The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 94r - fire-bearing stones, continued. De lapide adamas; Of the adamas stone


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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.
On a certain mountain in the east, there are fire-bearing stones which are called in Greek terrobolem; they are male and female. When they are far from each other, the fire within them does not ignite. But when by chance the female draws near to the male, the fire is at once kindled, with the result that everything around the mountain burns. For this reason, men of God, you who follow this way of life, stay well clear of women, lest when you and they approach each other, the twin flame be kindled in you both and consume the good that Christ has bestowed upon you. For there are angels of Satan, always on the offensive against the righteous; not only holy men but chaste women too. Finally, Samson and Joseph were both were tempted by women. One triumphed; the other succumbed. Eve and Susanna were tempted; the latter held out; the former gave in. The heart, therefore, should be guarded and guided by all forms of divine teaching. For the love of women, which has been the cause of sin from the beginning, that is from Adam to the present day, rages uncontrolled in the sons of disobedience. Of the adamas stone Physiologus says: There is a stone called adamas found on a certain mountain in the east. Such is its nature, that you should search for it by night, not day, since it shines at night where it lies, but it does not shine by day, since the sun dulls its light. Against this stone, neither iron, fire or other stones can prevail. The prophet says of it: 'I saw a man standing on a wall of adamant

Text

The fire-bearing stones which ignite when near each other. Iron pyrites provide the geological basis for this account. The adamas stone.

Illustration

The adamas stone on a mountain.

Comment

The twelfth-century hand ends half way down the page and the text resumes in a late thirteenth-/early fourteenth-century script. There is a hastily painted sketch of a hill with a circle or rock on top. The upper initial is type 2. The lower initial represents the start of the later series of initials, type 4.

Folio Attributes

  • Pricking

    Pricking

    Pricking
    Line pricking and ruling. Detail from f.7r

    Once the quires were arranged they had to be prepared for writing by drawing up the lines. Tiny parallel pinpricks were made on the outer and inner edges of each page and horizontal lines ruled between them. In a completed book these pinpricks should have been trimmed off during the final stages of production but in the Aberdeen Bestiary they have survived in 12 out of the 15 quires (only E , G and M are fully trimmed). Careful measuring shows that the holes were pricked with the quires folded up, using a long pointed pricker, because they are the same distance apart throughout an entire quire. In quires B and C there is a double hole on the penultimate line, indicating to the person ruling lines that the page is about to end. In these two quires the holes have a coarse triangular shape and are set up to 6mm in from the edge. Elsewhere the holes are smaller, circular and much closer to the edge. Pinpricks were also made at the top and bottom of the pages to provide vertical margins. These survive in every quire. In quires A.F,H,J,K,L,M and N there are single pricks for the vertical lines. In B and C there are double pricks and double margins while in G there are double pricks and a variety of single and double ruled lines. On f.48r (quire G) where there are double pricks for the margins, the wrong holes have been joined and the faulty diagonal line has been redrawn correctly.

  • 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.

  • Initial Type 4

    Initial Type 4

    Initial Type 4
    Type 4 initial. Detail from f.96v

    Type 4 initials are red or blue. On any given page they alternate red and blue regularly. Blue initials are embellished with red tassels and vice versa. The colouring and form of the letters is not very even and appears rather hurried in places. In the Bestiary proper, they appear on f.79v and f.80r. Thereafter this is the basic initial used in the thirteenth-century Lapidary addition, found from f.94r onwards. This suggests that gaps left in the twelfth-century text on ff. 79v and 80r were filled in when the book was completed in the later thirteenth century. The poor quality of the later work is apparent from f.94r onwards, and is apparent on f.79v where the wrong capital ‘U’ was inserted and later corrected to ‘F’ for Fagus, the beech tree.

  • 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.

Transcription

Sunt lapides igniferi in quodam monte orientis qui\ Grece terrobolem dicuntur masculus et femina.\ Isti quando longe sunt ab invicem ignis in eis non accen\ditur. Cum autem casu appropinquaverit femina masculo,\ statim ignis accenditur, ita ut ardeant omnia que sunt cir\ca illum montem. Unde et vos homines dei qui istam vitam\ geritis, separate vos longe a feminis, ne cum appropinquave\ritis adinvicem, accendatur in vobis ille ignis geminus, et con\sumat bona que Christus contulit in vobis. Sunt enim angeli\ Sathane qui semper impugnant iustos, non solum sanctos viros,\ sed etiam feminas castas. Denique Samson et Joseph ambo\ per mulieres temptati sunt. Unus vicit, alter victus est. Eva\ et Susanna temptate sunt, hec vicit, illa victa est. Custodi\endum est igitur cor et divinis preceptis omnimodis monendum.\ Nam amor feminarum quarum peccatum ab inicio cepit,\ id est ab Adam usque nunc, in filios inobedientie debachatur.\ De lapide adamas \ Phisiologus dicit:\ Est lapis qui dicitur ada\ mas et in quodam monte orien\tis invenitur. Ita tamen ut noc\te queratur, non die, quoniam noc\te lucet ubi fuerit, per diem autem\ non lucet, quoniam sol obtundit\ lumen eius, hunc lapidem non\ ferrum non ignis nec alius lapis contra eum potest\ prevalere. De hoc lapide adamante dicit propheta:\ Vidi virum stantem super murum adamantium

Translation

On a certain mountain in the east, there are fire-bearing stones which are called in Greek terrobolem; they are male and female. When they are far from each other, the fire within them does not ignite. But when by chance the female draws near to the male, the fire is at once kindled, with the result that everything around the mountain burns. For this reason, men of God, you who follow this way of life, stay well clear of women, lest when you and they approach each other, the twin flame be kindled in you both and consume the good that Christ has bestowed upon you. For there are angels of Satan, always on the offensive against the righteous; not only holy men but chaste women too. Finally, Samson and Joseph were both were tempted by women. One triumphed; the other succumbed. Eve and Susanna were tempted; the latter held out; the former gave in. The heart, therefore, should be guarded and guided by all forms of divine teaching. For the love of women, which has been the cause of sin from the beginning, that is from Adam to the present day, rages uncontrolled in the sons of disobedience. Of the adamas stone Physiologus says: There is a stone called adamas found on a certain mountain in the east. Such is its nature, that you should search for it by night, not day, since it shines at night where it lies, but it does not shine by day, since the sun dulls its light. Against this stone, neither iron, fire or other stones can prevail. The prophet says of it: 'I saw a man standing on a wall of adamant
  • Commentary

    Text

    The fire-bearing stones which ignite when near each other. Iron pyrites provide the geological basis for this account. The adamas stone.

    Illustration

    The adamas stone on a mountain.

    Comment

    The twelfth-century hand ends half way down the page and the text resumes in a late thirteenth-/early fourteenth-century script. There is a hastily painted sketch of a hill with a circle or rock on top. The upper initial is type 2. The lower initial represents the start of the later series of initials, type 4.

    Folio Attributes

    • Pricking

      Pricking

      Pricking
      Line pricking and ruling. Detail from f.7r

      Once the quires were arranged they had to be prepared for writing by drawing up the lines. Tiny parallel pinpricks were made on the outer and inner edges of each page and horizontal lines ruled between them. In a completed book these pinpricks should have been trimmed off during the final stages of production but in the Aberdeen Bestiary they have survived in 12 out of the 15 quires (only E , G and M are fully trimmed). Careful measuring shows that the holes were pricked with the quires folded up, using a long pointed pricker, because they are the same distance apart throughout an entire quire. In quires B and C there is a double hole on the penultimate line, indicating to the person ruling lines that the page is about to end. In these two quires the holes have a coarse triangular shape and are set up to 6mm in from the edge. Elsewhere the holes are smaller, circular and much closer to the edge. Pinpricks were also made at the top and bottom of the pages to provide vertical margins. These survive in every quire. In quires A.F,H,J,K,L,M and N there are single pricks for the vertical lines. In B and C there are double pricks and double margins while in G there are double pricks and a variety of single and double ruled lines. On f.48r (quire G) where there are double pricks for the margins, the wrong holes have been joined and the faulty diagonal line has been redrawn correctly.

    • 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.

    • Initial Type 4

      Initial Type 4

      Initial Type 4
      Type 4 initial. Detail from f.96v

      Type 4 initials are red or blue. On any given page they alternate red and blue regularly. Blue initials are embellished with red tassels and vice versa. The colouring and form of the letters is not very even and appears rather hurried in places. In the Bestiary proper, they appear on f.79v and f.80r. Thereafter this is the basic initial used in the thirteenth-century Lapidary addition, found from f.94r onwards. This suggests that gaps left in the twelfth-century text on ff. 79v and 80r were filled in when the book was completed in the later thirteenth century. The poor quality of the later work is apparent from f.94r onwards, and is apparent on f.79v where the wrong capital ‘U’ was inserted and later corrected to ‘F’ for Fagus, the beech tree.

    • 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.

  • Translation
    On a certain mountain in the east, there are fire-bearing stones which are called in Greek terrobolem; they are male and female. When they are far from each other, the fire within them does not ignite. But when by chance the female draws near to the male, the fire is at once kindled, with the result that everything around the mountain burns. For this reason, men of God, you who follow this way of life, stay well clear of women, lest when you and they approach each other, the twin flame be kindled in you both and consume the good that Christ has bestowed upon you. For there are angels of Satan, always on the offensive against the righteous; not only holy men but chaste women too. Finally, Samson and Joseph were both were tempted by women. One triumphed; the other succumbed. Eve and Susanna were tempted; the latter held out; the former gave in. The heart, therefore, should be guarded and guided by all forms of divine teaching. For the love of women, which has been the cause of sin from the beginning, that is from Adam to the present day, rages uncontrolled in the sons of disobedience. Of the adamas stone Physiologus says: There is a stone called adamas found on a certain mountain in the east. Such is its nature, that you should search for it by night, not day, since it shines at night where it lies, but it does not shine by day, since the sun dulls its light. Against this stone, neither iron, fire or other stones can prevail. The prophet says of it: 'I saw a man standing on a wall of adamant
  • Transcription
    Sunt lapides igniferi in quodam monte orientis qui\ Grece terrobolem dicuntur masculus et femina.\ Isti quando longe sunt ab invicem ignis in eis non accen\ditur. Cum autem casu appropinquaverit femina masculo,\ statim ignis accenditur, ita ut ardeant omnia que sunt cir\ca illum montem. Unde et vos homines dei qui istam vitam\ geritis, separate vos longe a feminis, ne cum appropinquave\ritis adinvicem, accendatur in vobis ille ignis geminus, et con\sumat bona que Christus contulit in vobis. Sunt enim angeli\ Sathane qui semper impugnant iustos, non solum sanctos viros,\ sed etiam feminas castas. Denique Samson et Joseph ambo\ per mulieres temptati sunt. Unus vicit, alter victus est. Eva\ et Susanna temptate sunt, hec vicit, illa victa est. Custodi\endum est igitur cor et divinis preceptis omnimodis monendum.\ Nam amor feminarum quarum peccatum ab inicio cepit,\ id est ab Adam usque nunc, in filios inobedientie debachatur.\ De lapide adamas \ Phisiologus dicit:\ Est lapis qui dicitur ada\ mas et in quodam monte orien\tis invenitur. Ita tamen ut noc\te queratur, non die, quoniam noc\te lucet ubi fuerit, per diem autem\ non lucet, quoniam sol obtundit\ lumen eius, hunc lapidem non\ ferrum non ignis nec alius lapis contra eum potest\ prevalere. De hoc lapide adamante dicit propheta:\ Vidi virum stantem super murum adamantium
Folio 94r - fire-bearing stones, continued. De lapide adamas; Of the adamas stone | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen