The Barnacle Goose myth was propagated during the early Medieval period through Bestiaries.
One version of the myth about the barnacle (Branta leucopsis) and brant (Branta bernicla) geese is that these geese emerge fully-formed from goose barnacles (Cirripedia). There are other myths about how the barnacle goose breeds. The basis of all the myths is that the bird, Branta leucopsis, emerges and grows from matter other than bird eggs. There are many sources to the myth. The etymology of the term “barnacle” suggests Latin, Old English and French roots. There are few references in pre-Christian books and manuscripts – some Roman or Greek. The main vector for the myth into modern times was monastic manuscripts and in particular the Bestiary. The myth owes its long standing popularity to an early ignorance of the migration patterns of geese. Early medieval discussions of the nature of living organisms were often based on myths or genuine ignorance of what is now known about phenomena such as bird migration. It was not until the late 19th century that bird migration research showed that such geese migrate northwards to nest and breed in Greenland or northern Scandinavia.
An early, but not the first reference to the myth of the barnacle goose, is in the eleventh century Exeter Book of Riddles. The riddle NUMBER 10, is asked as follows:
” ……..My nose was in a tight spot, and I beneath the water,
underflowed by the flood, sunk deep
into the ocean-waves, and in the sea grew
covered with waves from above, my body
touching a floating piece of wood.
I had living spirit, when I came out of the embrace
of water and wood in a black garment,
some of my trappings were white,
then the air lifted me, living, up,
wind from the water, then carried me far
over the seal’s bath. Say what I am called…..”
To which the anticipated answer was: The Barnacle Goose. 
Pre-Christian Evidence of the Myth
In Ray Lankester’s Diversions of a Naturalist (1917)  there is evidence of a serious literature debate arising from the work of Max Muller (1868), together with a French Zoologist, Frederic Houssay, George Perrot and Charles Chipiez. The debate centered on the possibility that the Barnacle Goose myth could have been known to early Mycenaean settlers c. 1600–1100 BCE.
Lankester claimed that drawings, often seen on Mycenaean pottery, was an interpretation by contemporary artists of the features of typical geese. Lankester pointing out the way the Barnacle Geese were represented, wrote:
“…. the solution (to the problem/ question) is as follows: The Mykenæan population of the islands of Cyprus and Crete, in the period 800 to 1000 years before Christ, were great makers of pottery, and painted large earthenware basins and vases with a variety of decorative representations of marine life, of fishes, butterflies, birds, and trees. …. Others have been figured by the well-known archaeologists, ….. M. Perrot consulted M. Houssay, in his capacity of zoologist, in regard to these Mykenæan drawings, which bear… the evidence of having been designed after nature by one who knew the things in life, although they are not slavishly “copied” from nature…..”
He goes on to suggest that:
“….it is fairly evident that the intention has been to manipulate the drawing of the leaf or fruit so as to make it resemble the drawing of the goose, whilst that in its turn is modified so as to emphasise or idealise its points of resemblance to a barnacle….”
He summarises the possibility that Mycenaean drawings of birds – especially the goose – seen on pottery shows that the Barnacle Goose Myth was known to settlers on the Greek islands, a thousand years BCE. He concludes his observations as follows:
“.… artists loved to exercise a little fancy and ingenuity. By gradual reduction in the number and size of outstanding parts—a common rule in the artistic “schematising” or “conventional simplification” of natural form—they converted the octopus and the argonaut, with their eight arms, into a bull’s head with a pair of spiral horns …. In the same spirit it seems that they observed and drew the barnacle floating on timber or thrown up after a storm on their shores. They detected a resemblance in the marking of its shells to the plumage of a goose, whilst in the curvature of its stalk they saw a resemblance to the long neck of the bird. …..They brought the barnacle and the goose together, not guided thereto by any pre-existing legend, but by a simple and not uncommon artistic desire to follow up a superficial suggestion of similarity and to conceive of intermediate connecting forms….”
There is an absence of evidence to support his claim from Greek or Roman folklore. Neither Aristotle or Herodotus or Pliny the Elder make any explicit reference to this myth. The recent paper by John Buckeridge  doubts the claims made by Edward Heron-Allen (1928) as follows:
“….although Heron-Allen spent some time reviewing images of birds and other animals on Mycenaean pottery (circa 1600–1100 BCE), his deductions that they demonstrate that the Mycenaeans were aware of any biological relationship between geese and barnacles are inconclusive. These images are perhaps better interpreted as stylised representations of animals and plants that suited the designer of the pottery….”.
Barnacle Goose Myth in Ancient Rome
Many writers reference Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historiae as an early first century Roman source for the myth. This belief is a myth itself. Pliny the Elder did not discuss the Barnacle Goose myth. Pliny’s Naturalis Historiae is an early encyclopaedia that expands his views on the physical and natural world. While he makes extensive reference to “Geese”, e.g. goose fat, he does not mention Barnacle Geese and their origins in his sections on Marine Animals and Birds. The first printed copies of Naturalis Historiae appear in the late 1480s. A 1480 version of Naturalis Historiae was printed by Andreas Portilla in Parma in Northern Italy. A copy of this book was owned by Hector Boece at the time he wrote his account of the Barnacle Goose Myth. (See section below regarding the 16th Century, Hector Boece and the Barnacle Goose myth). It is impossible to be certain if Hector Boece was influenced by Pliny. Almost certainly Boece would have been aware of the myth from his time at the Collège de Montaigu in the University Paris where he worked with Erasmus and when he was a student at the University of St Andrews. Boece is most likely to be influenced by Topographia Hibernica, compiled by Gerald of Wales around 1188 (See below at 13th Century and Gerald of Wales).
The Influence of Frederick II
Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II (1194–1250), Ornithologist and learned scholar, is best remembered for his seminal work, De Arte Venandi cum Avibus (On The Art of Hunting with Birds). This book was written in Latin around the year 1241. Frederick is believed to have based his observations about birds on personal experience. As a result he is suspicious of the Barnacle Goose myth propagated by Gerald of Wales. In this, Gerald of Wales (see below) claims:
“…. I have often seen with my own eyes more than a thousand minute embryos of birds of this species on the seashore, hanging from one piece of timber, covered with shells, and, already formed……”
It is Frederick who, not only claims to have seen the embryos, but collects Empirical evidence to support his dismissal of the myth. In a short passage from his work De Arte…, Frederick II writes:
“…..There is also a small species known as the barnacle goose arrayed in motly plumage – it has in certain parts white and others black circular markings of whose haunts we have no certain knowledge. There is however a curious popular tradition that they spring from dead trees. It is said that in the far north old ships are found in whose rotting hulls a worm is born that develops into the barnacle goose. This goose hangs from dead wood by its beak until it is old and strong enough to fly. We have made prolonged research into the origin and truth of this legend and even sent special envoys to the north with order to bring back specimens of these mythical timbers for our inspection. When we examined them we did observe shell-like formations clinging to the rotten wood, but these bore no resemblance to any avian body. We therefor doubt the truth of this legend in the absence of corroborative evidence. In our opinion this superstition arose from the fact that barnacle geese breed in such remote latitudes that men in ignorance of their real nesting places invented this explanation. ….”(Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, De Arte Venandi cum Avibus, Book 1 C. Ch. XXIII-F “On the Nesting of Birds”)
Gerald of Wales
It is claimed that Gerald of Wales provided the basis for the dissemination of the myth before being referenced by medieval bestiaries. He was not first to record in Latin folk tales or myths about spontaneous generation or transformation of young barnacle geese from rotten wood via the goose-necked barnacle (Cirripedia) to fledgling geese. In 1177 the future English king John (the younger brother of Richard the Lionheart) was appointed Lord of Ireland and the English rule was set in these territories. As a royal clerk and chaplain to King Henry II of England, Gerald of Wales accompanied Prince John between 1183 and 1186 on an expedition to Ireland. After his return, in 1187 or 1188, he had published a manuscript with the description of the new Irish lands called Topographia Hibernica. His views on Ireland in Topographia Hibernica include the following passage: ” … there are many birds called barnacles (bernacae) … nature produces them in a marvellous way for they are born at first in gum-like form from fir-wood adrift in the sea. Then they cling by their beaks like sea-wood, sticking to wood, enclosed in a shell-fish shells for freer development…. thus in the process of time dressed in a firm clothing of feathers, they either fall into the waters or fly off into freedom of the air. They receive food and increase from a woody and watery juice…… on many occasions I have seen them with my own eyes, more than a thousand of these tiny little bodies, hanging from a piece of wood on the sea-shore when enclosed in their shells and fully formed. Eggs are not produced from the copulation of these birds as is usual, no bird ever incubates an egg for their production … in no corner of the earth have they been seen to give themselves up (to) lust or build a nest
….hence in some parts of Ireland bishops and men of religion make no scruple of eating these birds on fasting days as not being flesh because they are not born of flesh…
The Fourth Council of the Lateran
The Fourth Council of the Lateran was called by Pope Innocent III with the papal bull “Vineam Domini Sabaoth” of 19 April 1213. The Council met in Rome at the Lateran Palace. Several writers make reference to a canon drawing a distinction between the Barnacle Goose as a “bird”, and as a “fish” resulting from Pope Innocent III at this Council. The decision would have been important for adherents to Western Catholic Church, especially during Lent (with its fast-days), when believers were banned from eating “meat” – e.g. birds. Lankester (1915)  repeats this story, which is also found in Muller (1871 v.2), The claim was that the clergy in France, Ireland and Great Britain, were instructed to stop permitting the eating of Barnacle Geese, during Lent, as a “fish”. Seemingly, it had become accepted practice that eating Barnacle Geese was allowed, while eating other forms of meat, e.g. duck was not. Given the migration patterns of the Barnacle Goose, there would have been many geese seen across Europe by people living on the western coast of Ireland, Scotland and France. Conveniently these birds were seen as an alternative to other forms of “meat” e.g. wild ducks. Therefore fulfilling one of the requirements for fasting days during Lent. Elaborating on this, Lankester (1915) wrote;
“… it had become accepted that the use the Barnacle Goose) as food on the fast-days of the Church was accepted.. and as a result Pope Innocent III .. to whom the matter was referred.. considered it necessary in 1215 to prohibit the eating of barnacle geese in Lent, since although he admitted that they are not generated in the ordinary way, he maintained … that they live and feed like ducks, and cannot (therefore) be regarded as differing in nature from other birds….(such as ducks)..”
Importantly, Muller (1871, v.2) disputes the source of a Lateran prohibition. (See, van der Lugt (2000) below) He claims it may have been a confusion with Vincentius Bellovacensis (Vincent of Beauvais 1190 – 1264) writing just after the Lateran Council. He says
“… in the thirteenth century the legend (regarding Barnacle Geese) spread over Europe. Vincentius Bellovacensis ..in his Speculum Naturae xvuu. 40 ..states that Pope Innocent III, at the General Lateran Council, 1215, had to prohibit the eating of Barnacle Geese during lent …”
Beauvais’ Speculum Naturale, contained thirty-two books with more than 3700 chapters, across a variety of topics; including cosmography, physics, botany and zoology. In chapter XVII Beauvais described the various theories on how Barnacle Geese came about. He concludes that “…Innocentius papa tertius in Lateranensi Consillio generali hoc ultra fieri vetuit…” That is, the Pope banned the practice of eating Barnacle Geese. However the records of the 4th Lateran Council do not include reference to such a ban amongst any of its decisions.
Van der Lugt (2000)  provides the most reasoned and detailed case against the claims for a Lateran Council prohibition of Barnacle Goose eating during Lent. He argues that while there certainly was a lengthy debate between canonists in the late 12th and early 13th centuries relating to what was permissible for adherents to eat during Lent, it did not concern the Barnacle Goose. Finally, at the time of the Lateran Council, scholars such as Gervase of Tilbury (d. 1220) and Alexander Neckam (d. 1217) frequently referred to myths or folklore about the natural world. Neckam wrote of a bird called the “bernekke”. Neither Gervase of Tilbury or Alexander Neckham make reference to a prohibition by Pope Innocent III.
The most important way that the Barnacle Goose myth was propagated during the early Medieval period was through Bestiaries. Bestiaries described a beast real or imaginary and used that description as a basis for an allegorical teaching. As this period was intensely religious, Monastic orders, Churches, Universities and royalty acquired and copied manuscript versions of Bestiaries repeating and building a moralising a story about animals.
Animal stories both real and mythical were used. As people were dependent on wild and domestic animals for their survival, they had an obvious interest in the world and its animals around them. Jews as well as Christians considered most of the Hebrew Bible which contains many references to animals, to be sacred. including text from other sources such as Greek Physiologus. The Bestiary is not an animal or zoology text-book, it is a religious text. It was also a description of the world as it was known and understood by clerics, monastic writers and nobility. Bestiaries gave authority to earlier mythical stories.
Pope Pius II and Sir John Mandeville
In 1435, Aeneas Silvius Bartholomeus (later Pope Pius II) travelled to Scotland to encourage James I of Scotland to assist the French in the Hundred Years War. He spent several months travelling around Britain, and recorded these travels in his book entitled “de Europa”. A short section of the book is devoted to Scotland and Ireland. He described James as “… a sickly man weighed down by a fat paunch …”. He noted the cold inhospitable climate of Scotland and ” .. semi-naked paupers who were begging outside churches (and) went away happily after receiving stones as alms…”.
Continuing in this vein, he records the following story:
” …I / We… heard that in Scotland there was once a tree growing on the bank of a river which produced fruits shaped like ducks. “When these were nearly ripe, they dropped down of their own accord, some onto the earth, and some into the water. Those that landed on the earth rotted away, but those that sank into the water instantly came to life, swam out from below the water, and immediately flew into the air, equipped with feathers and wings. When I eagerly investigated this matter, I learned that miracles always recede further into the distance and that the famous tree was to be found not in Scotland but in the Orkney islands…”
It is believed that this story from Pope Pius II is the first recorded account of the Barnacle Geese myth in Scotland.
Sir John Mandeville (fl. 1357—1372) is associated with both the Barnacle Geese myth and a similar myth about cotton, which has been illustrated to show sheep hanging from a tree. His book is commonly known as The Travels of Sir John Mandeville. The book was first circulated between 1357 and 1371. The earliest-surviving text is in French. Although the book is real, it is widely believed that “Sir John Mandeville” himself was not. It is possible that de Melville was a Frenchman whose name was Jehan à la Barbe.This book is often referenced in relation to the Barnacle Goose myth. In a translation from the French, the author (“John de Mandeville”) writes:
“ …. of the Countries and Isles that be beyond the Land of Cathay; and of the fruits there; and of twenty-two kings enclosed within the mountains….wherefore I say you, in passing by the land of Cathay toward the high (of) Ind(ia) … there groweth a manner of fruit, as though it were gourds. And when they be ripe, men cut them a-two, and men find within a little beast, in flesh, in bone, and blood, as though it were a little lamb without wool. …and men eat both the fruit and the beast. And that is a great marvel. Of that fruit I have eaten, although it were wonderful, ….I told them of .. the Bernakes. (Barnacle Geese) For I told them that in our country were trees that bear a fruit that become birds flying, and those that fell in the water live, and they that fall on the earth die anon .….”
The 16th Century and Hector Boece
Some 75 years after Pope Pius II, Hector Boece in his “Scotorum Historiae a Prima Gentis Origine“ gave further credence to this story with an account of a discussion he had with his friend and colleague Canon Alexander Galloway whilst on a trip to source stories of Scottish saints for William Elphinstone. The event, if it occurred, would have to have been sometime between c.1506–1520. In the narrative Boece allows Galloway to give two contrasting accounts of the barnacle geese story. Boece records:
” …. It remains for me (Boece) to discuss those geese commonly called clacks, (claiks)  which are commonly but wrongly imagined to be born on trees in these islands, on the basis of what I have learned from my diligent investigation of this thing. ….. I will not hesitate to describe something I myself witnessed seven years ago… Alexander Galloway, parson of Kinkell, who, besides being a man of outstanding probity, is possessed of an unmatched zeal for studying wonders… When he was pulling up some driftwood and saw that seashells were clinging to it from one end to the other, he was surprised by the unusual nature of the thing, and, out of a zeal to understand it, opened them up, whereupon he was more amazed than ever, for within them he discovered, not sea creatures, but rather birds, of a size similar to the shells that contained them …. small shells contained birds of a proportionately small size….. So, he quickly ran to me, whom he knew to be gripped with a great curiosity for investigating suchlike matters and revealed the entire thing to me…..”
Boece would have known these geese as Claik Geese or Clack Geese and sometimes Clag-geese. The age of the myth and the lack of empirical evidence on bird migration led to other erroneous accounts of the breeding habits of Barnacle Geese being common until the 20th century. 
Generall Historie of Plantes (1597)
In 1597, John Gerard, published his Herbal or Generall Historie of Plantes. He refers in the text to “….. the Goose tree, Barnakle tree, or the tree bearing Geese….(p. 1391) ”. He provides a number of explanations for the myth, and his belief – one of which starts:
“ … there are founde in the north parts of Scotland and the islands adjacent, called Orchades, certaine trees, of a white colour, tending to russet, wherein are contained little living creatures; which shels in time of maturitie doe open; and out of them grow those living things; which falling into the water doe become foules, whom we call Barnakles; in the north of England, Brant Geese; and in Lancashire Tree Geese; but the other that do fall upon the land, perish and come to nothing, thus much by the writing of others and also from the mouths of people of those parts which may very well accord with truth….”.
His illustration shows bird-like creatures emerging from “buds” and birds swimming on the sea.
Some 25 years earlier, around the time John Bellenden published the Scots version of Boece’s Historia Gentis Scotorum, as the Croniklis of Scotland (see above), Matthias de l’Obel published Plantarum seu stirpium historia. (to left, above) In this volume he treats the myth in a 1/2-page report. Writing that the mythical geese are found ” ……. duntaxat in scotia aut orcadibus maris...( i.e., “only in Scotland and the Orkney sea” ) The illustration (above, to left) shows birds swimming in the sea around and under an unspecified “barnacle tree”. It is this illustration that appears to have influence Gerard. In the late nineteenth century Henry Lee (naturalist) claimed that Gerard did use de l’Obels illustration. While there is a strong similarity between the Gerard tree and buds to the de l’Obel’s illustration, there is no certainty that Gerard used de l’Obels wooden block illustration. A further illustration ( above centre) by Ulisse Aldrovandi also shows a similarity to that of de L’Obel and Gerard. In this case the tree has leaves.
Carl von Linné
The Swedish taxonomist, Carl von Linné (Carl Linnaeus), knew this myth. He named one genus in his classification Lepas; including two Swedish species, Lepas anatifera (1758) and Lepas anserifera (1767). He published several versions and editions on his Systema Naturae in which the Barnacle Goose Myth was referenced. In addition to his major classifications he included an appendix Animalia Paradoxa, i.e. contradictory or anomalous animals. His ”Animalia Paradoxa” was removed in later editions. Linnaeus called it “…The Bernicla or Scottish goose & Goose-bearing Seashell….”
In the 20th century the most detailed account of the nature of this myth and its various interpretations can be found in a paper by Alistair Stewart (1988) Stewart provides his explanation as to Boece’s use of the myth. He writes “… The intertextuality …of Boece’s account is the whole standard account of Scotland propagated in the first half of the sixteenth century. “  As noted above, there are a variety of translations of the myth in Boece e.g. Thomas Dempster (1829) In this 20th century telling, Stewart quotes John Bellenden’s Scots vernacular speech. In this Bellenden had Boece write:
” …..because the “rude” and “ignorant” people saw oft-times the fruits hat fell off the trees which stood near the sea converted within (a) short time in(to) geese, they believed that these geese grew upon the trees hanging by their “nebs”, just as apples and other fruits hang by their stalks. But their opinion is not to be sustained for, as soon as these apples and fruits fall from the tree in(to) the sea-flood they grow first worm-eaten, and “by short process of time”, are altered in(to) geese ….”
Allowing Stewart to conclude:
“….Bellenden’s Boece (gave) a fresh lease of life to the tale; …(recently)… naturalists ha(ve) located the barnacle geese nurseries in Greenland and ha(ve) a rough idea of the migration routes….But parallel to scientific advances the old versions continued to have a folklife existence….”
Myth in Jewish Thought
Almost all of the references in published literature follow a tradition exemplified by Stewart and Müller with regard to where the myth may have emerged. In The Jewish Encyclopaedia, the entry for “Barnacle-Goose” suggests a strong Jewish connection in addition to a largely western Christian tradition. The source is referred to in a volume of manuscripts collected by Solomon Joachim Halberstam in c. 1890, the Ḳehillat Shelomoh. The question of slaughtering Barnacle Geese is referenced to Isaac ben Abba Mari of Marseilles (יצחק בן אבא מרי ) (c.1120–c.1190) in around c.1170. Such a date is a century before Gerald of Wales. Further, the Jewish Encyclopaedia extends the non-Western source to c. 1000 in a work by Al-Biruni, that is Abu Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Biruni (CE 973–1048).
Darwinism and Decline of Myth
During the 19th Century, developments in Zoology and Botany opened up a Scientific Methods based approach to the way living organisms were understood to develop and how the science of Taxonomy could integrate and differentiate between species. This work was rooted in the earlier work of the 18th century Swedish botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus. Barnacles were originally classified by Linnaeus as Mollusca , but in 19th century John Vaughan Thompson a Scottish military scientist published books that caused Charles Darwin to spend many years researching barnacles.
Charles Darwin was the most prominent scientist in the nineteenth century to debate the immutability of species. This led to a rigorous and empirical basis for understanding the Goose Barnacle and the breeding habits of the Barnacle Goose. This taxonomic work can be seen in recent papers by John Buckeridge and his colleagues who have addressed one of Darwin’s contributions in the mid to late nineteen century, that is, the “species problem”. Darwin spent many years studying Barnacle (Cirripedia). Although he did not specifically address the Barnacle Goose bird, his research into the evolution of Barnacles (Cirripedia) may be seen as the first rigorous scientific rejection of the Barnacle Geese myth. Buckeridge (2011) traces the Barnacle Goose Myth from the time of Gerald of Wales and uses the myth to highlight the way scientists and other writers, (e.g. John Gerard and, John Mandeville) were able to support the myth during the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries. Buckeridge emphasises the acceptance of storytelling in the medieval period as a way the myth was popularised. In the subsequent paper, Buckeridge & Watts (2012) illuminate the Darwinian Species concept with assistance from the Barnacle Goose myth.
