The Aberdeen Bestiary

The digitized version of the Aberdeen Bestiary is part of the Special Libraries and Archives maintain by the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Full-page images are presented, as well as details of the illuminations and other significant features. A translation of the Latin text is included. Bestiary manuscripts were compilations of earlier works and contain short descriptions of animals and objects in nature, both real and imaginary. The descriptions had with them a moralizing explanation and were not meant to be a scientific text. Accurate observations are given the same weight as flights of fancy.

The Aberdeen Bestiary is considered to be one of the best of this type manuscript. The illuminations and text were produced in England during the 13th Century. As stated in the manuscript itself, the purpose of the Aberdeen Bestiary is "to improve the minds of ordinary people, in such a way that their soul will at least perceive physically things which it has difficulty in grasping mentally; that what they have difficulty comprehending with their ears, they will perceive with their eyes." (Aberdeen MS 24, f25v) .