi lucent ueluti lucerne.

Clark, ch. 97.

(fols. 97v–98r)
Hydrus and hydra
Incipit: Est animal in nilo flumine quod dicitur idrus in aqua uiuens.
Explicit: O mors ero mors tua. morsus tuus ero inferne.

Clark, ch. 98.

(fol. 98v)
Boa
Incipit: Boas anguis italie immensa mole
Explicit: boas nomen accepit.

Clark, ch. 99.

(fol. 98v)
Siren serpent
Incipit: In arabia autem serpentes albi sunt cum alis. que sirene uocantur.
Explicit: insequatur quam dolor.

Clark, ch. 101.

(fol. 98v)
Seps II
Incipit: Seps exigua serpens que non solum corpus
Explicit: tabificus seps.

Clark, ch. 102.

(fol. 99r)
Dipsas II
Incipit: Dipsa serpens tante exiguitatis fertur
Explicit: sensus dentis fuit.

Clark, ch. 103.

(fol. 99r)
Lizard
Incipit: Lacertus reptile genus est
Explicit: ranam botracam uocant.

Clark, ch. 104.

(fol. 99v)
Salamander
Incipit: Salamandra uocata quod contra incendia ualeat
Explicit: sed extinguit incendium.

Clark, ch. 105.

(fol. 99v)
Saura
Incipit: Saura lacertus qui quando senescit cecantur oculi eius
Explicit: intendit et illuminatur.

Clark, ch. 106.

(fol. 99v–100r)
Star lizard or newt
Incipit: Stellio de colore inditum nomen habet.
Explicit: Serpens a autem erat sapientior omnibus pecoribus terre.

Clark, chs. 107–108; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.3.

(fols. 100v–101v)
The natures of serpents
Incipit: Serpens uero tres habet naturas.
Explicit: ita et hominis morte serpens.

Clark, ch. 109.

(fol. 102r–v)
Scorpion
Incipit: Scorpio uermis terrenus. qui potius uermibus ascribitur
Explicit: Karitas autem quia totum uincit⹎ pani comparatur.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.3.

(fols. 102v–103v)
Snake
Incipit: Colubrum ab eo dictum quod colat umbras uel quod in lubricos tractus flexibus sinuosis labitur.
Explicit: et ad que ducatur suplicia ignorare.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.3.

Half of fol. 103v left blank, presumably for an unfinished miniature.

(fol. 104r–106r)
Worms
Incipit: Vermis est animal quod plerumque de carne
Explicit: Omnes quotquot uenerunt fures sunt et latrones.

Clark, chs. 110–111; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.4.

(fol. 106r–v)
On fishes
Incipit: Pisces inde dicti unde et pecus. a pascendo scilicet.
Explicit: quod sit instar calciamentorum soleis.

Clark, ch. 112; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.5.

(fols. 107v–112r)
Seamonsters (including whale, sawfish, dolphin, sea pig, crocodile)
Incipit: Est belua in mari que grece aspidochelone dicitur
Explicit: totum in hamo suo subleuabit.

Clark, ch. 113–119; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 8.5.

(fol. 112r–113v)
Trees
Incipit: Arborum nomen siue herbarum ab aruis inflexum creditur.
Explicit: terrarum de propriis nominibus arborum.

Clark, ch. 120; Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 19.5.

(fols. 113v–117r)
Palm
Incipit: Palma dicta. quia manus uictricis ornatus est.
Explicit: Placebo domino in regione uiuorum.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 19.6.

(fols. 117r–127r)
Uses of trees
Incipit: Legitur iacob patriarcha tulisse uirgas populeas uirides
Explicit: Tercia pinalis.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 19.6.

(fols. 127r–130v)
Smells of trees
Incipit: Aromata sunt queque fragrantis odoris.
Explicit: hac unctione signentur.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 19.7.

(fols. 130v–134v)
Names of plants
Incipit: Extant et quorumdam herbarum nomina. que ex aliqua sui causa resonant.
Explicit: et ista cito decidunt.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 19.8.

(fols. 134v–137r)
Vegetables
Incipit: Ortus nominatur. quod semper ibi aliquid oriatur.
Explicit: Hec fidem cristi significat. que contra antiqui serpentis uenena plurimum ualet.

Rabanus Maurus, De rerum naturis 19.9.

Concludes with the last sentence of De rerum naturis 19. The text is not incomplete, as Clark claims.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: iii (paper endleaves) + i (parchment pastedown) + 137 leaves
Dimensions (leaf): 298 × 115 mm.
Foliation: Modern foliation.

Collation

Five opening leaves missing, which likely contained a creation cycle similar to MS. Ashmole 1511. Stubs between fols. 23 and 24, 31 and 32, 91 and 92, without textual loss.

Layout

Ruled in pencil; 27 long lines, ruled space 209 × 115 mm.

Hand(s)

Gothic textura formata.

Decoration

Includes 135 miniatures of animals and plants, finely executed in colours and gold leaf:

  • (fol. 2r) A lion, full-page miniature, in three scenes:
    • healing itself by eating an ape;
    • sparing three travellers who beg for mercy;
    • being scared of a white cockerel.
  • (fol. 2v) A lion, full-page miniature, in three further scenes:
    • roaming the mountains and hiding its tracks;
    • playing with its three colourful cubs;
    • two lions reviving their dead cubs with their breath.
  • (fol. 4v) A lioness falling into a trap set by men who use a sheep as bait.
  • (fol. 6v) A tigress in a forest, in two scenes:
    • tricked by a mirror that shows its own face instead of its cub;
    • the hunter who steals the real cub on horseback.
  • (fol. 7v) A panther in many colours, roaring with sweet breath that attracts all animals except the snake.
  • (fol. 9r) A hunter tries to kill an antelope that is stuck in a spiky bush near a river. The antelope has long horns with jagged edges.
  • (fol. 9v) A brown animal with a lion’s mane, either a pard or a leopard. A leopard defined as the hybrid offspring of a pard with a lioness.
  • (fol. 10v) A unicorn rests its head and front legs on the lap of a young woman wearing a headband. She sits on the left side of the picture. Three hunters hide behind some colourful trees and stab the unicorn with their spears.
  • (fol. 11r) A grey animal that looks like a spotted wolf stands between two trees and looks up. It has a jewel between its back paws inscribed ‘Ligurius’, made from its urine. The word ‘Linx’ is written at the top.
  • (fol. 11v) A gryphon attacks a horse with its claws and beak. The gryphon has the head of an eagle and the body of a lion. The horse tries to bite back at the gryphon’s neck.
  • (fol. 12r) A large white elephant with green shading and big ears carries a wooden tower on its back. The tower has knights inside who fight against another army that surrounds the elephant.
  • (fol. 14r) Three hunters with dogs chase two beavers for their testicles, which are used as medicine. One of the beavers cuts off its own testicles and shows them to the hunters so they will leave it alone.
  • (fol. 14v) An ibex with two long horns that can help it survive a fall from a mountain. Hunters and dogs chase it in the forest.
  • (fol. 15r) A hyena eating a dead man’s body that it took from a stone coffin under a tree. A colourful church is in the background.
  • (fol. 16r) A bonnacon with horns that are too curled to use. It scares away three hunters by lifting its tail and emitting incendiary fumes from excrement in its belly.
  • (fol. 16v) A female ape running away from three hunters on its back legs. It holds one baby in its arms and another baby hangs on to its back.
  • (fol. 17v) Two satyrs with tails and human-like faces. One has long hair and a cup, the other has a beard and a wheel on a stick.
  • (fol. 17v) A stag on the right eating a poisonous snake; and on the left, drinking water.
  • (fol. 20r) A reindeer or tragelaph with its mate and babies.
  • (fol. 20v) Four goats of different colours eating leaves or biting themselves.
  • (fol. 21v) A wild goat shot by an arrow eating a plant called dittany to heal its wound. Another goat is on higher ground with an arrow flying towards it.
  • (fol. 22r) A monoceros, a blue horse-like creature with one long horn and a golden mane, standing in the forest.
  • (fol. 22v) A bear in a forest shaping and cleaning its newborn cub that looks like a red blob.
  • (fol. 23v) A leucrota, a mixed animal with a big mouth that runs faster than any other animal in the forest.
  • (fol. 24r) A crocodile in two scenes:
    • biting a man trying in vain to cut through its skin with an axe;
    • swimming in the Nile and catching fish.
  • (fol. 25r) A manticore, another mixed animal with a red lion’s body and a man’s head with a beard and a hat, eating a human leg.
  • (fol. 25v) A parander, a huge animal from Ethiopia with a stag’s head and a bear’s fur, jumping through the forest.
  • (fol. 26r) A fox pretending to be dead by lying on its back covered in red dirt, so that birds come near it, and then catching one of them in its mouth.
  • (fol. 26v) Four hares that look to have two ears each, but arranged in a wheel so that only four ears are drawn between them. They are surrounded by leaves.
  • (fol. 27r) A chameleon that looks like a horse with a camel’s nose and has many colours on its body.
  • (fol. 27v) A yale, a big black animal with tusks and long ears that reaches for a bird on a tree.
  • (fol. 28r) A grey wolf sneaking up on a flock of sheep with different colours of horns under a tree with an owl.
