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.

Commentary:

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.

Of The Age of Man.

Isidore sits on a chair, writing on a sloping desk the words '(ysid)oris (de) natu(ra) hominisI' Isidore, Concerning the Nature of Man.

Isidore sits on a chair, writing on a sloping desk the words ‘(ysid)oris (de) natu(ra) hominisI’ Isidore, Concerning the Nature of Man.

Quite the misogynistic treatise.

Text Translation:

Of the age of man There are six stages of life. Infancy, childhood, adolescence, youth, maturity and old age. The first age is infancy, which lasts from the time the child enters the light till it is seven. The second is childhood, that is, when the child is pure and not yet old enough to generate young; it extends to the fourteenth year. The third is adolescence, when the child is old enough to generate children; it lasts until the twenty-eighth year. The fourth is youth, the the most robust of all the ages; it ends in the fiftieth year. The fifth age is that of riper years, that is, of maturity, and represents the movement away from youth to old age; you are not yet ancient, but you are no longer young; the Greeks call someone at this age of maturity presbiteros, an elder; an old man they call geron. This age, beginning in the fiftieth year, ends in the seventieth. The sixth age is that of old age, which has no end-date; whatever of life is left after the five Previous ages is classed as ‘old age’. The final part of old age is senility, senium, so called because it marks the end of the sixth age, sexta etas.

Philosophers, therefore, have categorised human life in these six periods, during which it is changed and runs its race and comes to an end, which is death. So, let us proceed briefly through the above-mentioned categories of the ages, pointing out their etymology in the context of man.

[Read more…]

Abdominal Organs, Genitals, Semen, Menstrual Blood, Fetus, Heredity.

Isidore sits on a chair, writing on a sloping desk the words '(ysid)oris (de) natu(ra) hominisI' Isidore, Concerning the Nature of Man.

Isidore sits on a chair, writing on a sloping desk the words ‘(ysid)oris (de) natu(ra) hominisI’ Isidore, Concerning the Nature of Man.

Oh, I have to say that this entry is most entertaining, in a trainwreck sort of way.

Text Translation:

Only women have a womb; in it they conceive as in a small cup; but there are writers who assign a womb to either sex, often calling it venter, belly – and not just poets, but others also. The womb is called uterus because it is double and divides itself into two parts which bend in different and opposing directions like a ram’s horn; or because it is filled inside with a fetus. For this reason it is called uter, a bag, because it has something inside it, such as limbs and intestines. Paunch, aqualiculus, is properly the word for a pig’s belly. For this reason it is translated as venter, belly. It is called the matrix because the baby is generated in it. It fosters the semen it has received, and by cherishing it, turns it into flesh; and what it has turned into flesh, it separates into parts of the body. The vulva is so called as if it were a folding-door, that is, the door of the belly; either because it receives the semen or because the fetus goes forth from it.

[Read more…]

Spleen, Gallbladder, Intestines.

Isidore sits on a chair, writing on a sloping desk the words '(ysid)oris (de) natu(ra) hominisI' Isidore, Concerning the Nature of Man.

Isidore sits on a chair, writing on a sloping desk the words ‘(ysid)oris (de) natu(ra) hominisI’ Isidore, Concerning the Nature of Man.

Text Translation:

The spleen, splen, gets its name from supplementum, because it fills up the part opposite the liver lest there should be an empty space; some reckon that it was created as a seat of laughter. For we laugh with the spleen, grow angry with the bile, discern with the heart and love with the liver; the whole animal is formed from these four elements in harmony.

The gall bladder, fel, is so called because it is a little bag holding the humour called bile, bilis. The gullet, stomachus, is called in Greek os because, as the door, ostium, of the belly it takes in food and sends it on to the intestines.

The intestines, intestina, are so called because they are contained in the inner, interior, part of the body. They are arranged in long coils, so that they are not obstructed by food that has been swallowed. The caul, omentum, is a skin containing the greater part of the intestines; the Greeks call it epiploon. The diaphragm, disceptum intestinum, is so called because it separates the belly and other intestines from the lungs and heart. The blind intestine, cecum, is so called because it lacks an opening or exit; the Greeks call it tiaonentipon [tuphlon enteron]. The thin intestine is calledieiuna; from it comes ieiunium, fast day. The belly, venter, the bowel, alvus, and the womb, uterus, differ from each other. The belly digests food that has been swallowed and is visible from outside; it extends from the breast to the groin. It is called venter because it conveys throughout the body the food of life.

The bowel is the part that receives the food and is regularly purged. Sallust: ‘Pretending that he purged his bowels’ (History, 1, 52). It is also called the bowel, alvus, because it is washed out, abluere, that is, purged. For from it flows out excremental filth.

Folio 89v – the parts of man’s body, continued.

Blood, Veins, Lungs, Liver.

Isidore sits on a chair, writing on a sloping desk the words '(ysid)oris (de) natu(ra) hominisI' Isidore, Concerning the Nature of Man.

