Fire stones
Description Gallery Bibliography Manuscripts Jump to Home page Help Jump to Contents page Jump to Beast Index page Search Previous beast Next beast
 



Source: Ron Baxter, 1998 (Bestiaries and their Users in the Middle Ages) Copyright 2003 Oxford University Manuscript description St John's College (Cambridge) Library, A.15, Folio 103v


 

Fire stones

Latin name: Lapides igniferi

Other names: Caerobolim, Cheroboli, Deus perres, Douze pierres, Lapides piroboli, Piroboli, Terrebolen, Terroboli, Turrobolen

Stones that burst into flames when brought close together

 

 
General Attributes

Found in the East, fire stones are either male or female. As long as they are kept apart, they are safe, but if a male and female stone are brought together, they ignite a fire that burns everything.


Allegory/Moral

Men and women, particularly those in celibate monastic orders, should be kept separate, because lust burns when they are brought together.


Sources (chronological order)

Aberdeen Bestiary [c. 1200 CE]: "On a certain mountain in the east, there are fire-bearing stones which are called in Greek terrobolem; they are male and female. When they are far from each other, the fire within them does not ignite. But when by chance the female draws near to the male, the fire is at once kindled, with the result that everything around the mountain burns. For this reason, men of God, you who follow this way of life, stay well clear of women, lest when you and they approach each other, the twin flame be kindled in you both and consume the good that Christ has bestowed upon you. For there are angels of Satan, always on the offensive against the righteous; not only holy men but chaste women too."


Illustration

Most illustrations show a man and a woman surrounded by flames, sometimes holding the stones; the burning stones alone are sometimes shown.


Description Gallery Bibliography Manuscripts Jump to Home page Help Jump to Contents page Jump to Beast Index page Search Previous beast Next beast