Christian Symbolism in a Bestiary
A Bestiary was a medieval book (usually illustrated) with allegorical descriptions of real and fabled animals. These descriptions, which included a description of various birds and animals, were often full of symbolism and contained a moral or religious lesson or allegory. A Bestiary reflected the belief that the world itself was the Word of God, and that every living creature had its own special meaning.
The 12th Century Bestiary
Bestiaries were extremely popular in England during the 12th century and were often compilations taken from even earlier texts dating back to the second century, which summarized ancient knowledge and wisdom about animals together with religious, Christian symbolism. A very famous man of the renaissance era who compiled his own bestiary was no other than Leonardo da Vinci. Another famous medieval book of this type is the Aberdeen Bestiary which was written in the 12th Century which contained general information together with religious allegories and morals.
Bestiary Religious Symbolism and Allegory
Bestiary Religious Symbolism and Allegory are detailed in the following sections: