Firing Bearing Stones.

The tale is divided into two scenes. A naked man and woman stand apart above a fire, offering each other fire stones. In the lower image, they embrace.

The tale is divided into two scenes. A naked man and woman stand apart above a fire, offering each other fire stones. In the lower image, they embrace.


A literal illustration of the text only requires a picture of stones, as shown in London, B.L.Harley MS 3244, f. 60, but the arrangement of the figures and tree is intended to suggest the Fall in the Garden of Eden.Fire-bearing stones are male and female. When they are apart the fire does not ignite, when close together, the mountain burns. The warning is for men to stay clear of women and avoid kindling lust. Beside the painting are sketches which are a combination of the Ashmole and Aberdeen illuminations. Ashmole Bestiary, f.103v. Their comparisons are analysed here.

More misogyny ahead.

Text Translation:

Of fire-bearing stones. On a certain mountain in the east, there are fire-bearing stones which are called in Greek terrobolem; they are male and female. When they are far from each other, the fire within them does not ignite. But when by chance the female draws near to the male, the fire is at once kindled, with the result that everything around the mountain burns.

For this reason, men of God, you who follow this way of life, stay well clear of women, lest when you and they approach each other, the twin flame be kindled in you both and consume the good that Christ has bestowed upon you. For there are angels of Satan, always on the offensive against the righteous; not only holy men but chaste women too. Finally, Samson and Joseph were both were tempted by women. One triumphed; the other succumbed. Eve and Susanna were tempted; the latter held out; the former gave in. The heart, therefore, should be guarded and guided by all forms of divine teaching.

For the love of women, which has been the cause of sin from the beginning, that is from Adam to the present day, rages uncontrolled in the sons of disobedience.

Folio 93v – the age of man, continued. De lapidibus igniferis; Of fire-bearing stones.


  1. says

    Before scheduling this, I did a search in every way possible, using every term I could think of, nothing. This isn’t even close to a real thing, it’s a mythical rock. The art work on the other depictions isn’t quite as cringy, but it’s not good either. In one of them, the bodies of the people are identical, except for hair length. But yeah, the breast in this one? Yikes. I have to assume that someone never saw any up close and personal.

  2. Raucous Indignation says

    When I read the title, my brain took the word “bearing” to mean bearing as in an engine bearing or motor bearing, which then of course needs to be “fired” and quenched to achieve the correct tempering which must be extra difficult when you’re working with “stone” as opposed to steel. It gets a bit busy in my cranium sometimes. But not as crazy as that text. Uoof!

  3. Raucous Indignation says

    Which all got me thinking about how many meanings does the word bearing have? I got up to five almost immediately. But there have to be other words with even more meanings …

    I may not get much done today …

  4. Tethys says

    I wonder if they mean flint, and iron pyrite. People worldwide have used them to start fires at least as far back as the stone age. Those trees remind me of Dr. Suess books.

Leave a Reply