The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 87v - 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.
call palin [pale]. The spine, spina, is what we call the series of joints of the back, because it has sharp little spokes; its joints are called spondilie, from the part of the brain which is carried by them on a long course to other parts of the body. The sacral spine, sacra spina, is the end of the continuous spine, which the Greeks call hyronoston [hieron ostoun], since it is the first part of an infant to be created after conception; and also because it was the first part of the beast offered by pagans in sacrifice to their gods; for this reason also it is called sacra spina. Varro says that the kidneys, renes, are so called because streams, rivus, of the obscene fluid [semen] rise there. For the veins and spinal cord, medulla, exude a thin liquid into the kidneys. Freed by the heat of sexual desire, it runs down from the kidneys. The loins, lumbi, get their name from the wantonness of lust, libido, because the seat of fleshly pleasure in men is there, just as in women it is in the navel. For this reason the Lord says to Job at the beginning of his speech: 'Gird up now thy loins like a man' (Job, 38:2), in order that he should make ready his resistance there, where the dominance of lust normally begins. The navel, umbilicus, is the centre of the body, so called because it is like a knob, umbo, in the middle of the groin. For this reason the boss in the middle of a shield, from which it hangs, is called umbo. The word for groin, ilium, comes from the Greek, because we cover ourselves there, for the Greek word ileos [eileo]means 'to wind round'. The buttocks, clunes, are so called because they are beside the straight gut, colum quod est longum. The rump, nates, is so called because we bear down upon it, inniti, when we sit. For this reason the flesh on the rump is compressed into a round shape, lest the bones should ache under the weight of the body pressing down on them. The sexual organs, genitalia, as their name itself shows, are parts of the body named from the begetting of offspring, which are created and produced by them. They are also called pudenda, 'shameful parts', either on account of our modesty, or from the hair, pubis, with which they are covered at puberty. They are called 'shameful' because they lack the same decent appearance of the other parts of the body which are visible. The same part is called the penis, veretrum, because it is found in men only, viri est tantum, or because semen, virus, is emitted from it.

Text

Isidore on the internal organs and genitalia.

Transcription

palin dicunt. Spina est iunctura dorsi dicta quod habeat\ radiolos acutos cuius iuncture spondilie appellantur propter\ partem cerebri que fertur per [h]os longo tractu ad ceteras cor\poris partes. Sacra spina est ima perpetue spine quam Greci\ hyronoston vocant quoniam primum infante concepto nascitur,\ ideoque et bestia ad primum a gentibus diis suis dabatur, unde\ et sacra spina dicitur. Renes ait vario [PL, Varro] dictos quod rivi\ ab his obsceni humoris nascuntur. Nam vene et medulle te\nuem liquorem desudant in renibus. Qui liquor rursus\ a renibus calore venerio resolutus decurrit. Lumbi ob libi\dinis lasciviam dicti, quia in viris causa corporee volup\tatis in ipsis est, sicut in umbilico feminis. Unde et ad Job\ in exordio sermonis dictum est: Accingere sicut vir lum\bos tuos, ut in his esset resistendi preparatio, in quibus libidi\nis est usitata dominandi occasio. Umbilicus est medius\ locus corporis, dictus quod sit umbus illorum [PL, iliorum]. Unde et um\bo appellatur locus in medio clipei a quo pendet. Ilium\ Greco sermone appellatur, quod ibi nos obvolvamus,\ Grece enim ileos obvolvere dicitur. Clunes vocate quod sunt\ iuxta collum quod est longum. Nates quod in ipsis innitimur\ dum sedemus. Unde et conglobata est in eis caro ne pre\mentis corporis mole ossa dolerent. Genitalia corporis\ partes ut nomen ipsum docet gignende sobolis acceperunt\ vocabulum, quod his procreatur et gignitur. Hec et pudenda\ pro verecundia sive a pube unde et indumento operiuntur.\ Dicuntur autem ista et inhonesta quia non habent eam speciem\ decoris, sicut membra que in promptu locata sunt. Idem et\ veretrum quia viri est tantum, sive quod ex eo virus emittitur.\

Translation

call palin [pale]. The spine, spina, is what we call the series of joints of the back, because it has sharp little spokes; its joints are called spondilie, from the part of the brain which is carried by them on a long course to other parts of the body. The sacral spine, sacra spina, is the end of the continuous spine, which the Greeks call hyronoston [hieron ostoun], since it is the first part of an infant to be created after conception; and also because it was the first part of the beast offered by pagans in sacrifice to their gods; for this reason also it is called sacra spina. Varro says that the kidneys, renes, are so called because streams, rivus, of the obscene fluid [semen] rise there. For the veins and spinal cord, medulla, exude a thin liquid into the kidneys. Freed by the heat of sexual desire, it runs down from the kidneys. The loins, lumbi, get their name from the wantonness of lust, libido, because the seat of fleshly pleasure in men is there, just as in women it is in the navel. For this reason the Lord says to Job at the beginning of his speech: 'Gird up now thy loins like a man' (Job, 38:2), in order that he should make ready his resistance there, where the dominance of lust normally begins. The navel, umbilicus, is the centre of the body, so called because it is like a knob, umbo, in the middle of the groin. For this reason the boss in the middle of a shield, from which it hangs, is called umbo. The word for groin, ilium, comes from the Greek, because we cover ourselves there, for the Greek word ileos [eileo]means 'to wind round'. The buttocks, clunes, are so called because they are beside the straight gut, colum quod est longum. The rump, nates, is so called because we bear down upon it, inniti, when we sit. For this reason the flesh on the rump is compressed into a round shape, lest the bones should ache under the weight of the body pressing down on them. The sexual organs, genitalia, as their name itself shows, are parts of the body named from the begetting of offspring, which are created and produced by them. They are also called pudenda, 'shameful parts', either on account of our modesty, or from the hair, pubis, with which they are covered at puberty. They are called 'shameful' because they lack the same decent appearance of the other parts of the body which are visible. The same part is called the penis, veretrum, because it is found in men only, viri est tantum, or because semen, virus, is emitted from it.
  • Commentary

    Text

    Isidore on the internal organs and genitalia.

  • Translation
    call palin [pale]. The spine, spina, is what we call the series of joints of the back, because it has sharp little spokes; its joints are called spondilie, from the part of the brain which is carried by them on a long course to other parts of the body. The sacral spine, sacra spina, is the end of the continuous spine, which the Greeks call hyronoston [hieron ostoun], since it is the first part of an infant to be created after conception; and also because it was the first part of the beast offered by pagans in sacrifice to their gods; for this reason also it is called sacra spina. Varro says that the kidneys, renes, are so called because streams, rivus, of the obscene fluid [semen] rise there. For the veins and spinal cord, medulla, exude a thin liquid into the kidneys. Freed by the heat of sexual desire, it runs down from the kidneys. The loins, lumbi, get their name from the wantonness of lust, libido, because the seat of fleshly pleasure in men is there, just as in women it is in the navel. For this reason the Lord says to Job at the beginning of his speech: 'Gird up now thy loins like a man' (Job, 38:2), in order that he should make ready his resistance there, where the dominance of lust normally begins. The navel, umbilicus, is the centre of the body, so called because it is like a knob, umbo, in the middle of the groin. For this reason the boss in the middle of a shield, from which it hangs, is called umbo. The word for groin, ilium, comes from the Greek, because we cover ourselves there, for the Greek word ileos [eileo]means 'to wind round'. The buttocks, clunes, are so called because they are beside the straight gut, colum quod est longum. The rump, nates, is so called because we bear down upon it, inniti, when we sit. For this reason the flesh on the rump is compressed into a round shape, lest the bones should ache under the weight of the body pressing down on them. The sexual organs, genitalia, as their name itself shows, are parts of the body named from the begetting of offspring, which are created and produced by them. They are also called pudenda, 'shameful parts', either on account of our modesty, or from the hair, pubis, with which they are covered at puberty. They are called 'shameful' because they lack the same decent appearance of the other parts of the body which are visible. The same part is called the penis, veretrum, because it is found in men only, viri est tantum, or because semen, virus, is emitted from it.
  • Transcription
    palin dicunt. Spina est iunctura dorsi dicta quod habeat\ radiolos acutos cuius iuncture spondilie appellantur propter\ partem cerebri que fertur per [h]os longo tractu ad ceteras cor\poris partes. Sacra spina est ima perpetue spine quam Greci\ hyronoston vocant quoniam primum infante concepto nascitur,\ ideoque et bestia ad primum a gentibus diis suis dabatur, unde\ et sacra spina dicitur. Renes ait vario [PL, Varro] dictos quod rivi\ ab his obsceni humoris nascuntur. Nam vene et medulle te\nuem liquorem desudant in renibus. Qui liquor rursus\ a renibus calore venerio resolutus decurrit. Lumbi ob libi\dinis lasciviam dicti, quia in viris causa corporee volup\tatis in ipsis est, sicut in umbilico feminis. Unde et ad Job\ in exordio sermonis dictum est: Accingere sicut vir lum\bos tuos, ut in his esset resistendi preparatio, in quibus libidi\nis est usitata dominandi occasio. Umbilicus est medius\ locus corporis, dictus quod sit umbus illorum [PL, iliorum]. Unde et um\bo appellatur locus in medio clipei a quo pendet. Ilium\ Greco sermone appellatur, quod ibi nos obvolvamus,\ Grece enim ileos obvolvere dicitur. Clunes vocate quod sunt\ iuxta collum quod est longum. Nates quod in ipsis innitimur\ dum sedemus. Unde et conglobata est in eis caro ne pre\mentis corporis mole ossa dolerent. Genitalia corporis\ partes ut nomen ipsum docet gignende sobolis acceperunt\ vocabulum, quod his procreatur et gignitur. Hec et pudenda\ pro verecundia sive a pube unde et indumento operiuntur.\ Dicuntur autem ista et inhonesta quia non habent eam speciem\ decoris, sicut membra que in promptu locata sunt. Idem et\ veretrum quia viri est tantum, sive quod ex eo virus emittitur.\
Folio 87v - the nature of man, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen