History has ways of reminding the world that the Dark ages were not actually all that dark, and doodles in medieval books prove that to be a fact. Rather than dwell in the somber reality of bubonic plague and feudal systems, the monks of the ages passed their time adding illustrations in the margins of medieval manuscripts. Think of it like doodling in your textbook, except . . . well no, it's exactly like that. Medieval marginalia came about the same way your biology class comic strips came to be: out of sheer boredom. Medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel logs numerous scribbles and doodles he finds on his Twitter and Tumblr, allowing the rest of the world to get in on jokes nearly a millennium in the making.
As much as they cared about medieval parchment repair, medieval scribes also cared a great deal about getting their doodle on. Medieval manuscript drawings feature everything from the standard smiley face to animals to even death itself (as to be expected in the Dark Ages). Chances are your high school notebooks looked a lot like these scripts too, except the penmanship probably looks a lot nicer than yours. Don't take it personally, they didn't have the luxury of keyboards.
Digging For Gold
Unusual gesture: manicula, or little hand, that is pointing to - in? - a lady's nose (Marseille BM 256). pic.twitter.com/ZbSHw4NTZj— Erik Kwakkel (@erik_kwakkel) August 11, 2017
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