Physiologus: A Medieval Book of Nature Lore

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One of the most popular and widely read books of the Middle Ages, Physiologus contains allegories of beasts, stones, and trees both real and imaginary, infused by their anonymous author with the spirit of Christian moral and mystical teaching.  Accompanied by an introduction that explains the origins, history, and literary value of this curious text, this volume also reproduces twenty woodcuts from the 1587 version. Originally composed in the fourth century in Greek, and translated into dozens of versions through the centuries, Physiologus will delight readers with its ancient tales of ant-lions, centaurs, and hedgehogs—and their allegorical significance.

“An elegant little book . . . still diverting to look at today. . . . The woodcuts reproduced from the 1587 Rome edition are alone worth the price of the book.”—Raymond A. Sokolov, New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226128702
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 1,285,179
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael J. Curley is professor emeritus of English at the University of Puget Sound. He is the author of many books, including Alessandro Manzoni: Two Plays.

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Table of Contents


I. We begin first of all by speaking of the Lion

II. On the Antelope

III. On Piroboli Rocks

IV. On the Swordfish

V. On the Charadrius

VI. On the Pelican

VII. On the Owl

VIII. On the Eagle

IX. On the Phoenix

X. On the Hoopoe

XI. On the Wild Ass

XII. On the Viper

XIII. On the Serpent

XIV. On the Ant

XV. On the Siren and Ass-Centaur

XVI. On the Hedgehog

XVII. On the Ibis

XVIII. On the Fox

XIX. On the Peridexion Tree and the Doves

XX. On the Elephant

XXI. On Amos the Prophet

XXII. On the Roe

XXIII. On the Agate-stone

XXIV. On the Oyster-stone and the Pearl

XXV. On the Adamant-stone

XXVI. On the Other Nature of the Wild Ass and the Monkey

XXVII. On the Indian-stone

XXVIII. On the Heron, that is, the Coot

XXIX. On the Fig Tree

XXX. On the Panther

XXXI. On the Whale, that is, the Aspidoceleon

XXXII. On the Partridge

XXXIII. On the Vulture

XXXIV. On the Ant-lion

XXXV. On the Weasel

XXXVI. On the Unicorn

XXXVII. On the Beaver

XXXVIII. On the Hyena or the Brute

XXXIX. On the Niluus

XL. On the Echinemon

XLI. On the Little Crow

XLII. On the Ostrich

XLIII. On the Turtle-dove

XLIV. On the Swallow

XLV. On the Stag

XLVI. On the Frog

XLVII. On the Lizard, that is, the Salamander

XLVIII. On the Magnet

XLIX. On the Adamant-stone

L. On the Doves

LI. On the Sun-lizard, that is, the Sun-eel


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