Medieval Folklore and Popular Culture

I. Comprehensive Bibliographies

II. Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

III. Internet Resources

IV. Journals and Series

V. National and Regional Folklore Traditions

VI. Folklore Methodology

VII. Märchen, Folktales, and Tale-Types

VIII. Motifs and Motif-Indices

IX. Medieval Popular Culture and Religion

X. Ballads

XI. Etiological Legends

XII. Magic and Superstition

XIII. Sententiae, Proverbs, and Proverb Collections

XIV. Riddles and Riddle Contests

XV. Joca monachorum and Related Dialogues

I. Comprehensive Bibliographies

Simon J. Bronner, “Folklore,” Oxford Bibliographies

Volkskundliche Bibliographie (1917-38) ; Internationale Volkskundliche Bibliographie/International Folklore Bibliography (Berlin, 1941- ).  Partial online version in next item.

Bibliography of Folklore Online. Includes data from the Internationale Volkskundliche Bibliographie from 1985-1998.

Katharine Smith Diehl, Religions, Mythologies, Folklores: An Annotated Bibliography, 2nd ed. (New Brunswick, 1962). 

Wilfred Bonser, A Bibliography of Folklore as Contained in the First Eighty Years of the Publications of the Folklore Society (London, 1961).

Wilfrid Bonser, A Bibliography of Folklore for 1958-1967. A Subject Index to Volumes 69-78 of the Journal Folklore, Folklore Society Publications 130 (London, 1969).

Merle Simmons, Folklore Bibliography, Indiana University Folklore Institute Monograph Series 28-33 (Bloomington IN, and Philadelphia, 1973-81).

Abstracts of Folklore Studies (Austin TX, 1973-75).

Alan Dundes, Folklore Theses and Dissertations in the United States (Austin TX, 1976). See Index of Subjects, s.v. “Middle Ages, folklore of.”

John Miles Foley, Oral-Formulaic Theory and Research: An Introduction and Annotated Bibliography (New York, 1985). Available in updated form on-line as Oral Tradition Bibliography.

Adrienne Mayor, “Bibliography of Classical Folklore Scholarship: Myths, Legends, and Popular Beliefs of Ancient Greece and Rome,” Folklore (April, 2000).

MLA International Bibliography

See also Jacques Berlioz et al., Identifier sources et citations (Turnhout, 1993), pp. 223-37.

II. Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Carl Lindahl, John McNamara, and John Lindow, Medieval Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs, 2 vols. (Santa Barbara, 2000; repr. in 1 vol., Oxford, 2002).   Includes an Index of Tale Types and an Index of Motifs as well as a general index.

Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens, 10 vols., ed. H. Bächtold-Stäubli (Berlin, 1927-42). The most comprehensive guide, not limited to German material. The website has a generous selection of articles online.

A Companion to Folklore, ed. Regina Bendix and Galit Hasan-Rokem (Malden MA, 2012).  E-Book-

Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend, 3rd ed., 2 vols., ed. Maria Leach (New York, 1972).

Encyclopedia of Folklore and Literature, ed. Mary Ellen Brown and Bruce A. Rosenberg (Santa Barbara CA, 1998).

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of World Folklore and Folklife, ed. William M. Clements, 4 vols. (Westport CT, 2006).

Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Beliefs, Customs, Tales, Music and Art, ed. Thomas A. Green (Santa Barbara CA, 1997). 

Charlie T. McCormick and Kim Kennedy White, Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Beliefs, Customs, Tales, Music, and Art, 3 vols., 2nd ed. (Santa Barbara CA, 2011).  

III. Internet Resources

Open Folklore (Indiana University and American Folklore Society) Datenbanken zur Europäischen Ethnologie / Volkskunde

Folklinks: Folk and Fairy-Tale Sites (D. L. Ashliman)

Folklore and Mythology: Electronic Texts (D. L. Ashliman)

Europäische Märchengesellschaft

IV. Folklore Journals and Series

Béaloideas, The Journal of the Folklore of Ireland Society (1928- ) 

Cultural Analysis: An Interdisciplinary Forum on Folklore and Popular Culture

Fabula: Journal of Folktale Studies 

Folklore Fellows Communications

Folklore: An Electronic Journal of Folklore

Medieval Folklore (1991- ). 

Journal of American Folklore. For an index see v. 101, no. 402 (1988), The Centennial Index: One Hundred Years of the Journal of American Folklore, ed. Michael Taft.

Oral Tradition 

V. National and Regional Folklore Traditions

(Note: National and regional folklore motif-indices are listed separately, see sect. VIII.)

British, Welsh, and Irish

Florence Baer, Folklore and Literature of the British Isles: An Annotated Bibliography (New York, 1986).

Jacqueline Simpson and Steve Roud, A Dictionary of English Folklore (Oxford, 2000).

D. L. Ashliman, A Guide to Folktales in the English Language: Based on the Aarne-Thompson Classification System (New York, 1987).

K. M. Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folktales in the English Language, 4 vols. (Bloomington IN, 1970-71).

Mark Amodio, Oral Poetics in Middle English Poetry (New York, 1994). 

“Folk Tales and Legends,” in Celtic Culture: An Encyclopedia, ed. John W. Koch (Santa Barbara CA, 2006) I, 755-61. 

Seán Ó Suílleabháin and Reidar Thoralf Christiansen, The Types of the Irish Folktale, Folklore Fellows Communications 188 (1963). 

Alan Bruford, Gaelic Folktales and Medieval Romances (Dublin, 1969).

Celtic Folklore and Christianity, ed. Patrick Ford (Santa Barbara CA, 1983).

D. Ó hOgain, Myth, Legend and Romance: An Encyclopedia of the Irish Folk Tradition (London, 1990).

Kenneth Jackson, The International Popular Tale and Early Welsh Tradition (Cardiff, 1961).


Paul Delarue and Marie-Louise Tenèze, Le conte populaire français: Catalogue raisonné des versions de France et des pays bas de langue française d’outre-mer … , 4 vols. (Paris, 1957-97).


Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens, ed. H. Bächtold-Stäubli, 10 vols. (Berlin, 1927-42). 

See also under sect. VII., Grimms’ Fairy Tales and German Märchen.


Giulio Berroni, Poesie, leggende, costumanze del medio evo, 2nd ed. (Modena, 1927). 

Alessandro Falassi, Italian Folklore: An Annotated Bibliography (New York, 1985).


Dan Ben-Amos, “Folklore,” Oxford Bibliographies.

Eli Yassif, Jewish Folklore: An Annotated Bibliography (New York, 1986).

Encyclopedia of Jewish Folklore and Traditions, ed. Rafael Patai and Haya Bar-Itzhak (Armonk NY, 2013). 

Folktales of the Jews: Tales from the Sephardic Dispersion, ed. Dan Ben-Amos (Philadelphia, 2006- ). 

Johann Andreas Eisenmenger, Rabinical Literature: Or, The Traditions of the Jews, Contained In Their Talmud And Other Mystical Writings …, 2 vols. (London, 1748). Vol. 1.  Vol. 2. 

Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews, 6 vols. (Philadelphia, 1909-38).

Theodore Gaster, Myth, Legend, and Custom in the Old Testament (New York, 1969).

Moses Gaster, Jewish Folk-Lore in the Middle Ages (London, 1887). 

Patricia G. Kirkpatrick, The Old Testament and Folklore Study, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Supplement Series 62 (Sheffield, 1988).

Galit Hasan-Rokem, Tales of the Neighborhood: Jewish Narrative Dialogues in Late Antiquity (Berkeley CA, 2003).

Galit Hasan-Rokem, Web of Life: Folklore and Midrash in Rabbinic Literature, trans. Batya Stein (Stanford CA, 2000).

Moses Gaster, Jewish Folklore in the Middle Ages (London, 1887). 

Moses Gaster, Studies and Texts in Folklore, Magic, Medieval Romance, Hebrew Apocrypha and Samaritan Archaeology, 3 vols. (London, 1925-28).

Raphael Patai, Studies In Biblical And Jewish Folklore (Bloomington IN, 1960). 

Daniel Sperber, Magic and Folklore in Rabbinic Literature (Ramat-Gan, 1994).

Eli Yassif, “The Transformations of Folk Tales into Literary Works in the Hebrew Literature of the Middle Ages,” Arv 46 (1990), 175-87. 

J. Trachtenberg, Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion (New York, 1939). 

Encyclopedia of Narrative Themes in Jewish Literature


John Lindow, Scandinavian Mythology: An Annotated Bibliography (New York, 1988).

John Lindow, “Mythology and Mythography,” in Old Norse-Icelandic Literature: A Critical Guide, ed. Carol J. Clover and John Lindow (Toronto, 2005), pp. 21-67. 

John Lindow, Scandinavian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, and Beliefs (New York, 2002). 

Andy Orchard, Norse Myth and Legend (London, 1997). 

Rudolf Simek, Dictionary of Northern Mythology (Cambridge, 1993). 

Scandinavian Folk Belief and Legend, ed, Reimund Kvideland and Henning K. Sehmsdorf (Minneapolis, 1988). 

VI. Folklore Methodology and Historiography

A Companion to FolkloreRegina F. Bendix and Galit Hasan-Rokem (Malden MA, 2012).

Linda Dégh, Narratives in Society: A Performer-Centered Study of Narration, Folklore Fellows Communications 255 (Helsinki, 1995).

Richard M. Dorson, The British Folklorists: A History (Chicago, 1968).

The Study of Folklore, ed. Alan Dundes (Englewood Cliffs NJ, 1965).

International Folkloristics, Classic Contributions by the Founders of Folklore, ed. Alan Dundes (Lanham MD, 1999).

Robert A. Georges and Michael Owen Jones, Folkloristics: An Introduction (Bloomington IN, 1995).

Alaric Hall, “The Orality of a Silent Age: The Place of Orality in Medieval Studies,” in Methods and the Medievalist: Current Approaches in Medieval Studies, ed. Marko Lamberg et al. (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2008), pp. 270-90.

Elizabeth Fine, The Folklore Text: From Performance to Print (1984). 

John Miles Foley, Singer of Tales in Performance (Bloomington IN, 1995). 

André Jolles, Einfache Formen: Legende, Sage, Mythe, Rätsel, Spruch, Kasus, Memorabile, Märchen, Witz (1930; rpt. Tübingen, 1972).

Kaarle Krohn, Folklore Methodology, trans. R. L. Welsch (Austin TX, 1971).

Medieval Folklore and Methodology:

John Lindow, “The Challenge of Folklore to Medieval Studies,” Humanities 7 (2018), 1-9.

Carl Lindahl, “Why Study Medieval Folklore?” Folklore Forum 13 (1980), 77-95. 

Oral Tradition In the Middle Ages, ed. W. F. H. Nicolaisen (Binghamton NY, 1995). 

Axel Olrik, Principles for Oral Narrative Research, trans. K. Wolf and J. Jensen (Bloomington IN, 1992).

Vladimir Propp, The Morphology of the Folktale, 2nd ed., trans. L. Scott (Austin TX, 1968).   Influential structuralist approach to folktale analysis by recurrent functions.

Bruce A. Rosenberg, “Folklore Methodology and Medieval Literature,” Journal of the Folklore Institute 13 (1976), 311-25.

Bruce A. Rosenberg, “Reconstructed Folktales as Literary Sources,” in Historical Studies and Literary Criticism, ed. J. McGann (Madison WI, 1986).

Bruce A. Rosenberg, “Medieval Popular Literature: Folkloric Sources,” in The Popular Literature of Medieval England, ed. Thomas J. Heffernan (Knoxville TN, 1985), pp. 61-84.

Bruce A. Rosenberg, Folklore and Literature: Rival Siblings (Knoxville TN, 1991).

Bruce A. Rosenberg, “Olrik’s Laws: A Judicial Review,” Folklore Forum 11 (1978), 152-62. 

David C. Rubin, Memory in Oral Traditions: The Cognitive Psychology of Epic, Ballads, and Counting-Out Rhymes (New York, 1995). 

Telling Tales: Medieval Narratives and the Folk Tradition, ed. Francesca Canadé Sautman (New York, 1998).

F. L. Utley, “Folklore, Myth, and Ritual,” in Critical Approaches to Medieval Literature, ed. Dorothy Bethurum (New York, 1960), pp. 82-109.

VII. Märchen, Folktales, and Tale-Types


Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson, The Types of the Folktale: A Classification and Bibliography, FFC 184 (Helsinki, 1964). The standard classification, now updated by Hans-Jörg Uther (following item); folktales are often cited by AT or ATU number.

Hans-Jörg Uther, The Types of International Folktales. A Classification and Bibliography, 3 vols., FFC No. 284-286 (2004).

Aarne-Thompson-Uther Classification

For other indices of tale types, see David S. Azzolina, Tale Type and Motif Indexes: An Annotated Bibliography (New York, 1987). 

Comprehensive Reference Works and Studies

The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales, ed. Jack Zipes (Oxford, 2002). 

A Companion to the Fairy Tale, ed. Hilda Ellis Davidson and Anna Chaudri (Cambridge, 2003). 

Folktales and Fairy Tales: Traditions and Texts from around the World, 2nd ed., 4 vols., ed. Anne E. Duggan, Donald Haase, and Helen J. Callow (Santa Barbara, 2016).  Includes “Bibliography and Resources,” pp. 1459-1528.

Kurt Ranke, ed., Enzyklopädie des Märchens: Handwörterbuch zur historischen und vergleichenden Erzählforschung, 15 vols. (Berlin, 1977-2015).   The website includes a list of subject headings (in both English and German); a concordance of AaTh tale-type numbers and titles of corresponding entries; searchable Indices of AT-Types, Motifs, Personal Names, Subject, and Entries; and an EM-OPAC bibliographical database

Stith Thompson, The Folktale (New York, 1946). .  Includes appendices listing folktale types and folk motifs.

D. L. Ashliman, Folk and Fairy Tales: A Handbook (Westport CT, 2004). 

Max Lüthi, Märchen, 7th ed., Sammlung Metzler 16 (Stuttgart, 1979). 

Max Lüthi, The European Folktale: Form and Nature, trans. J. D. Niles (Philadelphia, 1982).

Max Lüthi, Folktales and Reality (Bloomington IN, 1991). 


William Hansen, Ariadne’s Thread: A Guide to International Tales Found in Classical Literature (Ithaca, 2002). Includes indices of Ancient Sources; Tale Types and Motifs; and Subjects.

Graham AndersonGreek and Roman Folklore: A Handbook (Westport CT, 2006). 

Graham Anderson, Fairytale in the Ancient World (London, 2000). 


Formes médiévales du conte merveilleux, ed. Jacques Berlioz, Claude Bremond, and Catherine Velay-Vallantin (Paris, 1989).

Lutz Röhrich, Erzählungen des späten Mittelalters und ihr Weiterleben in Literatur und Volksdichtung bis zur Gegenwart. Sagen, Märchen, Exempel und Schwänke mit einem Kommentar, 2 vols. (Berne, 1962-67).

Telling Tales: Medieval Narratives and the Folk Tradition, ed. Francesca Canadé Sautman, Diana Conchado, and Giuseppe Carlo Di Scipio (New York, 1998).

Jan Ziolkowski, Fairy Tales from before Fairy Tales: The Medieval Latin Past of Wonderful Lies (Ann Arbor, 2007). 

Grimms’ Fairy Tales and German Märchen

Hans-Jörg Uther, Deutscher Märchenkatalog. Ein Typenverzeichnis (Münster, 2015). 

Brüder Grimm, Kinder- und Hausmärchen: nach der grossen Ausgabe von 1857, textkritisch revideiert, kommentiert und durch Register geschlossen, ed. Hans-Jörg Uther, 4 vols. (Munich, 1996). 

Hans-Jörg Uther, Handbuch zu den “Kinder- und Hausmärchen” der Brüder Grimm: Entstehung – Wirkung – Interpretation (Berlin, 2008). 

Johannes Bolte and Georg Polívka, Anmerkungen zu den Kinder- und Hausmärchen der Brüder Grimm, 5 vols. (Leipzig, 1913-32). 

VIII. Motifs and Motif-Indices

Bibliography and Literature:

Heda Jason, Motif, Type and Genre, FFC no. 273 (Helsinki, 2000), includes a bibliography of motif-indices at pp. 131-219.

Hans-Jörg Uther, “Type- and Motif-Indices 1980-1995: An Inventory,” Asian Folklore Studies, 55, no. 2 (1996), 299-317. 

David S. Azzolina, Tale Type and Motif Indexes: An Annotated Bibliography (New York, 1987).

Archetypes and Motifs in Folklore and Literature: A Handbook, ed. Jane Garry and Hasan El-Shamy (Armonk, NY, 2005). .  Table of contents.

For discussion and critique of the motif-index as a tool of folklore studies, see also the special issue of Journal of Folklore Research 34 no. 3 (1997).

See also Dan Ben-Amos, “The Concept of Motif in Folklore,” in Folklore Studies in the Twentieth Century: Proceedings of the Centenary Conference of the Folklore Society (Woodbridge, 1980).


Stith Thompson, Motif-Index of Folk Literature: A Classification of Narrative Elements in Folktales, Ballads, Myths, Fables, Mediaeval Romances, Exempla, Fabliaux, Jest-books, and Local Legends, revised and enlarged ed., 6 vols. (Bloomington, IN, 1955-58).  An alphabetical index in vol. 6 supplements the topical organization. The online version does not include the bibliography or index volume, but the entire set is available in pdf at Hathi Trust.  There is now an online search-engine:

MOMFER:  Meertens Online Motif Finder.  See Folgert Karsdorp et al., “MOMFER: A Search Engine of Thompson’s Motif-Index of Folk Literature,” Folklore 126.1 (April 2015), 37-52. 

The following motif-indices focusing upon particular regions or literatures employ the topical arrangement and numbering system established by Thompson.

E. W. Baughman, Type and Motif Index of the Folktales of England and North America (The Hague, 1966)

Gerald Bordman, Motif-Index of the English Metrical Romances, Folklore Fellows Communications, 190 (Helsinki, 1963).

T. P. Cross, Motif-Index of Early Irish Literature (Bloomington, IN, 1953).

Dorothy Ann Bray, A List of Motifs in the Lives of the Early Irish Saints, Folklore Fellows Communications 252 (Helsinki, 1992).

Helmut Birkhan et al., Motif-Index of German Secular Narratives from the Beginning to 1400, 7 vols.,ed. Karin Lichtblau and Christa Tuczay (Berlin, 2005-6). . v. 1. Matière de Bretagne : Albrecht, Jüngerer Titurel-Lancelot 2 — v. 2. Matière de Bretagne: Lancelot 3-Wolfram von Eschenbach, Titurel — v. 3. Miscellaneous romances. Oriental romances. Chansons de geste — v. 4. Heroic epic. Macre and novellas — v. 5. Romances of antiquity — v. 6.1. Index : keywords and names — v. 6.2. Index : motifs.

I. M. Boberg, Motif-Index of Early Icelandic Literature.

A. Guerreau-Jalabert, Index des motifs narratifs dans les romans Arthuriens français en vers (XIIe-XIIIe siècle) (Geneva, 1992). In English.

E. H. Ruck, An Index of Themes and Motifs in Twelfth-Century French Arthurian Poetry (New York, 1991).

P. M. Kennedy, Motif-Index of Medieval French Epics from Anonymous Sources in the Early 12th Century (diss. Univ. of North Carolina, 1966).

Harriet Goldberg, Motif-Index of Medieval Spanish Folk Narratives, Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies 162 (Tempe AZ, 1998). 

J. E. Keller, Motif-Index of Mediaeval Spanish Exempla (Knoxville, 1949).

E. J. Neugaard, Motif-Index of Medieval Catalan Folktales (Binghamton, NY, 1993).

D. P. Rotunda, Motif-Index of the Italian Novella in Prose (New York, 1942).

C. G. Loomis, White Magic: An Introduction to the Folklore of Christian Legend (Cambridge, MA, 1948). Index of miracles and folk motifs in saints’ lives.

Motif Codes for Boccaccio’s Decameron

N. D. Noy, Motif-Index of Talmudic-Midrashic Literature (diss. Indiana Univ.; University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, 1954).

H. Schwarzbaum, “International Folklore Motifs in Petrus Alphonsi’s ‘Disciplina Clericalis’,” Sefarad (1961-63).

Natascha Würzbach and Simone M. Salz, Motif Index of the Child Corpus: The English and Scottish Popular Ballad, trans. Gayna Wall (Berlin, 1995).

Frederic C. Tubach, Index exemplorum: A Handbook of Medieval Religious Tales, Folklore Fellows Communications 204 (Helsinki, 1969). For bibliography on medieval exempla, see Berlioz, Identifier sources et citations, pp. 211-21.

Agiografia e culture popolari / Hagiography and Popular Cultures. Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Verona (28-30 ottobre 2010), ed. Pietro Boglioni (Bologna, 2012). 

Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World, trans. Hélène Iswolsky (Bloomington IN, 1984).

Sabine Baring-Gould, Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, 2 vols. (London, 1868). ; (1901 ed.).

La culture populaire au moyen âge: études présentées au Quatrième Colloque de l’Institut d’études médiévales de l’Université de Montréal 2-3 avril 1977, ed. Pierre Boglioni (Montreal, 1979).

Francesca Canadé Sautman, La Religion du quotidien: rites et croyances populaires de la fin du moyen âge (Florence, 1995).

Etienne Delaruelle, La piété populaire au moyen âge (Turin, 1980).

Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England c. 1400-c.1580 (New Haven CT, 1992).

Heinrich Günter, Die christliche Legende des Abenlandes (Heidelberg, 1910).

Aron Gurevich, Categories of Medieval Culture, trans. G. L. Campbell (London, 1985).

Aron Gurevich, Medieval Popular Culture: Problems of Belief and Perception, trans. J. M. Bak and P. A. Hollingsworth (Cambridge, 1988).

Ronald Hutton, The Rise and Fall of Merry England: The Ritual Year, 1400-1700 (Oxford, 1994).

Ronald Hutton, The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain (Oxford, 1996).

C. Gaignebet and J.-D. Lajoux, Art profane et religion populaire au moyen âge (Paris, 1985).

R. Manselli, La religion populaire au moyen âge: Problémes de méthode et d’histoire (Quebec, 1975).

Jean-Claude Schmitt, “‘Religion populaire’ et culture folklorique,” Annales ESC 31 (1976), 941-53. 

R. N. Swanson, Catholic England: Faith, Religion and Observance before the Reformation (Manchester, 1993).

André Vauchez, The Laity in the Middle Ages: Religious Beliefs and Devotional Practices (Notre Dame, 1993).

Roger Vaultier, Folklore pendant la Guerre de Cent Ans: d’après les lettres de rémission du Trésor des Chartes (Guénégaud, 1965).

Carl Watkins, “‘Folklore’ and ‘Popular Religion’ in Britain during the Middle Ages,” Folklore 115 (2004), 140-50. 

A. R. Wright, British Calendar Customs, ed. T. E. Lones, 3 vols., Publications of the Folklore Society 97, 102, 106 (London, 1936-40). 

X. Ballads

W. Edson Richmond, Ballad Scholarship: An Annotated Bibliography, Garland Folklore Bibliographies 4 (New York, 1989).

Philip E. Bennett and Richard F. Green, The Singer And The Scribe: European Ballad Traditions and European Ballad Cultures (Amsterdam, 2004).

9. Arbeitstagung über Fragen des Typenindex der europäischen Volksballaden vom 21. bis 23. August 1978 in Esztergom/Ugarn: veranstaltet von der Kommission für Volksdichtung der Société Internationale d’Ethnologie et de Folklore (SIEF): Tagungsprotokoll, ed. Rolf W. Brednich et al. (Budapest, 1979).

English and Scottish Ballads, ed. Frances James Child, 4 vols. (Boston, 1885-86).

Lowry Charles Wimberly, Folklore in the English & Scottish Ballads (Chicago, 1928).

The Ballad and Oral Tradition, ed. Joseph Harris,Harvard English Studies 17 (Cambridge MA, 1991).

Larry E. Syndergaard, English Translations of the Scandinavian Medieval Ballads: An Analytical Guide and Bibliography (Turku, 1995).

Vésteinn Ólason, The Traditional Ballads of Iceland: Historical Studies, Rit (Stofnun Árna Magnússonar á Íslandi) 22 (Reykjavík, 1982).

XI. Etiological Legends

Oskar Dähnhardt, Natursagen, 4 vols. (Leipzig, 1907-12). Vol. 1: Sagen zum Alten Testament.

Seán Ó Súilleabháin, “Etiological Stories in Ireland,” in Medieval Literature and Folklore Studies, ed. J. Mandel and B. Rosenberg (New Brunswick NJ, 1970), pp. 257-74. 

XII. Magic and Superstitions

Valerie Flint, The Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe (Princeton NJ, 1990).

R. Kieckhefer, Magic in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, 1989).

Magical Practice in the Latin West: Papers from the International Conference held at the University of Zaragoza 30 Sept.–1 Oct. 2005, ed. Richard L. Gordon and Francisco Marco Simón (Leiden, 2010). 

Karen Louise Jolly, Catharina Raudvere, and Edward Peters, The Athlone History of Witchcraft and Magic in Europe, vol. 3: The Middle Ages (London, 2002).

Henry McQuire, ed., Byzantine Magic (Washington, D.C., 1995).

Lynn Thorndike, History of Magic and Experimental Science, 8 vols. (New York, 1923-58).

Sophie Page, Magic in Medieval Manuscripts (Toronto, 1994). 

Bernadette Filotas, Pagan Survival, Superstitions and Popular Cultures in Early Medieval Pastoral Literature, Studies and Texts 151 (Toronto, 2005).

Dieter Harmening, Superstitio: Überlieferungs- und theoriegeschichtliche Untersuchungen zur kirchlich-theologischen Aberglaubensliteratur des Mittelalters (Berlin, 1979).

Iona Opie and Moira Tatem, A Dictionary of Superstitions (Oxford, 1992).

Jean-Claude Schmitt, Les ‘superstitions’, in Histoire de la France religieuse, 1: Des dieux de la Gaule à la Papauté d’Avignon (des origines au XIVe siècle, ed. Jacques Le Goff and René Rémond (Paris, 1988).

ORB: Basic Bibliography on Magic

Medieval Geomancy: An Annotated Bibliography

XIII. Sententiae, Proverbs and Proverb Collections

Bibliographies and Guides

Introduction to Paremiology: A Comprehensive Guide to Proverb Studies, ed. Hrisztalina Hrisztova-Gotthardt, Melita Aleksa Varga (Berlin, 2014). 

Wolfgang Mieder, International Proverb Scholarship: An Annotated Bibliography (New York, 1982).  Alphabetical by author, with subject and proverb indices.

Wolfgang Mieder,  “International Bibliography of New and Reprinted Proverb Collections,” Proverbium: Yearbook of International Proverb Scholarship (1984- ).

Wolfgang Mieder, “International Proverb Scholarship: An Updated Bibliography,” Proverbium: Yearbook of International Proverb Scholarship (1984- ). 

Wolfgang Mieder, International Bibliography of Explanatory Essays on Individual Proverbs and Proverbial Expressions (Bern, 1977).  Alphabetical by keword.

Otto E. Moll, Sprichwörter-Bibliographie (Frankfurt am Main, 1958). Organized by region or language group, with a concluding section on general topics.

Wilfred Bonser and Thomas Arthur Stephens, Proverb Literature: A Bibliography of Works pertaining to Proverbs, Folklore Society Publications 89 (London, 1930). 

Archer Taylor, The Proverb and an Index to “The Proverb”. With an Introduction and Bibliography by Wolfgang Mieder (New York, 1985). 

Wolfgang Mieder, Proverbs in Literature: An International Bibliography (Bern, 1978).  Divided into General Studies and Specific Studies (alphabetical by author or title).

Wolfgang Mieder and Janet Sobieskim, Proverbs and the Social Sciences: An Annotated International Bibliography, Phraseologie und Parömiologie, 12 (Baltmannsweiler, 2003). 

Wolfgang Mieder, Investigations of Proverbs, Proverbial Expressions, Quotations and Clichés: A Bibliography of Explanatory Essays which Appeared in Notes and Queries (1849-1983) (Bern, 1984).  Alphabetical by keword.

Wolfgang Mieder, Proverb Iconography: An International Bibliography (Frankfurt, 1999). 

Historische Formelhafte Sprache und Traditionen des Formulieren: Bibliographie

De Proverbio Electronic Journal and Publisher. On-line volumes include various supplements to Mieder’s proverb bibliographies, and classic essays by folklorists such as Archer Taylor as well as original contributions.


Berlioz et al., Identifier sources et citations, pp. 103-110, including medieval vernacular proverbs.

A. G. Rigg, “Proverbs and Epigrams,” in Medieval Latin, ed. Mantello and Rigg, pp. 569-73.

Elisabeth Schulze-BusackerLes proverbes et sentences, Typologie des sources du moyen âge occidental (forthcoming).

Malcolm Jones, “Folklore Motifs in Late Medieval Art I: Proverbial Follies and Impossibilities,” Folklore 100 (1989), 201-17. 

Major Collections and Studies

Latin and Multiple Language:

Thesaurus proverbiorum medii aevi = Lexikon der Sprichwörter des romanisch-germanischen Mittelalters, 13 vols. (Berlin, 1995- ). .  Frequently cites Latin sources and analogues for proverbs in Romance or Germanic languages.

Samuel Singer, Sprichwörter des Mittelalters, 3 vols. (Bern, 1944-47).  Covers proverbs in Romance and Germanic languages.

Hans Walther, Proverbia Sententiaeque latinitatis medii aevi, 8 vols. (Göttingen, 1963-83).

J. Werner, Lateinische Sprichwörter und Sinnsprüche des Mittelalters aus Handschriften gesammelt, 2nd ed., ed. Peter Flury (Heidelberg, 1966). 

J. Georg Bregenzer, Lateinische und deutsch-lateinische proverbia aus der St. Galler Handschrift 841 (Zurich, 1972). 

Hubertus Kudla, Lexikon der lateinischen Zitate: 3500 Originale mit Übersetzungen und Belegstellen (Munich, 2001).

Lutz Röhrich, Das grosse Lexikon der Sprichwörtlichen Redensarten (1991).

Aurifodina universalis scientiarum divinarum atque humanarumed. A. V. P. Roberto, 4 vols. in 2 (Paris, 1888)  other editions include Aurifodina universalis …, 8 vols. (Lyon, 1865-67). 

Ede Margalits, Florilegium prouerbiorum uniuersae Latinitatis–prouerbia, prouerbiales sententiae, gnomae classicae, mediae et infimae Latinitatis (Budapest, 1895). 

Sybille Hallik, Sententia und Proverbium: Begriffsgeschichte und Texttheorie in Antike und Mittelalter (Weimar, 2007). 

Tradition des proverbes et des exempla dans l’Occident médiéval / Die Tradition der Sprichwörter und exempla im Mittelalter, ed. Hugo O. Bizzarri and Martin Rohde, Scrinium Friburgense 24 (Berlin, 2009). 

Barry Taylor, “Medieval Proverb Collections: The West European Tradition,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 55 (1992), 19-35. 

Elisabeth Schulze-Busacker, “The Paremiological Tradition in Medieval Culture,” Proverbium 17 (2000) 349-68.

Elisabeth Schulze-Busacker, “La place du proverbe dans la mentalité médiévale,” Paremia 6 (1997), 565-76. 

Wolfgang Mieder and Alan Dundes, ed., The Wisdom of Many: Essays on the Proverb (New York, 1989).

François Suard and Claude Buridant, Richesse de proverbe, vol. 1: Le proverbe au Moyen Age (1964). 

Roman (Classical Latin):

A. Otto, Die Sprichwörter und sprichwörtlichen Redensarten der Römer (Leipzig, 1890). 

Nachträge zu A. Otto Sprichwörter und sprichwörtliche Redensarten der Römer, ed. Reinhard Häussler (Hildesheim, 1968). 

Proverbes et sentences dans le monde romain: actes de la table-ronde du 26 novembre 1997, ed. F. Biville (Lyon, 1999). 

Germanic and Romance:  

See Singer and Thesaurus Proverbiorum.

Old English and Old Icelandic:

Susan Deskis, Beowulf and the Medieval Proverb Tradition, Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies 155 (Tempe AZ, 1996). 

Richard L. Harris, Concordance to the Proverbs and Proverbial Materials in the Old Icelandic Sagas

Carolyne Larrington, A Store of Common Sense: Gnomic Theme and Style in Old Icelandic and Old English Wisdom Poetry (Oxford, 1993).

Johanna Kramer, “The Study of Proverbs in Anglo-Saxon Literature: Recent Scholarship, Resources for Research, and the Future of the Field,”  Literature Compass 6.1 (2009). 

Middle English:

C. Lewis, “XXI. Proverbs, Precepts, and Monitory Pieces,” in A Manual of the Writings in Middle English 1050-1500, ed. J. Burke Severs (New Haven CT, 1993), 2957-3048, 3349-408. 

B. J. Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases from English Writings Mainly before 1500 (Cambridge, MA, 1968).

B. J. Whiting, Chaucer’s Use of Proverbs (Cambridge MA, 1934): 

Old and Middle French, Provençal:

Elisabeth Schulze-Busacker, Proverbes et expressions proverbiales dans la littérature narrative du moyen âge français: Recueil et analyse (Paris, 1985). 

Marie-Thérèse Lorcin, Les Recueils de proverbes français (1160-1490). Sagesse des nations et langue de bois (Paris, 2011). 

James Woodrow Hassell, Jr., Middle French Proverbs, Sentences and Proverbial Phrases (Toronto, 1982). 

Giuseppe Di Stefano, Nouveau dictionnaire historique des locutions. Ancien Français, Moyen Français, Renaissance, 2 vols. (Turnhout, 2015). 

Wendy Pfeffer, Proverbs in Medieval Occitan Literature (Gainesville FL, 1997). 

For other vernacular proverb collections see Berlioz, Identifier sources et citations, pp. 106-110.

Some Major Late Antique and Medieval Latin Proverb Collections:

Elisabeth Schulze-Busacker, “La constitution des recueils de proverbes et sentences dans l’Antiquité tardive et le Moyen Âge,” in La transmission des savoirs au Moyen Âge et à la Renaissance, ed. Pierre Nobel (Besançon, 2005) I, 259-87. 

Peter Abelard, Carmen ad Astralabium:

Peter Abelard, Carmen ad Astralabium, ed. J.-M.-A. Rubingh-Bosscher (Groningen, 1987). 

Pseudo-Alcuin (Columbanus, or Columbanus of St.-Trond?), Praecepta Vivendi:

“Praecepta vivendi,” ed. Ernst Dümmler, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Poetae Latini Aevi Carolini, vol. 1 (1881), pp. 275-81. 

Michael Lapidge, “The Authorship of the Adonic Verses Ad Fidolium attributed to Columbanus.” Studi medievali 3rd ser. 18 (1977), 815-80. 

Franz Brunhölzl, Histoire de la littérature latine du moyen âge, vol. 1, trans. Henri Rochais and (Turnhout, 1990), pp 186-87 and 282. 

Disticha Catonis:

Disticha Catonis, ed. Marcus Boas, intro. H. J. Botschuyver (Amsterdam, 1952). ; earlier

“Disticha Catonis,” ed. Baehrens, MGH Poetae Latini Minores 3 (1881), pp. 205-46. ;

J. W. and A. M. Duff, Minor Latin Poets, 3rd ed., Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge MA, 1954), II, 585-639. 

See Serena Connolly, “Disticha Catonis Uticensis,” Classical Philology 107 (2012), 119-30. 

M. Boas, “De librorum Catonianorum Historia atque Compositione,” Mnemosyne, n.s. 42 (1914), 17-46. 

A. Mancini, “Un commento ignoto di Remy d’Auxerre ai Disticha Catonis,” Rendiconti della Reale Accademia dei Lincei, ser. 5, 11 (1902), 175-98, 369-82. 

R. Hazelton, “The Christianization of Cato: The Disticha Catonis in the Light of Late Medieval Commentaries,” Mediaeval Studies 19 (1957), 157-73. 

F. Zarnke, “Beiträge zur mittellateinischen Spruchpoesie,”, Phil.-hist. Klasse 15 (1863), pp. 23-78. 

Egbert of Liège, Fecunda ratis:

Egbert of Liège, The Well-Laden Ship, ed. and trans. Robert Gary Babcock (Cambridge MA, 2013). 

Egberts von Lüttich Fecunda ratis, ed. Ernst Voigt (Halle, 1889). 

Florilegium Frisingense:

Florilegia: Florilegium Frisingense (Clm 6433); Testimonia Divinae Scripturae, ed. A. Lehner, CCSL 108D (Turnhout, 1987). 

Garland de Reigny, Libellus proverbiorum:

Galand de Reigny, Libellus proverbiorum, ed. and trans. Jean Chatillon et al., Petit livre de proverbes, Sources chrétiennes 436 (Paris, 1998). 

Othloh of St. Emmeram, Libellus proverbiorum:

Othloh of St. Emmeram, Libellus proverbiorum, ed. William Charles Korfmacher (Chicago, 1936). 

Publilius Syrus, Sententiae:

E. Woelfflin, Publilii Syri sententiae (Leipzig, 1869).

J. W. and A. M. Duff, Minor Latin Poets, 3rd ed., Loeb Classical Library .

W. Meyer, Die Sammlungen der Spruchverse des Publilius Syrus (Leipzig, 1877).

Francesco Giancotti, Ricerche sulla tradizione manoscritta delle Sentenze di Publilio Siro (Messina, 1963). 

Jules Renard, “Les vertus de l’énoncé. Notes sur les Sentences de Publilius Syrus,” in Scripta Varia: Rhétorique Antique & Littérature Latine, ed. Françoise Desbordes, Geneviève Clerico, and Jean Soubiran, Bibliothèque d’études classiques 48 (2006), pp. 247-68. 

Proverbia non centum [incorporates most of Wipo, Proverbia, q.v.]:

M. L. Colker, “Proverbia non centum,” Classical Folia 33 (1979), 169-200. 

M. L. Colker, “Proverbia non centum (Supplement),” Scriptorium 35 (1981) 70-71

Proverbia Senecae:

Proverbia Senecae, ed. G. G. Meersseman, “Seneca maestro di spiritualità nei suoi opusculi apocrifi dal XII al XV secolo,” Italia medioevale e umanistica 16 (1973), 43-133 at 68-77. 

B. Taylor, M. J. Duffell and C. Burnett,Proverbia Senece et versus Ebrardi super eadem: MS Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, 122/59, pp. 19-29,” Euphrosyne 26 (1988), 357-78. 

N. Round, “The Medieval Reputation of the Proverbia Senecae: A Partial Survey based on Recorded MSS,” Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 72C 5 (1972), 103-51

Proverbia Grecorum:

“Proverb Grecorum”  ed. D. Simpson, Traditio 45 (1987), 1-22. 

B. Bischoff, “Nachlese zu den Proverbia Grecorum (Sechstes Jahrhundert),” in his Anecdota novissima (Stuttgart, 1984), pp. 98-100. 

C. D. Wright, “The Prouerbia Grecorum, the Norman Anonymous, and the Early Medieval Ideology of Kingship: Some New Manuscript Evidence,” in Insignis sophiae arcator: Medieval Latin Studies in Honour of Michael Herren on his 65th Birthday, ed. Gernot Wieland and Carin Ruff (Toronto, 2006), pp. 193-215, 

Sedulius Scottus, Collectaneu Miscellaneum:

Sedulius Scottus, Collectaneum Miscellaneum, ed. D. Simpson, CCCM 67 (Turnhout, 1988); with a Supplementum by F. Dolbeau (1990). 

Serlo of Wilton:

A. C. Friend, “The Proverbs of Serlo of Wilton,” Mediaeval Studies 16 (1954), 179-218. 

William of Doncaster, Explicatio Aphorismatum Philosophicorum:

William of Doncaster, Explicatio Aphorismatum Philosophicorum, ed. Olga Weijers, Studien und Texte zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters, 11 (Leiden, 1976). 

Wipo, Proverbia:

Wipo, Proverbia, ed. H. Bresslau, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Germanicarum (1915) 

XIV. Riddles and Riddle Contests

Polara, “Aenigmata,” in Lo spazio letterario del medioevo, I: Il medioevo latino, 1: La produzione del testo, 2 vols. ed. G. Cavallo et al. (Rome, 1993), II, 197-216. 

Archer Taylor, A Bibliography of Riddles, Folklore Fellows Communications 126 (Helsinki, 1939).

Archer Taylor, The Literary Riddle before 1600 (Berkeley CA, 1948).

Mark Bryant, Dictionary of Riddles (London, 1990).

W. Schultz, “Rätsel,” in Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, series 1A1 (1914), cols. 62-105. 

Galit Hasan-Rokem and David Shulman, Untying the Knot: On Riddles and other Enigmatic Modes (Oxford, 1996).

Eleanor Cook, Enigmas and Riddles in Literature (Cambridge, 2006).

Archer Taylor, English Riddles from Oral Tradition (Berkeley CA, 1951).

C. Williamson, The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book (Chapel Hill NC, 1977).

Vernam Hull and Archer Taylor, A Collection of Welsh Riddles (Berkeley CA, 1942). 

Vernam Hull and Archer Taylor, A Collection of Irish Riddles (Berkeley, 1955). 

Michelle de Filippis, The Literary Riddle in Italy to the End of the Sixteenth Century (1948). 

On riddle contests:

Walter Anderson, Kaiser und Abt. Die Geschichte eines Schwanks, Folklore Fellows Communications 42 (Helsinki, 1923). 

Christine Goldberg, Turandot’s Sisters: A Study of the Folktale AT 851, Garland Folklore Library 7 (New York, 1993).

Extensive additional bibliography can be found in the following essays:

Patrick Sims-Williams, “Narrative Techniques in Irish and Welsh, II: The Riddling ‘Watchman Device,'” in Sims-Williams, Irish Influence on Medieval Welsh Literature (Oxford, 2011), pp. 95-133.

Paul Sorrell, “Oaks, Ships, Riddles and the Old English Rune Poem,” Anglo-Saxon England 19 (1990), 103-16. 

Andrew Galloway, “The Rhetoric of Riddling in Late Medieval England: The ‘Oxford’ Riddles, the Secreta philosophorum, and the Riddles in Piers Plowman,” Speculum 70 (1995), 68-105. 

Curtis Gruenler, “How to Read Like a Fool: Riddle Contests and the Banquet of Conscience in Piers Plowman,” Speculum 85 (2010), 592-630. 

Some Medieval Latin Riddle Collections:

F. Glorie, ed., Collectiones aenigmatum Merovingicae aetatis, Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina 133-133A (Turnhout, 1968).

Collectanea Pseudo-Bedae, ed. Martha Bayless, Michael Lapidge, et al., Scriptores Latini Hiberniae 14 (Dublin, 1998).  See also F. Tupper, “Riddles of the Bede Tradition,” Modern Philology 2 (1904-5), 1-12. 

C. E. Finch, “The Berne Riddles in Codex Vat. Reg. Lat. 1553,” Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 92 (1961), 145-55. 

W. A. Pantin, “A Medieval Collection of Latin and English Proverbs and Riddles, from The Rylands Latin MS. 394,” Bulletin of The John Rylands Library 14 (1930), 81-114. 

Doctor Claretus: Clareti Enigmata: The Latin Riddles of Claret, ed. F. Peachey (Berkeley, 1957). 

Nikolaus Reusner, Aenigmatographia, siue, Sylloge aenigmatum et griphorum conuiualium: ex variis auctoribus collectorum (Frankfurt, 1602). 

XV. Joca monachorum and Related Wisdom Dialogues

Loyd Daly and Walther Suchier, Altercatio Hadriani Augusti et Epicteti philosophi (Urbana, 1939). 405IL v. 24/1-2 Includes the dialogue “Alcuin and Pippin.”

Martha Bayless, “Alcuin’s Disputatio Pippini and the Early Medieval Riddle Tradition,” in Humour, History and Politics in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, ed. Guy Halsall (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 157-78.

Walther Suchier, Das mittellateinische Gespräch Adrian et Epictitus nebst verwandten Texten (Joca monachorum) (Tübingen, 1955).

Walther Suchier, L’Enfant sage. Das Gespräch des Kaisers Hadrian mit dem klugen Kinde Epitus (Dresden, 1910).

Charles D. Wright and Roger Wright, “Additions to the Bobbio Missal: De dies malus and Joca monachorum (ff. 6r-8v),” in The Bobbio Missal: Liturgy and Religious Culture in Merovingian Gaul, ed. Yitzhak Hen and Rob Meens (Cambridge:Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004), pp. 79-139.

Collectanea Pseudo-Bedae, ed. Martha Bayless, Michael Lapidge, et al., Scriptores Latini Hiberniae 14 (Dublin, 1998). 

J. E. Cross and T. D. Hill, ed., The Prose Solomon and Saturn and Adrian and Ritheus (Toronto, 1982).

Honorius Augustodunensis, Elucidarium: Yves Lefèvre, L’Elucidarium et les lucidaires: Contribution par l’histoire d’un texte, l’histoire des croyances religieuses en France au moyen âge (Paris, 1954).

Jan Ziolkowski, ed. Solomon and Marcolf, Harvard Studies in Medieval Latin, 1 (Cambridge, 2008).

Charles D. Wright:
last updated 12/18