Friday, 11 June 2010

Medieval Monday!

Well, as I AM an aspiring medievalist, the least I could do is subject you all to my whimsy. (BWAHAHAHAHHAHA- er, moving on) The idea is to have a regular Monday feature about something medievaly. I have a bestiary to fall back on should nothing super-exciting be taking place in the world of medieval news (yes, we actually do have one of those) that week. To be fair, I'll probably be stealing any news I have from the other medievalist bloggers out there. But that's what we do. You'll get over it. I promise.

We'll skip right over the part where I whine about how much I'd like to get back to academia, how I need to start finding conferences and submitting papers, and the fact that I had a totally awesome post planned to kick this off and promptly forgot what it was, and go straight to your introduction to the medieval bestiary!

I'll be working from the Aberdeen Bestiary (Aberdeen University Library MS 24) (written around 1200) for no other reasons than because a) that's one of the two I have bookmarked and b) it has better pictures than the other one! High standards, I have.

Like all good scientific works, the Aberdeen Bestiary naturally takes the first ten pages or so to remind us all of how God created the heaven and the earth, etc. (The whole point really is to get to the part where God created the animals and then let Adam name them.) The first animal named in this bestiary is the King of Beasts itself: The Lion. Alas, the lion is not pictured. And we all know about lions. So we'll breeze right past him to: The Pard.

Isn't he cute?

The bestiary has this to say about the Pard:

"The pard is a species which has a mottled skin, is extremely swift and thirsts for blood; for it kills at a single bound.

The leopard is the product of the adultery of a lioness with a pard; their mating produces a third species. As Pliny says in his Natural History: the lion mates with the pard, or the pard with the lioness, and from both degenerate offspring are created, such as the mule and the burdon."

Swift and effective killer. Likened to a mule. Not the most exciting or descriptive description (wait until we get to the beaver), but again: Cute!

Bonus points for anyone who knows what a burdon is (without looking it up, of course)

Also, I'm on a huge Robin Hood kick at the moment. So if anybody out there has any recommendations/suggestions/donations for me, please make them! ^_^

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