Medieval poetry
Because most of what we have was written down by clerics, much of extant medieval poetry is religious
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

. The chief exception is the work of the troubadours and the minnesänger, whose primary innovation was the ideal of courtly love
Courtly love
Courtly love was a medieval European conception of nobly and chivalrously expressing love and admiration. Generally, courtly love was secret and between members of the nobility. It was also generally not practiced between husband and wife....

. Among the most famous of secular poetry is Carmina Burana
Carmina Burana
Carmina Burana , Latin for "Songs from Beuern" , is the name given to a manuscript of 254 poems and dramatic texts mostly from the 11th or 12th century, although some are from the 13th century. The pieces were written principally in Medieval Latin; a few in Middle High German, and some with traces...

, a manuscript collection of 254 poems. Twenty-four poems of Carmina Burana were later set to music by German composer Carl Orff
Carl Orff
Carl Orff was a 20th-century German composer, best known for his cantata Carmina Burana . In addition to his career as a composer, Orff developed an influential method of music education for children.-Early life:...

 in 1936.

Examples of medieval poetry

Old English
Old English language
Old English or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southeastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century...

 religious poetry includes the poem Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

by Cynewulf
Cynewulf is one of twelve Anglo-Saxon poets known by name today, and one of four whose work survives today. He is famous for his religious compositions, and is regarded as one of the pre-eminent figures of Old English Christian poetry. Posterity knows of his name by means of runic signatures that...

 and the poem The Dream of the Rood, preserved in both manuscript
A manuscript or handwrite is written information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way...

 form and on the Ruthwell Cross
Ruthwell Cross
The Ruthwell Cross is a stone Anglo-Saxon cross probably dating from the 8th century, when Ruthwell was part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria; it is now in Scotland. Anglo-Saxon crosses are closely related to the contemporary Irish high crosses, and both are part of the Insular art tradition...

. We do have some secular poetry; in fact a great deal of medieval literature was written in verse, including the Old English epic Beowulf
Beowulf , but modern scholars agree in naming it after the hero whose life is its subject." of an Old English heroic epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature.It survives in a single...

. Scholars are fairly sure, based on a few fragments and on references in historic texts, that much lost secular poetry was set to music, and was spread by traveling minstrel
A minstrel was a medieval European bard who performed songs whose lyrics told stories of distant places or of existing or imaginary historical events. Although minstrels created their own tales, often they would memorize and embellish the works of others. Frequently they were retained by royalty...

s, or bard
In medieval Gaelic and British culture a bard was a professional poet, employed by a patron, such as a monarch or nobleman, to commemorate the patron's ancestors and to praise the patron's own activities.Originally a specific class of poet, contrasting with another class known as fili in Ireland...

s, across Europe. Thus, the few poems written eventually became ballad
A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads were particularly characteristic of British and Irish popular poetry and song from the later medieval period until the 19th century and used extensively across Europe and later the Americas, Australia and North Africa. Many...

s or lays, and never made it to being recited without song or other music.

Medieval Latin literature

In medieval Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, while verse in the old quantitative meters
Meter (poetry)
In poetry, metre is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse. Many traditional verse forms prescribe a specific verse metre, or a certain set of metres alternating in a particular order. The study of metres and forms of versification is known as prosody...

 continued to be written, a new more popular form called the sequence
Sequence (poetry)
A sequence is a chant or hymn sung or recited during the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist for many Christian denominations, before the proclamation of the Gospel. By the time of the Council of Trent there were sequences for many feasts in the Church's year.The sequence has always been sung...

 arose, which was based on accent
Accent (poetry)
In poetry, accent refers to the stressed syllable of a polysyllabic word, or a monosyllabic word that receives stress because it belongs to an "open class" of words or because of "contrastive" or "rhetorical" stress. In basic analysis of a poem by scansion, accents are represented with a slash...

ual metres in which metrical feet were based on stressed
Stress (linguistics)
In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word, or to certain words in a phrase or sentence. The term is also used for similar patterns of phonetic prominence inside syllables. The word accent is sometimes also used with this sense.The stress placed...

A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter. A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus with optional initial and final margins .Syllables are often considered the phonological "building...

s rather than vowel length
Vowel length
In linguistics, vowel length is the perceived duration of a vowel sound. Often the chroneme, or the "longness", acts like a consonant, and may etymologically be one, such as in Australian English. While not distinctive in most dialects of English, vowel length is an important phonemic factor in...

. These metres were associated with Christian
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...


However, much secular poetry was also written in Latin. Some poems and songs, like the Gambler's Mass (officio lusorum) from the Carmina Burana
Carmina Burana
Carmina Burana , Latin for "Songs from Beuern" , is the name given to a manuscript of 254 poems and dramatic texts mostly from the 11th or 12th century, although some are from the 13th century. The pieces were written principally in Medieval Latin; a few in Middle High German, and some with traces...

, were parodies
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

 of Christian hymns, while others were student melodies: folksongs, love songs and drinking ballads. The famous commercium song Gaudeamus igitur is one example. There are also a few narrative poems of the period, such as the unfinished epic
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

Ruodlieb is a fragmentary romance in Latin verse written by an unknown southern German poet who flourished about 1030. He was almost certainly a monk of the Bavarian abbey of Tegernsee....

, which tells the story of a knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

's adventures.


  • Carmina Burana
    Carmina Burana
    Carmina Burana , Latin for "Songs from Beuern" , is the name given to a manuscript of 254 poems and dramatic texts mostly from the 11th or 12th century, although some are from the 13th century. The pieces were written principally in Medieval Latin; a few in Middle High German, and some with traces...

  • Cambridge Songs
    Cambridge Songs
    The Cambridge Songs are a collection of Goliardic medieval Latin poems found on ten leaves of the Codex Cantabrigiensis , now at the Cambridge University Library. The songs as they survive are copies made shortly before or after the Norman Conquest...

  • goliard
    The Goliards were a group of clergy who wrote bibulous, satirical Latin poetry in the 12th and 13th centuries. They were mainly clerical students at the universities of France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and England who protested the growing contradictions within the Church, such as the failure of the...

  • Hiberno-Latin
    Hiberno-Latin, also called Hisperic Latin, was a learned sort of Latin literature created and spread by Irish monks during the period from the sixth century to the tenth century.-Vocabulary and Influence:...

  • Gregorian chant
    Gregorian chant
    Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic liturgical music within Western Christianity that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other ritual services...

    • Dies Irae
      Dies Irae
      Dies Irae is a thirteenth century Latin hymn thought to be written by Thomas of Celano . It is a medieval Latin poem characterized by its accentual stress and its rhymed lines. The metre is trochaic...

    • Pange Lingua
      Pange Lingua
      Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium is a hymn written by St Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of Corpus Christi . It is also sung on Maundy Thursday, during the procession from the church to the place where the Blessed Sacrament is kept until Good Friday...

Medieval Latin poets

  • St Ambrose
    Aurelius Ambrosius, better known in English as Saint Ambrose , was a bishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was one of the four original doctors of the Church.-Political career:Ambrose was born into a Roman Christian family between about...

  • St Thomas Aquinas
    Thomas Aquinas
    Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

  • The Archpoet
    The Archpoet , or ' , is the name given to a 12th century anonymous author of ten poems from medieval Latin literature, the most famous being his "Confession" found in the manuscript...

  • St Bernard of Cluny
    Bernard of Cluny
    Bernard of Cluny was a Benedictine monk of the first half of the 12th century, a poet, satirist, and hymn-writer, author of the famous verses De contemtu mundi, "On Contempt for the World"....

  • St Bonaventure
    Saint Bonaventure, O.F.M., , born John of Fidanza , was an Italian medieval scholastic theologian and philosopher. The seventh Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, he was also a Cardinal Bishop of Albano. He was canonized on 14 April 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV and declared a Doctor of the...

  • St Columba
    Saint Columba —also known as Colum Cille , Colm Cille , Calum Cille and Kolban or Kolbjørn —was a Gaelic Irish missionary monk who propagated Christianity among the Picts during the Early Medieval Period...

  • Dante Alighieri
    Dante Alighieri
    Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

  • St Hildegard of Bingen
    Hildegard of Bingen
    Blessed Hildegard of Bingen , also known as Saint Hildegard, and Sibyl of the Rhine, was a German writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath. Elected a magistra by her fellow nuns in 1136, she founded the monasteries of Rupertsberg in 1150 and...

  • Hrabanus Maurus
  • Paul the Deacon
    Paul the Deacon
    Paul the Deacon , also known as Paulus Diaconus, Warnefred, Barnefridus and Cassinensis, , was a Benedictine monk and historian of the Lombards.-Life:...

  • Petrarch
    Francesco Petrarca , known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism"...

  • Peter of Blois
    Peter of Blois
    Peter of Blois or Petrus Blesensis was a French poet and diplomat who wrote in Latin. Peter studied law in Bologna and theology in Paris...

  • Thomas of Celano
  • Walafrid Strabo
    Walafrid Strabo
    Walafrid, alternatively spelt Walahfrid, surnamed Strabo , was a Frankish monk and theological writer.-Theological works:...

  • Walter of Châtillon
    Walter of Chatillon
    Walter of Châtillon was a 12th-century French writer and theologian who wrote in the Latin language. He studied under Stephen of Beauvais and at the University of Paris. It was probably during his student years that he wrote a number of Latin poems in the Goliardic manner that found their way...

  • Chaucer

Medieval vernacular literature

One of the features of the renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 which marked the end of the medieval period is the rise in the use of the vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 or the language of the common people for literature. The compositions in these local languages were often about the legends and history of the areas in which they were written which gave the people some form of national identity. Epic poems, saga
Sagas, are stories in Old Norse about ancient Scandinavian and Germanic history, etc.Saga may also refer to:Business*Saga DAB radio, a British radio station*Saga Airlines, a Turkish airline*Saga Falabella, a department store chain in Peru...

s, chansons de geste and acritic songs
Acritic songs
The Acritic songs are the heroic or epic poetry that emerged in the Byzantine Empire probably in the 9th century. The songs celebrated the exploits of the Akrites, the frontier guards defending the eastern borders of the Byzantine Empire. The historical background was the almost...

 (songs of heroic deeds) were often about the great men, real or imagined, and their achievements like Arthur
King Arthur
King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

, Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 and El Cid
El Cid
Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar , known as El Cid Campeador , was a Castilian nobleman, military leader, and diplomat...


The earliest recorded European vernacular literature
Vernacular literature
Vernacular literature is literature written in the vernacular—the speech of the "common people".In the European tradition, this effectively means literature not written in Latin...

 is that written in the Irish language
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

. Given that Ireland had escaped absorption into the Roman empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, this had time to develop into a highly sophisticated literature with well-documented formal rules and highly organised Bardic schools. The result was a large body of prose and verse recording the ancient myths
Irish mythology
The mythology of pre-Christian Ireland did not entirely survive the conversion to Christianity, but much of it was preserved, shorn of its religious meanings, in medieval Irish literature, which represents the most extensive and best preserved of all the branch and the Historical Cycle. There are...

 and sagas of the Gaelic-speaking people of the island, as well as poems on religious, political and geographical themes and a body of nature poetry.

The formality which Latin had gained through its long written history was often not present in the vernaculars which began producing poetry, and so new techniques and structures emerged, often derived from oral literature. This is particularly noticeable in the Germanic languages
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

, which, unlike the Romance languages
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

, are not direct descendants from Latin. Alliterative verse
Alliterative verse
In prosody, alliterative verse is a form of verse that uses alliteration as the principal structuring device to unify lines of poetry, as opposed to other devices such as rhyme. The most commonly studied traditions of alliterative verse are those found in the oldest literature of many Germanic...

, where many of the stressed words in each line start with the same sound, was often used in the local poetry of that time. Other features of vernacular poetry of this time include kennings, internal rhyme
Internal rhyme
In poetry, internal rhyme, or middle rhyme, is rhyme that occurs in a single line of verse.Internal rhyme occurs in the middle of a line, as exemplified by Coleridge, "In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud" or "Whiles all the night through fog-smoke white," in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." ...

, and slant rhyme. Indeed Latin poetry traditionally used meter
Meter (poetry)
In poetry, metre is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse. Many traditional verse forms prescribe a specific verse metre, or a certain set of metres alternating in a particular order. The study of metres and forms of versification is known as prosody...

 rather than rhyme
A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds in two or more words and is most often used in poetry and songs. The word "rhyme" may also refer to a short poem, such as a rhyming couplet or other brief rhyming poem such as nursery rhymes.-Etymology:...

 and only began to adopt rhyme after being influenced by these new poems.

The Matter of France

  • chanson de geste
    Chanson de geste
    The chansons de geste, Old French for "songs of heroic deeds", are the epic poems that appear at the dawn of French literature. The earliest known examples date from the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, nearly a hundred years before the emergence of the lyric poetry of the trouvères and...

  • paladin
    The paladins, sometimes known as the Twelve Peers, were the foremost warriors of Charlemagne's court, according to the literary cycle known as the Matter of France. They first appear in the early chansons de geste such as The Song of Roland, where they represent Christian martial valor against the...

  • Charlemagne
    Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

  • Charles Martel
    Charles Martel
    Charles Martel , also known as Charles the Hammer, was a Frankish military and political leader, who served as Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian kings and ruled de facto during an interregnum at the end of his life, using the title Duke and Prince of the Franks. In 739 he was offered the...

  • Saracen
    Saracen was a term used by the ancient Romans to refer to a people who lived in desert areas in and around the Roman province of Arabia, and who were distinguished from Arabs. In Europe during the Middle Ages the term was expanded to include Arabs, and then all who professed the religion of Islam...

  • Chanson de Roland
  • Garin de Monglane
    Garin de Monglane
    Garin de Monglane, or Montglane, the creation of Conrad von Stöffler in 1280, is a fictional aristocrat who gives his name to the second cycle of Old French chansons de geste, La Geste de Garin de Monglane...

  • Doon de Mayence
    Doon de Mayence
    Doon de Mayence was a fictional hero of the Old French chansons de geste, who gives his name to the third cycle of the Charlemagne romances dealing with the feudal revolts.There is no single unifying theme in the geste of Doon de Mayence...

  • Huon de Bordeaux
  • Renaud de Montauban
    Renaud de Montauban
    Renaud de Montauban, was a fictional hero who was introduced to literature in a 12th century Old French chanson de geste also known as Les Quatre Fils Aymon . His exploits form part of the Doon de Mayence cycle of chansons...

The Matter of Rome

  • Roman d'Alixandre (Alexander Romance)
  • Roman de Troie
  • Roman de Thèbes
  • Eneas
    The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of roughly 10,000 lines in dactylic hexameter...

  • Troilus and Criseyde
    Troilus and Criseyde
    Troilus and Criseyde is a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer which re-tells in Middle English the tragic story of the lovers Troilus and Criseyde set against a backdrop of war in the Siege of Troy. It was composed using rime royale and probably completed during the mid 1380s. Many Chaucer scholars regard it...


  • Wace
    Wace was a Norman poet, who was born in Jersey and brought up in mainland Normandy , ending his career as Canon of Bayeux.-Life:...

  • Chrétien de Troyes
    Chrétien de Troyes
    Chrétien de Troyes was a French poet and trouvère who flourished in the late 12th century. Perhaps he named himself Christian of Troyes in contrast to the illustrious Rashi, also of Troyes...

  • Marie de France
    Marie de France
    Marie de France was a medieval poet who was probably born in France and lived in England during the late 12th century. She lived and wrote at an undisclosed court, but was almost certainly at least known about at the royal court of King Henry II of England...

  • Guillaume de Machaut
    Guillaume de Machaut
    Guillaume de Machaut was a Medieval French poet and composer. He is one of the earliest composers on whom significant biographical information is available....

  • Jean de Meung
  • Christine de Pizan
    Christine de Pizan
    Christine de Pizan was a Venetian-born late medieval author who challenged misogyny and stereotypes prevalent in the male-dominated medieval culture. As a poet, she was well known and highly regarded in her own day; she completed 41 works during her 30 year career , and can be regarded as...

Medieval English poetry

  • Middle English
    Middle English
    Middle English is the stage in the history of the English language during the High and Late Middle Ages, or roughly during the four centuries between the late 11th and the late 15th century....

  • Geoffrey Chaucer
    Geoffrey Chaucer
    Geoffrey Chaucer , known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages and was the first poet to have been buried in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey...

    • The Canterbury Tales
      The Canterbury Tales
      The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer at the end of the 14th century. The tales are told as part of a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims as they travel together on a journey from Southwark to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at...

  • William Langland
    William Langland
    William Langland is the conjectured author of the 14th-century English dream-vision Piers Plowman.- Life :The attribution of Piers to Langland rests principally on the evidence of a manuscript held at Trinity College, Dublin...

    • Piers Plowman
      Piers Plowman
      Piers Plowman or Visio Willelmi de Petro Plowman is the title of a Middle English allegorical narrative poem by William Langland. It is written in unrhymed alliterative verse divided into sections called "passus"...

  • Everyman
    In literature and drama, the term everyman has come to mean an ordinary individual, with whom the audience or reader is supposed to be able to identify easily, and who is often placed in extraordinary circumstances...

  • Sir Orfeo
    Sir Orfeo
    Sir Orfeo is an anonymous Middle English narrative poem, retelling the story of Orpheus as a king rescuing his wife from the fairy king.-History and Manuscripts:...

  • Book of the Civilized Man
    Book of the Civilized Man
    Book of the Civilized Man by Daniel of Beccles . Also known as Liber Urbani or Urbanus Magnus or Civilized Man. It is believed to be the first English courtesy book , dating probably from the beginning of the 13th century...

  • The Pearl Poet
    • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
      Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
      Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century Middle English alliterative romance outlining an adventure of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table. In the poem, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious warrior who is completely green, from his clothes and hair to his...

Medieval German poetry

  • minnesang
    Minnesang was the tradition of lyric and song writing in Germany which flourished in the 12th century and continued into the 14th century. People who wrote and performed Minnesang are known as Minnesingers . The name derives from the word minne, Middle High German for love which was their main...

  • Walther von der Vogelweide
    Walther von der Vogelweide
    Walther von der Vogelweide is the most celebrated of the Middle High German lyric poets.-Life history:For all his fame, Walther's name is not found in contemporary records, with the exception of a solitary mention in the travelling accounts of Bishop Wolfger of Erla of the Passau diocese:...

  • The Nibelungenlied
    The Nibelungenlied, translated as The Song of the Nibelungs, is an epic poem in Middle High German. The story tells of dragon-slayer Siegfried at the court of the Burgundians, how he was murdered, and of his wife Kriemhild's revenge....


  • Aneirin Y Gododdin
    The Gododdin were a Brittonic people of north-eastern Britain in the sub-Roman period, the area known as the Hen Ogledd or Old North...

  • Taliesin
    Taliesin was an early British poet of the post-Roman period whose work has possibly survived in a Middle Welsh manuscript, the Book of Taliesin...

  • Llywarch Hen
    Llywarch Hen
    Llywarch Hen was a 6th-century prince of the Brythonic kingdom of Rheged, a ruling family in the Hen Ogledd or 'Old North' of Britain...

  • Dafydd ap Gwilym
    Dafydd ap Gwilym
    Dafydd ap Gwilym , is regarded as one of the leading Welsh poets and amongst the great poets of Europe in the Middle Ages. Dafydd ap Gwilym (c. 1315/1320 – c. 1350/1370), is regarded as one of the leading Welsh poets and amongst the great poets of Europe in the Middle Ages. Dafydd ap Gwilym...


  • Metrical Dindshenchas
  • Lebor Gabála Érenn
    Lebor Gabála Érenn
    Lebor Gabála Érenn is the Middle Irish title of a loose collection of poems and prose narratives recounting the mythical origins and history of the Irish from the creation of the world down to the Middle Ages...

  • Táin Bó Cúailnge
    Táin Bó Cúailnge
    is a legendary tale from early Irish literature, often considered an epic, although it is written primarily in prose rather than verse. It tells of a war against Ulster by the Connacht queen Medb and her husband Ailill, who intend to steal the stud bull Donn Cuailnge, opposed only by the teenage...

  • Contention of the bards
    Contention of the bards
    The Contention of the Bards was a literary controversy of early 17th century Gaelic Ireland, lasting from 1616 to 1624 , in which the principal bardic poets of the country wrote polemical verses against each other and in support of their respective patrons.There were thirty contributions to the...

  • see also: Irish poetry
    Irish poetry
    The history of Irish poetry includes the poetries of two languages, one in Irish and the other in English. The complex interplay between these two traditions, and between both of them and other poetries in English, has produced a body of work that is both rich in variety and difficult to...

Further reading

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