The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 75r - 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.
in turn, the larger fish is seized by an even stronger one, and thus the predator becomes the prey. Thus it is the way among fish that when one devours another, it is devoured by a third, and they each end up in the same belly, since each has been consumed by its appropriate consumer, and together in the same entrails is a twosome, one of them preyed upon, the other avenged. Among fish this aggression grew deliberately, just as it did in us, for it did not start in nature but in greed. Or because fish are given for man's use, but are also given as a guide, that we might see in them the vices inherent in our own ways, and heed their example; lest the stronger should swallow up the weaker, he should be shown what harm he might suffer at the hand of one even stronger. So, he who harms another, ties a noose for himself. And you, you are the fish that attacks the entrails of the other, you overpower the weak, you pursue the believer down to the depths. Take care lest, while you are in pursuit, you meet one who is stronger than you, that he who can defeat your snare does not lead you into another and that your prey is preoccupied with his own danger, before he witnesses yours. The escarius is so called because, they claim, it alone ruminates its food, esca; other fish do not. They say it is a clever fish. For, caught in a pot, it does not try to break out with its forehead or try to stick its head through the wicker sides, but with rapid blows of its tail loosens the rear entrance of the pot and thus swims out through the back. If by chance another escarius sees it struggling, it seizes the captive's tail between its teeth and helps it to break out. The echenais is a very small fish, six inches long, which gets its name from the fact that it holds a ship fast by sticking to it; although the winds roar and the storms rage, the ship stays still, rooted, it seems, in the sea, immobile. The fish does this, not by holding the ship back, but simply by sticking on to it. Latin-speakers call this fish mora, because it forces vessels to stay in one place, thereby causing a delay, mora. Eels, anguille, get their name from their similarity to serpents, angues. They are born from mud; for this reason, if you catch an eel, it is so smooth that the harder you grip it, the quicker it slithers away. They say that in the River Ganges, in the east, there are eels thirty

Text

The eating habits of fish.

Comment

In the top right corner is a folio mark 'llll'.

Folio Attributes

  • Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

    Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

    Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks
    Folio Marks

    To make a normal gathering, a sheet of vellum (the skin of a calf, lamb or kid) would be folded over twice and cut around the edges. This would make a gathering or quire of eight folios with sixteen sides. In the Bestiary there are fifteen quires, thirteen of which are made with the usual eight folios. The last two quires, added in the late thirteenth century, have six and four folios respectively. The folios are not precisely cut but in the most regular quires (B and C) they measure 300mm high and 210mm wide. In order to assemble the quires in the correct sequence they were labelled in lead point with letters of the alphabet. Some are missing with the result that the sequence runs -,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,K,-(folio missing),M,N. The last two quires (O and P) are the later additions and are not marked. The quire system was examined by MR James when the book was being rebound and he was able to produce the following analysis of the gatherings: A8 (wants folio 2, 8); B8 (4,5); C8 (4,8); D8 (4,5); E8-L8 (1); M8; N8; O6; P4 (4). Individual sheets in the quire needed to be marked. Although there were eight folios only the first four needed marking because they were folded with the last four. Each sheet was distinctively marked to make sure the quires could not get muddled up. The asterisk sign is repeated in quires B and M but they remain distinct because the B sign is in the top right corner while the M signs are all in the bottom left corner.

Transcription

est, et rursus ipse maior a validiore invaditur, et sic esca al\terius, predator alieni. Itaque usu venit ut cum ipse alium devo\raverit, ab alio devoretur, et unum ventrem utrumque con\veniat, cum devoratore proprio devoratus, sitque simul in uno\ viscere prede vindicteque consortium. Et ex ipsis sponte forte hec\ accrevit iniuria, sicut in nobis non ex natura cepit, sed ex ava\ricia. Aut quia ad usum hominum dati sunt, in signum quoque\ facti sunt, ut in his nostrorum morum vicia videremus, et eorum\ caveremus exempla, nequis pocior inferiorem invaderet, datu\rus in se potentiori exemplum iniurie. Itaque qui alium ledit\ sibi laqueum parat. Et tu piscis es qui viscera invadis aliena,\ qui demergis infirmum qui credentem persequeris usque in pro\fundum. Cave ne dum illum persequeris, incidas ipse validi\orem, et deducat te in alienas insidias qui tuas vicat, priusque\ tuam expectet erumpnam, qui te persequente propriam formidabat.\ Escarius dictus eo quod escam solus ruminare perhibetur, denique\ alii pisces non ruminant. Tradunt autem hunc ingeniosum\ esse. Namque inclusum vasis non fronte erumpere, nec infestis\ viminibus caput inserere, sed adversum caude ictibus crebris lax\are fores, atque ita retrorsum redire. Quem luctatum eius\ si forte alius escarius videat, apprehensa mordiciis cau\da adiuvat nisus erumpentis. Echenais et semipedalis\ pisciculus nomen sumpsit, quod navem adherendo teneat,\ ruant licet venti, seviant procelle, navis tamen quasi radi\cata in mari stare videtur, nec moveri potest, non retinen\do hoc facit sed tantum modo adherendo. Hunc Latini moram ap\pellant, eo quod cogat stare navigia. Anguille similitudo\ anguis nomen dedit. Origo eius ex limo, unde et quando capitur\ adeo lenis est ut quanto fortius presseris, tanto cicius elabitur.\ Ferunt autem orientis fluvium Gangen anguillas trigenis\

Translation

in turn, the larger fish is seized by an even stronger one, and thus the predator becomes the prey. Thus it is the way among fish that when one devours another, it is devoured by a third, and they each end up in the same belly, since each has been consumed by its appropriate consumer, and together in the same entrails is a twosome, one of them preyed upon, the other avenged. Among fish this aggression grew deliberately, just as it did in us, for it did not start in nature but in greed. Or because fish are given for man's use, but are also given as a guide, that we might see in them the vices inherent in our own ways, and heed their example; lest the stronger should swallow up the weaker, he should be shown what harm he might suffer at the hand of one even stronger. So, he who harms another, ties a noose for himself. And you, you are the fish that attacks the entrails of the other, you overpower the weak, you pursue the believer down to the depths. Take care lest, while you are in pursuit, you meet one who is stronger than you, that he who can defeat your snare does not lead you into another and that your prey is preoccupied with his own danger, before he witnesses yours. The escarius is so called because, they claim, it alone ruminates its food, esca; other fish do not. They say it is a clever fish. For, caught in a pot, it does not try to break out with its forehead or try to stick its head through the wicker sides, but with rapid blows of its tail loosens the rear entrance of the pot and thus swims out through the back. If by chance another escarius sees it struggling, it seizes the captive's tail between its teeth and helps it to break out. The echenais is a very small fish, six inches long, which gets its name from the fact that it holds a ship fast by sticking to it; although the winds roar and the storms rage, the ship stays still, rooted, it seems, in the sea, immobile. The fish does this, not by holding the ship back, but simply by sticking on to it. Latin-speakers call this fish mora, because it forces vessels to stay in one place, thereby causing a delay, mora. Eels, anguille, get their name from their similarity to serpents, angues. They are born from mud; for this reason, if you catch an eel, it is so smooth that the harder you grip it, the quicker it slithers away. They say that in the River Ganges, in the east, there are eels thirty
  • Commentary

    Text

    The eating habits of fish.

    Comment

    In the top right corner is a folio mark 'llll'.

    Folio Attributes

    • Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

      Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

      Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks
      Folio Marks

      To make a normal gathering, a sheet of vellum (the skin of a calf, lamb or kid) would be folded over twice and cut around the edges. This would make a gathering or quire of eight folios with sixteen sides. In the Bestiary there are fifteen quires, thirteen of which are made with the usual eight folios. The last two quires, added in the late thirteenth century, have six and four folios respectively. The folios are not precisely cut but in the most regular quires (B and C) they measure 300mm high and 210mm wide. In order to assemble the quires in the correct sequence they were labelled in lead point with letters of the alphabet. Some are missing with the result that the sequence runs -,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,K,-(folio missing),M,N. The last two quires (O and P) are the later additions and are not marked. The quire system was examined by MR James when the book was being rebound and he was able to produce the following analysis of the gatherings: A8 (wants folio 2, 8); B8 (4,5); C8 (4,8); D8 (4,5); E8-L8 (1); M8; N8; O6; P4 (4). Individual sheets in the quire needed to be marked. Although there were eight folios only the first four needed marking because they were folded with the last four. Each sheet was distinctively marked to make sure the quires could not get muddled up. The asterisk sign is repeated in quires B and M but they remain distinct because the B sign is in the top right corner while the M signs are all in the bottom left corner.

  • Translation
    in turn, the larger fish is seized by an even stronger one, and thus the predator becomes the prey. Thus it is the way among fish that when one devours another, it is devoured by a third, and they each end up in the same belly, since each has been consumed by its appropriate consumer, and together in the same entrails is a twosome, one of them preyed upon, the other avenged. Among fish this aggression grew deliberately, just as it did in us, for it did not start in nature but in greed. Or because fish are given for man's use, but are also given as a guide, that we might see in them the vices inherent in our own ways, and heed their example; lest the stronger should swallow up the weaker, he should be shown what harm he might suffer at the hand of one even stronger. So, he who harms another, ties a noose for himself. And you, you are the fish that attacks the entrails of the other, you overpower the weak, you pursue the believer down to the depths. Take care lest, while you are in pursuit, you meet one who is stronger than you, that he who can defeat your snare does not lead you into another and that your prey is preoccupied with his own danger, before he witnesses yours. The escarius is so called because, they claim, it alone ruminates its food, esca; other fish do not. They say it is a clever fish. For, caught in a pot, it does not try to break out with its forehead or try to stick its head through the wicker sides, but with rapid blows of its tail loosens the rear entrance of the pot and thus swims out through the back. If by chance another escarius sees it struggling, it seizes the captive's tail between its teeth and helps it to break out. The echenais is a very small fish, six inches long, which gets its name from the fact that it holds a ship fast by sticking to it; although the winds roar and the storms rage, the ship stays still, rooted, it seems, in the sea, immobile. The fish does this, not by holding the ship back, but simply by sticking on to it. Latin-speakers call this fish mora, because it forces vessels to stay in one place, thereby causing a delay, mora. Eels, anguille, get their name from their similarity to serpents, angues. They are born from mud; for this reason, if you catch an eel, it is so smooth that the harder you grip it, the quicker it slithers away. They say that in the River Ganges, in the east, there are eels thirty
  • Transcription
    est, et rursus ipse maior a validiore invaditur, et sic esca al\terius, predator alieni. Itaque usu venit ut cum ipse alium devo\raverit, ab alio devoretur, et unum ventrem utrumque con\veniat, cum devoratore proprio devoratus, sitque simul in uno\ viscere prede vindicteque consortium. Et ex ipsis sponte forte hec\ accrevit iniuria, sicut in nobis non ex natura cepit, sed ex ava\ricia. Aut quia ad usum hominum dati sunt, in signum quoque\ facti sunt, ut in his nostrorum morum vicia videremus, et eorum\ caveremus exempla, nequis pocior inferiorem invaderet, datu\rus in se potentiori exemplum iniurie. Itaque qui alium ledit\ sibi laqueum parat. Et tu piscis es qui viscera invadis aliena,\ qui demergis infirmum qui credentem persequeris usque in pro\fundum. Cave ne dum illum persequeris, incidas ipse validi\orem, et deducat te in alienas insidias qui tuas vicat, priusque\ tuam expectet erumpnam, qui te persequente propriam formidabat.\ Escarius dictus eo quod escam solus ruminare perhibetur, denique\ alii pisces non ruminant. Tradunt autem hunc ingeniosum\ esse. Namque inclusum vasis non fronte erumpere, nec infestis\ viminibus caput inserere, sed adversum caude ictibus crebris lax\are fores, atque ita retrorsum redire. Quem luctatum eius\ si forte alius escarius videat, apprehensa mordiciis cau\da adiuvat nisus erumpentis. Echenais et semipedalis\ pisciculus nomen sumpsit, quod navem adherendo teneat,\ ruant licet venti, seviant procelle, navis tamen quasi radi\cata in mari stare videtur, nec moveri potest, non retinen\do hoc facit sed tantum modo adherendo. Hunc Latini moram ap\pellant, eo quod cogat stare navigia. Anguille similitudo\ anguis nomen dedit. Origo eius ex limo, unde et quando capitur\ adeo lenis est ut quanto fortius presseris, tanto cicius elabitur.\ Ferunt autem orientis fluvium Gangen anguillas trigenis\
Folio 75r - Of fish, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen