A Field Guide to Bizarre Medieval Monsters

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Medieval zoology is bizarre. Mostly because half of the creatures don’t even exist. And those that do look very, very strange!

In this handy field guide, we’ll be exploring some of the weirdest and wildest mythical beasts and legendary creatures of the European Middle Ages. From basilisks to blemmyes, and everywhere in between. It’s a world where biology and mythology blend together.

We’ll be looking at these three unusual documents in particular:
– The Aberdeen Bestiary
– Carta marina (by Olaus Magnus)
– The Travels of Sir John Mandeville
– Luttrell Psalter

This video was a blast to make, I hope that you enjoy it! It also marks the start of Season III, go get ready for more obscure topics. Oh, and thank you all for 521k subscribers, I am so grateful to all of you!



00:00 Intro
00:51 The Tarasque
01:46 Bestiaries
02:25 Goose Trees?
03:07 Griffin “Claws” & Unicorn “Horns”
04:05 Curiosity Stream
05:11 Sea Monsters
05:54 Blemmyes
06:54 Cynocephali
08:05 Grotesques
08:48 Concluding Thoughts
09:42 Outro

Sources & Further Reading

Online Bestiary (Alphabetic):

List of Bestiaries – Wiki:

The Curious Myth of the Origin Barnacle Geese:
Medieval Lore: The Curious Myth of the Origin Barnacle Geese

Carta marina – Wiki:

The Headless Blemmyes – JustHistoryPosts:
Mythical Creatures: The Headless Blemmyes

The Grotesques of the Luttrell Psalter:


Intro – Epic of Gilgamesh in Sumerian by Peter Pringle

Celtic Impulse by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3484-celtic-impulse
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Teller of the Tales by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4467-teller-of-the-tales
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Pippin the Hunchback by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4219-pippin-the-hunchback
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

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