Isidore sits on a chair, writing on a sloping desk the words ‘(ysid)oris (de) natu(ra) hominisI’ Isidore, Concerning the Nature of Man.

Text Translation:

The veins, vena, are so called because they are the channels, vie, of flowing blood and streams which are spread throughout the whole body, by which the members are supplied with blood. Blood, sanguis, gets its name from Greek etymology, because it is active, it survives and it has life. When it is in the body, it is called sanguis; when it pours forth, it is called gore, cruor. It is called cruor because when it is spilled, it runs down, decurrere; or because when it runs, it sinks into the ground, corruere. Others take cruor to mean corrupt blood which is discharged from the body. Others say blood is called sanguis because it is sweet, suavis. Except in young people, the blood supply does not remain constant. For physicians say that it diminishes with age, which is why old people have tremors. Strictly speaking, however, blood is a property of the soul. For this reason women tear their cheeks in grief, and we furnish the dead with purple clothing and purple flowers.

Isidore on the parts of man’s body. The lung, pulmo, gets its name from the Greek. The Greeks call the lung, pleumon, because it acts as a fan for the heart, in which the pneuma, that is, the spirit resides, by which they are both activated and set in motion; for this reason lungs too are called pulmones. In Greek the spirit is called pneuma; by inflating and activating, it sends out and takes in air, causing the lungs to move and throb, opening in order to catch a breath, contracting to expel it, for it is the organ of the body.

The liver, iecur gets its name because it is the seat of a fire which flies up to the brain. From there the fire is spread to the eyes and other senses and members of the body, and by its own heat, draws the moisture from food to itself and turns it into blood which supplies each part of the body with food and nourishment. Pleasure and lust reside in the liver, according to those who debate scientific matters. The extremities of the liver are filaments, fibre, like the outer parts of leaves on the vine or like projecting tongues. They are said to be so called because among pagans they were borne by soothsayers in religious rites to altars of Phoebus, so that when they had been offered up and burned, the soothsayers would receive answers.

Folio 89r – the nature of man, continued. Ysidorus de membris hominis; Isidorus on the parts of man’s body.

Isidorus On The Nature Of Man.

Isidore sits on a chair, writing on a sloping desk the words '(ysid)oris (de) natu(ra) hominisI' Isidore, Concerning the Nature of Man.

Isidore sits on a chair, writing on a sloping desk the words ‘(ysid)oris (de) natu(ra) hominisI’ Isidore, Concerning the Nature of Man.

Text Translation:

Isidorus on the nature of man Nature, natura, is so called because it brings a thing to birth, nasci, for it has the power to beget and to form. Some have said that nature is God, by whom all things are created and exist. Race, genus, comes from gignere, to generate; this derives from the word for ‘earth’, from which all things spring. For the Greek word for ‘earth’ is ge. Life, vita, is so called from vigor, ‘active power’, or because it has within it the force of birth and growth. As a result, trees are said to have life, because they spring from the earth and grow. Man, homo, is so called because he is made from the soil, humus, as it says in the book of Genesis: ‘And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground’ (2:7). It is said incorrectly that man in his entirety is formed from two substances, that is, from the union of a soul and a body. Strictly speaking, man, homo, comes from soil, humus. The Greek word for man is antropos [anthropos], because he looks upwards, raised up from the ground to contemplate his creator. This is what the poet Ovid means, when he says: ‘And though other animals are prone and fix their gaze upon the earth, he gave to man an uplifted face and bade him look at heaven and raise his countenance to the stars.’ (Metamorphoses, 1, 84-6). Standing erect, he looks at the heavens in search of God; he does not turn towards the ground, like the beasts who have been fashioned by nature and obedience to their appetite to bend their heads. But man is twofold: inner and outer.

[Read more…]

Trees.

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.

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.

Another very long entry.

Text Translation:

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.

[Read more…]

Here begins the account of fish.

Major initial 'P', type 3, marks the start of fish. 'V' in margin is colour indicator for dark pink. A page is missing after f.72v which should contain the end of fish and the start of whale. The Ashmole Bestiary has a fine picture of a whale in this location (f. 86v).

Major initial ‘P’, type 3, marks the start of fish. ‘V’ in margin is colour indicator for dark pink. A page is missing after f.72v which should contain the end of fish and the start of whale. The Ashmole Bestiary has a fine picture of a whale in this location (f. 86v).

Whale, Ashmole Bestiary.

Whale, Ashmole Bestiary.

This is an incredibly long entry, with a great deal of misinformation.

Text Translation:

Here begins the account of fish. Fish, pisces, get their name, like cattle, pecus, from the word for grazing, namely, pascere. They are called reptiles because, when they swim, they have the appearance and manner of crawling. Although they can dive deep, nevertheless they crawl as they swim. On this subject David says: ‘So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable’ (Psalms, 104: 25)

[Read more…]