‘Converted to a cat’

Petrarch's mummified cat

The most famous apocyrphal cat of the Renaissance?**
Petrarch’s mummified cat at Casa del Petrarca.

In honour of World Cat Day, I did a quick search on the fabulous Early English Books Online to see if cats were ever described as agents of conversion, in the same way as were their enemies (or at least their sometime prey) fish. Continue reading

Unsavoury conversions

A fifteenth-century spice box

Sir Thomas Browne was an English author and physician, whose interests ranged from the bronze age practice of urn burial to astrology, biblical hermeneutics, and the mystical significance of the quincunx (the arrangement of five units in a pattern like the dots on the five-spot side of a dice). His 1646 Pseudodoxica epidemica, or, Enquiries into Very many Received Tenets, and commonly Presumed Truths constituted a vast encyclopedia of misconceptions, false assumptions, and untruths, which he aimed to put to rest once and for all. Continue reading