The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 7v - Lion, continued


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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.
Not knowing of his divine nature, the Devil, the enemy of mankind, dared to tempt him like an ordinary man. Even the angels on high did not know of his divinity and said to those who were with him when he ascended to his father: 'Who is this king of glory?' The second characteristic of the lion is that when it sleeps, it seems to have its eyes open. Thus our Lord, falling asleep in death, physically, on the cross, was buried, yet his divine nature remained awake; as it says in the Song of Songs: 'I sleep but my heart waketh' (5:2); and in the psalm: 'Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep' (121: 4). The third characteristic of the lion is that when a lioness gives birth to her cubs, she produces them dead and watches over them for three days, until their father comes on the third day and breathes into their faces and restores them to life. Thus the Almighty Father awakened our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day; as Jacob says: 'He will fall asleep as a lion, and as a lion's whelp he will be revived' (see Genesis, 49:9). Where men are concerned, it is the nature of lions not to grow angry unless they are harmed. An example which thoughtful men should heed; for men grow angry even when they have not been harmed, and they oppress the innocent, although Christian law bids them set even the guilty free. The compassion of lions is apparent from endless examples. They spare those whom they have brought down. They allow captives whom they encounter to return home. They vent their rage on men rather than women. They do not kill children except in time of great hunger. Equally, lions refrain from over-feeding. First, because they drink and feed on alternate days; and often, if their food remains undigested, they postpone the Next feed. Then, because they feel uncomfortable when they have devoured more meat than they should, they insert their paws in their mouth and pull the food out, of their own accord. And when they have to take flight, they do exactly the same thing if they are full. Missing teeth show that a lion is old. Lions mate face to face; and not only lions, but lynxes, and camels, and elephants, and rhinoceroses, and tigers. [Lionesses, when] they first give birth, bear five cubs.

Text

Characteristics of the lion.

Comment

Pricking and ruling visible.

Folio Attributes

  • Pricking

    Pricking

    Pricking
    Line pricking and ruling. Detail from f.7r

    Once the quires were arranged they had to be prepared for writing by drawing up the lines. Tiny parallel pinpricks were made on the outer and inner edges of each page and horizontal lines ruled between them. In a completed book these pinpricks should have been trimmed off during the final stages of production but in the Aberdeen Bestiary they have survived in 12 out of the 15 quires (only E , G and M are fully trimmed). Careful measuring shows that the holes were pricked with the quires folded up, using a long pointed pricker, because they are the same distance apart throughout an entire quire. In quires B and C there is a double hole on the penultimate line, indicating to the person ruling lines that the page is about to end. In these two quires the holes have a coarse triangular shape and are set up to 6mm in from the edge. Elsewhere the holes are smaller, circular and much closer to the edge. Pinpricks were also made at the top and bottom of the pages to provide vertical margins. These survive in every quire. In quires A.F,H,J,K,L,M and N there are single pricks for the vertical lines. In B and C there are double pricks and double margins while in G there are double pricks and a variety of single and double ruled lines. On f.48r (quire G) where there are double pricks for the margins, the wrong holes have been joined and the faulty diagonal line has been redrawn correctly.

  • Ruling

    Ruling

    Ruling
    Ruling continues under the illustration. Detail from f.16r

    After the leaves had been pricked, they were ready for ruling. Most pages up to quire F have 29 lines (except for the heavily illustrated quire A). The remaining quires use 28, 30 or 31 lines. The most regular ruling is found in B and C: the two top and bottom lines extend across the whole page. The lines in A, B and C are ruled in a grey colour. From D onwards the lines are a darker brown. The horizontal lines here are also neater, not overlapping the vertical margins. This would suggest that the ruling in A,B and C was done by a different person from the rest. In D and E there is a triple spaced double line across the top and bottom of the page but thereafter the ruling patterns become somewhat arbitrary. Sometimes there are double spaced top and bottom lines, sometimes the number of lines varies. On f.18v, the normal pattern of 29 lines is inadequate. It would appear that the scribe himself had to add two additional lines below the bottom margin, in order to complete his tale. Generally, the written space is 185 x 110/115mm. The ruling appears to have been made without any plan for the illuminations: on f.14r and f.16r the ruled lines pass under the illustration. Two pairs of leaves were left blank. F.3v-f.4r were probably intended to be glued together in order to support the weight of paint and gold leaf on f.4v. f.6r and f.6v precede the Lion story. In the Ashmole Bestiary, the lion has two full page illustrations, which were probably intended here. Two pairs of leaves are glued together. F.56r has a hole in it, which is concealed by being glued to the next page, f.56v. F.93r is glued to f.93v, probably because of the gilded double illumination on f.93v.

