Sources : Cock

Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 10, 24-25): [Book 10, 24 ] Nearly equally proud and self-conscious are also our Roman night-watchmen, a breed designed by nature for the purpose of awakening mortals for their labors and interrupting sleep. They are skilled astronomers, and they mark every three-hour period in the daytime with song, go to bed with the sun, and at the fourth camp-watch recall us to our business and our labor and do not allow the sunrise to creep upon us unawares, hut herald the coming day with song, while they herald that song itself with a flapping of their wings against their sides. They lord it over their own race, and exercise royal sway in whatever household they live. This sovereignty they win by dueling with one another, seeming to understand that weapons grow upon their legs for this purpose, and often the fight only ends when they die together. If they win the palm, they at once sing a song of victory and proclaim themselves the champions, while the one defeated hides in silence and with difficulty endures servitude. Yet even the common herd struts no less proudly, with uplifted neck and combs held high, and alone of birds casts frequent glances at the sky, also rearing its curved tail aloft. Consequently even the lion, the noblest of wild animals, is afraid of the cock. ... [Book 10, 25] Cocks when gelt stop crowing; the operation is performed in two ways: by searing with a glowing iron either the loins or the bottom parts of the legs, and then smearing the wound with potter's clay. This operation makes them easier to fatten. At Pergamum every year a public show is given of cocks fighting like gladiators. It is found in the Annals that in the consulship Marcus Lepidus and Quintus Catulus, at the country house of Oalerius in the Rimini district, a farmyard cock spoke; the only occasion, so far as I know, on which this has occurred. - [Rackham translation]

Isidore of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 7.50): The rooster [gallus] is named from castration, for of all the birds only this one has its testes removed. Indeed, the ancients used to call a castrated man a gallus. And just as the word leaena [lioness] is formed from leo [lion], and dracaena [dragoness] from draco [dragon], so gallina [hen] is formed from gallus. The rooster’s limbs, some people say, are consumed if they are mixed with molten gold. - [Barney, Lewis, et. al. translation]

Thomas of Cantimpré [circa 1200-1272 CE] (Liber de natura rerum, Birds 5.57, 5.59): [Birds 5.57] The cock is a bird with crested beak and head. It knows the time from the stars and trines and distinguishes the hours of the day by singing. It goes to sleep with the sun and announces the coming day with a song. It has legs armed with opposing spikes. The hen also sometimes has spikes, but this by mistake rather than by the work of nature. When it is about to sing, it spreads its wings to make itself more alert. It sings stronger in the deep night, lighter in the morning. When it has worked at night, it calls the hens to feed in the morning. Its song is carried with the wind and is heard farther than can be estimated. And so with its song it soothes the horses, instigates the camels, and is said to drive them fantastically. Many of the grains that feed the cock kill other animals. As the Experimentator says, the cock raises its tail and holds its body in a semicircle. Its likeness rests on the church towers and turns its face against the wind. It climbs up to sleep and rests on one foot. When it raises its feathers around its neck, it shakes itself more boldly. The lion is afraid of the white cock. An aging cock in its decrepit age lays an egg, from which the basilisk is generated. But in this generation it is necessary for many things to come together. After a long time, however, the chick comes out and grows strong, as ducklings usually do. And these animals have tails like a snake, but the rest of the body is like a cock. Now those who have seen the creation of this kind of animal say that there is no shell on the egg, but that it has a very strong skin and is so strong that it can withstand the strongest blows. It is the opinion of some that, after the cock has laid an egg, it is fostered by a lizard or a toad. We have only this in the writings of the ancients, that a certain kind of basilisk is generated from an egg which a decrepit and senescent cock has laid. The meat of young chickens is coarser to digest and has less moisture than other poultry. However, the meat of decrepit cocks is more tender than the meat of young cocks. Poultry meat has a certain viscosity, but it dissolves during cooking. Even if there are several cocks in one courtyard, one of them dominates the rest. The fight ends when one of them is killed. If ever a cock has conquered an ally, it immediately crows in victory and then bears witness to the prince himself; but the vanquished is hidden in silence; the proud conqueror walks with a straight neck, his crest is high, and looks at the sky, raising its tail aloft. And so even lions are terrified of the cock, or rather - as we believe - it has naturally an innate fear of the cock. [Birds 5.59] The Gallus gallinacius, as he says [i.e. Liber rerum], is a bird with his testicles cut off, which the scripture calls a peponem, but we commonly call him caponem [capon]. But they are said to be more quickly grown because they are restrained from lust. As the Experimentator says, the cock impregnates the hens, but the capon by no means impregnates them; he feeds with them, but by no means defends them. It does not sing at hours of the day or night. These are useful for nothing but the kitchen. For they have stronger flesh than all fowls: for they generate good blood and the best nourishment. Jacobus and the Lapidary: For sometimes they are castrated after they have lived for three years, and afterwards they are allowed to live for five or six years; and thus in his liver is found a precious stone, the name of which is allectorius. After he conceives this stone in his liver, he never drinks again. Therefore, if anyone has this stone in his mouth, it quenches his thirst. - [Badke translation/paraphrase]

Albertus Magnus [ca. 1200-1280 CE] (De animalibus, Book 23, 51): The cock is highly attuned to the amount of daylight produced by movements of the sun; hence, it marks the hours by its crowing. When it sings at night, it rises up, flaps its wings and beats its chest, the better to crow in a wakeful state. In some instances a rooster has been observed to grieve over the deaths of its mates. When it sleeps, it perches on a high roost, while the sauciest of its hen-mates pushes to gain a spot next to it for the night. The meat of aging roosters is more tender, because whatever viscosity remains in the flesh is removed by cooking. Broths made from older cocks are beneficial for asthmatics and patients with heart disease. There is a belief that the lion has a natural fear of a white cock, perhaps because of some perceived opposition of their species or because the white cock is thought to be related to the basilisk. Some writers claim an old rooster can by itself produce an egg and deposit it in a dung heap; while this egg lacks a true shell, its outer skin is tough enough to resist the strongest blows; from the heat of the dung this egg supposedly hatches into a basilisk which in all respects looks like a cock, except that its tail is elongated like a snake. Personally I do not credit this as a true story, but in fairness it was told by Hermes and believed by many readers because of the authority of the writer. - [Scanlan]

Bartholomaeus Anglicus [13th century CE] (Liber de proprietatibus rerum, Book12.16-17): [Book 12.16] A Cocke is called Gallos, and hath that name of gelding, for among fowles onely the Cocke is gelded, & men in old time called them Gallos, that were kerned, as Isidore saith. Plinius li. 29. cap. 4. speaketh of the Cocke and sayth, that Cocks flesh raw, and layde hot upon the biting of a Serpent, doth awaye the venime, and to the same his braine is good, taken in drink. And if a man be noynted wt his greace, or with his juyce, he shall be sure from Panthers and Lyons. And if the bones of a Cock or of an Hen, be medled with gold when it is molte, they destroy and wast the golde, and so Henne boanes be venemous to golde, and that is wonder. Also the Cocke is hot and drye of complection: & therefore he is full bolde and hardie, and so fighteth boldly for his hens against his adversaries, and assayleth and reeseth on them, and teareth and woundeth them with his bill, and with his spores, and when he hath the mastry he croweth presently, and ere he croweth he beateth himselfe with his wings to make him the more able to sing. And he useth late in the night to crowe most cléerely and strongly, and about the morrow tide, he shapeth tight voice & song, as Saint Ambrose saith. The Cocke beareth a redde combe on his head, in steede of a crowne, which béeing left, he looseth his hardinesse, and is more slowe and cowardlye to assayle his adversary. And he loveth jeolouslye his hennes: and when he findeth meate, he calleth his Hennes, together with a certaine voyce, and spareth his owne meate to féede them therewith: and he setteth next to him on the rooste, the hen that is most fat and tender, and leveth hir best, & desireth most to have hir presence. In the morrow tide when he flyeth to get his meate, first he layeth his side to hir side, and by certayne tokens and beckes, as it were love taches, he wooeth and prayeth hir to treading. And he fighteth for hir speciallye, as though he were jealous, and with bill and spores he chaseth and driveth away from him other Cockes, that come nigh his hennes. And in fighting he smiteth the ground with his bill, and reareth up the feathers about his necke, so make him the more bold & hardy, and mooveth the feathers of his tayle upwarde and downward, that he maye so the more ably come to the battaile. And he breedeth a precious stone called Aflectricium [?], like to the stone that is named Calceduneus [chalcedony], & the Cock beareth that stone, and because of that stone (as some men trow) the Lion dreadeth and abhorreth, & specially if the Cocke be white: for the Lyon dreadeth the white Cocke, as Plinius sayth. The Cocke hée searcheth his meate with his bill and feete, and setayeth and overtourneth strawe and duste. And when hée findeth a grayne, hée calleth, and cackeleth to him his Hens. Also the Cocke dreadeth the Eagle and the Gossehawke, which take theyr pray on the ground. For such fowles of pray, spye and wayte for Birds which goe on the grounde. And the Cocke is right sharpe of sight, and therefore he looketh downwarde with the one eye to search his meate, an upwarde into the ayre with the other eye, that he might beware of the comming of the Eagle, and of the Goshauke. And if be see one of them come a farre, anon he crieth to the hens, and flieth away, and hideth himselfe in houses among stones, or in hedges, as he saith. Also a right aged Cocke laieth egges, in his last ende, and the Egges are small and full round, and as they were wanne or yeolow. And if any venimous worme sitteth on brood on them in the canicular daies, of them bée bred and growe Cockatrices, as Beda sayth. Constantine speaketh of Cocks, and saith, that young Cockes be more harde to defie, and lesse moyst then Hennes. Also the flesh of Cockes is some deale evill savoures, but that savour wasteth away when it is sod. And if the guts of an old Cocke be throwen away, and the Cocke stopped full of gardeine Saffron, and of Polipodie, and sodde in five pound of water till the water be nigh all wasted, this Cocke is most profitable to them that have the evil, which is called Cholera passio. For it purgeth gleamie & flumatike humour, & helpeth them that he melancholy: and putteth out great ventosity of ye stomack, and abateth ach and sore, and helpeth swelling and ach of the wosen, and helpeth against the long during of feaver Etike, as hée sayth. [Book 12.17] The Capon is of a cocke, made as it were female by carving away of his gendering stones, & is all changed in complection, as other beasts that be gelded, & looseth his boldnesse, & his voice and song, and knoweth no difference betwéene the houres of the night, nor beateth himselfe with his wings, nor araieth himselfe in fighting, but he sitteth on broode uppon Egges that be not his owne, as it were an henne, and taketh uppon him the office of a female, and feedeth chickins that bée not his owne, and leadeth them about, and clocketh as an hen, and calleth chickins together, clocking wt an hoarce voice, and accompanyeth with hennes, and eateth with them of their meate, but he feedeth them not, he is fasted with them, but he fatteth not them. And the Capon is more coward of heart then the Cocke, and more moist of flesh, and more soft of feathers, & somtime his feet be broken to compell him to sit on broad upon egges, his spurs either be made blunt, or else they fall. When he is fat, his féet be bound togethers, and his head hangeth downe toward the ground; and is borne by the feet to faires and to markets. But Constantine speaketh of a gelded Cocke and saith, that the flesh of grided Cockes is more covenable then the fleshe of other fowles, and bréedeth more noble nourishing and better bloud: And theyr braine is better, and more profitable then the braine of other foules. - [Batman]