British Library: As anyone who is familiar with 13th and 14th century illuminated manuscripts can attest, images of armed knights fighting snails are common, especially in marginalia. But the ubiquity of these depictions doesn’t make them any less strange.
The Resurrection? A symbol of the Lombards? A representation of the struggles of the poor against an oppressive aristocracy, a straightforward statement of the snail’s troublesome reputation as a garden pest, a commentary on social climbers, or a saucy symbol of female sexuality? Read the whole article (with more images).
|Knight v Snail II: Battle in the Margins (from the Gorleston Psalter, England (Suffolk), 1310-1324,Add MS 49622, f. 193v.|
|Knight v Snail III: Extreme Jousting (from Brunetto Latini's Li Livres dou Tresor, France (Picardy), c. 1315-1325, Yates Thompson MS 19, f. 65r)|
|Knight v Snail V: Revenge of the Snail (from the Smithfield Decretals, southern France (probably Toulouse), with marginal scenes added in England (London), c. 1300-c. 1340, Royal MS 10 E IV, f. 107r)|