The Middle Ages Looked Like Fun

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Nothing says ‘history is awesome’ like a medieval naked couple making out in the bushes.

From a Book of Hours (an illuminated manuscript that contains a monthly calendar depicting the feast days, the zodiac signs, and the occupations for each month) for the month of May: border illustrations of a couple horseback riding, some pretty flowers, and Gemini represented as a naked couple “embracing in the shrubbery”.

From Rouen, France, c.1500.

Sources: [Images: Bodleian Library, Oxford University, MS. Buchanan e. 3] and [LUNA catalogue], [Catalogue Description: Bodleian Library, Oxford University, MS. Buchanan e. 3]

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10 Responses to The Middle Ages Looked Like Fun

  1. How odd…I know it’s supposed to be a zodiac theme but do you think it might represent Adam and Eve?

  2. magyarok27 says:

    Interesting…there are so many versions of this set of books in circulation, some are biblical (chapters) actually, though I believe the image above is a symbol for Gemini, the twins! Nice work!

    • Thanks! I know, I’m at a loss to explain this version from Rouen! As soon as I saw it I knew I had to post it – hopefully someone can help explain it better. The twins for Gemini are usually two males (Castor and Pollux), but it seems like this is a male/female couple. And I looked through the list of Christian feast days listed on the left-side but couldn’t find one that I knew matched up with that theme. Hopefully someone else can add some more information for me on this interesting couple! 🙂

  3. Mara says:

    Funny, I would never have thought of medieval ages as fun. looks like they managed to get some in though lol.

  4. It’s interesting to see a modern take on a medieval artifact. I wonder what people will be saying about the art/publications of the 21st Century thousands of years from now.

    • I’ve thought about this question numerous times!! I’m just hoping that future archaeologists stumble upon our literature and intellectual writings along with our USWeekly and People magazines. 😉

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