The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 32v - the turtle dove, continued. De palma; the palm tree

Folio 33r - the palm tree, continued.

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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 palm tree and the turtle dove. The text refers to the palm tree, slow growing and forever flourishing. The rubric compares the nest of the turtle dove with the faith in Christ's passion.


This dominating image shows the usual bland white turtle dove in its roundel and square perched in the arms of a cross. The cross represents the tree which conceals the nest, according to the rubric. In the Aviarium several stories are illustrated with heavily inscribed diagrams. For this scene, the Heiligenkreuz Aviary (f. 133v) shows a dove inside a circle in the centre of a cross . The circle and cross are covered in rubric and behind the cross is a rather bushy palm tree (Clark, 1992, fig.5). The Aberdeen artist has used a simplified version of this design, minus the palm tree and most of the rubric. There is a sketch of the cross in the right margin. In the centre of the cross Clark (1992, 269) has deciphered the colour indication ni, meaning niteur, bright or clear. At the lower right of the sketched circle may be the letters 'pp'. Two initials, type 2.



The palm tree. A symbol of virtue, of Christ, the Church and the righteous man.


Three text corrections in margin: 'cu', corrected in adjacent line; 'tur x'; 'figit'. Gathering mark at centre bottom (f). Top right edge, folio mark, one horizontal 'match stick'. Initial type 2.