The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 97r - Primus lapis in fundamento muri est Jaspis; The first stone in the foundation of the wall is jasper. Secundus Saphirus; The second, sapphire. Tercius Calcedonius; The third, chalcedony


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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.
are called foundations, because by foundations are meant virtues. For this reason when the stone is said to be a foundation, it should be interpreted as a decoration of the foundation. John says, therefore: The first stone in the foundation of the wall is jasper. The first foundation, that is, the adornment of the first foundation, is jasper, that is, faith ever green, strengthening the sight, but whether it be faith in one's country or in the Church triumphant, which is in question here, does not primarily occur except to those coming to the Church; through it there will be entry to the aforesaid city, while he who does not have it will not be able to enter. Verse Jasper is said to have seventeen species. It is also known to be of many colours. It is said to come from many regions of the world. The best is a translucent green in colour. It is shown to have more virtues than any other. The second, sapphire The second, that is, the second foundation, that is, the second decoration of the foundation, is sapphire. Its colour is similar to that of a clear sky; struck by the rays of the sun, it sends forth, burning, a flash of lightning, signifying the hope by which we are carried off to heaven; through it we are fired with a love of heavenly things, disdaining love of the present world, so that we can truly say with the apostle: 'Our conversation is in heaven' (Philippians, 3:20); 'I will lay thy foundations with sapphires' (Isaiah, 54:11). Verse The image of the sapphire is most fitting for the fingers of kings. It shines in an outstanding way and resembles most a clear sky. The power of nature has endowed it with such honour that it is called sacred and deservedly the gemstone of gemstones. The third, chalcedony

Text

The precious stones which make up the foundations.

Comment

Initials type 4. Folio mark "III".

Folio Attributes

  • Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

    Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

    Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks
    Folio Marks

    To make a normal gathering, a sheet of vellum (the skin of a calf, lamb or kid) would be folded over twice and cut around the edges. This would make a gathering or quire of eight folios with sixteen sides. In the Bestiary there are fifteen quires, thirteen of which are made with the usual eight folios. The last two quires, added in the late thirteenth century, have six and four folios respectively. The folios are not precisely cut but in the most regular quires (B and C) they measure 300mm high and 210mm wide. In order to assemble the quires in the correct sequence they were labelled in lead point with letters of the alphabet. Some are missing with the result that the sequence runs -,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,K,-(folio missing),M,N. The last two quires (O and P) are the later additions and are not marked. The quire system was examined by MR James when the book was being rebound and he was able to produce the following analysis of the gatherings: A8 (wants folio 2, 8); B8 (4,5); C8 (4,8); D8 (4,5); E8-L8 (1); M8; N8; O6; P4 (4). Individual sheets in the quire needed to be marked. Although there were eight folios only the first four needed marking because they were folded with the last four. Each sheet was distinctively marked to make sure the quires could not get muddled up. The asterisk sign is repeated in quires B and M but they remain distinct because the B sign is in the top right corner while the M signs are all in the bottom left corner.

  • Initial Type 4

    Initial Type 4

    Initial Type 4
    Type 4 initial. Detail from f.96v

    Type 4 initials are red or blue. On any given page they alternate red and blue regularly. Blue initials are embellished with red tassels and vice versa. The colouring and form of the letters is not very even and appears rather hurried in places. In the Bestiary proper, they appear on f.79v and f.80r. Thereafter this is the basic initial used in the thirteenth-century Lapidary addition, found from f.94r onwards. This suggests that gaps left in the twelfth-century text on ff. 79v and 80r were filled in when the book was completed in the later thirteenth century. The poor quality of the later work is apparent from f.94r onwards, and is apparent on f.79v where the wrong capital ‘U’ was inserted and later corrected to ‘F’ for Fagus, the beech tree.

Transcription

fundamenta dicuntur, quia per virtutes fundamenta.\ Unde cum dicitur lapis esse fundamentum, sensus est , id est in fundamenti ornatum. \ Primus lapis in funda\mento muri est Jaspis \ Fundamentum primum, id est\ primi fundamenti ornamentum, Jaspis\ id est fides semper virens, et visum confortans, sed nu[m]quid\ fides erit in patria, sive in triumphante ecclesia de qua\ hic agitur non sed venientibus ad ecclesiam prima occurit,\ per quam in predictam civitatem intratur quam\ qui non habuit in eam intrare non poterit. \ Versus \ Jaspidis esse decem species septemque feruntur. Hic et mul\torum cognoscitur esse collorum. Et multis nasci peribetur\ partibus orbis. Optimus in viridi perlucentique colo\re. Et qui plus soleat virtutes habere probatur.\ Secundus Saphirus \ Secundum, id est secundum fundamentum, id est\ secundum fundamenti ornamentum, est Saphirus.\ Cuius color cereno [sereno] celo simile est, qui percussus\ radiis solis, ardenter emittit fulgorem et per hoc\ significat spem qua rapimur ad celestia et per hoc in\ amorem celestium inflammamur contempto seculi\ amore, ut possimus vere dicere cum apostolo: Nostra con\ versacio in celis est, Philippenses, iii, Ysaia, liiii: Fundabo te\ in saphiris.\ Versus \ Saphiri species digitis aptissi\ ma regum. Egregium fulgens puroque similima\ celo. Quem natura potens tanto ditavit hono\re. Ut sacer et merito gemmarum gemma vocetur. \ Tercius Calcedonius

Translation

are called foundations, because by foundations are meant virtues. For this reason when the stone is said to be a foundation, it should be interpreted as a decoration of the foundation. John says, therefore: The first stone in the foundation of the wall is jasper. The first foundation, that is, the adornment of the first foundation, is jasper, that is, faith ever green, strengthening the sight, but whether it be faith in one's country or in the Church triumphant, which is in question here, does not primarily occur except to those coming to the Church; through it there will be entry to the aforesaid city, while he who does not have it will not be able to enter. Verse Jasper is said to have seventeen species. It is also known to be of many colours. It is said to come from many regions of the world. The best is a translucent green in colour. It is shown to have more virtues than any other. The second, sapphire The second, that is, the second foundation, that is, the second decoration of the foundation, is sapphire. Its colour is similar to that of a clear sky; struck by the rays of the sun, it sends forth, burning, a flash of lightning, signifying the hope by which we are carried off to heaven; through it we are fired with a love of heavenly things, disdaining love of the present world, so that we can truly say with the apostle: 'Our conversation is in heaven' (Philippians, 3:20); 'I will lay thy foundations with sapphires' (Isaiah, 54:11). Verse The image of the sapphire is most fitting for the fingers of kings. It shines in an outstanding way and resembles most a clear sky. The power of nature has endowed it with such honour that it is called sacred and deservedly the gemstone of gemstones. The third, chalcedony
  • Commentary

    Text

    The precious stones which make up the foundations.

    Comment

    Initials type 4. Folio mark "III".

    Folio Attributes

    • Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

      Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks

      Gatherings, quire marks, folio marks
      Folio Marks

      To make a normal gathering, a sheet of vellum (the skin of a calf, lamb or kid) would be folded over twice and cut around the edges. This would make a gathering or quire of eight folios with sixteen sides. In the Bestiary there are fifteen quires, thirteen of which are made with the usual eight folios. The last two quires, added in the late thirteenth century, have six and four folios respectively. The folios are not precisely cut but in the most regular quires (B and C) they measure 300mm high and 210mm wide. In order to assemble the quires in the correct sequence they were labelled in lead point with letters of the alphabet. Some are missing with the result that the sequence runs -,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,K,-(folio missing),M,N. The last two quires (O and P) are the later additions and are not marked. The quire system was examined by MR James when the book was being rebound and he was able to produce the following analysis of the gatherings: A8 (wants folio 2, 8); B8 (4,5); C8 (4,8); D8 (4,5); E8-L8 (1); M8; N8; O6; P4 (4). Individual sheets in the quire needed to be marked. Although there were eight folios only the first four needed marking because they were folded with the last four. Each sheet was distinctively marked to make sure the quires could not get muddled up. The asterisk sign is repeated in quires B and M but they remain distinct because the B sign is in the top right corner while the M signs are all in the bottom left corner.

    • Initial Type 4

      Initial Type 4

      Initial Type 4
      Type 4 initial. Detail from f.96v

      Type 4 initials are red or blue. On any given page they alternate red and blue regularly. Blue initials are embellished with red tassels and vice versa. The colouring and form of the letters is not very even and appears rather hurried in places. In the Bestiary proper, they appear on f.79v and f.80r. Thereafter this is the basic initial used in the thirteenth-century Lapidary addition, found from f.94r onwards. This suggests that gaps left in the twelfth-century text on ff. 79v and 80r were filled in when the book was completed in the later thirteenth century. The poor quality of the later work is apparent from f.94r onwards, and is apparent on f.79v where the wrong capital ‘U’ was inserted and later corrected to ‘F’ for Fagus, the beech tree.

  • Translation
    are called foundations, because by foundations are meant virtues. For this reason when the stone is said to be a foundation, it should be interpreted as a decoration of the foundation. John says, therefore: The first stone in the foundation of the wall is jasper. The first foundation, that is, the adornment of the first foundation, is jasper, that is, faith ever green, strengthening the sight, but whether it be faith in one's country or in the Church triumphant, which is in question here, does not primarily occur except to those coming to the Church; through it there will be entry to the aforesaid city, while he who does not have it will not be able to enter. Verse Jasper is said to have seventeen species. It is also known to be of many colours. It is said to come from many regions of the world. The best is a translucent green in colour. It is shown to have more virtues than any other. The second, sapphire The second, that is, the second foundation, that is, the second decoration of the foundation, is sapphire. Its colour is similar to that of a clear sky; struck by the rays of the sun, it sends forth, burning, a flash of lightning, signifying the hope by which we are carried off to heaven; through it we are fired with a love of heavenly things, disdaining love of the present world, so that we can truly say with the apostle: 'Our conversation is in heaven' (Philippians, 3:20); 'I will lay thy foundations with sapphires' (Isaiah, 54:11). Verse The image of the sapphire is most fitting for the fingers of kings. It shines in an outstanding way and resembles most a clear sky. The power of nature has endowed it with such honour that it is called sacred and deservedly the gemstone of gemstones. The third, chalcedony
  • Transcription
    fundamenta dicuntur, quia per virtutes fundamenta.\ Unde cum dicitur lapis esse fundamentum, sensus est , id est in fundamenti ornatum. \ Primus lapis in funda\mento muri est Jaspis \ Fundamentum primum, id est\ primi fundamenti ornamentum, Jaspis\ id est fides semper virens, et visum confortans, sed nu[m]quid\ fides erit in patria, sive in triumphante ecclesia de qua\ hic agitur non sed venientibus ad ecclesiam prima occurit,\ per quam in predictam civitatem intratur quam\ qui non habuit in eam intrare non poterit. \ Versus \ Jaspidis esse decem species septemque feruntur. Hic et mul\torum cognoscitur esse collorum. Et multis nasci peribetur\ partibus orbis. Optimus in viridi perlucentique colo\re. Et qui plus soleat virtutes habere probatur.\ Secundus Saphirus \ Secundum, id est secundum fundamentum, id est\ secundum fundamenti ornamentum, est Saphirus.\ Cuius color cereno [sereno] celo simile est, qui percussus\ radiis solis, ardenter emittit fulgorem et per hoc\ significat spem qua rapimur ad celestia et per hoc in\ amorem celestium inflammamur contempto seculi\ amore, ut possimus vere dicere cum apostolo: Nostra con\ versacio in celis est, Philippenses, iii, Ysaia, liiii: Fundabo te\ in saphiris.\ Versus \ Saphiri species digitis aptissi\ ma regum. Egregium fulgens puroque similima\ celo. Quem natura potens tanto ditavit hono\re. Ut sacer et merito gemmarum gemma vocetur. \ Tercius Calcedonius
Folio 97r - Primus lapis in fundamento muri est Jaspis; The first stone in the foundation of the wall is jasper. Secundus Saphirus; The second, sapphire. Tercius Calcedonius; The third, chalcedony | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen