Sources : Kite

Aesop's Fables [6th century BCE +] (The Kite and his Mother; Perry 324) The kite was sick and had spent many months in bed. When there was no longer any hope of his recovery, he tearfully asked his mother to make the rounds of all the shrines and to offer great vows for his recovery. 'I will do what you want, my son, but I am afraid that I will not succeed. It scares and worries me, my child: since you pillaged all the temples and polluted all the altars, showing no reverence for the holy sacrifices, what can I pray for now on your behalf?' - [ Gibbs translation]

Ovid [1st century CE] (The Metamorphoses, Book 2, 708): a swift kite, spying out the sacrificial entrails, wheels above, still fearful of the priests crowding round the victim, but afraid to fly further off, circling eagerly on tilted wings over its hoped-for prey. - [Kline translation]

Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 10, 12; 10, 21; 10, 95): [Book 10, 12] Kites belong to the same genus as hawks but differ in size. It has been noticed in regard to this species that though a most rapacious bird and always hungry it never steals any edible from the oblations at funerals nor from the altar at Olympia and not even out of the hands of the people bringing the offerings except with a gloomy portent for the slaves performing the sacrifice. Also it seems that this bird by its manipulation of its tail taught the art of steersmanship, nature demonstrating in the sky what was required in the deep. Kites themselves also are not seen in the winter months, though not departing before the swallow; it is reported however that they suffer from gout even from midsummer onward. [Book 10, 21] Many birds in this class feed also on acorns and fruit, but those that eat only flesh do not drink, excepting the kite, and for a kite to drink counts in itself as a direful augury. [Book 10, 95] There are quarrels between ... the raven and the kite when the former snatches the latter's food before he can get it... [Book 29, 38] make a very efficacious liniment for all eye complaints... a kite's liver too is recommended... - [Rackham translation]

Aelianus [170-230 CE] (On the Characteristics of Animals, Book 2, 47): There is no limit to the robberies of the kite. If they can manage pieces of meat on sale in the market, they pounce upon them and carry them off; on the other hand they will not touch sacrifices offered to Zeus. - [Scholfield translation]

Isidore of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 7:58): The kite [milvus] is weak in both its strength and its flying, as if it were a ‘weak bird’ [mollis avis], whence it is named. However, it is most rapacious and is always a predator of domestic birds. - [Barney, Lewis, et. al. translation]

Hugh of Fouilloy~> [ca. 1100-1172 CE] (De avibus, chapter 45): The kite (milvus), is weak {mollis) in both its powers and its flight, as though a weak bird, whence it is so named; nevertheless it is very rapacious, and constantly menaces domestic birds. For thus, as one reads in Isidore's Book of Etymologies, the kite is named for its weak flight. For the kite is weak in its powers: the kite further signifies those whom the weakness of desire tempts. The kite feeds on corpses, because hedonists delight in the desires of the flesh. The kite flies constantly around kitchens and markets, so that it might more quickly seize any raw meat which might be thrown out of them. For by this the kite in fact indicates to us those who are very concerned about their stomachs. Therefore, those who are of this type pursue pleasures, frequent the markets, and look longingly at kitchens. The kite is timid about formidable things, courageous about the insignificant. It does not dare to seize wild birds; it usually ambushes domestic ones. It ambushes the chicks to seize them, and kills the more quickly those it perceived to be unwary. Thus, weak people and hedonists seize the young chicks, because they mold the more simple and careless people to their ways, and drag them away to evil practices. By flying slowly above them [the kites] deceive the unwary, while [the weak and hedonistic] entice [the simple and careless] by flattering them with seductive conversation. Observe how the birds, which lack reason, by examples of perverse action teach educated men possessing the power of reason. - [Clark translation, 1992]

Thomas of Cantimpré [circa 1200-1272 CE] Liber de natura rerum, Birds 5.79): A kite is a bird, as Isidore says, nearly the size of an eagle. It has hooked claws, feet, and beak like a hawk, but it has curved and not straight wings like a hawk. However, with its strength and flight, it preys most ravenously on domestic chickens. Kites watch around the butchers and around the corpses. Pliny: They seem to have learned the art of steering by bending the tail, showing in the sky what was needed in the deep. They are said to be afflicted with gout at the time of the solstice. Pliny praised the kite's liver as medicinal. As the Experimentator says, the kite is bold in small things, timid in big things. It is driven away by its enemies, although It is three times bigger than them. It is queried why the Lord said in the Gospel: The kite in in the sky has known its time, when the turtledove and the gull have a time of retreat from us in Europe. For the kites always remain with us, both in winter and in summer. For a kite around Jerusalem cannot moult its feathers unless it drinks the salty waters of the sea towards the south. Hence, when the time of its change arrives, it usually abandons the land of its habitation and seeks the southern quarter. - [Badke translation/paraphrase]

Bartholomaeus Anglicus [13th century CE] (Liber de proprietatibus rerum, Book12.26): A Kite is weake in flight & in stre¯gth, Therefore he is called Milvus quasi, molliter volans, as it wer weakly flieng: For he is borne up above the aire with light feathers, & hooveth there as he were unmovable. And in flieng it séemeth unneth that he moveth the aire with softe touching. And is a bird that may well away with travaile, & therefore he taketh Cuckoes upon his shoulders, & beareth them, least they faile in space of long wayes, and bringeth them out of ye countries of Spaine, as Isid[ore] saith. And he is a ravishing foule, and hardy among small birds, & a coward & fearefull among great birdes, and dreadeth to lie in waite to take wilde birdes, and dreadeth not to lye in waite to take tame birdes, and lyeth oft in waite to take chickins, & them that he findeth unware, he saieth, and he eateth carrions and uncleane things, & for little meate to fill tho wombs, he fleeth all about the ayre: and is taken with the Sparhauke, and for his faintnesse and towardnesse hée is overcome of a Birde that is lesse then he. And in youth there seemeth no difference betwéene the kite & other birdes of praye, but the longer hée liveth the more he sheweth that his own kinde is unkinde. And there is a manner kite that taketh birds in the beginning, and afterward he eateth guts of beasts, and taketh unneth afterward flyes, and small wormes, as Aristotle saith. And he dieth for hunger at the last, and is a cruell fowle about his birds, and is sorry when he séeth the fat. And to make the leane, he beateth them with his bill, and withdraweth their meate, & hath a voice of plaining, and of moane, as it were messenger of hunger. For when hée hungereth, hée seeketh his meate wéeping with voyce of plaining and of moane. - [Batman]