1 General Remarks on the Text

The editio princeps presented in this volume contains books I to III, together with notes, of Michael Scot’s Arabo-Latin translation of Aristotle’s Historia animalium, the tract forming the first ten books of the Libri de animalibus, his work on animals.1 The subsequent volumes will contain books IV to VI and VII to X, with notes, and the complete bilingual indices verborum (Latin-Arabic and Arabic-Latin). Michael Scot made his translation in Toledo in about 1215. He died in Italy, probably shortly before 1235/6.2

Because of the pluriformity in the transmission of the Greek base text and the problematic transmission of the Arabic intermediary as well as the extent of the Latin material, the edition of the Historia animalium turned out to be particularly complicated and took many years to complete. The long awaited new edition of the Greek text, prepared by David M. Balme (d. 1989) and posthumously edited by Allan Gotthelf (d. 2013),3 appeared in 2002. At their request I corresponded at length and extensively with both editors about numerous detailed readings from Scot’s translation which they considered of special importance for the establishment of the Greek text and the critical apparatus. The greatly expanded manuscript apparatus of this edition often allowed me to reconstruct the Greek manuscript tradition which the Arabic translator had obviously used in his translation of a particular word or passage. In 2004 there also appeared the massive Index verborum in Aristotelis ‘Historiam animalium’ compiled with the help of a computer by Liliane Bodson.4 It is most useful since, in contrast to the Index verborum5 published by Ronald Blankenborg and myself in 2000, it gives the declined forms of the words recorded. In addition to these there are various other indices to this text, each with its own specialisation and focus. They always refer to the place in the text of the edition or translation in question and provide more detailed information about certain terminologies and the names of animals etc.6

As in the two volumes already published, De partibus animalium and De generatione animalium,7 I have tried to reconstruct Scot’s translation as well as possible and to keep as close as possible to his original text.8 For that purpose the draft text obtained by comparing the readings of the principal Latin manuscript traditions was compared with the text of the Arabic translation entitled Kitāb al-Ḥayawān (Book of Animals), which formed the basis of Scot’s translation. At the beginning of the Historia animalium, Scot evidently had to make himself conversant with the text, the vocabulary and the method of translating he was to adopt, whereas in the case of De partibus animalium and De generatione animalium he could fall back on the experience he had already acquired.9 The misreadings and mistranslations which were obviously made by Scot have been deliberately retained in the text of this edition, but are indicated in the second apparatus and/or in the notes. Any conjectures of my own or corrections which are necessary for a better understanding of the text are clearly marked by an asterisk.

My main purpose in preparing this edition has been to allow the reader to consult Scot’s translation in a simple, accessible and rapid manner, in order, for example, to check quotations from this translation which can be encountered in the commentary tradition, or to compare certain passages in Scot’s Arabo-Latin translation with those in the Greek base text or with the Graeco-Latin translation by William of Moerbeke (ca. 1215–ca. 1280).10 The best means of doing so are the classic line numbers introduced into the Latin text according to Immanuel Bekker’s edition of the Greek,11 which will be referred to in the two apparatuses and the indices verborum, and the headings of the even and uneven pages which indicate respectively in which of the nineteen books, and at which point in which tract, they occur. In contrast to Moerbeke’s later translation, the Liber de animalibus is not divided into three separate tracts in the Arabo-Latin tradition, Historia animalium, De partibus animalium and De generatione animalium, but the books are simply numbered consecutively from one to nineteen. The two shorter tracts, De progressu animalium and De incessu animalium, are also translated by Moerbeke,12 but were unknown to the Arabo-Latin tradition. In view of the frequent tendency to quote the work of Aristotle according to the chapter numbers introduced in the Renaissance editions, these too are indicated in the text and the headings. The inherent division of the Latin manuscripts, in so far as they have one, varies far too much and is often too incomplete to be of any use. The second Arabo-Latin apparatus is intended to illustrate, also for readers who know no Arabic, the influence of the intermediary Arabic translation on that of Scot, and so to permit and facilitate an eventual comparison with the Greek base text.

As in the two previous volumes the spelling of the text and the lemmas in the indices verborum has been normalized for the benefit of the reader unaccustomed to the spelling variants in medieval Latin. So, for example, in all places in the various texts where the ericius (hedgehog or sea urchin)13 is mentioned, it can immediately be seen in this normalised form, both in the text and in the Latin-Arabic and Arabic-Latin indices verborum.14 The difference and the similarity with the Greek index of animal names can thus easily be checked. The numerous variants of the name in the Latin manuscripts, yricius, iricius, yritius, iritius, hyricius, hiricius, hyritius, hiritius, hyrticius, hirricius etc., can be found in the relevant place in the first apparatus. The enormous difference in spelling, not only between, but also within, the many manuscripts, makes it impracticable, in the case of so long a text—the longest text in Aristotle’s entire output—to record all the individual variants even in the seven manuscripts selected for this edition. Regular spelling variants of certain terms have indeed been included in the first apparatus, and sometimes also in the index verborum. In either case all the variants have been included of the forms transliterated from Arabic into Latin—usually names of animals and plants as well as proper names. In the case of some words with several spelling variants acknowledged in dictionaries I have opted for the form in which the word always appears in the manuscripts, for example fetus instead of foetus, fetidus instead of foetidus etc. However, since the different volumes of the edition were published separately on completion, choices were made in the first two volumes to have appeared without my having a complete view of the rest of the translation. I also had to draw up the bilingual index verborum bit by bit in the course of my activities. Here, for example, words such as embryo, sebum, umerus and canalis were spelt normally, whereas, with hindsight, I would have preferred to leave them in the form in which, I now realise, they always appear in the manuscripts: embrio, sepum, humerus and cannalis. For the sake of the continuity of the edition, however, most of these spellings are also observed in the edition of the Historia animalium.15 In the first apparatus the variants of the different Latin manuscripts have obviously been quoted in their original form.16

An integral part of Scot’s Arabo-Latin translation is formed by the many Latin transliterations of Arabic words, mainly animal names, geographical names, and proper names. Sometimes these words were already transliterated from the Greek by the Arabic translator when he did not know the meaning of the word in question. In that case we are dealing with a double transliteration which makes the transmission even more complicated. Such heavily corrupted words usually give rise to numerous variants in the Latin manuscripts. But in many cases they are not transmitted unanimously in the Greek manuscripts either. To trace their transmission history and to make definitive choices for the constitution of the text naturally demanded a great deal of time. In endeavouring to answer the recurrent question about which transmitted readings should be included in the text I have taken the following considerations into account: which readings appear in the most important Latin manuscripts? Which readings correspond most closely to the reading in the Arabic manuscripts (LT, later only T), and how does the reading correspond to the Greek base text and its eventual variants? It is most important to keep in mind at this point that, in his transliterations, the Arabic translator based himself on the Hellenistic pronunciation of Greek words. So, for example, we have the Arabic ‮فوقي‬‎ (fōqī) for the Greek φώκη (phōkē seal), with -i voor -η, usually transliterated by Scot as koki, whereby the ‮ف‬‎ (f) is read as a ‮ق‬‎ (q, sometimes k). Because of the similarity between these two letters they are often confused, especially when they are not accompanied by diacritical points in the Arabic manuscripts. I have frequently been able to extract the most likely reading from the material or to reconstruct it on the basis of misreadings, but in a number of cases the transmission has proved too corrupt. My final choices are explained in the Notes at the end of the text.

My continuing research into this edition has provided a new insight into the manuscripts used in the previous volumes, particularly the principal manuscript Vaticanus Chisianus E. VIII 251.17 Where Scot’s method of translating is concerned my research has also brought to light much new material. This, however, is too extensive to fit into this introduction and will appear in due course as a separte study, preferably in collaboration with a linguist. We can indeed claim, more generally, that the numerous mistakes, syntactical incongruities, and the absence of required words such as the copula (est/sunt) and many small conjunctions and prepositions (et, in, ex etc.), which were obviously retained after the first transcription of the text, suggest that Scot no longer checked or revised his translation.18

Above all in the first phase of the twofold project of the text critical edition of both the Arabic and the Arabo-Latin translation subsidised by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, NWO) but also in the subsequent phase, I worked intensively together with the editors of the new edition of the Arabic translation of HA.19 Both the method adopted by the Arabic translator and that of Scot thus gradually became clearer.

Some Remarks about the Reception of Scot’s Translation

Aristotle’s Historia animalium contains many fascinating facts about animals and the text has consequently been quoted over the centuries for general references to nature and the lessons that can be derived from them. In the marginalia of a number of Latin manuscripts we can find clear traces of readers who marked the relevant passages for inclusion in their own commentaries, in exegetical, didactical and other writings, in sermons and lectures, and for the preparation of disputations.20 The history of the reception of this text and its translations is obviously far too extensive to be handled here at any length. What is important is that, in the later European tradition, Michael Scot’s Arabo-Latin translation, which was copied into the fifteenth century, is used in preference to the more recent Graeco-Latin translation by William of Moerbeke.

Albertus Magnus (ca. 1200–1272), the most important commentator of this Aristotelian tract, thus follows Scot’s text to the letter in his voluminous De animalibus Libri XXVI and in his Quaestiones super De animalibus connected with it.21 In the notes I refer regularly to this important testimony of the text and the reception of Scot’s translation. Thomas of Cantimpré (1201–1272), a pupil of Albertus Magnus in Cologne, was inspired to write his great encyclopaedia Opus de natura rerum by his studies under the Doctor Universalis, and was followed a little later by Jacob van Maerlant. Thomas Aquinas (ca. 1225–1274), another pupil of Albertus in the Cologne Studium Generale of the Dominicans, is known to have quoted both from the translation by Scot and from the one by Moerbeke. It was from the latter that he adopted the traditional division into Historia animalium, De partibus animalium and De Generatione animalium, which is missing in Scot.22

We should note that the quotations show that the manuscripts used by the scholars in their work all come from what I have called the ‘university tradition’, in other words manuscripts in which the original rough translation by Scot, heavily characterised by the influence of the paratactical syntax and other linguistic elements in his Arabic exemplar, contains a slightly streamlined version by intelligent Latin scribes probably for use of the text for teaching. This means, for example, that the Latin syntactical construction is improved when necessary; the subjunctive is introduced when required as is an agreement in person and gender; and missing words such as copulas and prepositions are restored. This manuscript tradition is represented in the first apparatus of this edition, and certain details have also been adopted in the constitution of the text. But it is not always clear whether these elements are due to Scot himself, and a comparison with the Arabic text fails to provide us with a key owing to the different character of Arabic syntax and rules of language.

2 The Arabic Exemplar

The Arabic translation of the Historia animalium was published in 1977 by Abdurraḥmān Badawī. For the text he based himself on readings from the manuscripts in London and Teheran. His main purpose, however, seemed to be to provide his readers with a reconstruction of the Greek text since the Arabic version proved in many places to be imperfect compared to the Greek original, even if in general it tries to be quite faithful to the Greek.23 He cited the text, translation and index verborum from Pierre Louis in the Budé edition (Paris 1964–1968). There were thus many divergences in the printed Arabic text from the two manuscripts which, unfortunately, were not always indicated or justified in the critical apparatus. His text must therefore be consulted with due caution, but for me it certainly had its uses, such as the vocalisation of the text and the suggestions for conjectures, since Professor Badawī was, of course, a native speaker.

Right at the beginning of my work on the Arabo-Latin edition of the Historia animalium a team led by Professor Remke Kruk at Leiden University was preparing a critical re-edition of the Arabic text, also based on the manuscripts in London and Teheran. This led to years of detailed discussion about this projected Arabic text and my own plan to publish Michael Scot’s Latin translation so that both parts of the project could profit to the utmost from each other’s results. For the arrangement and division of L.S. Filius’s edition I refer to its introduction.24 Besides the collaboration with the Leiden team and the gradual construction of a provisional critical Arabic text, for my own edition I generally worked straight from the Arabic manuscripts in the absence of a printed edition from which I could quote directly.

Unless otherwise indicated the second apparatus in my edition refers to this new Arabic edition prepared by Filius. The siglum for this text is ‘Filius’. Ξ is the siglum for the Arabic translator or for the Arabic translation in general, L for the London manuscript, T for the Teheran manuscript, and ‘Bad.’ for Badawī’s edition. This also applies to the Arabic quotations in the Notes at the end of the text. When the Greek text is mentioned, usually in the edition of Balme/Gotthelf (2002) but also the Greek text in general, I use the siglum Ω. Σ refers to Scot as a translator or, more generally, to his Latin translation. This applies, too, to the Arabic quotations in the Notes at the end of the text. The reader who places Scot’s Latin translation (Σ) beside the original Greek (Ω) will notice that by no means all the words and phrases from the Greek text have been adopted or correctly rendered in the Arabic translation (Ξ), and, mutatis mutandis, the same can be said of Scot’s Latin translation with respect to the Arabic. In most cases it is possible to deduce from the second apparatus whether the relevant omission or mistake should be attributed to Ξ or to Σ, or even to both. In several places the reading or meaning of words in the Greek text and/or the Arabic translation is very uncertain. Various considerations must thus be taken into account for the constitution of the text of the Latin translation. Partly for this reason Albertus’s commentary had frequently to be consulted. Otherwise the same observations can be applied to this part of the edition as in the editions of De partibus animalium (ASL 5.2, 1998, Introduction pp. xv–xvi) and De generatione animalium (ASL 5.3, 1992, Introduction pp. xviii–xx). I have myself introduced the punctuation which, as we know, can differ considerably in the many Latin manuscripts. I have based myself on the meaning which Scot evidently gave to the text according to the way he understood the Arabic in his exemplar. This can sometimes differ greatly from the original Greek, also because of the omission of all sorts of words and phrases in both translations.

In the case of the Historia Animalium, still more than De Partibus Animalium and De Generatione Animalium, we must keep in mind that the text of Scot’s Arabic exemplar was not exactly the same as the surviving Arabic text, but was sometimes closer to the Greek. Also, in a number of cases it clearly contains the translation of a variant reading of the Greek text, which can often be found in the apparatus of the Balme/Gotthelf edition. The consequences of this for the constitution of the text and for the preparation of the edition are further explained in the section on The Arrangement of the Edition in the Introduction.

Finally I should also point out that the frequently occurring cases of paronomasia in the Arabic translation are often (but not always) rendered literally by Scot, for example partes quae partiuntur in partes similes HA 1. 486a6, diversantur in diversitate HA 3. 509a30 (Dehmer 2007, pp. 154, 161), non oriuntur nisi oritione debili 518b13, sanguis pulsat pulsatione simili pulsationi arteriae 521a6, distinximus istud distinctione completa PA 2. 653a20, debet quaeri ista quaestio nisi ubi quaeritur GA 3. 761b21, and pullificant pullos GA 4. 774b26–29. In the indices verborum of the already published editions of PA (1998) and GA (1992) we can find countless further examples.

3 The Arrangement of the Edition

When I embarked on this edition of De animalibus some time ago I started with the last part of the text, De generatione animalium. This was because the basic material which I needed existed in the shape of practicable editions of the Greek and Arabic texts in addition to the Graeco-Latin translation.25 For the same reason the entire editio princeps was prepared in reverse order: De animalibus, books 15–19 De generatione animalium (GA) in 1992—De animalibus, books 11–14 De partibus animalium (PA) in 1998—and De animalibus, books 1–10 Historia animalium (HA), 3 vols. from 2019/2020. Here I want to take the opportunity to discuss once again the arrangement of the edition, particularly for the benefit of those who do not have the other two volumes at hand when they consult it. For the sake of uniformity this edition of the Historia animalium follows the previous volumes as closely as possible where method and appearance are concerned. Now and again there are small differences in the annotation of the apparatus since this volume was set with a new programme, the Classical Text Editor of Stefan Hagel,26 instead of the Multi-Lingual Scholar programme which has been used hitherto.27 The main advantages in this case were the automatic set up of the pages and the unlimited capacity of the files. While the pages had previously to be set up by the authors themselves and the volumes had then to be prepared by the printer in offset, now the text produced with the CTE programme can simply be sent electronically to the printer who can then make a book of it digitally.

As in the edition of De partibus animalium, the Latin text is based on the seven manuscripts ABCDEHW, numbers 10, 6, 7, 19, 49, 4 and 62 respectively in the list with manuscripts in the Introduction. For the first two books readings from U (60) are given in support of the text, since the text of U appeared to sustain the text tradition of the most distinguished manuscripts ACD1, and many of the marginalia which appear in this tradition are included in the text. BD2EHW represent the slightly streamlined later phase of the text which was presumably used for teaching at the university and which is the version most frequently quoted in secondary literature.28 A number of the marginalia in H, however, also correspond to the ones in AC.

In the first apparatus the readings in the Latin manuscripts are compared with the constituted text and with each other. In the second apparatus the constituted Latin text is compared with the text of the Arabic translation. This comparison is mainly based on the text as it was simultaneously published within this project by L.S. Filius (siglum Filius). In addition to this I have regularly consulted where necessary photographs of the Arabic manuscripts of Londen (L) and Teheran (T), especially in the case of the Latin transliterations from Arabic. When Scot’s translation corresponds to an Arabic reading which differs from the text of Filius, this is indicated (L1, L2, T etc.). In the spelling of the Arabic I have retained the version in Filius’s text as much as possible. An asterisk before an Arabic word indicates a conjecture, either by Filius, or by Badawī, or by me. These are explained in the notes at the end of the text. Where words or phrases are concerned which Scot has omitted or not translated literally, I have translated them back into a Latin the vocabulary and syntax of which corresponds as closely as possible to Scot’s. For this purpose I have always used as a dictionary the bilingual Index verborum which I drew up in the course of my work. When a Latin word never appears in Scot’s text I have taken the translation from Moerbeke,29 or even searched for an equivalent and marked the word in question with an asterisk. The English translations in quotations from the Greek text are always derived from the Loeb editions of A.L. Peck (HA i–vi, PA and GA), Balme/Gotthelf (HA vii–x), or the Revised Oxford Translation by D’Arcy W. Thompson (HA), W. Ogle (PA) and A. Platt (GA).30 In other cases the English is my own.

Latin translations between brackets indicate my translation of a missing Arabic word or phrase, for example: Prologue aristoteles + ‮الفيلسوف‬‎ (philosophus); 1. 487b1 agrestium + ‮يكسب طعمه وغذاءه‬‎ (acquirunt suum cibum(syn.)). Latin translations after a square bracket indicate that Scot may have translated a word or a phrase correctly (and sometimes quite beautifully), but not literally, for example: 1. 487b21 repens] vadens. Latin translations between brackets after a square bracket indicate an erroneous or highly different translation by Scot, for example: 1. 489b25 in facie] ‮فى بطنه‬‎ (in ventre), or an erroneous reading by Scot, for example: 1. 490a18 ossibus (= ‮عظْم‬‎)] ‮عِظَم‬‎ (magnitudine). Italics indicate my own clarifying additions, such as, for instance, 1. 486a17 sophroniti] ‮فلان‬‎ (*alicuius hominis), or a word which is not to be found literally in the Arabic, such as 1. 485b11 illorum] ‮الحيوان‬‎ (illorum animalium); 1. 489a27 incisi] ‮الطعام‬‎ (cibi (sc. incisi)). In the case of words which must have a particular meaning in the place in question I have also provided an English translation in italics in order to avoid confusion, for example: 2. 498a24 manus: ‮اليد‬‎ (‘(upper) arm’); 2. 504b30 alas (fins): ‮أجنحة‬‎.

The many synonyms in Arabic which are often translated in a simple aspect by Scot are indicated as in the following example: 1. 488a21 habitacula] ‮مسكن ومأوى‬‎ (syn.) and, vice versa, a synonymous translation by Scot for a singular Arabic word: 1. 486b13 cristas galeras (syn.): ‮قنزءة‬‎. The numerous instances of inversion are indicated similarly, for example: 1. 487a19 mansio eorum et nutrimentum] ‮غذاؤها ومأواها‬‎ (inv.); 1. 487a32 apes et vespae] ‮الدبر والنخل‬‎ (inv.). It should here be observed that the Arabic translator often also provides inversions with respect to the Greek text so that the sequence in Scot’s translation in such a case may correspond to the one in the original Greek. It is of course always possible that Scot found this sequence in his Arabic exemplar.

Normally, of course, the Arabic translator (siglum Ξ) reproduces the Greek text (siglum Ω) correctly, and Scot (siglum Σ), in his turn, gives a correct rendering of the Arabic translation (ΩΞΣ). And yet there are various exceptions to this rule.

  1. When a word or phrase in the Arabic text and in Scot’s translation correspond to one another, but there is either something different in the original Greek or the entire element is missing (ΞΣ ↔ Ω), this is never mentioned in the second apparatus or in the notes (with necessary exceptions).

  2. When a word or phrase appears in Scot’s translation but not in the Arabic translation, this is indicated as follows in the second apparatus: om. Ξ. For example 1. 486a22 membrorum om. Ξ; generis om. Ξ. This is usually an addition by Scot.

  3. When a word or phrase appears in the Greek text and also in the Arabic translation, but is missing in Scot’s translation (ΩΞ ↔ Σ), this is mentioned in the second apparatus. The missing item is given between brackets in a Latin translation, for example 1. 486b17 (τῶν ζῴων Ω), note in the second apparatus: quaedam + ‮الحيوان‬‎ (animalia).

  4. Items that appear in the Arabic translation but not in the original Greek text or in Scot’s translation (Ξ ↔ ΣΩ), are never indicated. Now and again an addition by the Arabic translator is discussed in the notes.

  5. Items that appear in the Greek text but have been omitted in the Arabic text as well as in Scot’s translation (Ω ↔ om. ΞΣ) are sometimes also discussed. This usually applies to passages mentioning religious localities or customs which the Arabic translator considered repulsive. But it can, for example, also apply to the sequence of the names of man and certain animals in a list, or to details connected with the description of female sexuality (also in animals).

  6. With some regularity we find that words or passages which appear in Scot’s translation correspond to the ones in the original Greek, while there is no equivalent in the surviving Arabic translation (ΩΣ ↔ Ξ). When all the Latin manuscripts have such a reading in the text this is reproduced in italics in the main text, for example 1. 487a27 et quaedam stagnaea, et quaedam paludosa, sicut ranae. Note in the second apparatus: et quaedam paludosa ΩΣ: om. Ξ. And 3. 520a22–23 et in quibusdam … a carne (q.v.). Such readings show that Scot obviously had an Arabic text in his exemplar which was closer to the Greek than the one we are dealing with.31 These, however, are the only examples of such a reading in the first part of this text. Others may appear in the next two volumes.

  7. Many of the items named in point 6 only appear in the margin of certain manuscripts (ACH—once and again also in B—sometimes supported by U). Such marginalia are occasionally also incorporated in the text of one of these manuscripts. The situation of the manuscripts and the textual form of the marginalia can also differ according to the case. The content of the item frequently suits the sentence but the syntax does not, and there is often either no reference mark or it is inserted in the wrong place in the text. The origin and status of these marginalia is unclear since it is impossible to establish whether the additions were made by Scot or by one or more later scribes and/or correctors. The hands are indeed more or less contemporary with that of the text. In order to distinguish between these marginal notes and the other marginalia in all the manuscripts, I have placed them in a third apparatus in which their special status can be explained case by case. For example: 1. 489a35 et koki, note in apparatus 3: equus + et koki C (→ b1 ko A2; i.e. kok U): Ω καὶ φώκη ‘and the seal’: om. Ξ; koki Σ?: ‮*فوقي‬‎ Ξ: φώκη Ω (seal).

The notes usually provide information about the technical aspect of the translation, or necessary explanatory details. The many Latin and Arabic transliterations are also explained and I have accounted for the final choices I have made. Occasionally, when the text provides certain examples, aspects of Scot’s method of translating are also discussed.

For observations concerning the punctuation and the division into headings of the text I refer to what has already been listed in the sections entitled General Remarks on the Text and The Arabic Exemplar. For the bilingual Indices verborum which will appear in the concluding volume the same remarks apply which appear in the Introduction of the edition of Generation of Animals (p. xx).32 In the case of the tenth book of the Historia Animalium, which has been included both by the Arabic translator and by Scot in their respective translations, neither text contains a literal rendering of its model, at least as far as can be concluded from the surviving texts. Both translators went their own way. The items in the Indices verborum will therefore have to be adapted accordingly.

3.1 List of Conjectures

3.1.1 First Book
  • 487b25 *sic

  • 488a6 *domedez et *thobaubilamodez

  • 489b26 *harcheakidolatrac

  • 490a35 *sibiarchosis

  • 490a31 *scilicet

  • 492a7 *erit

  • 492b26 *os

  • 493a17 *anteriori

  • 493a22 *cinguli

  • 494a17 *crassum

  • 496b26 *sacrificatis

3.1.2 Second Book
  • 502a11 *simae

  • 505b13 *animal

  • 509a6 *eorum

  • 509a11 *stercus

3.1.3 Third Book
  • 510b28 *generum

  • 510b29 *parietem

  • 511a16 *ipse

  • 520a24 *zirbo

  • 521b10 *vicerit

  • 522b16 †*teratia

3.2 Short Bibliography of Cited Works

3.2.1 Editions and Translations

Filius, L.S. (ed.), The Arabic Version of Aristotle’s ‘Historia Animalium’. Book IX of the Kitāb Al-Ḥayawān. In collaboration with Johannes den Heijer and John N. Mattock†. Aristoteles Semitico-Latinus 23, Leiden-Boston 2019. See also its Bibliography on pp. 102–110.

Arisṭūṭālīs, Ṭibāʿ al-ḥāyawān. Ed. A. Badawī. Kuwait 1977.

Aristotle, The Arabic Version of Aristotle’s Parts of Animals. Books XIXIV of the Kitāb al-Ḥayawān. Ed. Remke Kruk. Verhandelingen der KNAW, Afd. Letterkunde, Nieuwe Reeks, deel 97. Amsterdam-Oxford 1979 (ASL 2).

Aristotle, De Generatione Animalium. The Arabic Translation commonly ascribed to Yaḥyā ibn al-Biṭrīq. Edited with Introduction and Glossary by J. Brugman and H.J. Drossaart Lulofs. De Goeje Fund XXIII, Leiden 1971.

Avicenna, Al-Šifāʾ, al-Ṭabīʿiyyāt, VIII: al-Ḥayawān, edd. A. Muntaṣir, S. Zāyid, A. Ismāʿīl, I. Madkour. Cairo 1970.

Aristoteles Graece, rec. I. Bekker. Academia Regia Borussica. Volumen prius, Berlin 1831.

Aristotle, Historia animalium. Ed. by D.M. Balme and prepared for publication by A. Gotthelf. Vol. I Books IX: Text. CUP, Cambridge 2002.

Aubert, H., Fr. Wimmer, Aristoteles Thierkunde (Historia animalium). Kritisch-berichtigter Text, Deutscher Übersetzung, Sachlicher und Sprachlicher Erklärung und vollständigem Index. 2 Bd. Leipzig, 1868.

Aristotle, De animalibus. Michael Scot’s Arabic-Latin Translation. Part three: Books XVXIX, Generation of Animals. Ed. by A.M.I. van Oppenraay, Aristoteles Semitico-Latinus 5.1. Leiden-New York-Köln, 1992. Idem, Part two: Books XIXIV, Parts of Animals. Ed. by A.M.I. van Oppenraay, ASL 5.2. Leiden-New York-Köln, 1998.

De Historia Animalium. Translatio Guillelmi de Morbeka. Pars Prima: Libri IV. P. Beullens et F. Bossier (edd.). Aristoteles Latinus XVII 2.1.1. Leiden-Boston-Köln 2000.

Aristoteles, De progressu animalium. De motu animalium. Translatio Guillelmi de Morbeka. Ed. Pieter De Leemans. Aristoteles Latinus XVII 2.IIIII. Bruxelles, 2011. Aristoteles, De motu animalium. Fragmenta Translationis Anonymae. Ed. Pieter De Leemans. Aristoteles Latinus XVII 1.III. Bruxelles, 2011.

Drossaart Lulofs, H.J., E.L.J. Poortman, Nicolaus Damascenus De plantis. Five translations. Verhandelingen der KNAW, Afd. Letterkunde, Nieuwe Reeks, deel 139 (ASL *4). Oxford—New York 1989.

Albertus Magnus, De animalibus Libri XXVI. Ed. H. Stadler. Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie des Mittelalters, Texte und Untersuchungen. Ed. C. Baeumker, Bd. V. Münster i.W. 1916.

Albertus Magnus, On Animals. A Medieval Summa Zoologica. Translated and annotated by K.F. Kitchell Jr. and I.M. Resnick. Two Volumes. The Ohio State UP, Columbus 20182.

Filthaut, E. O.P. (ed.), Alberti Magni Quaestiones super De animalibus in Alberti Magni Opera Omnia T. XII, Aschendorff, 1955.

Resnick, I.M., K.F. Kitchell (tr.), Albert the Great, Questions concerning Aristotle’s On Animals (The Fathers of the Church, Mediaeval Continuation Vol. 9), Washington D.C., 2008.

The Works of Aristotle, translated into English. J.A. Smith and W.D. Ross (edd.). Vol. IV, Historia animalium, by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson. Oxford 1910 (Revised Oxford Translation ed. by J. Barnes, Vol. I, 1991, pp. 774–993). Vol. V, De partibus animalium, by W. Ogle. Oxford 1912 (Rev. Oxford Tr. Vol. I, 1991, pp. 994–1086). Vol. V, De generatione animalium, by A. Platt. Oxford 1910 (Rev. Oxford Tr. Vol. I, 1991, pp. 1111–1218).

Aristotle, Historia animalium IVI. Ed. by A.L. Peck with an English translation. London-Cambridge (Mass.), Harvard UP 1965 and 1970. LCL 437 and 438. History of Animals VIIX. Edited and translated by D.M. Balme, prepared for publication by A. Gotthelf. Cambridge (Mass.), London, Harvard UP 1991. LCL 439.

Aristotle, Parts of Animals. Edited with English translation by A.L. Peck; Movement of Animals, Progression of Animals. Edited with English translation by E.S. Forster. London-Cambridge (Mass.). Harvard UP 1968. LCL 323.

Aristotle, Generation of Animals. Edited with English translation by A.L. Peck. Cambridge (Mass.)—London, Harvard UP 1979. LCL 366.

Aristote, Histoire des Animaux. Texte établi et traduit par Pierre Louis. Paris, Société d’ Édition “Les Belles Lettres”, 1964–1969. Aristote, Les Parties des Animaux. Texte établi et traduit par Pierre Louis. Paris, Société d’ Édition “Les Belles Lettres”, 1990. Aristote, De la Génération des Animaux. Texte établi et traduit par Pierre Louis. Paris, Société d’ Édition “Les Belles Lettres”, 1961. Aristote, Marche des Animaux, Mouvement des Animaux, Index des Traités Biologiques. Texte établi et traduit par Pierre Louis. Paris, Société d’ Édition “Les Belles Lettres”, 2015.

Paulus, A., B. van den Abeele, Frédéric II de Hohenstaufen “L’ Art de chasser avec les oiseaux”. Le traité de fauconnerie ‘De arte venandi cum avibus’. Traduit, introduit et annoté. Bibliotheca Cynegetica 1. Nogent-le-Roi 2000.

3.2.2 Lexicons and Grammars

A Greek and Arabic Lexicon (GALex). Materials for a dictionary of the mediaeval translations from Greek into Arabic. G. Endress, D. Gutas (edd.). Handbook of Oriental Studies, Section 1, The Near and Middle East, Vol. 11. Fasc. 1–14—, 1992–2019–. Leiden-New York-Köln.

Arabic and Latin Glossary, D.N. Hasse et al. (edd.). Institute of Philosophy of the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg., 2005–

Lane, E.W., An Arabic-English Lexicon in Eight Parts. Beirut 1968.

Ullmann, M., Wörterbuch zu den griechisch-arabischen Übersetzungen des 9. Jahrhunderts. Wiesbaden, 2002. Supplement I, 2006, Supplement II, 2007.

Dozy, R., Supplément aux Dictionnaires Arabes, 2 vls. Beyrouth, 1981.

De Biberstein-Kazimirski, A., Dictionnaire Arabe-Français, 2 vls. Paris 1860.

Wehr, H., A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. Ed. by J. Milton Cowan. Wiesbaden, 1979.

Belot, J.-B., S.J., Vocabulaire Arabe-Français à l’ usage des étudiants. Revue et augmentée d’ une liste des mots empruntés aux langues étrangères, Beyrouth 1929.

Latham, R.E., Revised Medieval Latin Word-List from British and Irish Sources. London, OUP 1989.

Liddell, H.G. and R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon. New edition, revised and augmented throughout by H.S. Jones. With a Supplement. Oxford, 1968. Revised Supplement, ed. by P.G.W. Glare with the assistance of A.A. Thompson. Oxford, 1996.

D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, A Glossary of Greek Birds. London, OUP 1936 (Nachdr. Hildesheim 1966).

D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, A Glossary of Greek Fishes. London, OUP 1947.

Fonahn, A., Arabic and Latin Anatomical Terminology, Chiefly from the Middle Ages. Videnskapsselskapets Skrifter. II. Hist.-Filos. Klasse 1921, No. 7. Kristiania, 1922.

André, J., Le vocabulaire latin de l’ Anatomie. Collection d’ Études anciennes, Série latine 59. Paris, 1991.

Bodson, L., Aristote, De partibus animalium. Index verborum, Listes de fréquence. Fasc. 17. Liège, Centre Informatique de Philosophie et Lettres 1990. Idem, Index verborum in Aristotelis Historiam animalium. Alpha-Omega Reihe A, CCXXXVII.1 (2 vls.). Hildesheim-Zürich-New York, 2004. Idem, Aristotelis ‘De Generatione animalium’: Index verborum avec Listes de fréquence et Listes complémentaires. Addenda et corrigenda in Aristotelis Historiam animalium, Partes animalium. Alpha-Omega Reihe A, CCLXIV. Hildesheim-Zürich-New York, 2014.

Wright, W., A Grammar of the Arabic Language. Third edition, revised by W. Robertson Smith and M.J. de Goeje. London-New York-Melbourne, CUP 1977.

3.2.3 Books and Articles

Dehmer, V.C., Aristoteles Hispanus. Eine altspanische Übersetzung seiner Zoologie aus dem Arabischen und dem Lateinischen. Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie, Bd. 342. Tübingen, 2007.

Singer, Ch. and C. Rabin, A Prelude to Modern Science (The ‘Tabulae Anatomicae Sex’ of Vesalius). Publications of the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum (New Series), I. CUP Cambridge 1946.

Huygens, R.B.C., Ars Edendi. A practical introduction to editing medieval Latin texts. Turnhout 2000.

Ackermann, S., Michael Scotus, ein Universalgelehrter des 13. Jahrhunderts. Quellen zu seinem Leben—Überlieferung seiner Werke. Diss. Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main, 1987, 234 pp. (esp. pp. 106–115).

Kwakkel, E., Behind the Scenes of a Revision: Michael Scot and the Oldest Manuscript of his ‘Abbreviatio Avicenne’ in: Viator 40, no. 1 (2009), pp. 107–132.

Kruk, R., ‘Aristoteles, Avicenna, Albertus en de locusta maris.’ In Tussentijds. Bundel studies aangeboden aan W.P. Gerritsen ter gelegenheid van zijn vijftigste verjaardag. Van Buuren, Lie, Van Dijk, Van Oostrom (red.). Utrechtse Bijdragen tot de Medievistiek 5. Utrecht 1985, pp. 147–156.

Van Oppenraay, A.M.I., ‘The Reception of Aristotle’s History of Animals in the Marginalia of some Latin Manuscripts of Michael Scot’s Arabic-Latin Translation’ in: The Reception of Aristotle’s Physical Works in the Middle Ages. Essays in Memory of Jozef Brams edited by Pieter De Leemans. Early Science and Medicine Vol. VIII No. 4 (2003), Special Issue, pp. 387–403.

Van Oppenraay, A.M.I., ‘An editiorial problem concerning the first two books of Aristotle’s Historia animalium in the translation by Michael Scot’ in: The Aristoteles Latinus: Past, Present, Future. P. De Leemans, C. Steel (edd.). KVAB, Handelingen van het contactforum 2005, Brussel 2009, pp. 59–65.

Van Oppenraay, A.M.I., ‘Avicenna’s Liber de animalibus (‘Abbreviatio Avicennae’). Preliminaries and State of Affairs’ in: Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale XXVIII (Firenze 2017), curato da Amos Bertolacci e Tommaso Alpina, pp. 401–416.

Drossaart Lulofs, H.J., ‘Aristotle, Bar Hebraeus, and Nicolaus Damascenus on Animals’ in: Aristotle on Nature and Living Things. Philosophical and Historical Studies presented to David M. Balme on his Seventieth Birthday. Ed. by A. Gotthelf. Pittsburgh Penns., Bristol Eng. 1985, pp. 345–357.

Buddington, R.K., J.M. Diamond, ‘Aristotle revisited: the function of pyloric caeca in fish’. Proc.Natl.Acad.Sci. USA v. 83(20), 1986/7 (online).

Veillette, P.A., G. Young, ‘Pyloric caeca in Chinook salmon. Osmoregulatory function and responsiveness to cortisol’. University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Extended abstract (date after 1995), read online.

Beullens, P., A. Gotthelf, ‘Theodore Gaza’s Translation of Aristotle’s De Animalibus: Content, Influence and Date’ in: Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 47 (2007), pp. 469–513.

Hissette, R., Averrois ou Mystice plutôt qu’ Averroys ou mistice? À propos des graphies dans les éditions des textes scolastiques latins in Bulletin de Philosophie Médiévale 40 (SIEPM), 1998, pp. 77–90.

Long, R.J., Scholastic Texts and Orthography: a Response to Roland Hissette in Bulletin de Philosophie Médiévale 41 (SIEPM), 1999, pp. 149–151.

Kiraz, G.A., Challenges in Syriac Text Editions Using the DOS-based Word Processor Multi-Lingual Scholar in Aafke M.I. van Oppenraay (ed.), The Letter before the Spirit: The Importance of Text Editions for the Study of the Reception of Aristotle. With the collaboration of Resianne Fontaine. Leiden—Boston 2012, pp. 447–461.

NB. See the footnotes in the section entitled Base Manuscript of the Edition of the Introduction for the bibliography belonging to it.

4 The Manuscripts

A supplemented and improved version of the list of manuscripts of the Libri de animalibus in Scot’s Arabo-Latin translation is to be found on p. xlvii. In the previous volumes all the manuscripts are listed which contain the entire, or almost the entire, text of the translation. In this list the manuscripts which only contain fragments, compendia or extracts have been added. The summary in the unpublished dissertation of Silke Ackermann (Frankfurt 1987),33 which she kindly placed at my disposal, was most useful, even if her descriptions differ in many respects from mine.

Seventy-three manuscripts are known in all. Fifty-eight of these contain the whole, or nearly the whole, text. Five are incomplete (14, 29, 31, 34, 53), four only contain fragments (20, 60, 69, 70) and five contain compendia or excerpts (66, 67, 68, 71, 73). Finally, there is one incomplete manuscript from Tours (72), which was unfortunately destroyed by fire in the Second World War.

There are nineteen manuscripts in which Michael Scotus is mentioned explicitly or indirectly as the author. These are marked respectively in the list of manuscripts with a Σ or (Σ). In three of these (4, 7, 49) we have an indirect reference to the author in a copy of an added medical note by Scot concerning a case of ‘missed abortion’ during his stay in Bologna in 1220.34 In four manuscripts (16, 23, 37, 65) Toledo is named as the place where the translation was made. In four manuscripts an exact date is given in which the manuscript in question was completed (16-1266, 34-1327, 46-1243, 59-1248). In the case of one manuscript (38) we know that it was written before 1278. In two manuscripts (8, 58) we find the incorrect information that they contain a translation from the Greek.35 This conclusion may have been drawn by a scribe who took the frequent expressions in the text, ‘qui (quae, quod) dicitur (dicuntur) Graece’, to be explanations of the Greek text rather than observations made by the Arabic translator and translated by Scot. The confusion may, however, also be due to the scribe having included the titles and divisions of books in Scot’s translation according to the new Graeco-Latin translation by Moerbeke.36

In the earliest and most distinguished manuscript (10), Vaticanus Chigi E. VIII. 251, which, besides Scot’s translation of Aristotle’s Libri de animalibus, also contains his translation of Avicenna’s Liber de animalibus, the emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen (1194–1250) is addressed in two homonymous dedications as the man to whom the translations were offered by Michael Scot: “Frederice Romanorum Imperator domine mundi Suscipe devote hunc laborem Michaelis Scoti ut sit gratia capiti tuo et torques collo tuo” (cf. Prov. I, 9). The separate dedication sheet also gives the contents of the book: “Liber Alexandri37 de animalibus. Et abreviatio Avincenne38 super eundem librum. Cum postibus et cathena. Cuius principium est ‘In nomine domini nostri Ihesu Christi omnipotentis misericordis et pii’, Finis vero ‘Sed de dentium utilitatibus iam sci(ti)s ex alio loco’. In quo libro omnes quaterni sunt xxiv. H.” The dedication is followed by another list of contents: “In volumine isto sunt duo libri. Primus est liber Aristotilis de animalibus. Secundus est abreviatio Avincenne super eundem librum de animalibus Aristotilis.” At the end of the codex we find the hexameter Felix elmelic dober friderich salemelich, ‘all hail to the excellent prince Frederick, greetings (or: peace be with you)’, in which each word is glossed respectively with latinum, arabicum, sclavicum, teutonicum, arabicum. The emperor Frederick II is hereby celebrated for his rule over what was then his world kingdom. On the basis of this and other unique peculiarities this manuscript is assumed to be a dedication copy for the emperor.39 It might well have been a gift from Scot to Frederick on the occasion of one of his coronations.

In one manuscript (24) we find large parts of the Graeco-Latin translation (Translatio Nova) by William of Moerbeke, introduced interlinearly between the lines of Michael Scot’s Arabo-Latin translation. It sometimes happened that Scot’s fluent and relatively readable translation was consulted in order to obtain a quick overview of a large quantity of text, while for more complex passages a reader might turn to the more precise but far more difficult translation of Moerbeke.40

In twelve manuscripts (8, 15, 16, 23, 26, 37, 38, 48, 58, 65, 70, 71) Michael Scot is termed Magister, in two Alphagiri (71)—possibly a transliteration of al-faqīr, sc. l(i)-llāh ‘God’s pauper’, a frequent addition after the name of a copyist in Arabic manuscripts41—and Alphagin (57), probably a mistranscription of Alphagiri.

Some of the manuscripts lack the proem In nomine Domini nostri … et quae ambulant in eo de lupis, or give an abbreviated version of it. In (37) for example, the text of the proem is limited to p2 marinorum. It is not clear why this is. Further research on the manuscripts is still needed to clear up a number of points.42

For the edition of the Historia animalium I have used the same seven manuscripts which I used for the edition of De partibus animalium: ABCDEHW (10, 6, 7, 19, 49, 4, 62). A description of these manuscripts is to be found in the relevant volume (Introduction pp. xvi–xviii). For a description of the remaining manuscripts I refer to the catalogues of Lacombe and the relevant libraries. A new, expanded description of the earliest and most distinguished manuscript, Vaticanus Chisianus E. VIII. 251, by Professor Erik Kwakkel, then from Leiden University, now from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, has been included in this volume.

There are sometimes considerable differences between the names that have been given to this work just as there are between the texts of the Incipits and Explicits of the manuscripts in so far as there are any. Roman and/or Arabic numerals are also used variously. Sometimes they replace each other, as they frequently do, for example, in the case of D (19). Where the manuscripts used for this edition are concerned we find in A: Incipit liber animalium. (Proem) In nomine domini … in eo De lupis. Tractatus primus hic incipit. Tractatus secundus. tractatus tertius (in margine). [F. 12rb] Tractatus nervorum (Radix vero eius est a corde etc.). Tractatus quartus incipit. Explicit quartus tractatus Incipit quintus. Incipit tractatus .vi. Completus est sextus Incipit septimus. Tractatus octavus. Completus est tractatus viiius. Incipit ixus. [F. 46ra beginning of book x without Incipit]. 47vb Incipit tractatus .x. (but this is Part.An. i, so tractatus .xi.). Tractatus undecimus (instead of .xii.). The Incipit of twelf is missing. Incipit tractatus tertius decimus etc. usque ad finem. Explicit: In nomine domini nostri ihesu christi completus(!) est translatio libri animalium.

In B: Incipit proemium libri de animalibus In nomine domini … in eo. [Caput 1 de divisione animalium etc.]. Incipit liber ii [Caput 1 …], liber iii–vi. Completus est sextus. Liber vii [Caput 1 …], liber viii. Liber ix Incipit de … Incipit liber x [Caput 1 …] … Explicit liber de animalibus.

In C: Primus tractatus (added). In nomine domini … in ea. Initium primi tractatus [capitulum in narratione …]. Secundus tractatus de membris … Hic incipit liber tertius de generatione animalium … Tractatus quartus incipit. Completus est tertius. Explicit quartus tractatus. Incipit quintus. Finitus quintus. Incipit sextus tractatus. No Incipit vii(viii) octavus, although there is a space left open for it (Arabic numeral 7 instead). viii(ix) There is no Incipit viii(ix) in spite of the space (Arabic numeral 8 instead). Completus est octavus tractatus, the rest of the folio and the next folio are left blank. Completus est tractatus octavus. Modo vero ixus de generatione hominis. Hic incipit decimus tractatus. Completus est xus tractatus. Incipit undecimus. Etc. usque ad finem. In nomine domini nostri ihesu christi completa est translatio libri animalium.

In D: the beginning of book I is missing. In book II a space is left open for a title, but has not been filled in. The same applies to book III where we find .3. L in the margin. From book IV on: Incipit tractatus iiiius, Incipit tractatus vus, Incipit tractatus vius, Incipit viius tractatus. Tractatus viiius + Incipit L 8 in the margin. Incipit tractatus ixus + Incipit L 9 in the margin. Incipit decimus tractatus + Incipit L 10us in the margin. Explicit as in A.

In E: In nomine domini … in eo. Incipit liber de animalibus [+ capitula]. Capitulum in narratione membrorum hominis et partium: Liber secundus secundum quosdam. Incipit liber iius up to and including liber xus in the margin, and not in the space reserved for it. Explicit: In nomine domini nostri ihesu christi omnipotentis et pii completus est tractatus xixus libri aristotilis de animalibus et sic completus est totus liber. deo gratias. amen.

In H: In nomine domini … in eo de lupis. Initium primi tractatus. A space has always been left for the titles of the books, but has never been filled in, while the numbers of the books have indeed been written above the text. Explicit: Completus est liber aristotilis de animalibus. sit nomen domini benedictum in secula. fiat fiat. amen. Finitus hic liber aristotilis.

And in W: In nomine domini … in eo. De lupis. Initium primi tractatus [+ capitula]. Liber secundus up to and including quintus [+ capitula]. Liber 6us and Liber ۸us (= septimus). Liber octavus. Liber 9us in the margin, capitulum in the space in the text. Liber 10us [+ capitulum] in the space in the text. The last paragraph of the text, and thus probably the last folio, is missing and there is no Explicit.

In order to give an impression of the textual differences which can occur in the Incipit and Explicit of the manuscripts I shall give a few examples:43

Cambridge (8) en San Marino (58)

Incipit liber (+ primus San M.) Aristotilis de Natura (-ris San M.) animalium quem transtulit magister Michael Scotus de greco in latinum et habet (+ in se San M.) xix (x San M.) libros.

Kues (23)

Incipit primus liber De Animalibus Aristotilis translatus a magistro Michaele Scotto in Toleto de arabico in latinum.

Paris (42)

Incipit liber Aristotilis de Naturis Animalium translatus a Michaele Scoto.

Paris (48)

Liber Aristotilis secundum extractionem(!) magistri Michaelis Scoti.

Firenze (16)

Completus est liber Aristotilis de animalibus translatus a magistro Michaele in Tollecto de arabico in latinum.

Firenze (17)

Completus est liber Aristotilis De Animalibus secundum extractionem(!) Michaelis Scoti.

Leipzig (26)

Explicit liber De Animalibus quem composuit Aristotilis in cognitione animalium secundum translationem magistri Michaelis Scoti.

Roma (71)

Explicit liber Aristotilis secundum extractionem magistri Michaelis Scoti Alphagiri.

We can thus conclude that, in all likelihood, the original title of Scot’s translation was Liber (Aristotilis) de animalibus, and that the entire work was subdivided into nineteen Tractatus. The text was originally very sober and virtually lacking in subdivisions or embellishments. Later the Liber de animalibus was divided into nineteen Libri, often again subdivided into all sorts of Capitula, depending on the copyists. When the Graeco-Latin translation by Moerbeke became known the names of the three different parts (HA, PA, GA) were added, first in the margin and later at the head of the page of the text. I have myself introduced the titles in the present edition: De animalibus Liber IXIX, Historia animalium IX, De partibus animalium XIXIV, De generatione animalium XVXIX. For practical reasons the entire work formerly obtained an English title: Aristotle, De animalibus. History of Animals, Parts of Animals, Generation of Animals.

4.1 Base Manuscript for the Edition (by Erik Kwakkel)

4.1.1 Origins

The base manuscript for this edition, MS Chisianus E VIII 251 in the Vatican Library (henceforth MS 251), contains two texts presented in two codicological units: Michael Scot’s translation of Aristotle’s Books on Animals (ff. 1r–108r), produced in Toledo around 1217–1220; and Avicenna’s Book of the Natures of Animals (ff. 109r–184v), translated by Scot around 1230–1232 when he was in the service of Frederick II at his court in Southern Italy and Sicily.44 The composite nature of MS 251 is demonstrated by the missing catchword on f. 108v at the end of De animalibus; by the blank verso of that same page; by the change of hands between f. 108r (hand B) and 109r (hand C); and by the fact that the last quire in part I (ff. 103–108) contains three rather than the usual four bifolia, indicating that the scribe knew that the end of the material unit had been reached. The script of the six main scribes in the codex suggests that the two texts were copied in the period between 1225 and 1250, making MS 251 the oldest surviving manuscript witness of both Scot’s translation of Aristotle’s Books on Animals and of Avicenna’s subsequent version and commentary. MS 251 is also special in that it is one of only three manuscripts to contain both texts. The other two copies also date from the thirteenth century.45 Some striking codicological similarities of the two parts, most notably the dimensions of the page and of the area of written space, suggest they were meant to be united in one volume from the moment of their conception (see below). There are no indications that either part was used separately at an earlier stage. There are, in other words, none of the traditional trademarks of such an independent use (wear-and-tear and stains on the first and last pages). It thus seems likely that the codex in its current form was designed—both in its content and in its physical appearance—as one entity, most probably by one individual in one given location. While the scribal teams who copied the two respective texts worked on different codicological units, they were part of the same collaborative project.

A paleographical study of MS 251 not only suggests a date in the period between 1225 and 1250, but it also shows that the codex was copied by Italian scribes. Hand B, for example, uses the Italian abbreviation for the letter r (a horizontal line with a curved tip, placed superscript), while one of the corrective hands frequently abbreviates the word de as a d with a diagonal stroke attached to its lower right (hand M), which is also Italian. The absence in this evidently Italian manuscript of the familiar Italian duct, which produces letters with a certain “roundness” and gives the script a somewhat “aerated” feel, indicates that the main scribes were not from the central part of Italy. This, consequently, makes a Southern Italian origin very likely.46 Intrinsic evidence confirms this conclusion and further narrows down the manuscript’s location. The paleographer Giovanni Mercati argued that the codex was produced at the court of Frederick II, perhaps as a dedication copy for the emperor.47 His conclusions were prompted by the presence of a polyglot verse on the name Frederick (“Felix elmelic dober friderich salemelich” accompanied by the annotation “latinum arabicum sclavicum teutonicum arabicum”) on f. 184r and by the dedication to Frederick at the outset of each text (“Frederice, Romanorum Imperator, domine mundi, Suscipe devote hunc laborem Michaelis Scoti, Ut sit gratia capiti tuo, et torques collo tuo”, from Proverbs I:9) on f. Iv and 109r. A subsequent paleographical study by Giulio Battelli confirmed the suggested origins of MS 251, which are now accepted among scholars.48

A codicological study published in 2009 has taken the discussion a step further.49 It confirms the manuscript’s origins since it points out that Scot himself may have been involved in its production and, with a small team of collaborators, may have improved the translation of the second text in the volume, the Abbreviatio Avicenne. The individuals who worked with him used three sophisticated correction techniques that allowed them to confer with the translator as they corrected the text. They used, for example, a symbol that resembles a struck-out d to “flag” potential mistakes in the copied text; Scot may have been asked to look at these suggestions and give his verdict, after which a correction was either introduced or not. A frequent correction with this rare symbol is the insertion of the verb “esse” (“sunt”), not present in the Arabic text and originally skipped by the translator, and which improved the translation—a trait that can also be observed in other of Scot’s Arabic-Latin translations.50 Another correction technique applied during the copying of the Abbreviatio Avicenne was to leave lacunae in the text when words were encountered that potentially needed replacement. These included Latin equivalents for Arabic terms such as “furcula” (a fork bone in birds), “culcidra” (matrass or pillow) and “apostema” (an abscess). Scot may have been asked to look at these omitted readings and decide whether they needed modification.51 The following colophon found in some thirteenth-century manuscripts suggests that this project of revision was concluded before 1232:

Completus est liber Avicenne de animalibus scriptus per magistrum Heinricum Coloniensem ad exemplar magnifici imperatoris Domini Frederici apud Messiam [= Melfiam], civitatem Apulie, ubi Dominus imperator eidem magistro hunc librum premissum commodavit, anno Domini mccxxxij, in vigilia beati Laurentii [= 9 August 1232] in domo magistri Volmari, medici imperialis (or imperatoris).52

The reason why Henry’s colophon functions as a terminus ante quem for the production of MS 251 (namely before 1232), as well as an indication of the manuscript’s whereabouts at about that time (in Frederick’s possesion, but apparently held in the house of his physician), is the persuasion that Henry’s copy contained the revised text of MS 251 rather than the text as it existed in this codex prior to its revision. That is to say that the improved readings, for example the words in the lacunae and the corrections with the struck-out d, had become part of the main text of Henry’s manuscript (as reflected by its later copies).53

The second part of MS 251 was produced in collaboration with Scot himself. Indeed, his autograph was probably used as an exemplar.54 Remarkably enough, this is not the first suggestion that MS 251 has close ties to an autograph of Scot. H.J. Drossaart Lulofs implied the same thing when, communicating verbally with d’ Alverny, he pointed out missing verbs and the presence of more or less accurate transliterations of Arab terminology, and said that Aristotle’s De animalibus in the first part of MS 251 was probably based on the translator’s original.55 Drossaart Lulofs’ belief that Scot’s autograph lies at the basis of De animalibus may at first seem in conflict with an entry in a booklist drawn up in 1273 by Gonzalo García Gudiel,56 dean (and later archbishop) of Toledo, which refers to “seven quaternia of the book ‘De animalibus’ written in the hand of the translator” (the book list also mentions “all the commentaries of Averroes, except for a few, written in the hand of the translator [i.e. Scot]”).57 If we are to trust Gudiel’s judgment, we have to account for the apparent impossibility that Scot’s original was part of a Toledan library in the 1270s, while some forty years earlier, in the 1230s, it was in Southern Italy where it was used as the basis for the first part of MS 251. These facts need not necessarily be contradictory, however, since Michael Scot may have left behind a copy of his translation (apparently in his own hand) when he left Toledo for Italy. Not only was the production of copies by the author common practice in medieval intellectual culture, but it would also make sense if Scot did so when he left the school at the cathedral of Toledo: the Latin scholars there were very interested in Aristotle and may not have been able to read the Arabic copies. Besides, Scot’s text is dedicated to the archbishop of Toledo, who would probably have wanted to keep a copy for himself.58

