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The Physiologus: A Book of Nature and Fantasy

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Monday, May 15, 2023 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0265
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Illuminated manuscript page from the Physiologus (Morgan museum and library, New York)

Unicorns, centaurs, and other animals—both mythological and real—make an appearance in the Physiologus (The Naturalist), a compilation written in Greek by an anonymous author, probably in Alexandria in the 3rd century A.D. Its text comprises chapters on assorted animals and magic stones, with information drawn from the works of ancient and Christian authors, the Bible, and fables. The treatise quickly became very popular, as evidenced by its rapid translation into several languages.

Ilya Dines, a medieval manuscripts specialist at the Library of Congress, delves into the text, illuminations, and legacy of the Physiologus.

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