The Aberdeen Bestiary

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


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Commentary, Translation and Transcription

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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.
he is not bitten; remove the stone and the flies bite him ceaselessly. There are seventeen kinds of jasper; it has many colours; and it grows in parts of Sicily. The green and translucent kind is better and of more virtue than the rest. Jasper defends any chaste person wearing it from fever and the dropsy, and from apparitions; it strengthens friendship, keeps you safe and gives you courage. It is of greater virtue if set in silver rather than gold. Sapphire is of such virtue that it is called the gemstone of gemstones. In colour, it is like the sky when it is cloudless. It is called serc[t]ites because it is found on the shore of Libya in front of sandbanks. This kind is clear; but a better kind is that found in the land of the Turks, although it is not so clear. Its virtue strengthens him who wears it, preserves his limbs intact, overcomes envy and deception, takes away fear, brings him out of prison, and loosens his bonds. It gets rid of an ulcer and cools you if you are overheated internally. Ground up with milk, it serves as an emollient; it is good for the eyes and for an injury to the tongue, and it takes away a headache. If you wear it, you should behave in a chaste fashion. Smaragdus surpasses everything in its greenness. There are six kinds: from Scythia, from Britannia [Bactria], from the Nile, which flows from Paradise; one is found in the veins of mines; one is called Chalcedonian. The one from Scythia is so clear that you can see through it; it colours the air around. It is the better kind. Smaragdus does not change its colour on account of the sun or moon or shade; it is so even that you can look through it, as Nero used to do; you can use it to find things under water. It brings wealth if it is worn chastely; it endows you with persuasive eloquence if it is worn on the neck. It cures fever; it gets rid of the hemitertian fever and epilepsy; and it banishes storms and wantonness. It also takes on colour: if it is discoloured and washed in wine and anointed with green oil, the discoloration is dissolved. Crisapacion comes from Ethiopia; its colour is like gold and at night it shines like fire etc. Sardonyx gets its name from two stones, and from these it gets three colours. Its first colour is black; above the black is white; above the white is red. This stone has five types, but the one which has the three colours not mixed together is worth more. It does not stick to wax; it has no other virtue, but you must be chaste and humble for it to have this virtue. The stone comes from Arabia and India. If worn on the neck or finger, it brings deep sleep, cures strife and also makes infants somewhat sharp-sighted. There are five kinds.

Text

The properties of various gems.

Comment

Initials type 4.

Folio Attributes

  • Pricking

    Pricking

    Pricking
    Line pricking and ruling. Detail from f.7r

    Once the quires were arranged they had to be prepared for writing by drawing up the lines. Tiny parallel pinpricks were made on the outer and inner edges of each page and horizontal lines ruled between them. In a completed book these pinpricks should have been trimmed off during the final stages of production but in the Aberdeen Bestiary they have survived in 12 out of the 15 quires (only E , G and M are fully trimmed). Careful measuring shows that the holes were pricked with the quires folded up, using a long pointed pricker, because they are the same distance apart throughout an entire quire. In quires B and C there is a double hole on the penultimate line, indicating to the person ruling lines that the page is about to end. In these two quires the holes have a coarse triangular shape and are set up to 6mm in from the edge. Elsewhere the holes are smaller, circular and much closer to the edge. Pinpricks were also made at the top and bottom of the pages to provide vertical margins. These survive in every quire. In quires A.F,H,J,K,L,M and N there are single pricks for the vertical lines. In B and C there are double pricks and double margins while in G there are double pricks and a variety of single and double ruled lines. On f.48r (quire G) where there are double pricks for the margins, the wrong holes have been joined and the faulty diagonal line has been redrawn correctly.

  • Initial Type 4

    Initial Type 4

    Initial Type 4
    Type 4 initial. Detail from f.96v

    Type 4 initials are red or blue. On any given page they alternate red and blue regularly. Blue initials are embellished with red tassels and vice versa. The colouring and form of the letters is not very even and appears rather hurried in places. In the Bestiary proper, they appear on f.79v and f.80r. Thereafter this is the basic initial used in the thirteenth-century Lapidary addition, found from f.94r onwards. This suggests that gaps left in the twelfth-century text on ff. 79v and 80r were filled in when the book was completed in the later thirteenth century. The poor quality of the later work is apparent from f.94r onwards, and is apparent on f.79v where the wrong capital ‘U’ was inserted and later corrected to ‘F’ for Fagus, the beech tree.

Transcription

in ore non pungitur, amoto lapide, pungere non desistunt.\ [J]aspidis sunt septemdecim maneries et multos habet colores et cres\cit in partes Cecilie, et ille melior et maioris virtutis qui viri\dis et translucens, illum castum portantem defendit a febre et ydro\pisy, a fantasmate, confert amiciciam, et defensionem, et dat forti\tudinem, et eius virtus maior in argento quam in auro.\ Saphirus tante virtutis est quod gemma gemmarum vocatur, colorem\ habet firmamenti, quando sine nube est, et dicitur sercites quia in harena\ Libie pre sirtes invenitur, hic clarus, sed ille melior qui invenitur apud Turcos,\ licet non adeo clarus, eius virtus confortat ferentem, membra conservat\ integra, invidiam et fraudem vincit, aufert timorem, et educit de carcere,\ solvit vincula. Interficit antracem, infrigidat hominem supra modum cale\factum interius, tritus cum lacte servat malagmata, utilis oculis, malo lingue\ dolorem aufert capitis, et qui fert caste ferri debet.\ Smaragdo viriditate vincit omnia, sex habet species, quidam de Sci\cia, de Britannia [Bactriana], quidam de Nilo qui currit de Paradyso, quidam iuvenis [in venis]\ matalli [metalli] invenitur, et quidam vocatur Calcidonia, qui de Scicia, et adeo clarus\ ut possit visu penetrandi, et qui retinet aerem sibi proximum melior est,\ nec mutat colorem propter solem vel lunam vel umbram et lapis talis planus\ bonus est ad visum, sicut consuevit et Nero, per hanc adquiruntur res in aquis\ per hanc accrescunt divicie si caste feratur, confert eloquenciam acceptabi\lem si collo feratur, sanat febrem emitriciam, guttam caducam aufert, tem\pestatem et luxuriam et eciam colorem accipit, si discoloretur et lavetur\ vino et unguatur oleo viridi privat colorem. \ Crisapacion nascitur\ in Ethiopia, cuius color est ut aurum et nocte lucet ut ignis et cetera.\ Sardonius ex duobus lapidibus nomen habet, et ex hiis tres colores. Pri\mum colorem habet nigrum, supra nigrum album, supra album ru\beum, et lapis hic quinque species habet, sed ille qui tres colores habet non mixtos ma\gis valet, nec cere adheret, virtutem alteram non habet, sed castus et humilis\ ad hanc virtutem habendam, ex India et Arabia veniunt, et si collo vel di\gito ferantur, gravia sompnia demonstrant, et efficit contenciones et\ etiam infantes aliquantulum perspicaces, cuius species sunt quinque.\

Translation

he is not bitten; remove the stone and the flies bite him ceaselessly. There are seventeen kinds of jasper; it has many colours; and it grows in parts of Sicily. The green and translucent kind is better and of more virtue than the rest. Jasper defends any chaste person wearing it from fever and the dropsy, and from apparitions; it strengthens friendship, keeps you safe and gives you courage. It is of greater virtue if set in silver rather than gold. Sapphire is of such virtue that it is called the gemstone of gemstones. In colour, it is like the sky when it is cloudless. It is called serc[t]ites because it is found on the shore of Libya in front of sandbanks. This kind is clear; but a better kind is that found in the land of the Turks, although it is not so clear. Its virtue strengthens him who wears it, preserves his limbs intact, overcomes envy and deception, takes away fear, brings him out of prison, and loosens his bonds. It gets rid of an ulcer and cools you if you are overheated internally. Ground up with milk, it serves as an emollient; it is good for the eyes and for an injury to the tongue, and it takes away a headache. If you wear it, you should behave in a chaste fashion. Smaragdus surpasses everything in its greenness. There are six kinds: from Scythia, from Britannia [Bactria], from the Nile, which flows from Paradise; one is found in the veins of mines; one is called Chalcedonian. The one from Scythia is so clear that you can see through it; it colours the air around. It is the better kind. Smaragdus does not change its colour on account of the sun or moon or shade; it is so even that you can look through it, as Nero used to do; you can use it to find things under water. It brings wealth if it is worn chastely; it endows you with persuasive eloquence if it is worn on the neck. It cures fever; it gets rid of the hemitertian fever and epilepsy; and it banishes storms and wantonness. It also takes on colour: if it is discoloured and washed in wine and anointed with green oil, the discoloration is dissolved. Crisapacion comes from Ethiopia; its colour is like gold and at night it shines like fire etc. Sardonyx gets its name from two stones, and from these it gets three colours. Its first colour is black; above the black is white; above the white is red. This stone has five types, but the one which has the three colours not mixed together is worth more. It does not stick to wax; it has no other virtue, but you must be chaste and humble for it to have this virtue. The stone comes from Arabia and India. If worn on the neck or finger, it brings deep sleep, cures strife and also makes infants somewhat sharp-sighted. There are five kinds.
  • Commentary

    Text

    The properties of various gems.

    Comment

    Initials type 4.

    Folio Attributes

    • Pricking

      Pricking

      Pricking
      Line pricking and ruling. Detail from f.7r

      Once the quires were arranged they had to be prepared for writing by drawing up the lines. Tiny parallel pinpricks were made on the outer and inner edges of each page and horizontal lines ruled between them. In a completed book these pinpricks should have been trimmed off during the final stages of production but in the Aberdeen Bestiary they have survived in 12 out of the 15 quires (only E , G and M are fully trimmed). Careful measuring shows that the holes were pricked with the quires folded up, using a long pointed pricker, because they are the same distance apart throughout an entire quire. In quires B and C there is a double hole on the penultimate line, indicating to the person ruling lines that the page is about to end. In these two quires the holes have a coarse triangular shape and are set up to 6mm in from the edge. Elsewhere the holes are smaller, circular and much closer to the edge. Pinpricks were also made at the top and bottom of the pages to provide vertical margins. These survive in every quire. In quires A.F,H,J,K,L,M and N there are single pricks for the vertical lines. In B and C there are double pricks and double margins while in G there are double pricks and a variety of single and double ruled lines. On f.48r (quire G) where there are double pricks for the margins, the wrong holes have been joined and the faulty diagonal line has been redrawn correctly.

    • Initial Type 4

      Initial Type 4

      Initial Type 4
      Type 4 initial. Detail from f.96v

      Type 4 initials are red or blue. On any given page they alternate red and blue regularly. Blue initials are embellished with red tassels and vice versa. The colouring and form of the letters is not very even and appears rather hurried in places. In the Bestiary proper, they appear on f.79v and f.80r. Thereafter this is the basic initial used in the thirteenth-century Lapidary addition, found from f.94r onwards. This suggests that gaps left in the twelfth-century text on ff. 79v and 80r were filled in when the book was completed in the later thirteenth century. The poor quality of the later work is apparent from f.94r onwards, and is apparent on f.79v where the wrong capital ‘U’ was inserted and later corrected to ‘F’ for Fagus, the beech tree.

  • Translation
    he is not bitten; remove the stone and the flies bite him ceaselessly. There are seventeen kinds of jasper; it has many colours; and it grows in parts of Sicily. The green and translucent kind is better and of more virtue than the rest. Jasper defends any chaste person wearing it from fever and the dropsy, and from apparitions; it strengthens friendship, keeps you safe and gives you courage. It is of greater virtue if set in silver rather than gold. Sapphire is of such virtue that it is called the gemstone of gemstones. In colour, it is like the sky when it is cloudless. It is called serc[t]ites because it is found on the shore of Libya in front of sandbanks. This kind is clear; but a better kind is that found in the land of the Turks, although it is not so clear. Its virtue strengthens him who wears it, preserves his limbs intact, overcomes envy and deception, takes away fear, brings him out of prison, and loosens his bonds. It gets rid of an ulcer and cools you if you are overheated internally. Ground up with milk, it serves as an emollient; it is good for the eyes and for an injury to the tongue, and it takes away a headache. If you wear it, you should behave in a chaste fashion. Smaragdus surpasses everything in its greenness. There are six kinds: from Scythia, from Britannia [Bactria], from the Nile, which flows from Paradise; one is found in the veins of mines; one is called Chalcedonian. The one from Scythia is so clear that you can see through it; it colours the air around. It is the better kind. Smaragdus does not change its colour on account of the sun or moon or shade; it is so even that you can look through it, as Nero used to do; you can use it to find things under water. It brings wealth if it is worn chastely; it endows you with persuasive eloquence if it is worn on the neck. It cures fever; it gets rid of the hemitertian fever and epilepsy; and it banishes storms and wantonness. It also takes on colour: if it is discoloured and washed in wine and anointed with green oil, the discoloration is dissolved. Crisapacion comes from Ethiopia; its colour is like gold and at night it shines like fire etc. Sardonyx gets its name from two stones, and from these it gets three colours. Its first colour is black; above the black is white; above the white is red. This stone has five types, but the one which has the three colours not mixed together is worth more. It does not stick to wax; it has no other virtue, but you must be chaste and humble for it to have this virtue. The stone comes from Arabia and India. If worn on the neck or finger, it brings deep sleep, cures strife and also makes infants somewhat sharp-sighted. There are five kinds.
  • Transcription
    in ore non pungitur, amoto lapide, pungere non desistunt.\ [J]aspidis sunt septemdecim maneries et multos habet colores et cres\cit in partes Cecilie, et ille melior et maioris virtutis qui viri\dis et translucens, illum castum portantem defendit a febre et ydro\pisy, a fantasmate, confert amiciciam, et defensionem, et dat forti\tudinem, et eius virtus maior in argento quam in auro.\ Saphirus tante virtutis est quod gemma gemmarum vocatur, colorem\ habet firmamenti, quando sine nube est, et dicitur sercites quia in harena\ Libie pre sirtes invenitur, hic clarus, sed ille melior qui invenitur apud Turcos,\ licet non adeo clarus, eius virtus confortat ferentem, membra conservat\ integra, invidiam et fraudem vincit, aufert timorem, et educit de carcere,\ solvit vincula. Interficit antracem, infrigidat hominem supra modum cale\factum interius, tritus cum lacte servat malagmata, utilis oculis, malo lingue\ dolorem aufert capitis, et qui fert caste ferri debet.\ Smaragdo viriditate vincit omnia, sex habet species, quidam de Sci\cia, de Britannia [Bactriana], quidam de Nilo qui currit de Paradyso, quidam iuvenis [in venis]\ matalli [metalli] invenitur, et quidam vocatur Calcidonia, qui de Scicia, et adeo clarus\ ut possit visu penetrandi, et qui retinet aerem sibi proximum melior est,\ nec mutat colorem propter solem vel lunam vel umbram et lapis talis planus\ bonus est ad visum, sicut consuevit et Nero, per hanc adquiruntur res in aquis\ per hanc accrescunt divicie si caste feratur, confert eloquenciam acceptabi\lem si collo feratur, sanat febrem emitriciam, guttam caducam aufert, tem\pestatem et luxuriam et eciam colorem accipit, si discoloretur et lavetur\ vino et unguatur oleo viridi privat colorem. \ Crisapacion nascitur\ in Ethiopia, cuius color est ut aurum et nocte lucet ut ignis et cetera.\ Sardonius ex duobus lapidibus nomen habet, et ex hiis tres colores. Pri\mum colorem habet nigrum, supra nigrum album, supra album ru\beum, et lapis hic quinque species habet, sed ille qui tres colores habet non mixtos ma\gis valet, nec cere adheret, virtutem alteram non habet, sed castus et humilis\ ad hanc virtutem habendam, ex India et Arabia veniunt, et si collo vel di\gito ferantur, gravia sompnia demonstrant, et efficit contenciones et\ etiam infantes aliquantulum perspicaces, cuius species sunt quinque.\
Folio 101v - Of stones and what they can do, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen