The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 40v - the cock, continued.

Folio 41r - the cock, continued. De strucione; the ostrich.

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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 cock compared to a preacher.


Addition in margin: 'intelligentsia datur nec tamen iuxta intelligenciam'. This phrase occurs in the standard texts (Clark, 1992, 186). Bottom left margin 'cathedra'. The text refers to the 'perch of prelates', where it should say the 'cathedra' or 'seat of prelates'. (Clark, 1992, 186).



The ostrich. It has wings but does not fly and has feet like a camel. It looks for the Pleiades in the sky before laying its eggs in a hole in the sand. The eggs hatch while covered by warm sand.


One ostrich looks at a star in the margin while the other buries eggs in the sand with its beak.


There is an attempt to make the claws look like camels' feet but otherwise the birds are not very realistic. They were common in north Africa until the nineteenth century. Two quire marks, a 'g' in pencil and another in ink at bottom centre. Chevron folio mark at top right corner. Initial type 2.