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I note that the snail is seen as representing a range of things some with a sexual overtone, e.g. cuckolding and it would seem to indicate the challenge of the knight aspiring to chastity. Another characteristic in this respect would be the sense of sloth, as Magetts has noted and even cowardice - the snail withdrawing into its shell. I think we can be agreed that the combat represents the knight overcoming a personal trait that would be seen as unknightly. The Gorleston Psalter one may not represent a defeat at all, but the knight praying for strength in the forthcoming combat against sloth and/or cowardice.
Toggle Commented Apr 16, 2015 on Knight v Snail at Medieval manuscripts blog
I am struck by the dog, the cat and the cockerel in the barrel. This sounds like Roman poena cullei for those charged with parricide, though they were sewed into a sack rather than a barrel. I wonder if this is a side-swipe about Alexander's relationship with his father.
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Apr 16, 2015