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Moon-worshippers-Knowledge of the value of their
CHAPTER I. MediÆVAL naturalists honest searchers after truth - Sir
Emerson Tennant thereupon-Recent discoveries confirm many statements once contested—“ Travellers' tales Mediæval natural history largely based upon ancientDifference of aim between modern and ancient and mediæval nature-study-The moral treatment—Illustrations from the Speculum Mundi"-Falsification of natural facts justified by the ecclesiastics-Ready credulity a mediæval characteristic—Two examples thereof—The love of the marvellous- Astrological influences - The mental equipment of a mediæval surgeon-Quaint book titles - The unchanging East - Suttee, Juggernaut, &c. in the pages of mediæval writers—The “Mirabilia descripta " of Bishop Jordanus—The “Voiage and Travaile” of Maundevile—The coca plant-Burton's “ Miracles of Art and Nature ”.
”—The Historia Mundi of PlinyEnglish editions of it - Herodotus - The writings of Aristotle—The sources of information in the Middle Ages -The praise of books—Books of travel-Munster's “Cosmography"-The interest and beauty of old titlepages-Elephants in lieu of towns in the old maps—A tale of a tub-Herbert's “ Some Yeares Travels into Africa and Asia the Great”—The travels of Marco Polo-Geography of Peter Heylyn-Raleigh's, Hakluyt's, Purchas', Struys', Acosta's books of travels --Medical booksPotter's "Booke of Physicke" - Cogan's "Haven of Health " - Indifference to animal suffering “ Bestiare Divin" of Guillaume-The “Bestiary” of Philip de Thaun
- The Armories of Guillim, Legh, and Bossewell. In the following pages we propose to consider at some little length the state of zoological know
ledge in the Middle Ages, and in so doing we shall, we doubt not, discover much of interest. While we shall undoubtedly find from time to time strange errors that greater opportunity of observation has in these latter days rectified, and encounter many things that may provoke a smile, we must in the forefront of our remarks very definitely assert that much of the literary work of our ancestors in this branch of study is worthy of high commendation, and that anything approaching scorn or sneer is entirely out of place. Strange, indeed, would it be if the modern man of science, with all the advantages of travel now so freely available, with the microscope, with the great facilities for the interchange of ideas or of specimens with kindred spirits, had not made a marked advance, but we can never look upon the works of the greater writers of the mediæval period without the utmost respect. The common people of that day were eagerly searching after knowledge and the huge folios and encyclopædias that were freely published are a monument of the diligence and painstaking zeal, of the courage and enthusiasm of their teachers. That they made mistakes
without saying, but to the full extent of their light they were honest seekers after truth.
While the statements of these early writers have been too frequently dismissed as fabulous and unreliable, it is only just to them to recall the fact that some of the details that have come into reproach have after all been found authentic. Sir Emerson Tennant in his work on Ceylon