The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 27v - Item de columba; Also of the dove.

Folio 28r - De columbe pedibus; Of the feet of the dove. De pennis deargentatis; Of its feathers.

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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 mystic aspects of the dove. The silver coloured dove.


A dove in a roundel. This rather plain lifeless bird does not do justice to the luscious pictorial descriptions devoted to the dove on ff.26-30r. However, raking light reveals a lustrous silvered quality to the paint. The dove's feet are described as red for its symbolic meaning on f.28r but are shown as brown on f.27v.The extended rubric is written up the side of the image. Initial type 2.



The mystic aspects of the dove. The dove's red feet. The silver wings.


Two excisions on this folio. They would have been two paintings of doves inside a circle inside a square as seen in Ashmole 1511, f.39v. In Ashmole, as here, the rubric is squeezed in vertically, up the side of the illustration. On the top right margin are two faint sketches of circles in squares. The feature shown in the lower sketch may be like the cat on f.5r. Illegible text correction in margin but no corresponding alteration to the text. Initial type 2, quire mark of four 'matchsticks', colour indication in top right margin (a);Editorial addition in right margin, four lines from bottom: 'id est terrenorum'. The standard text reads 'id est terrenorum crudelitate/ that is the cruelty of earthly things' (Clark, 192, 130).