The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 35v - the pelican, continued. De nicticorace; the night owl


Translation Open Book View Download image for personal, teaching or research purposes Help Copyright

Help

To explore the image, simply click the image to zoom, double-click to zoom out, or click-drag to pan. You can also zoom in and out using the mouse scroll wheel.

Shortcuts

(Alt is Option on Macintosh)

  • Alt-click-drag to create a zoom-rectangle
  • Alt-click / Alt-double-click to zoom fully in / out
  • Alt-click-Reset button to return to the prior view

The thumbnail view in the top left can also be clicked or click-dragged to pan.

Keyboard shortcuts:

  • a to zoom in
  • z to zoom out
  • Arrow keys pan arround the image
  • Escape resets initial view or exits fullscreen

Toolbar buttons

Use the Toolbar for exact navigation - if using a mouse, hold it over any button to see a helpful tip.


Zoom out

Zoom in

Pan left

Pan right

Pan up

Pan down

Reset Image

Full screen view

View translation alongside image

View double page - bi folio

Download image for personal, research or teaching purposes

Help

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.
out of his own mouth, saying: 'I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin' (Psalms, 32:5). It weeps for its young for three days: this teaches us that whatever we have done wrong by thought, word or deed, is expunged by tears. It revives its young by sprinkling them with its blood, as when we concern ourselves less with matters of flesh and blood and concentrate on spiritual acts, by conducting ourselves virtuously. It is also a characteristic of this bird, they say, that it always suffers from thinness, and that whatever it swallows, it digests immediately, because its stomach has no separate pocket in which to retain food. Food does not fatten its body, therefore, but only sustains it and gives it strength. Indeed, the life of a hermit is modelled on the pelican, in that he lives on bread but does not seek to fill his stomach; he does not live to eat but eats to live. Of the night-owl 'I am like the night-owl in its dwelling-place' (BSV, Psalmi, 101:7; NEB, Psalms, 102:6). The night-owl is a bird that loves the darkness of the night. It lives in decaying walls because it sets up house in the ruins of roofless dwellings. It shuns the light, flying at night in search of food. In a mystic sense, the night-owl signifies Christ. Christ loves the darkness of night because he does not want sinners - who are represented by darkness - to die but to be converted and live (see Ezekiel, 18:32). For God the father so loved the world that he gave his son to death for the redemption of the world (see John, 3:16-17). That sinners are called 'darkness', is borne out by the apostle, saying: 'For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord' (Ephesians, 5:8). The night-owl lives in the cracks in walls, as Christ wished to be born one of the Jewish people, saying: 'I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel' (Matthew, 15:24). But Christ is crushed in the cracks of the walls, because he is killed by the Jews. Christ shuns the light in the sense that he detests and hates vainglory. For when he cared for a leper, in order to give us a lesson in humility,

Text

Pelican continued; the night owl.

Illustration

The bird is illustrated by its portrait in a roundel.

Comment

The species is not clearly defined as the artist has tried to combine an owlish face and beak with the blackness of a crow. The barn owl, tawny owl and little owl may live in old buildings or ruins. Initial type 2.

Folio Attributes

  • 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

ore proprio iudicat et confundit dicens: Confitebor adversum\ me iniusticiam meam domino, et tu remisisti impietatem\ peccati mei. Super eos triduo deflet quicquid cogitatione locuti\one et opere male gesserit, lacrimis deleri docet. Et sic pullos\ suos aspersos sanguine vivificat, dum carnis et sanguinis opera\ minuit, et actus spiritales bene vivendo servat. Huius etiam\ volucris natura talis dicitur esse, quod semper afficitur macie et quicquid glutit\ cito digerit, quia venter eius nullum habet diverticulum in quo retine\at cibum. Non igitur cibus ille corpus impinguat, sed tantum sustinet\ et confortat. Huic siquidem pellicano heremite vita fit similis\ qui pane pascitur, nec querit replecionem ventris, qui non\ vivit ut comedat, sed comedit ut vivat.\ De nicticorace\ Factus sum sicut nicticorax\ in domicilio. Nicticorax\ est avis que amat tenebras noctis.\ In parietinis habitat quia in ru\inis maceriarum que sunt sine\ tecto domicilium servat. Lucem\ refugit, in nocte volitans cibum\ querit. Mystice nicticorax Christum\ significat qui noctis tenebras amat, quia non vult mortem peccatoris\ sed ut convertatur et vivat. Ita enim deus pater dilexit mundum ut pro\ redemptione mundi morti traderet filium. Quod autem peccatores\ tenebre vocentur, apostolous testatur dicens: Fuistis aliquando tenebre,\ nunc autem lux in domino. Habitat nicticorax in rimis parietum\ quia Christus nasci voluit de populo Judeorum: Non sum inquit missus nisi\ ad oves que perierunt domus Israel. Sed Christus opprimitur a rimis, quia\ occiditur a Judeis. Lucem refugit, quia vanam gloriam detestatur et odit.\ Cum enim leprosum curaret ut nobis exemplum humilitatis da\

