The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 101r - Of stones and what they can do, continued.


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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.
having the colour of polished iron, but it cannot be destroyed by iron, fire or any other means, unless it is placed in the hot blood of a goat; with sharp pieces of diamond other stones are engraved and polished. It is no greater than a small nut. There are six kinds, however Adamant attracts metal; it expels venom; it produces amber [and is efficacious against empty fears and for those resisting spells]. It is found in India, in Greece and in Cyprus, where magicians make use of it. It gives you courage; it averts apparitions; it removes anger and quarrels; it heals the mad; it defends you from your enemies. It should be set in gold or silver and worn on the left arm. It is likewise found in Arabia. Acates is a stone so called from the name of a river flowing through the middle of Sicily. It is a black stone with white lines, having several images, sometimes of a king, sometimes of beasts, placed there by nature. Another kind is found in Crete, similar to coral, having veins like gold. This stone is used against poison. Another kind is found in India; it is marked with veins like the branches of a tree, and in the form of men. This stone removes thirst and strengthens the sight. There is another kind which has the scent of myrrh when it is placed in fire. Another kind has marks the colour of blood. Another has the colour of wax. But because there are so many kinds, it is of less value. It defends a man, however; it gives him strength; puts colour in his face; it endows him with good counsel; and it makes him persuasive. Electorius grows in the stomach of a fowl after it is three years old and grows until the bird is seven. It is no bigger than a nut or a bean; it is clear like crystal or water; it gives victory to the man who wears it; it takes away thirst if it is placed in the mouth of the thirsty; it summons back those who are scattered; it acquires friends for him; it makes him eloquent and loved. It bestows love between a man and a woman. It has all these virtues if it is carried in the mouth. Sernatites is a black stone of such a nature that if it is placed in the mouth and held under the tongue, a man can perceive what people think of him, and no woman can withstand his will. You can test its nature by smearing someone with honey and milk and placing him in the midst of a swarm of flies; if he has the stone

Text

The properties of various stones.

Comment

Quire 'P' begins here. This is marked by a more economical page layout, with narrower margins and more words per line.

Folio Attributes

  • Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

    Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

    Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks
    Folio Marks

    To make a normal gathering, a sheet of vellum (the skin of a calf, lamb or kid) would be folded over twice and cut around the edges. This would make a gathering or quire of eight folios with sixteen sides. In the Bestiary there are fifteen quires, thirteen of which are made with the usual eight folios. The last two quires, added in the late thirteenth century, have six and four folios respectively. The folios are not precisely cut but in the most regular quires (B and C) they measure 300mm high and 210mm wide. In order to assemble the quires in the correct sequence they were labelled in lead point with letters of the alphabet. Some are missing with the result that the sequence runs -,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,K,-(folio missing),M,N. The last two quires (O and P) are the later additions and are not marked. The quire system was examined by MR James when the book was being rebound and he was able to produce the following analysis of the gatherings: A8 (wants folio 2, 8); B8 (4,5); C8 (4,8); D8 (4,5); E8-L8 (1); M8; N8; O6; P4 (4). Individual sheets in the quire needed to be marked. Although there were eight folios only the first four needed marking because they were folded with the last four. Each sheet was distinctively marked to make sure the quires could not get muddled up. The asterisk sign is repeated in quires B and M but they remain distinct because the B sign is in the top right corner while the M signs are all in the bottom left corner.

