The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 82v - the nature of man, 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.
some claim that sight comes either from the earth, or from an external air-born light or an internal light-bearing spirit, which travel from the brain through narrow passages, and, after penetrating the coating of the eye, emerge into the air and, mixed with similar matter, give vision. Vision, visus, is so called because, compared to the other senses, it is more lively, vivatior, more important, or swifter, velocior, and more powerful, vigere, as memory is, compared to the other faculties of the mind. For it is located closer to the brain, the source of all the senses. For this reason we use the word 'see' when we refer to things which pertain to the other senses. As when we say 'see how it tastes' and so on. Hearing, auditus, is so called because it receives, haurire, voices, that is, it takes up sounds from the air which has been struck by them. The sense of smell, odoratus, comes, so to speak, from the phrase, aeris odorat tactus, 'the touch of the air carrying a scent'. For smell is experienced through the touch of the air, just as the other word for 'smelling', olfactus, comes from odoribus efficiatur, 'sensation acquired from odours'. Taste, gustus, gets its name from guttur, the throat. Touch, tactus, is so called because it takes hold of and handles things, and diffuses the force of the sensation through every limb. For we explore by touch whatever we cannot judge with the other senses. There are two kinds of touch. For the sensation of touching comes either from outside the body by experience, or it arises within the body itself. Each sense has been given its own peculiar nature. For what is visible is captured by the eyes; what is audible, by the ears. Softness and hardness are assessed by touch; flavour by taste; odour is brought by the nostrils. The head, caput, is the principal part of the body and gets its name because all the senses and nerves take, capere, their beginning from there, and the entire source of energy springs from it. It is the seat of all the senses. In a certain way it takes the role of the soul itself, which takes thought for the body. The crown, vertex, is the part of the head where the hair is gathered and on which the hair parts, vertere, which is how it gets its name. The word for skull, calvaria, comes from ossa calva, bare bones,

Text

Isidore on the senses and the head.

Transcription

quidam fieri asserunt aut terra, aut extrema etherea\ luce aut interno spiritu lucido per tenues vias a cerebro veni\entes, atque penetratis tunicis in aere exeuntis [PL, exeuntes] et tunc\ commixtione materie similis visum dantes. Visus\ dictus quod vivatior sit ceteris sensibus ac prestantior sive\ velocior, ampliusque vigeat, quantum memoria inter\ cetera mentis officia. Vicinior est enim cerebro unde om\nia manant. Ex quo fit ut ea que alios [e]pertinent sensus,\ Vide dicamus. Veluti condicimus [PL, cum dicimus]. Vide quomodo sa\pit, sic et cetera. Auditus appellatus quod voces hauriat,\ hoc est aere verberato suscipiat sonos. Odoratus quasi\ aeris odorat tactus. Tacto enim aere sentitur, sicut et ol\factus quod odoribus efficiatur. Gustus a gutture dictus.\ Tactus eo quod pertractet et tangat, et per omnia membra\ vigorem sensus aspergat. Nam tactu probamus, quicquid\ ceteris sensibus iudicare non possumus. Duo enim genera\ tactus sunt. Nam aut extrinsecus et usu venit quod fe\riat, aut intus in ipso corpore oritur. Unicuique enim sen\ sui propriam naturam datam. Nam quod videndum\ et oculis capitur, quod audiendum auribus. Mollia ac\ dura tactu estimantur, sapor gustu, odor naribus ducitur.\ Prima pars corporis tantum, datumque illi hoc no\men eo quod sensus omnes et nervi inde inicium capiant,\ atque ex eo omnis vigendi causa oriatur. Ibi enim om\nes sensus apparent. Unde ipsius anime que consulit\ corpori quodammodo personam gerit. Vertex est ea pars qua\ capilli capitis colliguntur, et in qua cesaries vertitur,\ unde et nuncupatur. Calvaria ab ossibus calvis dicta\

Translation

some claim that sight comes either from the earth, or from an external air-born light or an internal light-bearing spirit, which travel from the brain through narrow passages, and, after penetrating the coating of the eye, emerge into the air and, mixed with similar matter, give vision. Vision, visus, is so called because, compared to the other senses, it is more lively, vivatior, more important, or swifter, velocior, and more powerful, vigere, as memory is, compared to the other faculties of the mind. For it is located closer to the brain, the source of all the senses. For this reason we use the word 'see' when we refer to things which pertain to the other senses. As when we say 'see how it tastes' and so on. Hearing, auditus, is so called because it receives, haurire, voices, that is, it takes up sounds from the air which has been struck by them. The sense of smell, odoratus, comes, so to speak, from the phrase, aeris odorat tactus, 'the touch of the air carrying a scent'. For smell is experienced through the touch of the air, just as the other word for 'smelling', olfactus, comes from odoribus efficiatur, 'sensation acquired from odours'. Taste, gustus, gets its name from guttur, the throat. Touch, tactus, is so called because it takes hold of and handles things, and diffuses the force of the sensation through every limb. For we explore by touch whatever we cannot judge with the other senses. There are two kinds of touch. For the sensation of touching comes either from outside the body by experience, or it arises within the body itself. Each sense has been given its own peculiar nature. For what is visible is captured by the eyes; what is audible, by the ears. Softness and hardness are assessed by touch; flavour by taste; odour is brought by the nostrils. The head, caput, is the principal part of the body and gets its name because all the senses and nerves take, capere, their beginning from there, and the entire source of energy springs from it. It is the seat of all the senses. In a certain way it takes the role of the soul itself, which takes thought for the body. The crown, vertex, is the part of the head where the hair is gathered and on which the hair parts, vertere, which is how it gets its name. The word for skull, calvaria, comes from ossa calva, bare bones,
  • Commentary

    Text

    Isidore on the senses and the head.

  • Translation
    some claim that sight comes either from the earth, or from an external air-born light or an internal light-bearing spirit, which travel from the brain through narrow passages, and, after penetrating the coating of the eye, emerge into the air and, mixed with similar matter, give vision. Vision, visus, is so called because, compared to the other senses, it is more lively, vivatior, more important, or swifter, velocior, and more powerful, vigere, as memory is, compared to the other faculties of the mind. For it is located closer to the brain, the source of all the senses. For this reason we use the word 'see' when we refer to things which pertain to the other senses. As when we say 'see how it tastes' and so on. Hearing, auditus, is so called because it receives, haurire, voices, that is, it takes up sounds from the air which has been struck by them. The sense of smell, odoratus, comes, so to speak, from the phrase, aeris odorat tactus, 'the touch of the air carrying a scent'. For smell is experienced through the touch of the air, just as the other word for 'smelling', olfactus, comes from odoribus efficiatur, 'sensation acquired from odours'. Taste, gustus, gets its name from guttur, the throat. Touch, tactus, is so called because it takes hold of and handles things, and diffuses the force of the sensation through every limb. For we explore by touch whatever we cannot judge with the other senses. There are two kinds of touch. For the sensation of touching comes either from outside the body by experience, or it arises within the body itself. Each sense has been given its own peculiar nature. For what is visible is captured by the eyes; what is audible, by the ears. Softness and hardness are assessed by touch; flavour by taste; odour is brought by the nostrils. The head, caput, is the principal part of the body and gets its name because all the senses and nerves take, capere, their beginning from there, and the entire source of energy springs from it. It is the seat of all the senses. In a certain way it takes the role of the soul itself, which takes thought for the body. The crown, vertex, is the part of the head where the hair is gathered and on which the hair parts, vertere, which is how it gets its name. The word for skull, calvaria, comes from ossa calva, bare bones,
  • Transcription
    quidam fieri asserunt aut terra, aut extrema etherea\ luce aut interno spiritu lucido per tenues vias a cerebro veni\entes, atque penetratis tunicis in aere exeuntis [PL, exeuntes] et tunc\ commixtione materie similis visum dantes. Visus\ dictus quod vivatior sit ceteris sensibus ac prestantior sive\ velocior, ampliusque vigeat, quantum memoria inter\ cetera mentis officia. Vicinior est enim cerebro unde om\nia manant. Ex quo fit ut ea que alios [e]pertinent sensus,\ Vide dicamus. Veluti condicimus [PL, cum dicimus]. Vide quomodo sa\pit, sic et cetera. Auditus appellatus quod voces hauriat,\ hoc est aere verberato suscipiat sonos. Odoratus quasi\ aeris odorat tactus. Tacto enim aere sentitur, sicut et ol\factus quod odoribus efficiatur. Gustus a gutture dictus.\ Tactus eo quod pertractet et tangat, et per omnia membra\ vigorem sensus aspergat. Nam tactu probamus, quicquid\ ceteris sensibus iudicare non possumus. Duo enim genera\ tactus sunt. Nam aut extrinsecus et usu venit quod fe\riat, aut intus in ipso corpore oritur. Unicuique enim sen\ sui propriam naturam datam. Nam quod videndum\ et oculis capitur, quod audiendum auribus. Mollia ac\ dura tactu estimantur, sapor gustu, odor naribus ducitur.\ Prima pars corporis tantum, datumque illi hoc no\men eo quod sensus omnes et nervi inde inicium capiant,\ atque ex eo omnis vigendi causa oriatur. Ibi enim om\nes sensus apparent. Unde ipsius anime que consulit\ corpori quodammodo personam gerit. Vertex est ea pars qua\ capilli capitis colliguntur, et in qua cesaries vertitur,\ unde et nuncupatur. Calvaria ab ossibus calvis dicta\
Folio 82v - the nature of man, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen