The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 14v - De caprea; the wild goat

Folio 15r - De monocero; the monceros. De urso; the bear.

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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:


  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:]


  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.



The wild goat. The Monoceros.


Two agile beasts lock horns in a roundel.


The illustration is not related to the text which describes the goats eating grass in high pastures. Pricking and ruling are visible. Initial indicator 'e' in right margin. Initial type 2.



The monoceros. The bear.


The monoceros has the head of a stag, the tail of a boar, elephant's feet and a horse's body. A horn four feet long projects from his head. This creature was derived from the Indian rhinoceros. The bear forms its offspring with its mouth. The female gives birth to a small eyeless piece of flesh which is gradually shaped in to a cub by licking. It is born head first resulting in a weak head supported by strong loins which allow the animal to stand on its hind legs. In the lower margin is a faint sketch of a man with beard and tight fitting cap, in profile. This is in a different style from the other illustrations and is probably later in date.


Single 'v' shape in top right margin, in faint ink. Pricking and ruling are visible. Initial indicator 'u' in right margin. Initial type 2.