Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bees & beehives from medieval Illuminated Manuscripts

The Luttrell Psalter


At a time when many believed that bees were small birds, Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 11, 4-23) wrote of bees:  They belong to neither the wild or domesticated class of animals. Of all insects, bees alone were created for the sake of man. They collect honey, make wax, build structures, work hard, and have a government and leaders. They retire for the winter, since they cannot endure cold. They build their hives of many materials gathered from various plants. They gather honey from flowers close to the hive, and send out scouts to farther pastures when the nearby flowers are exhausted; if the scouts cannot return before nightfall, they make camp and lie on their backs to protect their wings from dew. They post a guard at the gates of the hive, and after sleeping until dawn they are woken by one of their number and all fly out together, if the weather is fine. They can forecast wind and rain so they know when not to go out. The young bees go out to collect materials while the old work indoors. Honey comes out of the air; in falling from a great height it accumulates dirt and is stained with the vapor of the earth; it becomes purified after the bees collect it and allow it to ferment in the hive. Smoke is used to drive away the bees so their honey can be collected, though too much smoke kills them. Out of several possible candidates, bees select the best to be king, and kill the others to avoid division; the king is twice as large as other bees, is brilliantly colored, and has a white spot on his brow. The common bees obey and protect the king, as they are unable to be without him. Bees like the sound of clanging bronze, which summons them together. Dead bees can be revived if they are covered with mud and the body of an ox or bull.

 Aberdeen bestiary

 Anonymous (15th century)-'honey'-miniature Paris-BNF (Tacuinum sanitatis nal 1673)

 Barthélémy L'Anglais, op.cit, 1445-1450, Artificiosae Apes, France, Le Mans XVe s. BNF, FR 136, fol. 16

 Beekeeping print tacuinum sanitatis (14th century)

 Bees and Beehives, from The Hours of Catherine of Cleves,  c.1440.

 British Library, Harley 3448 f. 10v Bear and a beehive.

 Consulter Element Num

 Consulter Element Numa

 Detail of a miniature of beehives with bees. Italy, N. (Lombardy) from British Library

 Detail of Exultet roll Barberini latinus Montecassino - 592 Bib Apostolica Vaticana - ca 1075-1087

 Fearless bee-keeper and his hives. Lyon BM MS 27

 Georgics (KB 76 E 21 II, fol. 42v), c. 1450-1475

 Hives from French Illuminated Manuscript  t

 Illuminated Manuscript

 Illuminated Manuscript

 Illuminated Manuscript BNF

 Illuminated Manuscript BNF

 Illuminated Manuscript

 King's 24   f. 47v   Beekeeping

 Manuscrit enluminé par le Maître des Vitae Imperatorum (actif 1430 – 1450), miniatures qui illustrent le manuscrit du même nom de Suétone (Paris, B. N., ms. it. 131), 1431. Bee keeping

 Medieval Illuminated Manuscript

 Theological miscellany, including the Summa de vitiis, Peraldus, f. 58, England after 1236, 13th century]

Virgil observing bees. Œuvres avec les commentaires de Servius, Paris, 15C

 Bibliothèque Municipale de Reims, ms. 993, Folio 151v

 Morgan Library, MS M.81, Folio 58r

 Kongelige Bibliotek, Gl. kgl. S. 1633 4º, Folio 47r

  Museum Meermanno, MMW, 10 B 25, Folio 37r

 British Library, Royal MS 12 C. xix, Folio 45r

 Bodleian Library, MS. Ashmole 1511, Folio 75v

  Bodleian Library, MS. Douce 151, Folio 69v

 Bodleian Library, MS. Bodley 764, Folio 89

 Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 6838B, Folio 29v

  Koninklijke Bibliotheek, KB, 76 E 4, Folio 86v

Koninklijke Bibliotheek, KB, KA 16, Folio 128v

Douce 88 fol-111v B

Medieval Bee Hives Hortus Noster