Wondering why Shakespeare is called The Bard?
The answer lies in some very old literary history.
A Poet by Any Other Name...
The word "bard" is an ancient Gaelic term meaning "poet." In medieval England, Irleand, Scotland and Wales, bards were traveling poets who performed stories in exchange for money. Shakespeare is called The Bard because he is considered the greatest poet the world has ever known.
Along with his nickname of The Bard, William Shakespeare is often referred to as the National Poet of England and the Bard of the Avon. The "of-Avon" comes from the fact that William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
During Shakespeare's lifetime, he wrote 154 sonnets and 37 plays. Little is known about Shakespeare's earlier life, but it is believed that he wrote his first sonnet at age 29. From that age until he was 49, he wrote an average of one and a half plays a year. He died in 1616 at age 52.
Over the course of his extensive career, Shakespeare did more than just write poetry and plays. Shakespeare is credited with bringing comedy to tragedy and vice-versa. His early comedic works are thought to have raised standard for all other plays in that genre.
Shakespeare is considered the master of the tragedy. His plays Hamlet, King Lear and Macbeth are considered by many to be some of the finest works in the English language. Shakespeare coined numerous words and phrases that even after 400 years are still relevant and used in everyday speech.
Shakespeare is also credited with helping to form the basic grammar and structure of the English language. His poems and sonnets are excellent examples of the form of iambic pentameter and blank verse.
His works have been translated into almost every language and his plays are performed more often than any other playwright's works.