The Most Memorable Strange Tales Observed from the Birth of Jesus Christ to Our Century


After studying law in several French universities, Pierre Boaistuau (1517–66) spent much time travelling throughout Europe in the service of different ambassadors, which gave him the chance to examine the curiosities of the contemporary world. Upon his return to Paris, he wrote and published his complete works in the brief period between 1556 and 1560. His books were the origin of two dominant genres in the second half of the 16th century: the histoires tragiques (tragic stories) and the histoires prodigieuses (strange tales). Histoires prodigieuses (Strange tales) was the last work published in Boaistuau’s lifetime. Largely inspired by the Alsatian humanist and encyclopedist, Conrad Lycosthenes (1518–61), it drew upon many sources: contemporary stories of the birth of monsters, fantasy stories, omens and the supernatural, and mythological texts and medieval tales, all mixed in with Boaistuau's own observations. Illustrated with 49 wood engravings depicting monsters and prodigious events, the tales were later republished, adapted, and translated many times.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Vincent Sertenas, Jean Longis, and Robert Le Mangnier. Printed by Annet Brière, Paris


Title in Original Language

Histoires prodigieuses les plus mémorables qui ayent esté observées depuis la nativité de Jésus-Christ jusques à nostre siècle

Type of Item

Physical Description

173 pages: illustrated

Last updated: August 18, 2014