The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 24r - the weasel continued. De talpa; the mole. De ericiis; the hedgehog.


Translation Open Book View Download image for personal, teaching or research purposes Help Copyright

Help

To explore the image, simply click the image to zoom, double-click to zoom out, or click-drag to pan. You can also zoom in and out using the mouse scroll wheel.

Shortcuts

(Alt is Option on Macintosh)

  • Alt-click-drag to create a zoom-rectangle
  • Alt-click / Alt-double-click to zoom fully in / out
  • Alt-click-Reset button to return to the prior view

The thumbnail view in the top left can also be clicked or click-dragged to pan.

Keyboard shortcuts:

  • a to zoom in
  • z to zoom out
  • Arrow keys pan arround the image
  • Escape resets initial view or exits fullscreen

Toolbar buttons

Use the Toolbar for exact navigation - if using a mouse, hold it over any button to see a helpful tip.


Zoom out

Zoom in

Pan left

Pan right

Pan up

Pan down

Reset Image

Full screen view

View translation alongside image

View double page - bi folio

Download image for personal, research or teaching purposes

Help

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.
It hunts snakes and mice. There are two kinds of weasel. One, of very different size from the other, lives in the forest. The Greeks call these ictidas; the other roams around in houses. Some say that weasels conceive through the ear and give birth through the mouth; others say, on the contrary, that they conceive through the mouth and give birth through the ear; it is said, also, that they are skilled in healing, so that if by chance their young are killed, and their parents succeed in finding them, they can bring their offspring back to life. Weasels signify the not inconsiderable number of people who listen willingly enough to the seed of the divine word but, caught up in their love of wordly things, ignore it and take no account of what they have heard. Of the mole The mole is called talpa because it is condemned to darkness by its permanent blindness. For it lacks eyes, eyeless, is always digging in the ground and throwing out the soil, and feeds on the the roots of the plants which the Greeks call aphala, vetch. Of hedgehogs The hedgehog is covered in prickles. From this it gets its name, because it bristles, when it is enclosed in its prickles and is protected by them on all sides against attack. For as soon as it senses anything, it first bristles then, rolling itself into a ball, regains its courage behind its armour. The hedgehog has a certain kind of foresight: as it tears off a grape, it rolls backwards on it and so delivers it to its young. It is also called echinus, urchin. This 'urchin',

Text

The weasel continued. The blind mole. Hedgehogs.

Illustration

The mole has no eyes. The hedgehogs, covered in bristles, roll up in a ball, and carry grapes back to their young by impaling them on their spines.

Comment

Pricking for pouncing on the mole includes details of the shaded areas. Initial indicator 't' in red on right margin. Initials type 2.

Folio Attributes

  • 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.

  • Pouncing

    Pouncing

    Pouncing
    Pouncing. Detail of Hyena from f.11v

    Pouncing is a method of copying images from one sheet of vellum to another by making a series of tiny prick marks around the required image. The image would be pricked straight through to a sheet below. This would become the template from which several copies could be made without further harm to the original. The pricked sheet would be sprinkled with a very fine dust like charcoal or pumice, which would trickle through the holes producing the required image below. It was a convenient way to duplicate images in a scriptorium where many similar copies of a book were required. Although the Ashmolean Bestiary has very similar images to the Aberdeen Bestiary, in general their different proportions show that they were not a direct copy. The evidence of pouncing in the Aberdeen Bestiary suggests that there was yet another member of this family of manuscripts, directly dependent on the Aberdeen design. Images marked in this way are on f.2r fishes, f.3r the creation of Eve (more visible on f.3v), f.11v hyena, f.12v ape, f.18r dog, f.24r mole, f.36v hoopoe, f.37r magpies, f.51v bat, f.54r partridge, f.56r phoenix, f.59r ducks, f.59v peacock, f.63r bees, f.66v vipers, f.68v anphivena, f.69v seps. In most cases it is impossible to tell when the pouncing took place but the Aberdeen Bestiary has evidence that some pictures were done while the book was being made and some were done after completion (Clark 1992,107). The Creation of Eve (f.3r) and the phoenix (f.56r) are both punched and blank on the verso. The two pages after the phoenix are blank and glued together, thus preventing the pricks on f.56r from damaging the new f.56v. The same can be observed at f.3r which is followed by two blanks and the next image on f.4v. Clearly these were intended to be stuck together to minimise the effect of pricking around Eve, and to support the heavy layers of paint and gold of the Christ in Majesty. Decisions to leave these blank pages must have been made while the drawings were being produced. Elsewhere the pouncing damages the other side of the folio, often including an illumination. These incursions must have been made after the book was complete.

Transcription

tes et mures persequitur. Duo autem earum genera sunt. Altera \enim silvestre distans magnitudine. Has Greci ictidas vo\cant, altera in domibus oberrans. Quidam dicunt eas aure \concipere et ore generare, et econtrario quidam dicunt eas ore \concipere et aure generare, dicuntur etiam perite medicine, ita ut \si forte occisi fuerint eorum fetus, si invenire potuerint, redi\vivos faciant. Significant autem aliquantos qui libenter \quidem audiunt divini verbi semen, sed amore terrenarum rerum \decenti pretermittunt et dissimulant quod audierint. \ De talpa \ Talpa dicta quod sit dampnata ceci\tate perpetua tenebris. Est enim \absque oculis, semper terram fodit, et humum \egerit, et radices subter frugibus comedit quod \Greci aphala vocant. \ De ericiis \ Ericius animal ex \spinis coopertum. \Quod exinde dicitur nomi\natum, eo quod subrigit \se quando spinis suis clau\ditur, quibus undique pro\tectus est contra insidi\as. Nam statim ut \aliquid presenserit, pri\mum se subrigit atque \in globum conversus \in sua se arma recol\ligit. Huius prudentia \quedam est, nam dum \absciderit uuam derute, sese volutat supinus super eam, \et sic exhibet natis suis. Dicitur etiam echinus. Idemque echinus \

Translation

It hunts snakes and mice. There are two kinds of weasel. One, of very different size from the other, lives in the forest. The Greeks call these ictidas; the other roams around in houses. Some say that weasels conceive through the ear and give birth through the mouth; others say, on the contrary, that they conceive through the mouth and give birth through the ear; it is said, also, that they are skilled in healing, so that if by chance their young are killed, and their parents succeed in finding them, they can bring their offspring back to life. Weasels signify the not inconsiderable number of people who listen willingly enough to the seed of the divine word but, caught up in their love of wordly things, ignore it and take no account of what they have heard. Of the mole The mole is called talpa because it is condemned to darkness by its permanent blindness. For it lacks eyes, eyeless, is always digging in the ground and throwing out the soil, and feeds on the the roots of the plants which the Greeks call aphala, vetch. Of hedgehogs The hedgehog is covered in prickles. From this it gets its name, because it bristles, when it is enclosed in its prickles and is protected by them on all sides against attack. For as soon as it senses anything, it first bristles then, rolling itself into a ball, regains its courage behind its armour. The hedgehog has a certain kind of foresight: as it tears off a grape, it rolls backwards on it and so delivers it to its young. It is also called echinus, urchin. This 'urchin',
  • Commentary

    Text

    The weasel continued. The blind mole. Hedgehogs.

    Illustration

    The mole has no eyes. The hedgehogs, covered in bristles, roll up in a ball, and carry grapes back to their young by impaling them on their spines.

    Comment

    Pricking for pouncing on the mole includes details of the shaded areas. Initial indicator 't' in red on right margin. Initials type 2.

    Folio Attributes

    • 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.

    • Pouncing

      Pouncing

      Pouncing
      Pouncing. Detail of Hyena from f.11v

      Pouncing is a method of copying images from one sheet of vellum to another by making a series of tiny prick marks around the required image. The image would be pricked straight through to a sheet below. This would become the template from which several copies could be made without further harm to the original. The pricked sheet would be sprinkled with a very fine dust like charcoal or pumice, which would trickle through the holes producing the required image below. It was a convenient way to duplicate images in a scriptorium where many similar copies of a book were required. Although the Ashmolean Bestiary has very similar images to the Aberdeen Bestiary, in general their different proportions show that they were not a direct copy. The evidence of pouncing in the Aberdeen Bestiary suggests that there was yet another member of this family of manuscripts, directly dependent on the Aberdeen design. Images marked in this way are on f.2r fishes, f.3r the creation of Eve (more visible on f.3v), f.11v hyena, f.12v ape, f.18r dog, f.24r mole, f.36v hoopoe, f.37r magpies, f.51v bat, f.54r partridge, f.56r phoenix, f.59r ducks, f.59v peacock, f.63r bees, f.66v vipers, f.68v anphivena, f.69v seps. In most cases it is impossible to tell when the pouncing took place but the Aberdeen Bestiary has evidence that some pictures were done while the book was being made and some were done after completion (Clark 1992,107). The Creation of Eve (f.3r) and the phoenix (f.56r) are both punched and blank on the verso. The two pages after the phoenix are blank and glued together, thus preventing the pricks on f.56r from damaging the new f.56v. The same can be observed at f.3r which is followed by two blanks and the next image on f.4v. Clearly these were intended to be stuck together to minimise the effect of pricking around Eve, and to support the heavy layers of paint and gold of the Christ in Majesty. Decisions to leave these blank pages must have been made while the drawings were being produced. Elsewhere the pouncing damages the other side of the folio, often including an illumination. These incursions must have been made after the book was complete.

  • Translation
    It hunts snakes and mice. There are two kinds of weasel. One, of very different size from the other, lives in the forest. The Greeks call these ictidas; the other roams around in houses. Some say that weasels conceive through the ear and give birth through the mouth; others say, on the contrary, that they conceive through the mouth and give birth through the ear; it is said, also, that they are skilled in healing, so that if by chance their young are killed, and their parents succeed in finding them, they can bring their offspring back to life. Weasels signify the not inconsiderable number of people who listen willingly enough to the seed of the divine word but, caught up in their love of wordly things, ignore it and take no account of what they have heard. Of the mole The mole is called talpa because it is condemned to darkness by its permanent blindness. For it lacks eyes, eyeless, is always digging in the ground and throwing out the soil, and feeds on the the roots of the plants which the Greeks call aphala, vetch. Of hedgehogs The hedgehog is covered in prickles. From this it gets its name, because it bristles, when it is enclosed in its prickles and is protected by them on all sides against attack. For as soon as it senses anything, it first bristles then, rolling itself into a ball, regains its courage behind its armour. The hedgehog has a certain kind of foresight: as it tears off a grape, it rolls backwards on it and so delivers it to its young. It is also called echinus, urchin. This 'urchin',
  • Transcription
    tes et mures persequitur. Duo autem earum genera sunt. Altera \enim silvestre distans magnitudine. Has Greci ictidas vo\cant, altera in domibus oberrans. Quidam dicunt eas aure \concipere et ore generare, et econtrario quidam dicunt eas ore \concipere et aure generare, dicuntur etiam perite medicine, ita ut \si forte occisi fuerint eorum fetus, si invenire potuerint, redi\vivos faciant. Significant autem aliquantos qui libenter \quidem audiunt divini verbi semen, sed amore terrenarum rerum \decenti pretermittunt et dissimulant quod audierint. \ De talpa \ Talpa dicta quod sit dampnata ceci\tate perpetua tenebris. Est enim \absque oculis, semper terram fodit, et humum \egerit, et radices subter frugibus comedit quod \Greci aphala vocant. \ De ericiis \ Ericius animal ex \spinis coopertum. \Quod exinde dicitur nomi\natum, eo quod subrigit \se quando spinis suis clau\ditur, quibus undique pro\tectus est contra insidi\as. Nam statim ut \aliquid presenserit, pri\mum se subrigit atque \in globum conversus \in sua se arma recol\ligit. Huius prudentia \quedam est, nam dum \absciderit uuam derute, sese volutat supinus super eam, \et sic exhibet natis suis. Dicitur etiam echinus. Idemque echinus \
Folio 24r - the weasel continued. De talpa; the mole. De ericiis; the hedgehog. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen