Bern Physiologus

Bern Physiologus Facsimile Edition

Reims (France) — Ca. 830

35 miniatures based on examples from Late Antiquity adorn a Christian didactic text ranging from saints’ lives to botany, zoology, and minerology

  1. The text was originally written by an unknown author in Alexandria during the 2nd century

  2. Various topics are presented with relevant passages explaining their moral significance

  3. A scribe named Haecpertus copied it in Hautvillers Abbey near Reims between 825 and 850

Bern Physiologus

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Bern Physiologus

The Bern Physiologus is a 9th century illuminated manuscript that appears to be a copy of a 5th century codex from Late Antiquity. It contains a Latin translation of the Physiologus, a didactic Christian text written or compiled in Greek by an unknown author in Alexandria sometime in the 2nd century. Originating in Hautvillers Abbey near Reims between 825 and 850, this Carolingian copy is the work of a scribe identified as Haecpertus and is very neatly written in Carolingian minuscule with uncial script in black and red for the headings. It covers topics ranging from saints’ lives to descriptions of various animals, plants, and stones with corresponding passages concerning their moral significance. 35 miniatures adorn the manuscript, 25 with frames and 10 without, which are integrated into the text in the manner of an ancient manuscript and are probably copies. The Bern Physiologus is the oldest known surviving copy of the work in any language, making it a precious specimen for modern researchers in numerous fields.


Alternative Titles
Berner Physiologus
Physiologus Bernensis
Codex Bongarsianus 318
Size / Format
262 pages / 25.5 × 18.0 cm
Ca. 830
Carolingian Minuscule Uncial
35 miniatures
Facsimile Editions

#1 Physiologus Bernensis : voll-Faksimile-Ausg. des Codex Bongarsianus 318 der Burgerbibliothek Bern

Alkuin Verlag – Basel, 1964

Publisher: Alkuin Verlag – Basel, 1964
Commentary: 1 volume by Christoph Steiger and Otto Homburger
Language: German

The commentary was included in a separate part of the facsimile volume.
1 volume: This facsimile is not complete. Reproduction of ff. 7r-22v of the original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The pages are presented on a larger white background. The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding. One volume
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