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Inventions, discoveries and introductions

--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12th_century#Inventions.2C_discoveries_and_introductions [Jun 2005]

1184: The Medieval Inquisition [...]

The Medieval Inquisition started around 1184. It was in response to large popular heretical movements throughout Europe, in particular Catharism and Waldensians in southern France and northern Italy. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquisition#History [Sept 2004]


The Waldensians were followers of Peter Waldo

The Waldensians were followers of Peter Waldo (or Valdes or Vaudes); they called themselves the Poor men of Lyon, the Poor of Lombardy, or the Poor. A Christian sect believing in poverty and austerity, they were founded around 1173 promoting true poverty, public preaching and the literal interpretation of the scriptures. Declared heretical, the movement was brutally suppressed by the Roman Catholic church. The group was one of many suppressed by the Church during the 12th and 13th centuries. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldensians [Sept 2004]

Origin: Peter Waldo and his followers

Waldo began to preach on the streets of Lyon in 1173. He was a wealthy merchant and decided to give up all his wordly possesions, he was sick of his own affluence, that he had so much more than those around him. He went through the streets throwing his money away and decided to become a wandering preacher who would beg for a living. He began to attract a following. Waldo had philosophy very similair to Francis of Assisi. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldensians [Sept 2004]


Bestiaries and Their Users in the Middle Ages (1998) - Ron Baxter [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Scythian Lamb, image unidentified

Book Description
Bestiaries were among the most popular of medieval books, often tediously and lavishly illustrated, but the conditions of their use have until now never been satisfactorily explained. Dr Baxter has undertaken extensive new research into a large corpus of bestiaries, applying modern narrative theory to their texts and images to reveal the messages encoded in them -- messages which were systematically altered as bestiaries were expanded and restructured.

About the Author
Ronald Baxter is a lecturer in medieval art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, and honorary editor of the Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in the British Isles.

The Bestiary
An extraordinary compilation where the paradigmatic struggle between observation and vision so crucial to the Fantastic is constantly played out. By the time of the early Enlightenment, the Bestiary, like its more recnent relative the Encyclopedia, participates in the totalizing intent of a catalogue whose purpose is the scientific understanding of the world. Empirical observation banishes from these increasingly imposing tomes any creatures that have not been observed in their environment. So the unicorn and the dragon, the griffon and the sea serpent, and all their relations take refuge in the annals of folklore, until the fantastic and its adjudant, surrealism, release them once more into literary discourse from the prisons where rational inquiry had consigned them. --http://fantastic.library.cornell.edu/bestiary.php [Jun 2005]

A bestiary is a medieval book that has short descriptions of various real or imaginary animals, birds and even rocks. All of these are often accompanied by a moralising explanation and a picture (which helped educate the illiterate). This reflected the belief that the world itself was literally the Word of God, and that every living thing had its own special meaning. For example, the pelican, which was believed to tear open its breast to bring its young to life with its own blood, was a living representation of Jesus. This kind of symbolism was well known and widespread. Any animals depicted in religious art of the time were not just animals, they were symbols. This kind of bestiary symbolism was also found in church sculpture, where the familiar images would remind the viewer of the story and its allegorical meaning.

Bestiaries were particularly popular in England and France around the 12th century and were mainly compilations of earlier texts, especially the Physiologus and the Etymologiae of Isidore of Seville.

The most well-known bestiary of that time is the Aberdeen Bestiary. There are many others and over 50 manuscripts survive today.

Jorge Luis Borges wrote a modern day bestiary of sorts, the Book of Imaginary Beings, which collects imaginary beasts from bestiaries and fiction. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestiary [Jun 2005]

see also: grotesque - animal - monster - middle ages

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