The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 14r - Deer, continued. De capre; the goat.


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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:

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.
The rennet of a fawn killed in its mother's womb is a marvellous remedy against poisons. It is known that deer never grow feverish. For this reason ointments made from their marrow bring down sick men's temperatures. We read that many men who have regularly eaten a small amount of venison since their early days have lived for a long time unaffected by fevers; but ultimately it fails them as a remedy if they are killed by a single blow. Of the goat There is an animal called in Latin caper, goat, because it chooses, capere, to live in rugged places; some call it capra from crepita, 'a rustling noise'. These are the tame goats which the Greeks called dorcas, gazelle, because they have very sharp sight. They live in high mountains and can tell if men approaching a long way off are hunters or travellers. In the same way, our Lord Jesus Christ loves high mountains, that is, the prophets and Apostles, as it says in the Song of Songs: 'Behold, my beloved cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills (see Song of Solomon, 2:8). As a goat grazes in the valleys, our Lord grazes on the church; the good works of Christian people are the food of him who said: 'For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink.' (Matthew, 25:35) By the valleys of the mountains are understood the churches spread through different regions, as it says in the Song of Songs: 'My beloved is like a roe or young hart.' (Song of Solomon, 2:9) The fact that the goat has very sharp eyesight, sees everything and recognises things from a long way off, signifies our Lord, who is the lord of all knowing and God. And elsewhere it is written: 'Though the Lord be high yet hath he respect unto the lowly

Text

Fawn's rennet. The goat.

Illustration

The image of the goat in the roundel, scratching his head with his hind leg, is not related to the attributes given in the text which describe him living in high mountains.

Comment

Pricking and ruling are visible. Initial indicator 'e' in left margin. Initial type 2.

Folio Attributes

  • Pricking

    Pricking

    Pricking
    Line pricking and ruling. Detail from f.7r

    Once the quires were arranged they had to be prepared for writing by drawing up the lines. Tiny parallel pinpricks were made on the outer and inner edges of each page and horizontal lines ruled between them. In a completed book these pinpricks should have been trimmed off during the final stages of production but in the Aberdeen Bestiary they have survived in 12 out of the 15 quires (only E , G and M are fully trimmed). Careful measuring shows that the holes were pricked with the quires folded up, using a long pointed pricker, because they are the same distance apart throughout an entire quire. In quires B and C there is a double hole on the penultimate line, indicating to the person ruling lines that the page is about to end. In these two quires the holes have a coarse triangular shape and are set up to 6mm in from the edge. Elsewhere the holes are smaller, circular and much closer to the edge. Pinpricks were also made at the top and bottom of the pages to provide vertical margins. These survive in every quire. In quires A.F,H,J,K,L,M and N there are single pricks for the vertical lines. In B and C there are double pricks and double margins while in G there are double pricks and a variety of single and double ruled lines. On f.48r (quire G) where there are double pricks for the margins, the wrong holes have been joined and the faulty diagonal line has been redrawn correctly.

  • Ruling

    Ruling

    Ruling
    Ruling continues under the illustration. Detail from f.16r

    After the leaves had been pricked, they were ready for ruling. Most pages up to quire F have 29 lines (except for the heavily illustrated quire A). The remaining quires use 28, 30 or 31 lines. The most regular ruling is found in B and C: the two top and bottom lines extend across the whole page. The lines in A, B and C are ruled in a grey colour. From D onwards the lines are a darker brown. The horizontal lines here are also neater, not overlapping the vertical margins. This would suggest that the ruling in A,B and C was done by a different person from the rest. In D and E there is a triple spaced double line across the top and bottom of the page but thereafter the ruling patterns become somewhat arbitrary. Sometimes there are double spaced top and bottom lines, sometimes the number of lines varies. On f.18v, the normal pattern of 29 lines is inadequate. It would appear that the scribe himself had to add two additional lines below the bottom margin, in order to complete his tale. Generally, the written space is 185 x 110/115mm. The ruling appears to have been made without any plan for the illuminations: on f.14r and f.16r the ruled lines pass under the illustration. Two pairs of leaves were left blank. F.3v-f.4r were probably intended to be glued together in order to support the weight of paint and gold leaf on f.4v. f.6r and f.6v precede the Lion story. In the Ashmole Bestiary, the lion has two full page illustrations, which were probably intended here. Two pairs of leaves are glued together. F.56r has a hole in it, which is concealed by being glued to the next page, f.56v. F.93r is glued to f.93v, probably because of the gilded double illumination on f.93v.

  • Initial Indicators

    Initial Indicators

    Initial Indicators
    Initial indicator 'v'. Detail from f.16r

    When the scribe was writing he would leave a gap on the page where an initial was supposed to be inserted. To make sure that the illuminated letter was correct, the scribe would write a very small initial in the margin. They are written on the outside edge of the sheet. Over 30 of these small letters survive. Up to quire C they are marked with the same black ink as the text. After that both black and red ink are used.

  • Initial Type 2

    Initial Type 2

    Initial Type 2
    Type 2 initial. Detail from f.5v

    Type 2 is much more common. The letter is made with burnished gold, filled with a blue or brown background which is decorated with a delicate white tracery. Many of these are embellished with red or blue traces or sprays. The Aberdeen Bestiary is a very early example of the use of sprays which culminates in the art of William de Brailes in the mid-thirteenth century (Morgan 1982,no.68). An elaborate spray is on f.41v. The fine white filigree pattern is also found on some of the illuminations (f.3r, f.11r, f.12r) suggesting that the main illuminator also made these initials. This type generally occupies two lines. This initial is generally used to introduce each new animal.

Transcription

absconduntur. Adversus venena mirificum est humuli [A: hinnuli] coagu\lum occisi matris sue utero. Patuit eos numquam febrescere. Quam ob cau\sam confecta ex medullis ipsorum unguina sedant calores\ hominum languentium. Legimus plurimos matutinis di\ebus cervinam carnem degustare solitos, sine febribus longe\vos fuisse, quod demum proderit si uno vulnere fuerint in\terempti.\ De capre\ Est animal quod latine\ dicitur caper, eo quod captet\ aspera, nonnulli a crepita \ capream vocant. Hee sunt\ agrestes capree quas greci\ quod acutissime videant,\ dorcas appellaverunt.\ Morantur in excelsis\ montibus, et de longinquo\ veniens [A: venientes], cognoscunt si\ venatores sint, aut via\tores. Sic dominus Iesus Christus amat excelsos montes, hoc est prophetas\ et apostolos, sicut in canticis canticorum dicitur: Ecce fratruelis meus\ sicut caprea venit, saliens super montes, transiliens colles, et sicut\ caprea in convalles pascitur. Dominus noster in ecclesia pascitur, bona opera\ Christianorum esce eius sunt, qui dicit: esurivi et dedistis mihi manduca\re; sitivi, et dedistis mihi bibere. Convallia montium ecclesie\ per diversa loca intelliguntur, sic in canticis canticorum dicitur: Ecce fratruelis meus convertere et esto similis capreis, hinnuloque cer\vorum. Quod acutissimam habet aciem oculorum, et perspicit\ omnia, et a longe cognoscit, significat dominum nostrum, qui dominus\ scienciarum deus est. Et alibi: Quam excelsus dominus et humilia\

Translation

The rennet of a fawn killed in its mother's womb is a marvellous remedy against poisons. It is known that deer never grow feverish. For this reason ointments made from their marrow bring down sick men's temperatures. We read that many men who have regularly eaten a small amount of venison since their early days have lived for a long time unaffected by fevers; but ultimately it fails them as a remedy if they are killed by a single blow. Of the goat There is an animal called in Latin caper, goat, because it chooses, capere, to live in rugged places; some call it capra from crepita, 'a rustling noise'. These are the tame goats which the Greeks called dorcas, gazelle, because they have very sharp sight. They live in high mountains and can tell if men approaching a long way off are hunters or travellers. In the same way, our Lord Jesus Christ loves high mountains, that is, the prophets and Apostles, as it says in the Song of Songs: 'Behold, my beloved cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills (see Song of Solomon, 2:8). As a goat grazes in the valleys, our Lord grazes on the church; the good works of Christian people are the food of him who said: 'For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink.' (Matthew, 25:35) By the valleys of the mountains are understood the churches spread through different regions, as it says in the Song of Songs: 'My beloved is like a roe or young hart.' (Song of Solomon, 2:9) The fact that the goat has very sharp eyesight, sees everything and recognises things from a long way off, signifies our Lord, who is the lord of all knowing and God. And elsewhere it is written: 'Though the Lord be high yet hath he respect unto the lowly
  • Commentary

    Text

    Fawn's rennet. The goat.

    Illustration

    The image of the goat in the roundel, scratching his head with his hind leg, is not related to the attributes given in the text which describe him living in high mountains.

    Comment

    Pricking and ruling are visible. Initial indicator 'e' in left margin. Initial type 2.

    Folio Attributes

    • Pricking

      Pricking

      Pricking
      Line pricking and ruling. Detail from f.7r

      Once the quires were arranged they had to be prepared for writing by drawing up the lines. Tiny parallel pinpricks were made on the outer and inner edges of each page and horizontal lines ruled between them. In a completed book these pinpricks should have been trimmed off during the final stages of production but in the Aberdeen Bestiary they have survived in 12 out of the 15 quires (only E , G and M are fully trimmed). Careful measuring shows that the holes were pricked with the quires folded up, using a long pointed pricker, because they are the same distance apart throughout an entire quire. In quires B and C there is a double hole on the penultimate line, indicating to the person ruling lines that the page is about to end. In these two quires the holes have a coarse triangular shape and are set up to 6mm in from the edge. Elsewhere the holes are smaller, circular and much closer to the edge. Pinpricks were also made at the top and bottom of the pages to provide vertical margins. These survive in every quire. In quires A.F,H,J,K,L,M and N there are single pricks for the vertical lines. In B and C there are double pricks and double margins while in G there are double pricks and a variety of single and double ruled lines. On f.48r (quire G) where there are double pricks for the margins, the wrong holes have been joined and the faulty diagonal line has been redrawn correctly.

    • Ruling

      Ruling

      Ruling
      Ruling continues under the illustration. Detail from f.16r

      After the leaves had been pricked, they were ready for ruling. Most pages up to quire F have 29 lines (except for the heavily illustrated quire A). The remaining quires use 28, 30 or 31 lines. The most regular ruling is found in B and C: the two top and bottom lines extend across the whole page. The lines in A, B and C are ruled in a grey colour. From D onwards the lines are a darker brown. The horizontal lines here are also neater, not overlapping the vertical margins. This would suggest that the ruling in A,B and C was done by a different person from the rest. In D and E there is a triple spaced double line across the top and bottom of the page but thereafter the ruling patterns become somewhat arbitrary. Sometimes there are double spaced top and bottom lines, sometimes the number of lines varies. On f.18v, the normal pattern of 29 lines is inadequate. It would appear that the scribe himself had to add two additional lines below the bottom margin, in order to complete his tale. Generally, the written space is 185 x 110/115mm. The ruling appears to have been made without any plan for the illuminations: on f.14r and f.16r the ruled lines pass under the illustration. Two pairs of leaves were left blank. F.3v-f.4r were probably intended to be glued together in order to support the weight of paint and gold leaf on f.4v. f.6r and f.6v precede the Lion story. In the Ashmole Bestiary, the lion has two full page illustrations, which were probably intended here. Two pairs of leaves are glued together. F.56r has a hole in it, which is concealed by being glued to the next page, f.56v. F.93r is glued to f.93v, probably because of the gilded double illumination on f.93v.

    • Initial Indicators

      Initial Indicators

      Initial Indicators
      Initial indicator 'v'. Detail from f.16r

      When the scribe was writing he would leave a gap on the page where an initial was supposed to be inserted. To make sure that the illuminated letter was correct, the scribe would write a very small initial in the margin. They are written on the outside edge of the sheet. Over 30 of these small letters survive. Up to quire C they are marked with the same black ink as the text. After that both black and red ink are used.

    • Initial Type 2

      Initial Type 2

      Initial Type 2
      Type 2 initial. Detail from f.5v

      Type 2 is much more common. The letter is made with burnished gold, filled with a blue or brown background which is decorated with a delicate white tracery. Many of these are embellished with red or blue traces or sprays. The Aberdeen Bestiary is a very early example of the use of sprays which culminates in the art of William de Brailes in the mid-thirteenth century (Morgan 1982,no.68). An elaborate spray is on f.41v. The fine white filigree pattern is also found on some of the illuminations (f.3r, f.11r, f.12r) suggesting that the main illuminator also made these initials. This type generally occupies two lines. This initial is generally used to introduce each new animal.

  • Translation
    The rennet of a fawn killed in its mother's womb is a marvellous remedy against poisons. It is known that deer never grow feverish. For this reason ointments made from their marrow bring down sick men's temperatures. We read that many men who have regularly eaten a small amount of venison since their early days have lived for a long time unaffected by fevers; but ultimately it fails them as a remedy if they are killed by a single blow. Of the goat There is an animal called in Latin caper, goat, because it chooses, capere, to live in rugged places; some call it capra from crepita, 'a rustling noise'. These are the tame goats which the Greeks called dorcas, gazelle, because they have very sharp sight. They live in high mountains and can tell if men approaching a long way off are hunters or travellers. In the same way, our Lord Jesus Christ loves high mountains, that is, the prophets and Apostles, as it says in the Song of Songs: 'Behold, my beloved cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills (see Song of Solomon, 2:8). As a goat grazes in the valleys, our Lord grazes on the church; the good works of Christian people are the food of him who said: 'For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink.' (Matthew, 25:35) By the valleys of the mountains are understood the churches spread through different regions, as it says in the Song of Songs: 'My beloved is like a roe or young hart.' (Song of Solomon, 2:9) The fact that the goat has very sharp eyesight, sees everything and recognises things from a long way off, signifies our Lord, who is the lord of all knowing and God. And elsewhere it is written: 'Though the Lord be high yet hath he respect unto the lowly
  • Transcription
    absconduntur. Adversus venena mirificum est humuli [A: hinnuli] coagu\lum occisi matris sue utero. Patuit eos numquam febrescere. Quam ob cau\sam confecta ex medullis ipsorum unguina sedant calores\ hominum languentium. Legimus plurimos matutinis di\ebus cervinam carnem degustare solitos, sine febribus longe\vos fuisse, quod demum proderit si uno vulnere fuerint in\terempti.\ De capre\ Est animal quod latine\ dicitur caper, eo quod captet\ aspera, nonnulli a crepita \ capream vocant. Hee sunt\ agrestes capree quas greci\ quod acutissime videant,\ dorcas appellaverunt.\ Morantur in excelsis\ montibus, et de longinquo\ veniens [A: venientes], cognoscunt si\ venatores sint, aut via\tores. Sic dominus Iesus Christus amat excelsos montes, hoc est prophetas\ et apostolos, sicut in canticis canticorum dicitur: Ecce fratruelis meus\ sicut caprea venit, saliens super montes, transiliens colles, et sicut\ caprea in convalles pascitur. Dominus noster in ecclesia pascitur, bona opera\ Christianorum esce eius sunt, qui dicit: esurivi et dedistis mihi manduca\re; sitivi, et dedistis mihi bibere. Convallia montium ecclesie\ per diversa loca intelliguntur, sic in canticis canticorum dicitur: Ecce fratruelis meus convertere et esto similis capreis, hinnuloque cer\vorum. Quod acutissimam habet aciem oculorum, et perspicit\ omnia, et a longe cognoscit, significat dominum nostrum, qui dominus\ scienciarum deus est. Et alibi: Quam excelsus dominus et humilia\
Folio 14r - Deer, continued. De capre; the goat. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen