Monster 3

3. Bodleian Library, MS. Douce 337, fol. 85r

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 337, fol. 85r

From the Bodleian Library website:

This monstrous merman is one of the fabulous creatures described in the Mirroir du Monde, a chronicle of world history from the Creation to the birth of Christ. This is the only known manuscript of this work, made in northern France probably before 1463. The text accompanying the illustration describes a being of which the top half was a man and the lower half was a divided fish: “secondly he had a big and marvellous beard, thirdly he had two big horns on his ears, fourthly he had big breasts, fifthly he had a marvellous big mouth and hands.” This fishy monster swims with his head out of water and is reported to have tried to pull a lady into a river “but she was strong and well-advised and resisted.” The lady, her attendants, and the monster can be seen enacting the event in the far distance.

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