In a random twist of research for an upcoming book I came across this gem. It was a thing made popular in the 15th and 16th centuries in Scotland, and usually consisted of two drunken Scottish Poets. This little thing I’m talking about is Flyting (pronounced FLY-ting, rhymes with fighting).
Flyting- (n) a dispute or exchange of personal abuse in verse form.
Yes, you read that correctly. The two involved parties would insult and debase one another in rhyme! I admit I had a chuckle to find that in the 15th century, this was a common sport among Poets. Yet, despite the harshness of their attacks, the Poets often held a great respect for the others verbal skills (mad skilz yo!).
The tradition began with the Gaelic filid who would compose vicious and lewd poetry against those who had wronged them in some fashion. There are even examples in Scandinavian culture; The Lokasenna, or “Flyting of Loki,” in which Loki taunts the other Gods in rhyme.
Written examples still exist today, and one of the earliest recorded is The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie, (The Poets: William Dunbar and Walter Kennedy), a match that took place before the Court of James IV of Scotland. Also, this particular war of words happens to have the first example of the word “Shit” being used as an insult.
Thanks for reading! I hope you found this as amusing as I did.
Have a great week everyone!
* * * * *
“Phinn Cristo should have listened to him. They all should have listened to him. Treated him with the respect and reverence he deserved. Now, there would be no choice. Now, was the time of Roscoe Brey.”
-Beggars in the Streets of Time-
By Joseph D. Stirling
Available DECEMBER 1st from Amazon.com (in Print and on Kindle).