the Creation of Birds and Fishes. God stands in a three-quarters pose facing right. His right arm is raised and he looks down on his creation. He wears a blue tunic and red cloak and has no beard. He occupies nearly the full height of the picture. On the right are two compartments of birds, two of which extend beyond their frames. The birds in the top section are not easy to recognise but they are possibly sea birds. The black bird on the right swoops like a great skua. The large black bird with a long neck and beak is rather like a cormorant or shag, apart from its curled tail feathers and unwebbed feet. Below, the peacock can be identified but the lighter birds are not specific. Above the sea, a white stork holds a snake. The text on f.49 says correctly that storks eat snakes and there is an illustration of this in the fifth-century manuscript of Dioscorides (Cod.Vind.med. Gr. 1). The fish in the water include an eel or conger, a large one on the left with a big mouth, two salmon-like fish in the middle and at the top two small fish with large heads.The position of God standing above the waters, facing right with his right arm raised is found on a similar creation scene on the mosaics of the Palatine Chapel, Palermo. The triangular area around the fish is pricked for pouncing. Initial type 3.
- Transcription and Translation
TranscriptionD\ixit etiam\ deus: Pro\ducant\ aque rep\tile anime\ viventis\ et volatile\ super terram,\ sub firma\mento celi.\ Creavitque\ deus cete gran\dia, et om\nem ani\mam vi\ventem atque\ motabilem quam produxerant aque in species suas, et omne\ volatile secundum genus suum. Et vidit deus quod esset\ bonum, benedixitque eis dicens: Crescite et multiplicami\ni et replete aquas maris, avesque multiplicentur super\ terram. Et factum est vespere et mane dies quintus.\
Translation'And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth under the firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day' (Genesis 1:20-23).