Man Eaten By Library

By Leonardo’s time, animals had come to assume extensive roles in a range of literary and visual genres, often playing parts that transcended their ostensible low stations. Bestiaries, compilations of facts and fancies about real and chimerical animals, took their cue from the Physiologus of the third century a.d. These compilations had accorded different animals particular roles and meanings in the great book of nature, which stood beside the book of scripture as a repository of truth. The Physiologus  was less like an encyclopaedia of natural history, as we would understand it, and more like a huge collection of short stories or fables that narrated the manifold wonders of Gods creation. Adam had named the animals; Noah ensured that none of Gods creatures should be lost to posterity during the flood; and they all must therefore have significance for us, even those that served no ostensible human purpose. Otherwise, what was the point of an ant, which did not obviously provide for any human necessities? For Leonardo the ant was an exemplar of prudence because it killed its stored seeds to stop them from germinating…..

The meanings according to species were embroidered and modified as occasion demanded.

Reference

M. Kemp, The Human Animal In Western Art and Science

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High to Low

Of Strength

” The Lion is never afraid. but rather with a bold spirit in fiery combat with a multitude of hunters, always seeks to injure the first one who injures him

Leonardo da Vinci

Of Folly

Mick and Paddy are walking through the jungle, when a lion comes charging towards them.

Mick picks up a brick (this is an Irish jungle) throws it at the lion and shouts.

“Quick Paddy run!”

To which Paddy replies

“sure I’m not running, it was you who threw the brick!”

Unknown author

Rumbles In The Jumble

No thought has passed through my mind of late. Flurry of lines, fragments of texts, with no sense of time or context has slowly started to move about.

A question comes to mind.

Starts with getting sidetracked. I read a paper on Coleridge’s poem Kubla Khan. Staying on topic does not last long.

A comparative example from the paper uses the Iliad and Achilles.

From the other side the son of Peleus rose like a lion against him, the baleful beast, when men have been straining to kill him, the country all in the hunt, and he at first pays them no attention  but goes his way, only when some one of the impetuous young men has hit him with the spear he whirls, jaws open, over his teeth foam  breaks out, and in the depth of his chest the powerful heart groans; he lashes his own ribs with his tail and the flanks on both sides as he rouses himself to fury for the fight, eyes glaring, and hurls himself straight onward on the chance of killing some one of the men, or else being killed himself in the first onrush. So the proud heart and fighting fury stirred on Achilleus to go forward in the face of great-hearted Aineias

At this point I have lost all sight of Kubla Khan.

The line that catches my attention is this one

he at first pays them no attention  but goes his way, only when some one of the impetuous young men has hit him with the spear….

I can’t put it into historical context as I do not know enough about ancient Greek society or the textual history of the Ilaid. 

Reading it with an understanding of female Irish werewolves. She may like a wolf ravage the land by night devouring cattle but she is entitled to legal protection and maintaining her status within society because her vengeance is justified.

Clear sense in the language used in the text that she is making a correct judgement and governed by what is right/ lawful/ of good reason (recht).

It raises the question, what is the legal framework surrounding battle and compensation for injury in Ancient Greece? The text at least seems to be suggesting that Achilles is justified in his action and can mount a retrospective defense of his actions.

As I was originally reading Kubla Khan I then stray to this

Her princes within her are roaring lions

Her judges are wolves at evening

They leave nothing for the morning

Coleridge’s back story for the poem is that it was formed in a drug induced vision and then forgotten and unfinished, which is why it came to mind.

Like Achilles I don’t know much about the specific history and context here. I did spend an hour translating and looking at the original language.

quereb = within, inward part, the seat of thought and emotion. Seems to have an almost situational sense, the external world governs and orders the internal realm.

Having no retrospective sense of who she is or the history that may unfold here anything may happen. She may be consumed whole or may be able to control this host of powerful beings. Clearly the beast needs to be fed and the cost is high.

Anyway I go to sleep wake up the next morning, the first thing that comes to mind is an old Irish joke, Mick, Paddy the brick and the lion.

Paddy is looking potentially related to Achilles.

Just how old is this joke?

I read the joke when I was 14 or 15 in a student rag magazine. Students from the university used to come round the schools dressed in fancy dress collecting for charity once a year and sold joke books.

I read it, threw the joke book away and forget about it. It came to mind years later when  I found out that Paddy had a relationship with Leonardo da Vinci and Renaissance ideas about the  habits, intelligence and virtue of Lions.

Forgotten about until now.  I never looked to see if the joke was older. It was just amusing to see how it alters entirely when you can place it in its original context. It alters dramatically.

I can hazard a guess the joke itself is not particularly old as it has been constructed and seems to draw some amusement from playing with peoples perceptions of time and context.  Its the idea that has historical form and seems to say something in regard to historical folly.

A historians joke.

 

 

 

Being In An Irish Jungle (Stupid Is As Stupid Does)

Mick and Paddy are walking through the jungle, when a lion comes charging towards them.

Mick picks up a brick (this is an Irish jungle) throws it at the lion and shouts.

“Quick Paddy run!”

To which Paddy replies

“sure I’m not running, it was you who threw the brick!”

The joke clearly seems to demonstrate the oddity and stupidity that is Paddy.

Just how stupid is he and where does his understanding of lions come from?