The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 70v - the saura, continued. De stellione; Of the newt.


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.
The saura is a lizard which goes blind when it grows old; it enters a crack in a wall and, looking toward the east, it bends its gaze on the rising sun and regains its sight. Of the newt The newt, stellio, gets its name from its colouring. For it is adorned on its back with shining spots like stars, stella. Ovid says of it: 'Its name fits its colour; it is starred on the body with spots of various colours' (see Ovid, Metamorphoses, 5, 461). It is said to be so hostile to scorpions, that the sight of it paralyses them with fear. There are other species of snakes, like the admodite, elephantia, camedracontes. Finally, it can be said that snakes inflict as many kinds of death as they have names. All snakes are cold by nature; they will only strike you when their body warms up. For as long as it is cold, they will touch no-one. As a result, their poison is more harmful by day than by night. For they become sluggish in the cold of the night; and rightly so, because they grow cold in the night-time dew. For the deathly cold and freezing weather draw off the warmth of the body. Thus in winter they lie inactive in their nests; in summer, they grow lively again. So, if you are struck by a snake's poison, you are numbed at first; then, when the venom warms up and begins to burn, it kills you at once. Their poison is called 'venom', venenum, because it spreads through your veins. For when its deathly effect is introduced, it courses in every direction through the veins, increased by the quickening of the body, and drives out life. As a result, poison cannot hurt unless it infects your blood. Lucan says: 'The poison of snakes is only deadly when mixed with the blood' (Pharsalia, 9, 614). All poison is cold; as a result, the soul, which is by nature hot, flees from the poison's icy touch. In terms of the natural qualities which we observe that we, reasoning beings, share with animals, who have no capacity for reason, the serpent stands out by virtue of its lively intelligence. On this subject, it says in Genesis: 'Now the serpent was

Text

The saura goes blind, enters a crack in the wall, faces the sun and regains its sight. The stellio or newt has spots over his body.

Illustration

The saura is shown crawling through a crack in a wall towards the sun in order to regain his sight.

Comment

Stellio has spots, but should have legs too. Initials type 2.

Folio Attributes

  • 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

Saura lacertus qui quando senescit cecantur oculi eius, et\ intrat per foramen parietis aspiciens contra orientem\ et orto sole intendit et illuminatur. \ De stellione\ Stellio de colore inditum nomen habet. Est enim tergo\re pictus lucentibus guttis in modum stellarum. De quo\ Ovidius: Aptumque colori. Nomen habet variis stellatus corpore\ guttis. Hic autem scorpionibus adeo contrarius traditur, ut viso\ eo pavorem his afferat et torporem. Sunt et alia genera ser\pentium, ut admodite, elephantie, camedracontes. Postremo\ quantus nominum, tantus mortuum numerus. Omnes ser\pentes natura sua frigide sunt nec percuciunt nisi quando calescunt.\ Nam quando sunt frigidi nullum tangunt. Unde et venena eorum\ plus die quam nocte nocent. Torpent enim noctis algore, et merito\ quia frigidi sunt nocturno rore. In se enim adducunt vapo\rem corporis frigide pestes, et nature gelide. Unde et in hieme\ in nidos torpent, estate solvuntur. Inde est quod quicumque veneno\ serpentium percutitur primum obstupescit, et postea ubi in illo ca\lefactum ipsum virus exarserit, statim hominem extinguit. Ve\nenum autem dictum, quia per venas vadit. Infusa enim pestis eius per\ venas vegetatione[m] corporis aucta discurrit, et animam exigit.\ Unde non potest venenum nocere, nisi hominis tetigit sanguinem.\ Lucanus: Noxio serpentium est, admixto sanguine pestis. Omne autem\ venenum est frigidum, et ideo anima que est ignea fugit venenum\ frigidum. In naturalibus bonis que nobis et irrationabilibus\ animantibus videmus esse communia, vivacitate quadam sensus\ serpens excellit. Unde legitur in Genesi: Serpens autem erat sapi\

Translation

The saura is a lizard which goes blind when it grows old; it enters a crack in a wall and, looking toward the east, it bends its gaze on the rising sun and regains its sight. Of the newt The newt, stellio, gets its name from its colouring. For it is adorned on its back with shining spots like stars, stella. Ovid says of it: 'Its name fits its colour; it is starred on the body with spots of various colours' (see Ovid, Metamorphoses, 5, 461). It is said to be so hostile to scorpions, that the sight of it paralyses them with fear. There are other species of snakes, like the admodite, elephantia, camedracontes. Finally, it can be said that snakes inflict as many kinds of death as they have names. All snakes are cold by nature; they will only strike you when their body warms up. For as long as it is cold, they will touch no-one. As a result, their poison is more harmful by day than by night. For they become sluggish in the cold of the night; and rightly so, because they grow cold in the night-time dew. For the deathly cold and freezing weather draw off the warmth of the body. Thus in winter they lie inactive in their nests; in summer, they grow lively again. So, if you are struck by a snake's poison, you are numbed at first; then, when the venom warms up and begins to burn, it kills you at once. Their poison is called 'venom', venenum, because it spreads through your veins. For when its deathly effect is introduced, it courses in every direction through the veins, increased by the quickening of the body, and drives out life. As a result, poison cannot hurt unless it infects your blood. Lucan says: 'The poison of snakes is only deadly when mixed with the blood' (Pharsalia, 9, 614). All poison is cold; as a result, the soul, which is by nature hot, flees from the poison's icy touch. In terms of the natural qualities which we observe that we, reasoning beings, share with animals, who have no capacity for reason, the serpent stands out by virtue of its lively intelligence. On this subject, it says in Genesis: 'Now the serpent was
  • Commentary

