The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 24v - the hedgehog continued. De formicis; Of ants.


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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.
thinking ahead, protects itself with twin ventilation ducts, son that when it thinks that the north wind is about to blow, it blocks the northern one, and when it knows that the south wind is giving warning of mist in the air, it goes to the northern passage to avoid the vapours blown from the opposite direction, which will do it harm. Of ants The ant has three characteristics. The first is that they march in line, each one carrying a grain of corn in its mouth. Those who have none do not say to the others: 'Give us some of your grain', but follow the tracks of those who first went out to the place where they find the corn and carry it off to their nest. Let this description serve to signify sensible men, who, like the ants, act in unity, as a result of which they will be rewarded in the future. The ant's second characteristic is that when it stores grain in its nest, it divides its supply in two, lest by chance it should be soaked in the winter rains, the seed germinate and the ant die of hunger. In the same way, you, O man, should keep separate the words of the Old and the New Testament, that is, distinguish between the spiritual and the carnal, lest the law interpreted literally should kill you, for the law is a spiritual thing, as the Apostle says: 'For the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life' (2 Corinthians, 3:6). For the Jews, who paid attention only to the letter of the law and scorned its spiritual interpretation, have died of hunger. The ant's third characteristic is that at harvest time it walks through the crop and finds out by nibbling the ears whether it is barley or wheat. If the crop is barley, the ant goes to another ear and sniffs it, and if it smells wheat, it climbs to the top of the ear and carries off the grain to its nest. For barley is food for beasts. As Job says: 'Barley grew for me instead of wheat' (see Job, 31:40), meaning the doctrine of heretics. For heresy is like barley, and should be cast away, because it shatters and destroys men's souls. Therefore, Christian, flee from all heretics; their teachings are false and hostile ...

Text

Hedgehog continued. Ants.

Illustration

Ants march in line carrying grain in their mouth. They collect the grain in two stores to reduce the chance of rain damage.

Comment

Pricking for pouncing on right side, refers to the mole on f. 24r. Red initial indicator 'f'' in left margin. Initial 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.

Transcription

futuri providus geminas sibi respirandi vias munit ut quando \boream flaturum collegerit, septemtrionalem obstruat, quando \nothum cognoverit detegere aeris nebulam ad septemtriona\lem se conferat ut flatus declinet obvios et regione nocituros. \ De formicis \ Formica tres naturas habet. Prima natura est ut ordina\te ambulent, et unaqueque earum granum baiulet in ore suo. \Et he que vacue sunt, non dicunt date nobis de granis vestris, \sed vadunt per vestigia priorum usque ad locum ubi frumentum \inveniunt et afferunt frumentum in cubile suum. Habet ad pru\dentium significationem dicta sufficiant, quia sicut formice con\gregant unde remunerentur in futuro. Secunda natura quando recon\dit grana in cubile suum dividit ea in duo, ne forte pluvia \infundantur in hieme, et germinent grana et fame pereat, sic et \tu homo verba veteris et novi testamenti divide, id est discerne inter \spiritualia et carnalia, ne littera te occidat, quam lex spiritualis est sicut \apostolus ait: Littera enim occidit, spritus autem vivificat. Judei namque \solam litteram attendentes, et spiritualem intellectum contempnen\tes, fame necati sunt. Tertia natura est. Tempore messis ambu \lat inter segetes, et ore intelligit an ordei sit spica an tritici. Si \fuerit ordei, transit ad aliud spicum et odorat, et si senserit quia \tritici est, ascendit in summitatem spici, et tollens inde gra\num portat in habitaculum suum. Ordeum enim brutorum \animalium cibus est. Unde dicit Job: pro tritico prodivit mihi ordeum, \scilicet doctrine hereticorum. Ordeacee enim sunt et procul abiciende, \que dirumpunt et interficiunt animas hominum. Fuge ergo \Christiane omnes hereticos quorum dogmata falsa et inimica sunt \

Translation

thinking ahead, protects itself with twin ventilation ducts, son that when it thinks that the north wind is about to blow, it blocks the northern one, and when it knows that the south wind is giving warning of mist in the air, it goes to the northern passage to avoid the vapours blown from the opposite direction, which will do it harm. Of ants The ant has three characteristics. The first is that they march in line, each one carrying a grain of corn in its mouth. Those who have none do not say to the others: 'Give us some of your grain', but follow the tracks of those who first went out to the place where they find the corn and carry it off to their nest. Let this description serve to signify sensible men, who, like the ants, act in unity, as a result of which they will be rewarded in the future. The ant's second characteristic is that when it stores grain in its nest, it divides its supply in two, lest by chance it should be soaked in the winter rains, the seed germinate and the ant die of hunger. In the same way, you, O man, should keep separate the words of the Old and the New Testament, that is, distinguish between the spiritual and the carnal, lest the law interpreted literally should kill you, for the law is a spiritual thing, as the Apostle says: 'For the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life' (2 Corinthians, 3:6). For the Jews, who paid attention only to the letter of the law and scorned its spiritual interpretation, have died of hunger. The ant's third characteristic is that at harvest time it walks through the crop and finds out by nibbling the ears whether it is barley or wheat. If the crop is barley, the ant goes to another ear and sniffs it, and if it smells wheat, it climbs to the top of the ear and carries off the grain to its nest. For barley is food for beasts. As Job says: 'Barley grew for me instead of wheat' (see Job, 31:40), meaning the doctrine of heretics. For heresy is like barley, and should be cast away, because it shatters and destroys men's souls. Therefore, Christian, flee from all heretics; their teachings are false and hostile ...
  • Commentary

