Bizarre and Funny Medieval Manuscript Illustrations (NSFW)

  • · 18152 Views 
  • · Posted 40 months Ago
  •  BY Jack Lowe

Before the printing press was invented it was the job of 14th and 15th century monks and scribes to laboriously write out manuscripts by hand for hours on end, day after day. Like any human being, that sort of mind-numbing work lead to some procrastination, which in this case took the form of bizarre illustrations in the manuscript margins, featuring everything from hellish beasts to spanked butts and lots of lots of penises.

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Until recently this "marginalia" was entirely dismissed as nonsensical, profane, and of no relation to the sacred images it surrounded, but in recent years it has become a hotly debated topic among scholars, who believe they were actually used to highlight important passages, poke fun at the religious establishment, or to make pop-culture references that readers could relate to.

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