The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 78v - De propriis nominibus arborum; Of the particular names of trees. De ficu; Of the fig tree


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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.
they are turned into light, lumen; wood is also called lignus because it gives light. The word for a burning brand of wood is torris; it is commonly called titio, when it lies partly burned and cold on the hearth. Quisquilie is the word for the mixture of stalks, withered shoots and dead leaves; they are the sweepings of the trees. Of the particular names of trees The palm, palma, is so called because it adorns the victorious hand, or because its branches are spread out in the manner of the palm of man's hand. For the tree is the symbol of victory; it bears long and beautiful branches, and is clad in long-lasting foliage, which it keeps without any replacement. The Greeks call this tree 'phoenix', because it lasts a long time, taking the name of the bird of Arabia, which is said to live for many years; the fruits of the palm are called dactilia, from their resemblance to fingers. The laurel, laurus, comes from the word laus, praise, for the heads of the victorious were crowned with laurel. In fact, among the ancients, laurels were called laudea. Later the letter D was removed and replaced by R, so that it was called laurus, as in the words auricule, which was originally audicule, and medidies, now called meridies. The Greeks call the laurel daphne, because it never loses its greenery; that is why it was preferred as a crown for the victorious. It is commonly believed to the only tree which is never struck by lightning. The apple-tree, malus, was so called by the Greeks because its fruit was rounder than any other. From this comes the belief that real apples are those which are exceedingly well-rounded. The tree known as malomellus is so called from its sweetness, either because its fruit has the taste of honey, mel, or because it is preserved in honey. The Punic apple, malum punicum, is so called because its species was imported from the area of Carthage, Punicus. It is also called the seeded apple, malum granatum, because it contains, within the sphere formed by its skin, a large quantity of seeds, granum. Of the fig tree The fig tree is so called from its fruitfulness, fecunditas, for it is more fruitful than other trees, bearing fruit three or four times in a single year, one crop ripening as the other appears. For this reason the figs known as carice are so called because of their abundance. The Egyptian fig tree is said to be more fruitful. If you throw its wood into water, it sinks right down; when it has lain on the mud

Text

The palm, laurel, apple and fig.

Comment

Initial 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

convertuntur in lumen, unde et lignus dicitur quod lumen det.\ Torris lignum adustum, quem vulgus titionem vocat, foco\ semiustum et extinctum. Quisquilie sunt stipule inmixte\ surculis ac foliis aridis. Sunt purgamenta terrarum. \ De pro\ priis nominibus arborum. \ Palma dicta quia manus victricis\ ornata est, vel quod oppansis est ramis in modum palme\ hominis. Est enim arbor insignis [PL, insigne] victorie proceroque ac decoro\ virgulto diuturnisque vestita frondibus et folia sua sine suc\sensione [PL, successione] conservans. Hanc Greci phenicem dicunt, quod diu\ durat, ex nomine avis illius Arabie, que multis annis vi\vere perhibetur, fructus eius dactilia digitorum similitudine\ nuncupati sunt. Laurus a verbo laudis dicta, hac enim victo\rum capita coronabantur. Apud antiquos autem laudea no\minabatur. Postea quinta littera sublata, et subrogata r dicta est\ laurus, ut in auriculis que in inicio audicule dicte sunt, et\ medidies qui nunc meridies dicitur. Hanc arborem Greci daphi\nem vocant, eo quod nunquam deponat viriditatem. Inde il\la pocius victores coronantur. Solaque hec arbor vulgo fulmina\ri et minime creditur. Malus a Grecis dicta quod sit fructus eius\ pomorum omnium rotundissimus. Unde et hec sunt vera\ mala que vehementer rotunda sunt. Malomellus a dulcedi\ ne appellata quod fructus eius mellis saporem habeat, vel\ quod in melle serventur. Malum punicum dicitur, quod ex Punica\ regione sit genus eius translatum. Idem et malum granatum eo quod\ inter rotunditatem corticis granorum contineat multitudinem.\ De ficu \ Ficus Latine a fecunditate vocatur,\ feracior est enim arboribus ceteris, nam ter quaterque per singulos\ annos generat fructum, atque altero maturescente alter oboritur.\ Hinc et carice a copia nominate. Ficus Egiptia fecundior fertur,\ cuius lignum in aquam missum continuo mergitur et cum in limo\

Translation

they are turned into light, lumen; wood is also called lignus because it gives light. The word for a burning brand of wood is torris; it is commonly called titio, when it lies partly burned and cold on the hearth. Quisquilie is the word for the mixture of stalks, withered shoots and dead leaves; they are the sweepings of the trees. Of the particular names of trees The palm, palma, is so called because it adorns the victorious hand, or because its branches are spread out in the manner of the palm of man's hand. For the tree is the symbol of victory; it bears long and beautiful branches, and is clad in long-lasting foliage, which it keeps without any replacement. The Greeks call this tree 'phoenix', because it lasts a long time, taking the name of the bird of Arabia, which is said to live for many years; the fruits of the palm are called dactilia, from their resemblance to fingers. The laurel, laurus, comes from the word laus, praise, for the heads of the victorious were crowned with laurel. In fact, among the ancients, laurels were called laudea. Later the letter D was removed and replaced by R, so that it was called laurus, as in the words auricule, which was originally audicule, and medidies, now called meridies. The Greeks call the laurel daphne, because it never loses its greenery; that is why it was preferred as a crown for the victorious. It is commonly believed to the only tree which is never struck by lightning. The apple-tree, malus, was so called by the Greeks because its fruit was rounder than any other. From this comes the belief that real apples are those which are exceedingly well-rounded. The tree known as malomellus is so called from its sweetness, either because its fruit has the taste of honey, mel, or because it is preserved in honey. The Punic apple, malum punicum, is so called because its species was imported from the area of Carthage, Punicus. It is also called the seeded apple, malum granatum, because it contains, within the sphere formed by its skin, a large quantity of seeds, granum. Of the fig tree The fig tree is so called from its fruitfulness, fecunditas, for it is more fruitful than other trees, bearing fruit three or four times in a single year, one crop ripening as the other appears. For this reason the figs known as carice are so called because of their abundance. The Egyptian fig tree is said to be more fruitful. If you throw its wood into water, it sinks right down; when it has lain on the mud
  • Commentary

