Bestiary is a medieval guide of animals in
the model of an illustrated encyclopedia. It comprises brief descriptions and non secular interpretations of each actual and implausible animals, birds, and gem stones. An factor of fantasy makes these collections good sources of knowledge for storytellers and students.

At the center of every bestiary was a piece referred to as the Physiologus (Naturalists), which was initially assembled someday between the second and fifth centuries. The work could have originated within the Near East, because the animals described in it may be identified as resembling precise creatures or inventive representations which were present in Africa and western Asia. The Physiologus was translated into Latin across the sixth or seventh century. Each animal included on this work represents some facet of the battle between God and the satan for the souls of people.
The majority of bestiaries have been compiled within the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in Western Europe, and most that survive in the present day originated in France and Britain. The greatest identified is virtually definitely the elegant and colourful Aberdeen Bestiary, which can date to the twelfth century.

Even the descriptions of actual animals which can be included in bestiaries have a component of fantasy. The description of the horse, for instance, included an historical little bit of folklore that claimed that mares could be made pregnant by the west wind.

In addition to their entertainment worth, bestiaries additionally featured non secular instruction and explanations. The goal of a bestiary most likely was to join the creatures of the earth with Christian symbolism, reasonably than educating pure historical past.
Bestiary animals are also discovered sculpted on the partitions of medieval church buildings, the place they served to remind the often-illiterate congregation of non secular tales.