An interesting tale of a lustful woodland fellow: The ‘Wild Man’. An introduction to a little known deity of the European Middle Ages

by Amish Shah


Photo Credit:  © Suffolk County Council


What is it?
Spoon finial or knop

Medieval European

ca. A.D. 1300–1400

Gilded silver

Suffolk, England

1.06 inches high, 0.52 inches wide, 0.30 inches thick

One of the most common mythical figures of the European Middle Ages among both rich and poor was the lustful woodland deity known as the Wild Man. As far back as the fifth century B.C., in the writings of the Greek historian Herodotus, and later the Roman historian Pliny, distant, little-known peoples were considered to be uncivilized—in contrast to the civilized world in which the historians lived—and this was embodied by beastly, amoral gods, such as the debauched, hairy, club-carrying, half-goat, half-man creatures called satyrs.

With the coming of Christianity and in the writings of its great scholars, including Saints Jerome and Isidore of Seville, these pagan deities often became devils, demons, and monsters, says historian Ronald Hutton of the University of Bristol. One of these monsters was the Wild Man, a single deity with a complex pagan past and a powerful Christian present.

During the High Middle Ages, beginning in the twelfth century, images of the Wild Man began to appear regularly on coats of arms of cities across Europe, on architectural decorations such as the roof bosses of Canterbury Cathedral, in illuminated manuscripts, on costumes worn by members of the French royal court, in paintings and engravings, and even on everyday objects—including this spoon, found recently in Suffolk.

Like the faraway barbarians of the classical world, explains Hutton, in the medieval world, the Wild Man served as a reminder of the dangers of life at the edges of civilization and of the risks of a lack of religious and social order.

(Source Site:           Author: Unlisted)  3-2016


Amish Shah

Also in Project Yourself

The Vinyasa Of Gratitude & Abundance
The Vinyasa Of Gratitude & Abundance

by Puja Shah

The holidays are here. Full of gratitude and warmth. As we focus on the ways we can give this holiday season, consider the idea of giving gratitude. The more energy you create in your heart around joy for others, the more joy and abundance fills you and your life as well.
Read More
Can We Be Grateful For 2020
Can We Be Grateful For 2020

by Puja Shah

The holidays are a time of gratitude.

And even in a year of pandemics, natural disasters, and political and economic uncertainty - there is still much to be grateful for.

The fact that you’re now here reading these words is already a cause for gratitude. Not to mention all the loved ones, blessings, opportunities, and natural wonders that still surround us.
Read More
This Holiday Season, Love Is The Gift Humanity Needs Most
This Holiday Season, Love Is The Gift Humanity Needs Most

by Puja Shah

Love heals: and the world needs healing now more than ever.

But how does one tap into the vibration of love - particularly during times of disruption and uncertainty?

Read More