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  • Feline Paws through History March 3, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern , trackback

    roman cat prints lanarkshire

    ***Dedicated to Larry, Why Evolution is True and Andy the Mad Monk***

    Feline lovers will curse us for saying this but the cat has not played a huge role in history. True, we have observed here in the past some its few runs across the stage of the past including the notorious cat organ, cat burials, one saintly cat and the outside possibility that cats may have changed our behavioral pattern with a virus.  But it is all, even the toxoplasmosis, fairly low key stuff. However, Beach has had, in the last days, a couple of links sent in that at least remind us that cats were there causing their accustomed havoc among our ancestors.  That always interesting blog, Why Evolution is True have come up with a several examples of prints. Our post is headed by one of them on some concrete from a Roman fort beyond Hadrian’s Wall.

    inky cat on manuscript

    Even more enjoyable though was, for this writer at least, this beautiful shot from a fifteenth-century Balkan manuscript. Here kitty was not satisfied just running across a folio page, she also somehow got ink on her feet. Perhaps there was another drying manuscript open? The one thing that Beach is certain about is that both these cats got away with. Why? Because cats always do. (If anyone is interested there is also the page of a medieval manuscript that a cat urinated on: never leave your manuscript open over night). Here is another cat print from a Roman brick this time from, err, Fort Vancouver in Washington State. How the brick got that far away from Roman Britain, where it was made, is a story in itself.

    fort vancouver

    The next one is from a villa in the Rhineland, from the hypercaust that kept the floor and, therefore, the villa warm.

    cat print germany

    Here, instead, is the very earliest paw print we have found: from Harapan India, a cat that had been pushing up daisies a good three thousand years by the time the Romans were stroking cats in their God-forsaken settlements in Germany or Britain.

    harrapan period cat

    This one comes instead from the Foundry in New York State and is little more than a century old. It works though because the brick is in situ: you can almost see the quivering whiskers and hear the workmen swearing at old tabs.


    Seeing cat prints in millennial old cement is a bit, for this blogger, like tasting the grapes from a harvest of forty years ago in a very old bottle of wine: transporting. Any other examples: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com