The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 93v - the age of man, continued. De lapidibus igniferis; Of fire-bearing stones


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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.
When the body is carried, we speak of a funeral procession, exequie. When the remains are burned, we call them reliquie. When the body is interred, we say it is now buried, sepultus. The common word is corpus as in the quotation: 'The bodies of those lacking light' (Vergil, Georgics, 4, 255). We call someone dead, 'defunct', defunctus, because he has completed the office of life. For we talk of someone having discharged an office, functus officio, because they have completed the duties required of them. In the same way we also talk of someone discharging public business. For this reason, therefore, we use the word defunctus, because the deceased has been set aside from the office of life, or because he has completed the duties of life's day. The word for 'buried', sepultus, is so called because the body is that point without a pulse, sine pulsu, or palpitation, that is, motionless. The word sepelire means to bury bodies; we use the words humare and obruere, that is, to cast earth on the body. Of fire-bearing stones

Text

Isidore on the etymology of death. Physiologus on fire-bearing stones.

Illustration

The tale is divided into two scenes. A naked man and woman stand apart above a fire, offering each other fire stones. In the lower image, they embrace.

Comment

A literal illustration of the text only requires a picture of stones, as shown in London, B.L.Harley MS 3244, f. 60, but the arrangement of the figures and tree is intended to suggest the Fall in the Garden of Eden.Fire-bearing stones are male and female. When they are apart the fire does not ignite, when close together, the mountain burns. The warning is for men to stay clear of women and avoid kindling lust. Beside the painting are sketches which are a combination of the Ashmole and Aberdeen illuminations. Ashmole Bestiary, f.103v. Their comparisons are analysed here. There are colour indications: aerie or harie (blue) at the base of the upper marginal sketch (Clark 1992,225, reads this as mine for minium, red); in the upper sketch bisors, (grey). F.93v is glued to f.93r.

Folio Attributes

  • Sketches

    Sketches

    Sketches
    Sketch of dog. Detail from f.12v

    Several very faint sketches can be seen in the margins of the book. Most of these are preliminaries for final drawings. On f.32r the frames for the illustration have been blocked in. On f.12v, bottom right, is a sketch of a dog like that at the foot of f.5r. On f.28r there are two sketches of circles in squares and in the bottom roundel is a cat like that on f.5r. There is a faint circular outline on the right of f.44v. The most important sketches are those on f.93v. These show variations on the two firestones scenes which relate very closely to parallel illustrations in Ashmolean 1511, f.103v. They are described in detail on f.93v.

  • Colour Indicators

    Colour Indicators

    Colour Indicators
    Colour instruction on the crocodile. Detail from f.68v

    Some colour guides have been provided for both the illuminations and the initials. On f.68v, the illustration of the hydrus, the word ictrie can be seen on the body of the crocodile. The word probably relates to icturus or ictère, jaundiced, indicating the yellow hue of the crocodile. On f.81r, showing Isidore at work, the word harie (or hane) is written on Isidore's desk. This probably means aerus or sky blue. A similar word harie/aerie appears to the left of the firestones scene on f.93v (this is interpreted as mine for minium, red by Clark 1992, 269). In the upper sketch on f.93v there are also rather indistinct letters bis[ors(?)]. Bis means grey in Old French. On f.32v the letters ni (niteur, clear or bright) may be deciphered. In the margin beside some initials are the letters a, v, and or. These stand for azur, blue; vermeil/vermiculum, pink and gold. Indicators for the initials are found on f.28v, f.31v, f.32v, f.41v, f.47v, f.72v. These annotations were added after drawing and before painting the images, and after writing but before illuminating the initials. It is likely they were a memo from the artist to himself, perhaps in response to a model he was copying. The use of Old French rather than primarily Latin indicates the artist was literate but used the vernacular as his working language, even within a scriptorium.

Transcription

Quod dum portatur exequias dicimus. Crematas re\liquias conditum iam sepultum. Corpus autem a con\suetudine dicitur ut illud: Tum corpora luce carentum. De\functus vocatus, quia officia complevit vite officium. Nam dicimus\ functos officio, quia officia debita compleverunt. Unde est\ et hominibus [PL, honoribus] functus. Hinc ergo defunctus quod ab officio vite\ sit depositus, sive quod sit die functus. Sepultus autem\ dictus eo quod iam sine pulsu et palpitatione est, id est sine\ motu. Sepelire autem est condere corpora, nam humare ob\ruere dicimus, hoc est humum inicere. \ De lapidibus igniferis

Translation

When the body is carried, we speak of a funeral procession, exequie. When the remains are burned, we call them reliquie. When the body is interred, we say it is now buried, sepultus. The common word is corpus as in the quotation: 'The bodies of those lacking light' (Vergil, Georgics, 4, 255). We call someone dead, 'defunct', defunctus, because he has completed the office of life. For we talk of someone having discharged an office, functus officio, because they have completed the duties required of them. In the same way we also talk of someone discharging public business. For this reason, therefore, we use the word defunctus, because the deceased has been set aside from the office of life, or because he has completed the duties of life's day. The word for 'buried', sepultus, is so called because the body is that point without a pulse, sine pulsu, or palpitation, that is, motionless. The word sepelire means to bury bodies; we use the words humare and obruere, that is, to cast earth on the body. Of fire-bearing stones
  • Commentary

    Text

    Isidore on the etymology of death. Physiologus on fire-bearing stones.

    Illustration

    The tale is divided into two scenes. A naked man and woman stand apart above a fire, offering each other fire stones. In the lower image, they embrace.

    Comment

    A literal illustration of the text only requires a picture of stones, as shown in London, B.L.Harley MS 3244, f. 60, but the arrangement of the figures and tree is intended to suggest the Fall in the Garden of Eden.Fire-bearing stones are male and female. When they are apart the fire does not ignite, when close together, the mountain burns. The warning is for men to stay clear of women and avoid kindling lust. Beside the painting are sketches which are a combination of the Ashmole and Aberdeen illuminations. Ashmole Bestiary, f.103v. Their comparisons are analysed here. There are colour indications: aerie or harie (blue) at the base of the upper marginal sketch (Clark 1992,225, reads this as mine for minium, red); in the upper sketch bisors, (grey). F.93v is glued to f.93r.

    Folio Attributes

    • Sketches

      Sketches

      Sketches
      Sketch of dog. Detail from f.12v

      Several very faint sketches can be seen in the margins of the book. Most of these are preliminaries for final drawings. On f.32r the frames for the illustration have been blocked in. On f.12v, bottom right, is a sketch of a dog like that at the foot of f.5r. On f.28r there are two sketches of circles in squares and in the bottom roundel is a cat like that on f.5r. There is a faint circular outline on the right of f.44v. The most important sketches are those on f.93v. These show variations on the two firestones scenes which relate very closely to parallel illustrations in Ashmolean 1511, f.103v. They are described in detail on f.93v.

    • Colour Indicators

      Colour Indicators

      Colour Indicators
      Colour instruction on the crocodile. Detail from f.68v

      Some colour guides have been provided for both the illuminations and the initials. On f.68v, the illustration of the hydrus, the word ictrie can be seen on the body of the crocodile. The word probably relates to icturus or ictère, jaundiced, indicating the yellow hue of the crocodile. On f.81r, showing Isidore at work, the word harie (or hane) is written on Isidore's desk. This probably means aerus or sky blue. A similar word harie/aerie appears to the left of the firestones scene on f.93v (this is interpreted as mine for minium, red by Clark 1992, 269). In the upper sketch on f.93v there are also rather indistinct letters bis[ors(?)]. Bis means grey in Old French. On f.32v the letters ni (niteur, clear or bright) may be deciphered. In the margin beside some initials are the letters a, v, and or. These stand for azur, blue; vermeil/vermiculum, pink and gold. Indicators for the initials are found on f.28v, f.31v, f.32v, f.41v, f.47v, f.72v. These annotations were added after drawing and before painting the images, and after writing but before illuminating the initials. It is likely they were a memo from the artist to himself, perhaps in response to a model he was copying. The use of Old French rather than primarily Latin indicates the artist was literate but used the vernacular as his working language, even within a scriptorium.

  • Translation
    When the body is carried, we speak of a funeral procession, exequie. When the remains are burned, we call them reliquie. When the body is interred, we say it is now buried, sepultus. The common word is corpus as in the quotation: 'The bodies of those lacking light' (Vergil, Georgics, 4, 255). We call someone dead, 'defunct', defunctus, because he has completed the office of life. For we talk of someone having discharged an office, functus officio, because they have completed the duties required of them. In the same way we also talk of someone discharging public business. For this reason, therefore, we use the word defunctus, because the deceased has been set aside from the office of life, or because he has completed the duties of life's day. The word for 'buried', sepultus, is so called because the body is that point without a pulse, sine pulsu, or palpitation, that is, motionless. The word sepelire means to bury bodies; we use the words humare and obruere, that is, to cast earth on the body. Of fire-bearing stones
  • Transcription
    Quod dum portatur exequias dicimus. Crematas re\liquias conditum iam sepultum. Corpus autem a con\suetudine dicitur ut illud: Tum corpora luce carentum. De\functus vocatus, quia officia complevit vite officium. Nam dicimus\ functos officio, quia officia debita compleverunt. Unde est\ et hominibus [PL, honoribus] functus. Hinc ergo defunctus quod ab officio vite\ sit depositus, sive quod sit die functus. Sepultus autem\ dictus eo quod iam sine pulsu et palpitatione est, id est sine\ motu. Sepelire autem est condere corpora, nam humare ob\ruere dicimus, hoc est humum inicere. \ De lapidibus igniferis
Folio 93v - the age of man, continued. De lapidibus igniferis; Of fire-bearing stones | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen