That’s Not Fruit… (Mmm… Marginalia #58)

Today’s post features really looong marginal images, so I’ll let you take a moment to get your scroll wheels properly maintenanced.

All set?

Meet the long-necked bird. He lives in the margins of University of California, Berkeley’s Robbins MS 104 (a 14th-century copy of Boniface VIII’s Liber sextus):

You’ll notice Mr. Bird seems to be feeding on the acanthus leaves that adorn the page’s top margin. This isn’t that strange. Lots of marginal creatures are drawn eating pieces of the page border. Take this guy, found a few pages later, who seems to have a taste for the little gold decorative balls on the page, like those that the long-necked bird’s long-neck squiggles around.

What’s that? Those balls he’s eating look awfully lumpy? OK, you got me. Those aren’t decorative gold balls. They’re digested acanthus leaves, courtesy of the Mr. Bird:

Nothing like a seven-hundred-year-old poop coprophagy joke to get the week started right.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Curmudgeon

    Are you sure. It looks like there are similar balls falling past his neck. Could this be more of them?

  • Got Medieval

    Would I post it if I weren't sure? Actually, yeah, I would. But I'm still sure. The decorative balls that the Mr. Bird's neck is squiggling through are outlined in white and perfectly circular. The ones the flying dog thing is eating are misshapen and not outlined in white.

  • Whyte Fairy

    The ones around his neck look like they could be implying his swallowing and digesting them before pooping them out for the dog to eat- but what about the ones ABOVE his head, not outlined in white, that are hanging out with the leaves? Is there something else above him with a digestive system?

  • ncm

    If these marginalia were Modern, the second creature's output would be fertilizing the acanthus. But these are medieval, so I guess it all goes to hell. So to speak.

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