800-Year-Old Medieval Books Containing Fascinating Doodles & Cartoons

800-Year-Old Medieval Books Containing Fascinating Doodles & Cartoons  image

800-Year-Old Medieval Books Containing Fascinating Doodles & Cartoons

Erik Kwakkel's job is certainly different to most, he's a medieval book historian at the famous Leiden University located in The Netherlands.

He's been sharing all manner of medieval literary delights on his Tumblr page taking time to photograph and document even the smallest of details.

My research and teaching is hands-on, with real objects on the table. A good day for me is having medieval dirt on my hands.

Sometimes the spine of the book might be particularly interesting, or the type of paper used for the pages through to even the external decorations that adore the cover. But today we wanted to focus on what he's been discovering inside the books themselves.

A universal trait in classrooms and University lectures the world over, is that when students are bored - they'll tend to amuse themselves in other ways. That was no different from 800 years ago in the 15th century when similarly bored students opted to doodle and scribble characters and artworks inside their text books.

Here's 7 examples that Kwakkel has unearth from the annuals of history.

1.) Doodle by bored school boy. A 15th-century doodle in the lower margin of a manuscript containing Juvenal’s Satires, a popular classical text used to teach young children about morals.

2.) Medieval smiley face. Conches, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 7 (main text 13th century, doodle 14th or 15th century).

3.) Doodle from a 13th-century law manuscript (Amiens BM 347).

4.) Students with pointy noses. Leiden, University Library, MS BPL 6 C (13th century).

5.) Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek, BPL MS 111 I, 14th-century doodle.

6.) Leiden UB VLQ 92

7.) Medieval scribes tested their pens by writing short sentences and drawing doodles. The pen trials above are from Oxford, Bodleian Library, Lat. misc. c. 66 (15th century).

Which doodle did you like the most? Be sure to check out more Kwakkel's medieval musings right here.

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