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2013 Sep 29 11:25 AM

Bemonkeyed books

Wayne R. posted about the recurring motif in medieval manuscript marginalia of knights fighting snails. I wanted to point out this tidbit linked from a Metafilter thread on the same topic:

On another level, the wealth and public life of cities prompted the beginning of what we would call “fashion”, and the excess of marginal art provides exactly the superfluity the nouveaux-riches were seeking in the early fourteenth century. An Italian lawyer Odofredus complained that his son went to Paris to study but had ended up squandering all his money having his books “bemonkeyed” (fecit libros suos babuinare) and written in gold letters.

Somebody needs to put bemonkeyed books and book bemonkeyers in their game.

Medieval illustration of Monkey fighting a snail

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