Medieval Justice Rabbit Style
If by chance you have followed this blog since July, you may remember my post on ‘babooneries’; curious anthropomorphic primates getting up to all kinds of mischief in the margins of medieval illuminated manuscripts. On a similar note, Rabbit Justice:
The hunt of the hares is a recurring motif in the margins of medieval manuscripts. [Usually] the motif is just your average scene of hunters and hounds chasing rabbits with the principles reversed so that its the rabbits hunting the most dangerous game of all. But this series of images from the lower margins of the British Library’s MS royal 10 E IV takes rabbit vengeance to the next level.
We begin with a rabbit taking down a hunting hound with a volley of arrows. You might think the hound is done for, but … the hound is merely wounded until he’s weak enough to be captured … and tied up … Next stop for the hound is the rabbit judicial system, where he stands trial before a rabbit judge.
The verdict is swift and certain. The hound is bound and carried in a cart to the gallows, for, you see, the sentence was death by hanging. But wait, there’s one final insult. Flip the page of the manuscript and we find that some months later the hound’s grave is desecrated … by another hound!