Bibliothèque Universitaire Historique de Médecine (Montpellier), H. 437
(L'Image du Monde / Bestiaire of Pierre de Beauvais)


Produced: France, 14th century (1340?)
Current Location: Bibliothèque Universitaire Historique de Médecine (Montpellier), Montpellier, France
Manuscript Type: Miscellany
Bestiary Family: French
Language: French
Folios: 250
Author: Gossuin de Metz / Pierre de Beauvais
Illustrated: Yes
Media: Parchment
Dimensions: Height: 19.7 cm Width: 13.5 cm
Folio 195r


This manuscript has two parts.

Part 1: L'Image du Monde

The illustrated Image du Monde, an encyclopedia by Gossuin de Metz, is on folio 31r-194v. There are sections on astronomy, the monstrous human races (folio 86r-91r), geography (with maps) and animals (mostly folio 91v-114v). The section divisions are not always followed; some accounts and images on one topic appear in a section discussing a different topic. Many of the animals described in the Image du Monde also appear in Pierre's Bestiaire. The text is in rhyming verse.

There are several chapters in the encyclopedia dealing with animals, all in the Geography section.

There are at least two folios missing (cut out) that had the chapter on the beasts of Europe and Africa; the missing animals are fox, stag, frog, spider, wolf, ape, dog, weasel, hedgehog and lamb. The folio numbering does not take the gap into account, so the chapter on the trees of India (folio 112v, partly missing) is followed by the chapter on the birds of Europe and Africa (folio 113r).

Part 2: Bestiaire of Pierre de Beauvais

The illustrated long version of the Bestiaire of Pierre de Beauvais is on folios 195r-250r. Every animal chapter has an illustration. This is the Bestiaire manuscript designated Mon.

The animal drawings, in frames on colored backgrounds, are crudely executed, though they usually illustrate the animal's characteristics effectively. The figures are often lightly tinted line drawings, though some are fully colored.

The scribe and the artist have made several mistakes in the order of chapters and the placing of images in the Bestiaire.

  • There is an additional account and illustration of the vulture, not found in other Bestiaire manuscripts. The first account is on folio 204r, in the correct order for Pierre's Bestiaire. The second account is on folio 222v, inserted between the chapters on the barnacle goose and the basilisk, with somewhat different text and a different illustration.
  • The chapter on the siren (23) should follow the chapter on the owl on folio 213r; the siren illustration is there, but the text is for the hoopoe chapter (24). The text for the siren follows on folio 213v, along with the illustration for the hoopoe. That is, the images are in their correct places, but the siren and hoopoe texts have been switched.
  • The chapter on the hyena (40) should follow the beaver chapter on folio 228v, but the coot chapter (41) is there.
  • The second chapter (52) on the ostrich is illustrated with an image of a griffin, which is different from the one attached to the griffin chapter (38).
  • The chapter on the peridexion tree, dove and dragon (59) should follow the chapter on the dove (folio 244r), but the chapter on the elephant is there.
  • The chapter on the diamond (62) should follow the chapter on Amos and the goat on folio 246v, but the chapter on the wolf is there.
  • The chapters on the muscaliet (69), the four elements (70) and the orphan bird (71) are missing at the end of the text.

Additional Descriptions

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Editions and Facsimiles

Digital facsimiles

Bibliothèque Universitaire Historique de Médecine (Montpellier)
Bibliothèque Virtuelle des Manuscrits Médiévaux (BVMM) (Partial, mostly extracted images)