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 Bern and Lorsch Riddles, which were written in Latin. You will find commentaries for every riddle in these highlight collections. We are also adding riddle texts and translations of further Latin collections as we work through them. These include Boniface's riddles (already up!), and those by Aldhelm, Tatwine and Eusebius. We have also made a home for guests to translate early medieval riddles into other languages, including Spanish (with more to come!). 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

26Jun

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

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.