Medieval Poetry

As manuscript paper was so expensive in medieval times, most of the surviving poetry is religious, the main exception to this being the poem songs of the Troubadours which sang of courtly love.

Most of the surviving verse was set to music and were effectively ballads. Because Latin held such a sway over the educated classes this is the language most commonly used for the poems.

Following on from the medieval ages we get the Renaissance period and it is useful to consider what that brought into play as a direct comparison to what went before:

1. A growth in the use of the vernacular or the language of the common people.

2. Epic stories set in the local area dealing with legend and history and designed to create a national identity.

3. A freedom from the strictures of Latin allowed new techniques and structures to develop. This was particularly strong for German poetry as that language was less influenced by the sway of the Latin language.

It is worth mentioning "Chanson de geste". These epic poems appeared at the dawn of French literature and espoused heroic deeds. They spoke of Charles Martel, Charlemagne and Louis the Pious with a strong emphasis on the battles against the Moors and the Saracens.

Over time the historical and military matters declined to be replaced by more fantastic stories with monsters, giants and magic.