March 29, 2013 10:20 AM   Subscribe

Inky paw prints have been discovered in a 15th century manuscript. [National Geographic] [Picture#1] [Picture #2] [Interactive]

"The picture of the document was made famous by the fact that it is stained with cat paws. Ever since the photo was posted on Twitter and Facebook it received a lot of attention and became extremely popular. The photograph also inspired several interesting blog posts which also became prominent in their own right. Of those “Paws, Pee and Mice: Cats among Medieval Manuscripts” by Thijs Porck and “Grumpy Cat Responds to the Medieval Cat-Print Manuscript” by Zachary Fisher deserve a special mention. Emir O. Filipović described his experience of finding the document in a blog post "Of cats and manuscripts" published on “The Appendix”."
posted by Fizz (21 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Cats: walking across your laptop keyboard since 1415.
posted by Zed at 10:25 AM on March 29, 2013 [10 favorites]

I have no idea how people got cats wedged in their parchment, or why.
posted by stevis23 at 10:30 AM on March 29, 2013 [15 favorites]

I felt a bit jealous the first time I saw that photo: it's so rare that anything so entertaining (and, in a sense, humanizing--as the photographer says, you can just imagine the scribe's response...) shows up in a nineteenth-century book!

(I do have a nineteenth-century collector's private anthology of religious ephemera which includes a really irate poem about one tract, scribbled onto a blank leaf.)
posted by thomas j wise at 10:30 AM on March 29, 2013

posted by bleep at 10:32 AM on March 29, 2013 [9 favorites]

Previously on Metafilter.
posted by Justinian at 10:50 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hey cats, stop licking your butts all over medieval manuscripts.
posted by jeather at 10:51 AM on March 29, 2013 [7 favorites]

While it makes for an interesting cat meme, Filipović hopes the photo will move beyond a fun find and inspire more interest in the medieval Mediterranean.

"[The photo] could perhaps encourage at least one researcher to dedicate more time to the history of Dubrovnik, its immediate Hinterland (Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia), and the wider Mediterranean region."

Yes, that could happen.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:56 AM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

I am so glad to get some more of the backstory on this; thanks for posting.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:58 AM on March 29, 2013

I have to take issue with Grumpy Cat Responds to the Medieval Cat-Print Manuscript.

The authors may be expert medievalists but it is clear they know nothing of modern day cat memes. They should leave cat memes to the experts, such as myself, instead of indulging in the misapplication of said memes.

If they had done even cursory research they would know that "Grumpy Cat" does not care enough about your manuscript to walk across it. Instead she simply scowls at it from across the room.

They may want to look to Pokey, Grumpy Cat's rather bumbling brother, pictured here actually walking. Sinister Cat, Colonel Meow or or one of Grumpy Cat's many Rivals
posted by Ad hominem at 11:00 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ahh yes, cats provided a very cuddly way to save time on illuminating the manuscript too.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:03 AM on March 29, 2013

For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For this is done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
For he treads upon manuscript to mark his passing.

posted by dersins at 11:25 AM on March 29, 2013 [4 favorites]

Too bad it wasn't Pangur Ban!
posted by Soliloquy at 11:28 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

This so called researcher understands nothing about expanding on a meme. Now, what is needed is to Photoshop cat paw prints across all sorts of famous documents and historical events. The moon landing, the ten commandments tablets, the Watergate tapes, photos of the Simpson crime scene. Post them to Tumblr.
In other words, I want to warn the world about rampant Jellicle cats but I'm too lazy to do this myself.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:32 AM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

How does one say 'bad kitty' in Latin?
posted by Leezie at 11:33 AM on March 29, 2013

This isn't just a previously, this is a double....but I kinda hope it stays.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:43 AM on March 29, 2013

[A few comments deleted. If you think a post should be deleted, please flag; if you want to ask about a post, please use the contact form. In this case, the original post had just the one link to the photo, but this post has a bunch more information about the guy who found the prints and on other funny things in medieval manuscripts.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:25 PM on March 29, 2013 [4 favorites]

To those who complain about funny cat posts, this post is a metaphor. You cannot stop the cats, they will, in permanent ink, traipse across your sacred and beloved forms of media.

Your favorite, most in depth articles will be lost, like dogs without leashes....in the rain. And through it all they will remain, eyes glowing in the dark.

posted by sendai sleep master at 12:49 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

1 Kitty, 2 Empires, 2,000 Years: World History Told Through a Brick

♥ l'il ainjil ♥
posted by JHarris at 8:19 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Evidence that annoying cats made the transition from manuscript culture to print seamlessly in the wake of the Gutenberg Revolution. A copy of Summa de casibus conscientiae (c. 1473) complete with inky cat prints at the University of Otago, New Zealand (scroll down to page 7).
posted by Sonny Jim at 2:51 AM on March 30, 2013

So .cat exists.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:00 AM on March 30, 2013

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