I love books. I also love history. Combine the two subjects and you have my next favorite thing after Paganism. Of course, my job in the real world is to buy books and sometimes I get to buy some really cool things.
Today we received The Grand Medieval Bestiary.
Bestiaries are really fascinating. They were Medieval compendiums of animals that cataloged each animal’s characteristics and the moral lessons and symbolism associated with each beast. In the Medieval, Christian world, the Word of God created everything and therefore, everything in it was a reflection of the Word of God. A lot of Pagan lore and mythology slipped into this and a great deal of the stories we have today were kept in these bestiaries. In what was a time of great darkness, these books shine through the years as the works of art and lore that they are. I find these to be particularly compelling books, that ultimately show the power of words and through them, magic.
Here are some pictures from this particular modern Bestiary.
These were just a few of my favorites. If you want to know more about Bestiaries, check out:
The Medieval Beastiary, Animals in the Middle Ages
“Medieval Bestiaries and the Birth of Zoology” by Aura Beckhöfer-Fialho
Books of Beasts in the British Library: the Medieval Bestiary and its context
If you want to read more about Medieval books, look at:
The Last of the Great Chained Libraries
The Evolution of the Medieval Book
The Art of the Book in the Middle Ages