The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 10v - Elephant, 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.
of sin. But when the woman ate the fruit of the tree, that is to say, she gave her man the fruit of the mandrake, the tree of knowledge, then she became pregnant, and for that reason they left Paradise. For as long as they were in Paradise, Adam did not mate with Eve. For it is written: 'Adam knew his wife and she conceived', (Genesis, 4:1) and she gave birth on the waters of guilt. Of this, the prophet says: 'Save me, O God, for the waters are come in unto my soul.'(Psalms, 69:1). And at once the dragon seduced them and caused them to be outcasts from their citadel, that is, because they displeased God. Then came the big elephant, meaning the law, and did not raise up mankind, any more than the priest raised the man who fell among thieves. Nor did the twelve elephants, that is, the company of prophets, raise mankind, just as the Levite did not raise the wounded man we spoke of. But the elephant capable of understanding, that is our Lord Jesus Christ, who, although greater than all, became the smallest of all, because he humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death that he might raise up mankind. He is the Good Samaritan who set upon his own beast the man who had fallen among thieves. For Jesus himself was wounded yet bore our weakness and carried our sins. The Samaritan also symbolises a guardian. On this subject, David says: 'The Lord watching over the children...' [SOURCE] Where the Lord is present, the devil cannot draw near. Whatever elephants wrap their trunks around, they break; whatever they trample underfoot is crushed to death as if by the fall of a great ruin. They never fight over female elephants, for they know nothing of adultery. They possess the quality of mercy. If by chance they see a man wandering in the desert, they offer to lead him to familiar paths. Or if they encounter herds of cattle huddled together, they make their way carefully and peacably lest their tusks kill any animal in their way. If by chance they fight in battle, they have no mean

Text

The elephant.

Comment

Pricking and ruling are visible.

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.

  • Ruling

    Ruling

    Ruling
    Ruling continues under the illustration. Detail from f.16r

    After the leaves had been pricked, they were ready for ruling. Most pages up to quire F have 29 lines (except for the heavily illustrated quire A). The remaining quires use 28, 30 or 31 lines. The most regular ruling is found in B and C: the two top and bottom lines extend across the whole page. The lines in A, B and C are ruled in a grey colour. From D onwards the lines are a darker brown. The horizontal lines here are also neater, not overlapping the vertical margins. This would suggest that the ruling in A,B and C was done by a different person from the rest. In D and E there is a triple spaced double line across the top and bottom of the page but thereafter the ruling patterns become somewhat arbitrary. Sometimes there are double spaced top and bottom lines, sometimes the number of lines varies. On f.18v, the normal pattern of 29 lines is inadequate. It would appear that the scribe himself had to add two additional lines below the bottom margin, in order to complete his tale. Generally, the written space is 185 x 110/115mm. The ruling appears to have been made without any plan for the illuminations: on f.14r and f.16r the ruled lines pass under the illustration. Two pairs of leaves were left blank. F.3v-f.4r were probably intended to be glued together in order to support the weight of paint and gold leaf on f.4v. f.6r and f.6v precede the Lion story. In the Ashmole Bestiary, the lion has two full page illustrations, which were probably intended here. Two pairs of leaves are glued together. F.56r has a hole in it, which is concealed by being glued to the next page, f.56v. F.93r is glued to f.93v, probably because of the gilded double illumination on f.93v.

Transcription

tiam peccati habebant. Quando autem mulier manducavit\ de ligno, hoc est intelligibilem mandragoram dedit viro suo,\ deinde pregnans facta est, propter quod exierunt [transposed] de paradiso.\ Quamdiu enim fuerint in Paradiso, non cognovit eam Adam.\ Scriptum est enim: Cognovit Adam uxorem suam, et con\cipiens peperit ea super vituperabiles aquas. De quibus ait propheta:\ Salvum me fac dominus, quoniam intraverunt aque usque ad\ animam meam. Et statim draco subvertit eos, et alienos\ fecit ab arce sua, hoc est non placere deo. Tunc venit magnus\ elefans, hoc est lex, et non eum levavit, quomodo nec sacerdos\ eum qui incidit in latrones. Nec duodecim elephantes\ elevaverunt eum, id est chorus prophetarum, sicut nec Levita\ illum vulneratum quem diximus, sed intelligibilis ele\phans, id est dominus noster Iesus Christus, cum omnibus maior sit omnium\ pusillus factus est, quia humiliavit se, factus obediens usque ad mor\tem, ut hominem elevaret, intelligibilis Samaritanus \ qui imposuit super iumentum. Ipse enim vulneratus tulit in\firmitates nostras, et peccata nostra portavit. Interpretatur autem\ Samaritanus custos. De quo dicit David: Custodiens par\vulos dominus. Ubi autem est dominus presens, neque diabolus appro\pinquare poterit. Elefantes vero promuscida sua quicquid\ involuerint frangunt, pede vero quicquid compresserint velud\ quodam lapsu ruine ingentis examinare [exanimare]. Propter feminas\ nunquam dimicant, nulla enim noverunt adulteria.\ In est illis clementie bonum. Quippe si per deserta vagabun\dum hominem forte viderint ductus usque notas vias prebent.\ Vel si confertis pecoribus occursitent, itinera sic blanda et\ placida manu faciunt, ne qua tela obvium animal in\terimant. Conflictis fortuito si quando pugnantur non mediocrem\

Translation

of sin. But when the woman ate the fruit of the tree, that is to say, she gave her man the fruit of the mandrake, the tree of knowledge, then she became pregnant, and for that reason they left Paradise. For as long as they were in Paradise, Adam did not mate with Eve. For it is written: 'Adam knew his wife and she conceived', (Genesis, 4:1) and she gave birth on the waters of guilt. Of this, the prophet says: 'Save me, O God, for the waters are come in unto my soul.'(Psalms, 69:1). And at once the dragon seduced them and caused them to be outcasts from their citadel, that is, because they displeased God. Then came the big elephant, meaning the law, and did not raise up mankind, any more than the priest raised the man who fell among thieves. Nor did the twelve elephants, that is, the company of prophets, raise mankind, just as the Levite did not raise the wounded man we spoke of. But the elephant capable of understanding, that is our Lord Jesus Christ, who, although greater than all, became the smallest of all, because he humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death that he might raise up mankind. He is the Good Samaritan who set upon his own beast the man who had fallen among thieves. For Jesus himself was wounded yet bore our weakness and carried our sins. The Samaritan also symbolises a guardian. On this subject, David says: 'The Lord watching over the children...' [SOURCE] Where the Lord is present, the devil cannot draw near. Whatever elephants wrap their trunks around, they break; whatever they trample underfoot is crushed to death as if by the fall of a great ruin. They never fight over female elephants, for they know nothing of adultery. They possess the quality of mercy. If by chance they see a man wandering in the desert, they offer to lead him to familiar paths. Or if they encounter herds of cattle huddled together, they make their way carefully and peacably lest their tusks kill any animal in their way. If by chance they fight in battle, they have no mean
  • Commentary

    Text

    The elephant.

    Comment

    Pricking and ruling are visible.

    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.

    • Ruling

      Ruling

      Ruling
      Ruling continues under the illustration. Detail from f.16r

      After the leaves had been pricked, they were ready for ruling. Most pages up to quire F have 29 lines (except for the heavily illustrated quire A). The remaining quires use 28, 30 or 31 lines. The most regular ruling is found in B and C: the two top and bottom lines extend across the whole page. The lines in A, B and C are ruled in a grey colour. From D onwards the lines are a darker brown. The horizontal lines here are also neater, not overlapping the vertical margins. This would suggest that the ruling in A,B and C was done by a different person from the rest. In D and E there is a triple spaced double line across the top and bottom of the page but thereafter the ruling patterns become somewhat arbitrary. Sometimes there are double spaced top and bottom lines, sometimes the number of lines varies. On f.18v, the normal pattern of 29 lines is inadequate. It would appear that the scribe himself had to add two additional lines below the bottom margin, in order to complete his tale. Generally, the written space is 185 x 110/115mm. The ruling appears to have been made without any plan for the illuminations: on f.14r and f.16r the ruled lines pass under the illustration. Two pairs of leaves were left blank. F.3v-f.4r were probably intended to be glued together in order to support the weight of paint and gold leaf on f.4v. f.6r and f.6v precede the Lion story. In the Ashmole Bestiary, the lion has two full page illustrations, which were probably intended here. Two pairs of leaves are glued together. F.56r has a hole in it, which is concealed by being glued to the next page, f.56v. F.93r is glued to f.93v, probably because of the gilded double illumination on f.93v.

  • Translation
    of sin. But when the woman ate the fruit of the tree, that is to say, she gave her man the fruit of the mandrake, the tree of knowledge, then she became pregnant, and for that reason they left Paradise. For as long as they were in Paradise, Adam did not mate with Eve. For it is written: 'Adam knew his wife and she conceived', (Genesis, 4:1) and she gave birth on the waters of guilt. Of this, the prophet says: 'Save me, O God, for the waters are come in unto my soul.'(Psalms, 69:1). And at once the dragon seduced them and caused them to be outcasts from their citadel, that is, because they displeased God. Then came the big elephant, meaning the law, and did not raise up mankind, any more than the priest raised the man who fell among thieves. Nor did the twelve elephants, that is, the company of prophets, raise mankind, just as the Levite did not raise the wounded man we spoke of. But the elephant capable of understanding, that is our Lord Jesus Christ, who, although greater than all, became the smallest of all, because he humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death that he might raise up mankind. He is the Good Samaritan who set upon his own beast the man who had fallen among thieves. For Jesus himself was wounded yet bore our weakness and carried our sins. The Samaritan also symbolises a guardian. On this subject, David says: 'The Lord watching over the children...' [SOURCE] Where the Lord is present, the devil cannot draw near. Whatever elephants wrap their trunks around, they break; whatever they trample underfoot is crushed to death as if by the fall of a great ruin. They never fight over female elephants, for they know nothing of adultery. They possess the quality of mercy. If by chance they see a man wandering in the desert, they offer to lead him to familiar paths. Or if they encounter herds of cattle huddled together, they make their way carefully and peacably lest their tusks kill any animal in their way. If by chance they fight in battle, they have no mean
  • Transcription
    tiam peccati habebant. Quando autem mulier manducavit\ de ligno, hoc est intelligibilem mandragoram dedit viro suo,\ deinde pregnans facta est, propter quod exierunt [transposed] de paradiso.\ Quamdiu enim fuerint in Paradiso, non cognovit eam Adam.\ Scriptum est enim: Cognovit Adam uxorem suam, et con\cipiens peperit ea super vituperabiles aquas. De quibus ait propheta:\ Salvum me fac dominus, quoniam intraverunt aque usque ad\ animam meam. Et statim draco subvertit eos, et alienos\ fecit ab arce sua, hoc est non placere deo. Tunc venit magnus\ elefans, hoc est lex, et non eum levavit, quomodo nec sacerdos\ eum qui incidit in latrones. Nec duodecim elephantes\ elevaverunt eum, id est chorus prophetarum, sicut nec Levita\ illum vulneratum quem diximus, sed intelligibilis ele\phans, id est dominus noster Iesus Christus, cum omnibus maior sit omnium\ pusillus factus est, quia humiliavit se, factus obediens usque ad mor\tem, ut hominem elevaret, intelligibilis Samaritanus \ qui imposuit super iumentum. Ipse enim vulneratus tulit in\firmitates nostras, et peccata nostra portavit. Interpretatur autem\ Samaritanus custos. De quo dicit David: Custodiens par\vulos dominus. Ubi autem est dominus presens, neque diabolus appro\pinquare poterit. Elefantes vero promuscida sua quicquid\ involuerint frangunt, pede vero quicquid compresserint velud\ quodam lapsu ruine ingentis examinare [exanimare]. Propter feminas\ nunquam dimicant, nulla enim noverunt adulteria.\ In est illis clementie bonum. Quippe si per deserta vagabun\dum hominem forte viderint ductus usque notas vias prebent.\ Vel si confertis pecoribus occursitent, itinera sic blanda et\ placida manu faciunt, ne qua tela obvium animal in\terimant. Conflictis fortuito si quando pugnantur non mediocrem\
Folio 10v - Elephant, continued | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen