Physiologus: About this edition

Included texts

The present edition includes the complete texts of all currently known Slavic copies of the Physiologus in the second, so-called Byzantine recension. They can be accessed through the Beast and Birds menu.

The Slavic texts came into being as three separate translations of distinct Greek versions. That is why the copies have been divided into three groups in the edition, corresponding to the First, Second, and Third translations. All the copies within a translation can be compared by opening the collation window; at the same time each individual copy can be read in its entirety as an independent text. By simultaneously opening two or more collation windows, users can view collations of parallel texts from different translations.

Chapters made of parts of different translations are published under the title Mixed chapters.

Two more texts are also published here. The first one is the so-called Fragment of the Physiologus, an excerpt from the Commentaries to the Hexaemeron of Eustathius of Antiochia. It does not belong to the Byzantine recension, but has been popular in the South Slavic tradition. Its copies can also be compared or read in their entirety. The second text is the only extant copy of the Pseudo-Basilian recension in South Slavic translation presenting an original, probably Slavic, compilation of the three basic Greek recensions.


In this edition all copies of the text of the South Slavic Physiologus are presented both in parallel and in full. The bottom row of the collation windows gives numbers which make it possible to refer to any segment of the text (e.g. съ травꙋ: Aspide / Second translation, (copy) Г: 153). The rows of the full-text windows are also numbered to facilitate citation. The recommended formats for full and short citations of this segment of the text are:

Stoykova, A. The Slavic Physiologus of the Byzantine Recension: Electronic Text Edition and Comparative Study, 2011, Aspide/Second translation, Г : 153 ( accessed on 15 January 2011).

Stoykova 2011, Aspide/Second translation, Г: 153.

Adherence to originals

For convenience of comparison the copies are presented chapter by chapter in the Beast and Birds menu. Since different copies include different chapters and their order may vary, information about the contents and structure of each copy is given in the Copies menu, which is arranged by translations.

The texts of the Physiologus were excerpted from the original manuscripts de visu or from microfilms and photoprints. The exact positions of page breaks have not always been noted; this information will eventually be added to the site.

Portions of text which are missing as a result of physical damage to the manuscript are marked with hyphens in square brackets [----------] ; portions of text which are present in the manuscripts but which are unclear and illegible (mostly red letters in titles which are not clearly visible in many of the black and white photoprints I had at my disposal) are marked with dots in square brackets [...........].

The great diversity of orthographic variants in the Bulgarian and Serbian copies from the end of the 14th to the 19th century has been reproduced as accurately as possible. Superscript characters and titles are preserved, abbreviations have been left unchanged. However, the use of a conventional Old Bulgarian font meant that graphical variants of the different types of o have had to be unified and some ligatures have had to be separated out. Thus, the characters for broad o, triangular o and o with one or two dots as well as the eight-shaped o are rendered as omega ѡ; the ligature for ѹ which is made up of an eight-shaped o with a superscript izhica is rendered as ооͩ; the ligature of a and y is rendered as аү and the ligature of p and jat as рѣ The broad e used to indicate the jotated e is rendered with the character є, but only in copies where its usage is consistent. The centred dot is rendered as a normal dot. Spaces have been introduced between words whenever missing. The particle жѣ is written as a separate word except in яже, якоже, иже, даже.