May 4th... be with you! Do you recognize this strange creature from a 14th-century manuscript?
May 4th is considered by many to be Star Wars Day, and is celebrated as such with many events (and dedicated hashtags, such as #StarWarsDay!) all around the world. The date was obviously chosen thanks to a pun on the most famous line from the franchise, "May the Force be with you", "May the Fourth" sounding extremely similar to the original phrase. What one may not know, however, is the very origin of this pun: on May 4, 1979 (two years after the first film of the saga had been released), as Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, her party congratulated her by placing an advertisement in The London Evening News, saying "May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations".
Fans may see a striking similarity between the creature from the illumination above and Master Yoda... did the old Grand Master of the Jedi train a young Padawan in 14th-century London, where the original French manuscript was decorated?
Illumination from the "Smithfield Decretals", ms. Royal MS 10 E IV, f. 30v, circa 1300-1340, British Library, London.