Dr. Robert D. Peckham at the University of Tennessee at Martin has compiled a list of digital facsimiles of manuscripts by or attributed to Marie de France.  Who was Marie de France?  Peckham writes,

It is by the signature line in the introduction to her twelfth-century translation of Aesop’s Fables, “Marie ai num si sui de France”,  that we know her as Marie de France. She claimed to be writing in “romanz”, which we classify as Anglo-Norman. She was also proficient in Latin, English, and “breton” or Welsh. Though Marie lived in England, she was of French origin. Her identity cannot be tied definitively to any real person. She is best known for her Lais, and her Fables, which were also known as Esope (a Middle English version of the Classical model).  

The illustrated page above is from a copy of her Fables in the collection of Fondation Martin Bodmer.  

Courtesy of Chaucer Doth Tweet.


This manuscript is described as miscellaneous. Don’t know much about it, but enjoy the illumination. You can view the digitized version in the Iowa Digital Library.


Medieval smiley face

This is a true feel-good doodle, drawn by a medieval reader and found in the lower margin of a 13th-century page. The surprisingly modern-looking smiley face is wearing glasses and seems to float towards the text in a balloon, quite content. This little scene made my day.

Pic: Conches, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 7 (main text 13th century, doodle 14th or 15th century). More medieval doodles in this Tumblr.


This is one durable bra. - Heidi

Archaeologists Find World’s Oldest Bra

If a bra feels like a medieval torture device* to you, you are correct about one thing: They are, in fact, medieval (whether they are also torture really depends upon the fit). 

[Image: Institute for Archaeologies, University of Innsbruck]


Eleanor Cross 


National Archives UK

This is one of several rolls of payments by the executors of the late queen Eleanor. It records the payments made for the crosses that King Edward I had erected commemorating his dead wife, Eleanor of Castille (they mark the nightly resting places along the route taken when her body was transported to London).


Codex Gigas: Devil’s Bible or Just an Old Book?

Scholars find a demonic drawing within a mysterious religious artifact taken as a spoil of war over five hundred years ago. At face value, the story of the Codex Gigas sounds like the script for Indiana Jones 5, but behind the gloss lie genuine questions. What exactly is this artifact? Did an evil monk create it in a deal with the devil, as some say? Or was it the work of somebody who just wanted to play mind games with readers? Let’s find out what made the Codex Gigas such an enduring mystery - and what’s the likely truth of its provenance.

The Codex Gigas is the largest surviving European medieval manuscript.  More from the National Library of Sweden, which holds the codex and has digitized its pages.  




Fox and duck saying “queck” from the Gorleston Psalter.

(via Got Medieval)

antecedent of the Kate Beaton duck that says AW YISS no doubt