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Patrizia Lendinara VI The Liber monstrorum and Anglo-Saxon glossaries Various examples of teratological literature, that is, literature concerned with monsters and unnatural creatures, are found in the Anglo-Saxon period: two such works were brought together in London, BL, Cotton Vitellius A.
Boer, Epistola Alexandri ad Aristotelem ad codicum fidem edita et commentario critico instructa unpubl. For the Greek text, see the edition by W. For the relationship between the above-mentioned works, see M.
See M. I where each section of the Latin text is followed by an Old English translation , for which see P. McGurk et al. Oxford, , III, no. One of the other versions of the Latin text, contained in Paris, BN, nouv.
Whitelock, The Audience of Beowulf Oxford, , pp. Porsia, Liber monstrorum Bari, and C. The Anglo-Saxon origin has, however, been challenged by A. Manitius, Geschichte der lateinischen Literatur des Mittelalters, 3 vols. Munich, , I, , suggested a Frankish or Irish origin. Frankish authorship had also been hypothesised by M. Haupt, Opuscula II Leipzig, , p.
Dekkers and A. Gaar, Clavis patrum latinorum, 3rd edn. Steenbrugge, , no. All the references and the quotations are taken from the edition by Porsia.
See, now, A. Orchard, Pride and Prodiges. Studies in the Monsters of the Beowulf-Manuscript Cambridge, , esp. See C. Although compiled from disparate sources, ranging from writings such as the De civitate Dei of St Augustine to encyclopedic treatises such as the Etymologiae of Isidore of Seville, the Liber monstrorum is a homogeneous work, clearly revealing the hand of one author, who is at once curious and detached.
One piece of evidence produced in support of an Anglo-Saxon origin for the Liber monstrorum is an element which links it to Beowulf, namely the chapter devoted to Hygelac I. This agreement proves that the tradition on which the Liber monstrorum and Beowulf drew was not Frankish, but it does not necessarily prove any direct relationship between the two works, as is maintained by Whitbread.
Krusch and W. The treatise, therefore, like so many other works written in the British Isles in the seventh and eighth centuries e. Since the author of the Liber monstrorum knows and makes use of the Etymologiae of Isidore of Seville, who died in , 14 its composition should be dated to after the middle of the seventh century.
It is more difficult to accept the terminus post quem proposed by Porsia,15 who claims that in the chapter on the antipodes Lm I. The relations between England and Frisia were frequent both in the seventh century and in the following centuries: when Wilfrid set out in on his evangelizing mission among the Frisians he landed at the mouth of the Rhine: see W.
Homenaje a S. A later dating is defended by D. The hypothesis that it is a work by Aldhelm17 or one of his pupils18 has been put forward by various scholars, one of the arguments being the presence of certain stylistic features, which are particularly pronounced in the general prologue to the Liber monstrorum.
In a recent study A. Orpheus;20 the author of the Liber monstrorum is also acquainted with the Orpheus, and quotes from it on three occasions. In the prologue to this book mention is made of a certain 20 R. The poem by Lucan is lost and the quotation from it by Aldhelm is one of the few traces left: see W. Morel, Fragmenta poetarum latinorum Leipzig, ; repr. The poem is also mentioned in the Brevis expositio in Georg. Thilo and H. Hagen, Servii Grammatici qui feruntur in Vergilii carmina commentarii, 3 vols.
Leipzig, ; repr. Hildesheim, , III, 2, Ehwald, p. Porsia, Liber monstrorum, p. Fotheringham, Eusebii Pamphili Chronici canones, latine vertit, adauxit, ad sua tempora produxit London, , p. The Dominican encyclopedist probably based this attribution on a manuscript where the Liber monstrorum had been copied out together with the Aenigmata and where the former work, too, might have been attributed to Aldhelm. The episode of Laocoon, narrated in the Aeneid II. The Liber monstrorum uses Vergil as a source in many other ways as well, drawing mainly on the Aeneid and sometimes on the Georgics.
Among the passages taken from the Aeneid there is one of particular importance in establishing the date and provenance of the Liber monstrorum. Nocte volat caeli medio terraeque per umbram stridens nec dulci declinat lumina somno; These are used in the Liber monstrorum to portray a monstrous nocturnal creature De monstro nocturno I. Et dicunt, quod dici nefandum est, monstrum quoddam nocturnum fuisse quod semper noctu per umbram caeli et terrae volabat, homines in urbibus horribili stridore territans; et quot plumas in corpore habuit, tot oculos, totidem aures et ora.
Semper quoque sine requie et somno fuisse describitur. In the Liber monstrorum the adverb semper is used twice and sine requie is added, while ingens and vigilis are dropped, though the latter adjective is an essential item in the description of Rumour.
Thilo and Hagen, I, Nevertheless, it is evident that the two reworkings belong to the same milieu, where the same source was given a similar interpretation, 30 which forced and transformed the meaning of the passage from Vergil. A similar comparison can be made with the work of another Anglo-Latin writer only slightly later than Aldhelm. Eusebius wrote a collection of sixty riddles, and among his subjects appear the chelydrus, the panther, the amphisbaena, the chimaera and the hippopotamus, which were also described in the Liber monstrorum.
Lm III. Lm II. Isidore, Etym. Riddle XLIX of Eusebius De anfibina serpente deals with the amphisbaena, a fabulous two-headed serpent: Flexosis geminum contractibus in caput errans Curro: caput nam trux aliud mea cauda retentat, Flammigeros gestans animos32 ex more lucernae. Viperei generis solam me confero brumae.
In the Liber monstrorum every creature must be carefully characterized and must possess at least one feature that distinguishes it from the other monsters in the catalogue if it is to justify its being treated separately.
On the contrary, the rules of riddle-making require that the monsters represented by Eusebius and Aldhelm should hide their identity, so that all the items of the description taken separately may fit more than one subject, while taken all together they denote one thing only, whose name coincides with the solution of the riddle.
The search for parallels in texts of this type should cause no surprise, as the very nature of glossaries and the way they were compiled make them particularly useful in identifying works that circulated in the period in question: they provide information about which texts were read and studied in the British Isles, since a series of words taken from these works found its way through various stages into the glossaries.
Apart from the data to be gathered from the lemmata, the glossaries also provide through their interpretamenta interesting information about the cultural climate of which these lexical compilations are a product. An interpretamentum may, and in many cases should, be read more as an interpretation than a translation, the more so as it is often written in the same language as the lemma.
For a facsimile of these manuscripts, see B. Bischoff et al. With the school of Theodore of Tarsus and Hadrian, who arrived in Canterbury respectively in and , 38 is connected the numerous family of glossaries of which the Leiden Glossary, written at Sankt Gallen c. A similar pedagogic aim informs both the glossaries and a teratological work like the Liber monstrorum, which for example makes a point of explaining the difference between Scylla and the Sirens. In the introduction to this volume p.
Goetz, Corpus glossariorum Latinorum a Gustavo Loewe incohatum, 7 vols. Amsterdam, hereafter CGL , from which are taken all the quotations from the other glossaries, both Insular and Continental. The second glossary, from which the following examples are taken, will be quoted from the edition by W. Lindsay, The Corpus Glossary Cambridge, At the beginning of the first book of the Liber monstrorum mention is made of beings that have six fingers and six toes De his qui habent VI digitos I.
The entry belongs to the first chapter in the glossary, composed of words taken from church canons and papal decretals. Dombart and A. Exempli causa. Steinmeyer and E. Sievers, Die althochdeutschen Glossen, 5 vols. Berlin ; repr. Other glossaries have eliminated the explanation of monstruose. Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum nova, et amplissima collectio, 31 vols. Florence and Venice, , repr. Petit and J.
Martin, 60 vols. Paris, , VII, col. The first monstrous creature is presented as follows in the Liber monstrorum De utriusque sexus homine I. Sed hoc frequenter apud humanum genus contigisse fertur. Oxford, The same explanation is given also in the De differentiis, no. De differentiis I Paris, However, it is not my intention to maintain that the Lm is the source of this and the other entries that I will examine, but rather that the interpretamentum repeats verbatim words found in the title of the chapter in the Liber monstrorum.
These are to be found again further on in the description of De commixto genere sexus I.
Aristotele indagava i caratteri eziologici di tali patologie: dopo aver spiegato come si formasse il feto, invitava ad una ricerca razionale delle cause, asserendo che non vi fosse una sospensione delle norme naturali nel bambino anomalo. Il romanzo ellenistico accrebbe il numero delle meraviglie, come si legge nel Romanzo di Alessandro dello pseudo-Callistene. Questa tradizione venne in parte riordinata dal padre del genere dei bestiari, il Physiologus , che assieme alla descrizione fisica ed etologica delle creature, ne dava anche la moralizzazione secondo le Sacre Scritture. Mari oscuri e tempestosi che il valoroso eroe anglosassone affronta in una delle sue fatiche.
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