A small pause to contemplate these incredible creatures, resulting from four different copies (including 3 around 1300 and one from 1464) of Brother Laurent Somme le Roi
. Commissioned by Philippe le Hardi, this manual of moral and religious instruction in French prose is also known by the sweet name of Livre des vices et des vertus
. The laity were thus invited to perfect their knowledge of the vices to flee and the virtues to cultivate in order to lead a good Christian life.
The preamble quotes a beast from the Apocalypse of Saint John (chapter 13): "And I saw a beast come up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten tiaras, and on his heads names of blasphemy. The beast that I saw was like a leopard; his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion."
And as the inscription says : "Ceste beste senefie le deable" !
manuscritp from 1294
manuscritp from 1295
manuscritp from 1311
manuscritp from 1464