The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 63v - Of bees, continued.


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.
wasps, from asses. The Greeks call the larger bees which are produced on the outer parts of the honeycomb castros; some think they should be called 'kings' because they they are leaders in the fortress. Bees, alone among all the kinds of living things, raise their offspring communally, live in a single dwelling, are enclosed within a single homeland, and share their toil, their food, their tasks, the produce of their labour and their flight. What else? Procreation is common to all, as is the purity of their virginal body in the common process of birth, since this is achieved without intercourse or lust; they are not wracked by labour pains, yet they produce at once a great swarm of offspring, collecting them with their mouths from leaves and grass. They choose their own king, they appoint themselves his people; but although they are subject to the king, they are nevertheless free. For they have the right of selecting him and of offering him their loyalty, because they love him as one whom they have chosen and honour him with such a responsibility. Moreover, the king is not chosen by lot, because in such cases the outcome is a matter of chance not judgement. And often, by the unpredictable chance of fate, the least suitable candidate is chosen over better ones. Among bees, the king has outstanding natural characteristics, standing forth by virtue of the size and appearance of his body. And, what is essential in a king - a merciful nature. For even if he has a sting, he does not use it for revenge, for there are laws of nature, unwritten but embedded in custom, that those who are endowed with the greatest power should be the more lenient in administering punishment. The bees who do not comply with the laws of the king, repent and punish themselves and die by their own sting. It is custom that the Persians are said to preserve today: that those who have committed a crime pay the price by carrying out their own sentence of death. Thus no peoples serve their king with the devotion shown by the bees: not the Indians, nor the Persians, who are subject to exceedingly harsh laws, nor the Sarmatians. Their devotion is such that no bees dare leave their living areas

Text

Bees are ruled by a king.

Transcription

vespe de asinis. Castros Greci appellant qui in extremis fa\ vorum partibus maiores creantur, quos aliqui reges putant di\ ci quod castra ducant. Sole apes in omni genere animantium\ communem in omnibus sobolem habent, unam omnes colunt\ mansionem, unius patrie clauduntur lumine [PL, limine] in commune om\ nibus labor, communis cibus, communis operatio, communis \ usus et fructus est [et] communis volatus. Quid plura? Comm\ unis omnibus generatio, integritas quoque corporis virginalis,\ omnibus communis et partus quoniam nec inter se ullo concubitu\ miscentur, nec libidine resolvuntur, nec partus quatiuntur doloribus\ et subito maximum filiorum examen emittunt, foliis atque\ herbis ore suo prolem legentes. Ipse sibi regem ordinant, ipse po\ pulos creant, et licet posite sub rege sunt tamen libere. Nam\ et prerogativum iudicii tenent, et fide devocionis affectum\ quia et tanquam a se substitutum diligunt, et tanto honorant\ examine. Rex aut[em] non sorte ducitur, quia in sorte eventus est\ non iudicium. Et sepe irrationabili casu sortis melioribus ulti\ mus quisque prefertur. Apibus autem rex nature claris formatur\ insignibus ut magnitudinem corporis prestet, et speciem. Tum\ quod in rege precipium est, morum mansuetudinem. Nam\ etsi habet aculeum, tamen eo non utitur ad vindicandum, sunt\ enim leges nature non scripte litteris sed impresse moribus ut lenio\ res sint ad puniendum qui potestate maxima pociuntur\ sed et apes ille que non obtemperaverint legibus regi, peni\ tentie condempnatione se multant ut immoriantur aculei sui\ vulnere, quod Persarum populi hodieque servare dicuntur, ut pro\ commissi precio ipsi in se proprie mortis exequantur sententia. Itaque\ nulli sic regem, non Perse qui gravissimas in subditos habent leges, non Indi, non populi Samaritarum [PL, nec Sauromatae] tanta quanta apes reveren\ tia devocionis observant, ut nulle e domibus exire audeant in\

Translation

wasps, from asses. The Greeks call the larger bees which are produced on the outer parts of the honeycomb castros; some think they should be called 'kings' because they they are leaders in the fortress. Bees, alone among all the kinds of living things, raise their offspring communally, live in a single dwelling, are enclosed within a single homeland, and share their toil, their food, their tasks, the produce of their labour and their flight. What else? Procreation is common to all, as is the purity of their virginal body in the common process of birth, since this is achieved without intercourse or lust; they are not wracked by labour pains, yet they produce at once a great swarm of offspring, collecting them with their mouths from leaves and grass. They choose their own king, they appoint themselves his people; but although they are subject to the king, they are nevertheless free. For they have the right of selecting him and of offering him their loyalty, because they love him as one whom they have chosen and honour him with such a responsibility. Moreover, the king is not chosen by lot, because in such cases the outcome is a matter of chance not judgement. And often, by the unpredictable chance of fate, the least suitable candidate is chosen over better ones. Among bees, the king has outstanding natural characteristics, standing forth by virtue of the size and appearance of his body. And, what is essential in a king - a merciful nature. For even if he has a sting, he does not use it for revenge, for there are laws of nature, unwritten but embedded in custom, that those who are endowed with the greatest power should be the more lenient in administering punishment. The bees who do not comply with the laws of the king, repent and punish themselves and die by their own sting. It is custom that the Persians are said to preserve today: that those who have committed a crime pay the price by carrying out their own sentence of death. Thus no peoples serve their king with the devotion shown by the bees: not the Indians, nor the Persians, who are subject to exceedingly harsh laws, nor the Sarmatians. Their devotion is such that no bees dare leave their living areas
  • Commentary

