Poetry was used as a means of recording oral history,
storytelling (epic poetry), genealogy, and law. Poetry is
often closely identified with liturgy in pre-literate
Many of the scriptures currently held to be
sacred by contemporary religious traditions have their roots
in antiquity and were composed as poetry rather than prose.
Poems were used to aid memorization and help guarantee the
accuracy of oral transmission in early society. As a result
many of the poems surviving from the ancient world are a
form of recorded cultural information about the people of
the past. Poems are often prayers or stories about religious
subject matter and histories about a culture's politics and
"No man was ever yet a great poet,
without being at the same time a profound philosopher.
For poetry is the blossom and the fragrance of all human knowledge,
human thoughts, human passions, emotions, language."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge