I was browsing through the Czech-Latin dictionary Glossarius by Magister Bohemarius Bartholomaeus de Solencia dictus Claretus, which also lists an impressive collection of zoology terms, and I found some ornithology terms which are quite hard to find other dictionary records of:

(II.1.) De [altilibus] domesticis (203-244)

  1. Mentibus altilia prius ipsa domestica signa.
  2. Altile krzidlatko, kacze tintarus, alta letatko,
  3. Letka volatile, noss rostrum, ten frendula hic koss,
  4. Kossinye pennatum, ceix cziss, zlutekque vitellum,
  5. Pes noha, penna pero, sit penniletum holopero.
  6. Aculeus zehadlo, trup assillus et alaque krzidlo;
  7. Ruffilus czrmak, milvus lunak, sit avis ptak;

The are words tintarus (duck), frendula (blackbird), ceix (siskin, looks like a cognate), and ruffilus (redstart), which seem to be quite uncommon. Actually, the only bird from this list that corresponds to its contemporary Latin name is milvus (kite). Some of these words resemble hapax legomena, which isn't actually that much unlikely in this text (there are some uncommon Czech words too in other parts).

So I wonder, where can I find more information about these words? Quick googling doesn't let me anywhere (aside from this text), and Wiktionary doesn't have contain any of these words.

1 Answer 1


The answer to your questions might be in this 2012 article, published in the Journal "Listy filologické/Folia philologica". Notice it is in Czech (which I don't understand). But the English abstract reads (emphasis mine):

The main aim of this article is to identify the origin and meaning of one Latin zoological term in the works of Thomas of Cantimpré and Czech medieval lexicographer Bartholomaeus de Solencia dictus Claretus. Both works employ names of animals that are extremely difficult to interpret either semantically or linguistically and whose Greek or Latin origin is not immediately clear. Most of them are attached to animals the description of which Thomas claims to be derived from Aristotle. Thomas used the Latin translation of the Aristotle's work Historia animalium translated from Arabic by Michael Scotus. Due to phonetical differencies between these languages as well as inaccuracies and mistakes in both translations, the text of Aristotle and the forms of the original Greek names were variously modified. Aristotle's term 'Aχίλλειον (σπόγγος), denoting a fine quality of sponge called the "elephant ear" (Spongia officinalis var. lamella Schulze), appears at Michael Scotus as albuz, at Thomas of Cantimpré in the form of albirez and at Claretus in the form of albirus and albinus.

Thus, it seems that the Latin terms are but "errors in translation" associated with the work of just a few individuals.

  • An interesting read, describing an animal that is regarded as a sponge in some sources and a fish in another, but there are only few examples of Claretus's terms. However, according to the article, Thomas of Cantimpré's encyclopedia was the source of many terms found in Glossarius, so it might be a next place to look for them.
    – IS4
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 10:38
  • @IllidanS4 Not sure which is that encyclopedia, but if it is De natura rerum, Books I to XIX of the original(?!) are here. A later (1400!) edition is here. A recent edition was published in 1973, and a more recent one in 2017.
    – luchonacho
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 11:02

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