The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 25v - birds continued. De pennis deargentatis columbe; Of the wings of the dove.

Folio 26r - the dove continued. De columba et accipitre; Of the dove and the hawk.

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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.



Birds, their names and songs. The dove. The writer wishes to paint a picture of the dove in all its beauty so that people who cannot understand its allegorical virtues will at least be able to perceive its physical attributes.


There is no illustration to the text about painting a picture of the dove with silvery wing feathers and golden tail feathers. Instead the text is heralded by an elaborate illuminated initial 'C', type 3. It is painted with delicate foliage designs. Up to this point, the account of the birds comes from the 'standard' Isidore Etymologies text. The type 3 initial indicates the start of text mainly deriving from the Aviarium of Hugo of Fouilloy, 'Concerning the silver-sheathed wings of the dove' (Clark, 1992, 117).



The dove continued.


The dove and hawk sit on a perch under a twin-domed edicule. They represent the clergy and the military, converted and sharing a monastic life together.


Editorial correction 2 lines above illustration. Below the illustration, on the last 5 lines of the page, the lettering changes. A broader quill was introduced, the letters are larger but less steady or uniform. Initial type 2, and folio mark of two 'match sticks', bottom right.