Beastiarum Vocabulum

Mermaids should be part of everyone’s day.

Succulent Moon

Totus enim mundus diversis creaturis plenus est; quasi liber scriptus variis litteris et sententiis plenus in quo legere possumus quicquid imitari vel fugere debeamus.

(For the whole world is full of different creatures, like a book written with various words and full of sentences in which we can read what we should imitate and avoid.)

– Thomas of Chobham (d. c. 1236), Summa de Arte Praedicandi 7.2


The Beastiary, or Beastiarum Vocabulum, is a compendium of beasts, both real and imaginary. They can contain mythological creatures, real animals, rocks and even botanica. They originated in the ancient world, but became quite popular in the middle ages as illustrated manuscripts.

Here are a few fantastic beastiaries for you.

Medieval Beastiary


Medieval Beastiary (illuminated manuscript) from the digital collection at the British Library. This priceless baby is in middle english, so unless you have a linguistics degree in medieval language, it…

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About bibliodeviant

This is the journal of Jonathan Kearns Rare Books & Curiosities, and all who sail in her. Information, updates, rantings, musings and pretty pictures related (loosely I would imagine) to the world of rare and antiquarian books will be brought to you by a number of different personalities, some of whom cohabit in the same person's head. We welcome queries, comments and contributions of virtually any description, and in return we will attempt to rein in our multitudinous personality disorders and deliver wonders and joys beyond compare. At least that's the plan. View all posts by bibliodeviant

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