Medieval manuscripts blog

Bringing our medieval manuscripts to life

23 October 2014

How To Be A Hedgehog

Longstanding readers of our Medieval Manuscripts Blog may know that we have a penchant for hedgehogs. In 2012, we published a post entitled The Distinguished Pedigree of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, based on the accounts of their behaviour in medieval bestiaries. In 2014, we brought you a hedgehog beauty contest, no less, featuring images of five of our favourites. And most recently we focused on the heraldic hedgehog in the 13th-century Dering Roll.

A detail from the Rochester Bestiary, showing an illustration of hedgehogs rolling on the ground to collect grapes.
Hedgehogs rolling on the ground to collect grapes for their young, as illustrated in the Rochester Bestiary (England, c. 1230): London, British Library, Royal MS 12 F XIII, f. 45r. Hedgehogs were said to creep into vineyards when the grapes were ripe, to climb the vines and shake the fruit down to the ground. Then, rather than eating this bounty on the spot, they would turn onto their backs and roll around, impaling the grapes with their sharp quills. They could then trundle off back to their burrows, carrying the grapes on their spines, as a meal for their young. The bestiary writers allegorized this as a warning of the clever stratagems of the devil in stealing man's spiritual fruits.

We've now discovered this fantastic animation, based on the drawings of hedgehogs in one of the British Library's medieval bestiaries (Royal MS 12 F XIII, f. 45r). De Herinacio: On the Hedgehog was made by the amazing Obrazki nunu and Discarding Images. We hope that you love it as much as we do! Maybe it will inspire more people to explore and reinvent our wonderful collections.

De Herinacio. On the Hedgehog from obrazki nunu on Vimeo.

A detail from the Rochester Bestiary, showing an illustration of hedgehogs rolling on the ground to collect grapes.



Sweet video. You can never have too many hedgehogs.

I have recently written a book about this subject - for more details ... the iconography of hedgehogs was supposed to be very niche, but people love it!

Superb video. You, amigos, not only popularize vital historical knowledge, but make Britain Great!

But that is Polish animation made by Obrazki Nunu and Discarding Images:

The Medieval Manuscripts Team says:
Thank you, we did acknowledge that, and are very happy to do so again. We think it's a brilliant use of one of our medieval manuscripts. Discarding Images (@discarding_imgs) tell us that they are working on more animated episodes of the medieval bestiary, please look out for them.

I loved it.
Forgive me if it sounds silly, do hedgehogs really do something like that?

No they don't. The quills are for defense purposes only. :-)

The comments to this entry are closed.