Reinardus: Yearbook of the International Reynard Society. Volume 24 (2012)
  • ISSN 0925-4757
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9951
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It is already almost 100 years since Montague Rhodes James divided all bestiary manuscripts that were known to him into groups or families. Since then, his scheme has undergone several revisions, and the table established through the modifications of McCulloch and Yapp shows five families of bestiary manuscripts, that is BIs, Transitional, Second, Third and Fourth. The present article will treat in detail the so-called Transitional Family of manuscripts, which includes six late twelfth- and thirteenth-century manuscripts, and is undoubtedly the most puzzling of the families. Not only the structure of the family, but also its proper placement in the above mentioned table has been subject to debate. My analysis of the textual sources of each chapter of the Transitional Family shows that, contrary to the arguments of earlier scholars, it was the Second Family bestiary, together with manuscripts of BIs and H-type BIs, were the main components used in the composition of the Transitional Family, rather than the Transitional Family (as its name implies) having been the basis of the Second Family. Moreover, I argue that the manuscripts of the Transitional Family, contrary to earlier classifications, do not represent a homogeneous group, but rather form four distinct subfamilies.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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