21 Medieval Marginalia That Look Like Emojis

Just like emojis, marginalia - the pictures in the margins of medieval manuscripts - perform a bunch of different functions. They can add to, or illustrate the text they’re with, or they can be completely random. And sometimes they look just like emojis.

1.
bl.uk / Via Royal 13 B VIII f. 19v

“Cow-stag of Chester”.
From a 12th-century manuscript from Lincoln, England. Written by Gerald of Wales.

2.
bl.uk / Via Royal 6 E VI f. 16v

The floating head of Christ.
From a 14th-century manuscript from London, written by James le Palmer.

3.
thedigitalwalters.org / Via The Digital Walters, MS W87, f. 8v

Hunting Grotesque.
From a 14th-century Flemish Book of Hours, a devotional book with prayers in.

4.
thedigitalwalters.org / Via The Digital Walters, MS W102, f. 29r

Head of Christ.
From a 13th-century English Book of Hours.

5.
bl.uk / Via Royal 12 F XIII f. 24

Crocodile.
From 13th-century bestiary, probably made in Rochester, England.

6.
bl.uk / Via Royal 13 A XI f. 108v

Angry Taurus.
From an 11th-century French manuscript containing texts on astrology.

7.
bl.uk / Via Harley 4751 f. 47

Owl trying to ignore that he’s being pecked by birds.
From a 13th-century bestiary, probably made in Salisbury.

8.
Flickr: beinecke_library / Via The Rothschild Canticles, MS 404, f. 157v

Marginal head who cannot believe it.
From a 14th-century book of meditations and prayers from Flanders or the Rhineland.

9.
bl.uk / Via Harley 4751 f. 6

A pard. Like a lion but not a lion.
From a 13th-century English bestiary, probably from Salisbury.

10.
bl.uk / Via Stowe 17 f. 185

Snail cat, snail cat…
From a 14th-century Dutch book of hours.

11.
bl.uk / Via Harley 3244 f. 49v

Sad Cat, so alone.
From a bestiary in a 13th-century English manuscript.

12.
bl.uk / Via Harley 4951 f. 300v

Dancer. Single lady.
From a late 13th-century French manuscript with chants in.

13.
bl.uk / Via Arundel 484 f. 245

Devil and a dead man.
From an early 14th-century French manuscript.

14.
bl.uk / Via Harley 3244 f. 50

Ants.
From a 13th-century English miscellany.

15.
Flickr: beinecke_library / Via The Rothschild Canticles, MS 404, f. 134r

Trumpeter.
From a 14th-century book of meditations and prayers from Flanders or the Rhineland.

16.
bl.uk / Via Harley 4951 f. 297v

Musician.
From a late 13th-century French manuscript with chants in.

17.
bl.uk / Via Additional 14761 f. 26v

Party, and “a hare placing a stick upon a dog’s head”.
From The Barcelona Haggadah, a 14th-century Spanish manuscript.

18.
bl.uk / Via Sloane 2435 f. 23

Snail with a man’s head.
From a 13th-century French manuscript.

19.
bl.uk / Via Royal 13 B VIII f. 19v

“Woman of Connaught” and a friend.
From a 12th-century manuscript from Lincoln, England. Written by Gerald of Wales.

20.
bl.uk / Via Sloane 4016 f. 50

The Majestic Elephant.
From a 15th-century Italian herbal.

21.
bl.uk / Via Arundel 471 ff. 144v-145

Manicule.
From a 14th-century Italian manuscript.

22.
bl.uk / Via Royal 12 E XXV f. 23

Dancing Manicule.
From a late 13th-century English manuscript.

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