Annotate a Medieval Bestiary

Medieval Bestiaries

Bestiaries are illustrated books which describe animals. They were very popular during the Middle Ages, and the British Library offers a tour of its most interesting bestiaries in illuminated medieval manuscripts:

"A bestiary is a book of real and imaginary beasts, though its subjects often extend to birds, plants and even rocks. Long perceived merely as rudimentary natural histories, medieval bestiaries actually reflect the belief that the natural world was designed by God to instruct mankind. They describe the physical nature and habits of animals in order to elaborate on the moral or spiritual significance of these characteristics." (British Library)

The illustrations in your course material are from the manuscript Harley 3244, an English codex of the 13th century.


Create zones for each illustration on the pages with the help of the TEI Zoner. Then link the zones, in the <facsimile> element in your TEI file, to annotations about the animals in the <text> part of your TEI file.

Bonus: can you create an index of animals in alphabetical order, along with the folio(s) where they appear? The result should look like this:
  • bee: 57v, 58v
  • dove: 58v
  • dragon: 39v, 58v
  • duck: 57v
  • elephant: 39v