The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 68v - De scitali serpente; Of the snake called scitalis. De anphivena; Of the anphivena. De ydro; Of the ydrus.


Folio 69r - the ydrus, continued. De boa angue; Of the snake called boas.


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Commentary, Translation and Transcription

These sections are located below the image on each page, scroll down page and click on the tabs to view them. It is also possible to view the translation alongside the image by clicking the translation icon in the toolbar

It is not part of the project to provide a definitive edition of the text of the Bestiary, but to help readers by providing a transcription and translation of the text. Currently the following editorial conventions obtain:

Text

  1. The original capitalisation is retained, but capitals have been added for personal and place names, excluding deus and diabolus.
  2. The original punctuation, including a point and inverted semi-colon (both serving as commas), and a point (serving as a full stop), is represented by comma, full stop and question-mark; a colon has been inserted before quotations.
  3. Suggested readings are in [ ].
  4. Variants from other Bestiary texts (eg Ashmole 1511 and Patrologia Latina 176) are added where they indicate a corruption, elucidate a meaning and replace excised text. They are represented as [A: PL:]

Translation

  1. Direct quotations from the Bible, where identified, are cited from the Authorised Version in ( ).
  2. Paraphrased quotations are identified where possible and indicated as: (see Job, 18:22).
  3. Suggested translations of corrupt words are in [ ].
  4. Capitalisation is sparing; additional punctuation has been used where necessary to give the sense. Paragraphs have been created to break up the text.

COMMENTARY

Scitalis has a glittering skin. The Anphivena has two heads, one at each end. The Ydrus lives in the Nile.

Illustration

Three pictures. The scitalis has a dog's head, wings and two feet. The anphivena is shown with two heads, wings and claws. The ydrus is killing a crocodile by crawling into its mouth and tearing it apart.

Comment

In the margin, beside the scitalis text is the sketch of a pointed reptile's wing. Anphivena are in fact limbless lizards, wormlike creatures with rounded head and tail and can move in two directions. This animal is pricked for pouncing. No animal attacks the crocodile in the manner described by the ydrus but the large Nile monitor lizard eats crocodile eggs, and the many types of Nilotic worm crawl in and out of the flesh of dead animals. The word 'ictrie' is written on the body of ydrus. This means icturus or jaundice yellow. Red 'S' and 'A' in the left margin are guides for the initial, type 2.

COMMENTARY

The ydris kills crocodiles. Boas kill by sucking the life out of cows through their udders. The jaculus.

Illustration

The boa is designed as a spiral coiled lizard, with wings and feet. The jaculus, which is a snake that flies from trees, is shown as a lifeless stick. The black and green whip snake climbs, jumps and swims. It is called a flying serpent although it merely leaps.Marginal correction, top right, percussi [supplies omission 'struck']. Initial type 2.