The Battle Between the Sexes Just Got Sexier* (Mmm… Marginalia #74)

A reader wrote me recently:

I joyfully read your blog when I get a chance, and thanks to you have a new-found appreciation for margin work. Your recent entry on the scribe, a subject near and dear to my own heart, has intrigued me.  I’d very much like to see more of that manuscript, and my own search has failed to locate it.

Unfortunately, Yale has put the digital edition of MS 229 behind the wall separating their intra- and internets, so it’s only searchable by those with the right credentials.*** But your loss is my gain, readers, as it allows me to dole out cool images from said manuscript one-by one. Images like this one:

I’ve featured mock-jousts here before, but this one might be the most popular of all the weird-thing vs weird-thing motifs during the Middle Ages: a guy jousting a girl.  The joke is pretty basic.  You see, girls aren’t supposed to joust.  So when you see one jousting, it’s like, “Holy crap, a girl jousting is counter to my expectations; I must laugh now to relieve the cognitive tension this disjunction has temporarily induced.”  The representative above has the added bonus of a little monastic jibe as well.

Here’s the same theme, with a little hot girl-on-girl action**** thrown in to boot, from a misericord in Bristol Cathedral:

Image Credit: Giles C. Watson‘s Flikr feed

Silly woman-on-the-right, jousting on a bird!  Don’t you know that only works if you’re a knight in the far future and your enemies include pterodactyls?

*Ok, so the headline’s a little misleading, I know, but my page rank has tanked since my impromptu hiatus.  How will I bring medieval artifacts to the masses if I’m no longer the top hit for “medieval boobs” or “lady gaga medieval”?
**See also: the gruesome bunny/dog match and the gastropodocalypse.
***I should note that the original letter writer wrote back to tell me she’d managed to hack her way through to the manuscript.  I don’t support such activities, as they ruin my one-by-one doling plans.
****Look at that page rank just shoot up!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Chris Laning

    I don't think that's a woman riding the chicken: I think it's a man. I think I can see the ends of trouser-like things down below his knees, and what looks like "hair" hanging down the back of his head is the floppy part of one of those silly medieval hats.

    (Recipe for this silly hat: pick up a hood, but instead of putting it on normally, put the top of your head into the face opening. Take the liripipe (of course you have one, don't you?) and wind it around the top of your head to hold the thing on. The head and shoulders of the hood hang down behind your head.)

  • Got Medieval

    I'm not 100% convinced about the sex of the person on the right, but if I admit it might be a man that robs me of the fig leaf I need to casually toss around the phrase "girl-on-girl action".

  • diky

    Hello, thanks for your interesting blog. I'm interested in the marginalia with a monk jousting with a girl (not sure if she is really a nun). It is from Yale Lancelot MS 229, right? Can you write me also from which folio? I'm just writing a thesis about one latin text (end of 13th century) with a quite open sexual content. However, this is at least once hidden as "a jousting" with a girl (hastiludium). There is even a relation of broken weapon (after the act) and the "fighter" is supposed to be cleric. Hence it would be great if I can cite your example for comparison.

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