The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 2v - Creation of the animals

Folio 3r - Creation of man

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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.



Genesis 1: 24-25.


the Creation of the Animals. God stands in a three-quarters pose facing right, very similar to f.2r, except that now his tunic is red and his cloak blue. He has no beard. On the right are three compartments. The elephant at the top is drawn from the same model as f.65v, except it is in reverse. Below him are a hare, a squirrel holding a nut and a cat. This is not the soft tabby of f.5r but the spiky tailed animal found on Ashmole f.9r. The position of its tail coming through its legs and across its back is like the model in Ashmole. Below in the damaged area are a bull and lion, and at the bottom a goat, stag and horse. There is a tiny amount of splattered blue paint beginning on the right side of the cat, a very rare example of carelessness or perhaps an accident. A similar image of a beardless God standing to the left of his created animals is found in the narthex mosaics at St Mark's, Venice. It is significant that the mosaic also includes a hare because this creature is not mentioned in the Bestiary. The damaged area has been scraped and smudged. It corresponds almost exactly with the pricking on the recto and probably occurred when the pricking took place. Initial type 3.



Genesis 1:26-28, 31; 1:1-2.


the Creation of Eve. A dominating God is squeezed into the frame and is shown in a three-quarters view as on the preceding two folios. He wears a red tunic and blue gown and is beardless. His right arm is raised and his left arm supports Eve's elbow. He stands on Adam's foot. Eve springs from Adam's side, holding his shoulder. Adam leans on a floating rock decorated with filigree designs. The paint surface has been partially scraped. Some lines and margins visible. There are prick marks for pouncing on Adam and Eve. Initial type 3.