bestiary

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bestiary

bestiary (bĕsˈchēĕrˌē), a type of medieval book that was widely popular, particularly from the 12th to 14th cent. The bestiary presumed to describe the animals of the world and to show what human traits they severally exemplify. The bestiaries are the source of a bewildering array of fabulous beasts and of many misconceptions of real ones. They were the artist's guide to animal symbolism in religious building, painting, and sculpture. Physiologus (the naturalist), an ancient work of the type, was probably the chief source of the bestiaries. A Middle English version is translated in J. L. Weston, The Chief Middle English Poets (1914). Variations of the genre remain popular. Modern authors who have written bestiaries include Lewis Carroll, James Thurber, T. H. White, and Jorge Luis Borges.

Bibliography

See W. Clark and M. McMunn, Beasts and Birds of the Middle Ages (1989).

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bestiary

A collection of medieval allegorical fables about animals, each with an interpretation of its significance to good or evil; in medieval churches, a group of highly imaginative and symbolic carved creatures.
See also: Ornament
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

bestiary

In a medieval church, a group of carved or painted creatures, often highly imaginative and symbolic.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

bestiary

a moralizing medieval collection of descriptions of real and mythical animals
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
In the meantime, it is still possible to evaluate the extant material on its own terms, because Reynard the Fox evolved as the archetype of the beast epic. The central focus of the series is a single significant episode--Reynard's healing of the sick lion, in most versions--and other stories are spin-offs from this episode, all involving moralistic messages.
Fans of his early folkier work will appreciate Beast Epic's warm acoustic tones and restrained vocal performances, which lay the groundwork for perhaps Beam's best album in a decade.
Donalson (foreign languages and history, Alabama School of Mathematics and Science, Mobile) reflects on the wolf in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures and compiles with observations and commentary on the wolf in patristic, classical, and medieval literature from fables to beast epics. His chronological account also traces how the wolf in western culture descended from a useful metaphor and instrument for the morals of fabulists, to an object of hatred and misunderstanding.
Admittedly, key Latin texts with an obvious 'German' connection (Waltharius and Ruodlieb) are also discussed by Knight Bostock, but Linda Archibald's contribution on Latin prose and Stephen Penn's on Latin verse provide a far-ranging survey of the various kinds of literary material surviving from the Carolingian and Ottonian courts--be it narratologically complex beast epics, songs on Pythagorean subject-matter, liturgical tropes, or erotic macaronic verse.
's fables or in beast epics. Fairy tales, having no basis in fact, emphasize miraculous happenings and fantastic transformations, as in Cinderella.
Isengrim or YsengrinGreedy and dull-witted wolf who is a prominent character in many medieval European beast epics. Often cast as a worldly and corrupt churchman, he appears first as the main character in both the Latin Ecbasis captivi (c.