The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 72r - Incipit de vermibus; Here begins the account of worms.


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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.
marrow changes into a snake'. This, if it can be believed, has a certain justice, for as the snake brings about the death of man, so it is created by the death of man. Here begins the account of worms The worm is a creature which generally springs from flesh, or wood or some other earthly material, but not as the result of intercourse, although occasionally they are hatched from eggs, like the scorpion. There are worms that live in earth or in water, in air, in flesh, in leaves or in wood, or in clothes. The spider, aranea, is a worm of the air, and gets its name from the fact that it lives on air; it draws out long threads from its small body, and devotes itself continually to spinning its web, never ceasing to toil, constantly suffering loss in its art. The land-based millipede, multipes, is so called from its large number of feet; rolled up in a ball, it swells in pitchers. The leech, sanguissuga, a water worm, is so called because it sucks blood, sanguinem sugere, and takes by surprise anyone who is drinking water. When it slides down the throat or adheres to any other part of the body, it drains the blood and when it can hold no more, it vomits what it has already swallowed in order to start sucking fresh blood again. The scorpion is a land worm, to be classed rather with worms than snakes; it is armed with a sting, aculeus, and from that it gets its Greek name, because it sticks its tail into its victim and spreads the poison through the bow-shaped wound. It is a characteristic of the scorpion, that it will not sting the palm of the hand. The silk-worm is a leaf worm; from the threads it weaves, we make silk. It gets its name because it empties itself when it makes thread and only air is left inside its body. The caterpillar is a leaf worm, often found enveloped in a cabbage or a vine; it gets its name from erodere, 'to eat away'. Plautus recalls it in this way: 'She imitates the wicked and worthless beast, wrapped in vine leaves' (Cistellaria, 728-30). It folds itself up and does not fly about like the locust, which hurries from place to place, in all directions, leaving things half-eaten, but stays amid the fruit that is destined to be destroyed and, munching slowly,

Text

Worms.

Comment

The next section of creatures, basically insects, otherwise called worms, is heralded by the major initial letter, type 3.

Transcription

angue medullas. Quod si creditur merito evenit ut sicut per ser\pentem mors hominis, ita et hominis morte serpens. \ Incipit de vermibus \ Vermis est animal\ quod plerumque de carne vel de ligno\ vel de quacumque re terrena sine ullo\ concubito gignitur, licet non nunquam\ et de ovis nascantur, sicut scorpio. Sunt\ autem vermes aut terre aut aque,\ aut aeris, aut carnium, aut frondi\um aut lignorum, aut vestimentorum.\ Aranea vermis aeris ab areis [PL, aeris] nutrimento cognominata, que\ exiguo corpore longa fila deducit, et tele semper intenta, nunquam\ desinit laborare, perpetuum sustinens in sua arte dispendium.\ Multipes terrenus ex multitudine pedum vocatus, qui con\tractus in globum urnas amplificat. Sanguissuga vermis\ aquatilis dicta quod sanguinem sugit, potantibus enim insidi\atur. Cumque illabitur faucibus vel ubi uspiam adheserit, sangui\nem haurit, et cum nimio cruore maduerit, evomit quod hau\sit, ut recentiorem denuo sugat. Scorpio vermis terrenus, qui\ pocius vermibus asscribitur non serpentibus, animal armatum aculeo\ et ex eo Grece vocatum quod caudam figat, et arcuato vulnere\ venena diffundat. Proprium autem scorpionis est, quod manus\ palmam non feriat. Bombocis frondium vermis, ex cuius\ textura bombicinium conficitur, appellatus autem hoc nomine\ ab eo quod evacuetur dum fila generat, et aer solus in eo remanet.\ Eruca frondium vermis, in olere vel pampino involuta ab ero\dendo dicta, de qua meminit Placitus [PL, Plautus]: Imitatus[r] nequam bestiam\ et maleficam pampinium involutam. Implicat se idem nec\ advolat, ut locusta huc illucque discurrens, semipasta dimittit,\ sed permanet perituris frugibus et tardo lapsu et pigris morsibus\

Translation

marrow changes into a snake'. This, if it can be believed, has a certain justice, for as the snake brings about the death of man, so it is created by the death of man. Here begins the account of worms The worm is a creature which generally springs from flesh, or wood or some other earthly material, but not as the result of intercourse, although occasionally they are hatched from eggs, like the scorpion. There are worms that live in earth or in water, in air, in flesh, in leaves or in wood, or in clothes. The spider, aranea, is a worm of the air, and gets its name from the fact that it lives on air; it draws out long threads from its small body, and devotes itself continually to spinning its web, never ceasing to toil, constantly suffering loss in its art. The land-based millipede, multipes, is so called from its large number of feet; rolled up in a ball, it swells in pitchers. The leech, sanguissuga, a water worm, is so called because it sucks blood, sanguinem sugere, and takes by surprise anyone who is drinking water. When it slides down the throat or adheres to any other part of the body, it drains the blood and when it can hold no more, it vomits what it has already swallowed in order to start sucking fresh blood again. The scorpion is a land worm, to be classed rather with worms than snakes; it is armed with a sting, aculeus, and from that it gets its Greek name, because it sticks its tail into its victim and spreads the poison through the bow-shaped wound. It is a characteristic of the scorpion, that it will not sting the palm of the hand. The silk-worm is a leaf worm; from the threads it weaves, we make silk. It gets its name because it empties itself when it makes thread and only air is left inside its body. The caterpillar is a leaf worm, often found enveloped in a cabbage or a vine; it gets its name from erodere, 'to eat away'. Plautus recalls it in this way: 'She imitates the wicked and worthless beast, wrapped in vine leaves' (Cistellaria, 728-30). It folds itself up and does not fly about like the locust, which hurries from place to place, in all directions, leaving things half-eaten, but stays amid the fruit that is destined to be destroyed and, munching slowly,
  • Commentary

    Text

    Worms.

    Comment

    The next section of creatures, basically insects, otherwise called worms, is heralded by the major initial letter, type 3.

  • Translation
    marrow changes into a snake'. This, if it can be believed, has a certain justice, for as the snake brings about the death of man, so it is created by the death of man. Here begins the account of worms The worm is a creature which generally springs from flesh, or wood or some other earthly material, but not as the result of intercourse, although occasionally they are hatched from eggs, like the scorpion. There are worms that live in earth or in water, in air, in flesh, in leaves or in wood, or in clothes. The spider, aranea, is a worm of the air, and gets its name from the fact that it lives on air; it draws out long threads from its small body, and devotes itself continually to spinning its web, never ceasing to toil, constantly suffering loss in its art. The land-based millipede, multipes, is so called from its large number of feet; rolled up in a ball, it swells in pitchers. The leech, sanguissuga, a water worm, is so called because it sucks blood, sanguinem sugere, and takes by surprise anyone who is drinking water. When it slides down the throat or adheres to any other part of the body, it drains the blood and when it can hold no more, it vomits what it has already swallowed in order to start sucking fresh blood again. The scorpion is a land worm, to be classed rather with worms than snakes; it is armed with a sting, aculeus, and from that it gets its Greek name, because it sticks its tail into its victim and spreads the poison through the bow-shaped wound. It is a characteristic of the scorpion, that it will not sting the palm of the hand. The silk-worm is a leaf worm; from the threads it weaves, we make silk. It gets its name because it empties itself when it makes thread and only air is left inside its body. The caterpillar is a leaf worm, often found enveloped in a cabbage or a vine; it gets its name from erodere, 'to eat away'. Plautus recalls it in this way: 'She imitates the wicked and worthless beast, wrapped in vine leaves' (Cistellaria, 728-30). It folds itself up and does not fly about like the locust, which hurries from place to place, in all directions, leaving things half-eaten, but stays amid the fruit that is destined to be destroyed and, munching slowly,
  • Transcription
    angue medullas. Quod si creditur merito evenit ut sicut per ser\pentem mors hominis, ita et hominis morte serpens. \ Incipit de vermibus \ Vermis est animal\ quod plerumque de carne vel de ligno\ vel de quacumque re terrena sine ullo\ concubito gignitur, licet non nunquam\ et de ovis nascantur, sicut scorpio. Sunt\ autem vermes aut terre aut aque,\ aut aeris, aut carnium, aut frondi\um aut lignorum, aut vestimentorum.\ Aranea vermis aeris ab areis [PL, aeris] nutrimento cognominata, que\ exiguo corpore longa fila deducit, et tele semper intenta, nunquam\ desinit laborare, perpetuum sustinens in sua arte dispendium.\ Multipes terrenus ex multitudine pedum vocatus, qui con\tractus in globum urnas amplificat. Sanguissuga vermis\ aquatilis dicta quod sanguinem sugit, potantibus enim insidi\atur. Cumque illabitur faucibus vel ubi uspiam adheserit, sangui\nem haurit, et cum nimio cruore maduerit, evomit quod hau\sit, ut recentiorem denuo sugat. Scorpio vermis terrenus, qui\ pocius vermibus asscribitur non serpentibus, animal armatum aculeo\ et ex eo Grece vocatum quod caudam figat, et arcuato vulnere\ venena diffundat. Proprium autem scorpionis est, quod manus\ palmam non feriat. Bombocis frondium vermis, ex cuius\ textura bombicinium conficitur, appellatus autem hoc nomine\ ab eo quod evacuetur dum fila generat, et aer solus in eo remanet.\ Eruca frondium vermis, in olere vel pampino involuta ab ero\dendo dicta, de qua meminit Placitus [PL, Plautus]: Imitatus[r] nequam bestiam\ et maleficam pampinium involutam. Implicat se idem nec\ advolat, ut locusta huc illucque discurrens, semipasta dimittit,\ sed permanet perituris frugibus et tardo lapsu et pigris morsibus\
Folio 72r - Incipit de vermibus; Here begins the account of worms. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen