Fourteenth century. In the upper drawing the children
have long ears, hanging to their feet.
In the lower drawing the child is simian. Both of these
birth defects occur, the text warns,
as a result of eating the wrong foods, but the parents were
also admonished that intercourse
in the wrong season or position would result in defective offspring.
The implication of parental
culpability for the child's condition doubtless provided an
incentive for parents to abandon
abnormal children or donate them to monasteries.
Courtesy of the Beincke Library, Yale University: Ms. 404 ["Rothschild
Canticles"], fol. 144 (Boswell: 11th
page following page 270)
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