Vagrants is a... Definition, importance, history and interesting facts


2018-03-19 11:35:53




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Medieval literature – the phenomenon that almost no one is interested. In schools not learn, and yet it is as rich and varied as literature of a later time. In the Middle ages there were such genres as romance, and delicate poetry of the troubadours, sang the love of a beautiful lady, or the heroic epic. Was Saga, which retold folk legends and myths. Was sharp-tongued urban literature, which gave rise to fables and anecdotes.

Then there was the poetry of vagrants – it is bold and cheeky, it is simply cheerful, and sometimes melancholy. In these verses the authors sang of free life and its delights, ridiculed the greed and hypocrisy. The most famous of their creativity drinking song Gaudeamus, which eventually turned into a student anthem.

The story of the formation of medieval culture will begin with a brief description of what the vagrants, and the meaning of the word, which they were called.

Scientists hobo

Translated from the Latin “Vagant” is “wandering”. The first vagrants were members of the clergy: priests without parish and the monks without a monastery. Later became known as wandering students. With no profession, no roof over your head, these students in large groups traveled through Europe. They moved from University to University, to study them with science.

vagrants it

Vagrants – not only students, but also poets. Being literate people, educated, who knew Latin, they stood out against the background of ignorance, which in the Middle ages reigned everywhere.


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The Church of vagrants did not like, as they often made fun of her in his poems. The priests threatened the poets afterlife punishments, were called blasphemers and Libertines. Neutral and even positive connotation of the word "vagrants" did not suit them, so they came up with another nickname - galiardi (Goliath – Satan, or gula – a huge SIP, which meant the drunks and bawlers).

However, even this name, the poets managed to change everything in their favor. They stated that the biblical Goliath – not Satan, and the giant, who defeated David. What is “Vagant” in this case? A Descendant Of Goliath. He's as powerful as Goliath, and such as he, a glutton and a master of composing poems (some authors attributed Goliath these qualities).

How was organized the European universities

Vagant it

In the Middle ages, science was not divided into the Humanities and the natural. The science was “generally” scientists “generally”. But the specialization of universities was more narrow than it is now. For example, in Bologna, he studied law in the Sorbonne – theology, Salerno – medicine. And what could I do to greedy for knowledge, the student who wanted to study both medicine and law? Only go in the right University – to go on foot, because no public transport was not there.

The Task was facilitated by the fact that all of Europe was the international language - Latin. All educated people had known her. In ordinary European languages, and then watched with mild disdain as the rough tongues of the common people. But thanks to the Latin student from Swabia and the student from England was easy to understand each other and could in a difficult moment to share with each other and clothing, and a crust of bread.

How to live the vagrants

This hobo's life was not uncommon in medieval Europe, especially in the 11th to 13th centuries. While many had their homes and went on to win “infidel Saracens’ Palestine or have become pilgrims to venerate Christian shrines. Here Vagant – pilgrim, is science.

what Vagant

Traveled vagrants always big companies – alone it would be difficult to survive. In such an environment was almost fraternal relationship based on mutual revenue and selfless help.

As a rule, students vagrants were poor, had no roof over his head and couldn hearty lunch. When they get to the desired goal – the University began many years of hard cramming. At the end of training the few who stand, waiting for the exam – twelve-hour debate with twenty different professors. But to sit quietly and learn the vagrants didn't like. They were loyal to the Bacchus-God of wine and glorified the joy of life – the booze, pubs, dices (dice). Many of the students, the learning process never ended, stretching for life.

The common people did not like the vagrants, because they believed that these violent types of trouble. They are not always allowed on the bed, and sometimes drove away from the house, fearing that they didn't steal anything from the property.

Drinking poems

meaning of the word vagrants

Vagrants definitions such as “nonsense” or “the tramp” is not afraid, but rather proud of them. Among their poems a lot of fun, riotous, singing of wine, Bacchus, booze, gambling. The most famous work of this kind – “all-drunk Liturgy”. This is a parody of a Church mass. In her poetic hymns interspersed with prayers written in prose.

Anti-clerical satire

vagrants definition

“all-drunk Liturgy” is also a sample of anticlerical satire. The poetry of vagrants often ridiculed the Church and the priests, especially given the Pope and other senior clergy. In his poems the vagrants condemned their greed, cruelty, wickedness and hypocrisy. There was even a parody of the gospel, which was called “the gospel according to Mark of Silver”.

About love and life

Vagant wrote many poems on love and philosophical themes. Love is in their view far from sublime romance, chanting “ladies, the most beautiful in the world”. Women in this kind of poetry – one of the joys of life, like wine, and beautiful of all – love is carnal.

Vagrants – the philosophers, but of a special kind. On the one hand, their philosophy was close to epicurean: to avoid suffering, to enjoy life. On the other hand, their poetry often sounds a gloomy note: life is mortal, life is full of vices, the fate of the ruthless.

Here is an excerpt from the famous poem of vagantov philosophical topic:


The Face of your moon.

Forever changes



The Day is not saved.

That's evil

The good

Whimsical will;

And noble

And void

You're changing the percentage. (Translated by M. Gasparov)

In 1936, this poem was put to music by German composer Carl Orff. With this powerful, dramatic rooms began and ended with the cantata "Carmina Burana". «Fortuna» - one of the most popular musical works in history, it sounds in the movies, television shows and even in advertising. Everyone heard it at least once in your life.

But what kind of strange name – “Carmina Burana"?

"Carmina Burana"

the poetry of vagrants

In 1803 In the Bavarian monastery of one was found a manuscript of the 13th century, which contained more than three hundred poems. She received the title Carmina Burana ("songs of Burano"). This manuscript – the largest and the most famous collection of poetry of vagantov. It is divided into four parts: satirical songs, love poems, drinking songs, theatrical performances. There is a section of “Extras”, in which all that was not included in the previous – for example, songs in German (the primary language of the collection – Latin).

The Beginning of the manuscript, which contains the hymns is lost.

In addition to «Fortuna», there are other works from the collection Carmina Burana, which became popular. For example, drinking song In Taberna ("tavern"), which was sung by many folk and rock musicians. Another famous poem – Hospita in Gallia (“In the French side”), loosely translated by Lev Ginzburg – “Farewell to Swabia”. In 1976 David Tukhmanov took it for the album “On the wave of my memory” and set to music. Get the song “Of vagrants”, which was performed by Igor Ivanov.


The Famous song Gaudeamus was not always the student anthem. This drinking song of the vagrants came about in the 13th century. Its homeland is either the University of Paris, or Heidelberg University in Germany. Several centuries "Gaudeamus” no one had recorded, lyrics were transmitted orally. It was first printed in 1776. Five years later, in 1781, writer Kindleben creative process the text “the Gaudeamus” by giving it the form in which it exists to this day.

“Gaudeamus” - work in which little solemnity. On the contrary, it is typically the lyrics to Vagant. This song encourages to have fun, yet not over the life that so short and fleeting.

Known vagrants

Most of the poems in such collections like Carmina Burana or less known “the Cambridge manuscript”, wrote anonymous. But still the names of several poets, vagrants have been preserved for centuries and reached our days.

vagrants and what is the meaning of the word AR:












Alin Trodden - author of the article, editor
"Hi, I'm Alin Trodden. I write texts, read books, and look for impressions. And I'm not bad at telling you about it. I am always happy to participate in interesting projects."

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