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Gabriele Becattini





Joined: 21 Aug 2007

Posts: 710

PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2016 5:55 am    Post subject: medioeval animal symbolism         Reply with quote

hope that this topic won't be too much "off topic" but i'm looking for some ideas for new tattoos, and i would like to know if there is a source that is not fictional nor "new age" oriented where i can find the meaning that each animals has in the medioeval art.

to better clarify, a source that can potentially explain which kind of virtues was attribiuted to the different animals, like the coureage for the lions and so on. i'm aware about some of the commonest but i'm curious to learn more,
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Alan E




Location: UK
Joined: 21 Jan 2016

Posts: 45

PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2016 10:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

OK, I'll start us off with Fiore de Liberi (Fiore Furlan de Civida of Austria that is of Sir Benedetto of the noble family of liberi from Premariacco of the diocese of the Patriarch of Aquilegia Big Grin ), who wrote with the appropriate pictures (source being Getty Manuscript, Exiles translation):-

Quote:
Advisement
Better than me, the lynx, no creature sees.
And by that I always place with compass
and measure.

The lynx rules a swordsman's mind...

Quote:
Daring
None carries a more daring heart
than me, the Lion, but of battle I
make an invitation to others.

Lion on the left (for the heart)...

Quote:
Quickness
I am tiger I am very prepared to
run and to turn so that the arrow
from the sky will not excel me.

On the right (typically the striking hand)...

and
Quote:
Strength
Elephant I am and a castle I carry for a
load. And I do not kneel nor lose balance.

For the swordsman's feet and legs.

Is that the sort of thing you are after?

Member of Exiles Medieval Martial Arts.
Currently teaching Fiore's art in Ceredigion
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,268

PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2016 3:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Perhaps you should examine several Bestiaries? The Aberdeen Bestiary has the texts and translations for each animal.
https://www.abdn.ac.uk/bestiary/contents.hti

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Gabriele Becattini





Joined: 21 Aug 2007

Posts: 710

PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2016 5:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alan- yes, the Fiore animals are an option that i'm considering especially the elephant with the castle that i really love!

Mart- the bestiary is very interesting, thank you for the link!

i'm looking mainly for animal that has a meaning of father and mother and family,
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Fri 08 Jul, 2016 6:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I doubt there's any animal that serves all of these symbolic functions. Remember, too, that a significant portion of animal symbolism either had religious meanings, or else had symbolic qualities that men might desire: courage, nobility, valour, and the like. I could be wrong, but I would be somewhat surprised if there was an animal linked symbolically to families in the Middle Ages. As far as I know, a family is not the kind of thing that animals served as symbols for- I don't think it's the way medieval people would have conceived of animals.

Here's a link with heraldry symbolism: http://www.digiserve.com/heraldry/symbols.htm
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 945

PostPosted: Sat 09 Jul, 2016 2:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The pelican was a common heraldic symbol of parental love, often depicted wounding its own breast to nurture its young with its blood.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Gabriele Becattini





Joined: 21 Aug 2007

Posts: 710

PostPosted: Sat 09 Jul, 2016 9:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

the pelican was also my choice for the concept of parental love,

i have read that the bear was a symbol of motherhood and the stag was a symbol of fatherhood, but i'm not sure 100%
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Sat 09 Jul, 2016 10:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Can't go wrong with a Griffin...
Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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