Ten Of The Best Medieval Memes
Vienna, Austria - May 20, 2017: An ancient tome with miniature illustration, open inside a display case of the Austrian National Library, famous historic library of Vienna, on may 20, 2017

Ten Of The Best Medieval Memes

Charis Gambon March 21, 2022

Medieval art can be hilarious – just add a modern joke or reference and you’ve got some of the best medieval memes.

Many images from the medieval period are incredibly questionable and massively hilarious. People within the modern era have decided to make these images even more hilarious by adding text to them to create the commonly known meme.

The best part is this first image was actually a meme created in the medieval era itself – sorry guys they got there first.

The text within this image reads as follows; If one wishes to end a duel quickly, simply cast about thine sword, unscrew thy pommel, and end him rightly. It is a joke from the medieval era which was put in a training manual. It was intended to be a laugh for students.

Threaded pommels can be unscrewed, and are then thrown with vigour at the opponent, to instantly knock the poor fellow out cold. Skallagrim popularised this meme and brought it into the public view within the modern era.

Snails show up often as a joke within medieval images. This particular one is a reference to incapable leaders who were at each other’s throats but intentionally moved slowly because they were too cowardly to actually fight. When looking at the image pay attention to the heraldry of their flags.

Perhaps this piece is about fun dances, or perhaps it’s about how music can be sinful and as a result twists your soul. Either way this looks like one hell of a party.

This is a meme about military spending and poor admin of a lord, who reportedly built a fort, commissioned fine Armour but unfortunately forgot to order sufficient armaments for his men.

In this piece maybe the person is praying to the snail gods like a heretic, maybe they are praying for mercy from snails? Either way there are snails of unusual size, and a knight who appears in desperation.

This one is a joke about the uselessness of flashy techniques and fancy clothes in a practical fight.

This piece is a joke about the corruption of the church and monks, who when nobody is watching were surely drinking, gluttonous and, apparently taking keys to sneak into the nunnery. The modern text added talks about “the squad” and is something many students could sympathise with.

This piece references visiting the dentist which has never been any fun in any era. Modern text has then been added to the top in a classic meme fashion but still refers to the original specifics of the piece.

This piece shows a medieval drawing of a horse which from the front has been drawn Rather badly. Again the classic meme text has been added to the top to exacerbate how bad the art truly is.

Lastly, this piece is a joke about the medieval arms race. which would have been forts vs siege equipment. Bigger walls led to bigger towers, thicker walls led to cannons and so on, with seemingly no end in sight. The closeness of the two sides alludes to the hopeless nature of this form of fighting.

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Hi my name is Charis, I am a MA History of Warfare student at University of Birmingham. I have always enjoyed writing and I enjoy researching and writing about history, life, television, film and culture. I also enjoy new opportunities.