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WIKIPEDIA articles! A bestiary, or Bestiarum vocabulum is a
compendium of beasts. Bestiaries were made popular in the Middle
Ages in illustrated volumes that described various animals, birds
and even rocks. The natural history and illustration of each beast
was usually accompanied by a moral lesson. This reflected the
belief that the world itself was 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. The
bestiary, then, is also a reference to the symbolic language of
animals in Western Christian art and literature.
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