Medieval manuscripts blog

01 June 2011

A Calendar Page for June

For a further discussion of medieval calendars, as well as the Isabella Breviary itself, please see the post for January

  A page from the Isabella Breviary, showing the calendar for June, with an illustration of a hay harvest, with labourers cutting hay and stacking it.

The calendar page for June from the Breviary of Queen Isabella of Castile, Add MS 18851, f. 4

On this calendar page for June, the zodiac sign for Cancer is depicted as a rather odd-looking crab (although this lobster-like version of the crustacean is a fairly common one in medieval manuscripts).  Below, the romance of May has given way to the hard work of the hay harvest, with peasants cutting hay and stacking it (while one man takes a bit of a refreshment break).  


Is he OK? He looks like he has a withered arm. Maybe he can't help out.

That arm looks normal-sized and strength to me, but appears to be set backwards. Assuming that the artist was not cutting and pasting (!) I think that what he or she was trying to show is that guy with his hand on his hip and his elbow thrown forward while he drinks.

The "crab" looks more like a crayfish/crawdad to me. :)

The comments to this entry are closed.