The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 100r - Duodecimum Amatistus; The twelfth, amethyst. De effectu lapidum; Of stones and what they can do.


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Commentary, Translation and Transcription

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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:

Text

  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:]

Translation

  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.
This stone, placed in the mouth, proves to be colder than others. It is very hard and resists cutting or engraving. But it can be marked by a fragment of diamond. The twelfth, amethyst The twelfth foundation is amethyst. Isidorus says of it: Among purple stones, the Indian amethyst holds first position; it is, indeed, purple but of mixed coloration, giving forth violet and rose-coloured lights; it is easy to engrave. For this reason the humility of the saints is signified by it; associated with humility is obedience, as Ambrose says: 'Humility is small, like the violet, beautiful like the rose, easy to apply to all things'; or: 'They are like burning flames, looking at love'. For humility is acceptable to everyone, even to our enemies; as pride, in contrast, is viewed by everyone with detestation, as it says in Ecclesiasticus, 15: 'Pride is hateful before God and men' (see 10: 7). For this reason the amethyst is placed in the final position, as if watching over all, and as if humility always reckons itself the least and always takes the last place. In this context, Gregory: 'He who assembles in himself the other virtues without humility is like one who carries dust in the wind. Also Paul: 'He who is modest, that is to be understood as humble, deserves to possess the tenth place.' Of stones and what they can do The diamond is amongst all stones the hardest, cutting all other precious stones; it likes to be set in steel; it does not wish to be given away; and it will not allow the goods of him who possesses it to be divided. 2 The ruby has the virtue of all precious stones, that if it is washed in water and that water is then given to the sick who are thirsty, they grow well if each one is according to his nature virtuous. 3 The smaragdus refreshes the eyes; it cheers the body of him who looks upon it; and

Text

Amethyst. The properties of various gems.

Comment

Initials type 4.

Folio Attributes

  • Initial Type 4

    Initial Type 4

    Initial Type 4
    Type 4 initial. Detail from f.96v

    Type 4 initials are red or blue. On any given page they alternate red and blue regularly. Blue initials are embellished with red tassels and vice versa. The colouring and form of the letters is not very even and appears rather hurried in places. In the Bestiary proper, they appear on f.79v and f.80r. Thereafter this is the basic initial used in the thirteenth-century Lapidary addition, found from f.94r onwards. This suggests that gaps left in the twelfth-century text on ff. 79v and 80r were filled in when the book was completed in the later thirteenth century. The poor quality of the later work is apparent from f.94r onwards, and is apparent on f.79v where the wrong capital ‘U’ was inserted and later corrected to ‘F’ for Fagus, the beech tree.

Transcription

Hic et in os missus plus frigidus esse probatur, Duricie\ solida cedi sculpi quia [que] recusat, Fragmentis tamen superabilis est adamantis.\ Duodecimum Amatistus\ Duodecimum amatistus. De quo dicit Ysidorus:\ Inter gemmas purpureas principatum amatistus\ inclitus [Indicus] tenet, purpureus quidem est permixto colore vio\le et rose quasdam flammulas de se effundens, et est scul\turis facilis, unde per ipsum, significatur humilitas sanctorum cuius\ comes est obediencia ut dicit Ambrosius: Humilitas bre\vis est ut viola, pulchra, ut rosa, facilis ad omnia quecumque facere;\ aut dicit: Et sunt que flamme incendentes ad amo\rem videntes, omnibus enim placet humilitas etiam inimi\cis, sicut econtrario superbia est omnibus odiosa, ut dicit Ecclesiasticus,\ xv: Odibilis coram deo et hominibus est superbia. Hic unde ultimo lo\co ponitur quasi custos omnium, et quasi ultimam reputat se\ semper et ultimum locum semper tenet. Unde Gregorius qui ceteras\ virtutes sine humilitate congregat quasi pulverem in vento\ portat. Unde et Paulus: Qui modicus, id est humilis interpretatur,\ locum decimum meruit possidere. \ De effectu lapidum \ Diamas, lapis est inter omnes lapides durissimus domans\ omnes lapides preciosos et vult poni in calibe et\ dari non desideratus nec permittit descindere bona illius\ qui eum habet. Rubi habet virtutem omnium lapidum\ preciosorum qui si in aqua lavetur et illa aqua detur ad po\tandum arietibus [arentibus] infirmis, convalescent si sit secundum\ suam naturam virtuosus. Smaragdus, oculos vivi\ficat, corpus exhillarat illius, qui eum intuetur et a\

