"Of the Nature of Things" and "Of the Times" by Bede. Letters by Saint Jerome and Pseudo-Jerome. Allegorical Drawings with Commentary and Glosses


This manuscript contains two works on computus (computations) by the Anglo-Saxon scholar the Venerable Bede (673−735), De natura rerum (Of the nature of things) and De temporum ratione (Of the times), and letters by Saint Jerome and Pseudo-Jerome. On a page originally left blank, folio 63 recto, pen drawings were entered towards the end of the 11th century. Their motifs are monsters, composed of parts of different animals: the upper creature consists of a bird's head with donkey ears, the tail of a dragon ending in a peacock tail, a wing with a human lower arm, and a leg with a bovine hoof. The second creature has a deer's antlers on a dog's head; its human arms and hands hold a club and its legs end in claws or hooves. Latin verses accompanying the drawings explain their symbolical meaning during the Middle Ages. A bird's beak is the symbol of loquacity, for example, while deer antlers stand for arrogance. Both verses and images were intended to serve didactic purposes, in the Latin classroom and for discussing questions of moral philosophy. The manuscript was from the Benedictine monastery of Tegernsee and came to Munich in 1803.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

De natura rerum. De temporum ratione/Beda Venerabilis. Epistolae/Hieronymus Ps.-Hieronymus

Type of Item

Physical Description

94 folios : parchment ; 33 x 22.5 centimeters


  • BSB shelfmark: Clm 18158
  • This description of the work was written by Bettina Wagner of the Bavarian State Library.

Last updated: January 25, 2019