The Aberdeen Bestiary
Submitted by Catriona on Wed, 2004-04-07 21:39
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
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) .