The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 75v - 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.
feet long. If dead eels are soaked in wine, anyone drinking the liquor develops a loathing of wine. The lamprey, murena, is called by the Greeks mirinna, because it twists itself into circles. Lampreys, it is said, are of the female sex only and conceive from intercourse with snakes; as a result, fishermen catch it by calling it with a snake's hiss. It is difficult to kill a lamprey with a single blow from a cudgel; you need to beat it repeatedly with a stick. It is a fact that the life-spirit of the lamprey is its tail, for when it is beaten on the head, it is difficult to kill; but when it is beaten on the tail, it dies at once. The name of the poilippus means 'many-footed', because it has a large number of coiling legs. It is a clever fish; it makes for the fisherman's baited hook, catches hold of it by entwining it in its limbs, and does not let go until it has nibbled round the bait. The torpedo is so called because it numbs the body of anyone who touches it when it is alive. According to Pliny the second, if a torpedo from the Indian sea is touched by a spear or rod, even from a considerable distance, the muscles of the fisherman's arms, even if they are very strong, grow numb, and his feet, however fast they run, cannot move. So great is the power of the torpedo, that even its breath has this effect on the limbs of the body. The crab also plans a series of tricks to acquire food. For it has a taste for oysters and sets out to feast on their flesh. But because seeking food means looking out for danger, the more difficult the chase, the greater the danger. The crab's quest is difficult because the food is enclosed within two very strong shells, for nature, acting in accordance with the will of the Creator, has furnished the softness of the flesh with walls, so to speak, nourishing and warming it within the shells in a bosom-like cleft, and the oyster spreads its flesh out as if in a valley. As a result, all the efforts of the crab come to nothing, because it has not the strength to open the closed oyster. The crab's quest becomes dangerous if the oyster shuts its shell on one of the the crab's claws. The crab resorts to strategy and works on the idea of setting a trap, using a new kind of trick. Because all kinds of animals yield to pleasure, the crab watches out for the time when the oyster, safely out of the wind and lying in the rays of the sun, opens its double-shelled prison in order to

Text

Lampreys and crabs (Crustaceans).

Transcription

pedibus gignere. Anguille vino necate qui ex eo biberint, tedi\um vini habent. Murenam Greci mirinnam vocant, eo quod\ complicet se in circulos. Hanc feminini tantum sexus esse tra\dunt et concipere a serpente, ob id a piscatoribus tanquam a serpen\te sibilo evocatur et capitur. Ictu autem fustis difficulter interi\mitur, ferula protinus. Animam habere in cauda certum est nam\ capite percusso, vix eam interimi cauda statim exanimari. Poi\lippus, id est multipes plurimos enim nexus habet. Iste ingeniosus\ hamum appetens, brachiis complectitur in morsu, nec prius\ dimittit, quam escam circumroserit. Torpedo vocata eo quod\ corpus torpescere faciat, si eam quisque viventem tangat. Nar\rat Plinius secundus ex Indico mari torpedo etiam procul et e\ longinquo vel si hasta virgaque attingatur, quamvis preva\lidos lacertos torpescere, quamlibet ad cursum veloces alligate\ pedes. Tanta enim vis eius est, ut etiam aura corporis sui\ afficiat membra. Cancer quoque quas cibi gratia prestigias\ struit. Namque et ipse ostreo delectatur, et carnis eius epulum\ sibi querit. Sed quia ut appetens cibi ita prospiciens est peri\culi, quam cum [quantum] difficilis est venatio, tunc [tantum] periculosa. Difficilis\ quia testis validioribus esca interior includitur, nam velut\ muris quibusdam molliciem carnis precepti imperialis inter\pres natura munivit, quam medio testarum quodam\ sinu concavo nutrit ac fovet, et quasi in quadam valle\ diffundit, et ideo cassa omnia temptamenta sunt cancri\ quia aperire clausum ostreum nulla vi potest, et periculo\sum est si chelam eius includat. Ad argumenta confugit,\ et insidias nova fraude molitur. Itaque quia omnia genera\ delectatione mulcentur, explorat si quando ostreum remo\tis in locis ab omni vento contra solis radios dipticum il\lud suum aperiat, et referet claustra testarum, ut libero\

Translation

feet long. If dead eels are soaked in wine, anyone drinking the liquor develops a loathing of wine. The lamprey, murena, is called by the Greeks mirinna, because it twists itself into circles. Lampreys, it is said, are of the female sex only and conceive from intercourse with snakes; as a result, fishermen catch it by calling it with a snake's hiss. It is difficult to kill a lamprey with a single blow from a cudgel; you need to beat it repeatedly with a stick. It is a fact that the life-spirit of the lamprey is its tail, for when it is beaten on the head, it is difficult to kill; but when it is beaten on the tail, it dies at once. The name of the poilippus means 'many-footed', because it has a large number of coiling legs. It is a clever fish; it makes for the fisherman's baited hook, catches hold of it by entwining it in its limbs, and does not let go until it has nibbled round the bait. The torpedo is so called because it numbs the body of anyone who touches it when it is alive. According to Pliny the second, if a torpedo from the Indian sea is touched by a spear or rod, even from a considerable distance, the muscles of the fisherman's arms, even if they are very strong, grow numb, and his feet, however fast they run, cannot move. So great is the power of the torpedo, that even its breath has this effect on the limbs of the body. The crab also plans a series of tricks to acquire food. For it has a taste for oysters and sets out to feast on their flesh. But because seeking food means looking out for danger, the more difficult the chase, the greater the danger. The crab's quest is difficult because the food is enclosed within two very strong shells, for nature, acting in accordance with the will of the Creator, has furnished the softness of the flesh with walls, so to speak, nourishing and warming it within the shells in a bosom-like cleft, and the oyster spreads its flesh out as if in a valley. As a result, all the efforts of the crab come to nothing, because it has not the strength to open the closed oyster. The crab's quest becomes dangerous if the oyster shuts its shell on one of the the crab's claws. The crab resorts to strategy and works on the idea of setting a trap, using a new kind of trick. Because all kinds of animals yield to pleasure, the crab watches out for the time when the oyster, safely out of the wind and lying in the rays of the sun, opens its double-shelled prison in order to
  • Commentary

    Text

    Lampreys and crabs (Crustaceans).

  • Translation
    feet long. If dead eels are soaked in wine, anyone drinking the liquor develops a loathing of wine. The lamprey, murena, is called by the Greeks mirinna, because it twists itself into circles. Lampreys, it is said, are of the female sex only and conceive from intercourse with snakes; as a result, fishermen catch it by calling it with a snake's hiss. It is difficult to kill a lamprey with a single blow from a cudgel; you need to beat it repeatedly with a stick. It is a fact that the life-spirit of the lamprey is its tail, for when it is beaten on the head, it is difficult to kill; but when it is beaten on the tail, it dies at once. The name of the poilippus means 'many-footed', because it has a large number of coiling legs. It is a clever fish; it makes for the fisherman's baited hook, catches hold of it by entwining it in its limbs, and does not let go until it has nibbled round the bait. The torpedo is so called because it numbs the body of anyone who touches it when it is alive. According to Pliny the second, if a torpedo from the Indian sea is touched by a spear or rod, even from a considerable distance, the muscles of the fisherman's arms, even if they are very strong, grow numb, and his feet, however fast they run, cannot move. So great is the power of the torpedo, that even its breath has this effect on the limbs of the body. The crab also plans a series of tricks to acquire food. For it has a taste for oysters and sets out to feast on their flesh. But because seeking food means looking out for danger, the more difficult the chase, the greater the danger. The crab's quest is difficult because the food is enclosed within two very strong shells, for nature, acting in accordance with the will of the Creator, has furnished the softness of the flesh with walls, so to speak, nourishing and warming it within the shells in a bosom-like cleft, and the oyster spreads its flesh out as if in a valley. As a result, all the efforts of the crab come to nothing, because it has not the strength to open the closed oyster. The crab's quest becomes dangerous if the oyster shuts its shell on one of the the crab's claws. The crab resorts to strategy and works on the idea of setting a trap, using a new kind of trick. Because all kinds of animals yield to pleasure, the crab watches out for the time when the oyster, safely out of the wind and lying in the rays of the sun, opens its double-shelled prison in order to
  • Transcription
    pedibus gignere. Anguille vino necate qui ex eo biberint, tedi\um vini habent. Murenam Greci mirinnam vocant, eo quod\ complicet se in circulos. Hanc feminini tantum sexus esse tra\dunt et concipere a serpente, ob id a piscatoribus tanquam a serpen\te sibilo evocatur et capitur. Ictu autem fustis difficulter interi\mitur, ferula protinus. Animam habere in cauda certum est nam\ capite percusso, vix eam interimi cauda statim exanimari. Poi\lippus, id est multipes plurimos enim nexus habet. Iste ingeniosus\ hamum appetens, brachiis complectitur in morsu, nec prius\ dimittit, quam escam circumroserit. Torpedo vocata eo quod\ corpus torpescere faciat, si eam quisque viventem tangat. Nar\rat Plinius secundus ex Indico mari torpedo etiam procul et e\ longinquo vel si hasta virgaque attingatur, quamvis preva\lidos lacertos torpescere, quamlibet ad cursum veloces alligate\ pedes. Tanta enim vis eius est, ut etiam aura corporis sui\ afficiat membra. Cancer quoque quas cibi gratia prestigias\ struit. Namque et ipse ostreo delectatur, et carnis eius epulum\ sibi querit. Sed quia ut appetens cibi ita prospiciens est peri\culi, quam cum [quantum] difficilis est venatio, tunc [tantum] periculosa. Difficilis\ quia testis validioribus esca interior includitur, nam velut\ muris quibusdam molliciem carnis precepti imperialis inter\pres natura munivit, quam medio testarum quodam\ sinu concavo nutrit ac fovet, et quasi in quadam valle\ diffundit, et ideo cassa omnia temptamenta sunt cancri\ quia aperire clausum ostreum nulla vi potest, et periculo\sum est si chelam eius includat. Ad argumenta confugit,\ et insidias nova fraude molitur. Itaque quia omnia genera\ delectatione mulcentur, explorat si quando ostreum remo\tis in locis ab omni vento contra solis radios dipticum il\lud suum aperiat, et referet claustra testarum, ut libero\
Folio 75v - Of fish, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen