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

By Rebecca J. Rosen

I'm in ur manuscript, making a mess.

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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

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/02/the-15th-century-equivalent-of-your-cat-walking-on-your-keyboard/273283/