Dog-Pig Hybrids and the Heretical Teachings of the Jesuits during the Counter Reformation

Keywords: Jesuits, Peter (or Petrus) Canisius, Martin Eisengrein, Judensau (‘Jewish sow’), dog-pig hybrids, Reformation

The act of revelation was explored in Protestant Reformation prints to demonstrate that the Catholic Church were something more sinister than what they externally portrayed. In this way, their outward, physical appearance from their tonsured haircut to their clerical robes were shown to be devices to disguise their internal sin and deviousness. In other words, they were signs of false piety. For example, in a 1587 copper engraving by F. Hildenberg entitled Des Teuffels Garkuchen (‘The Devil’s Kitchen’), the inner sins of the clergy are revealed as a demon is depicted gutting a monk as he pulls out symbolic motifs including a dog and a pig, symbolising ‘unclean’ and scavenging animals that represent greed (Hall, 2008, p. 255).

F. Hildenberg, Des Teuffels Garkuchen (‘The Devil’s Kitchen’), c. 1587,
Copper engraving, 19.3 x 23.7 cm,
Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek

Catholic theologians and Jesuits were singled out with their portrayal as floppy-eared dogs. During the 1520s, at the height of the Protestant Reformation, and again in the 1560s during the early years of the Counter Reformation, dogs were employed to portray Catholic opponents. Although the Society of Jesus was formally established in 1540, it was only in the 1560s after the publication of the 1568 Der Suiten that Jesuits became the routine target of Protestant propaganda (Jensen, 1992, p. 203). This period also marked a point in their Counter Reformation campaign when Catholicism started to rebound after the Peace of Augsburg (Smith, 2016, p. 57). The Jesuits became an especial target as they became a significant and influential order of the Catholic Church. While artists used various animals to mock the Catholic clergy, the dog and the wolf were popular, as they had biblical resonance and cultural familiarity. The frequency of drawing upon the familiarity of the canine motif in the context of the Reformation made the message of the Protestant polemical prints readily understood in the same way that Thomas Murner was frequently depicted as a cat.

Anonymous, Suitarum Origo et Mores, 1568, Wittenberg,
Woodcut, 59.2 x 36.4 cm sheet size,
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin,
Latin Edition,
Signed M. Franciscus Raphael, Poeta laureatus.

The anonymous Latin broadsheet, Suitarum Origo et Mores, was published in German vernacular a year later as Der Suiten/welche sich Jesuiten nennen (‘The Suiten, who call themselves Jesuits’) in 1569. The broadsheet portrays an ‘unholy’ alliance between the papal clergy and the Jesuits in what appears to be an original concept. ‘Suiten’ was a play on the name of Jesuits by taking Jesus out of the name (Spinks, 2009, p. 109, note 15). Therefore, the broadsheet aimed to criticise and undermine the Counter-Reformation agenda. Its publication in Latin also suggests that it was also designed to be read by the clergy as a satirical critique.

The focal point of the woodcut on the broadsheet is the papal sow and a dog, situated at the top-central position. Their diabolical union that created the Jesuits was symbolised by their muzzles almost touching. The drooling sow with the crown of the papacy has given birth to hybrid canine-swine offspring representing the Jesuits with the head of a dog, a wolf’s tail, and the body and hooves of a pig. The print states that the dog-father was born from a she-wolf depicted behind the sow (marked letter C), acknowledging the fact that dogs had evolved from wolves. The text below states that the offspring ‘is the evil and harmful horde, which, to mock Jesus, call themselves Jesuits, though they don’t know Jesus at all’ (‘Dis ist die böss und schedlich rott/Die sich Jhesu Christo zu spot/Mit namen Jesuiten nenen/So sie doch Jhesum gar nicht kennn.’ Translation by Gerda Dinwiddie). The text further described the Jesuits as possessing the characteristics of all three animals:

The way a dog sits by his master’s table, nice and friendly, valiant and good, will not permit any strange fellow to come near, from pure wickedness, hatred, and is envious, so that he alone will have his place: Such little dogs are the Suiten, [they] know how to ingratiate themselves nicely, all gentle and friendly, as long as they are being acquainted with people in highest positions in the land. (‘Gleich wie ein Hund vors Herren tisch/Fein freundlich ist/ wacker und fetsch/Kein frömden Gsellen bey sich leidt/Aus lauter bosheit/ hass und neidt/ Damit er hab den platz alleint/Solch Hündlein die Suiten sein/Wissen sich fein zu schmeicheln ein/Können wol sanfft und freundlich sein/So lang bis sie werden bekandt Mit höchsten Leuten in dem Landt.’ Translation by Gerda Dinwiddie)

Anonymous, Suitarum Origo et Mores, 1568, Wittenberg,
Woodcut, 59.2 x 36.4 cm sheet size,
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin,
Latin Edition,
Signed M. Franciscus Raphael, Poeta laureatus.


They were said to have a wolfish nature:

For like the wolf sneaks into pen and stable to the sheep and strangles them all, the Suiten also in a wolfish bad habit and custom are able to masterly hide and adorn their predatory heart and stingy back (Denn wie der Wolff in Pferch und Stall/Zun Schafen schleicht und würgt sie all.’ So können die Suiten auch/ Nach Wölffscher unart und brauch/ Ir raubisch hers und geisig ruükn/ Gar meisterlich bergen und schmückn Translation by Gerda Dinwiddie).

In this way, the broadsheet paints the Jesuits as having a duplicitous nature with the predatory character of a wolf on the inside, and the friendliness of a dog on the exterior.

The large pope sow recalls the motif of the Judensau (‘Jewish sow’), which is characterised by a large sow being suckled by Jews. This was a common motif that was almost exclusively German and could be seen on the exterior of Wittenberg’s town church, the same city in which the print was published (Madigan, 2005, pp. 387-88). The pope was identified as Pope Paul IV using his original name ‘Caraff’ (Gian Pietro Carafa, 1476-1559) (Paintner, 2011, p. 411). Paul IV, who was pope between 1559-1565, was known for his harsh measures against Protestants (Linder, 2008, p. 113). The pope is further portrayed with a spiral of excrement on top of the papal tiara, desanctifying the sacred emblem of the papacy. Excrement was associated with demonic pollution and was a reoccurring motif in print usually associated with fools and the peasantry (Hsia, 1991, p. 121. See Chapter 8 in Grössinger, 2002, pp. 171-83). Ulinka Rublack states that Reformers would smear excrement on their opponent’s doors, thereby bringing this motif to real life (Rublack, 2017, p. 53).

Judensau,
Woodcut, fifteenth century
Source: wikimedia

The dog-father (who possibly represents the founder of the Order of Jesus – Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)) and the rest of the clergy were portrayed in prayer for the safe deliverance of this blasphemous alliance as ‘the sow had pain and suffering, because of her prurient fruit, which already was cursed inside her body’ (‘Hete die alt Saw schmerzen und leid/Ob irer unzehlichen (unseligen) frucht/Die schon im Leibe war verflucht.’ Translation by Gerda Dinwiddie). The depravity of such an alliance was emphasised by snake-haired Furies acting as wet nurses to the litter of puppy piglets. The diabolical offspring of an unholy alliance further drew in the poison from the Furies. The combination of these motifs served as symbols of demonic associations and were used as part of the visual campaign in pictorial prints that Othered perceived enemies.

The print uses symmetry to divide the print into thirds. Looking down the woodcut from left to right, the puppy-pig offspring are shown to increase in age. A Lutheran church is shown desecrated by a junior puppy-pig hybrid offspring on the centre-left (Kunzle, 1973, p. 31). Their older siblings are portrayed in a schoolhouse on the centre-right. The schoolhouse shows dog-headed and pig-headed instructors at opposing lecterns. They have been identified as the two most influential academics at Ingolstadt University: Dutch Jesuit, Peter (or Petrus) Canisius (1521-1597), with the head of a dog – a likely play on his name – and Martin Eisengrein (1535-1578) as a drooling pig (Spinks, 2009, p. 116; Schmidt, 2006, p. 172). The image of the schoolhouse recalls Georg Pencz’s Die widersprüchlichen Predigten (‘The Contradicting Sermons’), published in 1529, where a room was shown divided between two preachers – a reformed and papal preacher bidding for the attention of the congregation (Scribner, 1981, pp. 196-97). This comparison elicits the discord between existing faculty as Jesuits took over senior positions within Ingolstadt University (Modley, 1998, p. 145-46). By 1588, the Jesuits had taken over the entire arts faculty (Thomas, 2010, p. 122). Eisengrein acted as a mediator between the two factions, which points to the purpose of the broadsheet (Modley, 1998, pp. 145-46). The Jesuit college was also particularly interested in recruiting converted instructors from Lutheran universities (Thomas, 2010, p. 121). Eisengrein, himself, converted to Catholicism in 1558, which no doubt drew the ire of Lutherans (Spinks, 2009, p. 116).

Anonymous, Suitarum Origo et Mores, 1568, Wittenberg, Detail
Woodcut, 59.2 x 36.4 cm sheet size,
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin,
Latin Edition,
Signed M. Franciscus Raphael, Poeta laureatus.

The chaotic scene of the schoolhouse also satirises the Jesuit attempt to convert people to Catholicism within Germany through education. They had established twenty-two colleges along the Rhineland by the time of the Thirty Years’ War in the seventeenth century (Wilson, 2009, p. 29). Canisius was a Dutch missionary who was devoted to returning Catholicism to the German lands and led the establishment of the Jesuit colleges (Jensen, 1992, p. 208; Wiesner-Hanks, 2006, p.174). His foreign status like many of the earlier Jesuits further drew the irritation of the German Protestant movement (Hsia, 1989, p. 48). The broadside states the dog-headed Canisius ‘barks out his poisonous teaching,’ (‘Vall rausser sein giftige lehr’) turning students into savages, underscored by the scene marked ‘L’ with a man being attacked by a group of dogs. This scene further recalls the biblical passage: ‘Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me’ (Psalm 22.16). The image is paralleled with a reference to the demon-possessed swine that were drowned by Jesus in Mark 5.1-13, suggesting that the Jesuits are the demonic-possessed swine (Kunzle, 1973, p. 31).

Returning to the schoolhouse, excrement was depicted on Canisius’ open book and the book of a puppy-pig hybrid sitting on the floor. This quite literally equated Jesuit teaching with excrement. This motif could also quite likely be in response to the popularity of Canisius’ three catechisms, after Loyola drew up a program of teaching for Canisius (Thomas, 2010, p. 141; Julia, 2003, p. 262). Again, mocking the ill teaching of the Jesuits, the text reads as if coming from Eisengrein:

Also, it would be fine, if they would roll around in puddles and faeces, and if they would swallow up such things, it would be the best feeding. This and a lot of other such ribaldry, which I do not want to put here, does the epicurean swine spit out, and it is supposed to be pure wisdom (Auch sey es fein wenn sie sich süln/In pfützen und im Kotumbwüln/ (herumwühlen) Und wenn sie den gleich schlängen ein/So werds ir beste mästung sein. Solch und dergleichen zotten viel/Die ich hieher nicht setzen wil/Spith aus das Epicurisch Schwein/Und solt doch eitel Weisheit sein. Translation by Gerda Dinwiddie).

This passage was illustrated by the canine-piglet hybrids outside the school consuming their faeces, in other words, Jesuit teaching (figure H).

Bibliography


Grössinger, Christa, Humour and Folly in Secular and Profane Prints of Northern Europe, 1430-1540, London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 2002.

Hall, James, Dictionary of Subject and Symbols in Art, Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books, 2008.

Hsia, R. Po-chia, Social Discipline in the Reformation Central Europe 1550-1750, London: Routledge, 1989.

Hsia, R. Po-Chia, ‘Jews as Magicians in Reformation Germany’, in Sander L. Gilman and Steven T. Katz (eds.), Anti-Semitism in Times of Crisis, New York: New York University Press, 1991, pp. 115-40.

Jensen, De Lamar, Reformation Europe: Age of Reform and Revolution, Lexington, Massachusetts: D.C. Heath and Company, 1992.

Julia, Dominique, ‘Reading and the Counter-Reformation’, in Gugliemo Cavallo and Roger Chartier (eds.), A History of Reading in the West, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2003, pp. 238-296.

Kunzle, David, The Early Comic Strip: Narrative Strips and Picture Stories in European Broadsheets from c.1450 to 1825, vol. 1, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973.

Linder, Robert Dean, The Reformation Era, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing, 2008.

Madigan, Kevin, ‘Judensau’, in Richard S. Levy (ed.), Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution, Vol 1: A-K, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2005, pp. 387–88.

Modley, Susan Spruell, ‘Confessionalizing the Curriculum: The Faculties of Arts and Theology at the Universities of Tübingen and Ingolstadt in the Second Half of the Sixteenth Century’, PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1998.

Paintner, Ursula, ‘Des Papsts neue Creatur’: antijesuitische Publizistik im deutschsprachigen Raum, 1555-1618, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2011.

Rublack, Ulinka, Reformation Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Schmidt, Suzanne Kathleen Karr, ‘Art-A User’s Guide: Interactive and Sculptural Printmaking in the Renaissance,’ PhD, Yale University, 2006.

Scribner, Robert W. For the Sake of Simple Folk: Popular Propaganda for the German Reformation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

Smith, Jeffrey Chipps, ‘German Art in the Sixteenth Century: An Introduction,’ in Michael Eissenhauer (ed.), Renaissance & Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach, Munich: Prestel, exh. cat. 2016, pp. 28-58.

Spinks, Jennifer, Monstrous Births and Visual Culture in Sixteenth-Century Germany, London: Brookfield, Vt: Pickering & Chatto, 2009.

Stewart, Alison G. ‘Man’s Best Friend? Dogs and Pigs in Early Modern Germany,’ in Pia F Cuneo and Alison G Stewart (eds), Animals and Early Modern Identity, Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014.

Thomas, Andrew L. A House Divided: Wittelsbach Confessional Court Cultures in the Holy Roman Empire, c. 1550-1650, Leiden: Brill, 2010.

Wiesner-Hanks, Merry, Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Wilson, Peter H. The Thirty Years War: Europe’s Tragedy, Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s