Dick Trees and Fart Horns: Illuminated Manuscript Marginalia and Medieval Humor

So, when you think of pre-printing press book making, you think of quiet, stoic monks carefully hunched over parchment, scratching away by candlelight, trying not to spill the ink. Or at least I do. Until I learned about the delightfully vulgar and juvenile doodles penned in the margins of these texts. The technical term for this is marginalia, which sounds similar to genitalia – segue to dick trees!


Not all of these proto-memes are so crass, but they do illustrate the unwavering human tendency to humor. CNN get into it here.

And, as promised, a fart horn!


Turns out dicks, butts, farting, poop, and the like have always been funny. Frankly, I’m not really that surprised. Farts are hilarious.

There also exists a meme that takes contemporary memes, internet phraseology, slang, and media references and translates them into Bayeux tapestries. Here are a selection of my favorites:




You can create your own Bayeux Tapestry meme here.


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