  • (fol. 30r) Three hounds with varying shades of brown and red walking together in a forest.
  • (fol. 30v) King Garamantes captured by his enemies with his dog under a tree.
  • (fol. 31r) King Garamantes’ dogs attacking and killing his enemies while he, his queen and his court watch.
  • (fol. 31v) The dog, in two scenes:
    • a horseman at night in Antioch stabbing a man who is held by his dog
    • the dog staying by his master’s corpse until he identifies the killer the next day
  • (fol. 32r) Two dogs licking their wounds on their bellies to heal them with their tongues.
  • (fol. 34r) A gentle woolly sheep with horns standing between two trees.
  • (fol. 35r) A majestic ram with curly horns stepping between two trees.
  • (fol. 35v) A flock of ewes with their lambs who can recognize their mothers by their bleats.
  • (fol. 36r) Two kids standing on their hind legs and turning their heads to eat the leaves at the top of a tree.
  • (fol. 36v) A large goat with curved horns and a wicked expression lying between two trees.
  • (fol. 37v) A mother pig standing between two trees with five piglets standing on their back legs to suckle.
  • (fol. 38v) A hairy boar in a forest attacks a man on the ground with a knife while another man and a dog spear it.
  • (fol. 39v) A gentle brown bullock with red horns stands between two trees.
  • (fol. 40r) A red ox with green horns licks its side.
  • (fol. 41r) A pale-tan buffalo with red horns and a nose ring.
  • (fol. 41v) A woman milks a tied red cow into a wooden bucket, nuzzling a white calf.
  • (fol. 42r) Two happy calves, one brown and one red, jump in a forest.
  • (fol. 42v) A majestic camel with one hump walks by a tree.
  • (fol. 44r) A peasant whips a donkey carrying sacks to a watermill with a wheel in a stream.
  • (fol. 45r) The ‘onager’ or wild ass biting off the testicles of a brown foal.
  • (fol. 45v) Three Magi on dromedaries follow a star that one of them points to.
  • (fol. 46r) Four horses of different colours jump or fall under a tree.
  • (fol. 49r) A blue-grey mule with its mouth open walks in a forest with a red starry sky.
  • (fol. 50v) Five badgers dig a tunnel underground; two pile up dirt on another badger’s belly, which holds a stick in its mouth, so that the last two can pull it out with the dirt.
  • (fol. 51r) A cat in a kitchen sleeps or cleans itself by a fire, another cat tries to catch a bird in a cage, and a third cat hunts a mouse by some bread loaves, all under a dark-blue sky with stars and moons.
  • (fol. 51r) A mouse with long legs grabs some food from a pile.
  • (fol. 51v) A red weasel with a white belly fights a snake by a tree.
  • (fol. 51v) Two moles, one above and one below the ground, near the roots of a tree.
  • (fol. 52r) A dormouse (with long legs and bushy tail) sleeps curled up on the ground.
  • (fol. 52v) Three little hedgehogs climb vines to get grapes, which they throw down to two more hedgehogs on the ground, sticking the grapes on their spines.
  • (fol. 53v) Black ants march through earth and grass.
  • (fol. 54v) Three frogs swim in green water and a fourth frog is eaten by a big fish near an eel.
  • (fol. 55r) Three striped snake-like creatures enter a fire without harm.
  • (fol. 57v) An eagle on the left catches a fish from the sea; above, an old eagle flies to the sun, where its wings and eyes are burned and cleaned, and then dives into the water to be young again; all under a sky with gold fleurs-de-lis.
  • (fol. 58v) The barnacle goose hangs from a tree over the sea.
  • (fol. 59v) Three eagle-like birds, ospreys, fly high, dive into the sea, and grab a fish.
  • (fol. 60r) Water-ouzels: fat birds with red faces sit on tree branches and dive into the water to catch fish.
  • (fol. 61r) Two coots with long bills, one swims and one sits on a nest above the water.
  • (fol. 61r) Two vultures eat the dead bodies of a pig and a fox.
  • (fol. 62r) Four dark-blue cranes sleep facing a fifth crane that holds a stone in its claw to stay awake at night.
  • (fol. 63r) Two dark-green parrots with yellow beaks stand on leaves, one bites a stick in its claw.
  • (fol. 63v) A sick king in bed holds his chest (a urine jar behind shows medicine) and charadrius, a white bird at the foot of the bed, looks at him, showing that he will get better.
  • (fol. 64r) A stork wades in water and catches a frog in its beak.
  • (fol. 64v) Three herons, two black and one white, wade in water; one grabs an eel.
  • (fol. 65r) A swan swims and holds a fish in its beak.
  • (fol. 66r) An ibis by a river collects a dead fish and a man’s head and feeds its young in a nest.
  • (fol. 67r) An ostrich with camel-like feet looks at a star to know when to lay eggs, then covers its eggs in a hole in the sand.
  • (fol. 67v) A coot cleans itself in a tree where it lives.
  • (fol. 68r) Five jackdaws with open beaks talk in a tree (a later reader adds ‘angli. a iaye’).
  • (fol. 69v) A long-beaked halcyon (or kingfisher) lays its eggs on the shore of a green sea and stares at the storm, which becomes calm weather.
  • (fol. 70r) A phoenix in a wood gathers twigs in its beak to make itself a fire.
  • (fol. 70v) The phoenix spreads its wings in the fire made on a tree branch.
  • (fol. 71v) The cinnomolgus and two chicks in a nest on top of a cinnamon tree; two men prepare lead weights to throw into the tree.
  • (fol. 72r) A black hercinia, or harz bird, glows at night, shown by a black rectangle with white and gold stars.
  • (fol. 72r) An old hoopoe groomed and made young by six of its thankful chicks.
  • (fol. 72v) A pelican kills and revives its three young.
  • (fol. 73r) Two night-owls against a dark blue sky with stars.
  • (fol. 73v) A screech-owl, a bird of death with thick feathers, attacked by three birds.
  • (fol. 74v) Three sirens with long hair sing from the sea below a ship and make three sailors sleep; they will eat them.
  • (fol. 75r) A hound sneaks up on four partridges by a tree; two young birds know their true parents by their voices.
  • (fol. 75v) A partridge steals eggs from a nest in a thorn tree.
  • (fol. 76r) A magpie sits in a tree.
  • (fol. 76v) A woman with a sparrowhawk on her right hand (the text says left) points to two beaters who drive two doves from a tree to the water; the hawk will catch them.
  • (fol. 78r) A bat seen from above with its wings spread.
  • (fol. 78v) A nightingale in its nest sings at dawn, shown by gold against a starry sky.
  • (fol. 79r) A raven gives a worm to its chicks in its nest.
  • (fol. 79v) A crow cries for rain among dark clouds between two bushes.
  • (fol. 80r) Two dove coming out of openings in a dovecote.
  • (fol. 81r) Two turtle doves, which mate for life, sitting next to each other on a tree branch.
  • (fol. 81v) Two pairs of swallows flying up to their nests hanging under the roof of a wooden structure.
  • (fol. 82v) A sparrowhawk attacking the leader of a group of quails that are landing after flying over the sea.
  • (fol. 83v) Two wild geese and a domestic goose hiss at a fox with a bird in its mouth.
  • (fol. 84v) A peacock shows its jewelled tail.
  • (fol. 84v) An ulula bird pecks at plants, signifying prosperity; another groans, for disaster.
  • (fol. 85r) A hoopoe with a black-and-white crest on a treetop.
  • (fol. 85v) A cock crows to the dawn, shown by gold and blue and red frames with stars.
  • (fol. 86r) A hen protects its chicks from a bird of prey under a tree.
  • (fol. 86v) A pair of ducks swim in a stream (a reader later adds ‘auis aquatica: angli. a dukke’).
  • (fol. 87r) A flock of sparrows collect sprigs for nesting.
  • (fol. 88v) A kite seizes a smaller bird at night beside a tree.
  • (fol. 89r) Bees fly from a striped hive to a tree with green and purple leaves for honey.
  • (fol. 91v) Doves in the branches of a colourful Indian fruit tree; a dragon lurks east and west of the tree to avoid its shadow.
  • (fol. 92v) A striped snake-like dragon wraps round a white elephant and tries to strangle it.
  • (fol. 93v) The basilisk, the red-and-green king of serpents with a gold crown, speaks to brown snakes.
  • (fol. 94v) The male viper puts its head in the female’s mouth to mate (she will bite it off and die giving birth).
  • (fol. 96r) A scholar in a hat and robe tries to enchant an asp, a snake that blocks its ears with its tail to avoid hearing his words.
  • (fol. 97r) A scitalis, a dragon with colourful scales that can warm itself even in winter, lies on a snowy ground.
  • (fol. 97r) An amphisbaena , a creature with a head at each end of its body, bites its own tail.
  • (fol. 97v) A hydrus , a snake that kills crocodiles by entering their mouths and eating their insides.
  • (fol. 98r) A boas, a snake that sneaks under the feet of cattle and sucks their milk until they die.
  • (fol. 98v) A javelin or jaculus , a dragon that hides in trees and jumps on passing animals.
  • (fol. 98v) Two siren serpents, white snakes with wings.
  • (fol. 98v) A seps , a striped snake with deadly venom.
  • (fol. 98v) A dipsa , a tiny snake that causes instant death when stepped on.
  • (fol. 99r) A lizard, a four-legged reptile seen from above.
  • (fol. 99r) A salamander, which poisons apples, leaving a man lying dead at the foot of an apple tree in whose branches there are four snakes.
  • (fol. 99v) A saura , a two-legged lizard seen from above.
  • (fol. 99v) A stellio , possibly a newt: a blue snake with white spots that look like stars.
  • (fol. 100v) A dragon that sheds its old skin by squeezing through a narrow gap in a tower.
  • (fol. 102r) A scorpion, resembling a bat, hanging from a tree and stinging a man’s hand with its tail.
  • (fol. 102v) A horned serpent, with a red head and goat horns emerging from the sand near the sea, rabbing a bird’s legs with its mouth; above, an air worm (a type that includes spiders), flying below the clouds.
  • (fol. 106r) Fish, nearly full-page miniature, including some that have animal heads like horses, wolves and dogs, and one big fish that eats the others.
  • (fol. 107r) The leviathan or aspidochelon , full-page miniature showing a whale that eats fish while lying still on the ocean floor. Its curved back sticks out so much that sailors have tied their ship to it and are taking down the mast and making a fire, which will make the monster dive into the sea and drown them.

Arabesque initials alternating between blue and red with penwork flourishing in the alternate colour. (Pächt and Alexander iii.372, pl. XXXIII)

Minor sections designated with coloured initials, alternating between red and blue, from fols. 113v to the end.

Binding

Brown tanned calf over laminated pulpboard, seventeenth century; tightly bound.

History

Origin: 1240s ; English

Provenance and Acquisition

Heraldic evidence suggests ownership by a Marcher lord of the Monhaut, Clare, or Berkeley families. See Ronald Baxter, ‘A Baronial Bestiary: Heraldic Evidence for the Patronage of MS Bodley 764’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 50 (1987): 196–200.

Inscribed, ‘Gauntes’ (fol. iv verso), early 15th century.

Probably reached the Library in 1603, 1604, or the early part of 1605. Likely the volume entitled ‘Anonymi cui Pr. Bestiarum’ in the 1605 catalogue. Listed in the Nondum catenati in 1620; the Summary Catalogue suggests that it may have been unchained as a show book.

Record Sources

Description by Andrew Dunning (March 2023). Previously described:
Willene B. Clark, A Medieval Book of Beasts: The Second-Family Bestiary. Commentary, Art, Text and Translation (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2006), pp. 241–242.
Christopher de Hamel and Richard Barber, Liber Bestiarum: MS Bodley 764 (London: The Folio Society, 2008).
Nigel J. Morgan, Early Gothic Manuscripts, 2 vols, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles 4 (London: Miller, 1982), no. 98.

Availability

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Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)
Digital Bodleian (98 images from 35mm slides)

Bibliography

Last Substantive Revision

2023-03-29: Andrew Dunning Revised with consultation of original.