This page presents photographs of Libraries and of Beasts and birds.
Click Libraries to see photographs of the libraries that keep the Slavic manuscripts of the Physiologus published on this website. You can also look at photographs of the libraries that keep the illuminated manuscripts containing all miniatures of beasts and birds used as illustrations in this website. Click Beasts and birds to see these magnificent miniatures.
Click a photograph to see it enlarged, then click the caption below to visit the library webpage. Click the photograph again to return to normal view. Captions below enlarged photographs of libraries show the library's full name and the city where it is situated. Captions below images of animals show the name of the library, the manuscript and the folio where the image is found. The copyright sign © below an animal thumbnail is also a link to the webpage of the library where it is held.
Slavic manuscripts of the Physiologus, with rare exceptions, are not illuminated. There are some famous Greek illuminated manuscripts; the codex Smyrna 124 from ca. 1200 AD, destroyed by fire, was especially beautiful.
However, the art of illuminated books reached its peak in the West European bestiary. The bestiaries were based on Latin translations of the Physiologus and became extremely popular. They were almost always decorated with animal miniatures. That is why, striving to make this site as complete as possible, we decided to use selected images from such manuscripts: they both illustrate the properties of the beasts and birds and amuse and delight the eyes.
The photographs of manuscript miniatures shown here (as well as elsewhere in this website) are copyrighted as a rule, except for few of them which are freely available in the public domain. Use of these photographs is allowed only with the permission of the entities to which the respective copyright belongs. Usually, these are the libraries where the illuminated manuscripts are kept.