Transcription

Et hoc ignorans diabolus scilicet humani generis inimicus, quasi pu\rum hominem ausus est temptare. Etiam hoc ignorantes qui sur\sum erant angeli, eo ascendente ad patrem, dicebant ad eos qui\ cum eo ascendebant: Quis est iste rex glorie? Secunda natura eius est quod\ cum dormit, oculos apertos habere videtur. Sic et dominus noster cor\poraliter obdormiens in cruce, sepultus est, et deitas eius vigilibat, \ sic dicitur in canticis canticorum: Ego dormio, et cor meum vi\gilat. Et in psalmo: Ecce non dormitabit neque dormiet, qui\ custodit Israel. Tertia natura eius est, cum leena parit catulos\ suos generat, eos mortuos, et custodit eos tribus diebus donec\ veniens pater eorum tertia die insufflat in faciem eorum et\ vivificat eos. Sic omnipotens pater dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, tertia die\ suscitavit a mortuis, dicente Iacob: Dormitabit tanquam\ leo, et sicut catulus leonis suscitabitur. Circa hominem leonum\ natura est ut nisi lesi nequant irasci. Ad cuius exemplum rationabiles\ homines respicere debent, qui non lesi irascuntur, et innocentes op\primunt, cum iubeat Christiana lex noxios dimittere liberos.\ Patet enim leonum misericordia exemplis assiduis, prostratis\ enim parcunt, captivos obvios repatriare permittunt. In vi\ros potius quam in feminas seviunt. Infantes non nisi in magna\ fame perimunt. Pariter omnes parcunt a sagina. Primum quod al\ternis diebus potum, alternis cibum capiunt. Ac frequenter si\ digestio non est insecuta, solite cibationi superponunt diem.\ Tunc quod carnes iusto amplius devoratas congravantur,\ insertis in hora unguibus sponte pertrahunt. Sane et\ cum fugiendum est, in sacietate idem faciunt. Senectam leo\num defectio probat dentium. Adversi coheunt. Nec hii tan\tum, sed et linces, et cameli, et elephanti, et rinocerontes,\ et tygrides, et leene. Fetu primo catulos quinque educant. De\

Translation

Not knowing of his divine nature, the Devil, the enemy of mankind, dared to tempt him like an ordinary man. Even the angels on high did not know of his divinity and said to those who were with him when he ascended to his father: 'Who is this king of glory?' The second characteristic of the lion is that when it sleeps, it seems to have its eyes open. Thus our Lord, falling asleep in death, physically, on the cross, was buried, yet his divine nature remained awake; as it says in the Song of Songs: 'I sleep but my heart waketh' (5:2); and in the psalm: 'Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep' (121: 4). The third characteristic of the lion is that when a lioness gives birth to her cubs, she produces them dead and watches over them for three days, until their father comes on the third day and breathes into their faces and restores them to life. Thus the Almighty Father awakened our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day; as Jacob says: 'He will fall asleep as a lion, and as a lion's whelp he will be revived' (see Genesis, 49:9). Where men are concerned, it is the nature of lions not to grow angry unless they are harmed. An example which thoughtful men should heed; for men grow angry even when they have not been harmed, and they oppress the innocent, although Christian law bids them set even the guilty free. The compassion of lions is apparent from endless examples. They spare those whom they have brought down. They allow captives whom they encounter to return home. They vent their rage on men rather than women. They do not kill children except in time of great hunger. Equally, lions refrain from over-feeding. First, because they drink and feed on alternate days; and often, if their food remains undigested, they postpone the Next feed. Then, because they feel uncomfortable when they have devoured more meat than they should, they insert their paws in their mouth and pull the food out, of their own accord. And when they have to take flight, they do exactly the same thing if they are full. Missing teeth show that a lion is old. Lions mate face to face; and not only lions, but lynxes, and camels, and elephants, and rhinoceroses, and tigers. [Lionesses, when] they first give birth, bear five cubs.
  • Commentary

    Text

    Characteristics of the lion.

    Comment

    Pricking and ruling visible.

    Folio Attributes

    • Pricking

      Pricking

      Pricking
      Line pricking and ruling. Detail from f.7r

      Once the quires were arranged they had to be prepared for writing by drawing up the lines. Tiny parallel pinpricks were made on the outer and inner edges of each page and horizontal lines ruled between them. In a completed book these pinpricks should have been trimmed off during the final stages of production but in the Aberdeen Bestiary they have survived in 12 out of the 15 quires (only E , G and M are fully trimmed). Careful measuring shows that the holes were pricked with the quires folded up, using a long pointed pricker, because they are the same distance apart throughout an entire quire. In quires B and C there is a double hole on the penultimate line, indicating to the person ruling lines that the page is about to end. In these two quires the holes have a coarse triangular shape and are set up to 6mm in from the edge. Elsewhere the holes are smaller, circular and much closer to the edge. Pinpricks were also made at the top and bottom of the pages to provide vertical margins. These survive in every quire. In quires A.F,H,J,K,L,M and N there are single pricks for the vertical lines. In B and C there are double pricks and double margins while in G there are double pricks and a variety of single and double ruled lines. On f.48r (quire G) where there are double pricks for the margins, the wrong holes have been joined and the faulty diagonal line has been redrawn correctly.

    • Ruling

      Ruling

      Ruling
      Ruling continues under the illustration. Detail from f.16r

      After the leaves had been pricked, they were ready for ruling. Most pages up to quire F have 29 lines (except for the heavily illustrated quire A). The remaining quires use 28, 30 or 31 lines. The most regular ruling is found in B and C: the two top and bottom lines extend across the whole page. The lines in A, B and C are ruled in a grey colour. From D onwards the lines are a darker brown. The horizontal lines here are also neater, not overlapping the vertical margins. This would suggest that the ruling in A,B and C was done by a different person from the rest. In D and E there is a triple spaced double line across the top and bottom of the page but thereafter the ruling patterns become somewhat arbitrary. Sometimes there are double spaced top and bottom lines, sometimes the number of lines varies. On f.18v, the normal pattern of 29 lines is inadequate. It would appear that the scribe himself had to add two additional lines below the bottom margin, in order to complete his tale. Generally, the written space is 185 x 110/115mm. The ruling appears to have been made without any plan for the illuminations: on f.14r and f.16r the ruled lines pass under the illustration. Two pairs of leaves were left blank. F.3v-f.4r were probably intended to be glued together in order to support the weight of paint and gold leaf on f.4v. f.6r and f.6v precede the Lion story. In the Ashmole Bestiary, the lion has two full page illustrations, which were probably intended here. Two pairs of leaves are glued together. F.56r has a hole in it, which is concealed by being glued to the next page, f.56v. F.93r is glued to f.93v, probably because of the gilded double illumination on f.93v.

  • Translation
    Not knowing of his divine nature, the Devil, the enemy of mankind, dared to tempt him like an ordinary man. Even the angels on high did not know of his divinity and said to those who were with him when he ascended to his father: 'Who is this king of glory?' The second characteristic of the lion is that when it sleeps, it seems to have its eyes open. Thus our Lord, falling asleep in death, physically, on the cross, was buried, yet his divine nature remained awake; as it says in the Song of Songs: 'I sleep but my heart waketh' (5:2); and in the psalm: 'Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep' (121: 4). The third characteristic of the lion is that when a lioness gives birth to her cubs, she produces them dead and watches over them for three days, until their father comes on the third day and breathes into their faces and restores them to life. Thus the Almighty Father awakened our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day; as Jacob says: 'He will fall asleep as a lion, and as a lion's whelp he will be revived' (see Genesis, 49:9). Where men are concerned, it is the nature of lions not to grow angry unless they are harmed. An example which thoughtful men should heed; for men grow angry even when they have not been harmed, and they oppress the innocent, although Christian law bids them set even the guilty free. The compassion of lions is apparent from endless examples. They spare those whom they have brought down. They allow captives whom they encounter to return home. They vent their rage on men rather than women. They do not kill children except in time of great hunger. Equally, lions refrain from over-feeding. First, because they drink and feed on alternate days; and often, if their food remains undigested, they postpone the Next feed. Then, because they feel uncomfortable when they have devoured more meat than they should, they insert their paws in their mouth and pull the food out, of their own accord. And when they have to take flight, they do exactly the same thing if they are full. Missing teeth show that a lion is old. Lions mate face to face; and not only lions, but lynxes, and camels, and elephants, and rhinoceroses, and tigers. [Lionesses, when] they first give birth, bear five cubs.
  • Transcription
    Et hoc ignorans diabolus scilicet humani generis inimicus, quasi pu\rum hominem ausus est temptare. Etiam hoc ignorantes qui sur\sum erant angeli, eo ascendente ad patrem, dicebant ad eos qui\ cum eo ascendebant: Quis est iste rex glorie? Secunda natura eius est quod\ cum dormit, oculos apertos habere videtur. Sic et dominus noster cor\poraliter obdormiens in cruce, sepultus est, et deitas eius vigilibat, \ sic dicitur in canticis canticorum: Ego dormio, et cor meum vi\gilat. Et in psalmo: Ecce non dormitabit neque dormiet, qui\ custodit Israel. Tertia natura eius est, cum leena parit catulos\ suos generat, eos mortuos, et custodit eos tribus diebus donec\ veniens pater eorum tertia die insufflat in faciem eorum et\ vivificat eos. Sic omnipotens pater dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, tertia die\ suscitavit a mortuis, dicente Iacob: Dormitabit tanquam\ leo, et sicut catulus leonis suscitabitur. Circa hominem leonum\ natura est ut nisi lesi nequant irasci. Ad cuius exemplum rationabiles\ homines respicere debent, qui non lesi irascuntur, et innocentes op\primunt, cum iubeat Christiana lex noxios dimittere liberos.\ Patet enim leonum misericordia exemplis assiduis, prostratis\ enim parcunt, captivos obvios repatriare permittunt. In vi\ros potius quam in feminas seviunt. Infantes non nisi in magna\ fame perimunt. Pariter omnes parcunt a sagina. Primum quod al\ternis diebus potum, alternis cibum capiunt. Ac frequenter si\ digestio non est insecuta, solite cibationi superponunt diem.\ Tunc quod carnes iusto amplius devoratas congravantur,\ insertis in hora unguibus sponte pertrahunt. Sane et\ cum fugiendum est, in sacietate idem faciunt. Senectam leo\num defectio probat dentium. Adversi coheunt. Nec hii tan\tum, sed et linces, et cameli, et elephanti, et rinocerontes,\ et tygrides, et leene. Fetu primo catulos quinque educant. De\
Folio 7v - Lion, continued | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen