Layamon (fl. 1190-1220) was a poet and a cleric, and he is best known as the author of 16,095-line Middle English poem the


(c. 1189-1216), which is extant in two manuscripts: British Library, Cotton MS Caligula A.ix and British Library, Cotton MS Otho C.xiii. He is commonly known as “Laȝamon” (Caligula) or “Laweman” (Otho), which are often modernised as “Layamon” and “Lawman”. In the Caligua


, Layamon reveals various biographical details in his prologue:

An preost wes on leoden; Laȝamon wes ihoten. he wes Leouenaðes sone; liðe him beo Drihten. He wonede at Ernleȝe; at æðelen are chirechen. vppen Seuarne staþe; sel þar him þuhte. on-fest Radestone; þer he bock radde. (Caligula, ll. 1-5) [There was a priest in the land who was called Laȝamon; he was

1960 words

Citation: Shirley, Victoria. "Layamon". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 July 2022 [, accessed 24 April 2024.]

2650 Layamon 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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