An image from the 11th-13th century. Carmina Burana, Benediktbeuern Abbey, a collection of goliard love and vagabond songs

The goliards were a group of clergy, generally young, in Europe who wrote satirical Latin poetry in the 12th and 13th centuries of the Middle Ages. They were chiefly clerics who served at or had studied at the universities of France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and England, who protested the growing contradictions within the church through song, poetry and performance. Disaffected and not called to the religious life, they often presented such protests within a structured setting associated with carnival, such as the Feast of Fools, or church liturgy.[1]


The derivation of the word is uncertain. It may come from the Latin gula, gluttony.[2] It may also originate from a mythical "Bishop Golias," a medieval Latin form of the name Goliath, the giant who fought King David in the Bible—thus suggestive of the monstrous nature of the goliard. Another source may be gailliard, a "gay fellow."[3]

Many scholars believe the term goliard is derived from a letter between St. Bernard of Clairvaux and Pope Innocent II, in which Bernard referred to Pierre Abélard as Goliath, thus creating a connection between Goliath and the student adherents of Abélard. By the 14th century, the word goliard became synonymous with minstrel, and no longer referred to a particular group of clergy.[4]

Other Languages
العربية: جولياتي
български: Голиард
català: Goliard
Deutsch: Vaganten
español: Goliardo
Esperanto: Goliardo
euskara: Goliardo
français: Goliard
עברית: גוליארדים
Latina: Goliardus
magyar: Goliárd
Nederlands: Goliarden
日本語: ゴリアール
norsk: Goliardene
polski: Goliard
português: Goliardo
русский: Ваганты
slovenčina: Goliardi
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Golijardi
українська: Вагант
Tiếng Việt: Goliard