Fragments of an erotic poem written in the 1200s, dubbed the ‘50 Shades of Grey’ of its time, have been unearthed by Bristol University researchers in England. It includes details of a sexual encounter between two protagonists.

The fragments of Le Roman de la Rose, a 13th century erotic poem that describes a courtier’s attempt to woo his lover, the Rose, were discovered by Professor Nicholas Vincent in the archives of the Diocese of Worcester.

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Professor Vincent asked his colleague Professor Marianne Ailes to identify the rare 22,000 line poem, which, like 50 Shades of Grey, was a huge hit when it was published in 1280. It was at the center of a medieval row between intellectuals concerning the status of women.

It includes a number of suggestive lines, including a “stiff and strong” staff, and “sticking it into those ditches.” Professor Ailes has revealed that the saucy writings was “the blockbuster of its day.”

She insists that the amount of “surviving manuscripts and fragments” and references to the poem in other medieval texts is proof of its popularity.

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50 Shades of Grey, an erotic book written by British author E.L. James and made into a movie in 2015, features the lead male character Christian sweeping a young virgin called Ana off her feet. As a pseudo-relationship is forged, however, the woman is asked to sign a contract in which she agrees to essentially become the slave — sexual and otherwise — of her new superior.

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