Encyclopedia

Italian Bestiary

The Italian bestiaries are based on the Physiologus, but add chapters from various fable collections written in vernacular Italian/Tuscan (or translated to Italian). The manuscripts are clearly related to each other, with later ones copied from earlier ones. There are variations in the number of Physilogus and fable chapters, variations in the order of the chapters, and in some cases variations in which animals are described or how they are described. The Physiologus chapters are usually alligorized, as are some of the fable chapters. A few of the manuscripts are illustrated. In some other italian texts are included, such as the Fiore di virtù and the Acerba etas by Cecco d’Ascoli.

Several of the Italian manuscripts have been described and categorized, using codes to identify each manuscript. The categories come from two principle texts (Goldstaub & Wendriner and McKenzie) In the lists below, the letter in [brackets] is the author's designated code for the manuscript.

The manuscripts described by Goldstaub & Wendriner:

  1. Biblioteca Civica di Padova, C.R.M.248 [P, McKenze coed is Pad]
  2. Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Ashb.649 [L1]
  3. Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut.90 inf.47 [L2]
  4. Biblioteca Riccardiana, Cod. 2260 R.IV 4 [R1]
  5. Biblioteca Riccardiana, Cod. 2281 [R2]
  6. Biblioteca Riccardiana, Cod. Ricc. 1357 P. III. 4[R3]
  7. Biblioteca Riccardiana, Cod. 2183 [R4]
  8. Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, Cod. Magliabechiano XXI.4.135 [St]

The manuscripts described by McKenzie but not by Goldstaub & Wendriner:

  1. Bibliothèque Nationale de France, ital. 450 [Par]
  2. Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli, XII.E.11 [N]
  3. Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Chig.M.VI.137 [Ch1]
  4. Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, Cod. Magliabechiano II.8.33 [St1]