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W. Schütz
Industry Professional



Location: Sweden
Joined: 19 Dec 2005

Posts: 356

PostPosted: Thu 21 Dec, 2006 11:03 am    Post subject: The Medieval Bestiary         Reply with quote

Very interesting page, like a mix of the esoteric study of medieval zoology, folk-mythology and tales of foreign lands.

http://bestiary.ca/index.html

Gentes scitote,
vicine sive remote,
quod claret Suecia
plebeque militia.
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Allen Andrews




Location: Maine USA
Joined: 17 Oct 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 305

PostPosted: Thu 21 Dec, 2006 11:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A very interesting site indeed! I especially enjoyed the illustrations. I found the illustration of the Bonnacon making me chuckle because it seemed like something Napoleon Dynamite might come up with Happy
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Thomas Watt




Location: Metrowest Boston
Joined: 19 Sep 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 159

PostPosted: Thu 21 Dec, 2006 5:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Funny site!
Much nicer than the all black-and-white book that one of my former students brought to me to assist me in salvaging a paper I was working on.
I was always most fond of the basilisk, a beast whose smell alone could kill, as could it's look.

Most enlightening, I think, is the insight into a medieval world view these kinds of things bring.
I have heard it argued that the serpent forms on medieval gospels were an attempt to "bind" the devil.
But my student's dusty old book claimed that the belief at the time was that a serpent when killed, would resurrect at the first light of dawn (connection to Christian resurrection!) and might not have had any evil connotations.

I'll bet I just opened a can of worms didn't I?

Have 11 swords, 2 dirks, half a dozen tomahawks and 2 Jeeps - seem to be a magnet for more of all.
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
Joined: 29 Apr 2004
Likes: 4 pages

Posts: 616

PostPosted: Fri 22 Dec, 2006 2:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas Watt wrote:
But my student's dusty old book claimed that the belief at the time was that a serpent when killed, would resurrect at the first light of dawn (connection to Christian resurrection!) and might not have had any evil connotations.

I'll bet I just opened a can of worms didn't I?

I wouldn't say a can of worms, exactly. A can of snakes, perhaps. Wink

Snakes have been used to symbolize renewal and rebirth since long before Christian times. Just look at the ouroborous. Also, a snake molts its skin, which can be useful to poets for all kinds of eternal return metaphors.

So far as I know, the Judeo-Christian tradition contains the only sweeping generalization of the serpent as evil.

But I agree with all that medieval bestiaries are great fun. I especially like the fact that they contain entries on normal animals as well as fantastic ones. The medieval mind was far more colorful and richer in imagination than we generally give it credit for being.

Out of curiosity, has anyone here heard of the Prester John letter?

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Fri 22 Dec, 2006 9:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's definitely a very interesting site!
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