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Published on Jun 27, 2009
Carmina Burana, Latin for "Songs from Benediktbeuern", is the name given to a manuscript of 254 poems and dramatic texts from the 11th or 12th century, although some are from the 13th century. The pieces were written almost entirely in Medieval Latin; a few in Middle High German, and some with traces of Old French or Provençal. Many are macaronic, a mixture of Latin and German or French vernacular. They were written by students and clergy when the Latin idiom was the lingua franca across Italy and western Europe for travelling scholars, universities and theologians. Most of the poems and songs appear to be the work of Goliards, clergy (mostly students) who sent up and satirized the Church. The collection preserves the works of a number of poets, including Peter of Blois, Walter of Châtillon and the anonymous one, referred to as the Archpoet. The collection was found in 1803 in the Bavarian monastery of Benediktbeuern and is now housed in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich. Along with the Carmina Cantabrigiensia, the Carmina Burana is the most important collection of Goliard and vagabond songs. The manuscripts reflect an 'international' European movement, with songs originating from the following countries, Occitanie, France, England, Scotland, Switzerland, Aragon, Castille, Germany.