Hyacinthe Rigaud, Louis XIV (detail), 1701
"Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting." (C. McC.)
entertainment in a medieval book
The margins of a medieval book are usually empty. This is handy, because it means you can place notes in them, or fill them with doodles, like here. In this particular case the reader decided to add spectacular illustrations to the margins. Not only do they show us snapshots of medieval individuals living their lives, which is special enough, the images are often also quite funny. Humour is not an unusual occurrence in such old books, as I showed here. However, to have this much fun in the margins is not very common.
Pics: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 264 (14th c). Browse the entire manuscript here and start enjoying dozens more images.
Württembergische Landesbibliothek Stuttgart, Codex bibl. fol 23: folio 94vAnal Fire, by James Mitchell in il bloggio di plainfeatherI had been puzzling for some weeks over this picture in the Stuttgart Psalter (Paris, 820-830 CE) which illustrates Psalm 77, Verse 66:Et percussit inimicos suos in posteriora: obprobrium sempiternum dedit illos. (Vulgata)And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach. ((KJV)Were these butt-rockets dispensed by the Lord for sodomitical transgressions committed by the victims? What other anal improprieties could have incurred the Lord’s displeasure?The answer came to me immediately from the opening pages of Jeffrey Cohen’sMedieval Identity Machines, which reference King Alfred the Great’s problems with hemorrhoids. These hellish afflictions may have been more common in the Early Middle Ages than we have supposed. Or perhaps the artist, similarly afflicted and lacking Preparation H, postulated an act of divine retribution.In modern times, piles of course were the subject of a very popular Johnny Cash song entitled “Ring of Fire.”
It’s actually Psalm 78. ^^
Amiens, B. m., ms. 0200, f. 127 (St Michael and Satan). Book of Hours, use of Paris. Amiens, c.1460.