You may have noticed the recent trend for naming days on Twitter. We've had #WorldElephantDay, #InternationalDogDay and even #nationalburgerday (seriously, who makes this stuff up?!). So, without more ado, we've decided to make a stand and to reclaim Mondays as our very own #MonsterMonday. (You know it makes sense.)
A man without a head, with eyes and a mouth in his chest (a blemmye): Cotton MS Vitellius A XV, f. 102v
For the inaugural #MonsterMonday (the trademark application is in the post), we thought we'd kick off with the Marvels of the East, from the copy that forms part of the famous Beowulf manuscript. A quick advert for our Digitised Manuscripts site here: you should know that you can view digitised images of Beowulf and hundreds of the British Library's other medieval manuscripts, for free and online, from the comfort of your own office/living room/bathroom, 24/7. The manuscript of the Marvels of the East featured here was made sometime around the year AD 1000, most likely during the reign of King Ã†thelred the Unready (978â€“1016) or his successor, King Cnut (1016â€“35). Sadly, it was damaged during the Cotton Library fire of 1731, but the pages containing the images of fantastic beasts are mostly intact, even when the parchment has warped under the intense heat of the flames.
Which monsters do you recognise here? We'd love you to tweet us your favourites, to @BLMedieval, and to join in our little game of Monday mayhem, using the hashtag #MonsterMonday. Otherwise, someone else will come up with an equally daft idea, like #GlobalTurnipWeek, and we wouldn't want that to happen, would we?
A serpent and a two-horned beast: Cotton MS Vitellius A XV, f. 99r
A cynocephalus (a man with a dog's head): Cotton MS Vitellius A XV, f. 100r
A man 15 feet high with white bodies and two faces: Cotton MS Vitellius A XV, f. 101v
A beast-headed man, holding a human leg and foot, alongside a person with long hair: Cotton MS Vitellius A XV, f. 103v
A man with ears like winnowing fans: Cotton MS Vitellius A XV, f. 104r
A woman with long hair: Cotton MS Vitellius A XV, f. 105v