Beast

Sources : Crow

Aristotle [ca. 350 BCE] (De animalibus Book 9, 2.3): The crow and the owl also are enemies; for at mid-day the crow, taking advantage of the dim sight of the owl, secretly seizes and devours its eggs, and the owl eats those of the crow during the night; and one of these is master during the day, the other during the night. - [Cresswell translation, 1887]

Ovid [1st century CE] (The Metamorphoses, Book 2, 531-566): The garrulous Crow followed with flapping wings, wanting to know everything, but when he heard the reason, he said ‘This journey will do you no good: don’t ignore my prophecy! See what I was, see what I am, and search out the justice in it. Truth was my downfall. ... I was stretching out my arms to the sky: those arms began to darken with soft plumage. I tried to lift my cloak from my shoulders but it had turned to feathers with roots deep in my skin. I tried to beat my naked breast with my hands but found I had neither hands nor naked breast. I ran, and now the sand did not clog my feet as before but I lifted from the ground, and soon sailed high into the air'. - [Kline translation]

Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 10, 14): ...though crows eat other food as well, as if a nut is so hard that it resists their beak they fly up aloft and drop it two or more times on to rocks or roof-tiles, till it is cracked and they can break it open. The bird itself has a persistent croak that is unlucky, although some people speak well of it. It is noticed that from the rising of Arcturus to the arrival of the swallows it is rarely seen in groves and temples of Minerva and never at all elsewhere, as is the case at Athens; it is most unlucky at its breeding season, that is, after midsummer. Moreover this bird alone continues feeding its chicks for some time even when they can fly. - [Rackham translation]

Aelianus [170-230 CE] (On the Characteristics of Animals, Book 3, 9): Crows are exceedingly faithful to each other, and when they enter into partnership they love one another intensely, and you would never see these creatures indulging freely in promiscuous intercourse. And those who are accurately informed about them assert that if one dies, the other remains in widowhood. [In the bestiaries this story was applied to the turtledove.] - [Scholfield translation]

Saint Ambrose [4th century CE] (Hexameron, Book 5, 18.58): We find this [love of their children] to be a normal sentiment among crows, who form a constant escort to their offspring in flight. Solicitous, too, lest perchance they may become weak because of their tender age, they strive to supply them with food. They continue to perform this function for a long time. - [Savage translation, 1961]

Isidore of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 7:44): The crow [cornix], a long-lived bird, is named by Latin speakers with a Greek word. Augurs say that this bird by its signs is attentive to the concerns of humans, and shows the paths where ambush lies, and predicts the future. It is a great sin to believe that God would entrust his counsels to crows. Among many omens, they even ascribe to these birds the predicting of rain by their calls. Whence this passage [Vergil, Geo. 1.388]: Then the impudent crow calls the rain with its loud voice. - [Ridley, 1919 translation]

Gerald of Wales [c. 1146 – c. 1223] (Topographia Hibernica, Distinction 1, 17): there are no black crows in this country, or they are very rare; they are all parti-colored. These birds carry up small shell-fish into the air, and let them fall on the rocks by the sea shore, that, not being able to crush the shells with their beaks, they may be fractured by collision with the stones, after falling from a great height. Thus the old enemy, with malicious guile, after raising to the highest pitch of honor those whom he was unable to pervert when in a humble condition, boldly assails them, in order that, neglecting the duties of their station, or wavering, from being puffed up with arrogance, the higher they have been lifted up the greater may be their fall into the depths of sin, and the more severely he may bruise and crush them. ... It is a remarkable fact respecting these birds, that although in other things they are the most cunning of all fowls, their natural instinct fails them in choosing suitable situations for their nests, in which other birds, however silly, manifest great ingenuity. For they build their nests in a public road, or any other frequented place, or on a fallen tree, or a stone; never thinking of the winds, or apprehensive of the access of snakes or men. Thus, however a man may be distinguished by vigor of genius and the endowments of wisdom, if he abandons himself to licentiousness, and is ensnared by lust, he pays little regard to temperance and modesty. - [Forester translation, 1863, chapter 17]

Thomas of Cantimpré [circa 1200-1272 CE] (Liber de natura rerum, Birds 5.32; 5.65): [Thomas describes the crow under the names cornice and incendula.] [Birds 5.32] Crows [cornice], as Pliny says, are of the same kind. They are also afflicted with sickness at the solstice. As the Experimentator says, the crows attack noble birds as if they were their enemies, and this often to their detriment. For when the noble birds had brought much to their assailants, at last their patience ended and they defeated and tore the intruders to pieces. They feed for some time in the sun beside the flying chicks, which the flock pursues diligently, and are careful not to lose their hold. They supply food and most of the time do not leave the nursing duties. Therefore let men learn to love their children from the practice and piety of the crows. The crow feeds on nuts. And when sometimes it is unable to overcome the hardness of the nut with its beak, flying high it throws the nut among the rocks once, and again and again, until it is able to break it. The male feeds the incubating chicks. [Birds 5.65] [Thomas recounts the story of the crow and the owl, as found in Aristotle, but calls the crow incendula. The origin of the name is unclear.] The incendula is a bird of the East, and is said to be of the raven genus. This bird is cunning and has a lot of courage, and it fights with the owl. But since the owl is weak when seen in the day, the incendula comes and fights stronger and conquers and eats the eggs of the owl. On the other hand, when the day has turned to night, the owl, seeing more clearly, fights with the incendula in the silence of the night, and since the incendula cannot see by night, the owl wins and steals the eggs of the incendula, and thus returns evil for evil. - [Badke translation/paraphrase]

Bartholomaeus Anglicus [13th century CE] (Liber de proprietatibus rerum, Book12.9): The Crow is a bird of long lyfe, and is called Cornix among latines, that is a name of Gréeke. And Divinoures tell, that she taketh héede of spiengs and awaitings, and teacheth and showeth wayes, and warneth what shall fall. But it is full unlawfull to beléeve, that God sheweth his privie counsaile to Crowes, as Isidore saith. Among manye divinations, divinours meane, that Crowes betoken rayne with greding and crieng, Corax, Corax, as this vearse meaneth. Nunc plena Cornix plumam vocat improba voce. That is to understande, Nowe the Crowe calleth rayne with an eleinge voyce, and is a iangling bird & unmilde, and grievous to men there they dwell, as he sayth, and eateth uncleane meates and venomous, and lyveth right long. In age their fethers wexe white. But in flesh within, the longer they live, the more blacke they be, and hateth the fore over all other beasts, and fighteth against the Sparhawke, and against the Gossehawke, as Isidore saith. And is busie and gréedy, and contrary to the Eagle, & other birds of pray, and for she dreadeth to touch the Eagle, with crieng she pursueth the Eagle. But she hath not alway profit of hir gréedinesse: for somtime, after that the Eagle hath made as though he gave no force, sodainly he smiteth the Crow with his bill or slayeth hir, when she commeth néerer the Eagle than shée shuld. In Exameron it is said of ye crow that Crowes rule & lead storkes, & come about them as it were in routs, & flye about the Storkes, & defend them, & fight against other birds and fowles that hate storkes, & take uppon them the battell of other birds, upon their owns perill. And an open proofe therof is for in that time ye storkes passe but of ye country, crowes be not séene in places, thers they were wont to be, & also for they come againe with sore wounds, & with voice of blood, that is wel knowen, & with other signes & tokens, & shew yt they have ben in strong fighting. Also there it is said, yt the mildnes of the bird is wonderfull: for when the old crowes in age be both naked and bare of covering of fethers, then ye young nowes hide & cover them with their fethers, and gather meate and féede them. And sometime when they were olde and féeble: then the young Crowes underset them, and reare them up with their wings, and comfort them to use to flie, to bring the members that be diseased into state againe. - [Batman]