4.1.2 Provenance

The colophon of Henry of Cologne suggests that in 1232 MS 251 was present at the court of Frederick II, where it was probably part of a library containing a substantial number of scientific manuscripts, many of which were especially related to the natural sciences.59 While the codex was produced for use at the court, as we see, for example, by the inclusion of the two dedications to the emperor, it left the court some time in the second half of the thirteenth century, for reasons unknown. MS 251 bears two pieces of evidence related to its medieval provenance beyond the court of Frederick II. At some point in the thirteenth century the codex entered private ownership. This is indicated by an erased ownership inscription from around 1300 added to f. Iv just below the top of the page in a rather large cursive hand, currently only partly visible with the help of ultra-violet light: “Iste liber de animalibus Aristotilis est de […] sei […d] quem emi ab heredibus domini Johannis de […].” The “Johannis” from whose estate the codex was purchased by an unidentified individual must have acquired it at some time in the second half of the thirteenth century. Another indication of the later medieval provenance of MS 251 is found in its peculiar style of quire signatures—a circle of small lines and (red and black) dots surrounding a roman numeral, placed on the first as well as the last leaf of a quire, with the number of the first quire written out in full (primus) and followed by the word quaternus. This type of signature represents the house style of the Franciscan convent in Assisi, as the Italian paleographer Giovanni Mercati observed.60 The signatures were systematically placed in the manuscripts listed in a surviving book inventory of the convent, dating from 1381. MS 251 features in the entry CLXIV, as shown by the matching incipit, explicit and number of quires:

Liber Alexandri61 de animalibus. Et abreviatio Avincenne super eundem librum. Cum postibus et cathena. Cuius principium est “In nomine domini nostri Iesu Christi omnipotentis misericordis et pii.” Finis vero: “Sed de dentium utilitatibus iam scitis ex alio loco.” In quo libro omnes quaterni sunt xxiv. H.62

The description in this inventory reveals how MS 251 was used in the convent of Assisi: it was placed in the “bibliotheca publica,” where it lay chained (“cum postibus et cathena”) in the company of over a hundred other books—which included one other Aristotle manuscript.63 A rusty stain on f. 184v confirms that MS 251 was part of a chained library. The chain’s location, in the middle of the lower end of the back cover, reveals that the codex was part of a chained library in which books were put on desks or lecterns rather than on a shelf below or above the podium. A letter from the alphabet was placed on the cover as an identifier of the book (in the case of MS 251 this was presumably the letter H, as shown by the entry in the 1381 catalogue).64

In short, in the 150 years after its creation MS 251 was part of a wide variety of libraries, imperial, private, institutional and public. When the codex entered its current home, the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, is not known. The present binding is red Moroccan leather over wooden boards and dates from the middle of the seventeenth century. It is in impeccable condition and bears the arms of Pope Alexander VIII (1655–1671), formally known as Agostino Chigi.

4.1.3 Genesis

While MS 251 has a rather straightforward genesis (it consists of clearly identifiable codicological units, composed mainly of regular quires), a close paleographical inspection of the manuscript’s pages reveals a complex production process that involves a considerable number of individuals (see Table 1). As we saw, MS 251 is a composite manuscript made up of two individually produced parts, which were bound together in one volume immediately after their production, probably in the early 1230s. The volume as we have it today therefore went through two production stages: in the first phase the two individual parts were copied, most probably at the same time, while in the second stage, possibly straight after their completion, these parts were joined together in a composite volume. As the genesis of Avicenna’s commentary has been discussed in detail elsewhere,65 the following assessment will focus primarily on Aristotle’s text. In both production stages a variety of individuals worked on De animalibus in the capacity of scribe, corrector and coordinator, and for our understanding of how the text came into being we must take a closer look at the precise contributions of these individuals.

Starting with the first production stage, when Aristotle’s De animalibus was copied, a paleographical study of MS 251 shows that two hands copied the main text. One of them (hand A) copied chapters 1–13 on f. 1r–62v (quires 1–8), while the other (hand B) copied the remaining six chapters of the text, on f. 63v–108v (quires 9–14). The manner of transition—hand A ended his portion in one quire and B started his in the next—shows that the scribes must have divided their labour and also that they worked on their portions at the same time, probably to decrease the production time. Their planning was perfect but for the fact that hand A had completed his share just before he ran out of surface space, and the last few lines in the B-column of f. 62v consequently remained blank. After the completion of their respective portions, both hands A and B added omissions and corrections in the margin. The corrections are in a slightly lighter shade of brown, suggesting they were introduced at a different moment from when the scribes were actually copying the main text, so presumably right after they had finished copying their portions. They were made with the help of signes de renvoi, a symbol that marks a flaw in the main text and that is repeated in the margin, where the signe is accompanied by an emendation. The two scribes tend to use particular symbols, which makes it possible to trace many of their corrections among the emendations of other individuals. Hand A uses a little flat line in a variety of presentations: a single line (e.g. f. 2r, col. B, top marginal notation) or two lines placed next to each other (e.g. f. 1v, col. A, 2nd, 3rd and 4th marginal notation); a little line accompanied by a double dot, either on top of the line or at its left side (e.g. f. 1v, col. A, 1st marginal notation; f. 2r, col. B, 2nd marginal notation); and a symbol known as obelus + trigon (e.g. fol. 1r, col. A, next to the two last lines). Hand B frequently uses a symbol that is best described as a “crooked” cross (e.g. f. 64rb, twice).

Four additional individuals participated in the first production stage of De animalibus. Three of these added rubrics to the text. The main scribes had placed the representations of the rubrics in the margins, as is clearly visible, for example, on f. 63r and 72r, but they did not execute these themselves (hand A and B did not handle any red ink). Three rubricators can be identified: one, hand G, copied the rubric on the opening folium (“Incipit liber animalium,” f. 1r), while another, hand H, placed sixteen rubrics throughout the text.66 A third, hand I, added a single rubric, on f. 28r, perhaps because it was forgotten by hand H. The absence of rubrics after the scribes had completed their work can also been seen in the second part of the codex, where only hand E executes the rubrics in his portion (ff. 155–162)—all the others are done by individuals who did not copy the actual text to which a rubric was added. The rubrication in MS 251 deviates from normal book-production practices in that there was not one single rubricator who was assigned (or two: one for each codicological unit), which is what normally happened when scribes did not execute their own rubrics.

Besides the two main scribes and the three individuals responsible for the rubrics, one additional individual worked on De animalibus during its first production stage, when it was not yet bound together with Avicenna’s commentary. The individual in question, hand K, added a number of marginal corrections in the work of hand B, usually preceded by a line with a dot below it (e.g. f. 75r, outer margin, twice). The hand is not found in the second part of the codex, which suggests that he worked on De animalibus before it was bound together with the Abbreviatio Avicenne—it seems unlikely, after all, that he planned to add corrections throughout both parts but happened not to find anything to correct in the second.

Having been copied and corrected by these six individuals, De animalibus was now ready to be united with the Avicenna commentary, which was probably copied and corrected at the same time. Codicologically, the two parts are identical: the same (medium-quality) type of parchment was used (the sheets of the second part are perhaps slightly thinner); the natural format of both parts is folio (the sheets were made from hide with similar dimensions, which were folded once); the written space is the same (c. 225 × 137 mm); and the sheets were ruled in the same fashion (four verticals to mark the boundaries of the two columns, a redundant fifth line in between the columns; no horizontal ruling apart from the bifolium f. 109/116).67 A paleographical examination of MS 251 suggests that one individual, hand E, oversaw the execution of the second production stage. It is he who prepared the volume for future readers, first and foremost for his patron, Frederick II: he placed the two dedications to the emperor in the book, he gave the second of the two texts in the volume a proper title (“Incipit abbreviatio Avincenne68 super librum animalium Aristotilis,” f. 109r) and he added a table of contents on the opening page (“In volumine isto sunt duo libri. Primus est liber Aristotilis de animalibus. Secundus est Abreviatio Avincenne super eundem librum de animalibus Aristotilis,” f. 1r). Hand E is the only contemporary scribe (1225–1250) who worked on the codex after it had been bound. This gives him an added prominence and emphasizes his role as the project’s coordinator. We see this from the fact that the first folium, bearing the table of contents and the dedication to Frederick, is a singleton which was glued to bifolium f. 1/8 rather than folded around it, the usual way of inserting a singleton. This suggests that the leaf was added after the book had been bound.69 Apart from preparing the codex for reading, hand E also copied a small part of Abbreviatio Avicenne (quire 21, ff. 155–162).

Hand E is not the only one to be encountered in both parts of the book: hands A and J share this feature (see Table). In contrast to hand E, however, it is less evident in what production stage these two undertook their activities. The primary activities of hand A are in De animalibus, where, as we saw, he is responsible for copying the first part of the text. In the Abbreviatio Avicenne he is encountered in the segment copied by hand C, where he adds a rubric to f. 113v and f. 124v. It is peculiar for someone who did not execute rubrics in his own work to provide two rubrics in someone else’s. Whatever the rationale, it seems likely that the additional activities of hand A were undertaken after the two volumes had been united—this is more plausible than assuming that he was part of the team that produced the second part of the codex for it would be odd for so small a job to be assigned to hand A. The other individuals whom we encounter in both parts of the composite volume, hand J, undertook more substantial work. Quantitatively speaking, his main contribution to MS 251 is in the Abbreviatio Avicenne, to the pages of which he added a large amount of marginal and interlinear corrections. He did so with black ink, which makes him stand out from the other hands in the manuscript who all used brown ink. He made a similar contribution to the first part of the codex, where he is responsible for a number of glosses in the work of both hand A and hand B. His marginalia in the first part are often preceded by a symbol that consists of two small lines placed on top of each other. The relatively low number of glosses he added to De animalibus suggests that his activities in the first part were not undertaken as part of a division of labour with the two main scribes, hand A and hand B. It seems more likely that he worked on this part in a casual way,70 probably after the two codicological units had been united.71

4.1.4 Michael Scot

The manner in which the Abbreviatio Avicenne was corrected by a team of correctors, as discussed in a publication from 2009,72 indicates that the translator himself was involved in the production of the second part of MS 251, as a consultant behind the scenes. Since, as we saw above, the two parts of the manuscript were intended to be united from the moment of their conception, Scot’s involvement in the second part of the codex may have important implications for our understanding of the first part, De animalibus: it begs the question of whether he may have overseen the correction of that text as well. After all, why would Scot’s involvement be confined to the Abbreviatio Avicenne if he knew that this text was to be united with his Aristotle translation in a composite volume? The latter translation was made quite a few years earlier and may not have been regarded as up to par by Scot whose translation skills had improved over the years.73 The following factual observations might be advanced to provide an answer to this intriguing query.

First, there is Drossaart Lulofs’ claim that Scot’s autograph may have been used as a model for the De animalibus in MS 251. The use of an autograph by a scribe for making a copy does not necessarily imply that the author himself was involved in the production, not even if scribe and author were contemporaries. In Scot’s case, for example, someone could make a copy of the autograph he had left behind in Toledo while the translator resided hundreds of miles away in Sicily. However, if we combine Drossaart Lulofs’ assessment with the fact that MS 251 was probably copied at the court of Frederick II before 1232 (as confirmed by the observation that the codex copied by Henry of Cologne contains the corrections introduced in the Abbreviatio Avicenne), it becomes evident that Scot may have resided in the direct vicinity of the scribes who used his autograph for the production of De animalibus in MS 251. It is possible, therefore, that he was involved in the production of the first part of the manuscript.

Second, what is also striking about Drossaart Lulofs’ claim is the evidence he provides—missing (copula) verbs and the presence of transliterations of Arabic terms—for these flaws are also targeted by the team of correctors in the Abbreviatio Avicenne. In other words, two types of improvement made to the translation of Avicenna’s commentary in part II of the codex are also encountered in the Aristotle text in part I.

A third factual observation is provided by the activities of hand J. As we saw, his primary task in the production of MS 251 seems to have been to correct the Abbreviatio Avicenne, for this is where the highest number of his interventions occur. However, what has not yet been stated is that he did so as a member of a team of collaborators that may have included the translator himself. Hand J worked on the correction phase in which one corrector, hand O, marked with a struck-out d passages that he thought might need modification (over 200 are branded as potentially in need of improvement). Scot went through these suggestions, approving some and disregarding others, after which another corrector, hand J, introduced the necessary improvements to the main text.74

Given the special status of hand J—that is, an individual who collaborated closely with the translator during the production of the second part of MS 251—his presence as a corrector in the De animalibus becomes of particular interest for the question of what Scot’s relationship with the first part of the text may have been.75

Refraining from any speculation one would have to conclude that Scot may not have been involved, even if the copying and correcting of that text was done in his vicinity; one of his associates (hand J) acted as a corrector in the Aristotle translation; and this copy contains modifications also encountered in the second part, where they were carried out under Scot’s supervision. What also argues against Scot’s personal involvement in De animalibus is the quality of the text presented in the first part of MS 251, which is “rough and unpolished,” hardly what you would expect of the final product of a team of correctors supervised by the translator himself—indeed, the poor quality is a strong argument for the claim that Scot’s activities did not extend to Aristotle’s text.76 In short, the answer to the question of whether the activities of the group of correctors supervised by Scot were confined to the Abbreviatio or whether De animalibus could also have been part of their program, is inconclusive.

Table 1

Individuals involved in the production process of MS 251 in the early 1230s


















Copying main text

Rubrics in own portion

Rubrics in other portion

Corrections in own portion

Corrections in other portion


Table of Contents


Copying main text

Rubrics in own portion

Rubrics in other portion

Corrections in own portion

Corrections in other portion



Activities in both parts

4.1.5 Description of MS 251 Part I (fols. 1–108): Liber Aristotilis de animalibus (fols. 1r–108r)

Codicology: parchment (355 × 225 mm), mostly with a natural format in folio (thin sheets, with holes and rips, some repaired; some gaps at the edge of the page) ● quires: 1IV+1 (8) [a singleton, fol. I, was originally glued to quire 1 but has since then been detached], 2–7IV (56), 8III (62), 9–13IV (102) and 14III (108) ● area of written space: c. 225 × 137 mm ● 2 columns, 42 lines (fols. 1–70 and 79–108) and 41–43 lines (quire 10, fols. 71–78) ● all catchwords present except on fols. 56 (quire 7) and 62 (quire 8); position: to the right of centre; some are boxed (fols. 8v, 40v and 48v); catchwords on fols. 78v and 94v have been placed higher, the former is the only one in black rather than brown ink ● quire signatures, series 1 (contemporary to main hands, near the lower edge of the page): roman numeral (“I,” “II,” etc.), the one on fol. 108v being different (“XIIIIus”); series 2 (house style of convent of Assisi, before 1381): roman numeral with decoration, those in quire 1–3 are written on erasure ● pricking still visible (occasionally two sequences) ● ruling in hard lead point, which left both a red-brown trace and a gutter; quire 3 (fols. 17–24) in grey lead point; frequent “ruling on demand”; from fol. 71r on the third of the five vertical lines has frequently been omitted (58 times).77

Paleography: Hand A (littera textualis, 1225–1250): main text fols. 1r–62v, marginal additions and corrections to his own work (in brown ink of a lighter shade and therefore probably done at a later stage), usually preceded by a signe de renvoi (e.g. fol. 1r, col. A, next to the two last lines; fol. 1v, lower margin), drafts of rubrics, placed along the edge of the page (e.g. fols. 63r and 72r), catchwords in his own work; Hand B (littera textualis, 1225–1250): main text fols. 63v–108v, marginal additions and corrections in his own work (mostly preceded by a crooked cross), catchwords in his own work, colophon on f. 108rb (In nomine domini nostri jhesu christi. Completus (sc. liber; sic) est translatio libri animalium.); Hand E (littera textualis, 1225–1250): dedication to Frederick II and table of contents on fol. Ir (in light-red ink); Hand G (littera textualis, 1225–1250): rubric fol. 1r; Hand H (littera textualis, 1225–1250):78 rubrics fols. 6r, 9v, 12r, 14v, 19v, 22v, 34r, 43r, 47v, 50v, 57r, 63r, 72r, 88r, 95r and 103r; Hand I (littera textualis, 1225–1250): rubric fol. 28r; Hand J (littera textualis, 1225–1250): marginal notations in black ink, most of which are preceded by two diagonal strokes placed on top of each other (e.g. fol. 1v, fourth marginal notation in outer margin); Hand K (littera textualis, 1225–1250): marginal notations in work of hand B, usually preceded by a line with a dot below it (e.g. fol. 75r, outer margin, twice). The main scribes (A–B) write below topline; their script hovers between two lines, rather than the letters being placed on the lower of the two.

Decoration: apart from the opening initial, which contains gold and a depiction of a dragon,79 part I contains plain blue initials with red penwork flourishing (by one hand), which have been placed next to the textblock (one of these is a puzzle initial, fol. 14v); red initials with blue penwork are found on fols. 1r and 12r; blue initials without penwork on fols. 19v, 22v and 28r. Part II (fols. 109–185): Abbreviatio Avicennae (fols. 109r–184r)

Codicology: parchment (355 × 225 mm), mostly with a natural format in folio (sheets of average thickness, thicker than part I; with holes and rips, some repaired) ● quires: 15–16IV (124), 17III (130), 18–21IV (162), 22III (168) and 23–24IV (184) ● area of written space: c. 225 × 137 mm ● 2 columns, 39–40 lines (quire 23, fols. 169–176), 40 lines (quires 16–17, fols. 117–130), 41 lines (quires 15, fols. 109–116; 18, fols. 131–138; 21–22, fols. 155–168; and 24, fols. 177–184) and 42 lines (quires 19–20, fols. 139–154) ● catchwords present at the end of quires 15–19 (fols. 116v, 124v, 130v, 138v and 146v), but missing in all other quires; position: middle of the page; boxed catchword on fol. 130v ● quire signatures, series 1 (as in part I): missing on fol. 162v; series 2 (as in part I): those on fols. 138v and 139r are written on erasure ● pricking still visible (occasionally two sequences) ● ruling in hard lead point, which left both a red-brown trace and a gutter (fol. 170v has not been ruled since the gutters from fol. 171r, visible in negative on verso, provided sufficient ruling; the fact that the gutters of fol. 170r are also visible on fol. 171r may indicate that MS 251, or at least part II, was copied on pre-made quires); frequent “ruling on demand”; from fol. 157v the third of the five vertical lines has frequently been omitted (23 times); fols. 109r and 116v (part of one bifolium) contain a horizontal line over the entire width of the page (using the lowest vertical prickings).

Paleography: Hand C (littera textualis, 1225–1250): main text fols. 109r–129r, marginal notations to his own work; Hand D (littera textualis, 1225–1250): main text fols. 129v–154v, 163r–168v (quire 22) and 177r–184v (quire 24);80 Hand E (littera textualis, 1225–1250): main text fols. 155r–162v and rubrics in his own work (quire 21), rubric on fol. 109r (“Incipit abreviatio Avincenne super librum animalium Aristotilis”), dedication to Frederick II on fol. 109r; Hand F (littera textualis, 1225–1250): main text fols. 169r–176v (quire 23);81 Hand A (littera textualis, 1225–1250): rubrics on fols. 113v and 124v (in bright red, almost orange-colored ink); Hand J (littera textualis, 1200–1300, most likely 1225–1250): marginal notations in black ink, most of which are preceded by two diagonal strokes placed on top of each other, as well as a high volume of corrections with a struck-out d in part II; Hand L (littera textualis, 1225–1250): rubrics on fols. 114v (written on erasure), 116r, 119v, 121v, 123r and 128r; Hand M (littera textualis, 1225–1250): marginal notations preceded by a paragraph, e.g. fols. 109r (top notation in margin), 124v (outer margin), 126v (outer margin), 127r (outer margin) and 134r (inner margin); Hand N (littera textualis, 1200–1300): “Felix elmelic dober friderich salemelich” with above it “latinum arabicum sclavicum teutonicum arabicum” (fol. 184r), small marginal and interlinear glosses in rust-colored ink on fol. 183v (“hns” for “habens” to be added to col. A line 25 and “cum” in col. A above line 12) and fol. 184r (“nigri” written above “albi”, col. A line 13, and col. A above line 23 and in between lines 24–25); Hand O (1225–1250): over 300 struck-out d’s throughout part II. The main scribes (C–F) write below topline; their script hovers between two lines.

Decoration: blue initials with red penwork flourishing (by one hand), which have been placed next to the textblock; red initials with blue penwork are found on fols. 119v, 123r and 124v; in quires 15–18 the initial is frequently followed by a regular capital letter, the first letter copied by a main hand.

4.2 Manuscripts of De Animalibus


Aristoteles Latinus, codices descripsit Georgius Lacombe in societatem operis adsumptis A. Birkenmajer, M. Dulong, A. Franceschini. Pars prior, Romae 1939


Aristoteles Latinus, codices descripsit Idem, … supplementis indicibusque instruxit L. Minio-Paluello, Pars posterior, Cantabrigiae 1955


Aristoteles Latinus, codices. Supplementa altera edidit L. Minio-Paluello, Bruges/Paris 1961

the whole text has been collated


selected passages have been compared


Michael Scotus mentioned as translator in colophon


Michael Scotus mentioned as author of medical note (“Et iuro ego Michael Scotus qui dedi hunc librum Latinitati …” etc.)

Barcelona, Archivo de la Corona de Aragón

* 1.

Ripoll 128; saec. xiii; ff. 1r–112r [A.L.2 1172]

Basel, Universitätsbibliothek

* Σ 2.

F. II. 20; saec. xiii; ff. 1r–148v [A.L.2 1143]

Belluno, Biblioteca Lolliniana Gregoriana del Seminario


cod. 7; saec. xiii; ff. 1r–107v [A.L.2 1270; A.L.s 1270]

Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz

† (Σ) 4.

Hdschr. 194; saec. xiii ex.; ff. 1r–119v

Boulogne sur mer, Bibliothèque municipale


109; saec. xiii; ff. 5r–142v [A.L.1 449]

Brugge, Bibliotheek van het Groot Seminarie

† 6.

99/112; saec. xiii ex.; ff. 1r–122r [A.L.1 161]

Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College Library

† (Σ) 7.

109/178; saec. xiii; ff. 9r–107v [A.L.1 223]

University Library

Σ 8.

Dd. IV. 30; saec. xiv; ff. 1r–161v [A.L.1 259]


Ii. III. 16; saec. xiii ex.; ff. 2r–147r [A.L.1 262]

Città del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

† Σ 10.

Chisianus E. VIII. 251; saec. xiii; ff. 1r–108r [A.L.2 1750]

* 11.

Chisianus E. VIII. 252; saec. xiii; ff. 1r–83v [A.L.2 1751]


Lat. 2091; saec. xiii–xiv; ff. 1r–133r [A.L.2 1848]

* 13.

Lat. 2092; saec. xiii ex.; ff. 1r–87v [A.L.2 1849]

El Escorial, Biblioteca del Monasterio de San Lorenzo del Escorial

* 14.

f. II. 6; saec. xiii ex.; ff. 27r–62 (explicit in L. XVII) [A.L.2 1219]

Σ 15.

f. III. 22; saec. xiii ex.; ff. 1r–107r [A.L.2 1221]

Firenze, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana

* Σ 16.

S. Crucis, Plut. XIII Sin. 9; saec. xiii (1266); ff. 1r–56v [A.L.2 1370]

Σ 17.

S. Crucis, Plut. XIII Sin. 10; saec. xiii; ff. 1r–82r [A.L.2 1371]

Gdańsk, Biblioteka Gdańska Polskiej Akademii Nauk


2368 (IX E. f. 5); saec. xiv in.; ff. 1r–142v (in fine deficiunt circa 15 lineae) [A.L.1 785]

Göteborg, Universitetsbibliotek

† 19.

Cod. Lat. 8; saec. xiii–xiv; ff. 1r–106r [A.L.2 1699]

Graz, Universitätsbibliothek


I, 213; saec. (xii-) xiii; ff. 172r–183v (explicit ex abrupto circa finem libri secundi cf. Utrecht) [A.L.1 56]

Klosterneuburg-bei-Wien, Stiftsbibliothek


1053; saec. xiii; ff. 2r–97r [A.L.1 50]

Kraków, Biblioteka Jagiellońska Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego

* Σ 22.

653; saec. xiv; ff. 1v–96r [A.L.2 1673; A.L.s 1673]

Kues, Bibliothek des Hospitals

* Σ 23.

182; saec. xii–xiv; ff. 117r–186r [A.L.1 841]

* 24.

205; saec. xiv in.; ff. 1r–38v (transl. Guillelmi inter lineas) [A.L.1 843]

Leipzig, Universitätsbibliothek


1429; saec. xv; ff. 3v–294r [A.L.1 988]

Σ 26.

1431; saec. xiii ex.; ff. 1r–64r [A.L.1 990]

London, British Library


Harleianus 4970; saec. xiii ex.–xiv in.; ff. 1r–65r [A.L.1 303]

* 28.

Regii, 12. C. XV; saec. xiii in.; ff. 150r–235v [A.L.1 309]

Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional


3347; saec. xiii ex.; ff. 1r–97v (incipit L. I cap. 3, desinit in principio L. XIX) [A.L.2 1199]

Middelburg, Zeeuwse Bibliotheek

* 30.

6469; saec. xiii ex.; ff. 1r–92r

Montreal, Library of the McGill University82


Bibliotheca Osleriana 238; saec. xiv in.; ff. 1r–24v (explicit ex abrupto in medio L. VI)

Napoli, Biblioteca Nazionale


VIII. C. 23; saec. xiii; ff. 1r–76r [A.L.2 1470]

* 33.

VIII. C. 24; saec. xiii med.; ff. 1r–126v [A.L.2 1471]


VIII. E. 19; saec. xiv (1327); ff. 36r–51v (L. IVI) [A.L.2 1476]

Nürnberg, Stadtbibliothek

* 35.

Cent. VI. 10; saec. xiii; ff. 1r–110r [A.L.1 1093]

Oxford, Balliol College


252; saec. xiii ex.; ff. 3r–150r (incipit L. I cap. 4) [A.L.1 355]

Merton College

* Σ 37.

278; saec. xiii ex.–xiv in.; ff. 5r–180r [A.L.1 369]

Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine

* Σ 38.

985; saec. xiii (ante 1278); ff. 1r–44r [A.L.1 518]

Bibliothèque Nationale de France

* 39.

Lat. 6788; saec. xiii; ff. 1r–261r [A.L.1 600]

* 40.

Lat. 6789; saec. xiii ex.; ff. 1r–284v [A.L.1 601]


Lat. 6790; saec. xiii ex.; ff. 3r–56r [A.L.1 602]

Σ 42.

Lat. 6791; saec. xiii–xiv; ff. 7r–110r [A.L.1 603]

* 43.

Lat. 6792; saec. xiii; ff. 1r–117r [A.L.1 604]


Lat. 10226; saec. xiv; ff. 2r–131r [A.L.1 615]


Lat. 14725; saec. xiv in.; ff. 4r–44r [A.L.1 646]

* 46.

Lat. 15453; saec. xiii (1243); ff. 355r–411v [A.L.1 654]

* 47.

Lat. 16162; saec. xiii; ff. 2r–135r [A.L.1 684]

* Σ 48.

Lat. 17843; saec. xiii in.; ff. 1r–77v [A.L.1 718]

Pisa, Biblioteca del Seminario e Collegio Arcivescovile di Santa Caterina

† (Σ) 49.

11; saec. xiii; ff. 38r–132v [A.L.2 1530]

Pommersfelden, Schloßbibliothek


124/2700; saec. xiv; ff. 1r–86r [A.L.1 1095]


176/2824; saec. xiv; ff. 2r–126v [A.L.1 1097]


243/2865; saec. xiv; ff. 1r–199v [A.L.1 1098]

Roma, Biblioteca Casanatense


1048; saec. xiii; ff. 1r–82v (usque ad L. XVI. 10) [A.L.2 1550]

Roudnice, Lobkowiczky archiv a bibliothéka


VI. Fb. 21; saec. xiii ex.–xiv in.; pp. 1–311 [A.L.1 212]

Salamanca, Biblioteca Universitaria


2241 {olim Madrid, Biblioteca del Palacio Nacional 1122}; saec. xiii; ff. 91r–171r [A.L.s 2136]

Salisbury, Library of Salisbury Cathedral

* 56.

111; saec. xiii in.; 1r–155v (initium deest) [A.L.1 382]

Sankt Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek

* Σ 57.

836; saec. xiii ex.; pp. 4–207 [A.L.2 1166]

San Marino, California, Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery

* 58.

H.M. 1035; saec. xiii ex.; ff. 1r–98v [A.L.1 19]

Todi, Biblioteca Comunale

* 59.

94; saec. xiii (1248); ff. 1r–114v [A.L.2 1584]

Utrecht, Universiteitsbibliotheek

* 60.

723; saec. xiv in.; ff. 79r–84v (explicit ex abrupto circa finem libri secundi cf. Graz)

Washington, The Army Medical Museum and Library


n. 3; saec. xiii ex.; ff. 1r–164v [A.L.1 22]

Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek

† 62.

97; saec. xiii; ff. 1r–108v [A.L.1 88]


2341; saec. xiii; ff. 2r–81 [A.L.1 110]

* 64.

2379; saec. xiii; ff. 1r–63r [A.L.1 118]

* Σ 65.

2412; saec. xiii; ff. 1v–78v [A.L.1 119]

Additional Manuscripts83

Alessandria, Archivio di Stato, Archivio notarile del Monferrato

Σ 66.

scatola 13, 01 C; saec. xiii; (Fragment)

Cambridge, St. John’s College


99; saec. xiii; ff. 67r–71r (Compendium secundum translationem Scoti, Libri I-VIIin.) [A.L.1 238]

Laon, Bibliothèque Municipale


412; saec. xiii–xiv; ff. 5rv, 6r, 241v (Excerpta secundum translationem Scoti, L. IV c. 9) [A.L.1 482]

London, British Library


Regii 12. F. XV; saec. xiii–xiv; ff. 31r–64v (Compendium secundum translationem Scoti, Libri IXIV) … [A.L.1 315]

Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale


nouv. acq. lat. 1568; saec. xiii–xiv; f. 45 (Fragment)

Roma, Biblioteca Angelica

Σ 71.

242; saec. xiii; ff. 9r–18r (Extractiones ex libris De animalibus secundum translationem Scoti) [A.L.2 1540]

Tours, Bibliothèque Municipale


682; saec. xiii; ff. 18r–98v (desunt finis L. X et magna pars L. XI); bellico igne periit [A.L.1 771]

Uppsala, University Library84


C 930; saec. xiv, ff. 149v–175v (Extractiones ex libris De animalibus secundum translationem Scoti)

5 Sigla


Città del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana Chigi E. VIII. 251 (A.L.2 1750)


Brugge, Bibliotheek van het Groot Seminarie 99/112 (A.L.1 161)


Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College Library 109/178 (A.L.1 223)


Göteborg, Universitetsbibliotek Cod. Lat. 8 (A.L.2 1699)


Pisa, Biblioteca del Seminario e Collegio Arcivescovile di Santa Caterina 11 (A.L.2 1530)


Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz Hdschr. 194


Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek 97 (A.L.1 88)


Utrecht, Universiteitsbibliotheek 723 (raro citatur in libris III, desinit post 504b33 alas2)

A1, B1 etc.

the text hand(s) of MSS A, B etc.

A2, B2 etc.

the correcting/commenting hand(s) of MSS A, B etc.


Greek text (edition of Balme/Gotthelf, Cambridge 2002, Vol. I)


Arabic translation (for the Arabic MSS see below)


Latin translation of Michael Scotus (Scot)


Arabic manuscript London, British Library Or. Add. 7511 (text stops at 3. 514b16 ‮والعرق الذى يسمّى أورطي‬‎, Σ et orti)


Arabic manuscript Tehran, Majles Library 1143


edition of the Arabic text by L.S. Filius (ASL 23, 2019)


edition of the Arabic text by A. Badawī, Kuwait 1977

Alb. l. 2 tr. 2 c. 2 n. 2 p. 2 v. 2

Albertus Magnus De Animalibus Libri XXVI (ed. H. Stadler, Münster 1916), liber 2, tractatus 2, caput 2, numerus (paragraph) 2, pagina 2, versus (line) 2


my own remark or conjecture


History of Animals


Parts of Animals


Generation of Animals


abbreviatio, abbreviavit


omittit, non habet







lac. … litt.

lacuna … litterarum


adnotatio (refers to Notes)



i.m., mg.

in margine


in rasura




sine punctis (‘without dots’ (in Arabic script))


supra (lineam) scripsit

inc. alt. col./fol.

incipit altera columna/alterum folium


ceteri (sc. codices)



lit., litt.

literally, litteraliter

see (also)



[ ]

to be secluded

⟨ ⟩

to be inserted






before a Latin or an Arabic word: conjecture; in my Latin translations within the Arabic-Latin apparatus: the word is not used by Scot elsewhere in this text

corrupt word or passage


Editio princeps: i.e. a text critical edition of the entire text. G. Rudberg published the text of books I and X in Zum sogenannten zehnten Buche der aristotelischen Tiergeschichte (Skrifter utgifna af K. Humanistiska Vetenskaps-Samfundet i Uppsala 13.6), Uppsala, 1911. He relied mainly on the Göteborg manuscript. K. Vollmann printed the text of books IXIV as a manuscript on the basis of earlier transcriptions by Ch. Hünemörder from the Nürnberg, Pisa and Vat.Chis. E.VIII.251 manuscripts (Eichstätt und München, 1994) and kindly sent it to me at the time. My own unpublished transcript, which I have used as the basis for my edition, dates from 1983 and is based on Vat.Chis. E.VIII.251 with variants from the Bruges and Göteborg manuscripts. For the title I have chosen for this work, Libri de animalibus, see the section entitled The Manuscripts in this Introduction.


Year depending on the dating of a poem by Henri d’ Avranches, in which Scot is mentioned as recently deceased. See Nigel F. Palmer, Michael Scot in Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters, 2. Auflage, Band 8. Berlin 1992, pp. 966–971.


Aristotle, Historia animalium, Vol. I: Books IX: Text, D.M. Balme (ed.), prepared for publication by A. Gotthelf, Cambridge University Press 2002, (CCTC 38).


L. Bodson, Index verborum in Aristotelis ‘Historiam animalium’ (2 vls.), Hildesheim-Zürich-New York 2004, (Alpha-Omega Reihe A, CCXXXVII.1; corrigenda in Aristotelis De Generatione animalium, ibidem CCLXIV 2014).


R. Blankenborg, A.M.I. van Oppenraay, Aristotle’s ‘History of Animals’. Index verborum. Den Haag 2000 (Publicaties van het Constantijn Huygens Instituut III). This index is compact and, whenever relevant, provides established combinations of words, such as ᾽Αδριανὴ ἀλεκτορῖς, ᾽Ινδικὸς ὄνος, ὁ μῦς ὁ Ποντικὸς ὁ λευκός, σκορπίος ὁ χερσαῖος, ἀράχνη λειμωνία etc.


For example the indices in the editions of Aubert and Wimmer (1868), Pierre Louis Aristote Marche des animaux, Mouvement des animaux, Index des traités biologiques, Paris 1973 (Collection Budé, Société d’ Édition ‘Les Belles Lettres’), Peck and Balme/Gotthelf (Loeb Classical Library XI 1991). See the Short bibliography in the section entitled The Arrangement of the Edition of this Introduction.


Aristotle, De animalibus, Michael Scot’s Arabic-Latin Translation, Part three, books xv–xix: Generation of Animals, ed. A.M.I. van Oppenraay, ASL 5.3 (1992). Idem, Part two, books xi–xiv: Parts of Animals (ASL 5.2, 1998). See the Short bibliography.


Details about Michael Scot’s life and his activities as a translator are to be found in the introductions to my editions of GA (1992) and PA (1998), as well as in Aafke M.I. van Oppenraay, Avicenna’s Liber de animalibus (‘Abbreviatio Avicennae’). Preliminaries and state of affairs in Documenti e Studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale XXVIII 2017, pp. 401–416, which also contains references to certain recent studies.


“He (Scot) executed his task with remarkable acumen … while he adheres rather strictly to the Arabic, he performs the miracle of writing a prose that is easy flowing and even has a charm of its own”, H.J. Drossaart Lulofs in Generation of Animals (ASL 5.3 1992), Preface pp. viii–ix.


De Historia Animalium, Translatio Guillelmi de Morbeka. Pars prima: Lib. IV. P. Beullens and F. Bossier (edd.), Leiden-Boston-Köln 2000 (Aristoteles Latinus XVII 2.1.1). See Short bibliography. Moerbeke’s translation can be dated about 1262–1263 (Preface pp. xvi–xvii).


Berlin 1831, Vol. I (See Short Bibliography).


Aristoteles Latinus XVII 2.IIIII, De progressu animalium, De motu animalium. Translatio Guillelmi de Morbeka. Ed. P. De Leemans, Bruxelles 2011. Aristoteles Latinus XVII 1.III, De motu animalium, Fragmenta Translationis anonymae. Ed. P. De Leemans, Bruxelles 2011.


‮قنفذ‬‎ in Arabic, ἐχῖνος in Greek (e.g. HA 1. 490b29).


The complete indices verborum of this edition of HA will be included in the last volume, ASL 5.1 (c).


In this edition of HA the spellings are written embryo, sepum, humerus and canalis.


The spelling of medieval Latin texts is much debated in our area of research. There is of course a great difference between the case of a codex unicus when editing a text, and the present case in which we are dealing with numerous transmitted manuscripts. We should, I feel, also consider the readership for which the edition is intended. See for example R. Hissette, Averrois ou Mystice plutôt qu’ Averroys ou mistice? À propos des graphies dans les éditions des textes scolastiques latins in Bulletin de Philosophie Médiévale 40 (SIEPM), 1998, pp. 77–90 and R.J. Long, Scholastic Texts and Orthography: a Response to Roland Hissette in Bulletin de Philosophie Médiévale 41 (SIEPM), 1999, pp. 149–151; R.B.C. Huygens, Ars Edendi. A practical introduction to editing medieval Latin texts. Turnhout 2000.


See the contribution by E. Kwakkel, Base Manuscript for the Edition in the section entitled The Manuscripts in this Introduction. See also E. Kwakkel, Behind the Scenes of a Revision: Michael Scot and the Oldest Manuscript of his ‘Abbreviatio Avicenne’ in: Viator 40, no. 1 (2009), pp. 107–132.


Many of these details have already been encountered in the two apparatuses and in the Notes at the end of the text (and of course also in the editions of PA and GA, together with their already published indices verborum).


To start with they were John N. Mattock from Cambridge (d. 2001), Lourus S. Filius en Johannes den Heijer from Leiden. The team was supervised by Remke Kruk. At the moment Filius has completed the edition of the Arabic text (ASL 23, 2019).


For various examples from this text see A.M.I. van Oppenraay, The Reception of Aristotle’s ‘History of Animals’ in the Marginalia of some Latin Manuscripts of Michael Scot’s Arabic-Latin Translation in P. De Leemans (ed.), The Reception of Aristotle’s Physical Works in the Middle Ages. Essays in Memory of Jozef Brams. Early Science and Medicine Vol. VIII no. 4 (2003), Special Issue, pp. 387–403.


H. Stadler (ed.), Albertus Magnus De animalibus Libri XXVI (Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosohie des Mittelalters, ed. C. Baeumker, Bd. V, Münster i.W., 1916). In my quotations from this work I have followed the modern guidelines there used and which Henryk Anzulewicz (Albertus-Magnus-Institut, Bonn) has been kind enough to explain to me. An example of this is written out under the Sigla. K.F. Kitchell, I.M. Resnick, (tr.), Albertus Magnus On Animals, Baltimore 1999 (See under Short Bibliography). E. Filthaut O.P. (ed.), Alberti Magni Quaestiones super De animalibus in Alberti Magni Opera Omnia T. XII, Aschendorff, 1955. I.M. Resnick, K.F. Kitchell (tr.), Albert the Great, Questions concerning Aristotle’s On Animals (The Fathers of the Church, Mediaeval Continuation Vol. 9), Washington D.C., 2008.


See my remark on manuscript 24 (Kues 205) in the section entitled The Manuscripts of this Introduction. See also ed. Beullens/Bossier 2000, Preface, pp. xvi–xvii.


Apart from the numerous misreadings and mistakes in interpretation, the Arabic translation is generally very close to the Greek text: “The Arabic translator has done his best to clear up the complexity of the lengthy periods of the Greek original by substituting coordination for subordination, and in doing so he has often succeeded in dissolving difficult sentence structures.” H.J. Drossaart Lulofs in Generation of Animals (ASL 5.3, 1992), Preface p. viii. The Arabic translator had particular difficulty with the Aristotelian syntax and with Greek negatives, especially more than one negative within the same sentence.


The edition just appeared in the Aristoteles Semitico-Latinus Series (ASL 23, 2019).


See De partibus animalium (ASL 5.2, 1998), Preface p. vii.


Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften,


For Multi-Lingual Scholar and the technology for this kind of edition, see George A. Kiraz, Challenges in Syriac Text Editions Using the DOS-based Word Processor Multi-Lingual Scholar in Aafke M.I. van Oppenraay (ed.), The Letter before the Spirit: The Importance of Text Editions for the Study of the Reception of Aristotle. With the collaboration of Resianne Fontaine. Leiden—Boston 2012, pp. 447–461. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Lawrence V. Berman (1929–1988) from Stanford University, who, during the 24th Kölner Mediävistentagung in Köln in 1984, firmly convinced H.J. Drossaart Lulofs and me of the need to switch over to the use of the personal computer in editing the ASL volumes. The first fruits of this stimulus were the Syriac, Arabic and Hebrew indices verborum in ASL *4, Nicolaus Damascenus De plantis. Five translations, Oxford—New York 1989.


See the section entitled General Remarks on the Text in this Introduction, p. xv.


In the edition of Beullens and Bossier, Aristoteles Latinus (2000).


See the Short Bibliography for the details.


See Notes ad 1. 487a27 and the section entitled The Arabic Exemplar in this Introduction.


Until these have been printed the indices verborum in the published volumes PA (5.2) and GA (5.3) must be consulted. These will provide many parallels. I also recommend the constantly growing digital Arabic and Latin Glossary edited by Dag N. Hasse (


Silke Ackermann, Michael Scotus, ein Universalgelehrter des 13. Jahrhunderts. Quellen zu seinem Leben—Überlieferung seiner Werke. Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main, 1987, 234 pp. (esp. pp. 106–115). I received a copy of her work in 2005 thanks to the kindness of Charles Burnett.


See for the text and further literature my edition of GA (ASL 5.3, 1992) pp. 244–246.


(8): Incipit liber Aristotilis de Natura animalium quem transtulit magister Michael Scotus de greco in latinum et habet xix libros. (58): Incipit liber primus aristotilis de naturis animalium quem transtulit magister Michael Scotus de greco in latinum et habet in se x libros.


See the description of MS 58 in the catalogue of Lacombe, Pars Prior p. 245.


Possibly Pope Alexander VIII (1655–1671), Agostino Chigi.


Early transliteration of the name of Ibn Sīnā, later Avicenna. See Aafke M.I. van Oppenraay, Avicenna’s Liber de animalibus (‘Abbreviatio Avicennae’). Preliminaries and State of Affairs in: Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale XXVIII (2017), pp. 401–416, n. 2.


Thus, for example, G. Mercati and M.-Th. d’ Alverny. See the description of this manuscript in the contribution by Erik Kwakkel entitled Base Manuscript for the Edition, on pp. xxxii ff. of this Introduction and his article in Viator 40 (2009).


At folio’s 1r–38v. Cf. the edition of Beullens and Bossier (2000), Preface p. xxi.


This interpretation was suggested to me by Remke Kruk.


I have not been able to consult all the Incipits and Explicits of the manuscripts myself. It is thus quite possible that further manuscript numbers can be added to some of the ones given in this brief description.


Partly taken from the above-mentioned dissertation by Silke Ackermann.


See for the dates and locations the introduction to the present edition.


Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana, MS S. Crucis Plut. XIII Sin. 9 (dated 1266) and Brugge, Bibliotheek van het Groot Seminarie, MS 99/112 (late 13th century).


I owe the information related to Italian paleography to the late Peter Gumbert (Lopik). A good example of a codex made in the south that lacks the “round” and “aerated” Italian duct is Pal. Lat. 1071 in the Vatican Library, which contains De arte venandi cum avibus by Frederick II and was commissioned by his son Manfred in the third quarter of the thirteenth century. See the facsimile Friedrich II, Emperor of Germany. De arte venandi cum avibus, Ms. Pal. Lat. 1071, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, 1969). 2 vols.


See Giovanni Mercati, “Codici del convento di S. Francesco in Assisi nella Biblioteca Vaticana,” in Miscellanea Francesco Ehrle: Scritti di storia e paleografia pubblicati sotto gli auspici di S. S. Pio XI in occasione dell’ottantesimo natalizio dell’ Cardinale Francesco Ehrle: Vol. 5 Biblioteca ed Archivio Vaticano, biblioteche diverse, Studi e testi 41 (Città del Vaticano 1924) 83–127 at 121.


Battelli transmitted his opinion orally to d’ Alverny, see her “L’ explicit du ‘De animalibus’ d’ Avicenne traduit par Michel Scot,” in eadem, Avicenne en Occident: Recueil d’ articles de Marie-Thérèse d’ Alverny, réunis en hommage à l’ auteur (Paris 1993) IX-32–IX-42, on p. IX-33 n. 2. The conclusions are taken over in, for example, S.D. Wingate, The Medieval Latin Versions of the Aristotelian Scientific Corpus, with Special Reference to the Biological Works (London 1931), p. 84; M.-Th. d’ Alverny, “Notes sur les traductions médiévales d’ Avicenne,” Archives d’ histoire doctrinale et littéraire du moyen âge 19 (1952), 337–358 (357).


Erik Kwakkel, “Behind the Scenes of a Revision: Michael Scot and the Oldest Manuscript of his Abbreviatio Avicenne,” Viator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies 40 (2009), pp. 107–132.


Another translation where “esse” is frequently left out is his De motibus celorum, see Al-Bitrûjî, De motibus celorum: Critical Edition of the Latin Translation of Michael Scot, ed. Francis J. Carmody (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1951), p. 19.


A detailed analysis of the interventions executed with these correction techniques is discussed in Kwakkel 2009.


Quoted from Wingate (n. 48 above) 84 and d’ Alverny (n. 48 above), IX-34–IX-35, with some emendations suggested by Aafke van Oppenraay.


I owe this information to Aafke van Oppenraay who, at my request, compared the lacunae with Pommersfelden, Schlossbibliothek, MS 253, a 13th-c. copy with Henry’s colophon. With two exceptions, the text in the lacunae is found in the main text of MS Pommersfelden. A comparison with the corrections in table 1 revealed that the modifications carried out with the struck-out d are also found in the Pommersfelden MS 253 (correspondence 18 December 2007).


Kwakkel 2009, p. 109.


Discussing MS 251, d’ Alverny states that, “M. G.[instead of M. H.J., AvO] Drossaart-Lulofs, qui a étudié attentivement la traduction du texte d’ Aristote qui précède celui d’ Avicenne, nous a signalé que cette partie avait dû être copiée sur un autographe de Michel Scot, car on y trouve des translittérations de termes arabes, ou des copules omises conformément à l’ orginal arabe, particularités qui ont été corrigées ou complétées plus tard, et que l’ on ne retrouve pas dans d’ autres manuscripts.” See d’ Alverny 1993, p. IX-33 n. 2. Some scholars have adopted this view. Florentine Mütherich, for example, designates MS 251 as Scot’s “Urschrift” (“Handschriften im Umkreis Friedrichs II.,” in Probleme um Friedrich II., ed. Josef Fleckenstein, Sigmaringen 1974, 9–21 on 13).


His correct name apparently being Gonzalo Pérez. See F.J. Hernandez and P. Linehan, The Mozarabic Cardinal, Florence 2004, pp. 422–424.


Charles Burnett, “Michael Scot and the Transmission of Scientific Culture from Toledo to Bologna via the Court of Frederick II Hohenstaufen,” Micrologus: Natura Scienze e Società Medievali 2 (1994), 101–126 on 110.


See for authors making copies of their autograph Armando Petrucci, “Minute, Autograph, Author’s Book,” in: idem, Writers and Readers in Medieval Italy: Studies in the History of Written Culture. New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1995, 145–168. These deductions, if correct, suggest that two major strains of transmission existed: a Toledo strain based on an early version of the text and a strain based on a later (and probably improved) version, originating from Southern Italy. [Comment AvO: it seems more likely, in my view, that Scot took a copy with him, and that the archbishop kept the original in his library. This would also confirm the information given in Gudiel’s list, cf. infra].


F. Mütherich, “Handschriften im Umkreis Friedrichs II.” in: Probleme um Friedrich II, ed. J. Fleckenstein (Sigmaringen 1974) 9–21.


Giovanni Mercati 1924 (quire signature at pp. 85–86, including image; identification of MS 251 on p. 121).


Viz. Pope Alexander VIII (Agostino Chigi) as the owner? (AvO).


Mercati, p. 121 (including the identification of this entry as MS 251).


The other Aristotle manuscript in the book list had number 169 and thus lay close to MS 251. Its contents are described as “Libri politicorum et rectoricorum Aristotilis” and Mercati identifies the book as MS Rossiani 551 in the Vatican Library (Mercati pp. 100–101).


An example of the type of chain binding MS 251 likely had is found in John Willis Clark, The Care of Books: An Essay on the Development of Libraries and their Fittings from the Earliest Times to the End of the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge, CUP 1909), p. 198; for the chained library of Assisi and the placement letters of the bindings, see pp. 200–201.


Kwakkel 2009, p. 125.


Perhaps these two are the same because their script bears striking resemblances. See particularly the ductus resemblance in the rubric on f. 57r.


The only apparent codicological difference is that the first part is consistently ruled for 42 lines (except for quire 10, ff. 71–78, the pages of which vary between 41–43 lines), while the number of lines on the pages of the second part is a consistent 40 (quires 16–17), 41 (quires 15, 18, 21–22 and 24), 42 (quires 19–20) or a variable 39–40 (quire 23). I owe this information to Peter Gumbert.


See the section entitled The Manuscripts of the Introduction, n. 38 (AvO).


The original plan may have been to add the Aristotle translation after the Avicenna translation. Then at the last moment, for reasons of contents and chronology, the two were interchanged (by hand E?), which called for a new title page. It is equally possible that the Avicenna translation had been offered to the emperor Frederick before, and that some time afterwards, perhaps on the occasion of Scot’s death, it was decided to combine both of the translations in one volume. In that case, the first dedication text would have been placed there posthumously. (AvO).


Hand J points out missing essential words and homoioteleuta and fills them up. For example, f. 1va (487a28) he adds et … rardo quios, on f. 2va (489a21) he adds (et) inveterantur, on f. 2vb (490a16) he replaces he with ex eis, on f. 2ra he adds et bellicosum. (AvO)


His glosses in the inner margin are never inserted so deeply into the bifolium for us to conclude that they were placed there when the book was still unbound.


See note 49.


“From the two works by Scot I have studied, it is evident that his choice of words varied within a few years. Since his al-Biṭruji to all appearances preceded his De caelo, his vocabulary may be said to have expanded considerably and rapidly.” (Carmody 1951, p. 17)


Kwakkel 2009, pp. 112–118.


The marginalia of hand J are preceded by a symbol that consists of two horizontal lines placed on top of one another.


For the quality of the translation, which is “careless, often neglecting the copula, casual in the use of tenses, modes and numbers,” see the third part of the present edition (ASL 5.3), p. XXII. In contrast to the text in the second part (Abbreviatio), the copy of De animalibus does not present these corrections physically in the manuscript. Too many modifications may have been introduced, creating a text that was aesthetically unsuitable for the emperor’s library and leading to the creation of a clean copy of the revised version. This copy may be part I of MS 251.


The term “ruling on demand” is coined by Peter Gumbert to denote ad hoc ruling applied to the page where it was at first not foreseen. In MS 251 it is used for the dedication on fol. Iv and for some glosses, for example on fols. 3r (outer margin) and 16v (lower margin, below col. B).


The appearance of hand H is very similar to that of hand G and we may well be dealing with one individual (see especially the striking resemblance in the rubric on fol. 57r).


Personal communication Peter Gumbert, July 1999. Lacombe wrongly identifies the dragon as vulpes alata (Aristoteles Latinus II p. 1178, AL2 1750). (AvO)


The rubrics in these quires are not by hand D but by an unknown scribe (fols. 131r, 133r, 133v, 136v and 137v). Many rubrics are not filled in. Some drafts of rubrics are placed in the margin by an unidentified hand (for example on fols. 177r, 179v and 181r).


No rubrics are present in the part of hand F. Some drafts are placed in the margin by an unidentified hand (for example on fol. 173v). Blue paragraphs are found in the work of hand F, on fols. 150v, 152v (with red penwork), 165r, 166r and 167r; one is in red (fol. 173v).


Faith Wallis (McGill University) has provided me with text files of the manuscript from Montreal. I am most grateful to her and to Erik Kwakkel for acting as intermediaries.


While this volume went to press, Professor Alessandro Vitale Brovarone and Professor Pietro Bassiano Rossi (Torino) brought to my attention the finding of a single fragment (the first recto-verso) of Scot’s translation, in Alessandria. It bears the title “[Tractatus primus(?) incipit libri Aristotilis these words are difficult to read on the photograph I received] de naturis animalium quem transtulit magister Michael Scotus” (in red ink) and contains the prooemium and the text up to 491b3 capita vero virorum continent multas suturas con(tinuatas). The shelfmark is Alessandria, Archivio di Stato, Archivio notarile del Monferrato, Pergamene, scatola 13, 01 C. It was the binding of a volume of acts of 1578. It has a large size (375 mm.) and the text is in a 13th cent., probably Italian, hand (1200–1250, Erik Kwakkel). The manuscript contains marginalia put within in a special red-ink frame. This item has thus been added as a fragment to the list, with the number 66.


In Mittelalterliche Handschriften der Universitätsbibliothek Uppsala: Katalog über die C-Sammlung, Bd. 6 C551–935, Stockholm 1993 (= Acta Bibliothecae R. Universitatis Upsaliensis: 26.6), Andersson-Schmitt, Hallberg, Hedlund (edd.), liber aristotelis de animalibus, transl. Michaelis Scotti is given as F. 149v–180r. This, however, is an excerpt from Scot’s translation up to the middle of F. 175v, which is followed by an excerpt from Aristotle’s liber de vege(tabili)bus up to the middle of F. 180r. The reference is to a convolute manuscript from the world of the Mendicant Orders.


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