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Which animal is the most sinful?

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1345052.  Mon Mar 30, 2020 9:20 am Reply with quote

According to medieval illustrated compendiums of creatures, known as bestiaries, hedgehogs were the most sinful animal.

Hedgehogs were said to sneak into vineyards under the cover of darkness and roll around on their backs to gather grapes on their spines. The accompanying illustrations depict something akin to the cheese and pineapple hedgehogs which might have been the centrepiece of a 70s dinner party. Despite this adorable image, the plundering hedgehog's sneaky ways were an allegory for the devil's desire to steal the hard-earned 'fruits' of one's labour. To further emphasise the sin of hedgehogs, some bestiaries replace grapes with apples or figs, a more direct reference to Original Sin.

St Anthony of Padua (12-13th century CE) wrote: ‘The hedgehog is the obstinate sinner, covered all over with the prickles of sins…Inside its mouth are five teeth…which are the five kinds of excuses that are found in the mouth of the obstinate. For when he is blamed, he excuses himself either by ignorance or chance, or the suggestion of the devil, or the frailty of his flesh, or the occasion given by his neighbour.’

Sources: A lecture by Dr Miranda Griffin, specialist in Medieval French literature.

1345067.  Mon Mar 30, 2020 1:21 pm Reply with quote

Oh that is cute! And definitely one we should remember for the S series.

1345077.  Mon Mar 30, 2020 4:59 pm Reply with quote

I recommend looking up 'hedgehog medieval bestiary' to find some incredible illustrations!


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