This update has new and changed stuff in several areas.


A few more manuscripts have had their illustrations loaded and/or beast lists completed.


There are some new or updated articles.

  • Engelbert of Admont (1250-1331) was a scholar and monk in Austria. He wrote on many topics, but he is included here for his Tractus de naturis animalium. The full animal lists of two of the three manuscripts of this text have been loaded (there is no facsimile for the third one):
  • Isidore of Seville: Excerpts from his Etymologies have been added to the article, and many of the beast Sources pages have new or updated accounts from that text.
  • Gossuin de Metz: (13th century) wrote a very popular encyclopedia called L’Image du monde, the Image of the world or the Mirror of the world. Its popularity is shown by the 68 or so manuscripts that still exist. One notable thing about this encyclopedia is its statement (with supporting diagrams) that the Earth is most definitely a sphere, not flat as the ignorant Flat Earthers would have you believe. If you hear anyone saying that medieval people thought the Earth was flat, point them to one of the Image du monde manuscripts; Bibliothèque Nationale de France, fr. 574 has nice colorful diagrams to prove that they did not.
  • Guillaume le Clerc: There is some additional information on the Bestiaire divin, excerpts from the Norman-French text, and images from more manuscripts.


While working on the texts by Engelbert of Admont and Isidore of Seville, I found and identified several new animals, and identified some of the mysterious existing ones. Isidore was very helpful in determining what those curious beasts were supposed to be (though often not what they actually are!). There are still over 100 animals in my database that I found in one or more of the medieval encyclopedias but have not been able to identify; the text is often illegible or so heavily abbreviated as to be unintelligible, and the illustrations (if any) are usually no help at all since the artist didn’t know what the animal was either, and just made something up.

Statistics, or Fun with Numbers

The latest numbers for the website, for those who like statistics. The rest of you, look away now!

  • Beasts: 267
  • Manuscripts: 425
  • Bibliography items: 1671
  • Images: 4746
  • Encyclopedia articles: 34
  • Digital Text Library items: 30