    Text

    Bees are ruled by a king.

  • Translation
    wasps, from asses. The Greeks call the larger bees which are produced on the outer parts of the honeycomb castros; some think they should be called 'kings' because they they are leaders in the fortress. Bees, alone among all the kinds of living things, raise their offspring communally, live in a single dwelling, are enclosed within a single homeland, and share their toil, their food, their tasks, the produce of their labour and their flight. What else? Procreation is common to all, as is the purity of their virginal body in the common process of birth, since this is achieved without intercourse or lust; they are not wracked by labour pains, yet they produce at once a great swarm of offspring, collecting them with their mouths from leaves and grass. They choose their own king, they appoint themselves his people; but although they are subject to the king, they are nevertheless free. For they have the right of selecting him and of offering him their loyalty, because they love him as one whom they have chosen and honour him with such a responsibility. Moreover, the king is not chosen by lot, because in such cases the outcome is a matter of chance not judgement. And often, by the unpredictable chance of fate, the least suitable candidate is chosen over better ones. Among bees, the king has outstanding natural characteristics, standing forth by virtue of the size and appearance of his body. And, what is essential in a king - a merciful nature. For even if he has a sting, he does not use it for revenge, for there are laws of nature, unwritten but embedded in custom, that those who are endowed with the greatest power should be the more lenient in administering punishment. The bees who do not comply with the laws of the king, repent and punish themselves and die by their own sting. It is custom that the Persians are said to preserve today: that those who have committed a crime pay the price by carrying out their own sentence of death. Thus no peoples serve their king with the devotion shown by the bees: not the Indians, nor the Persians, who are subject to exceedingly harsh laws, nor the Sarmatians. Their devotion is such that no bees dare leave their living areas
  • Transcription
    vespe de asinis. Castros Greci appellant qui in extremis fa\ vorum partibus maiores creantur, quos aliqui reges putant di\ ci quod castra ducant. Sole apes in omni genere animantium\ communem in omnibus sobolem habent, unam omnes colunt\ mansionem, unius patrie clauduntur lumine [PL, limine] in commune om\ nibus labor, communis cibus, communis operatio, communis \ usus et fructus est [et] communis volatus. Quid plura? Comm\ unis omnibus generatio, integritas quoque corporis virginalis,\ omnibus communis et partus quoniam nec inter se ullo concubitu\ miscentur, nec libidine resolvuntur, nec partus quatiuntur doloribus\ et subito maximum filiorum examen emittunt, foliis atque\ herbis ore suo prolem legentes. Ipse sibi regem ordinant, ipse po\ pulos creant, et licet posite sub rege sunt tamen libere. Nam\ et prerogativum iudicii tenent, et fide devocionis affectum\ quia et tanquam a se substitutum diligunt, et tanto honorant\ examine. Rex aut[em] non sorte ducitur, quia in sorte eventus est\ non iudicium. Et sepe irrationabili casu sortis melioribus ulti\ mus quisque prefertur. Apibus autem rex nature claris formatur\ insignibus ut magnitudinem corporis prestet, et speciem. Tum\ quod in rege precipium est, morum mansuetudinem. Nam\ etsi habet aculeum, tamen eo non utitur ad vindicandum, sunt\ enim leges nature non scripte litteris sed impresse moribus ut lenio\ res sint ad puniendum qui potestate maxima pociuntur\ sed et apes ille que non obtemperaverint legibus regi, peni\ tentie condempnatione se multant ut immoriantur aculei sui\ vulnere, quod Persarum populi hodieque servare dicuntur, ut pro\ commissi precio ipsi in se proprie mortis exequantur sententia. Itaque\ nulli sic regem, non Perse qui gravissimas in subditos habent leges, non Indi, non populi Samaritarum [PL, nec Sauromatae] tanta quanta apes reveren\ tia devocionis observant, ut nulle e domibus exire audeant in\
Folio 63v - Of bees, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen