The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 13r - Apes, continued. De satiris; satyrs. De cervis; deer


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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.
bite fiercely. They are never so tame, that their ferocity does not increase. Sphynxes are also included among apes. They have shaggy hair on their arms and are easily taught to forget their wild nature. Of satyrs There are also apes that men call satyrs. They have quite attractive faces, and are restless, making pantomimed gestures. The apes called callitrices differ from the others in almost every aspect of their appearance. They have bearded faces and broad tails. It is not difficult to catch them but they rarely survive in captivity. They do not live elsewhere than under the Ethiopian sky, that is their native sky. Of deer The word cervi (deer) comes from ceraton, 'horns', for horns are called cerata in Greek. Deer are the enemies of snakes; when they feel weighed down with weakness, they draw snakes from their holes with the breath of their noses and, overcoming the fatal nature of their venom, eat them and are restored. They have shown the value of the herb dittany, for after feeding on it, they shake out the arrows which have lodged in them. Deer marvel at the sound of the pipes; their hearing is keen when their ears are pricked but they hear nothing when their ears are lowered. Deer have this characteristic also, that they change their feeding-ground for love of another country, and in doing so, they support each other. When they cross great rivers

Text

Satyrs. Deer.

Illustration

The satyr, like the ape, has some similarities with man. He is partly like a goat with a beard, horns, and broad tail. His rather human body is covered with shaggy hair. He holds his thyrsus or wand, used in his lustful and disorderly revels. His face is quite attractive and he makes pantomime gestures.

Comment

Below him the illustration of a hart has been excised. In the centre of the lower margin is a very faint 'c', indicating the start of the next quire. Pricking and ruling are visible. Initial indicator 'c' in right margin. Initial type 2.

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.

  • Initial Indicators

    Initial Indicators

    Initial Indicators
    Initial indicator 'v'. Detail from f.16r

    When the scribe was writing he would leave a gap on the page where an initial was supposed to be inserted. To make sure that the illuminated letter was correct, the scribe would write a very small initial in the margin. They are written on the outside edge of the sheet. Over 30 of these small letters survive. Up to quire C they are marked with the same black ink as the text. After that both black and red ink are used.

  • Initial Type 2

    Initial Type 2

    Initial Type 2
    Type 2 initial. Detail from f.5v

    Type 2 is much more common. The letter is made with burnished gold, filled with a blue or brown background which is decorated with a delicate white tracery. Many of these are embellished with red or blue traces or sprays. The Aberdeen Bestiary is a very early example of the use of sprays which culminates in the art of William de Brailes in the mid-thirteenth century (Morgan 1982,no.68). An elaborate spray is on f.41v. The fine white filigree pattern is also found on some of the illuminations (f.3r, f.11r, f.12r) suggesting that the main illuminator also made these initials. This type generally occupies two lines. This initial is generally used to introduce each new animal.

Transcription

feri morsu. Nunquam inter [A: ita] mansueti, ut non sint magis ra\pidi. Inter symias habentur et spinges, villose in armis\ ac dociles ad feritatis oblivionem.\ De Satiris\ Sunt et quos vocant\ satiros facie admodum\ grata, gesticulatis motibus\ inquiete. Callitrices toto\ pene aspectu, a ceteris diffe\runt. In facie barba est lata\ cauda. Hos capere non est ardu\um. Sed proferre rarum. Neque vivunt in altero quam in Ethio [excised, A: Ethiopico hoc est suo celo].\ De cervis\ Cervi dicti, apo ton\ ceraton, id est, a corni\bus, cerata enim grece\ cornua dicuntur. Hii serpen\tium inimici, cum se\ gravatos infirmita\te persenserint, spiritu na\rium eos extrahunt\ de cavernis et superata\ pernicie veneni eorum\ papulo reparantur.\ Ditampnum herbam\ [excised, A: ipsam prodiderunt eo nam pasci exc]utiunt acceptas sa\gittas. Mirantur autem sibilum fistularum, rectis auribus\ accute audiunt, submissis nichil. Cervi eciam hanc\ naturam habent, quod pro amore alterius patrie mutant pascua\ sua, et sese vicarie sustentant, si quando immensa flumina\

Translation

bite fiercely. They are never so tame, that their ferocity does not increase. Sphynxes are also included among apes. They have shaggy hair on their arms and are easily taught to forget their wild nature. Of satyrs There are also apes that men call satyrs. They have quite attractive faces, and are restless, making pantomimed gestures. The apes called callitrices differ from the others in almost every aspect of their appearance. They have bearded faces and broad tails. It is not difficult to catch them but they rarely survive in captivity. They do not live elsewhere than under the Ethiopian sky, that is their native sky. Of deer The word cervi (deer) comes from ceraton, 'horns', for horns are called cerata in Greek. Deer are the enemies of snakes; when they feel weighed down with weakness, they draw snakes from their holes with the breath of their noses and, overcoming the fatal nature of their venom, eat them and are restored. They have shown the value of the herb dittany, for after feeding on it, they shake out the arrows which have lodged in them. Deer marvel at the sound of the pipes; their hearing is keen when their ears are pricked but they hear nothing when their ears are lowered. Deer have this characteristic also, that they change their feeding-ground for love of another country, and in doing so, they support each other. When they cross great rivers
  • Commentary

    Text

    Satyrs. Deer.

    Illustration

    The satyr, like the ape, has some similarities with man. He is partly like a goat with a beard, horns, and broad tail. His rather human body is covered with shaggy hair. He holds his thyrsus or wand, used in his lustful and disorderly revels. His face is quite attractive and he makes pantomime gestures.

    Comment

    Below him the illustration of a hart has been excised. In the centre of the lower margin is a very faint 'c', indicating the start of the next quire. Pricking and ruling are visible. Initial indicator 'c' in right margin. Initial type 2.

    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.

    • Initial Indicators

      Initial Indicators

      Initial Indicators
      Initial indicator 'v'. Detail from f.16r

      When the scribe was writing he would leave a gap on the page where an initial was supposed to be inserted. To make sure that the illuminated letter was correct, the scribe would write a very small initial in the margin. They are written on the outside edge of the sheet. Over 30 of these small letters survive. Up to quire C they are marked with the same black ink as the text. After that both black and red ink are used.

    • Initial Type 2

      Initial Type 2

      Initial Type 2
      Type 2 initial. Detail from f.5v

      Type 2 is much more common. The letter is made with burnished gold, filled with a blue or brown background which is decorated with a delicate white tracery. Many of these are embellished with red or blue traces or sprays. The Aberdeen Bestiary is a very early example of the use of sprays which culminates in the art of William de Brailes in the mid-thirteenth century (Morgan 1982,no.68). An elaborate spray is on f.41v. The fine white filigree pattern is also found on some of the illuminations (f.3r, f.11r, f.12r) suggesting that the main illuminator also made these initials. This type generally occupies two lines. This initial is generally used to introduce each new animal.

  • Translation
    bite fiercely. They are never so tame, that their ferocity does not increase. Sphynxes are also included among apes. They have shaggy hair on their arms and are easily taught to forget their wild nature. Of satyrs There are also apes that men call satyrs. They have quite attractive faces, and are restless, making pantomimed gestures. The apes called callitrices differ from the others in almost every aspect of their appearance. They have bearded faces and broad tails. It is not difficult to catch them but they rarely survive in captivity. They do not live elsewhere than under the Ethiopian sky, that is their native sky. Of deer The word cervi (deer) comes from ceraton, 'horns', for horns are called cerata in Greek. Deer are the enemies of snakes; when they feel weighed down with weakness, they draw snakes from their holes with the breath of their noses and, overcoming the fatal nature of their venom, eat them and are restored. They have shown the value of the herb dittany, for after feeding on it, they shake out the arrows which have lodged in them. Deer marvel at the sound of the pipes; their hearing is keen when their ears are pricked but they hear nothing when their ears are lowered. Deer have this characteristic also, that they change their feeding-ground for love of another country, and in doing so, they support each other. When they cross great rivers
  • Transcription
    feri morsu. Nunquam inter [A: ita] mansueti, ut non sint magis ra\pidi. Inter symias habentur et spinges, villose in armis\ ac dociles ad feritatis oblivionem.\ De Satiris\ Sunt et quos vocant\ satiros facie admodum\ grata, gesticulatis motibus\ inquiete. Callitrices toto\ pene aspectu, a ceteris diffe\runt. In facie barba est lata\ cauda. Hos capere non est ardu\um. Sed proferre rarum. Neque vivunt in altero quam in Ethio [excised, A: Ethiopico hoc est suo celo].\ De cervis\ Cervi dicti, apo ton\ ceraton, id est, a corni\bus, cerata enim grece\ cornua dicuntur. Hii serpen\tium inimici, cum se\ gravatos infirmita\te persenserint, spiritu na\rium eos extrahunt\ de cavernis et superata\ pernicie veneni eorum\ papulo reparantur.\ Ditampnum herbam\ [excised, A: ipsam prodiderunt eo nam pasci exc]utiunt acceptas sa\gittas. Mirantur autem sibilum fistularum, rectis auribus\ accute audiunt, submissis nichil. Cervi eciam hanc\ naturam habent, quod pro amore alterius patrie mutant pascua\ sua, et sese vicarie sustentant, si quando immensa flumina\
Folio 13r - Apes, continued. De satiris; satyrs. De cervis; deer | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen