Ox
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Source: British Library Images Online Copyright Copyright 2004 British Library / Used by permission Manuscript description British Library, Cotton Tiberius B. v, Folio 3r


 

Ox

Latin name: Bos

Other names: Bova, Bubalus, Urus

The ox is a strong beast that can predict the weather

 

 
General Attributes

Oxen can predict the weather, and knowing when it is about to rain, refuse to leave their stalls. They do not like to be separated from their kind; an ox wants to be with its usual partner when pulling a plow, and they will roar if separated. There are several kinds of ox: in India lives a particularly cruel sort with one horn, that cannot be tamed. Ox horns are used to make drinking cups.

The dung of an ox cures the bite of a water snake called hydros (Isidore, Etymologies, 12, 4, 22).


Sources (chronological order)

Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 8, 70): Indian oxen are said to be as tall as camels and to have horns up to four feet wide. Among the Garamantes oxen only graze while walking backwards. A tale is told of an ox that is worshipped as a god in Egypt.

Bartholomaeus Anglicus [13th century CE] (De proprietatibus rerum, book 18): An oxherd hight Bubulcus, and is ordained by office to keep oxen: He feedeth and nourisheth oxen, and bringeth them to leas and home again: and bindeth their feet with a langhaldes and spanells and nigheth and cloggeth them while they be in pasture and leas, and yoketh and maketh them draw at the plough: and pricketh the slow with a goad, and maketh them draw even. And pleaseth them with whistling and with song, to make them bear the yoke with the better will for liking of melody of the voice. And this herd driveth and ruleth them to draw even, and teacheth them to make even furrows: and compelleth them not only to ear, but also to tread and to thresh. And they lead them about upon corn to break the straw in threshing and treading the flour. And when the travail is done, then they unyoke them and bring them to the stall: and tie them to the stall, and feed them thereat. (Mediaeval Lore from Bartholomew Anglicus (London, 1893/1905) Steele edition of 1905)


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