Monday, March 30, 2015

Gnomes - Short and to the Point

A challenge was issued at Bardic Madness XXV to present a work that used proverbs to prove a point. I had been playing around in psalters, trying to see if the marginal illustrations had any connection to the text.

What did I discover?  Aesop's fables!

Apparently, from around the 11th through the 14th centuries, there were books of sermon illustrations written to help priests put a little more punch in their sermons. They drew from many sources, which included popular sayings and proverbs, the legendary lives of the saints, and the fables that are usually attributed to Aesop.

I tried to give an overview of how some of this material (some of which had roots in ancient Egypt, Sumeria, and India) had come to be in Psalters and books of hours, and how proverbs could indeed be used to prove a point.

I must say, this project was overwhelming in the best possible way. Every rock I turned over provided loads of little critters proclaiming earthy wisdom.  I'm so glad I had a deadline, or my bill at Amazon would have been enormous.

I put the text of my PowerPoint talk on a page here on Blogger. I haven't formatted a true bibliography yet.

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