De Anabulla

Anabulla, ut Plinius scribit, bestia est Ethiopie. Hoc animal collum habet equo simile, pedes et crura ut boves, caput ut camelus. Albas habet maculas, colorem rutilum valde membra singula distinguentem. Cum ergo tanto decore animal respersum sit, pellis multum spectabilis carius venditur; et hoc ad luxum oculorum, qui vix unquam curiositate pestifera sanantur.

The anabulla, as Pliny writes, is a beast of Ethiopia. This animal has a neck similar to a horse, the feet and legs of cows, and the head of a camel. It has white spots, the color red greatly decorating every limb. Therefore since the animal is sprinkled with so much decoration, the noteworthy pelt is sold much more dearly; this pertains to the luxury of the spots, which are scarcely ever restored by contagious curiosity.

anabulla, -ae f. giraffe

bestia, -ae f. beast; animal

bos, bovis m, f. bull; cow

camelus, i m. camel

collum, -i n. neck

crus, cruris n. leg

curiositas, curiositatis f. curiosity; inquisitiveness

distinguo, distinguere, distinxi, distinctus 3 to adorn; decorate

luxus, luxus m. luxury; sumptuousness

macula, -ae f. spot; stain

oculus, -i m. eye; spot

pellis, pellis f. pelt; hide

pestifer, -a, -um adj. contagious

respergo, respergere, respersi, respersus 3 to sprinkle; spatter

rutilus, -a, -um adj. red; golden red, reddish yellow

sano, sanare, sanavi, sanatus 1 to restore; correct

spectabilis, -e adj. noteworthy; outstanding

unquam adv. ever; at some time

valde adv. greatly; loudly; powerfully

vendo, vendere, vendidi, venditus 3 to sell

Anabulla: Meaning giraffe, more commonly referred to as a camelopardalis, camelopardalis f.

ut Plinius scribit: Refers to Pliny the Elder, a 1st century CE Roman author and natural philosopher who wrote the Naturalis Historia, an extensive encyclopedia cataloguing subjects like botany, mathematics, zoology, and more.

Ethiopie: Refers to the kingdom under the rule Aksumite Empire. Should be read as Ethiopiae, making it a genitive.

pedes et crura ut boves: Directly translated as “the feet and legs as cows.”

caput ut camelus: Directly translated as “the head as a camel.”

distinguentem: Present participle of distinguo, distinguere, distinxi, distinctus, modifying colorem.

respersum sit: Subjunctive perfect of respergo, respergere, respersi, respersus.

multum…venditur: Meaning that the pelts are sold at a high cost

carius: Comparative adverb of carus, -a, um, meaning more dearly.

oculorum: Commonly mean eyes, but here it likely refers to the spots on a giraffe’s hide

et hoc…sanantur: Perhaps meaning that the spots are intriguing to those who see them and allows their hides to be sold at a high cost