The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 74v - Of fish, continued.


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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.
For male fish know nothing about adulterous contacts with fish of other species, like the females with whom they copulate. Species of donkeys and mares are created by interbreeeding with the special intervention of man, or in the other way, when horses mount asses; in the context of nature, these are truly acts of adultery. For undoubtedly, what is done in a natural context by interbreeding is more significant than what happens in a personal context by injury. O men, you bring these things about as an agent of adultery between animals and you consider a hybrid animal more valuable than one which is pure bred. You interbreed different species and mix the seed of one with another, and frequently you force animals unwillingly to take part in intercourse which is forbidden, and you call this 'industry'; because you cannot interbreed among men, in such a way that the mixing of two species can exclude the creation of offspring, you take away from a man what he was born with, you take the virility from a man, you destroy his sex by cutting off part of his body and you create a eunuch, so that what nature denies in man, your presumption achieves. As to how good a mother water is, think about this. You, O man, have taught the denial, separation, hatred, crimes, of fathers against sons; learn what is essential to that relationship. Fish cannot live without water; they cannot be separated from the company of their parent; they cannot be parted from the services of their wet-nurse. If this should happen, it is their nature, when separated, to die there and then. What can I tell you about the quantity and density of their teeth? For creatures that live in water are not like sheep or cattle, whose teeth grow in one part of the mouth, but every part of their mouth is armed with teeth, and if they are slow to chew their food and swallow it, it can be washed down and dissolved by the flow of water from their teeth. Their teeth are close-set and sharp, so that they can cut food quickly and consume food quickly, and swallow it without delay or hesitation. In short, they do not ruminate, that is, chew the cud. Only the scarus is reported to be a ruminant, chewing on everything that it takes in by chance, habit or purpose. It is a fact that fish cannot escape violence from their own kind, and wherever there are smaller fish, they become the subject of the greed of more powerful fish, so that a weaker species is the prey of a stronger. There are many, indeed, which feed on vegetation. But among fish the smaller species is the food of the larger;

Text

Fishes' teeth and feeding.

Transcription

Nesciunt enim alienorum piscium adulterina contagia, sicut ea\ que coeunt. Asinorum equarumque inter se genera magna cura\ hominum perpetrantur vel rursus cum equis asine miscentur, que\ sunt vere adulteria nature. Nam utique maius est quod in nature\ colluvione committitur quam quod in persone iniuria. Et o homo ista\ procuras interpres adulterii iumentalis, et illud animal preciosius putas\ quod adulterinum, quam quod verum est. Ipse genera aliena confun\dis, diversaque misces semina, et ad vetitos coitus plerumque cogis\ invitos, et hoc industriam vocas, hoc quia de hominibus facere non\ potes ut diversi generis commixtio fetum possit excludere,\ tollis homini quod natus est, et virum de viro exuis, abscisaque\ corporis parte, sexum necas, spadonem efficis, ut quod negavit\ natura in hominibus, impleret audatia. Quam bona autem ma\ter aqua, hinc considera. Tu homo docuisti abdicationes patrum\ in filios, separationes, odia, offensas, disce que sit parentis et\ filiorum necessitudo. Vivere pisces sine aqua non queunt, nec\ a sue parentis consortio separari, neque a sue altricis discerni mu\nere. Et hoc fit natura quadam ut separati moriantur ilico. Quid\ autem de densitate dicam dentium? Non enim ut oves aut\ boves ex una parte dentes habent, sed utraque pars armata est den\tibus qui in aqua sunt, et si diutius cibum versarent, et non cito\ transmitterent, aquarum illuvione de dentibus eorum esca pos\set auferri ac dilui. Ideo densos et acutos habent dentes ut cito\ incidant cito conficiant cibum, et ut facile et sine aliqua mora\ et dilatione transmittant. Denique non ruminant. Solus tamen\ scarus ruminare perhibetur ut ferunt quibus aut eventus aut\ usus fuit aut studium comprehendere, sane nec ipsi a suis poten\tie evasere violentiam, et avaricie potentiorum subiectum\ ubique inferiores sunt, quo quisque infirmior eo prede patet. Et\ plerique quidem herbis pascuntur, minor apud illos esca maioris\

Translation

For male fish know nothing about adulterous contacts with fish of other species, like the females with whom they copulate. Species of donkeys and mares are created by interbreeeding with the special intervention of man, or in the other way, when horses mount asses; in the context of nature, these are truly acts of adultery. For undoubtedly, what is done in a natural context by interbreeding is more significant than what happens in a personal context by injury. O men, you bring these things about as an agent of adultery between animals and you consider a hybrid animal more valuable than one which is pure bred. You interbreed different species and mix the seed of one with another, and frequently you force animals unwillingly to take part in intercourse which is forbidden, and you call this 'industry'; because you cannot interbreed among men, in such a way that the mixing of two species can exclude the creation of offspring, you take away from a man what he was born with, you take the virility from a man, you destroy his sex by cutting off part of his body and you create a eunuch, so that what nature denies in man, your presumption achieves. As to how good a mother water is, think about this. You, O man, have taught the denial, separation, hatred, crimes, of fathers against sons; learn what is essential to that relationship. Fish cannot live without water; they cannot be separated from the company of their parent; they cannot be parted from the services of their wet-nurse. If this should happen, it is their nature, when separated, to die there and then. What can I tell you about the quantity and density of their teeth? For creatures that live in water are not like sheep or cattle, whose teeth grow in one part of the mouth, but every part of their mouth is armed with teeth, and if they are slow to chew their food and swallow it, it can be washed down and dissolved by the flow of water from their teeth. Their teeth are close-set and sharp, so that they can cut food quickly and consume food quickly, and swallow it without delay or hesitation. In short, they do not ruminate, that is, chew the cud. Only the scarus is reported to be a ruminant, chewing on everything that it takes in by chance, habit or purpose. It is a fact that fish cannot escape violence from their own kind, and wherever there are smaller fish, they become the subject of the greed of more powerful fish, so that a weaker species is the prey of a stronger. There are many, indeed, which feed on vegetation. But among fish the smaller species is the food of the larger;
  • Commentary

