The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 80r - Of trees, 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.
that when their binding is smeared with it they do not suffer damage from worms and they do not decay with the passage of time. Again The cypress is so called in Greek because its head rises from a round base to a point. For this reason it is also called conus, a cone, that is, 'a tall round shape'. On this account, its fruit, too, is called conus, because its round shape is such that it looks like a cone. As a result, the cypress is also called conifer, 'bearing fruit of a conical form'. The wood of the cypress has a quality close to that of the cedar and is suitable for the roof-beams of temples, because it remains firm and unyielding. The ancients used to place cypress branches near a funeral pyre, so that the stench of burning corpses would be smothered by their fragrance. Again The juniper is so called in Greek, either because its shape tapers from wide to narrow, like fire, or it continues to burn long after it has been kindled, so that if you cover live brands from its ashes, they will last for a year; piro [pur] is the Greek word for fire. Again The plane tree gets its name from the width of its leaves or because the tree itself has a wide spread. For the Greek word for 'broad' is platos. The Scripture portrays the name and shape of this tree, saying: 'As a plane tree I spread over the streets' (see Ecclesiasticus, 24:19). Its leaves are very tender and soft like those of the vine. Again The oak is called quercus or querimus because it was by means of this tree that heathen gods used to answer queries about the future. It lives to a great age, as we read in the case of the oak of Mamre, under which Abraham lived, which is said to have lasted for many centuries until the reign of the Emperor Constantine. The fruit of the oak is called gall. Again The ash tree, fraxinus, is said to get its name because its berry tends to grow in harsh and mountainous places; in this way fractinus is derived from fraga, as montanus, mountainous, comes from mons, mountain. Ovid says of it: 'the ash, good for making spears'. The alder, alnus, is so called because it is nourished by water; for it grows near water and survives with difficulty away from water. For this reason it is a delicate

Text

The cypress, juniper, oak, ash.

Comment

Inaccurate spacing for rubric. Quire mark bottom of page centre 'M', and folio mark '+' bottom left. Two initials type 2, three initials type 4.

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.

  • Rubrics

    Rubrics

    Rubrics
    Rubric for the title Nightingale. The Jay, cont. Detail from f.52v

    Rubrics are the red letters marking the beginning of each chapter. The scribe writing in black ink would leave the necessary gap at the head of each chapter and then return to the space later to fill in the red lettering. In quire H (f.49r-f.56v) many spaces for the rubrics have been left empty. The scribe filled in the blackbird and owl (f.49v, f.50r) but left out the hoopoe, bat, goose, heron, partridge (two sections), coot, phoenix (two sections) and caladrius. Within this section on birds only the nightingale has the rubrics written correctly (f.52v). It would appear the scribe had to pass on quire H, probably to the illuminator, before he finished the rubrics.

  • 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

adeo est utilis ut perliniti ex ea nec tineas paciantur, nec per tem\pora consenescant.\ Iterum \ Cipressus Grece dicitur quod caput eius\ a rotunditate in canumen [A, cacumen] erigitur. Unde et conus vocatur, id est\ alta rotunditas. Hinc et fructus eius conum, quia rotunditas\ eius talis est ut conum imitetur. Unde et conifere cypressi\ dicuntur. Huius lignum cedro pene proximam habet virtutem, tem\ plorumque trabibus aptum inpenetrabili soliditate perseverat.\ Antiqui cipressi ramos prope rogum constituere solebant, ut odo\ rem cadaverum dum urerent oppriment iocunditate sui odoris.\ Item \ Juniperus Grece dicta sive quod ab amplo in angu\stum finit ut ignis sive conceptum diu teneat ignem, adeo\ ut si prune ex eius cinere fuerint cooperte, usque ad annum perve\niant, piro enim apud Grecos ignis est. \ Iterum \ Platanus a latitudine foliorum dicta vel quod arbor\ ipsa patula sit et ampla. Nam platos Greci latinum [PL, latum] vocant.\ Expressit huius arboris scriptura nomen et formam dicens:\ Quasi platanus dilata sum in plateis. Est autem tenerri\mus [A, tenerrimis] foliis ac mollibus vitium similibus. \ Iterum \ Quercus sive querimus quod ea soliti erant dii\ gentium responsum precanere, arbor multum an\nosa, sicut legitur de quercu Mambre sub qua habitavit\ Abraham, que fertur usque ad Constantini regis imperium per\ multa secula perdurasse, fructus huius galla appellatur. \ Item \ Fraxinus vocari fertur quod magis inter aspera loca\ montanaque fraga nascatur, hinc per dirivationem\ fractinus, sicut a monte montanus, de qua Ovidius: Et frax\inus utilis hastis. Alnus quod alatur amne, proxima enim\ aque nascitur, nec facile extra undas vivit, hinc et tenera

Translation

that when their binding is smeared with it they do not suffer damage from worms and they do not decay with the passage of time. Again The cypress is so called in Greek because its head rises from a round base to a point. For this reason it is also called conus, a cone, that is, 'a tall round shape'. On this account, its fruit, too, is called conus, because its round shape is such that it looks like a cone. As a result, the cypress is also called conifer, 'bearing fruit of a conical form'. The wood of the cypress has a quality close to that of the cedar and is suitable for the roof-beams of temples, because it remains firm and unyielding. The ancients used to place cypress branches near a funeral pyre, so that the stench of burning corpses would be smothered by their fragrance. Again The juniper is so called in Greek, either because its shape tapers from wide to narrow, like fire, or it continues to burn long after it has been kindled, so that if you cover live brands from its ashes, they will last for a year; piro [pur] is the Greek word for fire. Again The plane tree gets its name from the width of its leaves or because the tree itself has a wide spread. For the Greek word for 'broad' is platos. The Scripture portrays the name and shape of this tree, saying: 'As a plane tree I spread over the streets' (see Ecclesiasticus, 24:19). Its leaves are very tender and soft like those of the vine. Again The oak is called quercus or querimus because it was by means of this tree that heathen gods used to answer queries about the future. It lives to a great age, as we read in the case of the oak of Mamre, under which Abraham lived, which is said to have lasted for many centuries until the reign of the Emperor Constantine. The fruit of the oak is called gall. Again The ash tree, fraxinus, is said to get its name because its berry tends to grow in harsh and mountainous places; in this way fractinus is derived from fraga, as montanus, mountainous, comes from mons, mountain. Ovid says of it: 'the ash, good for making spears'. The alder, alnus, is so called because it is nourished by water; for it grows near water and survives with difficulty away from water. For this reason it is a delicate
  • Commentary

    Text

    The cypress, juniper, oak, ash.

    Comment

    Inaccurate spacing for rubric. Quire mark bottom of page centre 'M', and folio mark '+' bottom left. Two initials type 2, three initials type 4.

    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.

    • Rubrics

      Rubrics

      Rubrics
      Rubric for the title Nightingale. The Jay, cont. Detail from f.52v

      Rubrics are the red letters marking the beginning of each chapter. The scribe writing in black ink would leave the necessary gap at the head of each chapter and then return to the space later to fill in the red lettering. In quire H (f.49r-f.56v) many spaces for the rubrics have been left empty. The scribe filled in the blackbird and owl (f.49v, f.50r) but left out the hoopoe, bat, goose, heron, partridge (two sections), coot, phoenix (two sections) and caladrius. Within this section on birds only the nightingale has the rubrics written correctly (f.52v). It would appear the scribe had to pass on quire H, probably to the illuminator, before he finished the rubrics.

    • 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
    that when their binding is smeared with it they do not suffer damage from worms and they do not decay with the passage of time. Again The cypress is so called in Greek because its head rises from a round base to a point. For this reason it is also called conus, a cone, that is, 'a tall round shape'. On this account, its fruit, too, is called conus, because its round shape is such that it looks like a cone. As a result, the cypress is also called conifer, 'bearing fruit of a conical form'. The wood of the cypress has a quality close to that of the cedar and is suitable for the roof-beams of temples, because it remains firm and unyielding. The ancients used to place cypress branches near a funeral pyre, so that the stench of burning corpses would be smothered by their fragrance. Again The juniper is so called in Greek, either because its shape tapers from wide to narrow, like fire, or it continues to burn long after it has been kindled, so that if you cover live brands from its ashes, they will last for a year; piro [pur] is the Greek word for fire. Again The plane tree gets its name from the width of its leaves or because the tree itself has a wide spread. For the Greek word for 'broad' is platos. The Scripture portrays the name and shape of this tree, saying: 'As a plane tree I spread over the streets' (see Ecclesiasticus, 24:19). Its leaves are very tender and soft like those of the vine. Again The oak is called quercus or querimus because it was by means of this tree that heathen gods used to answer queries about the future. It lives to a great age, as we read in the case of the oak of Mamre, under which Abraham lived, which is said to have lasted for many centuries until the reign of the Emperor Constantine. The fruit of the oak is called gall. Again The ash tree, fraxinus, is said to get its name because its berry tends to grow in harsh and mountainous places; in this way fractinus is derived from fraga, as montanus, mountainous, comes from mons, mountain. Ovid says of it: 'the ash, good for making spears'. The alder, alnus, is so called because it is nourished by water; for it grows near water and survives with difficulty away from water. For this reason it is a delicate
  • Transcription
    adeo est utilis ut perliniti ex ea nec tineas paciantur, nec per tem\pora consenescant.\ Iterum \ Cipressus Grece dicitur quod caput eius\ a rotunditate in canumen [A, cacumen] erigitur. Unde et conus vocatur, id est\ alta rotunditas. Hinc et fructus eius conum, quia rotunditas\ eius talis est ut conum imitetur. Unde et conifere cypressi\ dicuntur. Huius lignum cedro pene proximam habet virtutem, tem\ plorumque trabibus aptum inpenetrabili soliditate perseverat.\ Antiqui cipressi ramos prope rogum constituere solebant, ut odo\ rem cadaverum dum urerent oppriment iocunditate sui odoris.\ Item \ Juniperus Grece dicta sive quod ab amplo in angu\stum finit ut ignis sive conceptum diu teneat ignem, adeo\ ut si prune ex eius cinere fuerint cooperte, usque ad annum perve\niant, piro enim apud Grecos ignis est. \ Iterum \ Platanus a latitudine foliorum dicta vel quod arbor\ ipsa patula sit et ampla. Nam platos Greci latinum [PL, latum] vocant.\ Expressit huius arboris scriptura nomen et formam dicens:\ Quasi platanus dilata sum in plateis. Est autem tenerri\mus [A, tenerrimis] foliis ac mollibus vitium similibus. \ Iterum \ Quercus sive querimus quod ea soliti erant dii\ gentium responsum precanere, arbor multum an\nosa, sicut legitur de quercu Mambre sub qua habitavit\ Abraham, que fertur usque ad Constantini regis imperium per\ multa secula perdurasse, fructus huius galla appellatur. \ Item \ Fraxinus vocari fertur quod magis inter aspera loca\ montanaque fraga nascatur, hinc per dirivationem\ fractinus, sicut a monte montanus, de qua Ovidius: Et frax\inus utilis hastis. Alnus quod alatur amne, proxima enim\ aque nascitur, nec facile extra undas vivit, hinc et tenera
Folio 80r - Of trees, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen