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 and translations, alongside commentaries that unpack literary and cultural information. Enjoy!

How to use this site

We are steadily adding new riddles as we work through translating them. The Exeter Book riddles are in Old English, while the riddles of Aldhelm, Tatwine, Eusebius and Boniface, and the anonymous collections known as the Bern and Lorsch riddles are in Latin. As we add new material, you will be able to find the original texts and their translations, as well as commentaries on the texts, by clicking through the “Riddle Collections” tab at the top of the page.

Recent Announcements

The Riddle Ages Youtube channel

14Jun

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

Early Medieval Identities online research seminar

21Mar

We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting an online research seminar, with a guest speaker each month from March-June:

  • 24th March, 3pm: Susan Oosthuizen, “Early Medieval Collective Identity in the Context of the Longue Duree"
  • 21st April, 3pm: Marit Ronen, “Intersections of Social Identity and Disability in Early Medieval England"
  • 26th May, 3pm: Miller Oberman, “The Other in Self: Embodied Medieval trans/lation in Contemporary Practice"
  • 30 June, 3pm: Mary Rambaran-Olm, “Riddles in the Dark: Hadrian's Lost Contributions to Early England"
Free tickets are available via Eventbrite.

Website-wide Edits

24Nov

A quick announcement that we are in the process of editing all content from the old website to replace the term "Anglo-Saxon" with "early medieval." We are doing this partly because of important discussions within the field of early medieval studies that are informed by scholars working on race and racism (you can read more about that here), and partly because this new website will include content with a wider scope, including riddle traditions that circulated in different parts of Europe.