Welcome to The Riddle Ages!

Welcome to The Riddle Ages! The aim of this website is to introduce you to several hundred poetic riddles — composed and written down from the 7th- through 10th-centuries — which record the minutiae of daily life and worldly wisdom in early medieval England. They tell us that onions could be the butt of a rude joke, cats were then (as now) fiercely independent, and violence did not go unquestioned when swords were given the chance to speak. Because they exist in two languages, Old English and Latin, these riddles are rarely brought into conversation with each other and some are only known by specialists. This website brings the variety of the early medieval riddle tradition to light, through original texts, translations and commentaries that unpack literary and cultural information. Enjoy!

How to use this site

Our "highlight collections" include the Old English riddles of the Exeter Book and the anonymous Latin poems known as the Bern Riddles and the Lorsch Riddles. You will find information about the collection, texts, translations and commentaries for every riddle in these highlight collections. Texts and translations of all the Latin riddles of Aldhelm, Boniface, Eusebius and Tatwine are also available, along with information about each collection as a whole. We are currently in the process of adding the Latin riddles of the 4th/5th-century North African poet Symphosius to the site, so stay tuned for more information about this influential source collection! We have also made a home for guests to translate early medieval riddles into other languages, and currently have several Exeter Book riddle translations in Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian; Indonesian; and Spanish. You can view all of this material by clicking through the "Riddle Collections" tab at the top of the page.

Recent Announcements

Best Teaching Aid Award

26Jun2021

The Riddle Ages is very grateful to be the recipient of the International Society for the Study of Early Medieval England's award for Best Teaching Aid 2021. Thank you, ISSEME!

URL: https://isseme.org/2021/06/23/isseme-publication-awards-2021/

The Riddle Ages Youtube channel

14Jun2021

The Riddle Ages has a Youtube channel! You can watch recordings of the Early Medieval Identities research seminar on this playlist. Enjoy!

Online Research Seminar

29Mar2021

You can now watch recordings of the Early Medieval Identities online research seminar on Youtube.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsh2wMcrNRiyWmeKBiONbllnqJgTdb0kT

Location: Birmingham