The vulture. The female vulture gives birth without copulation, like the Virgin Mary. Vultures know when death is near.
two fierce birds oppose each other in a circle.
The Bestiary illustrators did not know vultures, so the bird tends to look similar to the eagle. There is a faint sketch of two concentric circles to the left of the illustration. Within the circles it is just possible to discern the neck of the right vulture. Initial type 2.
- Transcription and Translation
Transcriptionusu nuptialis\ copule sorte\ misceri, atque\ ita sine ullo\ masculorum\ concipere semine\ et sine coniunc\ tione generare,\ natosque ex his\ in multam eta\ tis longevitatem\ procedere, ut usque\ ad centum an\ nos vite eorum\ series producatur, nec facile eos angusti evi finis excipiat. Quid\ aiunt qui solent natura ridere misteria cum audiunt quod virgo ge\ neravit et impossibilem innupte cuius pudorem nulla viri consue\ tudo temerasset existimant partum. Impossibile putatur in dei\ matre quod in vulturibus possibile non negatur. Avis sine masculo\ parit et nullus refellit, et quia desponsata Maria virgo peperit,\ pudoris eius faciunt questionem. Nonne advertimus quod dominus\ ex ipsa natura et astrueret veritatem. Vultures mortem homi\ num signis quibusdam annuntiare consueverunt, Quo indicio\ docti atque instructi sunt, ut cum bellum lacrimabile inter se\ adverse acies instruant, multo predicte volucres sequantur agmi\ ne et eo significent quod multitudo hominum casura sit bel\ lo, futura preda vulturibus.\ Item de vulturibus \ Semitam ignoravit avis, nec intuitus est oculos [oculus] vulturis.\ Quis hoc loco avis nomine nisi ille signatur, qui corpus\
Translationand are not united with the other sex in the conjugal act of marriage; that the females conceive without the male seed and give birth without union with the male; and that their offspring live to a great age, so that the course of their life extends to one hundred years, and that an early death does not readily overtake them. What can they say, those people who are by nature accustomed to mock the mysteries of the Christian faith, when they hear that a virgin gave birth, yet maintain that childbirth is impossible for an unmarried woman, whose virginity is undefiled by intercourse with a man? What they do not deny is possible in vultures, they think is impossible in the mother of God. female bird gives birth without a male and no-one disputes it; but because Mary, betrothed as a virgin, gave birth, they question her chastity. Do we not make them aware that our Lord, from his very nature, affirms the truth? Vultures regularly foretell from certain signs that men will die. This is one such sign, from which they learn and make ready: when opposing armies prepare for the lamentable event of war, the birds follow in a large flock, signifying by this that many will fall in battle - to be the vultures' prey. Again of vultures 'There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen' (Job, 28:7). Who is meant here by the word 'bird' if not he who