The 15th-Century Equivalent of Your Cat Walking on Your Keyboard

I'm in ur manuscript, making a mess.

A3zuNR6CIAAeHsk.jpg

Emir O. Filipovic

For cat owners, the scene is all too familiar: You sit down to finally (finally!) get some work done, and along comes kitty, here to stroll across your keyboard.

Now, via medievalist Emir O. Filipovic, evidence that cats have been up to this same mischief for six centuries: inky pawprints, gracing a page of the 13th volume of "Lettere e commissioni di Levante," which collated copies of letters and instructions that the Dubrovnik/Ragusan government sent to its merchants and envoys throughout southeastern Europe (Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia etc.), according to Filipovic -- sort of a 15th-century Federal Register. The particular document that the cat got its paws on dates to March 11th, 1445.

More than just a silly reminder that cats never change (surprise!), the pawprints flicker through time to describe to us a little something about the person who once lived and who set those words to that page. As Kate Beaton described it on Twitter:



H/t @stevesilberman

Presented by

Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Technology

Just In