Dec 29, 2016

Following Lydgate: Troy Book to Siege of Thebes

Here is another post by Medieval Codes researcher Hailey Mullock on decoration in a Lydgate manuscript.

London, British Library MS Royal 18 D II, fol. 147v.
Medieval manuscripts are often miscellanies of several works. British Library MS Royal 18 D II contains several works along with John Lydgate’s Troy Book. Lydgate’s Siege of Thebes, also included in Royal 18 D II, is the complement to Troy Book. Siege of Thebes was written to be the last tale of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, with Lydgate himself inserted as a pilgrim on the Canterbury pilgrimage. Unlike Troy Book, Siege of Thebes was not written for a patron, but was still a very popular and widely circulated text. It was a continued presence in English Renaissance literature because of John Stow’s 1561 edition of The Workes of Geffrey Chaucer. Stow included Lydgate’s poem among his ‘divers addicions’ to Chaucer. Lydgate’s work as the last tale of the Canterbury Tales balances out the Knight’s Tale by providing the story of the siege of Thebes, ending where the Knight’s Tale begins.

Dec 20, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Manchester, Chetham's Library MS Mun.A.4.99, fol. 16r, detail.

It's time for our annual Christmas post. And this year it seemed appropriate to give a sneak preview of a manuscript on which Medieval Codes researcher Melissa Reid has been working: a fifteenth-century astrological/astronomical/calendrical/medical manuscript, Manchester, Chetham's Library MS Mun.A.4.99. The image above is the top of the calendar page for December. The roundel on the top left shows the Image of the Month, a rather expressionless individual wearing a festive red hat and socks, holding a substantial goblet. On the table before him are some unidentifiable dishes, what looks to my wistful eye like a large hexagonal Wensleydale cheese, a knife, and a covered cup. And the seasonal heading for the month, to accompany this image, is 'Welcome cristemasse wyth ale and wyn'. Merry Christmas from fifteenth-century England. Cheers!

Yin Liu