Transcription

colorem habens ut ferrum politum, set ferro vel igne vel alio modo\ frangi non potest nisi sanguine hyrcino calido apposito, et ex frag\mentis acutis sculpantur et poliuntur gemme alie. Hic maior nuce\ parva non est, sed adamantis sex sunt species, ferrum attrahit, vene\num expellit, parit electum [electrum], metus varios [vanos] et maleficiis resistentibus.\ Hic in India invenitur, quedam in Grecia, quedam in Cypra, et hac utuntur\ incantatores. Item virtutem prebet, prohibet fantasmata, tollit\ iram et rixam, sanat freneticos, defendit ab inimicis includi\ debet auro vel argento, et brachio sinistro deferri. Invenitur similiter in Arabia.\ Acates lapis sic dictus a nomine aque per mediam Ciciliam curren\tis, lapis niger, radios habens albos, pluras [plures] habens figuras, aliquando re\gis, aliquando bestiarum quas natura apposuit. Alterius modi invenitur\ in Creta similis corallo, venas habens similes auro. Hic utilis contra\ venenum, alius invenitur in India in quo sunt rami ut arboris et for\ma hominis. Hic aufert sitim, et confortat visum. Alius est qui odorem\ habet mirre quando ponitur in igne. Alius sanguineas habens maculas. Alius\ cere colorem, sed quia tot sunt, minoris precii sunt, defendit tamen hominem\ et prebet vim, confert colorem, et bonum consilium et quod credi de\beat.\ Electorius crescit in ventre altilis postquam est trium annorum,\ et crescit usque sit septem, nec maior est quam nux, vel faba, cla\rus ut cristallus et aqua, confert homini qui portat eum victoriam, au\fert sitim, si ponatur in ore sicientis, revocat dispersos, adquerit\ amicos, efficit eloquentem et amatum. Confert dilectionem inter\ virum et mulierem, et has habet virtutes si in ore feratur. Sernatites est lapis niger talis nature quod si in ore loco sub lingua\ teneatur statim percipiet quid cogitat de ipso, nec femina\ valet eius voluntati resistere, et eius virtus sit probatur, si unguatur\ quis melle et lacte inter quotquot muscas positus sit si habeat lapidem\

Translation

having the colour of polished iron, but it cannot be destroyed by iron, fire or any other means, unless it is placed in the hot blood of a goat; with sharp pieces of diamond other stones are engraved and polished. It is no greater than a small nut. There are six kinds, however Adamant attracts metal; it expels venom; it produces amber [and is efficacious against empty fears and for those resisting spells]. It is found in India, in Greece and in Cyprus, where magicians make use of it. It gives you courage; it averts apparitions; it removes anger and quarrels; it heals the mad; it defends you from your enemies. It should be set in gold or silver and worn on the left arm. It is likewise found in Arabia. Acates is a stone so called from the name of a river flowing through the middle of Sicily. It is a black stone with white lines, having several images, sometimes of a king, sometimes of beasts, placed there by nature. Another kind is found in Crete, similar to coral, having veins like gold. This stone is used against poison. Another kind is found in India; it is marked with veins like the branches of a tree, and in the form of men. This stone removes thirst and strengthens the sight. There is another kind which has the scent of myrrh when it is placed in fire. Another kind has marks the colour of blood. Another has the colour of wax. But because there are so many kinds, it is of less value. It defends a man, however; it gives him strength; puts colour in his face; it endows him with good counsel; and it makes him persuasive. Electorius grows in the stomach of a fowl after it is three years old and grows until the bird is seven. It is no bigger than a nut or a bean; it is clear like crystal or water; it gives victory to the man who wears it; it takes away thirst if it is placed in the mouth of the thirsty; it summons back those who are scattered; it acquires friends for him; it makes him eloquent and loved. It bestows love between a man and a woman. It has all these virtues if it is carried in the mouth. Sernatites is a black stone of such a nature that if it is placed in the mouth and held under the tongue, a man can perceive what people think of him, and no woman can withstand his will. You can test its nature by smearing someone with honey and milk and placing him in the midst of a swarm of flies; if he has the stone
  • Commentary

    Text

    The properties of various stones.

    Comment

    Quire 'P' begins here. This is marked by a more economical page layout, with narrower margins and more words per line.

    Folio Attributes

    • Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

      Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

      Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks
      Folio Marks

      To make a normal gathering, a sheet of vellum (the skin of a calf, lamb or kid) would be folded over twice and cut around the edges. This would make a gathering or quire of eight folios with sixteen sides. In the Bestiary there are fifteen quires, thirteen of which are made with the usual eight folios. The last two quires, added in the late thirteenth century, have six and four folios respectively. The folios are not precisely cut but in the most regular quires (B and C) they measure 300mm high and 210mm wide. In order to assemble the quires in the correct sequence they were labelled in lead point with letters of the alphabet. Some are missing with the result that the sequence runs -,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,K,-(folio missing),M,N. The last two quires (O and P) are the later additions and are not marked. The quire system was examined by MR James when the book was being rebound and he was able to produce the following analysis of the gatherings: A8 (wants folio 2, 8); B8 (4,5); C8 (4,8); D8 (4,5); E8-L8 (1); M8; N8; O6; P4 (4). Individual sheets in the quire needed to be marked. Although there were eight folios only the first four needed marking because they were folded with the last four. Each sheet was distinctively marked to make sure the quires could not get muddled up. The asterisk sign is repeated in quires B and M but they remain distinct because the B sign is in the top right corner while the M signs are all in the bottom left corner.

