A Companion to Middle High German Literature to the 14th Century - PDF Free Download (2023)

With the reduction of unstressed morphological suffixes, these umlauted root vowels become an important secondary marker of morphological categories such as singular-plural in nouns (for example, hûshiuser ‘house-houses’). In the Middle High German consonant system the development of word-final devoicing/fortition of Old High German b, d, and g to p, t, k (

) respectively results in alternations found in German to this day: Example 14    gab-gâbum neid-nidum tag-taga

   gap-gâben neit-niden tac-tage

‘(I) gave’-‘(we) gave’ ‘(I) hated’-‘(we) hated’ ‘day-days’ (nom.)

A second salient consonantal change is the development of Old High German sk to Middle High German sch (OHG skôni, skif ‘beautiful’, ‘ship’ > MHG schœne, schif ). The reduction of unstressed syllables in Middle High German results in a significant weakening of the Old High German system of morphological endings. The loss of synthetic inflectional markings results in the development of analytical strategies for indicating morphological categories (such as person, number, or tense) and grammatical relations. With the loss of explicit nominal case endings, for

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example, the use of articles expands, and they largely take over the role of marking case and gender. In the verbal system, the inherited simple present-preterit distinction (for example, OHG ih singuih sang ‘I sing’-‘I sang’) is supplemented with extensive use of periphrastic constructions to indicate past tense (hân/sîn + past participle: ich hân geseit ‘I have said’) or future (soln, weln, müeZen + infinitive: ich sol dich behüeten ‘I shall protect you’). Middle High German prose texts offer the best insight into the spoken language of the period and provide particularly reliable data on syntax. These texts show that many syntactic features of Modern German have already developed by the Middle High German period. For example, while there are still traces of verb-final word order in main clauses in the Nibelungenlied (Sîfrit der snelle zuo dem künege trat ‘Siegfrid the brave to the king went’ Nl 67,1), such archaic constructions are avoided in courtly poetry and are virtually absent in the prose texts of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Instead we find verb-second word order firmly entrenched, regardless of whether the first element is the subject, object, an adverbial element or a complete subordinate clause: Example 15 er sol ouch ein kint von rehter ê sin. ‘he should also be a legitimate child’ (Schwabenspiegel Landrechtsbuch, Oksaar 1965:188) im wart daz guot gar genomen ‘the possessions were all taken from him’ (Berthold, Ebert 1978:38) da von suln sich die rihter hüeten. ‘from that the judges should protect themselves’ (Schwabenspiegel Landrechtsbuch, Oksaar 1965:188) wer ainen grôzen munt hât, der ist ain vrâz und ist küen. ‘he who has a large mouth is a glutton and is bold’ (with the anaphoric pronoun der repeating the subordinate clause, Konrad von Megenburg, Buch der Natur, Oksaar 1965:187)

During the Middle High German period the lexicon is enriched by borrowings resulting from contact with foreign cultures. In addition to these borrowings, societal changes yield semantic narrowings and expansions that affect the inherited native word stock. Finally, the innate compounding possibilities of German are exploited, especially

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by the medieval mystics in their efforts to “express the inexpressible.” All of these factors lead to significant changes in the Middle High German lexical stock. By far the most dramatic foreign influence during the Middle High German period comes from French. From the Second Crusade (1147) onward German knights had extensive contact with French language, literature, and culture. The influence of French language and culture on German knightly culture was sustained by numerous personal and political ties. Children of German nobles often had French tutors and many young noblemen completed their education in France. German knights routinely spent extended periods in France, often in service of French courts. Beyond this, Friedrich Barbarossa ruled over Burgundy, which in turn fostered contacts between French and German knights. As a result of this contact and of the prestige of French court culture, a large number of French words were borrowed directly into German. It should be pointed out that these words affected first and foremost the language of the German nobility. While some of these loans did eventually spread to the language of other social classes and are preserved in the modern standard language, still others fall out of use. The majority of the French loan words in Middle High German are nouns with clear links to knightly culture, though a fair number of adjectives and verbs are also borrowed: Example 16 OFr estival > MHG stival ‘boot’; OFr amie > MHG amîe ‘(female) friend’; OFr lance > MHG lanze ‘lance’ OFr pancier > MHG panzier ‘armor’; OFr joste > MHG tjoste ‘joust’; OFr tornei > MHG turnei ‘tournament’; OFr garçon > MHG garzûn ‘squire, page’; OFr pris > MHG prîs ‘prize’; OFr flëute > MHG vloite ‘flute’; OFr fals > MHG valsch ‘wrong’; OFr falir > MHG vælen ‘to miss’.

Interestingly enough, there are examples of French loanwords in Middle High German which were themselves borrowed from Old Frankish into Gallo-Romance in the Merovingian period and then reborrowed. Old French garzûn, for example, derives from borrowed Old Frankish *wrakkjo, which itself lives on in Middle High German recke ‘warrior’. French influence is particularly characteristic of the courtly epic. These loanwords are scarce in courtly lyric poetry. In addition to direct loans, the language of Middle High German

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courtly literature also reveals a number of loan translations from French. Old French cortoisîe, cortois ‘courtesy, courtly’ are rendered with Middle High German hövescheit, hövesch. Old High German suozi ‘sweet’ has only to do with physical taste, but on the model of French doux/douce the Middle High German süeze also takes on the figurative meaning of ‘dear’. The influence of French did not extend to the diachronically more stable domains of syntax, inflectional morphology and phonology. But several derivational elements from French are in fact borrowed and even become productive in German. The French infinitive ending -ier is incorporated into Middle High German with the addition of the German infinitival ending -en, as in OFr logier ‘to lodge’ > MHG loschieren. This suffix becomes productive and is even extended to verbs derived from German roots as in MHG buchstabieren ‘to write, spell’; MHG hovieren ‘live in courtly fashion’. The Old French word ley ‘type, kind’ is incorporated into Middle High German in forms such as aller leie ‘all kinds’ (as in NHG allerlei, keinerlei, vielerei ‘all kinds’, ‘no. . . . whatsoever’, ‘various’. Finally, the Old French nominal suffix -îe as in cortoisîe is extended in Middle High German to words based on German roots as zouberîe, jegerîe ‘magic’, ‘hunting’. The prestige of Flemish knightly culture resulted in the transfer of several Low Franconian terms to Middle High German. Most of these terms are directly relevant to the knighthood, including the word ritter ‘knight’ from Middle Dutch riddere (= French chavalier). The Flemish word ors ‘horse’ (< WGmc. *hros) is frequently substituted for High German ros, and the Flemish wâpen (cognate to MHG wâfen ‘weapon’). Aside from these loanwords, the Middle Dutch diminutive suffix appears sporadically as is pardrisekin ‘little partridge’. Compared to the extensive influence of French, the effect of Flemish on Middle High German courtly language is relatively superficial. Nonetheless, the coloring of Middle High German with Flemish words, vlæmen mit der rede, does appear to have been common. Although the language of courtly literature reflects the heaviest influence of foreign vocabulary, some foreign terms also enter the Middle High German vernacular as the result of trade relations, particularly with Italy. The importance of northern Italian cities in banking and oriental trade is mirrored by the semantic range of the Italian loanwords into Middle High German during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries: MHG grosse ‘penny’ (< It grosso); MHG barke ‘skiff’ (< It barca); MHG compas ‘compass’ (< It compasso); MHG

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specerîe ‘spices’ (< It spezieria). Indeed, some of the borrowed words are themselves loanwords in Italian from oriental languages: MHG zuker ‘sugar’ (< It zucchero < Arabic sukkar < Indic sákará). The German colonization of eastern territories from the eleventh century on brought German speakers into contact with speakers of various Slavic languages. Slavic place names such as Leipzig, Dresden, Chemnitz and Berlin bear witness to the earlier inhabitants of the colonized territory. Extended contact with Slavic speakers also resulted in the incorporation of Slavic words into the Middle High German lexicon such as MHG grenize ‘border’ (< Pol. granica) and MHG twarc, quarc NHG Quark (< Pol. tvaróg). The continued importance of Latin as a written (and to some extent spoken) medium during the medieval period leads to additional incorporation of Latin words into specific semantic domains of the Middle High German lexicon. Latin loans of the period include words relating to religion, law, medicine and the sciences: MHG pulpit ‘pulpit’ (< Latin pulpitum); MHG profêt(e) (< Latin prophèta); MHG juriste ‘legal scholar’ (< Latin jurista); MHG process ‘trial’ (< Latin processus); MHG apotêke ‘drug store’ (< Latin apothèca). The cultural milieu within which a given Middle High German text is composed decisively influences the nature of the language employed. The language of the courtly poetry of the Blütezeit shows marked differences from that of the Germanic epic, the Nibelungenlied. Later in the period, the writings of the mystics exploit the derivational possibilities of German to a far greater extent than do the courtly poets. A sensitivity to new and often figurative use of inherited native elements is therefore essential to accurate interpretation of Middle High German texts. In the works of the courtly poets we see for the first time an attempt to use a language that rises above regional dialect and to avoid the common and even crude language of the masses. This avoidance of the common results in the development of a relatively uniform poetic language, which, while Upper German, avoids localisms and a range of vocabulary apparently considered inappropriate. Carl von Kraus’s studies of the language of the Limburger Heinrich van Veldeke reveals the poet’s growing sensitivity to the dialect of his High German audience. Veldeke abandons his native dialect in his Eneit and avoids rhymes possible in Low Franconian (tît-wît ‘time’, ‘white’) but impure in High German (tît-wîz). Beyond this, Veldeke

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does not use words only current in the Low Franconian area such as blîde ‘happy, blithe’. The Swabian Hartmann von Aue employs the rhyme kam-nam ‘came’, ‘took’ in his earlier works, but since this rhyme would be impossible in Bavarian (kom-nam), he avoids it in his later works. The Middle High German literary language also avoids a number of inherited words still present in the Nibelungenlied but apparently considered crude or archaic by courtly poets: degen, recke, wîgant ‘warrior’; urliuge ‘war’; schaft ‘spear’; vruot ‘clever’; balt, küene ‘bold’; ecke ‘edge of a weapon’. Native terms such as minne, mâze, muot take on new and often figurative meanings specific to the social code of courtly society. The language of the medieval mystics of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries (for example, Mechthild von Magdeburg †c. 1288, Meister Eckhart †1327, Heinrich Suso †1366, Johannes Tauler †1371) makes full use of the compounding strategies in German in an attempt to express their intensely personal religious experience. While recognizing that their spiritual experience was in fact unaussprechlich, ‘inexpressible,’ they nonetheless attempt to depict their feelings with new compounds and by developing new figurative meanings for existing words. The mystics tend to avoid Latin words, creating new German compounds in their place: wunderheit for Latin miraculum, zîtheit for Latin temporalitas. They make heavy use of verbal prefixes such as abe-, anebe-, ent-, ver-, zer- and nominalizing suffixes such as -heit, -(lich)keit, -unge and -nisse. Bach (1965:202) illustrates the extent of compounding in the work of Mechthild von Magdeburg by comparing her use of nominalizing suffixes to that of Hartmann von Aue. In the equallength segments of text Mechthild uses the suffixes -heit, -(lich)keit 156 times, -unge 74 times, -nisse 19 times compared to Hartmann’s use of the same suffixes only 38, 19 and 0 times respectively. There is no break in writing tradition between the Middle High German and Early New High German periods, so the choice of the date 1350 for the beginning of the modern period is arbitrary from a linguistic perspective. Most of the salient linguistic innovations in Early New High German are first manifested in Middle High German texts. The dawn of the Early Modern period is rather the result of demographic, economic and social changes arising from the decline of the feudal nobility and the rise of the cities. The onset of urbanization and the concomitant development of distance trade, specialized means production, new technologies and a high degree of demographic mobility all contribute to the growing need for supra-

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regional written languages. The development of non-local political, economic and social structures magnifies the inadequacy local dialects for supra-regional communication. The development of chancery languages, printers’ languages and indeed Luther’s translation of the bible all represent efforts to establish conventions in written German that will prove acceptable to relatively broad segments of the Germanspeaking area. Historians have documented the growth in size and number of German cities extensively. In 1200 there were about 250 chartered cities in Germany. By the end of the fourteenth century the number had grown to 3000, most of which had populations of less than 1000 inhabitants. However by 1500 De Vries (1984:270ff.) lists 22 cities in Germany (including Austria) with a population of 10,000 or more, a total urban population of approximately 445,000. Given the appalling hygienic conditions in Early Modern cities, the urban death rate outstripped the birth rate, with the result that cities actually declined in size unless they were able to generate substantial inmigration. Growing cities therefore counted large numbers of immigrants in their population, a demographic movement that resulted in extensive dialect contact and the development of new urban koinés distinct from the dialects of the surrounding rural areas. Despite general urban growth, however, no Germany city enjoys the spectacular growth of Paris, London, Antwerp or Amsterdam and therefore no single German city comes to function as a dominating political, economic or cultural center. With urbanization and the development of long-distance trade, a money-based economy and specialized production came the increased need for literacy, for purposes of record-keeping, legal contracts and, increasingly, for interpersonal communication. As a consequence of this increased urban literacy, we have a broader range of text types in the Early Modern Period than we do for Middle High German. What is more, the texts are not only composed by the nobility and clerics, but rather also by urban merchants, tradespeople and jurists. German cities formed coalitions to protect their mutual economic and political interests. The most important of these was the northern German Hanseatic League, formed in the thirteenth century, since it came to dominate trade in the Baltic Sea in the fourteenth century. The Low German dialect of Lübeck served as the lingua franca for the Hansa, and intense trade relations with Scandinavia and the Baltic lands made Low German an important trade lan-

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guage. While these trade relations led to massive transfer of Low German vocabulary to the Scandinavian languages, the decline of the Hansa in the face of aggressive competition from the Low Countries reduced the importance of Low German as a supra-regional language. As the Hanseatic cities’ interests turned from the Baltic southward to the rest of Germany, their chanceries begin to abandon Low German in favor of High German varieties. The basis of the eventual German standard language would therefore be found in the High German linguistic area. The great dialectal and sociolectal diversity of extant Early New High German texts makes concise description of linguistic innovation in the Early Modern Period difficult. Nonetheless, there are several developments which play an important role in the definition of the major modern High German dialect areas. One of the most important phonological processes in Early New High German is the diphthongization of Middle High German î, û and iu to ei, au, eu (MHG mîn, hûs, liute ‘my’, ‘house, ‘people’ > NHG mein, Haus, Leute). This diphthongization begins in southern Bavaria in the twelfth century and spreads from there in subsequent centuries, eventually affecting the rest of Bavaria, Swabia, East Central German and Rhenish Franconian. This process does not affect northern German dialects, nor does it spread to Alemannic except in limited environments. A second major development, the monophthongization of Middle High German ie, uo, üe to ì, u, and ü (MHG lieb, guot, vüeze ‘dear’, ‘good’, ‘feet’) > NHG lieb [lìb], gut, Füße) affects central German dialects but does not occur in Swabian, Alemannic or Bavarian. The loss of unstressed schwa in most environments in Bavarian, Alemannic and Swabian results in one of the most salient features separating central and southern German dialects. While central German dialects do show effects of syncope and apocope, the schwa tends to be retained in the written language. Since the loss of final schwa eliminates an important morphological marking strategy, this apocope also contributes to significant structural changes in the most heavily affected Upper German dialects. One major distinction lost through apocope was the present-preterit marking in the weak verbs: MHG lobet-lobete ‘praises’, ‘praised’ > Upper German lob(e)t-lob(e)t, likely a factor in the general Upper German loss of the old simple preterit in favor of the periphrastic perfect. A final change affecting all dialects, though with considerable variation, is the lengthening of Middle High German short vowels in

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open syllables and the shortening of originally long vowels in closed syllables. The open-syllable lengthening affects a large number of words: MHG leben, nemen, geben ‘live’, ‘take’, ‘give’ > ENHG lèben, nèmen, gèben. The dialectal diversity and high degree of variation characteristic of the Early New High German corpus presents a complex and even chaotic picture of the linguistic situation. Nonetheless, there are a number of signs pointing to the increasing need for a supra-regional written language, at least for specific functions. In the course of the period we see in the chancery languages, in the rise of printers’ conventions and in the language of Luther’s translation of the bible attempts to develop written forms which are accessible to readers beyond their area of origin. None of these developments should be seen as steps in a teleological march toward the New High German standard language. Instead, the creation of supra-regional conventions should be viewed as early manifestations of a developing standard language ideology—the belief that a supra-regional language is superior to the local and the dialectal. Documents produced in city and territorial chanceries typically reflect local/regional dialect features and therefore provide an important source of dated and localized data on the development of regional dialects. The imperial chancery, however, generated documents which affected the entire Holy Roman Empire, and it is here that we see the first attempts to use a written language combining Upper German and East Central German features. The imperial chancery in Prague during the reigns of the Luxemburg rulers (1347–1437) used orthographic conventions reflecting both the Central German monophthongization (MHG ie, uo, üe > ì, ù, ü) but also showing the Bavarian diphthongization (MHG î, û, iu > ei, au, eu). With the beginning of the Habsburg dynasty the chancery moves to Vienna, but the writing conventions of the imperial chancery still reflect a blend of Upper German and Central German features. During the reign of Maximilian I (1493–1519) the imperial chancellor Niclas Ziegler played a central role in imposing regular orthographic conventions which eliminate many local dialectal features. While it is important not to overestimate the lasting influence of these chancery languages, they do provide early efforts to develop a supra-regional written language, a language that for the first time combines features characteristic of Central German and Upper German.

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The advent of the printing press in 1453 and the rapid growth of a highly competitive publishing industry in the century thereafter also exposed the need for a supra-regional written language. While early printed texts reflect all of the diversity of the manuscripts they bring to print, regional printing conventions gradually develop. Interestingly enough, printers located on the peripheries of the German linguistic area make linguistic concessions, no doubt with an eye on a broader market for their texts. Printers in the Low German area abandon Low German in favor of East Central German, and Swiss printers occasionally make use of diphthongs (MHG î, û, iu > ei, au, eu) in an apparent attempt to appeal to a non-Alemannic readership (cf. Keller 1965:362). Conventions developed in regional chanceries and by printers allow us to identify several regional written languages in the early sixteenth century: Low German, West Central German (centered in Cologne), East Central German (Saxony), Southwest German (Switzerland) and Southeast German. The Reformation and Martin Luther’s translation of the bible (1522), based on the example of the Saxon chancery as he states, did much to foster the spread of East Central German writing conventions, first in the Low German and West Central German areas and eventually in the Upper German area as well. While Luther was not interested in establishing linguistic norms, the wide distribution of his Lutherbibel certainly played a role in the eventual general acceptance of East Central German conventions. The early history of German is characterized by the expansion in the function and importance of literacy. In the Early Modern Period the growth of supra-local structures in society increased literacy, and the expanded domain of written language makes the need for regional and supra-regional written norms increasingly acute. Norms developed in chancery languages and printers’ conventions and propagated by influential texts such as the Lutherbibel reflect the need for a broadly acceptable written standard.

Selected Bibliography Antonsen, Elmer H. 1975. A Concise Grammar of the Older Runic Inscriptions. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. Bach, Adolf. 1965. Geschichte der deutschen Sprache. Heidelberg: Quelle and Meyer. Bostock, J. Knight. 1976. A Handbook on Old High German Literature. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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Braune, Wilhelm and Hans Eggers. 1975. Althochdeutsche Grammatik. 12th ed. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. Drosdowski, Günther, ed. 1981. Duden: Das große Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache. 6 vols. Mannheim: Bibliographisches Institut. Ebert, Robert Peter. 1978. Historische Syntax des Deutschen. Sammlung Metzler, vol. 167. Stuttgart: J. B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung. Eggers, Hans. 1986. Deutsche Sprachgeschichte. 2 vols. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt. Hartweg, Frédéric and Klaus-Peter Wegera. 1989. Frühneuhochdeutsch. Vol. 33 of Germanistische Arbeitshefte, ed. Otmar Werner and Franz Hundsnurscher. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. Keller, Rudolf E. 1978. The German Language. New Jersey: Humanities Press. Kluge, Friedrich and Elmar Seebold. 1989. Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache. 22nd ed. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. König, Werner. 1978. Atlas zur deutschen Sprache. Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag. Lexer, Matthias. 1983. Mittelhochdeutsches Taschenwörterbuch. Stuttgart: S. Hirzel. Oksaar, Els. 1965. Mittelhochdeutsch. Stockholm: Almqvist and Wiksell. Paul, Hermann, Peter Wiehl and Siegfried Grosse. 1989. Mittelhochdeutsche Grammatik. 23rd ed. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. Prokosch, Eduard. 1939. A Comparative Germanic Grammar. Philadelphia: Linguistic Society of America. Robinson, Orrin W. 1992. Old English and Its Closest Relatives. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Schilling, Heinz. 1993. Die Stadt in der frühen Neuzeit. Vol. 24 of Enzyklopädie Deutscher Geschichte, ed. Lothar Gall. Munich: R. Oldenbourg. Stedje, Astrid. 1989. Deutsche Sprache Gestern und Heute. Munich: Wilhelm Fink. Tschirch, Fritz. 1969. Geschichte der deutschen Sprache. 2 vols. Berlin: Erich Schmidt. Vries, Jan de. 1984. European Urbanization 1500–1800. Cambridge: Harvard. Waterman, John T. 1986. A History of the German Language. Rev. ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Wegera, Klaus-Peter, ed. 1986. Zur Entstehung der neuhochdeutschen Schriftsprache. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. Weijnen, Antonius A., ed. 1965. Frankisch, Merovingisch, Karolingisch. Assen: Van Gorcum. Wells, C. J. 1985. German: A Linguistic History to 1945. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

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GERMAN LITERATURE TO 1160 Francis G. Gentry

The Old High German period represents not merely a stage in the development of the German language, but also the beginnings of the process that ultimately culminates in a German literature. These beginnings, however, are a continuation of the impulses of late antiquity and early Christianity. They present a voice trying to define itself primarily within the Christian missionizing context, seeking to mediate between the new and foreign on the one hand and the traditional on the other. Whether in Latin or in the vernacular, extant writings from this period are primarily religious in nature. It is also fair to say that most vernacular writings enjoyed a pre-literary existence in that many surely had their origins in sermons or preaching. The road taken to a German literature is long and, like so many other journeys, begins with a small step, the word. The distinction of having been designated the first piece of writing in the vernacular—the oldest German book—belongs to a modest glossary undertaking, suitably entitled Abrogans (“humble”), named for the first word in the glossary. Although it cannot be stated with certainty, the Abrogans could be a product of the cathedral school of Freising during the period when Arbeo was bishop (764–783). The glossary is present in three manuscripts all dating from the latter half of the eighth century, and scholars agree that the best version is from the monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland (K). The other versions are (Pa), in the Bibliothèque Nationale Paris, and (Ra), in the Landesbibliothek Karlsruhe. Originally a Latin synonym list and probably intended as a rhetorical aid, the Abrogans enters into German history as a Latin/German document, with such entries as abrogans— dheomodi (“humble”) serving more of a lexical function than any other, a vocabulary list of unusual Latin terms. Disagreement centers on the work’s provenance, on whether it owes its existence to Lombard or Anglo-Saxon influence, the latter being, perhaps, more likely in view of the widespread activity of Anglo-Saxon missionaries in German

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lands at that time. As will become clear later in this chapter, the influence of the Anglo-Saxons on the development of German culture in this critical beginning period cannot be overestimated. One might, however, overestimate the importance of the Abrogans and other glossary works of the period, but not by much. The Abrogans stands at the start of a series of glossaries of the eighth, ninth, and tenth centuries, including the Vocabularius Sancti Galli, a Latin-Greek word list compiled around 790 in Murbach that was changed into a Latin-Old High German list. Unlike the Abrogans, the Vocabularius Sancti Galli was not a hodge-podge of terms in alphabetical order, but a list arranged in practical groups such as parts of the body, animals, and so forth. In the ninth century, glossaries became somewhat more complex, including complete interlinear texts. Among the best known are the Murbacher Hymnen, the Saint Gall Benediktiner Regel. The Kasseler Glossen and the tenth century Altdeutsche Gespräche are unique in that both provide examples of the spoken language, especially the latter text, which was intended as a sort of vade mecum for travelers. This modest list, then, embodies the desire, the need, if you will, to confront and discipline the unruly barbarian tongue. We must admire these unknown glossarists, for from these somewhat artless beginnings a language was being swiftly formed that would soon be used to sing the praises of God and communicate the message of the Gospel in sophisticated and colorful expression and, by so doing, they replicated a process that had been carried out some centuries before in England. In 597 Pope Gregory the Great (d. 604) sent the future Augustine of Canterbury (d. 604) and some companions from Rome to England to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons. After initial difficulties Augustine and his successors spread the Christian religion among the population. The uninterrupted history of the English Church up to the Reformation of the sixteenth century begins with the synod of Whitby in 663, where the primacy of the Roman over the Celtic Church was established. The next centuries brought a flourishing of scholarly and literary activity the like of which one seeks in vain on the Continent. Above all, these centuries are noteworthy for the production of literature in the vernacular. In addition to the epic Beowulf (c. 700), the period produced countless works, primarily religious: biblical epics, lives of saints, allegorical and didactic poetry, and chronicles. The unique development in England of the vernacular into a literary language can be attributed to the insight of leading

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scholars—above all, Bede—that it was not enough for only those fluent in Latin to be instructed in the Christian religion; there should also be priests and teachers who could impart the basic tenets of the Christian message to the people in their own language. How important this idea was to Bede is shown in his life of the natural talent Caedmon in book 4, chapter 24 of his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (Ecclesiastical History of the English People, 731). Caedmon, who died around 680, is described as a simple shepherd, not known to be poetically gifted until the night he was divinely inspired to compose a hymn of praise to the Creator. Bede reports that Caedmon recited it the next day, to the astonishment of all present, and Hilda, the great abbess of Whitby, became his patroness and convinced him to enter the abbey. That God helped Caedmon to compose his hymn not in Latin but in the vernacular clearly demonstrated that the vernacular was a suitable vehicle for praising God. The full effect of Bede’s efforts to promote the use of the vernacular is found among his pupils—above all, Bishop Egbert of York, who founded a school that soon became one of the most important educational centers in England. His greatest pupil was Alcuin, who became a scholar and adviser at the court of Charlemagne. Before proceeding to the beginnings of vernacular literature in the Carolingian era, a brief glance at the Frankish kingdom, which preceded this period, is useful. For there we find the foundations of many of the premises upon which later generations were to build. In the late fifth century the balance in Christian Europe was precarious. Rome had ceased to exist as an Empire and the future was in the hands of the Germanic tribes, most notably the Ostrogoths who, under their king Theodorich, now controlled Italy. The Goths were Christian, but belonged to the Arian faction, which held, in contrast to Roman Christians, that, among other things, Christ was not co-eternal with the Father, in other words did not share in the Father’s divine essence. Thus, for the Romans, apart from ethnic differences, the Goths were viewed as an occupying power and, during Theodorich’s reign true assimilation was difficult owing to the confessional differences. After his bold conversion with his people to Orthodox (Roman) Christianity in (probably) 498, Clovis, the Frankish king, put an effective end to the spread of Arianism in Western Europe and established the Franks as the people of the future in Europe. As such, it would fall to them and their successors not only to acquire new territories but also, and perhaps even more importantly,

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to further the progress of the conversion efforts among their neighbors and in their conquered territories. Following the groundwork laid by the Anglo-Saxon monks, the Franks became the main agents responsible for spreading Latin Christianity throughout Europe. The coupling of the dominance of the Franks with the Roman Church proved beneficial to both sides for several centuries. Indeed, the negative effects of this partnership would not be felt until near the end of the eleventh century. Three personalities may be taken as examples of the cultural life of the Merovingian kingdom prior to the advent of the Carolingians: Radegunde, Venantius Fortunatus, and Gregory of Tours. Their writings and those of others that have been preserved from this time are, of course, in Latin, although it can be assumed that there was also a wealth of popular secular songs and heroic epics that were part of an oral tradition and not written down. Radegunde (c. 520–87), a Thuringian princess, came to the Franks as a captive in 529 after the defeat of her people by Chlotar I. Forced to marry the Frankish king, Radegunde nonetheless resisted intimacy as much as possible, so much so that Chlotar fumed that he had apparently married a nun instead of a queen. After her husband had her beloved brother put to death, she retreated to the convent of Sainte Croix near Poitiers, which she had founded and where she remained until she died. In her time Sainte Croix became one of the few centers of intellectual life in the Merovingian Frankish empire: kings and bishops came to Radegunde for advice and support, and some of the most productive years of the poet Venantius Fortunatus (535/540–600) were spent in her presence there. The affection that characterized the relationship between this good-natured and well-fed cleric can be detected in the gently teasing tone of some of his occasional poems, as in his praise of a soft cheese dish that Radegunde herself prepared for him and in which he could detect the impressions of her fingers. The creative symbiosis that epitomizes their relationship is also evident in the works of Radegunde herself, most especially her verse letters to her cousin Amalafried and to her nephew Artachis. Earlier research postulated that Fortunatus had written the letters in Radegunde’s name. Newer research no longer holds to this view but assumes that Radegunde herself did write the letters—with, to be sure, the assistance of Fortunatus, but the pride of authorship is hers. Radegunde’s letter to Amalafried, also called De excidio Thoringiae (The Destruction of Thuringia), will demonstrate

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her great ability as a writer. The letter begins with a powerful threnody about the devastation of her home, Thuringia, years earlier in which she and her brother were captured and taken to Chlotar’s court. It then continues as a lamentation about the lack of contact with Amalafried. Moving images of war and its ravages dominate the first thirty lines, and the remaining 142 lines address Amalafried directly, expressing the great sense of loss that Radegunde feels without word from her cousin who was like a brother to her. She grieves further because of the treacherous killing of her brother carried out at the behest of her husband, Chlotar. Although the style is rhetorical and thus replete with inherent artificialities, genuine emotion also shines through in Radegunde’s memories of her childhood with Amalafried and in her despair of being an exile twice over with the defeat of the Thuringians and with the murder of her brother, all of which is made more distressful by the silence of her cousin. As gripping as these sentiments are, it is the first thirty lines that are almost startling. We are confronted with a grand elegy on the defeated Thuringians, a magnificent evocation not of war and the warriors who perished, not of unparalleled bravery, but of incomparable loss. Clearly borrowing from classical models, Ovid’s Heroides undoubtedly—the letter of Briseis to Achilles springs to mind—the lines present powerful scenes of destruction utilizing domestic images, an aunt lying dead and unburied, a married woman bound in chains and dragged by her hair, a wife walking through her husbands blood, a sister stepping over the corpse of her brother, a dead infant embracing his dead mother. These pictures of ravished and dead women and children, the sorrow of mothers and sisters almost overwhelm the reader with their poignancy and their genuineness, in spite of their starkly rhetorical character. For they describe the true fruits of war and its victims. Venantius Fortunatus studied rhetoric and grammar in Ravenna. But in 565, in thanks for a cure for his poor eyesight, he journeyed over the Alps in order to make a pilgrimage to the grave of Saint Martin in Tours. Traveling through the Merovingian kingdom, Fortunatus was well received at many courts and he composed many occasional poems in honor of his individual hosts. In 567 he reached Sainte Croix and remained in the service of the abbey for several years; from this time come many occasional poems, lives of saints, hymns, and satiric verse. Many of his works show great poetic gifts, among them his Martinsvita (Life of Saint Martin) and two hymns

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that quickly gained entrance into the liturgy, the Passion hymn Pange, lingua, gloriosi and the processional hymn Vexilla regis prodeunt. After being named bishop of Poitiers, he apparently ceased writing. Nevertheless, his poetic fame lived on, first with the Anglo-Saxons, through whom it then reached the Frankish empire of the Carolingians, where Fortunatus became the model for Carolingian authors. Gregory, who came from a well-respected Gallo-Roman family, became bishop of Tours in 573 and remained at that post until his death in 594. Thanks to his ambitious work Historiarum libri X (History in Ten Books) posterity possesses generally reliable information regarding the early days of the Merovingian dynasty. His history places a succession of kings, queens, concubines, pious men and women, bishops, and abbesses, as well as lesser-known people, against the background of an age of change, during which the foundation of the later Germanic and Roman societies of the Middle Ages was created. Gregory’s stated intention is to report the truth about his time “both as a commemoration of the past and for the information of future generations—even the struggles of the dastardly and the life of the righteous.” Lamenting that his contemporaries cannot understand stylistically sophisticated language, but only the speech of the simple man, he employs a rather convoluted humility formula and declares that he, too, will avail himself of such speech not only because others might not understand his text, but because he, himself, is quite untalented. His ambition to compose the work for posterity is interesting since, in Gregory’s view, that posterity would not be much different from the audience of his day. Gregory is aware that he is creating a memory for future generations who should, in his opinion, have no difficulty assimilating its lessons into their own time, and who would not find in his descriptions a “pastness,” thus providing an excellent insight into the concept of history of the period, one that would remain more or less unchanged for centuries. History for the Germanic peoples and early Christians was not a series of discrete eras, but rather a continuum. Such matters as chronology or contemporaneity were not the tasks of history as much as conveying what the social group could learn from the recounting of seminal events. Great and not-so-great individuals and their deeds are in an eternal present and, as such, have eternal validity. (This same attitude is also encountered in the heroic literature.) And since all history, if it is a true Christian history, must begin with Creation, so, too, does Gregory’s. In the first two books he briefly presents

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the history of the world from the Creation to the death of Clovis, and the nearer he comes to his own time in the last eight books, the more extensively he describes historical events and personalities. Ending with the year 591, Gregory names himself and his various writings in the last paragraphs and implores his unknown successors not to destroy his work. They could perhaps rewrite it in verse form, he says, but otherwise the work should remain intact, words that reflect Gregory’s, and his time’s awareness of the “historicity” of the written word as well as the attitudes of his Latin culture. Unfortunately, the state of learning in the Merovingian kingdom continued to decline and few in those days approached the erudition of Gregory. The general decline in culture coincided with a dynastic decline in the Merovingian house. For a long period the actual power in the kingdom had been administered by the major domus (mayor of the palace). By the middle of the eighth century, the Carolingian dynasty was firmly established in the office of major domus and the Frankish empire was more or less stable. The mayor of the palace at the time, Pippin III, Charlemagne’s father, communicated through two Frankish bishops with Pope Zacharias. Among other things, Pippin asked who should be called king, whether it should be he who bears the title but wields no power or he who wields the power but does not have the title. The pope replied that it would be better that the one who had the actual power should be king, thus paving the way for the deposition of the last Merovingian king, Childerich III, who, in any event, had been nothing but a puppet on the throne. In 751, Pippin III was elected king of the Franks. With the advent of a powerful new, monarchal dynasty and the stability that accompanied it, the Frankish king was able to turn his thoughts toward the expansion of the empire and the reform of Christianity in Frankish lands. Thus the Carolingians were the cultural heirs of a Latin written tradition and an empire in the throes of near anarchy and decadence, surrounded by a heterogeneous ethnic and religious mix. The Frankish kings saw clearly that internal unity was essential before external expansion would be successful and that the prerequisite for a unified empire was a unified religion. As a result, following the example of Charles Martell and his support of the Anglo-Saxon Boniface (c. 672/675–754) in his conversion efforts, his sons, Carlomann and Pippin III (“The Short”), entrusted him with the reform of the Frankish Church (Concilium Germanicum 743). But it was the activities

