Just when I thought I didn’t have anything tonight, Kat sent me this fabulous find from Got Medieval concerning naked nun marginalia. Yes, you got that right. Apparently the manuscript in question, the Rothschild Canticles, was written for a nun at the turn of the 14th century. But in addition to the usual devotional illuminations, it’s filled with marginal drawings of naked fellas—brandishing swords, jumping and spinning and hanging upside down, jousting backward on a goat (yes, you got that right too), and getting a little too friendly with a dog.
Carl S. Pyrdum III, Medieval Studies scholar at Yale and the mad genius behind the blog, wastes no time asking the logical question: “How do we square all this nakidity with a collection of inspirational prayers and lessons made for a nun to aid in spiritual communion with the divine?” His best answer is that the drawings were added by a later squadron of naughty illuminators… whether they were commissioned by the nuns or somehow incidental to the text remains a serious question in my mind. But no matter—there’s a lot of awesome marginalia throughout Got Medieval, not just racy stuff but foxes, bears, monsters, and all manner of dreamlike doodles. And you have to love a a writer who provides incidentals like
here’s a nice bit of jokey commentary from the margin of a 14th-century Flemish Psalter
But did I mention that this particular post is about naked nun marginalia? If nothing else, that should win me some major SEO mojo.