Medieval manuscripts blog

28 March 2020

The caption competition is back!

Hold on to your hats. Our funtastic caption competition is back.

This is your opportunity to shine, by coming up with an appropriate description for the image below. What on Earth is going on?

A page from an illuminated manuscript showing a lady holding a sword and shield and a man brandishing the sae weapons

The page is found in a 14th-century Book of Hours of the Use of Saint-Omer (Add MS 36684, f. 26v), which you can explore in full on our Digitised Manuscripts site.

We'll publish or retweet the best suggestions. You can either submit them using the comment field below or send them by Twitter to @BLMedieval. May the best pun win! (There is no prize, of course, just eternal glory.)


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I’ll slice your pizza if you’ll slice mine

O, Mere, I, Oedipus salute you!

Nay, prithee, thou must remain distant by six of our finest English feet .

I don't care what you say, that is not a 2 metre gap, & you're not having the last toilet roll

Why, you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder!

A slice of my pomegranate for a taste of your delights, my lady?

How can we duel if you keep chopping yourself in the head?

Aha! Lobotomy!

I am the Doctor. What are you?

A lady should hire a male fighter who could represent her in a judicial combat. This lady seems to show her ability to do battle for herself, while the male fighter, who seems to presents himself as her substitute, appears to be less eligible as her champion, beeing to poor to buy fitting shoes. He might attack the lady herself successfully, but would he be able to slay her male adversary?
Or do we see a judicial combat between husband and spouse over a matrimonial question, her beeing noble and rich, him beeing rude and poor?
Perhaps the man is challenging his spouse to a duel, or vice versa.
The little round shields were really prescibed for fighters in judicial combats. The decoration of both shields seems clearly to be a rose with five petals, that is known to symbolise "judgement" or "jusrtice" sometimes. In this period the sun and the stars were frequently rendered as roses (flowers in the sky).
The fight with these shield shall bring a judgement that reveals justice, just like the "sol justitiae".
The illustration of the Saxon Mirror of the fourteenth century may make clear that this interpretation is correct.

Now, just block his blow to your head and come in under his shield to take his leg.

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