  • Translation
    having the colour of polished iron, but it cannot be destroyed by iron, fire or any other means, unless it is placed in the hot blood of a goat; with sharp pieces of diamond other stones are engraved and polished. It is no greater than a small nut. There are six kinds, however Adamant attracts metal; it expels venom; it produces amber [and is efficacious against empty fears and for those resisting spells]. It is found in India, in Greece and in Cyprus, where magicians make use of it. It gives you courage; it averts apparitions; it removes anger and quarrels; it heals the mad; it defends you from your enemies. It should be set in gold or silver and worn on the left arm. It is likewise found in Arabia. Acates is a stone so called from the name of a river flowing through the middle of Sicily. It is a black stone with white lines, having several images, sometimes of a king, sometimes of beasts, placed there by nature. Another kind is found in Crete, similar to coral, having veins like gold. This stone is used against poison. Another kind is found in India; it is marked with veins like the branches of a tree, and in the form of men. This stone removes thirst and strengthens the sight. There is another kind which has the scent of myrrh when it is placed in fire. Another kind has marks the colour of blood. Another has the colour of wax. But because there are so many kinds, it is of less value. It defends a man, however; it gives him strength; puts colour in his face; it endows him with good counsel; and it makes him persuasive. Electorius grows in the stomach of a fowl after it is three years old and grows until the bird is seven. It is no bigger than a nut or a bean; it is clear like crystal or water; it gives victory to the man who wears it; it takes away thirst if it is placed in the mouth of the thirsty; it summons back those who are scattered; it acquires friends for him; it makes him eloquent and loved. It bestows love between a man and a woman. It has all these virtues if it is carried in the mouth. Sernatites is a black stone of such a nature that if it is placed in the mouth and held under the tongue, a man can perceive what people think of him, and no woman can withstand his will. You can test its nature by smearing someone with honey and milk and placing him in the midst of a swarm of flies; if he has the stone
  • Transcription
    colorem habens ut ferrum politum, set ferro vel igne vel alio modo\ frangi non potest nisi sanguine hyrcino calido apposito, et ex frag\mentis acutis sculpantur et poliuntur gemme alie. Hic maior nuce\ parva non est, sed adamantis sex sunt species, ferrum attrahit, vene\num expellit, parit electum [electrum], metus varios [vanos] et maleficiis resistentibus.\ Hic in India invenitur, quedam in Grecia, quedam in Cypra, et hac utuntur\ incantatores. Item virtutem prebet, prohibet fantasmata, tollit\ iram et rixam, sanat freneticos, defendit ab inimicis includi\ debet auro vel argento, et brachio sinistro deferri. Invenitur similiter in Arabia.\ Acates lapis sic dictus a nomine aque per mediam Ciciliam curren\tis, lapis niger, radios habens albos, pluras [plures] habens figuras, aliquando re\gis, aliquando bestiarum quas natura apposuit. Alterius modi invenitur\ in Creta similis corallo, venas habens similes auro. Hic utilis contra\ venenum, alius invenitur in India in quo sunt rami ut arboris et for\ma hominis. Hic aufert sitim, et confortat visum. Alius est qui odorem\ habet mirre quando ponitur in igne. Alius sanguineas habens maculas. Alius\ cere colorem, sed quia tot sunt, minoris precii sunt, defendit tamen hominem\ et prebet vim, confert colorem, et bonum consilium et quod credi de\beat.\ Electorius crescit in ventre altilis postquam est trium annorum,\ et crescit usque sit septem, nec maior est quam nux, vel faba, cla\rus ut cristallus et aqua, confert homini qui portat eum victoriam, au\fert sitim, si ponatur in ore sicientis, revocat dispersos, adquerit\ amicos, efficit eloquentem et amatum. Confert dilectionem inter\ virum et mulierem, et has habet virtutes si in ore feratur. Sernatites est lapis niger talis nature quod si in ore loco sub lingua\ teneatur statim percipiet quid cogitat de ipso, nec femina\ valet eius voluntati resistere, et eius virtus sit probatur, si unguatur\ quis melle et lacte inter quotquot muscas positus sit si habeat lapidem\
Folio 101r - Of stones and what they can do, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen