Other Beasts

The zoomorphic initials on folios 21r, 22r and 32r are even less identifiable than the other images.


Processional, Plimpton MS 034, 021r Processional, Plimpton MS 034, 022r Processional, Plimpton MS 034, 032r

While the features of the animal in the "S" of "Sucipiat" on folio 21r are obscured by smudging on its body, the apparent fur and snout-like shape of the open mouth suggest that this would be considered a "beast" in the twelfth-century bestiary translated by T. H. White:

“The word ‘beasts’ should properly be used about lions, leopards, tigers, wolves, foxes, dogs, monkeys and other which rage about with tooth and claw—with the exception of snakes. They are called Beasts because of the violence with which they rage, and are known as ‘wild’ (ferus) because they are accustomed to freedom by nature and are governed (ferantur) by their own wishes.”

 T. H. White, ed. and trans., The Book of Beasts: Being a Translation of the Twelfth Century (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1954), 7.


The head on top of the "D" of "Dirige" on folio 22r likewise suggests a "beast." However, its long, thin tongue does also look like a serpent's tongue. This combination of features from disparate animals is enhanced by the fact that the "body" of this particular beast is in fact a branch with acorn-like vegetation hanging off at various points.






Similarly, the creature on folio 32r appears to be some cross between human and bird. The face, in profile, features a large eye, eyebrow, mouth, and nose in the shape of a human's face, albeit one with distorted features. The creature also wears a triangular hat with a brim, which, although it is not exact, is reminiscent of the other triangular hats on human faces elsewhere in Plimpton MS 034 - particularly on folios 8r and 7v. Nonetheless, the body on this humanoid animal features a curved, bird-like body without wings and a long, mammal-like tail. 

Beasts and Birds
Other Beasts