Online Medieval Sources Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography of Printed and Online Primary Sources for the Middle Ages

Source Details

Wilhelm, James J., ed., Gay and Lesbian Poetry: An Anthology from Sappho to Michelangelo (New York: Garland)

Text name(s): Conquestio uxoris Cavichioli papiensis; Carmina burana; various poems

Number of pages of primary source text: 330


Dates: 200 - 1400

Archival Reference: 

Original Language(s): 

  • Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Greek
  • Arabic
  • English - Anglo-Saxon / Old English
  • Latin


  • Translated into English.

Translation Comments: 

Geopolitical Region(s): 

  • Europe


Record Types: 

  • Literature - Drama
  • Literature - Verse
  • Literature - Prose

Subject Headings: 

  • Family / Children
  • Women / Gender


  • Introduction


This is an ambitious project: a large collection of “Gay and Lesbian” poetry from the late Greek poems all the way to the Renaissance. The poems are broken up into chronological sections: Classical Greek, Classical Latin, Medieval Latin, Medieval Vernacular and Renaissance. Some literature that the editors classify as “homophobic” is included, but not very much and with little context. Many of the medieval sources are lifted from Thomas Stehling’s Medieval Latin Poems of Male Love and Friendship (Garland, 1984). The volume includes a wide variety of medieval literature here, but readers should be wary of applying modern categories of sexuality to the Middle Ages, when there was no perceived category of homosexual behavior, and when many behaviors that we might interpret as homosexual today had other meanings to contemporaries.

Introduction Summary: 

The introduction gives an overview of the project that generated the book. It does not discuss or give any meaning to the terms “Gay,” “Lesbian,” “Homoerotic,” etc., within historical context or in the context of these poems. This leads to glossing over relatively controversial aspects to this volume, particularly because certain poems contain instances whose homoeroticism could be questioned. No attention has been paid to how problematic it is to apply these modern labels to people and ideas who did not hold the same ideals.

Cataloger: cdb