- In medieval Europe, a wandering clerk or scholar attached toa band of travelling entertainers. Noted for their obscene balladsand short satirical plays, the goliards were infamous for their licentiousbehaviour. Many of their poems about wine and womenappear in the Carmina Burana, a manuscript collection firstpublished in the late 19th century. The goliards also specializedin religious satire, leading the Church to forbid clerics to act in1281. The name comes from the mythical Bishop Golias, to whom thegoliards pledged allegiance: it may derive ultimately from an OldFrench word for a glutton. see also jongleur.