When we tell you that we are going to present you with a host of unsolicited Dick pics, you probably assume we mean something like this:
Good guess! But, no.
Penises in Peculiar Places
(with a Side of Spectacularly Strange Ballsacks)
From the Artemision Bronze to Michelangelo’s David to the fresco of Priapus in Pompeii, medieval and Renaissance art history is packed with penises. But those are pretty boring boners. We’ve gathered a very NSFW collection of weird willies from medieval manuscripts that will leave you thinking “WTF?”
1. Consider this dynamic duo of marginal man meat. We appreciate that these dongs seem to be pointing directly at the start of a new paragraph. Though we decided to divide this article with ordinary ordinal numbers, we may consider using Biggus Dickus bullet points in the future. They certainly do get your attention.
2. And then there’s this classic drawing of a woman offering a fish to a cat in exchange for the johnson in its jaws. The longer we look at this picture, the more questions we have. Where did the feline get the phallus? Why does the woman want it back so badly? What role is the jester and his proffered pouch play in this? But what we really want to know … was the trade successful? Judging by the cat’s face, we think the pussy got the upperhand.
3. We’re baffled and bemused by these cockfruit trees. We heard that good dick doesn’t grow on trees, but this illustration seems to suggest otherwise. First of all, where can we find one of these? And secondly … nope, that was actually our only pressing question about this hardwood forest. Fun fact: these particular plucked penises were the illustrative creation of a 14th century husband and wife run atelier in Paris.
4. Check out this lovely 14th century lady riding Falkor, the luck-dick. Dick-dragon? Either way, it’s smirking, flying, and ready for a neverending bawdy bedtime story. Plus, this erotic equipment has ears, so we can only hope that it’ll listen to what she wants. Hey, a girl can dream.
5. And then we have this fellow’s roger-revealing regalia. It looks like he tried to read up on how to do tree pose instead of watching the yoga instructor and ended up tangled in his own testicles. Instructions unclear; penis stuck in manuscript margin. Do not try this at home.
6. There’s also this apparent penis peace offering. Long before roses and chocolates were a requisite gift from hapless husbands, this illustration seems to indicate that women requested recompense with a different sort of package. But let’s be honest, some of us still prefer dicks to daisies when it comes to an apology.
7. This pre-cursor to Lonely Island’s “Dick in a box.” On a Saturday night in 1209, Justus Timberlake offers his johnson in a jar to a fair maiden. If that doesn’t go over too well, he’ll try the cock in a crock, the chub in a tub, or the always-popular fumes in a flagon. Surely she’ll be impressed by that.
BONUS! Beware this bodacious bagpipe ballsack. A testament to testicular artistry, this musical man-bit would probably make a menacing melody if squeezed too hard.
At the end of the day it is clear that our Medieval forebearers were not as shy about gentials as we may be today, but also that dick jokes clearly have a long, if questionable history.
You might have seen this image floating around on social media:
This beautiful gadget that looks like a portable water wheel is a book wheel. The one in this image being passed around is from the Georgian era (early 18th century), but they go back even farther.
The image below is from “The Diverse and Artifactitious Machines of Captain Agostino Ramelli” (say THAT three times fast) from 1588.
Ramelli invented this whimsical wheel of wisdom to help solve the age old problem all of us researchers have encountered – needing to collate several sources at once. Or, a more modern analogy – having a ton of tabs open. Ironically, precisely what I did to research this post! We love irony around here. Interestingly, has been noted that the machine made a somewhat pleasant clicking sound as one rotated tomes. I suppose not unlike the quiet clicking of a mouse button today.
But, Ramelli’s wheel was not the first invention to try to tackle the problem of trying to download craptons of data into your head at once. The less obvious carousel was popular before the clearly superior scribal circulator.
This image from the 15th century perfectly captures how jealous carousel-less scholars were of those who had a carousel. Even then DOG wants in on this carousel action. The amazement toward this device has clearly warn off for the lady of the house. The idea was that you could have multiple volumes in this fancy lazy susan.
Here is a close up from the 14th century of an adorable tabletop version:
Too bad Christine de Pisan did not have one. Christine, we’re in love with your bibliophilia, girl! And we feel your pain…
I have my Masters degree in Museum Studies from Leicester University. I love history, science, art, and learning. The Middle Ages are a special interest to me. I play off and on with the Society for Creative Anachronism in Ansteorra (most of Texas and Oklahoma). I am a member of the Sherwood Players, the acting troupe at Sherwood Forest Faire in Texas. I love teaching people and showing them things that make them rethink their assumptions or get them excited about history. I most enjoy busting myths and doing experimental archaeology. I cannot wait to explore all of these things with you!
I’ve been obsessed with history since I was a kid. It’s all I ever wanted to play or talk about. Not much has changed now that I am adult. I do faires, costumes, hat making, shows, games…anything that gives that thrill of learning and adventure. I was a Theatre Arts and Anthropology major in college. I didn’t finish, but that hasn’t stopped me from studying what I’m most passionate about. I’m very much looking forward to learning new things and do experimental archaeology with some of my favorite people! What’s our next quest? I’m ready!
I have been active in the Society for Creative Anachronism, a pre-modern historical recreation and education group for just about a decade, and recently received its highest award for research and craftsmanship. My specialization is in calligraphy and illumination, but am also known for my fiber arts and sewing. I love the fourteenth century best of all (but don’t tell the other ones). I also have a Bachelors of Fine Arts and a minor in History, and have been involved in Renaissance Festivals on and off since I was seven. I look forward to exploring overlooked history with my friends!
I’ve been a bookworm (especially historical fiction, biographies and fantasy!) since I learned how to read, and have recently started acting out some of my favorite stories with the Sherwood Players at Sherwood Forest Faire. My other interests include graphic design, novel-writing, various fandoms and geekery, raising a five-year-old tiny gorgon named Haven, and keeping my kittens Hades and Hestia off my keyboard.
I’ve always been a person rooted in two worlds – one of science, data, and fact, and one of imagination, fantasy, and stories. Luckily, I’ve been able to find fulfillment in both worlds as life is all about balance. I read equal amounts of non-fiction and fiction. I studied both history and myth at University (Hook ‘em Horns!). I make historically accurate garments and fairy wings. I love good documentaries and even better tabletop RPGs. I’m privileged to use both my historical knowledge and performance skills to tell the stories of everyday people in Medieval Europe as a member of the Sherwood Players at Sherwood Forest Faire. I’m always up for a talk about queer theory, intersectionality, and why reforestation matters. I’m a lifelong geek, ready to share my passions with my fellow geeks. Live long and prosper, y’all.