The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 79v - Item de arboribus; Again of trees.


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.
The word for oak, ilex, comes from electus, chosen. For the fruit of this tree was the first to be chosen by men for food. In this context, the poet says: 'The first mortals belched the nut from their throats'; for before the ancients used corn for food, they lived on nuts. Again The beech tree, fagus, and the Italian oak, esculus, both nut-bearing trees, get their names, it is said or at any rate believed, because men formerly existed on their fruit, using them for their own food and for fodder. For esculus comes from esca, food; while fagus is a Greek word, for fagein in Greek means 'to eat'. The carob tree, cilicicon, is corrupted in Latin to siliqua. It got its Greek name because the fruit of its wood was sweet. For xilon is 'wood' in Greek and ilicon, 'sweet'. The juice pressed from its fruit is called in Greek acacia. Again The pistachio tree is so called because the shell of its fruit gives forth the scent of pure nard. The pitch-pine gets its name from its pointed leaves, for the ancients used the word pinnus to mean 'pointed'. The Greeks called one kind of pine possis, another peuce; we call it picea, because it oozes resin, pix. In the islands of Germany the 'tears' of this tree produce amber. For the sap, flowing down, solidifies, either in the cold or by the passage of time, and creates a precious stone, which gets its name, sucinum, amber, from its nature, because it is the juice, sucus, of the tree. The pine is thought to be beneficial to everything that grows beneath it, just as the fig tree does harm to everything. Again The fir tree, abies, is so called because it grows higher than other trees and stands high above them. It is characterised by the fact that it contains no earthly fluid and is accordingly considered easy and light to work. Some call it 'Gallic' because of its white colour. It has no knots in it. Again The cedar, cedrus, is the tree which the Greeks call cedros. Its leaves resemble those of the cypress. Its wood, however, has a pleasant scent which lingers for a long time and can never be destroyed by worms. For this reason - its durability - temple ceilings are made of cedar wood. The resin of this wood is called cedria and is so good for preserving books

Text

Various trees.

Comment

This page was left incomplete in the twelfth century, with only one initial type 2 inserted. In the thirteenth century, the scribe who finished the book after ff. 94r filled in the four initials type 4 on this page. His hasty work is exemplified by the incorrect insertion of 'U', subsequently corrected to 'F' for fagus, beech tree.

Folio Attributes

  • Scribal Corrections

    Scribal Corrections

    Scribal Corrections
    The Bestiary scribe ends, the Lapidary scribe begins. Detail from f.94r

    When the ruling was complete the quires were ready to receive the text. At this point the scribe had a clear idea about the precise layout of each page. He had to leave the correct amount of space for the rubrics, capitals and illuminations to be added. The scribal hand is fairly uniform throughout, though Clark (2006, 223) observes the Gothic textura formata (the type of lettering) changes on f.19r, becoming ‘somewhat more compact and rounded’. There is a marked change of hand, below the illustration of the dove and hawk on f.26r, for only 5 lines. The quill is broader and the letters larger but less steady or uniform. Another scribe, with a later thirteenth-century hand, writes the lapidary section of the book, beginning on f.94r. Sometimes the scribe made mistakes or omissions which were picked up by a contemporary editor. On f.17r you can see corrections written lightly in the margin with part of the text erased and corrected accordingly. Most of the corrections occur in the Aviarium section, f.25r-f.63r.

  • Initial Type 1

    Initial Type 1

    Initial Type 1
    Type 1 initial. Detail from f.79r

    Type 1 appears towards the end of the manuscript. They are unembellished red capitals, on f. 79r.

