The Aberdeen Bestiary

Folio 98r - smaragdus, continued. Quintus Sardonix; The fifth, sardonyx. Sextus Sardius; The sixth, sard


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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.
it is more angelic than human; moreover, it is pleasing to angels and God and man and carries within itself the image of Christ because it follows the lamb wherever it goes; and for this reason this stone is called the fourth, because virginity is recommended in the four Gospels. Verse The smaragdus surpasses every green thing in its greenness. The fifth, sardonyx The fifth foundation, sardonyx, gets its name from the association of two names, as Isidorus says; for it has the white of onyx and the red of sard; and it is three-coloured, as the Glossator says, black at the bottom, white in the middle and red at the top; and when used for sealing, it does not pull any of the wax away. From this, it signifies the suffering of the saints. At the bottom, that is in the world, they are considered worthless and despised; in this context, Job, 12: 'The just upright man is laughed to scorn ... a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease' (12:4). In the middle, that is the righteous man in his heart or conscience, they are white, as a result of their innocence. At the top they are red, by reason of the zeal of their martyrdom for Christ. The stone does not pull any of the wax away, because the righteous man forgives his persecutors fully, from the heart, retaining no bitterness, according to Ecclesiasticus, 28: 'Forgive thy neighbour the hurt that he hath done unto thee, so shall thy sins also be forgiven when thou prayest (28:2). This virtue is said to be the fifth because it diminishes infirmity of the body, because it is ruled by the five senses. Verse Two names, sard and onyx, make the sardonix. This single stone has taken from the two stones three colours. Alone of precious stones, it cannot pull away wax. The sixth, sard The sixth foundation, sard is so called because it was first found in Sardis; it is of the colour of blood only. For this reason it signifies the perfect constancy of the martyrs, who poured forth their blood for Christ.

Text

Sardonix.

Comment

Initials type 4.

Folio Attributes

  • Pricking

    Pricking

    Pricking
    Line pricking and ruling. Detail from f.7r

    Once the quires were arranged they had to be prepared for writing by drawing up the lines. Tiny parallel pinpricks were made on the outer and inner edges of each page and horizontal lines ruled between them. In a completed book these pinpricks should have been trimmed off during the final stages of production but in the Aberdeen Bestiary they have survived in 12 out of the 15 quires (only E , G and M are fully trimmed). Careful measuring shows that the holes were pricked with the quires folded up, using a long pointed pricker, because they are the same distance apart throughout an entire quire. In quires B and C there is a double hole on the penultimate line, indicating to the person ruling lines that the page is about to end. In these two quires the holes have a coarse triangular shape and are set up to 6mm in from the edge. Elsewhere the holes are smaller, circular and much closer to the edge. Pinpricks were also made at the top and bottom of the pages to provide vertical margins. These survive in every quire. In quires A.F,H,J,K,L,M and N there are single pricks for the vertical lines. In B and C there are double pricks and double margins while in G there are double pricks and a variety of single and double ruled lines. On f.48r (quire G) where there are double pricks for the margins, the wrong holes have been joined and the faulty diagonal line has been redrawn correctly.

  • 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

angelicum quam humanum, graciosa autem est an\gi[e]lis et deo et hominibus et in se portat ymaginem\ Christi quia sequitur agnum quocumque ierit, et unde hic\ lapis quartus dicitur, quia virginitas in quatuor evangeliis\ commendatur. \ Versus \ Omne virens superat forma viridan\te smaragdus. \ Quintus Sardonix \ Quintum sardonix ex duorum nominum societa\te vocatus, ut dicit Ysodorus, habet enim cando\rem ut onix et ruborem ut sardius et est tricolor ut dicit\ Glossator niger in imo, candidus in medio, rubeus in sum\mo, et insignando nichil cere avellit, unde signat sanctorum\ pacientiam per quam in imo, id est in mundo sunt viles et despera\ti, unde Job, [x]ii, deridetur iusti simplicitas, lampas contemp\ ta apud cogitaciones divitum, sed in medio, id est iustus in corde sive in consciencia sunt candidi, per innocenciam\ superius rubei, per ardorem martyrii propter Christum, et hec nichil\ de cera avellit quia suis persecutoribus plene et ex corde re\mittit, nullum rancorem retinentes, iuxta [...] Ecclesiastici xxviii:\ Relinque proximo tuo nocenti te tunc deprecanti tibi peccata\ solventur, quia [quod] virtus quinta dicitur quia in infirmitate cor\poris descendit quod quinque sensibus regitur. \ Versus \ Sardonicem faciunt duo nomina sardus et onix. Tres capit ex bi\ nis unus lapis iste colores.Hic solus lapidum ceram\ convellere nescit. \ Sextus Sardius \ Sextum sardius, sic dicit, quia a primo a Sardis\ est repertus sanguinei coloris tantum. Unde signat per\fectam constanciam martyrum qui pro Christo sanguinem

Translation

it is more angelic than human; moreover, it is pleasing to angels and God and man and carries within itself the image of Christ because it follows the lamb wherever it goes; and for this reason this stone is called the fourth, because virginity is recommended in the four Gospels. Verse The smaragdus surpasses every green thing in its greenness. The fifth, sardonyx The fifth foundation, sardonyx, gets its name from the association of two names, as Isidorus says; for it has the white of onyx and the red of sard; and it is three-coloured, as the Glossator says, black at the bottom, white in the middle and red at the top; and when used for sealing, it does not pull any of the wax away. From this, it signifies the suffering of the saints. At the bottom, that is in the world, they are considered worthless and despised; in this context, Job, 12: 'The just upright man is laughed to scorn ... a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease' (12:4). In the middle, that is the righteous man in his heart or conscience, they are white, as a result of their innocence. At the top they are red, by reason of the zeal of their martyrdom for Christ. The stone does not pull any of the wax away, because the righteous man forgives his persecutors fully, from the heart, retaining no bitterness, according to Ecclesiasticus, 28: 'Forgive thy neighbour the hurt that he hath done unto thee, so shall thy sins also be forgiven when thou prayest (28:2). This virtue is said to be the fifth because it diminishes infirmity of the body, because it is ruled by the five senses. Verse Two names, sard and onyx, make the sardonix. This single stone has taken from the two stones three colours. Alone of precious stones, it cannot pull away wax. The sixth, sard The sixth foundation, sard is so called because it was first found in Sardis; it is of the colour of blood only. For this reason it signifies the perfect constancy of the martyrs, who poured forth their blood for Christ.
  • Commentary

    Text

    Sardonix.

    Comment

    Initials type 4.

    Folio Attributes

    • Pricking

      Pricking

      Pricking
      Line pricking and ruling. Detail from f.7r

      Once the quires were arranged they had to be prepared for writing by drawing up the lines. Tiny parallel pinpricks were made on the outer and inner edges of each page and horizontal lines ruled between them. In a completed book these pinpricks should have been trimmed off during the final stages of production but in the Aberdeen Bestiary they have survived in 12 out of the 15 quires (only E , G and M are fully trimmed). Careful measuring shows that the holes were pricked with the quires folded up, using a long pointed pricker, because they are the same distance apart throughout an entire quire. In quires B and C there is a double hole on the penultimate line, indicating to the person ruling lines that the page is about to end. In these two quires the holes have a coarse triangular shape and are set up to 6mm in from the edge. Elsewhere the holes are smaller, circular and much closer to the edge. Pinpricks were also made at the top and bottom of the pages to provide vertical margins. These survive in every quire. In quires A.F,H,J,K,L,M and N there are single pricks for the vertical lines. In B and C there are double pricks and double margins while in G there are double pricks and a variety of single and double ruled lines. On f.48r (quire G) where there are double pricks for the margins, the wrong holes have been joined and the faulty diagonal line has been redrawn correctly.

    • 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
    it is more angelic than human; moreover, it is pleasing to angels and God and man and carries within itself the image of Christ because it follows the lamb wherever it goes; and for this reason this stone is called the fourth, because virginity is recommended in the four Gospels. Verse The smaragdus surpasses every green thing in its greenness. The fifth, sardonyx The fifth foundation, sardonyx, gets its name from the association of two names, as Isidorus says; for it has the white of onyx and the red of sard; and it is three-coloured, as the Glossator says, black at the bottom, white in the middle and red at the top; and when used for sealing, it does not pull any of the wax away. From this, it signifies the suffering of the saints. At the bottom, that is in the world, they are considered worthless and despised; in this context, Job, 12: 'The just upright man is laughed to scorn ... a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease' (12:4). In the middle, that is the righteous man in his heart or conscience, they are white, as a result of their innocence. At the top they are red, by reason of the zeal of their martyrdom for Christ. The stone does not pull any of the wax away, because the righteous man forgives his persecutors fully, from the heart, retaining no bitterness, according to Ecclesiasticus, 28: 'Forgive thy neighbour the hurt that he hath done unto thee, so shall thy sins also be forgiven when thou prayest (28:2). This virtue is said to be the fifth because it diminishes infirmity of the body, because it is ruled by the five senses. Verse Two names, sard and onyx, make the sardonix. This single stone has taken from the two stones three colours. Alone of precious stones, it cannot pull away wax. The sixth, sard The sixth foundation, sard is so called because it was first found in Sardis; it is of the colour of blood only. For this reason it signifies the perfect constancy of the martyrs, who poured forth their blood for Christ.
  • Transcription
    angelicum quam humanum, graciosa autem est an\gi[e]lis et deo et hominibus et in se portat ymaginem\ Christi quia sequitur agnum quocumque ierit, et unde hic\ lapis quartus dicitur, quia virginitas in quatuor evangeliis\ commendatur. \ Versus \ Omne virens superat forma viridan\te smaragdus. \ Quintus Sardonix \ Quintum sardonix ex duorum nominum societa\te vocatus, ut dicit Ysodorus, habet enim cando\rem ut onix et ruborem ut sardius et est tricolor ut dicit\ Glossator niger in imo, candidus in medio, rubeus in sum\mo, et insignando nichil cere avellit, unde signat sanctorum\ pacientiam per quam in imo, id est in mundo sunt viles et despera\ti, unde Job, [x]ii, deridetur iusti simplicitas, lampas contemp\ ta apud cogitaciones divitum, sed in medio, id est iustus in corde sive in consciencia sunt candidi, per innocenciam\ superius rubei, per ardorem martyrii propter Christum, et hec nichil\ de cera avellit quia suis persecutoribus plene et ex corde re\mittit, nullum rancorem retinentes, iuxta [...] Ecclesiastici xxviii:\ Relinque proximo tuo nocenti te tunc deprecanti tibi peccata\ solventur, quia [quod] virtus quinta dicitur quia in infirmitate cor\poris descendit quod quinque sensibus regitur. \ Versus \ Sardonicem faciunt duo nomina sardus et onix. Tres capit ex bi\ nis unus lapis iste colores.Hic solus lapidum ceram\ convellere nescit. \ Sextus Sardius \ Sextum sardius, sic dicit, quia a primo a Sardis\ est repertus sanguinei coloris tantum. Unde signat per\fectam constanciam martyrum qui pro Christo sanguinem
Folio 98r - smaragdus, continued. Quintus Sardonix; The fifth, sardonyx. Sextus Sardius; The sixth, sard | The Aberdeen Bestiary | The University of Aberdeen