This update is about manuscripts, mostly bestiary manuscripts from the Latin families. The Latin family manuscripts include the better known bestiaries such as the Aberdeen Bestiary.


These manuscripts have had all of their illustrations loaded, descriptions updated, and beast lists completed.

These manuscripts do not have a complete digital facsimile online. All available illustrations have been loaded, but there are probably some images missing and the beast lists may be incomplete.

There are now over 4500 images online.

The descriptions for most manuscripts have been cleaned up and regularized.


Many new beasts have been added. Most of these come from Cambridge University Library, Kk.4.25, a third family bestiary with an embedded encyclopedia. Some of the new beasts have not been identified, and others have very limited information. I will be updating those beasts with more information as I find it. Some are pretty obscure! A bird called “Furfurio”? A fish called “Melanurus”? The illustrations (if any) are not at all helpful, of course. Still, I figured out some of them (silkworm! slug!) and I will eventually figure out the rest.


Many manuscripts are “miscellanies”, with two or more texts bound together. Often the texts are unrelated – they were bound into one codex for convenience, not because they had anything in common. Some of the manuscripts on the Medieval Bestiary site have two or more animal texts, sometimes related and sometimes not. Previously, the beast lists on the manuscript page lumped all beasts from all of the texts together into one list, which made it look like the beasts were all part of one text instead of multiple unrelated texts. With this enhancement, where the manuscript contains two or more parts, each part has its own separate set of lists, with each list only containing beasts from a single text. For examples of this, see Bibliothèque de la Faculté de Médecine, H. 437 or British Library, Royal MS 2 B VII.