    Text

    Hedgehog continued. Ants.

    Illustration

    Ants march in line carrying grain in their mouth. They collect the grain in two stores to reduce the chance of rain damage.

    Comment

    Pricking for pouncing on right side, refers to the mole on f. 24r. Red initial indicator 'f'' in left margin. Initial 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.

  • Translation
    thinking ahead, protects itself with twin ventilation ducts, son that when it thinks that the north wind is about to blow, it blocks the northern one, and when it knows that the south wind is giving warning of mist in the air, it goes to the northern passage to avoid the vapours blown from the opposite direction, which will do it harm. Of ants The ant has three characteristics. The first is that they march in line, each one carrying a grain of corn in its mouth. Those who have none do not say to the others: 'Give us some of your grain', but follow the tracks of those who first went out to the place where they find the corn and carry it off to their nest. Let this description serve to signify sensible men, who, like the ants, act in unity, as a result of which they will be rewarded in the future. The ant's second characteristic is that when it stores grain in its nest, it divides its supply in two, lest by chance it should be soaked in the winter rains, the seed germinate and the ant die of hunger. In the same way, you, O man, should keep separate the words of the Old and the New Testament, that is, distinguish between the spiritual and the carnal, lest the law interpreted literally should kill you, for the law is a spiritual thing, as the Apostle says: 'For the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life' (2 Corinthians, 3:6). For the Jews, who paid attention only to the letter of the law and scorned its spiritual interpretation, have died of hunger. The ant's third characteristic is that at harvest time it walks through the crop and finds out by nibbling the ears whether it is barley or wheat. If the crop is barley, the ant goes to another ear and sniffs it, and if it smells wheat, it climbs to the top of the ear and carries off the grain to its nest. For barley is food for beasts. As Job says: 'Barley grew for me instead of wheat' (see Job, 31:40), meaning the doctrine of heretics. For heresy is like barley, and should be cast away, because it shatters and destroys men's souls. Therefore, Christian, flee from all heretics; their teachings are false and hostile ...
  • Transcription
    futuri providus geminas sibi respirandi vias munit ut quando \boream flaturum collegerit, septemtrionalem obstruat, quando \nothum cognoverit detegere aeris nebulam ad septemtriona\lem se conferat ut flatus declinet obvios et regione nocituros. \ De formicis \ Formica tres naturas habet. Prima natura est ut ordina\te ambulent, et unaqueque earum granum baiulet in ore suo. \Et he que vacue sunt, non dicunt date nobis de granis vestris, \sed vadunt per vestigia priorum usque ad locum ubi frumentum \inveniunt et afferunt frumentum in cubile suum. Habet ad pru\dentium significationem dicta sufficiant, quia sicut formice con\gregant unde remunerentur in futuro. Secunda natura quando recon\dit grana in cubile suum dividit ea in duo, ne forte pluvia \infundantur in hieme, et germinent grana et fame pereat, sic et \tu homo verba veteris et novi testamenti divide, id est discerne inter \spiritualia et carnalia, ne littera te occidat, quam lex spiritualis est sicut \apostolus ait: Littera enim occidit, spritus autem vivificat. Judei namque \solam litteram attendentes, et spiritualem intellectum contempnen\tes, fame necati sunt. Tertia natura est. Tempore messis ambu \lat inter segetes, et ore intelligit an ordei sit spica an tritici. Si \fuerit ordei, transit ad aliud spicum et odorat, et si senserit quia \tritici est, ascendit in summitatem spici, et tollens inde gra\num portat in habitaculum suum. Ordeum enim brutorum \animalium cibus est. Unde dicit Job: pro tritico prodivit mihi ordeum, \scilicet doctrine hereticorum. Ordeacee enim sunt et procul abiciende, \que dirumpunt et interficiunt animas hominum. Fuge ergo \Christiane omnes hereticos quorum dogmata falsa et inimica sunt \
Folio 24v - the hedgehog continued. De formicis; Of ants. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen