The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 18r - Wolf, continued. De natura canum; Of the nature of dogs.


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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.
never turns towards the correction of penitence. is that they leap so high that they seem to have wings, going further than they would by running. They never attack men, however. In winter, they grow long hair; in summer, they are hairless. The Ethiopians call them theas. Of the nature of dogs The Latin name for the dog, canis, seems to have a Greek origin. For in Greek it is called cenos, although some think that it is called after the musical sound, canor, of its barking, because when it howls, it is also said to sing, canere. No creature is more intelligent than the dog, for dogs have more understanding than other animals; they alone recognise their names and love their masters. There are many kinds of dogs: some track down the wild beasts of the forests to catch them; others by their vigilance guard flocks of sheep from the attacks of wolves; others as watch-dogs in the home guard the property of their masters lest it be stolen by thieves at night and sacrifice their lives for their master; they willingly go after game with their master; they guard his body even when he is dead and do not leave it. Finally, their nature is that they cannot exist without man

Text

The nature of dogs.

Comment

Dogs are most generously illustrated with three sets of illuminations. Here three attentive dogs are shown with collars and leads. They are the most intelligent of all animals and are devoted to humans. They can track down wild beasts, guard sheep and protect property.

Comment

This illustration may apply allegorically to the three spiritual guides described at the end of the dog section on f. 20r since the master would hold their leads. Pricking for pouncing around the dogs. Initial indicator 'c' in right 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.

  • Pouncing

    Pouncing

    Pouncing
    Pouncing. Detail of Hyena from f.11v

    Pouncing is a method of copying images from one sheet of vellum to another by making a series of tiny prick marks around the required image. The image would be pricked straight through to a sheet below. This would become the template from which several copies could be made without further harm to the original. The pricked sheet would be sprinkled with a very fine dust like charcoal or pumice, which would trickle through the holes producing the required image below. It was a convenient way to duplicate images in a scriptorium where many similar copies of a book were required. Although the Ashmolean Bestiary has very similar images to the Aberdeen Bestiary, in general their different proportions show that they were not a direct copy. The evidence of pouncing in the Aberdeen Bestiary suggests that there was yet another member of this family of manuscripts, directly dependent on the Aberdeen design. Images marked in this way are on f.2r fishes, f.3r the creation of Eve (more visible on f.3v), f.11v hyena, f.12v ape, f.18r dog, f.24r mole, f.36v hoopoe, f.37r magpies, f.51v bat, f.54r partridge, f.56r phoenix, f.59r ducks, f.59v peacock, f.63r bees, f.66v vipers, f.68v anphivena, f.69v seps. In most cases it is impossible to tell when the pouncing took place but the Aberdeen Bestiary has evidence that some pictures were done while the book was being made and some were done after completion (Clark 1992,107). The Creation of Eve (f.3r) and the phoenix (f.56r) are both punched and blank on the verso. The two pages after the phoenix are blank and glued together, thus preventing the pricks on f.56r from damaging the new f.56v. The same can be observed at f.3r which is followed by two blanks and the next image on f.4v. Clearly these were intended to be stuck together to minimise the effect of pricking around Eve, and to support the heavy layers of paint and gold of the Christ in Majesty. Decisions to leave these blank pages must have been made while the drawings were being produced. Elsewhere the pouncing damages the other side of the folio, often including an illumination. These incursions must have been made after the book was complete.

Transcription

est quod insaliendo, ita visus habent alitis, ut magis profici\ciant cursui quam meatu. Homines tamen nunquam impetunt. Bru\ma comati sunt. Estate nudi. Ethiopes eos vocant theas. De \ natura canum \ Canis nomen Latinum \Grecam ethimologiam \habere videtur. Greco \enim cenos dicitur, licet \quidem a canore latra\tus appellatum existi\ment, eo quod insonat \unde et canere dicitur. Ni\chil sagatius canibus plus \enim sensus ceteris a\nimalibus habent, nam soli sua nomina cognoscunt, do\minos suos diligunt. Canum sunt plurima genera, alii ad \capiendum investigant feras silvarum, alii ab infesta\tionibus luporum, vigilando greges custodiunt ovium,\alii custodes domorum, substantiam dominorum suorum custodiunt \ne forte rapiatur, in nocte a latronibus et pro dominos \suos se morti obiciunt, voluntarie ad predam cum \domino currunt, corpus domini sui etiam mortu\um custodiunt, et non linqunt. Quorum post\tremo nature est, extra hominem esse non posse. \

Translation

never turns towards the correction of penitence. is that they leap so high that they seem to have wings, going further than they would by running. They never attack men, however. In winter, they grow long hair; in summer, they are hairless. The Ethiopians call them theas. Of the nature of dogs The Latin name for the dog, canis, seems to have a Greek origin. For in Greek it is called cenos, although some think that it is called after the musical sound, canor, of its barking, because when it howls, it is also said to sing, canere. No creature is more intelligent than the dog, for dogs have more understanding than other animals; they alone recognise their names and love their masters. There are many kinds of dogs: some track down the wild beasts of the forests to catch them; others by their vigilance guard flocks of sheep from the attacks of wolves; others as watch-dogs in the home guard the property of their masters lest it be stolen by thieves at night and sacrifice their lives for their master; they willingly go after game with their master; they guard his body even when he is dead and do not leave it. Finally, their nature is that they cannot exist without man
  • Commentary

    Text

    The nature of dogs.

    Comment

    Dogs are most generously illustrated with three sets of illuminations. Here three attentive dogs are shown with collars and leads. They are the most intelligent of all animals and are devoted to humans. They can track down wild beasts, guard sheep and protect property.

    Comment

    This illustration may apply allegorically to the three spiritual guides described at the end of the dog section on f. 20r since the master would hold their leads. Pricking for pouncing around the dogs. Initial indicator 'c' in right 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.

    • Pouncing

      Pouncing

      Pouncing
      Pouncing. Detail of Hyena from f.11v

      Pouncing is a method of copying images from one sheet of vellum to another by making a series of tiny prick marks around the required image. The image would be pricked straight through to a sheet below. This would become the template from which several copies could be made without further harm to the original. The pricked sheet would be sprinkled with a very fine dust like charcoal or pumice, which would trickle through the holes producing the required image below. It was a convenient way to duplicate images in a scriptorium where many similar copies of a book were required. Although the Ashmolean Bestiary has very similar images to the Aberdeen Bestiary, in general their different proportions show that they were not a direct copy. The evidence of pouncing in the Aberdeen Bestiary suggests that there was yet another member of this family of manuscripts, directly dependent on the Aberdeen design. Images marked in this way are on f.2r fishes, f.3r the creation of Eve (more visible on f.3v), f.11v hyena, f.12v ape, f.18r dog, f.24r mole, f.36v hoopoe, f.37r magpies, f.51v bat, f.54r partridge, f.56r phoenix, f.59r ducks, f.59v peacock, f.63r bees, f.66v vipers, f.68v anphivena, f.69v seps. In most cases it is impossible to tell when the pouncing took place but the Aberdeen Bestiary has evidence that some pictures were done while the book was being made and some were done after completion (Clark 1992,107). The Creation of Eve (f.3r) and the phoenix (f.56r) are both punched and blank on the verso. The two pages after the phoenix are blank and glued together, thus preventing the pricks on f.56r from damaging the new f.56v. The same can be observed at f.3r which is followed by two blanks and the next image on f.4v. Clearly these were intended to be stuck together to minimise the effect of pricking around Eve, and to support the heavy layers of paint and gold of the Christ in Majesty. Decisions to leave these blank pages must have been made while the drawings were being produced. Elsewhere the pouncing damages the other side of the folio, often including an illumination. These incursions must have been made after the book was complete.

  • Translation
    never turns towards the correction of penitence. is that they leap so high that they seem to have wings, going further than they would by running. They never attack men, however. In winter, they grow long hair; in summer, they are hairless. The Ethiopians call them theas. Of the nature of dogs The Latin name for the dog, canis, seems to have a Greek origin. For in Greek it is called cenos, although some think that it is called after the musical sound, canor, of its barking, because when it howls, it is also said to sing, canere. No creature is more intelligent than the dog, for dogs have more understanding than other animals; they alone recognise their names and love their masters. There are many kinds of dogs: some track down the wild beasts of the forests to catch them; others by their vigilance guard flocks of sheep from the attacks of wolves; others as watch-dogs in the home guard the property of their masters lest it be stolen by thieves at night and sacrifice their lives for their master; they willingly go after game with their master; they guard his body even when he is dead and do not leave it. Finally, their nature is that they cannot exist without man
  • Transcription
    est quod insaliendo, ita visus habent alitis, ut magis profici\ciant cursui quam meatu. Homines tamen nunquam impetunt. Bru\ma comati sunt. Estate nudi. Ethiopes eos vocant theas. De \ natura canum \ Canis nomen Latinum \Grecam ethimologiam \habere videtur. Greco \enim cenos dicitur, licet \quidem a canore latra\tus appellatum existi\ment, eo quod insonat \unde et canere dicitur. Ni\chil sagatius canibus plus \enim sensus ceteris a\nimalibus habent, nam soli sua nomina cognoscunt, do\minos suos diligunt. Canum sunt plurima genera, alii ad \capiendum investigant feras silvarum, alii ab infesta\tionibus luporum, vigilando greges custodiunt ovium,\alii custodes domorum, substantiam dominorum suorum custodiunt \ne forte rapiatur, in nocte a latronibus et pro dominos \suos se morti obiciunt, voluntarie ad predam cum \domino currunt, corpus domini sui etiam mortu\um custodiunt, et non linqunt. Quorum post\tremo nature est, extra hominem esse non posse. \
Folio 18r - Wolf, continued. De natura canum; Of the nature of dogs. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen