The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 77v - Of fish, continued. De arboribus; Of trees.


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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.
Of these, some are called water frogs, others marsh; some are called toads, rubete, because they live in brambles, rubus; they are larger than the others. Others are called calamites, since they live among reeds, calamus, and bushes; they are the smallest of all, they are green, they are dumb, and they have no croak. Egredula are very small frogs living on dry ground or in fields, ager, from which they get their name. Some say that dogs will not bark if you give them a live frog to eat. According to Pliny, the names of the creatures living in water total one hundred and forty-four, divided, into the following species: monsters, amphibious serpents, crabs, shellfish, lobsters, mussels, polyps, flatfish, lizards, rockfish and those like it. Of trees The word for trees, arbores, and grasses, herbe, is believed to come from arva, a field, because they adhere to the earth with their roots which lie fast within it. The two words are almost the same, because one springs from the other. For when you throw a seed into the earth, first a grass shoot rises. Thereafter, with nourishment, it grows into a tree and within a short time, from looking down at shoot of grass you are looking up at a sapling. The word arbusta is, as it were, arboris hasta, 'the shaft of the tree'; the word arbustum is taken by others take it to mean 'plantation', a place where there are trees; as salictum and salicta, and turecta mean places where there are willows and small trees, young and turning green. A shrub, frutex, is small and is so called because puts forth leaves and covers, tegere, the ground; the plural form is frutecta. A wood, nemus, gets its name from numina, deities, because the heathen consecrated their idols there; for woods contain large trees, whose boughs give deep shade. A tall thicket of trees, lucus, is so called because it springs to a great height, rising to the sky. Grafting, insitio, is said to take place when a shoot from a fertile tree is implanted, inserere, into a cut made in the trunk of a barren tree. Cuttings, plante, are taken from trees. But sets, plantaria, are those which are grown from seed

Text

Types of frog. Trees.

Comment

The major initial 'A', type 3, marks the start of the section on trees and plants. The stem of the letter is formed by a sweeping dragon's tail. Colour indicator 'or' in margin, to indicate gilding.

Folio Attributes

  • Initial Type 3

    Initial Type 3

    Initial Type 3
    Type 3 initial. Detail from f.77v

    Type 3 is the most luxurious: a gold letter is framed by a blue or brown patterned square (f.3r, f.5v); or the other way around with a painted letter and gilded frame (f.36v, f.77v). On f.36v there are tiny red circles found on the clothing of God and Adam in quire A. Therefore the initials of type 3 are also by the main illuminator. Type 3 may occupy only two lines as in quire A or up to eight lines on f.77v. It is generally, but not always, used to signal a particularly significant section. So, it is used in the Creation sequence, and the start of the Bestiary proper. On f.25v it is used to highlight the start of a section on birds derived from the Aviarium by Hugo of Fouilloy, as distinct from the general bird section deriving from the ‘standard’ bestiary on f.25r. In the latter part of the book where there are fewer illustrations it is used to introduce the next category (f.72r passim): worms and insects, fish, trees, Isidore on the nature of man, Isidore on human body parts, and the condition of man. Three individual topics are given particular emphasis with the type 3 initial: the hoopoe (f.36r) famous for its filial piety; the magpie, likened to a poet (f.36v) and the perindens tree which can be understood as God (f.64v).

  • Colour Indicators

    Colour Indicators

    Colour Indicators
    Colour instruction on the crocodile. Detail from f.68v

    Some colour guides have been provided for both the illuminations and the initials. On f.68v, the illustration of the hydrus, the word ictrie can be seen on the body of the crocodile. The word probably relates to icturus or ictère, jaundiced, indicating the yellow hue of the crocodile. On f.81r, showing Isidore at work, the word harie (or hane) is written on Isidore's desk. This probably means aerus or sky blue. A similar word harie/aerie appears to the left of the firestones scene on f.93v (this is interpreted as mine for minium, red by Clark 1992, 269). In the upper sketch on f.93v there are also rather indistinct letters bis[ors(?)]. Bis means grey in Old French. On f.32v the letters ni (niteur, clear or bright) may be deciphered. In the margin beside some initials are the letters a, v, and or. These stand for azur, blue; vermeil/vermiculum, pink and gold. Indicators for the initials are found on f.28v, f.31v, f.32v, f.41v, f.47v, f.72v. These annotations were added after drawing and before painting the images, and after writing but before illuminating the initials. It is likely they were a memo from the artist to himself, perhaps in response to a model he was copying. The use of Old French rather than primarily Latin indicates the artist was literate but used the vernacular as his working language, even within a scriptorium.

Transcription

Ex quibus quedam aquatice dicuntur quedam palustres, quidam\ rubete ob id quod in vepribus vivunt, grandiores ceteris. Alie cala\mites vocantur quoniam inter arundines fruticesque vivunt, mini\me omnium et viridissime mute et sine voce sunt. Egredule\ rane parvule in sicco vel agris morantes unde et nuncupate.\ Negant quidam canes latrare, quibus offa rana viva fuerit\ data. Animalium omnium in aquis viventium nomina\ centum quadraginta quatuor. Plinius ait divisa cum generibus beluarum\ serpentium communium terre et aque. Cancrorum, conca\rum locustarum, peloridum philopporum, solearum, la\certorum, ut luligo, et huic similia. \ De arboribus \ Arborum nomen sive herbarum ab ar\vis inflexum creditur,\ eo quod terris fixis\ radicibus adhereant. Utraque autem ideo\ sibi pene similia sunt, quia ex uno al\terum gignitur. Nam dum sementem\ in terram ieceris, herba prius oritur. Dehinc\ confota surgit in arborem, et infra\ parvum tempus, quam herbam vi\deras arbustam suspicis. Arbusta quasi arboris hasta. Alii\ arbustum locum in quo arbores sunt volunt accipere, sicut\ salictum et salicta, et turecta [PL, virecta], ubi salices et virgule novelle\ et virentes. Frutex brevis est appellatus, quod terram frondet\ et tegat, cuius plurale nomen frutecta. Nemus a numinibus\ nuncupatum, quia pagani ibi idola consecrabant, sunt enim\ nemora arbores maiores umbrose frondibus. Lucus [PL, Saltus] est\ densitas arborum alta vocata hoc nomine eo quod exi\liat in altum et in sublime consurgat. Inficio [PL, insitio] dicitur cum\ inciso trunco surculus secunde [PL, fecunde] arboris sterili inseritur. Plante\ sunt de arboribus. Plantaria vero que ex semine nata sunt\

Translation

Of these, some are called water frogs, others marsh; some are called toads, rubete, because they live in brambles, rubus; they are larger than the others. Others are called calamites, since they live among reeds, calamus, and bushes; they are the smallest of all, they are green, they are dumb, and they have no croak. Egredula are very small frogs living on dry ground or in fields, ager, from which they get their name. Some say that dogs will not bark if you give them a live frog to eat. According to Pliny, the names of the creatures living in water total one hundred and forty-four, divided, into the following species: monsters, amphibious serpents, crabs, shellfish, lobsters, mussels, polyps, flatfish, lizards, rockfish and those like it. Of trees The word for trees, arbores, and grasses, herbe, is believed to come from arva, a field, because they adhere to the earth with their roots which lie fast within it. The two words are almost the same, because one springs from the other. For when you throw a seed into the earth, first a grass shoot rises. Thereafter, with nourishment, it grows into a tree and within a short time, from looking down at shoot of grass you are looking up at a sapling. The word arbusta is, as it were, arboris hasta, 'the shaft of the tree'; the word arbustum is taken by others take it to mean 'plantation', a place where there are trees; as salictum and salicta, and turecta mean places where there are willows and small trees, young and turning green. A shrub, frutex, is small and is so called because puts forth leaves and covers, tegere, the ground; the plural form is frutecta. A wood, nemus, gets its name from numina, deities, because the heathen consecrated their idols there; for woods contain large trees, whose boughs give deep shade. A tall thicket of trees, lucus, is so called because it springs to a great height, rising to the sky. Grafting, insitio, is said to take place when a shoot from a fertile tree is implanted, inserere, into a cut made in the trunk of a barren tree. Cuttings, plante, are taken from trees. But sets, plantaria, are those which are grown from seed
  • Commentary

    Text

    Types of frog. Trees.

    Comment

    The major initial 'A', type 3, marks the start of the section on trees and plants. The stem of the letter is formed by a sweeping dragon's tail. Colour indicator 'or' in margin, to indicate gilding.

    Folio Attributes

    • Initial Type 3

      Initial Type 3

      Initial Type 3
      Type 3 initial. Detail from f.77v

      Type 3 is the most luxurious: a gold letter is framed by a blue or brown patterned square (f.3r, f.5v); or the other way around with a painted letter and gilded frame (f.36v, f.77v). On f.36v there are tiny red circles found on the clothing of God and Adam in quire A. Therefore the initials of type 3 are also by the main illuminator. Type 3 may occupy only two lines as in quire A or up to eight lines on f.77v. It is generally, but not always, used to signal a particularly significant section. So, it is used in the Creation sequence, and the start of the Bestiary proper. On f.25v it is used to highlight the start of a section on birds derived from the Aviarium by Hugo of Fouilloy, as distinct from the general bird section deriving from the ‘standard’ bestiary on f.25r. In the latter part of the book where there are fewer illustrations it is used to introduce the next category (f.72r passim): worms and insects, fish, trees, Isidore on the nature of man, Isidore on human body parts, and the condition of man. Three individual topics are given particular emphasis with the type 3 initial: the hoopoe (f.36r) famous for its filial piety; the magpie, likened to a poet (f.36v) and the perindens tree which can be understood as God (f.64v).

    • Colour Indicators

      Colour Indicators

      Colour Indicators
      Colour instruction on the crocodile. Detail from f.68v

      Some colour guides have been provided for both the illuminations and the initials. On f.68v, the illustration of the hydrus, the word ictrie can be seen on the body of the crocodile. The word probably relates to icturus or ictère, jaundiced, indicating the yellow hue of the crocodile. On f.81r, showing Isidore at work, the word harie (or hane) is written on Isidore's desk. This probably means aerus or sky blue. A similar word harie/aerie appears to the left of the firestones scene on f.93v (this is interpreted as mine for minium, red by Clark 1992, 269). In the upper sketch on f.93v there are also rather indistinct letters bis[ors(?)]. Bis means grey in Old French. On f.32v the letters ni (niteur, clear or bright) may be deciphered. In the margin beside some initials are the letters a, v, and or. These stand for azur, blue; vermeil/vermiculum, pink and gold. Indicators for the initials are found on f.28v, f.31v, f.32v, f.41v, f.47v, f.72v. These annotations were added after drawing and before painting the images, and after writing but before illuminating the initials. It is likely they were a memo from the artist to himself, perhaps in response to a model he was copying. The use of Old French rather than primarily Latin indicates the artist was literate but used the vernacular as his working language, even within a scriptorium.

  • Translation
    Of these, some are called water frogs, others marsh; some are called toads, rubete, because they live in brambles, rubus; they are larger than the others. Others are called calamites, since they live among reeds, calamus, and bushes; they are the smallest of all, they are green, they are dumb, and they have no croak. Egredula are very small frogs living on dry ground or in fields, ager, from which they get their name. Some say that dogs will not bark if you give them a live frog to eat. According to Pliny, the names of the creatures living in water total one hundred and forty-four, divided, into the following species: monsters, amphibious serpents, crabs, shellfish, lobsters, mussels, polyps, flatfish, lizards, rockfish and those like it. Of trees The word for trees, arbores, and grasses, herbe, is believed to come from arva, a field, because they adhere to the earth with their roots which lie fast within it. The two words are almost the same, because one springs from the other. For when you throw a seed into the earth, first a grass shoot rises. Thereafter, with nourishment, it grows into a tree and within a short time, from looking down at shoot of grass you are looking up at a sapling. The word arbusta is, as it were, arboris hasta, 'the shaft of the tree'; the word arbustum is taken by others take it to mean 'plantation', a place where there are trees; as salictum and salicta, and turecta mean places where there are willows and small trees, young and turning green. A shrub, frutex, is small and is so called because puts forth leaves and covers, tegere, the ground; the plural form is frutecta. A wood, nemus, gets its name from numina, deities, because the heathen consecrated their idols there; for woods contain large trees, whose boughs give deep shade. A tall thicket of trees, lucus, is so called because it springs to a great height, rising to the sky. Grafting, insitio, is said to take place when a shoot from a fertile tree is implanted, inserere, into a cut made in the trunk of a barren tree. Cuttings, plante, are taken from trees. But sets, plantaria, are those which are grown from seed
  • Transcription
    Ex quibus quedam aquatice dicuntur quedam palustres, quidam\ rubete ob id quod in vepribus vivunt, grandiores ceteris. Alie cala\mites vocantur quoniam inter arundines fruticesque vivunt, mini\me omnium et viridissime mute et sine voce sunt. Egredule\ rane parvule in sicco vel agris morantes unde et nuncupate.\ Negant quidam canes latrare, quibus offa rana viva fuerit\ data. Animalium omnium in aquis viventium nomina\ centum quadraginta quatuor. Plinius ait divisa cum generibus beluarum\ serpentium communium terre et aque. Cancrorum, conca\rum locustarum, peloridum philopporum, solearum, la\certorum, ut luligo, et huic similia. \ De arboribus \ Arborum nomen sive herbarum ab ar\vis inflexum creditur,\ eo quod terris fixis\ radicibus adhereant. Utraque autem ideo\ sibi pene similia sunt, quia ex uno al\terum gignitur. Nam dum sementem\ in terram ieceris, herba prius oritur. Dehinc\ confota surgit in arborem, et infra\ parvum tempus, quam herbam vi\deras arbustam suspicis. Arbusta quasi arboris hasta. Alii\ arbustum locum in quo arbores sunt volunt accipere, sicut\ salictum et salicta, et turecta [PL, virecta], ubi salices et virgule novelle\ et virentes. Frutex brevis est appellatus, quod terram frondet\ et tegat, cuius plurale nomen frutecta. Nemus a numinibus\ nuncupatum, quia pagani ibi idola consecrabant, sunt enim\ nemora arbores maiores umbrose frondibus. Lucus [PL, Saltus] est\ densitas arborum alta vocata hoc nomine eo quod exi\liat in altum et in sublime consurgat. Inficio [PL, insitio] dicitur cum\ inciso trunco surculus secunde [PL, fecunde] arboris sterili inseritur. Plante\ sunt de arboribus. Plantaria vero que ex semine nata sunt\
Folio 77v - Of fish, continued. De arboribus; Of trees. | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen