Reply To: Do some exercises in Italian


    Do you know if there were any bardic traditions in Italy?

    Hello there,

    Vast swathes of northern Italy – Gallia Cisalpina – were part of the Celtic-speaking world for many centuries before becoming Romanised. It has even been speculated as to whether the great Roman poet Virgil may have been of Celtic origin. Leaving that aside, it is not unreasonable to think that these Celtic cultures of Northern Italy, before Romanisation, may have also had a bardic tradition of some sort. However, I don’t think anything particularly “Celtic” survived into the Roman, and then later Italian, traditions, although I stand to be corrected. I suppose it depends on how you define a bard – all societies have had, and still have, poets, praise singers, writers and artists and certainly one of the greatest figures in European literature, Dante Alighieri, was of course from Florence.

    I don’t think the Celts got quite as far south as Calabria, there you would probably be looking at the influence of ancient Greek culture – Greek is still spoken in some parts of southern Italy to this very day, and, naturally, Homer was Greek.

    Let’s not also forget that the Mediaeval bards of British/Welsh tradition were also influenced by the languages and literatures of the Classical world, Judaeo-Christian traditions, and later Mediaeval Norman/French literature, most likely they would have not been identical to their Bronze and Iron Age antecedents.