- In this context, the descriptor “myth” can be ambiguous. A formal statement about “myth” is the following “… A widespread but untrue or erroneous story or belief; a widely held misconception; a misrepresentation of the truth.”
- Minogue, Kristen (29 January 2013). “Science, Superstition and the Goose Barnacle”. Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
- Amongst the plethora of published sources on this myth, there are two principal sources: van der Lugt, M. (2000) Animal legendaire et discours savant medieval;la barnacle dans tous ses etats., Micrologus, 8, 351–393.;and, HeronAllen, E. (1928) Barnacles in nature & myth (London).
- The Oxford English Dictionary reports the barnacle goose as a bird, of which the breeding-place was long unknown, and was formerly believed to be produced out of the fruit of a tree growing by the sea-shore, or itself to grow upon the tree attached by its bill, also called Tree Goose, or to be produced out of a shell which grew upon this tree, or was engendered as a kind of ‘mushroom’ or spume from the corruption or rotting of timber in the water. The etymology of the term “barnacle” is probably Middle English “bernekke” or “bernake” which is identical with Old French “bernaque”, and the medieval Latin “bernacae” or “berneka”. The history of the use of this word is traced back as far as the 11th or 12th centuries; see, Müller, F. Max, 1871, Lectures on the Science of Language. London: Longmans, Green. v. 2. pp. 583–604. Muller suggests that “bernacula” might be a variant of “*pernacula” , a possible diminutive of “perna” ‘a kind of shellfish,’ afterwards confused with “*bernicula” , a supposed aphetic form of “*hibernacula”, which might be applied to the barnacle-goose from its being found in Hibernia (Ireland). Also called Solan Geese. See, Hulme, F Edward (1886) Sampson Low, p.168.
- See, Sprouse, S. J. (2015). The Associative Branches of the Irish Barnacle: Gerald of Wales and the Natural World. Hortulus, 11, 2.
- Kenicer, G. J. (2020). Plant Magic, Edinburgh, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh; pp 150–151.
- Mayntz, M. (2020). Migration: Exploring the Remarkable Journeys of Birds. London: Quadrille; pp 110–111; the following article provides a comprehensive historical account of the Barnacle Goose Myth, Lappo, E. G., Popovkina, A. B. & Mooij, J. H. (2019). About geese growing on trees The Medieval interpretation of the Barnacle and Brent goose origin. Goose Bulletin, 24(July), 8–21; retrieved from https://cms.geese.org/sites/default/files/Goose%20Bulletin24.pdf (25th January 2021). Not all the sources referenced are available in English.
- Details from the following: Tupper, F. (1910). The Riddles of the Exeter book. Boston Mass. ; London,; Tupper, F. (1906). Solutions of the Exeter Book of Riddles. Modern Languages Notes, 21(4), 97–105.; Tupper, F. (1903). The comparatives Study of Riddles. Modern Language Notes, XVIII(1), 1–8.; and, Elliott van Kirk Dobbie and George Philip Krapp, eds, The Exeter Book, Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records 3 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1936), pages 185–6.
- The translation in its original form is: Neb wæs min on nearwe, ond ic neoþan wætre, flode underflowen, firgenstreamum swiþe besuncen, ond on sunde awox ufan yþum þeaht, anum getenge liþendum wuda lice mine. Hæfde feorh cwico, þa ic of fæðmum cwom brimes ond beames on blacum hrægle; sume wæron hwite hyrste mine, þa mec lifgende lyft upp ahof, wind of wæge, siþþan wide bær ofer seolhbaþo. Saga hwæt ic hatte..
- SOPER, H. (2017): Reading the Exeter Book Riddles as Life-Writing. The Review of English Studies, New Series, Vol. 68 (287): 841–865. Doi: 10.1093/res/hgx009; BAUM, P.F. (1963): Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book. – Duke Univ. Press, Durham, North Carolina, USA. In addition see, Anglo-Saxon Riddles of the Exeter Book Cathedral Library MS 3501. See, https://www.exeter-cathedral.org.uk/history-heritage/cathedral-treasures/exeter-book/ The Exeter Book of Riddles noes not specify the “correct” answer. See, van der Lugt, M. (2000) (below) for his reservations, and Donoghue, D. (2016) An Anser for Exeter Book Riddle 74, in: S. B. Peter & H. Nicholas (Eds) Words and Works: Studies in Medieval English Language and Literature in Honour of Fred C. RobinsonUniversity of Toronto Press), 45–58.
- Lankester, Ray. 1917. Diversions of a naturalist (Methuen and Co Ltd: [S.l.]).
- Muller, Max. 1868. Lectures on the science of language : delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in February, March, April & May 1863 : Second series (Longmans, Green).
- Houssay, Frédéric. 1895. ‘Les Theories de la Genese a Mycenes et le sens ZOOLOGIQUE DE CERTAINS SYMBOLES DU CULTE D’APHRODITE’, Revue Archeologique, 26: 1–27.
- See, Perrot, Georges, and Charles Chipiez. 1894. History of art in primitive Greece. Mycenian art … Illustrated with … engravings … and … plates (London,).
- See, Buckeridge, J. (2011) Of trees, geese and cirripedes: Man’s quest for understanding, Integrative Zoology, 6(1), 3–12.
- For example, “Barnacle Goose: The Bird That Was Believed to Grow on Trees”, https://www.amusingplanet.com/2020/03/barnacle-goose-bird-that-was-believed.html; and, “The Associative Branches of the Irish Barnacle: Gerald of Wales and the Natural World–By Sarah J. Sprouse”, https://hortulus-journal.com/sprouse/ )
- The most exhaustive treatment of the citations and myths concerning Pliny’s Naturalis Historiae are to be found in Heron-Allen, E. (1928) Barnacles in Nature and in Myth. [With plates.] (London), esp. at pp 56–57, 128 (Fn. 32, 158, 174 (Fn. 281,283).
- The Naturalis Historiae Natural History (Pliny) consists 10 volumes, containing 37 “books” or topics. Marine animals and birds are found in V.III, Books 8–11.
- Boece wrote his Historia some twenty years after he became the first Principal of the College of St. Mary in Old Aberdeen, which became King’s College, now the University of Aberdeen after it merged with Marischal College, Aberdeen in 1860. In addition to Hector Boece’s copy, he University of Aberdeen, has six other copies of the Parma edition of Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historiae. Namely Alexander Berculai, Patricius Chalmer, Robert Irwing, Alexander Irwyng, Richard Irwyng and Roberti Strachan.
- Several versions of the MS exist in Two volume and six volume versions. A six-volume set was translated into English in 1931 by C A Wood. (Frederick, I. I. Holy Roman Emperor, C. A. Wood, and F. M. Fyfe. The Art of Falconry ([S.l.] : Stanford U P, 1943 (1969)) The most important two book editions stored in the Vatican Library. MS Pal. Lat. 1071; and, Bologna University Library MS Lat. 419 (717) – See, Frederick, I. I. Holy Roman Emperor, C. A. Wood, and F. M. Fyfe. The Art of Falconry ([S.l.] : Stanford U P, 1943 (1969)); p.lvii
- See, Haskins, Charles H. 1922. ‘Science at the Court of the Emperor Frederick II’, The American Historical Review, 27: 669–94., for a discussion of Frederick II’s approach to observation, esp. pp 687–688
- Frederick II’s “De Arte…” is first recorded in 1241(CE), while Gerald of Wales Topographia.. is known to have existed since 1188 CE)
- Also known in Latin as Girandus Cambrensis, and Gerald de Barri or Gerald of Wales, c. 1146–1223
- in Topographia Hibernica – See below for sources.
- See, Forester, Thomas and Wright, T. 2000. “Geraldus Cambrensis – the Topography of Ireland.” In.: In Parentheses, Cambridge Ontario, for a note on what is called “causistry” – i.e. “the use of clever but unsound reasoning, especially in relation to moral questions...”. See also section below on The Barnacle Geese Myth and the Fourth Council of the Lateran and references to fish eating.
- There are many versions of Gerald of Wales’ account of Ireland Topographia Hibernica. For an authoritative account of the versions see, Sargent, A. L. B. (2011). Visions and Revisions:Gerald of Wales, Authorship and the construction…in 12th & 13th Century Britain. (PhD). University of California, Berkeley. A popular account of the variety of sources can be found in, Bartlett, R. (1979). Gerald of Wales (1146–1223): University of Oxford., pp 114–117 and p 222. An older source, Giraldus, C., & Wright, T. (1913). The historical works of Giraldus Cambrensis. London: G. Bell and Sons Ltd. is also valuable. The Associative Branches of the Irish Barnacle: Gerald of Wales and the Natural World. Hortulus, 11, 2. (https://hortulus-journal.com/sprouse/#f1) In total there are more than thirty relevant 12th century MSS. A recent article by Stewart, Stewart, A. M. (1988). Hector Boece and ‘claik’ geese. Northern Scotland, 8 (First Series)(1), 1723. doi:10.3366/nor.1988.0003 can be relied on within the context of Hector Boece and the “claik” geese or barnacle geese myth; also, Bartlett, R. (1979). Gerald of Wales (1146–1223): University of Oxford, provides a comprehensive biography of Gerald along with textual details of the Barnacle Goose myth.
- See, https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/basis/lateran4.asp for a textual list of the IVth Lateran Council’s decisions.
- Lankester, R. (1917). Diversions of a naturalist (2nd ed. ed.). [S.l.]: Methuen and Co Ltd.; discursive history of the natural world.
- Müller, F. M. (1871, v2). Lectures on the science of language. London: Longmans, Green; General account in two volumes of the origins of words mostly in English.
- (c.1260) at xvii. 40
- e.g. Fourth Lateran Council : 1215, https://www.papalencyclicals.net/councils/ecum12-2.htm; and, the New Advent Encyclopaedia, Fourth Lateran Council, https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09018a.htm
- Van der Lugt, M. (2000) Animal legendaire et discours savant medieval; la barnacle dans tous ses etats., Micrologus, 8, 351–393.
- Much of this debate can be seen in the work of Church lawyers such as Gratien, see Decretum Gratiani
- Van der Lugt is not clear when he writes “…c’est Thomas de Cantimpré qui fournit le plus de détails sur la consommation de barnacles. …. pendant le Carême,….”, that is “….it is Thomas de Cantimpré who provides the most details on the consumption of barnacles……. during Lent,….” The original French omits the term “geese”.
- Oman, C. C. (1944). The English Folklore of Gervase of Tilbury. Folklore, 55(1), 2–15. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1257623 (31 January 2021)
- Neckam, A. (1863). Alexandri Neckam de Naturis Rerum libri duo, with a poem of the same author, De Laudibus Divinae Sapientiae, Longman, Green, Longman, Ch XLVIII, p. 99 “Ex lignis abiegnis salo diuturno tempore madefactis originem sumit avis quae vulgo dicitur bernekke” (“From fir wood soaked for a long time there arises the origin of the bird commonly called the bernekke.)
- See, https://www.abdn.ac.uk/bestiary/ for details of the Aberdeen Bestiary. While it does not include the Barnacle Goose among its beasts, it is a good example of the standard of the work of early scribes. Also see, See, Benton, Janetta Rebold. 1992. The medieval menagerie : animals in the art of the Middle Ages (Abbeville Press: New York), or, Baxter, Ron. 1998. Bestiaries and their users in the Middle Ages (Sutton Pub. Courtauld Institute: Stroud London) esp. pp 212–213.
- See, Podwal, Mark H. 1984. A Jewish bestiary: a book of fabulous creatures drawn from Hebraic legend and lore (Jewish Publication Society of America: Philadelphia)
- The Physiologus is a collection of moralized beast tales. It was one of the most popular books of the Middle Ages, appearing in most of the vernacular languages of Europe, as well as Greek (its original language) and Latin. It was the basis of the later bestiaries, which added to the stock of stories and to the moralizations. Many versions of it were written by a variety of authors, both in prose and in verse; some left off the moralizations, while others expanded on them. see, See, Curley, Michael J. 1979. Physiologus (University of Texas Press: Austin ; London); also, http://bestiary.ca/prisources/psdetail869.htm.
- Enea Silvio Bartolomeo Piccolomini (1405–1464). He wrote two books, “Florence A. Gragg, and Leona C. Gabel. 1988. Secret memoirs of a Renaissance Pope : the commentaries of Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, Pius II : an abridgement (Folio Society: London) and, “Piccolomini, Aeneas Silvius, Robert Brown, Nancy Bisaha, and ProQuest (Firm). “Europe (c. 1400–1458)”
- Pope Pius probably saw the gift of coal to beggars and Bedesmen. Bedesmen were often given coal or peat to heat the rooms in their Hospital accommodation.
- There are differences in the original sources for this story. In some the Latin “aves” – “bird” is used; in others it is “Anetarum” derived from “anatum” – “duck”‘, coming from “anas/anatis”; in others, “anserum” – “goose”
- see also, http://mdz-nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb10159158-6 – fol.55v, line 5
- See the following sources for details of the story told by Pope Pius II in “de Europa” and “Commentaries”. Pius, Florence A. Gragg, and Leona C. Gabel. 1988. Secret memoirs of a Renaissance Pope : the commentaries of Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, Pius II : an abridgement (Folio Society: London); Piccolomini, Aeneas Silvius, Robert Brown, Nancy Bisaha, and ProQuest (Firm). “Europe (c. 1400–1458).” – at – http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/abdn/detail.action?docID=3135080; and, “Cosmographia, 1509, (Paris)”. The book by Nancy Bisaha and Robert Brown ” Europe (c. 1400–1458) contains an extensive bibliography.? The biography of Pope Pius II, Ady, Cecilia M. 1913. Pius II (Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini) : the Humanist Pope (Methuen: London). contains a Bibliography and an account of the Barnacle Geese story – p. 44.
- Further details of the life and times of John Mandeville are available from the Wikipedia entry. Information below has been drawn from that source.
- see Sir John Mandeville: Alias John (with the Beard) de Bourgogne https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM196103022640910
- Buckeridge, J. (2011) Of trees, geese and cirripedes: Man’s quest for understanding, Integrative Zoology, 6(1), 3–12.
- These sentences suggest a combination of a sheep or cotton producing animal, the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary and the crustacean that becomes the Barnacle goose.
- The question of who wrote “the Travels of Sir John Mandeville” is possibly clarified by Paul Buck. See, Buck, R. W. (1961) Sir John Mandeville: Alias John (with the Beard) de Bourgogne, New England Journal of Medicine, 264(9), 451-453; and Paul Buck The Travels of Sir John Mandeville (http://akermandaly.com/book/the-travels-of-sir-john-mandeville/). Buck reports “ …. Sir John Mandeville, who hailed from St Albans, having journeyed the world, decided to settle in Liège, finding it an Earthly Paradise where he wished to pass his final days. There he wrote his Voyage of Sir John Maundevile in French under the name Jehan de Bourgogne or Jean à la Barbe, though it has since come to pass that it was perhaps the hand of the writer Jean d’Outremeuse who compiled the book, for it was in fact a compilation of other texts, embellished by this Liège romancer’s own hand, making some of the tales highly fictitious and fabulist. His sources included William of Boldensele, Friar Odoric of Pordenone’s Itinerarius and De rebus incognitis, and the Speculum of Vincent de Beauvais. Jean d’Outremeuse claims Mandeville died in 1372 and was buried in the church of the Guillemins, though what that means exactly I have no idea at this point, as there seems to be no church of that name, only the main train station. ….”. See also Jean d’Outremeuse.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “Boece, Hector” . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 04 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 112; see final para.
The composition of the history displays much ability; but Boece’s imagination was, however, stronger than his judgment….
- Boece, H. and G. Ferrerio (1574). Scotorum historiae a prima gentis origine … libri XIX. Parisiis, Du Puys. The earliest version of this work about the history of Scotland dates from 1527.
- Galloway was an eminent scholar and canon priest in St Machar’s Cathedral in Old Aberdeen. He is best remembered as a liturgist, master of works and academic to Bishops of Aberdeen from Elphinstone to Gordon.
- See, references the influence of Elphinstone on Boece’s Historia in , Macfarlane, L. J. (1995) William Elphinstone and the Kingdom of Scotland 1431–1514 : the struggle for order (Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Press).
- Boece includes a reference to the mythical island of Thule along with the Claik Geese story. The name “Thule” can be taken to mean, far, distant and Northern places. It also suggests the extreme limit of travel and discovery. For example in the phrase ultima Thule ( Latin: farthest Thule).The name “Thule” has also been applied to a number of organisations with mythical beliefs. A German occultist and Völkisch group, founded in Munich shortly after World War I, was named after the mythical northern country Thule, as the “Thule Society”. The name and beliefs of the “Thule Society” were absorbed by some into the National Socialist German Workers’ Party to give credence to their anti-Semitic beliefs. The name, Thule, has also been associated with various Greek writers and the mythical Hyperborea – the name for a legendary people who lived in the far northern parts of the known world. The story appears in the Cosmographie to Boece’s Historia. Boece’s narrative is connected with a discussion of events involving Hector Boece and Canon Alexander Galloway on imaginary or mythical island, he calls Thule. Boece does not explain why the events recalled are set in Thule. Different views on the location of Thule place it north of Scotland and beyond the Orkney isles. Olaus Magnus on his Carta Marina identifies the location, calling it Tile. See, image of Bellenden’s edition in main entry.
- There are a number of editions of Boece’s History of Scotland. John Bellenden and Raphael Holinshead provide the basis many editions. The 1575 edition by John Ferrier is used for reference in this entry. A modern translation from the Latin is provided by Dana Sutton http://www.philological.bham.ac.uk/boece/ is also used. Two sources are recommended for the “Claik Geese” story: Alasdair M. Stewart, ‘Hector Boece and “Claik” Geese’, Northern Scotland, 8 (First Series) (1988); and, Edward Heron Allen, Barnacles in Nature and in Myth (London,1928). NB: The Mar Lodge edition of Historia does not contain the story of the geese. This volume is now in the Morgan Library and Museum, New York. A recent edition of Boece’s story about the Barnacle Geese can be found in, Dana F. Sutton, Hector Boethius, – Scotorum Historia (1575 version) http://www.philological.bham.ac.uk/boece/, 2010), Ch. 33 & 34. The text here is taken from Alasdair M. Stewart (1988), pp. 17–23.
- The term “clackis” is sometimes used in the north of Ireland . See, Payne-Gallowey, Ralph Sir. The Fowler in Ireland, or, Notes on the Haunts and Habits of Wildfowl and Seafowl : Including Instructions in the Art of Shooting and Capturing Them. Southampton: Ashford, 1985, p 23; also barnacle may be called “bernicle” in Ireland, pp. 158–159.
- Barnacle geese are known in Scots language as “claik geese”. “Claik” is the Scots word for a barnacle. See “Claik goose n. comb.”. Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/claik_goose>, [Accessed 1 Nov 2017]; The OED gives a wider variety of explanation including the sound made by Barnacle Geese (Anas leucopsis) “claik, n.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2017
- A 20th century antiquarian and librarian , P J Anderson, referring to Boece and Galloway, comments on the credulity of the conversation reported by Boece, as follows “… (Galloway )…. is said to have studied the antiquities of the Hebrides, and to have written upon the subject of the clag-geese, those mythical birds whom mediaeval credulity believed to grow on trees. …. The goose inquiry may be condoned as an inspiration of juvenile credulity!…”. From, Anderson, P. J. (1906). Studies in the history and development of the University of Aberdeen : a quatercentenary tribute paid by certain of her professors and of her devoted sons. Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Press. p.103.
- “ … (Fn. P.104 ..The original of this picture is a small wood-cut in Matthias de Lobel’s “Stripium Historia” published in 1870(sic.) The Birds within the shells were added by Gerard. Ulisse Aldrovandi, in copying …de L’Obels illustration… (also) gave leaves to the tree…”
- See, Mikkola, H. (2021). Management of the Barnacle Goose (Branta Leucopsis) in Finland: Conservation Versus Hunting
- Linne, Carl von, and Johann Joachim Lange. C. Linnæi … Systema naturæ … Naturæ-Systema, … in die Deutsche Sprache u\0308bersetzet, und mit einer Vorrede herausgegeben von. J. J. Langen. Lat. and Germ
- Stewart, Alasdair M. “Hector Boece and ‘Claik’ Geese.” Northern Scotland 8 (First Series), no. 1 (1988): 17–23.
- Stewart writes regarding Intertextuality, “…..at a deeper level however we have the intertexte (that is) an awareness of all the texts a reader thinks of when the associations are released by Boece’s account; and the intertextualité, meaning the awareness of this intertexte, plus all the other associations of influences, analogues, sources, literary affiliations, traditions, the echoes in any single example of any ‘genre’ of all examples in the whole ‘genre’, plus formulae, clichés, topics, as storehouses of thought, as shorthand references which can be ‘re-constituted’……”
- Dempster, Thomas, David Irving, and Bannatyne Club (Edinburgh Scotland). Thomae Dempsteri Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Scotorum : Sive, De Scriptoribus Scotis. Bannatyne Club Publications. Editio altera ed. 2 vols. Edinburgi: Excudebat Andreas Balfour cum sociis, 1829. http://digital.nls.uk/101200539.
- Boece, Hector, and John Bellenden. The Hystory and Croniklis of Scotland. Edinburgh: Davidson, 1536.
- Stewart, Alasdair M. “Hector Boece and ‘Claik’ Geese.” Northern Scotland 8 (First Series), no. 1 (1988):
- Müller, F. Max. Lectures on the Science of Language, London, 1880.
- in, The Jewish Encyclopaedia, v7, 166–167.
- See, for example, Charles Darwin (1851) A Monograph of the Sub-class Cirripedia, with Figures of all the Species: the Lepadidae; or, Pedunculated Cirripedes
- see, Buckeridge, J. (2011) Of trees, geese and cirripedes: Man’s quest for understanding, Integrative Zoology, 6(1), 3–12; and, Buckeridge, J. & Watts, R. (2012) Illuminating Our World: An Essay on the Unravelling of the Species Problem, with Assistance from a Barnacle and a Goose, Humanities, 1(3), 145.
- See, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/ for on-line details of Charles Darwin and his work.
- that is, …. the social and cultural activity of sharing stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatrics or embellishment…..
- See, Welsch, K. A. (1998) History as Complex Storytelling, College Composition and Communication, 50(1), 116–122, for an exploration of storytelling of historical events.
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