    Text

    The saura goes blind, enters a crack in the wall, faces the sun and regains its sight. The stellio or newt has spots over his body.

    Illustration

    The saura is shown crawling through a crack in a wall towards the sun in order to regain his sight.

    Comment

    Stellio has spots, but should have legs too. Initials type 2.

    Folio Attributes

    • 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 saura is a lizard which goes blind when it grows old; it enters a crack in a wall and, looking toward the east, it bends its gaze on the rising sun and regains its sight. Of the newt The newt, stellio, gets its name from its colouring. For it is adorned on its back with shining spots like stars, stella. Ovid says of it: 'Its name fits its colour; it is starred on the body with spots of various colours' (see Ovid, Metamorphoses, 5, 461). It is said to be so hostile to scorpions, that the sight of it paralyses them with fear. There are other species of snakes, like the admodite, elephantia, camedracontes. Finally, it can be said that snakes inflict as many kinds of death as they have names. All snakes are cold by nature; they will only strike you when their body warms up. For as long as it is cold, they will touch no-one. As a result, their poison is more harmful by day than by night. For they become sluggish in the cold of the night; and rightly so, because they grow cold in the night-time dew. For the deathly cold and freezing weather draw off the warmth of the body. Thus in winter they lie inactive in their nests; in summer, they grow lively again. So, if you are struck by a snake's poison, you are numbed at first; then, when the venom warms up and begins to burn, it kills you at once. Their poison is called 'venom', venenum, because it spreads through your veins. For when its deathly effect is introduced, it courses in every direction through the veins, increased by the quickening of the body, and drives out life. As a result, poison cannot hurt unless it infects your blood. Lucan says: 'The poison of snakes is only deadly when mixed with the blood' (Pharsalia, 9, 614). All poison is cold; as a result, the soul, which is by nature hot, flees from the poison's icy touch. In terms of the natural qualities which we observe that we, reasoning beings, share with animals, who have no capacity for reason, the serpent stands out by virtue of its lively intelligence. On this subject, it says in Genesis: 'Now the serpent was
  • Transcription
    Saura lacertus qui quando senescit cecantur oculi eius, et\ intrat per foramen parietis aspiciens contra orientem\ et orto sole intendit et illuminatur. \ De stellione\ Stellio de colore inditum nomen habet. Est enim tergo\re pictus lucentibus guttis in modum stellarum. De quo\ Ovidius: Aptumque colori. Nomen habet variis stellatus corpore\ guttis. Hic autem scorpionibus adeo contrarius traditur, ut viso\ eo pavorem his afferat et torporem. Sunt et alia genera ser\pentium, ut admodite, elephantie, camedracontes. Postremo\ quantus nominum, tantus mortuum numerus. Omnes ser\pentes natura sua frigide sunt nec percuciunt nisi quando calescunt.\ Nam quando sunt frigidi nullum tangunt. Unde et venena eorum\ plus die quam nocte nocent. Torpent enim noctis algore, et merito\ quia frigidi sunt nocturno rore. In se enim adducunt vapo\rem corporis frigide pestes, et nature gelide. Unde et in hieme\ in nidos torpent, estate solvuntur. Inde est quod quicumque veneno\ serpentium percutitur primum obstupescit, et postea ubi in illo ca\lefactum ipsum virus exarserit, statim hominem extinguit. Ve\nenum autem dictum, quia per venas vadit. Infusa enim pestis eius per\ venas vegetatione[m] corporis aucta discurrit, et animam exigit.\ Unde non potest venenum nocere, nisi hominis tetigit sanguinem.\ Lucanus: Noxio serpentium est, admixto sanguine pestis. Omne autem\ venenum est frigidum, et ideo anima que est ignea fugit venenum\ frigidum. In naturalibus bonis que nobis et irrationabilibus\ animantibus videmus esse communia, vivacitate quadam sensus\ serpens excellit. Unde legitur in Genesi: Serpens autem erat sapi\
Folio 70v - the saura, continued. De stellione; Of the newt. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen