Pope Gregory I


Moralia in Job, lib. 31, cap. 15Edit

Latin originalEdit

Rhinoceros iste, qui etiam monoceros in Graecis exemplaribus nominatur, tantae esse fortitudinis dicitur, ut nulla venantium virtute capiatur; sed sicut hi asserunt, qui describendis naturis animalium laboriosa investigatione sudaverunt, virgo ei puella proponitur, quae ad se venienti sinum aperit, in quo ille omni ferocitate postposita caput deponit, sicque ab eis a quibus capi quaeritur, repente velut inermis invenitur. Buxei quoque coloris esse describitur, qui etiam cum elephantis quando certamen aggreditur, eo cornu quod in nare singulariter gestat, ventrem adversantium ferire perhibetur, ut cum ea quae molliora sunt vulnerat, impugnantes se facile sternat. Potest ergo per hunc rhinocerotem, vel certe monocerotem, scilicet unicornem, ille populus intelligi qui dum de accepta lege non opera, sed solam inter cunctos homines elationem sumpsit, quasi inter caeteras bestias cornu singulare gestavit.

English translationEdit

This rhinoceros, which is called also the ‘monoceros’ in Greek copies, is said to be of such great strength, as not to be taken by any skill of hunters. But, as those persons assert, who have striven with laborious investigation in describing the natures of animals, a virgin is placed before it, who opens to it her bosom as it approaches, in which, having put aside all its ferocity, it lays down its head, and is thus suddenly found as it were unarmed, by those by whom it is sought to be taken. It is also described as being of box colour, and whenever it engages with elephants, it is said to strike with that single horn, which it bears on its nostrils, the belly of its opponents, in order to easily overthrow its assailants, when it wounds their softer parts. By this rhinoceros, or certainly monoceros, that is, the unicorn, can therefore be understood that people, who when it adopted, not good works, but merely pride among all men, at its reception of the Law, carried, as it were, a singular horn among other beasts.

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