Bestiary with theological texts

Date: Early thirteenth century
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): United Kingdom
Medium: Parchment
Dimensions: 22 × 16 cm
Description: Medieval bestiaries are compendia of animals and mythical creatures, often describing the allegorical (particularly Christian) or moralizing importance of different animals. One of the pages reproduced here shows the phoenix gathering branches for a fire and lying dead on an altar. Christian readers would have understood his self-sacrifice and resurrection in terms of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. The entry on the unicorn presents similar comparisons: the unicorn attacked by hunters is like Christ, and the maiden holding the unicorn in her lap is like the Virgin.
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 9

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British Library, Royal MS 12 C XIX, fol. 9v with the unicorn