Beowulf is an Old English heroic epic poem of unknown authorship, dating as recorded in the Nowell Codex manuscript from between the 8th and the early 11th century, set in Denmark and Sweden. Commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature, Beowulf has been the subject of much scholarly study, theory, speculation, discourse, and, at 3182 lines, has been noted for its length.
Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (c. 1040 – July 10, 1099), known as El Cid Campeador, was a Castilian nobleman, a military leader and diplomat who, after being exiled, conquered and governed the city of Valencia. Rodrigo Díaz was educated in the royal court of Castile and became the alférez, or chief general, of Alfonso VI, and his most valuable asset in the fight against the Moors. He is considered the national hero of Spain.
In Jewish folklore, a golem is an animated anthropomorphic being created entirely from inanimate matter. In modern Hebrew the word golem literally means "rock," but can also mean "fool," "dumb," or even "stupid. " It meant amorphous, unformed material in Psalms and medieval writing. The most famous golem narrative involves Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the late 16th century chief rabbi of Prague.
The Holy Grail is a sacred object figuring into literature and certain Christian traditions, most often identified with the dish, plate, or cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper and said to possess miraculous powers.
King Arthur is a legendary British leader who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early sixth century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and his historical existence is debated and disputed by modern historians. The sparse historical background of Arthur is gleaned from various sources, including the Annales Cambriae, the Historia Brittonum, and the writings of Gildas.
Pope Joan is a legendary female Pope who supposedly reigned for a few years some time during the Middle Ages. The story first appeared in the writings of 13th-century chroniclers, and subsequently spread through Europe. It was widely believed for centuries, though modern historians and religious scholars consider it fictitious, perhaps deriving from historicized folklore regarding Roman monuments or from anti-papal satire.
Robin Hood is a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor," assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men. " Robin and many of his men wore Lincoln green clothes. There are many songs and stories about him, starting in medieval times, and continuing through more modern literature, films, and television series.
Tannhäuser was a German Minnesänger and poet. Historically, his biography is obscure beyond the poetry, which dates between 1245 and 1265. Socially, he presumed familial lineage with the old nobles, the Lords of Thannhausen, residents in their castle at Tannhausen, near Ellwangen and Dinkelsbühl; moreover, the historical Tannhausen castle, is at Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz. Tannhäuser was an active courtier at the court of Frederick II of Austria (1230-1246.
A unicorn (from Latin unus 'one' and cornu 'horn') is a mythological creature. Though the modern popular image of the unicorn is sometimes that of a horse differing only in the horn on its forehead, the traditional unicorn also has a billy-goat beard, a lion's tail, and cloven hooves—these distinguish it from a horse. Marianna Mayer has observed (The Unicorn and the Lake), "The unicorn is the only fabulous beast that does not seem to have been conceived out of human fears.
Puck is a mythological fairy or mischievous nature sprite. Puck is also a generalised personification of land spirits. Whilst being an aspect of Robin Goodfellow and the Green Man, he is sometimes also considered hob and Will-o'-the-wisp.
Sir Richard Whittington (sometimes Richard Whytyngdone) (c. 1354–1423) was a medieval merchant and politician, and the real-life inspiration for the pantomime character Dick Whittington. Sir Richard Whittington was Lord Mayor of London and a Member of Parliament. In his lifetime he financed a number of public projects, such as drainage systems in poor areas of medieval London, and a hospital ward for unmarried mothers.
The Wild Hunt (also known variously as Woden's Hunt, Herod's Hunt, Cain's Hunt, the Devil's Dandy Dogs, Gabriel's Hounds, and in North America Ghost Riders) is an ancient folk myth prevalent across Northern, Western and Central Europe. The fundamental premise in all instances is the same: a phantasmal group of huntsmen with the s of hunting, horses, hounds, etc. , in mad pursuit across the skies or along the ground, or just above it.
The Nibelungenlied, translated as The Song of the Nibelungs, is an epic poem in Middle High German. The story tells of dragon-slayer Siegfried at the court of the Burgundians, how he was murdered, and of his wife Kriemhild's revenge. The Nibelungenlied is based on pre-Christian Germanic heroic motifs, which include oral traditions and reports based on historic events and individuals of the 5th and 6th centuries.
The legends of Prester John (also Presbyter Johannes), popular in Europe from the 12th through the 17th centuries, told of a Christian patriarch and king said to rule over a Christian nation lost amidst the Muslims and pagans in the Orient. Written accounts of this kingdom are variegated collections of medieval popular fantasy.
The Wandering Jew is a figure from medieval Christian folklore whose legend began to spread in Europe in the thirteenth century. The original legend concerns a Jew who taunted Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion and was then cursed to walk the earth until the Second Coming.
European dragons are legendary creatures in folklore and mythology among the overlapping cultures of Europe. In European folklore, a dragon is a serpentine legendary creature. The Latin word draco, as in constellation Draco, comes directly from Greek δράκων, (drákōn, gazer). The word for dragon in Germanic mythology and its descendants is ', meaning snake or serpent. In Old English wyrm means "serpent", draca means "dragon".
Hereward the Wake (c. 1035 – 1072), known in his own times Hereward the Outlaw as or Hereward the Exile, was an 11th-century Anglo-Saxon leader involved in resistance to the Norman conquest of England. According to legend, Hereward's base was in the Isle of Ely, and he roamed The Fens, covering North Cambridgeshire, Southern Lincolnshire and West Norfolk, leading popular opposition to William the Conqueror.
Godiva, often referred to as Lady Godiva (fl. 1040–1080), was an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who, according to legend, rode naked through the streets of Coventry, in England, in order to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband on his tenants. The name "Peeping Tom" for a voyeur originates from later versions of this legend in which a man named Tom had watched her ride and was struck blind or dead.
The Children's Crusade is the name given to a variety of fictional and factual events which happened in 1212 that combine some or all of these elements: visions by a French or German boy; an intention to peacefully convert Muslims in the Holy Land to Christianity; bands of children marching to Italy; and children being sold into slavery.
Roland (died 15 August 778) was a Frankish military leader under Charlemagne who became one of the principal figures in the literary cycle known as the Matter of France. Historically, Roland was military governor of the Breton March, with responsibility for defending the frontier of Francia against the Bretons.
The Mabinogion is the title given to a collection of eleven prose stories collated from medieval Welsh manuscripts. The tales draw on pre-Christian Celtic mythology, international folktale motifs, and early medieval historical traditions. While some details may hark back to older Iron Age traditions, each of these tales is the product of a highly developed Welsh narrative tradition, both oral and written.
Jaufre Rudel was the Prince of Blaye (Princes de Blaia) and a troubadour of the early–mid 12th century, who probably died during the Second Crusade, in or after 1147. He is noted for developing the theme of "love from afar" (amor de lonh or amour de loin) in his songs. Very little is known about his life, but a reference to him in a contemporary song by Marcabru describes him as being oltra mar—across the sea, probably on the Second Crusade in 1147.
The Fountain of Youth is a legendary spring that reputedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks of its waters. Tales of such a fountain have been recounted across the world for thousands of years, appearing in Herodotus, the Alexander romance, and the stories of Prester John. Stories of a similar waters were also evidently prominent among the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean during the Age of Exploration, who spoke of the restorative powers of the water in the mythical land of Bimini.