From this morning’sCoffee with a Codex, we ran across an illustration of a mandrake—yes! the very same plant you’ve probably heard of from the Harry Potter books and movies. Complete with a man covering his hears for fear of dying from the cries.
In one superstition, people who pull up this root will be condemned to hell, and the mandrake root would scream and cry as it was pulled from the ground, killing anyone who heard it. Therefore, in the past, people have tied the roots to the bodies of animals and then used these animals to pull the roots from the soil.
—Wikipedia citing John Gerard (1597). “Herball, Generall Historie of Plants”. Claude Moore Health Sciences Library. Archived from the original on 2012-09-01.
Guillaume Dufay (1397 – 1474) is the most famous of the first generation of the Franco-Flemish school. (This first generation is also called the Burgundian School.) He is often considered a transitional figure from the medieval to the Renaissance. His isorhythmic motets illustrate that—their tonality is dissonant and dramatic compared to typical Renaissance polyphony.
Every Monday, I sit down with a cup of coffee and learn something interesting about history through old manuscripts. Join our friends Dot Porter (@leoba) and the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies (@sims_mss) at Coffee with a Codex.