    Text

    Fishes' teeth and feeding.

  • Translation
    For male fish know nothing about adulterous contacts with fish of other species, like the females with whom they copulate. Species of donkeys and mares are created by interbreeeding with the special intervention of man, or in the other way, when horses mount asses; in the context of nature, these are truly acts of adultery. For undoubtedly, what is done in a natural context by interbreeding is more significant than what happens in a personal context by injury. O men, you bring these things about as an agent of adultery between animals and you consider a hybrid animal more valuable than one which is pure bred. You interbreed different species and mix the seed of one with another, and frequently you force animals unwillingly to take part in intercourse which is forbidden, and you call this 'industry'; because you cannot interbreed among men, in such a way that the mixing of two species can exclude the creation of offspring, you take away from a man what he was born with, you take the virility from a man, you destroy his sex by cutting off part of his body and you create a eunuch, so that what nature denies in man, your presumption achieves. As to how good a mother water is, think about this. You, O man, have taught the denial, separation, hatred, crimes, of fathers against sons; learn what is essential to that relationship. Fish cannot live without water; they cannot be separated from the company of their parent; they cannot be parted from the services of their wet-nurse. If this should happen, it is their nature, when separated, to die there and then. What can I tell you about the quantity and density of their teeth? For creatures that live in water are not like sheep or cattle, whose teeth grow in one part of the mouth, but every part of their mouth is armed with teeth, and if they are slow to chew their food and swallow it, it can be washed down and dissolved by the flow of water from their teeth. Their teeth are close-set and sharp, so that they can cut food quickly and consume food quickly, and swallow it without delay or hesitation. In short, they do not ruminate, that is, chew the cud. Only the scarus is reported to be a ruminant, chewing on everything that it takes in by chance, habit or purpose. It is a fact that fish cannot escape violence from their own kind, and wherever there are smaller fish, they become the subject of the greed of more powerful fish, so that a weaker species is the prey of a stronger. There are many, indeed, which feed on vegetation. But among fish the smaller species is the food of the larger;
  • Transcription
    Nesciunt enim alienorum piscium adulterina contagia, sicut ea\ que coeunt. Asinorum equarumque inter se genera magna cura\ hominum perpetrantur vel rursus cum equis asine miscentur, que\ sunt vere adulteria nature. Nam utique maius est quod in nature\ colluvione committitur quam quod in persone iniuria. Et o homo ista\ procuras interpres adulterii iumentalis, et illud animal preciosius putas\ quod adulterinum, quam quod verum est. Ipse genera aliena confun\dis, diversaque misces semina, et ad vetitos coitus plerumque cogis\ invitos, et hoc industriam vocas, hoc quia de hominibus facere non\ potes ut diversi generis commixtio fetum possit excludere,\ tollis homini quod natus est, et virum de viro exuis, abscisaque\ corporis parte, sexum necas, spadonem efficis, ut quod negavit\ natura in hominibus, impleret audatia. Quam bona autem ma\ter aqua, hinc considera. Tu homo docuisti abdicationes patrum\ in filios, separationes, odia, offensas, disce que sit parentis et\ filiorum necessitudo. Vivere pisces sine aqua non queunt, nec\ a sue parentis consortio separari, neque a sue altricis discerni mu\nere. Et hoc fit natura quadam ut separati moriantur ilico. Quid\ autem de densitate dicam dentium? Non enim ut oves aut\ boves ex una parte dentes habent, sed utraque pars armata est den\tibus qui in aqua sunt, et si diutius cibum versarent, et non cito\ transmitterent, aquarum illuvione de dentibus eorum esca pos\set auferri ac dilui. Ideo densos et acutos habent dentes ut cito\ incidant cito conficiant cibum, et ut facile et sine aliqua mora\ et dilatione transmittant. Denique non ruminant. Solus tamen\ scarus ruminare perhibetur ut ferunt quibus aut eventus aut\ usus fuit aut studium comprehendere, sane nec ipsi a suis poten\tie evasere violentiam, et avaricie potentiorum subiectum\ ubique inferiores sunt, quo quisque infirmior eo prede patet. Et\ plerique quidem herbis pascuntur, minor apud illos esca maioris\
Folio 74v - Of fish, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen