The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 92v - the age 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.
like a slender green branch, virga and a calf, vitula. Otherwise the word may come from her uncorrupted state, as virago, because she does not know womanly passion. A virago is so called because she acts like a man, vir agere, that is, she does manly things and has the strength of a man. For this is the name the ancients gave to strong women. But it is not correct to call a virgin a virago if she does not perform the office of a man; nevertheless, a woman who does masculine things, like an Amazon, is rightly called a virago. What we now call a woman, femina, was, in former times, called vira; as serva, maid-servant, from servus, famula, handmaid from famulus, so vira from vir. Some think that the word virgo has the same derivation. We get the word femina, however, from those parts of the thighs by which this sex is distinguished from the man. Others think that femina derives by Greek etymology, from the phrase 'fiery force', because a woman lusts fiercely; for females are more lustful than males, among women as as among animals. For this reason excessive love was called 'womanly love' among the ancients. To be 'elder', senior, is to be still more vigorous. Ovid writes in his sixth book: 'The elder, between youth and old age' (Metamorphoses, 12, 464]. Terence: 'By this law we are younger' (Hecyra II, Prologue, 3). Undoubtedly adolescentior here does not mean 'more adolescent' but 'less', as an elder is less of an old man, where the comparative form signifies less that the positive. Senior, therefore, is not as old as senex, just as a 'younger' man stands between youth and seniority and a 'poorer' man stands between rich and poor. Some think that the aged, senes, are so called from the reduction of their senses and the fact that they act foolishly because of their old age. For physicians say that foolish men are of cold blood, the wise of hot. For this reason, the aged, whose blood has now grown cold, and children, whose blood has not yet warmed up, are less wise. As a result, infancy and old age are alike. The old lose their wits from their excessive age, and the very young, through frivolity and immaturity, do not know what they are doing. The word senex, old man, however, is used of the masculine gender, as anus, old woman, is of the feminine. For anus is used only of a woman. It comes from the word for 'many years old',

Text

Isidore on the etymology of each age.

Transcription

est, sicut et virga, sicut et vitula. Alias ab incorruptione quasi\ virago, quod ignoret femineam passionem. Virago vocata\ quia virum agit, hoc est opera virilia facit, et masculini vigo\ris est. Antiqui enim fortes feminas ita vocabant. Virgo autem\ non recte virago dicitur, si non viri officio fungitur, mulier vero\ si virilia opera agit, recte virago dicitur ut Amazona. Que vero nunc\ femina antiquitus vira vocabatur, sicut a servo serva, sicut\ a famulo famula, ita a viro vira. Hinc et virginis nomen qui\dam putant. Femina vero a partibus femorum dicta ubi sexus\ species a viro distinguitur. Alii Greca ethimologia femi\nam ab ignea vi dictam putant, quia vehementer concupis\cit, libidinosiores enim viris feminas esse, tam in mulieribus\ quam in animalibus. Unde nimius amor apud antiquos fe\mineus vocabatur. Senior est adhuc viridior. In sexto libro Ovidius: Senior inter iuvenemque [PL, senemque]. Terentius: Quo iure sumus\ adolescentiores. Non utique magis adolescens, sed minus ut\ senior minus sene ubi comparativus gradus minus signifi\cata [PL, significat] positivo. Ergo senior non satis sicut iuvenior intra\ iuvenem, sicut pauperior intra pauperem. Senes autem qui\dam dictos putant a sensus diminutione, et quod iam\ pro vetustate desipiant. Nam phisici dicunt stultos homi\nes esse frigidioris sanguinis, prudentes calidi. Unde et se\nes in quibus iam friget, et pueri in quibus nec dum calet\ minus sapiunt, inde est quod convenit sibi infantium etas\ et senum. Senes enim per nimiam etatem delirant, pueri\ per lasciviam et infantiam ignorant quid agant. Senex autem\ masculini tamen est generis sicut anus feminini. Nam anus dicitur\ sola mulier. Anus autem appellata a multis annis quasi\

Translation

like a slender green branch, virga and a calf, vitula. Otherwise the word may come from her uncorrupted state, as virago, because she does not know womanly passion. A virago is so called because she acts like a man, vir agere, that is, she does manly things and has the strength of a man. For this is the name the ancients gave to strong women. But it is not correct to call a virgin a virago if she does not perform the office of a man; nevertheless, a woman who does masculine things, like an Amazon, is rightly called a virago. What we now call a woman, femina, was, in former times, called vira; as serva, maid-servant, from servus, famula, handmaid from famulus, so vira from vir. Some think that the word virgo has the same derivation. We get the word femina, however, from those parts of the thighs by which this sex is distinguished from the man. Others think that femina derives by Greek etymology, from the phrase 'fiery force', because a woman lusts fiercely; for females are more lustful than males, among women as as among animals. For this reason excessive love was called 'womanly love' among the ancients. To be 'elder', senior, is to be still more vigorous. Ovid writes in his sixth book: 'The elder, between youth and old age' (Metamorphoses, 12, 464]. Terence: 'By this law we are younger' (Hecyra II, Prologue, 3). Undoubtedly adolescentior here does not mean 'more adolescent' but 'less', as an elder is less of an old man, where the comparative form signifies less that the positive. Senior, therefore, is not as old as senex, just as a 'younger' man stands between youth and seniority and a 'poorer' man stands between rich and poor. Some think that the aged, senes, are so called from the reduction of their senses and the fact that they act foolishly because of their old age. For physicians say that foolish men are of cold blood, the wise of hot. For this reason, the aged, whose blood has now grown cold, and children, whose blood has not yet warmed up, are less wise. As a result, infancy and old age are alike. The old lose their wits from their excessive age, and the very young, through frivolity and immaturity, do not know what they are doing. The word senex, old man, however, is used of the masculine gender, as anus, old woman, is of the feminine. For anus is used only of a woman. It comes from the word for 'many years old',
  • Commentary