Translation

out of his own mouth, saying: 'I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin' (Psalms, 32:5). It weeps for its young for three days: this teaches us that whatever we have done wrong by thought, word or deed, is expunged by tears. It revives its young by sprinkling them with its blood, as when we concern ourselves less with matters of flesh and blood and concentrate on spiritual acts, by conducting ourselves virtuously. It is also a characteristic of this bird, they say, that it always suffers from thinness, and that whatever it swallows, it digests immediately, because its stomach has no separate pocket in which to retain food. Food does not fatten its body, therefore, but only sustains it and gives it strength. Indeed, the life of a hermit is modelled on the pelican, in that he lives on bread but does not seek to fill his stomach; he does not live to eat but eats to live. Of the night-owl 'I am like the night-owl in its dwelling-place' (BSV, Psalmi, 101:7; NEB, Psalms, 102:6). The night-owl is a bird that loves the darkness of the night. It lives in decaying walls because it sets up house in the ruins of roofless dwellings. It shuns the light, flying at night in search of food. In a mystic sense, the night-owl signifies Christ. Christ loves the darkness of night because he does not want sinners - who are represented by darkness - to die but to be converted and live (see Ezekiel, 18:32). For God the father so loved the world that he gave his son to death for the redemption of the world (see John, 3:16-17). That sinners are called 'darkness', is borne out by the apostle, saying: 'For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord' (Ephesians, 5:8). The night-owl lives in the cracks in walls, as Christ wished to be born one of the Jewish people, saying: 'I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel' (Matthew, 15:24). But Christ is crushed in the cracks of the walls, because he is killed by the Jews. Christ shuns the light in the sense that he detests and hates vainglory. For when he cared for a leper, in order to give us a lesson in humility,
  • Commentary

    Text

    Pelican continued; the night owl.

    Illustration

    The bird is illustrated by its portrait in a roundel.

    Comment

    The species is not clearly defined as the artist has tried to combine an owlish face and beak with the blackness of a crow. The barn owl, tawny owl and little owl may live in old buildings or ruins. Initial type 2.

    Folio Attributes

    • 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
    out of his own mouth, saying: 'I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin' (Psalms, 32:5). It weeps for its young for three days: this teaches us that whatever we have done wrong by thought, word or deed, is expunged by tears. It revives its young by sprinkling them with its blood, as when we concern ourselves less with matters of flesh and blood and concentrate on spiritual acts, by conducting ourselves virtuously. It is also a characteristic of this bird, they say, that it always suffers from thinness, and that whatever it swallows, it digests immediately, because its stomach has no separate pocket in which to retain food. Food does not fatten its body, therefore, but only sustains it and gives it strength. Indeed, the life of a hermit is modelled on the pelican, in that he lives on bread but does not seek to fill his stomach; he does not live to eat but eats to live. Of the night-owl 'I am like the night-owl in its dwelling-place' (BSV, Psalmi, 101:7; NEB, Psalms, 102:6). The night-owl is a bird that loves the darkness of the night. It lives in decaying walls because it sets up house in the ruins of roofless dwellings. It shuns the light, flying at night in search of food. In a mystic sense, the night-owl signifies Christ. Christ loves the darkness of night because he does not want sinners - who are represented by darkness - to die but to be converted and live (see Ezekiel, 18:32). For God the father so loved the world that he gave his son to death for the redemption of the world (see John, 3:16-17). That sinners are called 'darkness', is borne out by the apostle, saying: 'For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord' (Ephesians, 5:8). The night-owl lives in the cracks in walls, as Christ wished to be born one of the Jewish people, saying: 'I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel' (Matthew, 15:24). But Christ is crushed in the cracks of the walls, because he is killed by the Jews. Christ shuns the light in the sense that he detests and hates vainglory. For when he cared for a leper, in order to give us a lesson in humility,
  • Transcription
    ore proprio iudicat et confundit dicens: Confitebor adversum\ me iniusticiam meam domino, et tu remisisti impietatem\ peccati mei. Super eos triduo deflet quicquid cogitatione locuti\one et opere male gesserit, lacrimis deleri docet. Et sic pullos\ suos aspersos sanguine vivificat, dum carnis et sanguinis opera\ minuit, et actus spiritales bene vivendo servat. Huius etiam\ volucris natura talis dicitur esse, quod semper afficitur macie et quicquid glutit\ cito digerit, quia venter eius nullum habet diverticulum in quo retine\at cibum. Non igitur cibus ille corpus impinguat, sed tantum sustinet\ et confortat. Huic siquidem pellicano heremite vita fit similis\ qui pane pascitur, nec querit replecionem ventris, qui non\ vivit ut comedat, sed comedit ut vivat.\ De nicticorace\ Factus sum sicut nicticorax\ in domicilio. Nicticorax\ est avis que amat tenebras noctis.\ In parietinis habitat quia in ru\inis maceriarum que sunt sine\ tecto domicilium servat. Lucem\ refugit, in nocte volitans cibum\ querit. Mystice nicticorax Christum\ significat qui noctis tenebras amat, quia non vult mortem peccatoris\ sed ut convertatur et vivat. Ita enim deus pater dilexit mundum ut pro\ redemptione mundi morti traderet filium. Quod autem peccatores\ tenebre vocentur, apostolous testatur dicens: Fuistis aliquando tenebre,\ nunc autem lux in domino. Habitat nicticorax in rimis parietum\ quia Christus nasci voluit de populo Judeorum: Non sum inquit missus nisi\ ad oves que perierunt domus Israel. Sed Christus opprimitur a rimis, quia\ occiditur a Judeis. Lucem refugit, quia vanam gloriam detestatur et odit.\ Cum enim leprosum curaret ut nobis exemplum humilitatis da\
Folio 35v - the pelican, continued. De nicticorace; the night owl | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen