Bestiary Families - Latin

The Latin versions of the bestiary are divided into four broad families, with the First Family further divided into three subfamilies. Yapp's subdivision of the Second Family is indicated only by the notation "W(A)", "W(B)", "W(C)", or "W(D)" following the manuscript shelfmark. The Dicta Chrysostomi manuscripts are not classified in the four Families, but are included here because they are in Latin.

First Family, B-Is Version

McCulloch's first division of the First Family consists of manuscripts that are based on the "B" version of the Physiologus with the addition of excerpts from Book XII (De animalibus) of the Etymologiae of Isidore of Seville. The text of these manuscripts follows the order and content of the "B" Physiologus, but (with the exception of seven chapters) each beast chapter ends with a quote from Isidore, often explicitly attributed to him. The manuscripts date from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries.

First Family, H Version

McCulloch's second division of the First Family consists of manuscripts that are based on the B-Is version, but with major differences in the order and content. The text is that of Book II of the De bestiis et aliis rebus incorrectly attributed to Hugo of St. Victor, now generally attributed to Hugues de Fouilloy. Book I of De bestiis et aliis rebus is an Aviarium, a book on birds; since the birds were covered in Book I, the compiler of Book II did not include most of them, and so the Book II text contains only two birds (pelican and caladrius). The manuscripts all date from the late thirteenth century. Clark (p. 33) suggests that this version originated in Paris.

First Family, Transitional Version

McCulloch's third division of the First Family consists of manuscripts that display attributes of both First and Second family bestiaries. They retain the first 24 to 40 chapters of the First Family B-Is or H versions, then include sections from the Etymologiae. The chapters are separated into those for beasts (essentially mammals), birds, fish (including whales and dolphins, as well as other swimming creatures), and serpents (snakes, dragons and other reptilian creatures). The manuscripts date from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries.

Second Family Version

This family is the largest and most well known group of manuscripts. The basic B-Is chapters are still present, but additions from other sources more than double the number of chapters. Most of the additions come from Isidore's Etymologiae, but some are taken from Solinus, the Hexaemeron of Ambrose, and Rabanus Maurus. The chapters are divided according to the classification in Book XII of the Etymologiae. Many chapters omit the usual moral explanations. The manuscripts are dated from the twelfth to sixteenth centuries, though most are from the thirteenth century. The incipit (the opening phrase) is one or both of the phrases: "Leo fortissimus bestiarium ad nullius pavebit occursum" (from Proverbs 30:30 as stated in Rabanus Mauris); or "Bestiarum vocabulum proprie convenit pardis..." (from Etymologiae, XII, 2.1). The illustrations usually end with the snake, except in a few cases where some fish and the fire stones are illustrated. Many of the manuscripts end with long sections on trees and on the Ages of Man, taken from the Etymologiae.

Aberdeen University Library, MS 24 [CM, M, W(A)]

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, [CM]

Bibliothèque Municipale de Chartres, BM MS 63 [CM]

Bibliothèque Municipale de Douai, MS 711 [CM, M]

Bibliothèque Municipale de Le Mans, 84 [CM]

Bibliothèque Municipale de Nîmes, 82 [CM]

Bibliothèque Mazarine, Ms 742 [CM]

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 3630 [CM, M]

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 6838B

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 11207 [CM, M]

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 14297 [Uncertain - similar content]

Bodleian Library, MS. Ashmole 1511 [CM, M, W(A)]

Bodleian Library, MS. Bodley 533 [CM, M, W(B)]

Bodleian Library, MS. Bodley 764 [CM, M, W(C)]

Bodleian Library, MS. Douce 88 A [CM, M, W(B)]

Bodleian Library, MS. Douce 151 [CM, M, W(A)]

British Library, Additional MS 11283 [CM, M, W(B)]

British Library, Harley MS 3244 [CM, M, W(B)]

British Library, Harley MS 4751 [CM, M, W(C)]

British Library, Royal MS 12 F XIII [CM, M, W(B)]

British Library, Sloane MS 3544 [CM, M, W(B)]

Cambridge University Library, Ii.4.26 [CM, M, W(B)]

Canterbury Cathedral Library, Lit.D.10 [CM, M, W(B)]

Corpus Christi College, MS 53 [CM, M, W(B)]

Durham University Library, Cosin MS V.ii.5 [M, D]

Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 379 [CM, W(B)]

Gonville and Caius College, MS 109/178 [CM, M, W(B)]

Gonville and Caius College, MS 372/621 [CM, M, W(A)]

Gonville and Caius College, MS 384/604 [CM, M, W(B)]

Kongelige Bibliotek, Gl. Kgl. 1633 4° [CM, M]

Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Ms. 18421-29 [CM, M]

Morgan Library, MS M. 890 [CM, M]

St. Johns College, MS. 61 [CM, M, W(B)]

St. Johns College, MS. 178 [CM, M, W(B)]

University College Library (Oxford), MS. 120 [CM, M, W(A)]

Wormsley Library, MS BM 3731 [C, CM, D]

Third Family Version

The third Family manuscripts have more chapters than the Second Family version. They begin with Isidore's account of fabulous races of humans (Etymologiae XI, 3.1-39), followed by a commentary on animals ("Ominbus animantibus..."), and extracts from the De mundi universitate or Megacosmus of Bernard Silvestris. The bestiary chapters are next, beginning with domestic animals, follwed by beasts, fish, snakes, and insects, then a excerpt from Isidore on mythological creatures, and finally the fire stones. Some manuscripts conclude with the Wheel of Fortune and Wonders of the World, and extracts from Seneca and John of Salisbury. The manuscripts all date from the thirteenth century.

Fourth Family Version

This family consists of a single manuscript, of the fifteenth century. It includes extensive extracts from the De proprietatibus rerum of Bartholomaeus Anglicus and the Etymologiae of Isidore. The text is unfinished and ends with the chapter on trees.

Dicta Chrysostomi (DC) Version

This version of the bestiary is based on the "B" version of the Physiologus, but differs in some details and in the chapter order. It was called the Dicta Chysostomi because of its medieval attribution to John Chrysostom, a fifth century Patriarch of Constantinople. The text usually begins: "Incipiunt dicta Johannis Crisostomi de naturis bestiarium". The chapters are divided into Animals, beginning with the lion, and Birds, beginning with the eagle; the stones mentioned in other bestiaries are omitted. There are generally 27 chapters, though some manuscripts have additional material. It is thought that the Dicta Chrsostomi text originated in France around 1000 CE. The manuscripts date from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries, with most produced in Germany. (Note: James placed British Library, Sloane MS 278 in the First Family.)

Bad Windsheim, Ratsbibl. Cod. 28 [CM, H]

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 536 [CM, H]

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 2655 [CM, H]

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 3221 [CM, H]

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 5613 [CM, H]

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 5921 [CM, H]

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 6908 [CM, H, M]

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 9600 [CM, H]

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 14216 [CM, H]

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 14348 [CM, H]

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 14693 [CM, H]

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 16189 [CM, H]

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 19648 [CM, H]

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 23787 CM, H]

Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, lat. 394 [CM, H, M]

Bibliothèque Multimédia Intercommunale d'Epinal, MS 209 [CM, H, M]

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 10448 [CM, H, M]

British Library Sloane, MS 278 [CM, H, J(I), M, W(A)]

Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, Cod. Guelf. 35a Helmst. [CM, H]

Houghton Library, MS Typ 101 [CM, H, M]

Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, Bibl. Roy. 18421-29 [CM, H]

Morgan Library, MS M. 832 [CM, H, M]

National Library of Russia, Lat. Q.v.III. 1 [CM, H]

Newberry Library, MS 31.1

Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. 303 [CM, H]

Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. 1010 [CM, H, M]

Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. 2511 [CM, H]

Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. 4609 [CM, H]

Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. 13378 [CM, H]

Stiftsbibliothek Göttweig, Cod. 154 [CM, H]

Stiftsbibliothek Göttweig, Cod. 200 [CM, H]

Oberösterreichische Landesbibliothek, Hs.-33 [CM, H]

Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig, Ms 351 [CM, H]

Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig, Ms 1305 [CM, H]

Uppsala Universitetsbibliotek, C 145 [CM, H, M]