The Snail and the Knight

I am not a Medievalist so I do not know why snails are so prevalent throughout illuminated manuscripts from the middle ages. Often these snails are in conflict with knights and other animals – this blog here gives several explanations What’s So Funny about Knights and Snails? Whatever the reason for them, here are some medieval snails for you to enjoy.

Yates Thompson 19 f. 65A knight charging a snail, and a bird from Le Livre du Trésor (France, c. 1315-1325) shelfmark Yates Thompson 19 f.65, © British Library Board

Stowe 17 f. 185Cat in a snail shell from Book of Hours, Use of Maastricht (‘The Maastricht Hours’) (Netherlands, S. (Liège), 1st quarter of the 14th century),
shelfmark Stowe 17 f.185, © British Library Board

Egerton 1121 f. 10 Snail and mouse in conflict Snail and mouse in conflict, from Spiegel der Weisheit (Austria, W. (Salzburg), c1430), shelfmark Egerton 1121 f. 10, © British Library Board

Harley 4379 f. 23vRabbits and snails jousting from Chroniques, Vol. IV, part 1 (the ‘Harley Froissart’) (Netherlands, S. (Bruges), between c. 1470 and 1472),
shelfmark Harley 4379 f. 23v, © British Library Board

King's 9 f. 67Flowers and a snail from Book of Hours, Use of Sarum (Netherlands, S. (Bruges), c1500), shelfmark King’s 9 f. 67, © British Library Board

Sloane 2435 f. 23A snail with a human head from Le Régime du corps, (France, N. (Lille?), 3rd quarter of the 13th century (perhaps c. 1285)),
shelfmark Sloane 2435 f. 23, © British Library Board

Yates Thompson 29 f. 75Flowers, strawberry, a bird, and a snail from Book of Hours, Use of Rome (Italy, N. (Bologna), c1500), shelfmark Yates Thompson 29 f. 75, © British Library Board

You may also be interested in the following posts with images from the British Library’s Medieval Manuscript collections:
Images of Tudor people
Wild Animals and Early modern England
Images of the Devil in the Medieval/early-modern period
Images of medieval cats
Images of medieval cats – part 2
Images of medieval dogs
The Medieval Spinsters
The sinful hermit

All digital images from the British Library’s Online Images archive appear by courtesy of the British Library Board and may not be reproduced © British Library Board.

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