20 Bizarre Examples Of Medieval Marginalia

Yo, medieval scribes: no one’s going to read the text you so painstakingly lettered if you continue to draw weird and dirty pictures in the margins. Well, I guess you’re all dead, so we can’t fix this now, can we?

1. A penis tree

From a 14th century copy of Romance of the Rose.

2. A monkey with an arrow stuck in its butt

From Bibliothèque Mazarine MS 520.

3. Ass arrows, again

From the Rutland Psalter, c. 1260.

4. An inappropriate rabbit

From Breviary, Use of Verdun c. 1302-1305.

5. Another inappropriate rabbit

From Bodleian Library’s MS Douce 5.

6. This obviously boneless individual

7. An ape bludgeoning a man with an axe

8. Whatever’s going on here

9. Creative, naked nose picking?

From Book of Hours, Walters Manuscript W.102, fol. 92v.

10. A man voiding his bowels

11. An amputee brawl

From Bodleian Alexander (MS Bodl. 264).

12. Ape sodomy

From Bodleian MS Douce 6.

13. The guy on the left

From The Vows of the Peacock c. 1350.

14. Ass trumpets

From The Vows of the Peacock c. 1350.

15. Man riding a head toward a naked woman

16. Hellbarrows

From The Taymouth Hours.

17. Nom nom nom

From The Taymouth Hours.


From Codex, with gloss of Accursius, MS Canon. Misc. 495.

19. Babies torturing a naked man

From Breviary, Carthusian use. MS. Canon. Liturg. 410.

20. A snake man playing the bagpipes with his anus

From Pierpont Morgan Library’s MS G24.

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