    Text

    The palm, laurel, apple and fig.

    Comment

    Initial 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
    they are turned into light, lumen; wood is also called lignus because it gives light. The word for a burning brand of wood is torris; it is commonly called titio, when it lies partly burned and cold on the hearth. Quisquilie is the word for the mixture of stalks, withered shoots and dead leaves; they are the sweepings of the trees. Of the particular names of trees The palm, palma, is so called because it adorns the victorious hand, or because its branches are spread out in the manner of the palm of man's hand. For the tree is the symbol of victory; it bears long and beautiful branches, and is clad in long-lasting foliage, which it keeps without any replacement. The Greeks call this tree 'phoenix', because it lasts a long time, taking the name of the bird of Arabia, which is said to live for many years; the fruits of the palm are called dactilia, from their resemblance to fingers. The laurel, laurus, comes from the word laus, praise, for the heads of the victorious were crowned with laurel. In fact, among the ancients, laurels were called laudea. Later the letter D was removed and replaced by R, so that it was called laurus, as in the words auricule, which was originally audicule, and medidies, now called meridies. The Greeks call the laurel daphne, because it never loses its greenery; that is why it was preferred as a crown for the victorious. It is commonly believed to the only tree which is never struck by lightning. The apple-tree, malus, was so called by the Greeks because its fruit was rounder than any other. From this comes the belief that real apples are those which are exceedingly well-rounded. The tree known as malomellus is so called from its sweetness, either because its fruit has the taste of honey, mel, or because it is preserved in honey. The Punic apple, malum punicum, is so called because its species was imported from the area of Carthage, Punicus. It is also called the seeded apple, malum granatum, because it contains, within the sphere formed by its skin, a large quantity of seeds, granum. Of the fig tree The fig tree is so called from its fruitfulness, fecunditas, for it is more fruitful than other trees, bearing fruit three or four times in a single year, one crop ripening as the other appears. For this reason the figs known as carice are so called because of their abundance. The Egyptian fig tree is said to be more fruitful. If you throw its wood into water, it sinks right down; when it has lain on the mud
  • Transcription
    convertuntur in lumen, unde et lignus dicitur quod lumen det.\ Torris lignum adustum, quem vulgus titionem vocat, foco\ semiustum et extinctum. Quisquilie sunt stipule inmixte\ surculis ac foliis aridis. Sunt purgamenta terrarum. \ De pro\ priis nominibus arborum. \ Palma dicta quia manus victricis\ ornata est, vel quod oppansis est ramis in modum palme\ hominis. Est enim arbor insignis [PL, insigne] victorie proceroque ac decoro\ virgulto diuturnisque vestita frondibus et folia sua sine suc\sensione [PL, successione] conservans. Hanc Greci phenicem dicunt, quod diu\ durat, ex nomine avis illius Arabie, que multis annis vi\vere perhibetur, fructus eius dactilia digitorum similitudine\ nuncupati sunt. Laurus a verbo laudis dicta, hac enim victo\rum capita coronabantur. Apud antiquos autem laudea no\minabatur. Postea quinta littera sublata, et subrogata r dicta est\ laurus, ut in auriculis que in inicio audicule dicte sunt, et\ medidies qui nunc meridies dicitur. Hanc arborem Greci daphi\nem vocant, eo quod nunquam deponat viriditatem. Inde il\la pocius victores coronantur. Solaque hec arbor vulgo fulmina\ri et minime creditur. Malus a Grecis dicta quod sit fructus eius\ pomorum omnium rotundissimus. Unde et hec sunt vera\ mala que vehementer rotunda sunt. Malomellus a dulcedi\ ne appellata quod fructus eius mellis saporem habeat, vel\ quod in melle serventur. Malum punicum dicitur, quod ex Punica\ regione sit genus eius translatum. Idem et malum granatum eo quod\ inter rotunditatem corticis granorum contineat multitudinem.\ De ficu \ Ficus Latine a fecunditate vocatur,\ feracior est enim arboribus ceteris, nam ter quaterque per singulos\ annos generat fructum, atque altero maturescente alter oboritur.\ Hinc et carice a copia nominate. Ficus Egiptia fecundior fertur,\ cuius lignum in aquam missum continuo mergitur et cum in limo\
Folio 78v - De propriis nominibus arborum; Of the particular names of trees. De ficu; Of the fig tree | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen