Authorship of "O Fortuna", the poem from Carmina Burana

celarent

New Member
Hi

Would anyone please know anything more about the authorship of "O Fortuna", the poem from the "Carmina Burana" collection, apart from the well-known fact that it's a medieval Latin Goliardic poem written early in the thirteenth century?

Particularly I would be glad to know whether it is a work of some German, French or other Goliard(s), whether there are some suggestions about the particular circles, establishment (university?), town or region where this particular poem might have been created, or whether there have even been any modern attempts to atribute the authorship to some particular, non-anonymous clergyman or student.

Thank you very much in advance for any help.
 

celarent

New Member
Maybe the Medieval Latin of the 13th century had some varieties - can't things like vocabulary, grammar or style betray at least the author's first language? Are there really no linguistic features that might enable more precise specification of the poem's origin? And couldn't the analysis of manuscript from Benediktbeuern be to any avail here either?
 

Bestiola

Speculatrix
Staff member
I'm sorry, but it can only be said with relative certainty that a group of goliards (French, German and possibly even Italian) were the authors of Carmina Burana, even though there are some criticisms of that proposition, like in this edition of Modern Philology where it says it is unwarrantable. From the names that are known: Walter of Châtillon, Peter of Blois, Archpoet, to none has the authorship of "O fortuna" been ascribed.

It was probably the work of an anonymous author influenced by many factors, from the Roman religion to Boethius's Consolatio Philosophiae.

This book is relatively detailed, and it does analyse said poem, but the author is mentioned only as "the author". Nowhere on the web can the name of the author be found.
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
Yes to all of your questions, but unfortunately I don't know enough about the topic to analyse this poem in this fashion.

I looked on JSTOR and couldn't find anything obvious papers discussing it.
 

celarent

New Member
Dear Matthaeus, Brunhilda, Cinefactus,

Thank you very much for your views and valuable pieces of information.
 

Dantius

Homo Sapiens
Staff member
Just looking at the first poem on this website, it seems mostly fine but it has a few slightly strange things, as do most medieval texts.
 

Godmy

A Monkey
The grammar is correct, the orthography is influenced by the central-European medieval pronunciation (still practiced on some universities and usually the only pronunciation for doctors, lawyers, biologists - at least in my country). (In this pronunciation you have Cicero pronounced as Tsitsero, Caesar as Tsézar.)

- mihi -> michi (the Czech pronunciation wouldn't cause this deviation, but it's understandable anyway: a velar voiceless fricative as you can hear in German instead of voiceless glottal fricative)
- fortunae (in Fortune Plango Vulnera though) -> fortune

etc.

If you have any doubts about the grammar of some verses in Carmina Burana, ask us further!
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
I was thinking maybe Occitan rather than middle French.
 
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