    Text

    Isidore on the etymology of each age.

  • Translation
    like a slender green branch, virga and a calf, vitula. Otherwise the word may come from her uncorrupted state, as virago, because she does not know womanly passion. A virago is so called because she acts like a man, vir agere, that is, she does manly things and has the strength of a man. For this is the name the ancients gave to strong women. But it is not correct to call a virgin a virago if she does not perform the office of a man; nevertheless, a woman who does masculine things, like an Amazon, is rightly called a virago. What we now call a woman, femina, was, in former times, called vira; as serva, maid-servant, from servus, famula, handmaid from famulus, so vira from vir. Some think that the word virgo has the same derivation. We get the word femina, however, from those parts of the thighs by which this sex is distinguished from the man. Others think that femina derives by Greek etymology, from the phrase 'fiery force', because a woman lusts fiercely; for females are more lustful than males, among women as as among animals. For this reason excessive love was called 'womanly love' among the ancients. To be 'elder', senior, is to be still more vigorous. Ovid writes in his sixth book: 'The elder, between youth and old age' (Metamorphoses, 12, 464]. Terence: 'By this law we are younger' (Hecyra II, Prologue, 3). Undoubtedly adolescentior here does not mean 'more adolescent' but 'less', as an elder is less of an old man, where the comparative form signifies less that the positive. Senior, therefore, is not as old as senex, just as a 'younger' man stands between youth and seniority and a 'poorer' man stands between rich and poor. Some think that the aged, senes, are so called from the reduction of their senses and the fact that they act foolishly because of their old age. For physicians say that foolish men are of cold blood, the wise of hot. For this reason, the aged, whose blood has now grown cold, and children, whose blood has not yet warmed up, are less wise. As a result, infancy and old age are alike. The old lose their wits from their excessive age, and the very young, through frivolity and immaturity, do not know what they are doing. The word senex, old man, however, is used of the masculine gender, as anus, old woman, is of the feminine. For anus is used only of a woman. It comes from the word for 'many years old',
  • Transcription
    est, sicut et virga, sicut et vitula. Alias ab incorruptione quasi\ virago, quod ignoret femineam passionem. Virago vocata\ quia virum agit, hoc est opera virilia facit, et masculini vigo\ris est. Antiqui enim fortes feminas ita vocabant. Virgo autem\ non recte virago dicitur, si non viri officio fungitur, mulier vero\ si virilia opera agit, recte virago dicitur ut Amazona. Que vero nunc\ femina antiquitus vira vocabatur, sicut a servo serva, sicut\ a famulo famula, ita a viro vira. Hinc et virginis nomen qui\dam putant. Femina vero a partibus femorum dicta ubi sexus\ species a viro distinguitur. Alii Greca ethimologia femi\nam ab ignea vi dictam putant, quia vehementer concupis\cit, libidinosiores enim viris feminas esse, tam in mulieribus\ quam in animalibus. Unde nimius amor apud antiquos fe\mineus vocabatur. Senior est adhuc viridior. In sexto libro Ovidius: Senior inter iuvenemque [PL, senemque]. Terentius: Quo iure sumus\ adolescentiores. Non utique magis adolescens, sed minus ut\ senior minus sene ubi comparativus gradus minus signifi\cata [PL, significat] positivo. Ergo senior non satis sicut iuvenior intra\ iuvenem, sicut pauperior intra pauperem. Senes autem qui\dam dictos putant a sensus diminutione, et quod iam\ pro vetustate desipiant. Nam phisici dicunt stultos homi\nes esse frigidioris sanguinis, prudentes calidi. Unde et se\nes in quibus iam friget, et pueri in quibus nec dum calet\ minus sapiunt, inde est quod convenit sibi infantium etas\ et senum. Senes enim per nimiam etatem delirant, pueri\ per lasciviam et infantiam ignorant quid agant. Senex autem\ masculini tamen est generis sicut anus feminini. Nam anus dicitur\ sola mulier. Anus autem appellata a multis annis quasi\
Folio 92v - the age of man, continued. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen