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These Medieval Doodles Might Be The Coolest Thing Ever

It turns out boredom really is eternal.

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It turns out that you doodlers are in good company, and that people in medieval times couldn't resist drawing in the blank spaces in their books either.


English professor Erik Kwakkel has encountered dozens of incredible margin doodles in the course of his work, and has begun to share them on his blog.

Kwakkel is an English professor at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, and focuses on medieval manuscripts.

Most doodles, he told BuzzFeed Life, "were the result of testing the pen. The nib of the quill needed cutting from time to time."

Leiden University Library

"In order to test if the new 'cut' worked well, the scribe would write a few words or doodle a little something, usually on an empty page in the back of a book, sometimes in the margins of the text."

"It is very different from our modern urge to draw when we are bored or are holding on the phone," he said.


Kwakkel says we should look at the doodles as a small glimpse into the worlds of long-gone writers.

Leiden University Library

"From time to time we encounter things that appear to be something the scribe had seen himself — a portrait of a fellow monk, a castle, an animal," he said. "When the scribe tests his pen with words, there is even more we can learn."

"We have just started to scratch the surface as far as medieval doodles go," he added. "Imagine what we will find if we start to look for them systematically!"


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