  • 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

Ilex ab electo vocata. Huius enim arboris fructum, homi\nes primum ad victum sibi elegerunt. Unde et poeta: Morta\les primi ructabant gutture glandem, prius enim quam frumen\ti usus essent, antiqui glande vixerunt. \ Iterum \ Fagus et esculus arbores et glandifere ideo vocate dicuntur,\ vel creduntur quod earum fructibus olim homines vixerunt,\ cibumque sumpserunt, escamque habuerunt. Nam esculus ab\ esca dicta, fagus vero a Greco vocata, fage enim Grece comedere\ dicitur. Cilicicon quam Latini corrupte siliquam vocant. Et ideo\ a Grecis tale nomen accepit, eo quod ligni eius fructus sit dulcis.\ Xilon quippe Greci dicunt lignum ilicon dulcem. Huius ar\boris pomo succus expressus, accatia a Grecis dicitur. \ Iterum \ Pistatia arbor quod cortex pomi eius nardi pistici odorem\ referat. Primus ardor [PL, Pinus arbor] picea, ab acumine foliorum vocata, pin\num autem antiqui acutum nominabant, pinnum autem\ aliam possin aliam Greci peucen vocant, quam nos piceam dici\mus, eo quod desudet picem. In Germannie autem insulis huius\ arboris lacrima electrum gignit. Gutta enim defluens rigore\ vel tempore in soliditatem durescit, et gemmam facit, de qua\litate sua et nomen accipiens, id est sucinum, eo quod succus arbo\ris. Pinus creditur prodesse cunctis que sub ea servantur, sicut ficus\ nocere omnibus. \ Iterum \ Abies dicta est quod pre ceteris ar\boribus eat longe, et in excelsum promineat. Cuius natura expers\ est terreni humoris, ac proinde habilis atque levis habetur. Hanc\ quidam [PL, Gallicam] vocant propter candorem est autem sine nodo. \ Iterum \ Cedrus est quam Greci cedros vocant, cuius folia ci\pressi similitudinem habent. Lignum vero iocundi odo\ris est, et diu durans, nec a tinea unquam exterminatur. Unde et\ in templis propter diuturnitatem ex hoc ligno lacunaria fi\unt. Huius ligni resina cedria dicitur, que in conservandis libris\

Translation

The word for oak, ilex, comes from electus, chosen. For the fruit of this tree was the first to be chosen by men for food. In this context, the poet says: 'The first mortals belched the nut from their throats'; for before the ancients used corn for food, they lived on nuts. Again The beech tree, fagus, and the Italian oak, esculus, both nut-bearing trees, get their names, it is said or at any rate believed, because men formerly existed on their fruit, using them for their own food and for fodder. For esculus comes from esca, food; while fagus is a Greek word, for fagein in Greek means 'to eat'. The carob tree, cilicicon, is corrupted in Latin to siliqua. It got its Greek name because the fruit of its wood was sweet. For xilon is 'wood' in Greek and ilicon, 'sweet'. The juice pressed from its fruit is called in Greek acacia. Again The pistachio tree is so called because the shell of its fruit gives forth the scent of pure nard. The pitch-pine gets its name from its pointed leaves, for the ancients used the word pinnus to mean 'pointed'. The Greeks called one kind of pine possis, another peuce; we call it picea, because it oozes resin, pix. In the islands of Germany the 'tears' of this tree produce amber. For the sap, flowing down, solidifies, either in the cold or by the passage of time, and creates a precious stone, which gets its name, sucinum, amber, from its nature, because it is the juice, sucus, of the tree. The pine is thought to be beneficial to everything that grows beneath it, just as the fig tree does harm to everything. Again The fir tree, abies, is so called because it grows higher than other trees and stands high above them. It is characterised by the fact that it contains no earthly fluid and is accordingly considered easy and light to work. Some call it 'Gallic' because of its white colour. It has no knots in it. Again The cedar, cedrus, is the tree which the Greeks call cedros. Its leaves resemble those of the cypress. Its wood, however, has a pleasant scent which lingers for a long time and can never be destroyed by worms. For this reason - its durability - temple ceilings are made of cedar wood. The resin of this wood is called cedria and is so good for preserving books
  • Commentary

    Text

    Various trees.

    Comment

    This page was left incomplete in the twelfth century, with only one initial type 2 inserted. In the thirteenth century, the scribe who finished the book after ff. 94r filled in the four initials type 4 on this page. His hasty work is exemplified by the incorrect insertion of 'U', subsequently corrected to 'F' for fagus, beech tree.

    Folio Attributes

    • Scribal Corrections

      Scribal Corrections

      Scribal Corrections
      The Bestiary scribe ends, the Lapidary scribe begins. Detail from f.94r

      When the ruling was complete the quires were ready to receive the text. At this point the scribe had a clear idea about the precise layout of each page. He had to leave the correct amount of space for the rubrics, capitals and illuminations to be added. The scribal hand is fairly uniform throughout, though Clark (2006, 223) observes the Gothic textura formata (the type of lettering) changes on f.19r, becoming ‘somewhat more compact and rounded’. There is a marked change of hand, below the illustration of the dove and hawk on f.26r, for only 5 lines. The quill is broader and the letters larger but less steady or uniform. Another scribe, with a later thirteenth-century hand, writes the lapidary section of the book, beginning on f.94r. Sometimes the scribe made mistakes or omissions which were picked up by a contemporary editor. On f.17r you can see corrections written lightly in the margin with part of the text erased and corrected accordingly. Most of the corrections occur in the Aviarium section, f.25r-f.63r.

    • Initial Type 1

      Initial Type 1

      Initial Type 1
      Type 1 initial. Detail from f.79r

      Type 1 appears towards the end of the manuscript. They are unembellished red capitals, on f. 79r.

    • 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
    The word for oak, ilex, comes from electus, chosen. For the fruit of this tree was the first to be chosen by men for food. In this context, the poet says: 'The first mortals belched the nut from their throats'; for before the ancients used corn for food, they lived on nuts. Again The beech tree, fagus, and the Italian oak, esculus, both nut-bearing trees, get their names, it is said or at any rate believed, because men formerly existed on their fruit, using them for their own food and for fodder. For esculus comes from esca, food; while fagus is a Greek word, for fagein in Greek means 'to eat'. The carob tree, cilicicon, is corrupted in Latin to siliqua. It got its Greek name because the fruit of its wood was sweet. For xilon is 'wood' in Greek and ilicon, 'sweet'. The juice pressed from its fruit is called in Greek acacia. Again The pistachio tree is so called because the shell of its fruit gives forth the scent of pure nard. The pitch-pine gets its name from its pointed leaves, for the ancients used the word pinnus to mean 'pointed'. The Greeks called one kind of pine possis, another peuce; we call it picea, because it oozes resin, pix. In the islands of Germany the 'tears' of this tree produce amber. For the sap, flowing down, solidifies, either in the cold or by the passage of time, and creates a precious stone, which gets its name, sucinum, amber, from its nature, because it is the juice, sucus, of the tree. The pine is thought to be beneficial to everything that grows beneath it, just as the fig tree does harm to everything. Again The fir tree, abies, is so called because it grows higher than other trees and stands high above them. It is characterised by the fact that it contains no earthly fluid and is accordingly considered easy and light to work. Some call it 'Gallic' because of its white colour. It has no knots in it. Again The cedar, cedrus, is the tree which the Greeks call cedros. Its leaves resemble those of the cypress. Its wood, however, has a pleasant scent which lingers for a long time and can never be destroyed by worms. For this reason - its durability - temple ceilings are made of cedar wood. The resin of this wood is called cedria and is so good for preserving books
  • Transcription
    Ilex ab electo vocata. Huius enim arboris fructum, homi\nes primum ad victum sibi elegerunt. Unde et poeta: Morta\les primi ructabant gutture glandem, prius enim quam frumen\ti usus essent, antiqui glande vixerunt. \ Iterum \ Fagus et esculus arbores et glandifere ideo vocate dicuntur,\ vel creduntur quod earum fructibus olim homines vixerunt,\ cibumque sumpserunt, escamque habuerunt. Nam esculus ab\ esca dicta, fagus vero a Greco vocata, fage enim Grece comedere\ dicitur. Cilicicon quam Latini corrupte siliquam vocant. Et ideo\ a Grecis tale nomen accepit, eo quod ligni eius fructus sit dulcis.\ Xilon quippe Greci dicunt lignum ilicon dulcem. Huius ar\boris pomo succus expressus, accatia a Grecis dicitur. \ Iterum \ Pistatia arbor quod cortex pomi eius nardi pistici odorem\ referat. Primus ardor [PL, Pinus arbor] picea, ab acumine foliorum vocata, pin\num autem antiqui acutum nominabant, pinnum autem\ aliam possin aliam Greci peucen vocant, quam nos piceam dici\mus, eo quod desudet picem. In Germannie autem insulis huius\ arboris lacrima electrum gignit. Gutta enim defluens rigore\ vel tempore in soliditatem durescit, et gemmam facit, de qua\litate sua et nomen accipiens, id est sucinum, eo quod succus arbo\ris. Pinus creditur prodesse cunctis que sub ea servantur, sicut ficus\ nocere omnibus. \ Iterum \ Abies dicta est quod pre ceteris ar\boribus eat longe, et in excelsum promineat. Cuius natura expers\ est terreni humoris, ac proinde habilis atque levis habetur. Hanc\ quidam [PL, Gallicam] vocant propter candorem est autem sine nodo. \ Iterum \ Cedrus est quam Greci cedros vocant, cuius folia ci\pressi similitudinem habent. Lignum vero iocundi odo\ris est, et diu durans, nec a tinea unquam exterminatur. Unde et\ in templis propter diuturnitatem ex hoc ligno lacunaria fi\unt. Huius ligni resina cedria dicitur, que in conservandis libris\
Folio 79v - Item de arboribus; Again of trees. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen