All terms

What is an Epithalamium?

A poem written to celebrate a marriage.

A Joyous Celebration: The Epithalamium

The epithalamium, a joyous poem celebrating a marriage, dates back to ancient Greece and Rome, but is still used in modern times. Often used as a type of wedding song, it can also be a tribute to the happy couple in written form. With its roots in the Mediterranean, the word ‘epithalamium’ is a combination of ‘epi’ meaning ‘upon’ and ‘thalamus’ meaning ‘bridal chamber.’ Its themes can include love, fertility, and the hopeful union of the newlyweds lasting forever.

Epic Examples: Using Epithalamiums in Literature

Epithalamiums have been used in literature for centuries - here are just two examples.

Song of Solomon

The ‘Song of Solomon’ in the Old Testament of the Bible is an example of an epithalamium, with the love between two individuals being compared to nature and God’s love for his people.

Epithalamion by Edmund Spenser

The Renaissance poet Edmund Spenser wrote his own ‘Epithalamion’, a 24-stanza poem celebrating his marriage to his wife, Elizabeth Boyle.