Translation

This stone, placed in the mouth, proves to be colder than others. It is very hard and resists cutting or engraving. But it can be marked by a fragment of diamond. The twelfth, amethyst The twelfth foundation is amethyst. Isidorus says of it: Among purple stones, the Indian amethyst holds first position; it is, indeed, purple but of mixed coloration, giving forth violet and rose-coloured lights; it is easy to engrave. For this reason the humility of the saints is signified by it; associated with humility is obedience, as Ambrose says: 'Humility is small, like the violet, beautiful like the rose, easy to apply to all things'; or: 'They are like burning flames, looking at love'. For humility is acceptable to everyone, even to our enemies; as pride, in contrast, is viewed by everyone with detestation, as it says in Ecclesiasticus, 15: 'Pride is hateful before God and men' (see 10: 7). For this reason the amethyst is placed in the final position, as if watching over all, and as if humility always reckons itself the least and always takes the last place. In this context, Gregory: 'He who assembles in himself the other virtues without humility is like one who carries dust in the wind. Also Paul: 'He who is modest, that is to be understood as humble, deserves to possess the tenth place.' Of stones and what they can do The diamond is amongst all stones the hardest, cutting all other precious stones; it likes to be set in steel; it does not wish to be given away; and it will not allow the goods of him who possesses it to be divided. 2 The ruby has the virtue of all precious stones, that if it is washed in water and that water is then given to the sick who are thirsty, they grow well if each one is according to his nature virtuous. 3 The smaragdus refreshes the eyes; it cheers the body of him who looks upon it; and
  • Commentary

    Text

    Amethyst. The properties of various gems.

    Comment

    Initials type 4.

    Folio Attributes

    • Initial Type 4

      Initial Type 4

      Initial Type 4
      Type 4 initial. Detail from f.96v

      Type 4 initials are red or blue. On any given page they alternate red and blue regularly. Blue initials are embellished with red tassels and vice versa. The colouring and form of the letters is not very even and appears rather hurried in places. In the Bestiary proper, they appear on f.79v and f.80r. Thereafter this is the basic initial used in the thirteenth-century Lapidary addition, found from f.94r onwards. This suggests that gaps left in the twelfth-century text on ff. 79v and 80r were filled in when the book was completed in the later thirteenth century. The poor quality of the later work is apparent from f.94r onwards, and is apparent on f.79v where the wrong capital ‘U’ was inserted and later corrected to ‘F’ for Fagus, the beech tree.

  • Translation
    This stone, placed in the mouth, proves to be colder than others. It is very hard and resists cutting or engraving. But it can be marked by a fragment of diamond. The twelfth, amethyst The twelfth foundation is amethyst. Isidorus says of it: Among purple stones, the Indian amethyst holds first position; it is, indeed, purple but of mixed coloration, giving forth violet and rose-coloured lights; it is easy to engrave. For this reason the humility of the saints is signified by it; associated with humility is obedience, as Ambrose says: 'Humility is small, like the violet, beautiful like the rose, easy to apply to all things'; or: 'They are like burning flames, looking at love'. For humility is acceptable to everyone, even to our enemies; as pride, in contrast, is viewed by everyone with detestation, as it says in Ecclesiasticus, 15: 'Pride is hateful before God and men' (see 10: 7). For this reason the amethyst is placed in the final position, as if watching over all, and as if humility always reckons itself the least and always takes the last place. In this context, Gregory: 'He who assembles in himself the other virtues without humility is like one who carries dust in the wind. Also Paul: 'He who is modest, that is to be understood as humble, deserves to possess the tenth place.' Of stones and what they can do The diamond is amongst all stones the hardest, cutting all other precious stones; it likes to be set in steel; it does not wish to be given away; and it will not allow the goods of him who possesses it to be divided. 2 The ruby has the virtue of all precious stones, that if it is washed in water and that water is then given to the sick who are thirsty, they grow well if each one is according to his nature virtuous. 3 The smaragdus refreshes the eyes; it cheers the body of him who looks upon it; and
  • Transcription
    Hic et in os missus plus frigidus esse probatur, Duricie\ solida cedi sculpi quia [que] recusat, Fragmentis tamen superabilis est adamantis.\ Duodecimum Amatistus\ Duodecimum amatistus. De quo dicit Ysidorus:\ Inter gemmas purpureas principatum amatistus\ inclitus [Indicus] tenet, purpureus quidem est permixto colore vio\le et rose quasdam flammulas de se effundens, et est scul\turis facilis, unde per ipsum, significatur humilitas sanctorum cuius\ comes est obediencia ut dicit Ambrosius: Humilitas bre\vis est ut viola, pulchra, ut rosa, facilis ad omnia quecumque facere;\ aut dicit: Et sunt que flamme incendentes ad amo\rem videntes, omnibus enim placet humilitas etiam inimi\cis, sicut econtrario superbia est omnibus odiosa, ut dicit Ecclesiasticus,\ xv: Odibilis coram deo et hominibus est superbia. Hic unde ultimo lo\co ponitur quasi custos omnium, et quasi ultimam reputat se\ semper et ultimum locum semper tenet. Unde Gregorius qui ceteras\ virtutes sine humilitate congregat quasi pulverem in vento\ portat. Unde et Paulus: Qui modicus, id est humilis interpretatur,\ locum decimum meruit possidere. \ De effectu lapidum \ Diamas, lapis est inter omnes lapides durissimus domans\ omnes lapides preciosos et vult poni in calibe et\ dari non desideratus nec permittit descindere bona illius\ qui eum habet. Rubi habet virtutem omnium lapidum\ preciosorum qui si in aqua lavetur et illa aqua detur ad po\tandum arietibus [arentibus] infirmis, convalescent si sit secundum\ suam naturam virtuosus. Smaragdus, oculos vivi\ficat, corpus exhillarat illius, qui eum intuetur et a\
Folio 100r - Duodecimum Amatistus; The twelfth, amethyst. De effectu lapidum; Of stones and what they can do. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen