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The liveliest and most attractive animals serving as footrests on medieval tombs are probably dogs. They may be seen peeping out from under ladies’ skirts, looking up at their master or mistress, or barking for attention. As an emblem of fidelity, dogs were evidently considered an appropriate symbol for the medieval tomb monuments of married women. The meaning of this motif is unclear, but one might wonder whether these dogs represented the deceased’s own pets. This idea is not as far-fetched as one might think, for personalized pet dogs do occur on medieval monuments, in particular beneath the feet of female effigies. This essay examines the lost origins of this popular motif and how its meaning may have changed over time.

In: Our Dogs, Our Selves
Volume Editors: Clifford Davidson and Sophie Oosterwijk
This edition of John Lydgate’s Dance of Death offers a detailed comparison of the different text versions, a new scholarly edition and translation of Guy Marchant’s 1485 French Danse Macabre text, and an art-historical analysis of its woodcut illustrations.
It addresses the cultural context and historical circumstances of Lydgate’s poem and its model, the mural of 1424-25 with accompanying French poem in Paris, as well as their precursors, notably the Vado mori poems and the Legend of the Three Living and the Three Dead. It discusses authorship, the personification and vizualisation of Death, and the wider dissemination of the Dance. The edited texts include commentaries, notes, and a glossary.