The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 16v - De eale; the yale. De lupo; the wolf.


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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.
There is an animal called the yale. It is black, as big as a horse, with the tail of an elephant, the jaws of a boar and unusually long horns, adjustable to any movement the animal might make. For they are not fixed but move as the needs of fighting require; the yale advances one of them as it fights, folding the other back, so that if the tip of the first is damaged by a blow, it is replaced by the point of the second. Of the wolf The word lupus, wolf, in our Latin tongue derives from the Greek. For the Greeks call it licos; this comes from the Greek word for 'bites', because maddened by greed, wolves kill whatever they find. Others say the word lupus is, as it were, leo-pos, because like the lion, leo, their strength is in their paws, pes. As a result, whatever they seize does not survive. Wolves get their name from their rapacity: for this reason we call whores lupae, she-wolves, because they strip their lovers of their wealth. The wolf is rapacious beast and craves blood. It strength lies in its chest or its jaws, least of all in its loins. It cannot turn its neck around. It is said to live sometimes on its prey, sometimes on earth and sometimes, even, on the wind. The she-wolf bears cubs only in the month of May, when it thunders. Such is the wolf's cunning that it does not catch food for its cubs near its lair

Text

The yale. The wolf.

Illustration

The yale is as large as a horse, is black, and has an elephant's tail and the jaws of a wild boar. Its horns are long and mobile: one can fold backwards while the other fights. The wolf approaches a sheepfold like a dog, stealthily and silently, without waking the shepherd. His eyes shine at night like lamps.

Comment

Pricking and ruling are visible. Initial indicator 'e' in left margin. Initial type 2.

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.

  • 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

Est animal quod dicitur eale. Magnus\ ut equus cauda elephanti,\ nigro colore, maxillis aprinis,\ cornua preferens ultra modum\ longa, ad obsequium cuius velit \ motus accomodata. Nec enim\ rigent, sed moventur ut usus ex\igit preliandi, quorum alterum cum\ pugnat pretendit, alterum repli\cat, ut si ictu aliquo alterius acumen offenderet, acies succedat alterius. \De lupe\ Lupus greca\ dirivatio\ne in linguam nostram transfer\tur. Lupos\ enim dicunt\ illi licos, licos\ autem grece, a \ morsibus apellantur, quod rabie rapacitatis, queque invene\rint trucidant. Alii lupos vocatos aiunt quasi leopos, quod quas\i leonibus ita sint illis virtus in pedibus. Unde et quicquid preserint\ non vivit. Lupus a rapacitate dicitur, unde et meretrices lupas vo\camus, quia amantium bona devastant. Rapax autem bestia et\ cruores appetentes. In pectore vel ore vires habet, in renibus vero\ minime. Collum nunquam retro valet flectere. Aliquando fertur\ vivere preda, aliquando terra, nonnunquam vento. Lupa de\nique mense alio nisi in Mayo, quando fit tonitruus catulos\ non gignit. Cuius astucia est tanta ut in vicinia sua predam\

Translation

There is an animal called the yale. It is black, as big as a horse, with the tail of an elephant, the jaws of a boar and unusually long horns, adjustable to any movement the animal might make. For they are not fixed but move as the needs of fighting require; the yale advances one of them as it fights, folding the other back, so that if the tip of the first is damaged by a blow, it is replaced by the point of the second. Of the wolf The word lupus, wolf, in our Latin tongue derives from the Greek. For the Greeks call it licos; this comes from the Greek word for 'bites', because maddened by greed, wolves kill whatever they find. Others say the word lupus is, as it were, leo-pos, because like the lion, leo, their strength is in their paws, pes. As a result, whatever they seize does not survive. Wolves get their name from their rapacity: for this reason we call whores lupae, she-wolves, because they strip their lovers of their wealth. The wolf is rapacious beast and craves blood. It strength lies in its chest or its jaws, least of all in its loins. It cannot turn its neck around. It is said to live sometimes on its prey, sometimes on earth and sometimes, even, on the wind. The she-wolf bears cubs only in the month of May, when it thunders. Such is the wolf's cunning that it does not catch food for its cubs near its lair
  • Commentary

    Text

    The yale. The wolf.

    Illustration

    The yale is as large as a horse, is black, and has an elephant's tail and the jaws of a wild boar. Its horns are long and mobile: one can fold backwards while the other fights. The wolf approaches a sheepfold like a dog, stealthily and silently, without waking the shepherd. His eyes shine at night like lamps.

    Comment

    Pricking and ruling are visible. Initial indicator 'e' in left margin. Initial type 2.

    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.

    • 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
    There is an animal called the yale. It is black, as big as a horse, with the tail of an elephant, the jaws of a boar and unusually long horns, adjustable to any movement the animal might make. For they are not fixed but move as the needs of fighting require; the yale advances one of them as it fights, folding the other back, so that if the tip of the first is damaged by a blow, it is replaced by the point of the second. Of the wolf The word lupus, wolf, in our Latin tongue derives from the Greek. For the Greeks call it licos; this comes from the Greek word for 'bites', because maddened by greed, wolves kill whatever they find. Others say the word lupus is, as it were, leo-pos, because like the lion, leo, their strength is in their paws, pes. As a result, whatever they seize does not survive. Wolves get their name from their rapacity: for this reason we call whores lupae, she-wolves, because they strip their lovers of their wealth. The wolf is rapacious beast and craves blood. It strength lies in its chest or its jaws, least of all in its loins. It cannot turn its neck around. It is said to live sometimes on its prey, sometimes on earth and sometimes, even, on the wind. The she-wolf bears cubs only in the month of May, when it thunders. Such is the wolf's cunning that it does not catch food for its cubs near its lair
  • Transcription
    Est animal quod dicitur eale. Magnus\ ut equus cauda elephanti,\ nigro colore, maxillis aprinis,\ cornua preferens ultra modum\ longa, ad obsequium cuius velit \ motus accomodata. Nec enim\ rigent, sed moventur ut usus ex\igit preliandi, quorum alterum cum\ pugnat pretendit, alterum repli\cat, ut si ictu aliquo alterius acumen offenderet, acies succedat alterius. \De lupe\ Lupus greca\ dirivatio\ne in linguam nostram transfer\tur. Lupos\ enim dicunt\ illi licos, licos\ autem grece, a \ morsibus apellantur, quod rabie rapacitatis, queque invene\rint trucidant. Alii lupos vocatos aiunt quasi leopos, quod quas\i leonibus ita sint illis virtus in pedibus. Unde et quicquid preserint\ non vivit. Lupus a rapacitate dicitur, unde et meretrices lupas vo\camus, quia amantium bona devastant. Rapax autem bestia et\ cruores appetentes. In pectore vel ore vires habet, in renibus vero\ minime. Collum nunquam retro valet flectere. Aliquando fertur\ vivere preda, aliquando terra, nonnunquam vento. Lupa de\nique mense alio nisi in Mayo, quando fit tonitruus catulos\ non gignit. Cuius astucia est tanta ut in vicinia sua predam\
Folio 16v - De eale; the yale. De lupo; the wolf. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen