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OMG naughty medieval pilgrim badges 😮

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Camino(s) past & future
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. (2015, 2016 & 2017)
Today I learned that medieval pilgrims wore pilgrim badges, not unlike the souvenir pins worn by pilgrims today. “They were cheap, mass-produced, items, and they could have been used as presents from someone on his or her return from a pilgrimage, or ways of signalling one’s political allegiance.”

If that wasn’t interesting enough, I also learned that some of them were quite naughty!

I’ll post a link in the comments. Don’t click if you have delicate sensibilities. You’ve been warned!
 

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Camino(s) past & future
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. (2015, 2016 & 2017)
I'm not getting anything at that link! Is this the article you read?
Yes, Jan, that’s it.

I routed my links via Tinyurl to keep the preview images from besmirching the forums.
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
Yes, Jan, that’s it.
I routed my links via Tinyurl to keep the preview images from besmirching the forums.
Ha ha ha. Hilarious! I love the idea that the medallions could signify "the real reason why women go on pilgrimage." :p

(p.s. sorry if my reply disappeared, I deleted it as soon as I got the tinyurl link working - I was just being a techno-idiot - but then you quoted me so too late!)
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Not having studied Medieval pilgrimages much, were the pilgrimages then known to have a lot of "relations" taking place?
 

creativegtu

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2011)
Le Puy & parts of Frances (2013)
Aragones & parts of Frances (2015)
Primitivo (2016)
Today I learned that medieval pilgrims wore pilgrim badges, not unlike the souvenir pins worn by pilgrims today. “They were cheap, mass-produced, items, and they could have been used as presents from someone on his or her return from a pilgrimage, or ways of signalling one’s political allegiance.”

If that wasn’t interesting enough, I also learned that some of them were quite naughty!

I’ll post a link in the comments. Don’t click if you have delicate sensibilities. You’ve been warned!
Indeed, medieval pilgrims collected badges at souvenir stalls around cathedrals -- just like modern day Camino pilgrims collect mementos at carts around Obradoiro Plaza!

Besides the “naughty” ones there were others that showed images of saints, shrines, miracles wrought, ‘sins’ committed (those included the naughty ones!), and Biblical references.

English scholar Brian Spencer devoted his research on pilgrim badges (or “signs” as they’re referred to in England) and published “Pilgrim Souvenirs and Secular Badges” (there’s also a book in tribute to his work “Beyond Souvenirs and Pilgrim Badges: Essays in Honour of Brian Spencer”). Large deposits of badges have been found in the Thames, where pilgrims & travelers threw them into the river as a superstitious ritual. Then again, badges from Compostela were thought to cure ailments by touching them --

There’s a collection of badges to see at the Museum of London & the Cluny Museum in Paris --they include medieval ampullae too -- small metal or clay containers with images on them & filled with oil or holy water and thought to be curative for pilgrims to take home with them as souvenirs. The Museum of Pilgrimage & Santiago has an ampulla to see (they’re also at the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid) but no badges -- perhaps in the future (probably no naughty ones though!) --
 

Wheelchairpilgrim

Wheelchair pilgrim, in annual stages to Santiago.
Camino(s) past & future
By wheelchair: 2016 Haarlem-Den Bosch 2017 Den Bosch-Maastricht 2018 Maastricht-Reims 2019 Reims-...
I work as volunteer in a medieval openairmuseum in the Netherlands (archeon) and I always try to get medieval pelgrim badges (replica's) from places I have been on pilgrimage. I prefer the religious ones and leave the naughty ones for others. It is still posible to get them, when you are interested you have to check on websites for people who do reenactment or larp.
 

Canuck

Veteran wanderer
Camino(s) past & future
?
... medieval ampullae too -- small metal or clay containers with images on them & filled with oil or holy water ...
I guess I'm lucky to have one of those.
It's made of lead in the shape of a shell. (Sorry, not picture available. Won't be back home before end of April)
It was given to me by a relative who found it in England while doing metal detecting as a hobby.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
These original badges given out to Pilgrims came with a plenary indulgence from
the Catholic Church. This was a "get out of jail card" for the soul which would
then go directly to heaven without having to spend time suffering in Purgatory.
Guess what?
Medieval counterfeiters started selling fake badges to people who had not walked
The Camino Pilgrimage but who wanted amnesty for their souls.
The modern Compostela today came from "evidentiary letters" which were written
in Latin by the clergy.
Since common people, including the counterfeiters, could not read or write, the
Compostal Latin Documents were counterfeit-proof and this is why we get
A piece of paper and not a badge at the end of our journey today in Santiago de
Compostela!!!!!
Found this out researching my Camino books I wrote.
Terence Callery
 

BlaBlah

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014
Pilgrim badges are sometimes cast on medieval bells. Pilgrim badges are found chiefly in German and Scandinavian regions, but also on bells cast by bell-founders in and from the former Low Countries.52222
Pelgrimsinsignes op ‘Nederlandse’ klokken / Elly van Loon-van de Moosdijk, p. 112-127.

[URL="http://www.academia.edu/27250743/Hybrid_Creatures_Moving_Beyond_Sexuality_in_the_Medieval_Sexual_Badges[/URL]"]www.academia.edu/27250743/Hybrid_Creatures_Moving_Beyond_Sexuality_in_the_Medieval_Sexual_Badges[/URL]
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Yes. There were fewer bridges and zero sharpie markers, but close parallels can be drawn to most aspects of Medieval and modern pilgrims and pilgrimage.
Oh those cursed sharpie's. The weapon of choice of the trash bin poets and wannabe philosophers on the Camino.
 

Camino Chris

One step forward...
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
So much for thinking folks in the middle ages were mostly prudes! I think I may qualify as one more than they did, and I didn't even blush at the photos!
 

Camino Chris

One step forward...
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
That’s this whole thread! I put a big warning at the top.
Those warnings only serve to get our curiosity up to peek, not less! I once posted "For ladies' only!" It went kind of viral for awhile and I think men were taking some looks at it, too! 😉
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
Not having studied Medieval pilgrimages much, were the pilgrimages then known to have a lot of "relations" taking place?
The "naughty" pilgrim badges are not porn in the modern sense. As far as I can tell, nobody knows what their purpose is although there's lots of speculation of course. Popular interpretations are that they served as some sort of amulet or they served as parody or satire and making fun of religion / clergy / religious rituals. Unlike traditional pilgrim badges, the "naughty" ones date mainly from the later Middle Ages when criticism of this kind was not unknown of (think Reformation).

Apparently, badges with male sexual organs far outnumbered those with female sexual organs, and they were mainly produced in the more Northern parts of Europe, ie Low Countries, Germany, Northern France, England etc. So unlikely to be found in Santiago de Compostela.
 
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Camino Chris

One step forward...
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Kathar1a, you are always a wealth of knowledge on history relating to the camino and more! Thanks for your interjection!
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
The person who runs the site and makes the reproductions has been a friend of mine for decades now. In fact, I introduced her to the hobby that started her in that line of artistry. As soon as I saw this topic, I immediately thought of her.
That's amazing! Please tell your friend that her product descriptions are absolutely brilliant. ;)
 

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