#ThyCaptionBe: Moving Island

You captioned this detail. And we’re revealing the full story now.

Medieval Jaws or scary genetically modified fish,actually it’s a monster that looks like an island.

Here’s the full story:

That moment of realization that something is terribly, terribly wrong.

In this medieval bestiary, a kind of encyclopedia of animals where Christian symbolism is found in individual creatures, the aspidochelone (a scheming whale-like creature) lures unwary sailors into thinking that its broad back is a safe island haven. Once it feels the sailors build a fire, it dives deep into the ocean, taking the hapless men with it. This sea monster was understood as an allegory of the devil, who plunges unsuspecting sinners into hell.

#ThyCaptionBe is a celebration of modern interpretations of medieval aesthetics. You guess what the heck is going on, then we myth-bust.

Welcome back to #ThyCaptionBe, a celebration of modern interpretations of medieval aesthetics. Every Tuesday, this will go down on Tumblr and Twitter:

  1. We’ll post a detail.
  2. You guess what in the world is going on and write a caption (questionable accuracy welcome).
  3. Then we’ll share the full illumination and myth-bust if we must.

Caption away! Can’t wait to see what #ThyCaptionBe.

A Look into the Grágás (Medieval Icelandic Law):

Grágás I: Assembly Procedures Section, Quarter Courts, pg. 53.

“It is prescribed in our laws that we shall have four Quarter Courts. Each chieftain who has an ancient and full chieftaincy shall nominate a man to join a court. And those are full and ancient chieftaincies which existed when there were three assemblies in each Quarter and three chieftains in each assembly. The assemblies were then not split up. If chieftaincies are divided into shares, then those who have part of ancient chieftaincies are to arrange it so that nomination is made in the way now told. Then the Quarter Courts are complete.”

Source: Andrew Denis, Peter Foote, and Richard Perkins trans., Laws of Early Iceland: Grágás I. (University of Manitoba Press, 2012), 53.