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of Charlemagne (king: 768; emperor: 800) that built on the success of his grandfather’s and father’s program that remain firmly implanted in human memory, so much so that the age and accomplishments are distinguished by the name of the great emperor himself. The Carolingian Renaissance or Renewal that began during the reign of Charlemagne formed the beginning of a period of cultural and theological revival whose high point was reached only under his successors, especially his grandson Charles the Bald. Charlemagne attended a palace school established by his father, Pippin. Thus it was to be expected that he would found a similar institution. The tale of Charlemagne sending for the most learned scholars of Europe is a historical commonplace; it is, however, also true. For varying periods of time, illustrious men such as the rhetor Peter of Pisa, who instructed Charlemagne in grammar and Paul the Deacon, who wrote the history of the Langobards, spent time at the court of Charlemagne and taught at the palace school in Aachen. But the most influential among the scholars at Charlemagne’s court and, next to Charlemagne, the driving force behind the educational and monastic reform in the Frankish empire was the Anglo-Saxon Alcuin of York (c. 730–804), the student of Egbert who, in turn, had been Bede’s student. As the other scholars, Alcuin, too, wrote prodigiously on various subjects: theology, lives of saints, rhetoric, and Christian virtues. He considered poetry to be significant and integral to a well-functioning society, and more than three hundred poems in hexameter and distichs have been transmitted to the present under his name. His efforts to improve the Catholic liturgy were instrumental in the successful spread of Christianity as was his victorious struggle against the heresy of Adoptionism (which held that Christ was divine by nature but human by “adoption” and thus at odds with the orthodox position that Christ was both human and divine by nature) guaranteed Alcuin a place of honor in the history of the Christian Church. Alcuin’s cultural significance for the modern age lies not in his literary accomplishments, but in his efforts to improve the cultural and intellectual niveau of the Kingdom of the Franks. Foremost among these was his conviction in his Disputatio de vera philosophia that the Seven Liberal Arts are the foundation of all intellectual achievement. Divided into two groups, trivium (grammar, rhetoric, dialectic) and quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy), Alcuin’s syllabus became the basis of instruction in the palace school and subsequently throughout the empire as well as

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the foundation of intellectual effort in the Middle Ages and beyond. Although an active cultural life flourished at the court, most of these famous teachers stayed at Charlemagne’s court for only a few years. The greatest work was done by unknown scholars who led the schools that Charlemagne founded; by anonymous scribes who copied the precious manuscripts of contemporary and ancient scholars in an artistic but legible script, Carolingian minuscule; and by writers of sermons, saints’ lives, and schoolbook collections. These obscure clerics brought the educational program of the ruler and his advisers into being, spread it, and continued it long after the death of Charlemagne. Two documents are characteristic of Charlemagne’s renewal efforts in the empire: the Admonitio generalis (789) and Epistola de litteris colendis (c. 784/785). They show clearly that his efforts for the cultivation of (above all, Latin) language were aimed at Church and monastic reform. Although the king hesitated to interfere with the sphere of action of his clergy, he considered himself a Christian king responsible for the Church in his realm. Indeed, he considered himself called by God to this responsibility, so that just like his biblical predecessor Josiah (whom he mentions in the preface to his Admonitio generalis), who through the introduction of the Deuteronomic law, caused the Israelites to turn away from heathen gods and customs and return to the true faith. Schools should be available so that children of every class could learn to read and, perhaps, to write. While there were well-known schools before the Carolingian era, such as the domus ecclesiae of Caesarius of Arles, the Vivarium of Cassiodorus at Squillace on the South Italian coast, and Bede’s school at Wearmouthjarrow in the British Isles, the innovation in the Carolingian empire was that the schools were under the supervision of the ruler. This engagement of the Carolingian rulers ensured the success of the reforms. An important outcome of this process, especially in the sphere of missionizing, was writing in the vernacular. The passage from Einhard’s Vita Karoli Magni Imperatoris (c. 835) relating Charlemagne’s order to collect the old “barbaric” songs in a Heldenliederbuch (Book of Heroic Songs) is well-known. Equally prominent is the tradition that his son, Louis the Pious, had the book destroyed because it was offensive to God. Whether Charlemagne ever had such a collection made or whether Louis in a fit of righteous Christian pique destroyed the alleged volume remains a matter of dispute. Indeed it is possible that Einhard invented the incident to

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embellish Charlemagne’s imperial persona, for, as Einhard’s model Suetonius emphasizes in his biographies of the Caesars, especially in the chapter on Augustus, the cultivation of literature belongs to the positive attributes of a ruler. Whatever the truth of the matter may be, however, this passage in Einhard’s work is proof of the existence of an oral tradition of vernacular secular poetry, of which only a fragmentary example has survived—the Hildebrandslied (Lay of Hildebrand, c. 825). Although isolated within the context of Old High German literature, the Hildebrandslied stands in the illustrious tradition of Germanic heroic literature, which had its origin with the Germanic peoples of the time of the Great Migrations—that is, between the defeat of the Ostrogoths by the Huns in 375 and the sixth century. Heroic songs, it must be emphasized, are works of art, not examples of folk poetry. The authors of heroic songs were poets who were warriors at court composing songs for the ruler and his entourage. Unfortunately, aside from the Old High German Hildebrandslied, the only other works that permit insight into the original content of the heroic song are to be found in the old Icelandic collection, the Edda Saemundar (after 1220). But since the lays were transmitted orally rather than written down, it would, in any event, be well nigh impossible to determine the original text of any heroic song, which would have been altered each time it was sung, and sometimes significantly so. Only when it was written down does a text become fixed in form and content. Thus we are indeed fortunate to have the Edda which, while representing a specific moment in the reception of the texts, nonetheless provides us with real insight into the matter, if not the form of the heroic song. These texts relate, in the main, historic events of the period of migrations and portray the exceptional warrior hero who, on behalf of his tribe or people, undertakes tasks or withstands hardships that far exceed the normal demands placed on individuals, calling forth admiration and awe in the hearer or reader. In the forefront stands the concept of the group, the clan. Through his actions and demeanor the great warrior demonstrates the worth and honor of his people and calls forth for others to emulate him: songs are meant to instruct as well as to entertain. The mere recitation of “history” was not the intention of the poets, but rather the depiction of the continuing validity of age-old truths like the sanctity of the kindred, the unwavering adherence to the concept of honor (“death before dishonor”), and the inviolable principle of loyalty to one’s chief or

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lord. Above all, the warrior must be prepared to deal with the numinous world force of fate (Schicksal ) against which he must fight and struggle to use for his own purposes, even if, in the end, he will not “win.” Although coming closer to the close of the development of heroic literature than to its beginning, the Hildebrandslied is, as we will see, an excellent example of the heroic song. Written down in the early part of the ninth century on the first and the last pages of a Latin theological codex by two monks at the monastery of Fulda, the Hildebrandslied relates the archetypal and inherently tragic conflict between a father and son on the battlefield. The historical basis of the song is the conquest of Italy by Theodorich the Great in 489 in the service of the Byzantine Roman emperor Zeno. According to an agreement between Theodorich and Zeno (488), Theodorich was to defeat Odoacer and rule in the emperor’s stead until the latter should come to Italy in person. Odoacer, it should be mentioned, was a former Germanic mercenary who ruled as king of Italy since 476 after the last western Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was forced from the throne. In the Hildebrandslied, however, Dietrich of Bern (Theodorich the Great), is presented as the rightful king of Italy who was driven out of the land by the usurper Otacher (Odoacer). Now, after thirty years in exile at the court of Etzel (Attila), Dietrich returns to Italy to fight Otacher and try to reconquer his realm. The two armies meet at Ravenna, where the champions, Hildebrand representing Dietrich and Hadubrand Otacher meet in individual combat. Before beginning, the heroes engage in conversation—a commonplace in heroic literature—to inform each other of their respective background, social and heroic standing. Of course, the listener/reader knows already that they are sunufatarungo (son and father) from the powerful opening verses: ik gihorta ƒat seggen ƒat sich urhettun ænon muotin: Hiltibrant enti Haƒubrant untar heriun tuem sunufatarungo iro sara rihtun. (I heard tell that the warriors Hildebrand and Hadubrand challenged each other [to meet] alone between two armies. Son and father prepared their armor.)

Confronted with this information, it is a foregone conclusion in the minds of the listener/reader that the tale can only end tragically, as indeed it does. Quickly realizing the truth of the situation, Hildebrand,

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the older and more seasoned warrior, attempts to convince his son of his identity. No, exclaims Hadubrand, Hildebrand is dead. The hero abandoned his wife and child in Italy years ago to join his lord, Dietrich, in exile. He is convinced that his father is indeed dead. In a last attempt at a reconciliation, Hildebrand offers his son an armband that he received from the king of the Huns. Hadubrand scornfully rejects the gift, sneering that Hildebrand is old and too cowardly to fight honorably. There is no possibility of an amicable outcome now, and Hildebrand knows it, crying: “welaga nu, waltant got, wewurt skihit!” (Alas, all-powerful God, fate must take its course!). The battle commences and abruptly breaks off in the middle of a verse. The outcome of the battle is not in doubt. For in addition to tradition that favors the older, more experienced warrior, several Old Norse sources contain allusions to the situation in which the dying Hildebrand laments that he had to confront and kill his son. And fight he must, for if he does not he would prove Hadubrand’s accusations correct and would thus live with dishonor for the rest of his days. However, by fighting and being victorious, he not only takes on the great stigma of blood guilt, of murdering someone from his own family or tribe, but—since Hadubrand is his only child and has no offspring—he also destroys his own posterity. Hildebrand, of course, knows this, but he has no choice: either be branded a coward and lose all his honor or kill his son, and while not losing his honor, lose his future. This is the heroic dilemma brought about by the inflexible demands of honor put upon the Germanic warrior, coupled with the omnipresence of Schicksal. Thus it is appropriate not to speak of winners and losers in heroic literature, but rather about how well they play the game. That this consideration did not interest the Fulda monks can be seen by the fact that they left off the end of the poem. They wrote down only as much as would fit on the two pages. There have been many explanations as to why the Hildebrandslied was written down at all. Although, given the present state of knowledge, nothing definite can be said, in all probability, the writing down of the Hildebrandslied was a penmanship exercise and not a conscious attempt to preserve a secular poem for posterity. Whatever the reason, by the time the Hildebrandslied was written down, the heroic age was just a distant memory. The future belonged to the Christian Church and its efforts to spread the Gospel and reinforce its teachings in the vernacular among the Germanic tribes.

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As we have seen, this tradition originated in England and was brought to the Continent by the Anglo-Saxon monks. It was cultivated and sponsored in the Frankish empire above all by Rabanus Maurus and his pupils. As a young deacon (801), Rabanus was sent to Tours in 802 to study under Alcuin, the student of Egbert who, in turn, was the student of Bede, and who was thus continuing the custom of supporting the singing of God’s praise in the vernacular that had begun a few decades earlier with Bede’s approving report of the shepherd Caedmon. In 803 Rabanus became the director of the monastic school of Fulda and developed it into a leading European center of learning. After he was elected abbot in 822, Fulda became the base for Christian missions throughout Germany. After a fallingout with Louis the German, king of East Francia, Rabanus resigned the abbacy in 841/842. However, the two effected a reconciliation and the great scholar was appointed bishop of Mainz in 847, an office which he held until his death in 856. The important vernacular texts from this period were created either directly or indirectly under his influence. The devotional literature in Old High German can be separated into roughly three categories: a) texts that are intended for a lay audience and are used to reinforce basic principles of faith including interpretations of common prayers like the Lord’s Prayer or the Apostles’ Creed; b) more complex texts that served the missionaries or monks in their devotions and, possibly, the more sophisticated laity; and c) poetic texts used both in the conversion effort and later to illustrate and reinforce points of the Christian faith. The many glossaries served to aid the monks in the composition of those vernacular texts that were intended for a wider audience. One of the oldest of these, and representative of the type, is the eighth-century Weißenburger Katechismus. In the midst of Latin texts appear five vernacular pieces, containing the Lord’s Prayer, a confessional, the Apostolic and the Athanasian Creeds, and a German Gloria. Clearly these texts are in response to the call made in Charlemagne’s Admonitio generalis (789) for the basic elements of the Christian faith to be rendered into the vernacular capable of being memorized by the faithful. It should be noted in passing that in view of the various theological controversies of the period, such as Adoptionism, the presence of the two creeds may have special significance. For while both contain those articles of faith that must be held by the devout, the Athanasian Creed deals extensively with the mystery of the Trinity and explicitly

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draws the connection between total belief in the principles being put forth and salvation. The second group of vernacular texts contains, among others, translations of well-known and orthodox Christian works. Two may be singled out for consideration: the Old High German Isidor (late eighth/ early ninth century) and the Old High German Tatian (c. 830/835). To say that the Isidor is merely a translation of Isidore of Seville’s (c. 560–636) De fide catholica contra Iudaeos (‘On the Catholic Faith, against the Jews’) is akin to describing Goethe’s Faust as a play. Although it exists only in one incomplete manuscript and one fragmentary one (P, C.  B  in Paris and M, C.  Ö N in Vienna, respectively), the Isidor is unique both in terms of sophistication of language as well as subtlety of expression. The work is sadly incomplete: in P, leaves 1–22a contain the Latin original and the German translation in parallel columns; leaves 22b–33b are blank; and leaves 34a–79a have only the Latin text in both columns, all of which has made the possibility of a conclusive determination about the place of production as well as the identity of the translator doubtful. Nonetheless, scholars have been making a strong case that the work originated within the learned circle around Charlemagne himself. For unlike some of the elementary glosses that were being done at monasteries at this time, the Isidor translation exhibits a maturity and security of language that simply was not being realized elsewhere. In addition, the parts of Isidore’s work that were translated deal exhaustively with the nature of the Trinity, notably by underscoring numerous Old Testament references to the divinity of Christ. In other words, both the Latin original as well as the German translation were doubtless being used in the battle against the heresy of Adoptionism, not unlike the Weißenburger Katechismus discussed above. In this connection, it is fascinating to note how much the development of the vernacular was due to the overriding desire of Charlemagne to bring religious unity to his empire. Although religious unity would also enhance political stability, Charlemagne’s piety and deep interest in theological matters cannot be discounted. Unlike some of the works we will be discussing below, it is doubtful that the Isidor was intended for use in the conversion effort. Its immediate audience was probably the educated class of the empire, specifically of the court. And perhaps for that reason, the Isidor translator had no immediate successors; only about two hundred years later, with Notker Labeo,

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is such a subtle and gifted translator again found on German soil. The ambitious prose translation of the second quarter of the ninth century is the Old High German Tatian. Tatian, a Syrian Christian of the second century, is the author of the Diatessaron, a Gospel harmony of four, maybe five gospels, probably composed in Greek. His work maintained its popularity until the fifth century when the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible—with just four Gospels—was adopted by the Church as authoritative. A copy of a sixth-century Latin translation of the Diatessaron found its way to the monastery of Fulda, possibly brought by its founder, Boniface, where it remains until the present day. The German translation with parallel columns of Latin/Old High German (. . 56) is preserved in the monastery of St. Gall, indisputably since the thirteenth century and possibly since the ninth. That there were other copies can be assumed but not proven with any degree of confidence. The translation is scrupulously meticulous, preferring to render the exact meaning of the Latin text rather than trying to adapt the translation more to the linguistic specifics of German and, thus, has more in common with the interlinear biblical texts being produced at that time than with the earlier Isidor. Nonetheless, the Tatian is certainly no secondrate work. No fewer than six scribes worked on the manuscript, and one in particular read the entire text and made necessary corrections. And while the Tatian is stylistically not on the same level of sophistication as the Isidor, it is important for linguistic studies of Old High German in that it attempts to fashion a form of Old High German that is not strongly influenced by any one dialect. For that reason as well as for the richness of its vocabulary the Tatian is of great significance for the development of the language. It is not by chance that the Tatian originated in Fulda. For as mentioned earlier, Fulda was an important educational center of the empire and was especially influential in the cultivation of the vernacular. The third group of vernacular texts comprises representatives of the biblical epic genre, whose roots can be traced back to the fourthcentury Spanish priest Juvencus and his Evangelium Libri IV, a Latin work based primarily on the Gospel of Matthew. Its purpose was a defense of the Christian faith against the heathens with the innovation of adapting a new content to traditional aesthetics, a strategy that became standard practice for Christian writers both in Latin and in the vernacular. Two major works distinguish this period, the Old Saxon Heliand (830/850) and Otfried von Weißenburg’s Liber

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Evangeliorum (863/871) or Evangelienbuch. The Heliand is the sole representative, with the exception of a Genesis fragment known as Genesis A, of an Old Saxon literature. It is a life of Christ based closely on the Tatian and Rabanus Maurus’s commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew (821). The Heliand was composed in the poetic form of the heroic song, using Stabreim or alliterative long-line verse and making liberal use of heroic commonplaces and formulaic expressions. Like Juvencus, the Heliand poet utilizes traditional aesthetics in the service of the resolute offensive of the missionizing Church to firmly implant the new religion in the people. Otfried’s work, on the other hand, represents a scant generation later the voice of the established Church, no longer in need of explanation or defense. In addition, Otfried abandons the pounding alliterative cadence of the Heliand and instead composes his opus in end-rhyme, the verse form of the future. What does unite both works, however, is the use of the vernacular to express God’s word. We will return to these compositions in due course. Now let’s briefly consider two other examples of vernacular religious poetry, the Wessobrunner Gebet and the Muspilli. Although both are fragments, like the Heliand and Otfried’s Liber Evangeliorum, they are representatives of the biblical epic. The curious fragmentary piece with the inscription De Poeta, but more readily known as the Wessobrunner Gebet (late eighth/early ninth century), is found in a Latin codex of the monastery of Wessobrunn in Bavaria from 814. The work is in two parts, nine alliterating long epic lines followed by a modest prose prayer. The two parts of the work are bridged by the theme of Creation and God’s role in it. With clear echoes of heroic poetry and occasional borrowings from Anglo-Saxon biblical epic and, possibly, Old Norse (Voluspa), the nine epic lines describe, negatively, the universe before the Creation, portraying chaos as the nonexistence of the natural order. The following somewhat unpolished translation should provide sufficient access to the main thrust of the work: This I learned by asking among men [to be] the greatest mystery: [namely] that the Earth was not, nor sky; tree was not, nor hill; not one [star] nor the sun shone; the moon did not glow nor sea [sparkle]. When there was nothing of ends nor limits [that is, no time], there was then [already] the one almighty God, the most generous of men. And with him were many glorious spirits. Earlier [than them, however] the holy God . . .

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The short prose prayer that follows is an appeal to the Creator to grant the speaker/writer everything necessary to do God’s will and resist evil. Although the epic section breaks off in midline, the Wessobrunner Gebet in its present form is surely no accident, the result of a sloppy scribe who started to copy an epic and then changed his mind. Instead, it may indeed be that the scribe who entered the text into the manuscript wanted to present a brief poetic meditation on the miracle of Creation ex nihilo followed by a prayer of supplication to the Creator. Although somewhat atypical, the text can be read to exhibit a typical bipartite structure consisting of an epic beginning “I learned by asking” (compare the Hildebrandslied: “I heard tell”), followed by an expository narrative, and culminating in the prayer formula itself. The nine epic lines could well represent the beginning of a lost, slightly longer poetic text or an entire biblical epic. In either instance, the text would be well-suited for the newly converted or those to be missionized. The skillful amalgamation of the Christian and the heroic, both in style (alliteration) and content (the chaos that existed before Creation), provides a compelling treatise on the eternity of the Christian God (as opposed to the Germanic gods). For by utilizing images familiar to the intended audience from their own mythology, the difficult concept of Creation is made comprehensible within the parameters of the new religion. The Muspilli, on the other hand, has the end, rather than the beginning, of the world as its theme. Found in a manuscript from the late ninth century, it may represent a prototype perhaps a century older. However, in its mixture of alliteration and end rhyme, it may also be viewed as more representative of the age of Otfried than that of the Wessobrunner Gebet. But the Muspilli (the title may mean “conflagration of the world”) differentiates itself from the Wessobrunner Gebet not only formally. For if the latter can be understood as an example of literature used in the process of conversion, the Muspilli can be considered as literature for the already converted, something that would also place it more within Otfried’s time. The 103 surviving lines relate three eschatological events: the first describes the battle between angels and devils for the soul upon the death of the individual with the outcome of the battle dependent solely upon the individual’s actions on earth. Then a puzzling digression follows concerning the combat of Elias with the Antichrist in which two outcomes are posited, each contradicting the other. Men of the law—here understood

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as secular law, applicable to lay people—the poet writes, contend that Elias will win the battle. But, he continues, men of God (clergy) believe that Elias will be wounded, and when his blood drips upon the earth, the final conflagration will occur. The final event is the Last Judgement of all the souls. There is much more going on here than attempting to frighten people into goodness before the Parousia. Of theological interest, for example, is the matter of individual judgement immediately after death as well as the fascinating tale of Elias and the Antichrist and the differing opinions about the outcome of the battle. Even in its fragmentary state, it is possible to determine the underlying structure of the work. Beginning with the themes of individual judgement and immediate suffering or joy (1–30), followed by the battle between Elias and the Antichrist indicating that the Final Judgement is nigh (31–72), and, lastly, the summons to judgement and the advent of Christ as judge (73–103), a common thread unites the three parts, namely the just can expect a reward while the unjust can only expect damnation. Righteous deeds and repentance for sins will open the portals of Paradise, and nothing else. Thus, the poet admonishes the judges, including the secular nobility, to practice their offices on earth justly, especially with regard to the needs of the poor and the socially weak, if they wish to be saved. Indeed, respect for justice was counted among the most important attributes of rulers, as of the nobility in general. The connection of just actions on earth with the promised heavenly reward became an inescapable part of the literature intended for the nobility and its importance would only increase in later centuries. The appearance of this theme in the late ninth century is a sure sign that vernacular literature no longer stands in the service of the missionizing effort alone, but that it also serves in the strengthening of belief. Another interesting aspect of the Muspilli is the clear contrast the poet is making between the two parties and their interpretations of the Elias struggle. By claiming that Elias will win the battle, the experts of secular law are interpreting the struggle according to the dictate that in the battle between good and evil, just and unjust, good will be victorious. And, apparently, they have no qualms about defending their opinion in face of the opposite position of the clergy. That in the ninth century a group identified as “those schooled in secular law” could apparently defend its position with as much energy as the clerics demonstrates clearly a growing intellectual maturity and confidence among laypeople.

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Two Latin prefaces, one in prose and one in verse, that were first published in 1562 in the second edition of the Catalogus testium veritatis of the humanist Flacius Illyricus, open a window on a fascinating chapter of German literary history from seven centuries earlier: the quest for the poet of the Old Saxon Heliand. The prose preface relates that a poet, a man who was not unknown among the Saxons, had taken upon himself the task of translating the Old and New Testaments into Old Saxon in response to the command of “Ludouuicus piissimus Augustus,” which is now considered to refer to Louis the German and not Louis the Pious. The translation was probably to be used in the immediate post-missionizing process among the newly converted Saxons. In the verse preface, this poet (in an apparent allusion to Bede’s Caedmon story) is described as a simple shepherd who was instructed by God in a dream to write of holy things. While the two prefaces bring us no closer to the identity of the poet since, true to the essence of epic, he retreats behind the work and remains anonymous, they do indicate that the poet was known. It has been postulated that Rabanus Maurus himself wrote the prose preface. That cannot be determined, of course, but one thing is certain: they are not forgeries by Flacius, inasmuch as they are written in Carolingian and not Humanist Latin. Nonetheless, it is tantalizing to think that Rabanus might have been personally connected with the creation of the epic and that Fulda might be the place of origin. Unfortunately, in addition to the lack of knowledge about the poet, virtually nothing is known about the place of composition either. More recent scholarship points to the monastery Werden on the Ruhr, although I believe it is safe to assume that the Heliand was created under the literary influence of Fulda. After all, Fulda was at this time the center of poetic efforts in the vernacular. We may never be able to answer the questions concerning the author and place of composition conclusively, but we can state unequivocally that the 5,983-line biblical epic is one of the most important pieces of religious poetry of the German Middle Ages. Using Tatian’s Gospel commentaries and Rabanus Maurus’s Commentarium in evangelium Matthei libri VIII (821) as sources, the anonymous poet created a unique amalgam of heroic aesthetic frame and Christian content. Earlier scholars were tempted to view the Heliand as the “Germanization” of the Christian message, revealing mainly a Germanic-heathen ethos and only superficially a Christian one. However, this view was not

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pursued for long, since it quickly became apparent that such an opinion completely misrepresented the purpose of the work. While Christ is indeed described using typical Germanic terminology for chiefs like drohtin (lord), uualdand (ruler), uualdandes barn (child of the ruler), thiodo drohtin (lord of the peoples), and mildi mundboro (generous protector) and the Apostles—with the exception of Judas—are characterized as excellent thanes, the work’s Christian kernel, its message of love for one’s neighbor, justice, and peace remains unaltered by the Germanic shell. This is amply demonstrated by the rendition of the Sermon on the Mount, wherein the poet occasionally goes well beyond the text of the Gospel. One pertinent example is the section (Matthew 5, 6): “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” This is rendered as: “Those too are fortunate who desired to do good things here, those fighting men who wanted to judge fairly. With good things they themselves will be filled to satisfaction in the Chieftain’s kingdom for their wise actions; they will attain good things, those fighting men who judged fairly here” (Murphy, p. 46). The Saxon poet’s expansion of this beatitude demonstrates yet again that the concept of just judging had assumed a great importance as it became an essential part of the spiritual infrastructure of German society. In the few years that separate the poet of the Heliand from Otfried von Weißenburg (c. 800–after 871), who wrote his Liber Evangeliorum between 863 and 871, political conditions in the Frankish empire had undergone radical and, as history would demonstrate, irreversible change. The sons of Louis the Pious (Louis the German, Charles the Bald, and Lothar), had divided the Frankish empire into an eastern, western, and middle kingdom. The Strasbourg Oaths, sworn on 14 February 842, indicate that all was not harmonious: they formalized an alliance between Charles the Bald of the western kingdom and Louis the German of the eastern kingdom against their brother Lothar, who held both the middle kingdom and the title of emperor. The oaths are simple but fascinating in that they demonstrate there was not only a political but also a linguistic division between the eastern and western parts of the former empire. Charles and Louis each recited a pledge before the other’s army and in the other’s language, that is, Ludwig in West Frankish (Old French) and Charles in East Frankish (Old High German). They each promised to deal with the other in the manner befitting brothers and to support the other in the struggle against Lothar who was also their

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brother! Furthermore, each army swore an oath not to support its king in any aggression against the other king, if the latter had not broken his vow. Rabanus Maurus’s student Otfried von Weißenburg was justifiably regarded as the most illustrious vernacular poet of this period. Influenced by Latin hymns, he was the first to consistently use end rhyme rather than alliteration. Although traditionally hailed as a Gospel harmony, Otfried takes most of his material from the Gospel of Saint John and lavishes much attention on the hidden or allegorical sense lying behind the literal meaning of the text. Discussing the return home of the magi, for example, he explains that we should all seek out that land that is our inheritance; in the Christian’s case that land is Paradise. Otfried depicts Paradise in the most glowing of terms and our life on earth as one of exile and yearning to return home. But the path that leads home is a pure one and, thus, our feet that tread upon this path must also be free of any uncleanliness. The audience envisioned was surely primarily monastic, but it is not unreasonable to postulate that members of the high nobility were among the intended listeners/readers, especially in view of the preface that Otfried wrote to Archbishop Liutbert of Mainz, in which he mentions that his work was undertaken at the bidding of a certain “venerandae matronae” named Judith, who is not further identified, and several “probatissimorum virorum” to counter the pernicious influence of the secular vernacular songs. To accomplish this goal he had to write in the vernacular himself. His defense of the vernacular is presented even more forcefully in the first section of the Evangelienbuch itself entitled “Cur scriptor hunc librum theotisce dictaverit” (Why the Author has written this book in German). All culturally advanced peoples, such as the Greeks and the Romans, have, according to Otfried, recorded and commemorated their deeds in books, demonstrating their great abilities by mastering the rules of literature and by composing lofty paeans to God. Why should the Franks refrain from singing God’s praise in their own language? The Franks are not inferior to the Romans or the Greeks in courage, intelligence, or riches, he writes. No one dares to wage war against the Franks, who, it is well known, are descended from Alexander the Great. This section demonstrates unquestionably that Otfried is the intellectual grandchild of Bede and stands firmly in the ranks of those illustrious churchmen who championed the use of the vernacular. Otfried also strikes a nationalistic theme in his preface to Louis

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the German, whom he considers to be a model ruler. Louis’s virtue stems from the simple fact of his Frankish heritage, and his renown rests on the twin poles of his bravery and wisdom. Ottfried views Louis as chosen by God to lead His people as He had once chosen David. Louis will overcome all difficulties with God’s help. He will, of course, be challenged, but, like Job, the much-tested king bears his trials with patience and exemplifies a servant of God. The undivided empire of Charlemagne may no longer exist, and his grandchildren are fighting one another. Nonetheless, it appears that Otfried might be attempting to rekindle the glow of the great, powerful, and unified empire in the consciousness of his contemporaries. A similar objective can be found in the Ludwigslied (Paean to Louis), which was composed between August 881 and August 882 in praise of the West Frankish king Louis III’s victory over the Normans at Saucourt-en-Vimeu (August 3, 881). It can be dated so precisely because Louis died on August 5, 882, and the work celebrates him as still being alive. Written in East Frankish (Old High German), the Ludwigslied is found in a West Frankish manuscript that also contains the Old French Eulalia sequence, the oldest surviving literary work in Old French. Both works were entered by the same scribe. Thus, given the content of the work as well as the provenance of the manuscript, it is reasonably certain that poet and audience were to be found at the West Frankish court. The Ludwigslied is a bold affirmation of the Church Militant under the leadership of a divinely-appointed ruler. The relationship between God and the king is immediate and direct; Louis was orphaned as a child, and God became his magaczogo. Although usually translated into modern German as “Erzieher” (tutor), magaczogo signifies much more. The term implies that the person is from the same family or clan, a relative in a position similar to the role that a male relative, possibly an uncle, played in the Germanic custom of entrusting one’s son to the care of another to help raise the boy in the mores of the social group. In any event, God and Louis enjoy a close relationship, indeed are, metaphorically, related by blood. God called Louis and gave him industriousness, magnificent liege men, and the throne in Franconia. But God wishes to test Louis and, thus, has the kingdom assailed by heathen warriors, the feared Norsemen. Unlike His actions with Job, however, God does not wish to capriciously afflict Louis. The Franks have sinned and they must be punished for their

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wickedness. There is an interesting admixture here of Old and New Testament Jehovah/Christ. On the one hand God, the wrathful patriarch, smites the Franks for their sinfulness, and on the other He takes pity on them and calls Louis to aid them. God’s statement is telling: “Hluduig, kuning min, Hilph minan liutin!” (“Louis, my king, help my people!”; emphasis mine). Clearly, the Franks are the new Israelites, the new chosen people, and Louis is the new Moses. Another arresting blend is that of traditional Germanic, heroic virtues with Christian ones. In prefacing his comments to the assembled warriors, Louis states that life on earth is transitory and totally in Christ’s power. He alone has power over our death. Then he asks the assembled warriors for their counsel and promises to be generous to them if they survive or to their families should they fall. Although it is possible to view these thoughts as merely a different, Christian-tinged expression of the Germanic concept of fate, the fact that the warriors enter battle not with the barditus as described by Tacitus, but rather with the Kyrie eleison on their lips, makes it likely that there is more than just Christian veneer involved. This view is strengthened by the description of Louis’s victory, namely that Louis was victorious with God’s help—“only” being clearly understood. In a sense, the Ludwigslied can be viewed as an example of protocrusading literature, a chanson de geste in Max Wehrli’s words, insofar as the enemy is heathen and their defeat is brought about by an army of Christian warriors entering battle and singing the praise of God. The late Carolingian pride and patriotism that is evident in Otfried’s Evangelienbuch is not only replicated here, but intensified. The elevation of the Franks from a people on a par with the ancient Greeks and Romans to the Chosen People of God is a bold stroke. It has been suggested that the Ludwigslied is an expression of the deep desire for a unified empire once again, given the fact that it was written in East Frankish in honor of a West Frankish king. That may be the case, but it is also possible that the poets at the end of the Carolingian era when their society was in decline did what writers from all ages and countries have done. Dissatisfied with their present they looked back to a time of supposed greatness, to an earlier age to discover those qualities that made their peoples great. From the earliest days of the Roman Empire, for example, writers looked back to the Republic for those characteristics that were uniquely Roman. Like so much else from this period, the Ludwigslied is unique, providing

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a fascinating glimpse of the possibilities of Old High German literature. Among the many other vernacular works of the period, such as prayers, baptismal vows, and confessional forms, the charms stand out. Of these, only the two Merseburger Zaubersprüche in a tenth-century manuscript from the Merseburg cathedral provide insight into the occult world of Germanic antiquity. Both are in alliterative verse and have a bipartite structure: there is an epic setting describing a situation that the charm is supposed to remedy, such as prisoners who must be freed or a lame horse that must be cured, and there is the incantation that is to be spoken as a command. For example, the second charm reads Phol ende Uuodan uuorun zi holza. du uuart demo Balderes uolon sin uuoz birenkit. thu biguol en Sinthgunt, Sunna era suister, thu biguol en Friia, Uolla era suister, thu biguol en Uuodan, so he uuola conda: sose benrenki, sose bluotrenki, sose lidirenki, ben zi bena, bluot zi bluoda, lid zi geliden, sose gelimida sin! (Phol and Wodan rode into the forest. Then Balder’s foal sprained his leg. Then Sindgund spoke an enchantment to heal it [and] Sunna, her sister, then Frija spoke an enchantment to heal it [and] Volla, her sister, then Wodan spoke an enchantment to heal it, as well as only he knew how to: Be it injury to the bone; Be it injury to the blood; Be it injury to the whole limb! Bone [cleave] to bone, blood [cleave] to blood, limb [cleave] to limb, as if they were bonded together! = thus be they fitted together)

The first section (lines 1–5) contains two epic situations, the ride into the forest and the injury to the horse and then the attempts at curing it, with anaphora in lines 3–5 (thu biguol), first the unsuccessful incantations by two groups of goddesses, followed by Wodan, who is successful. The second section (lines 6–8) contains the magic charm. The effectiveness of the charm depends on the magical power of the words, which are expressed as a command, and especially on the ability of the speaker. Thus, if one attempted this charm, for example, and it did not work, that would not mean that the charm was faulty, but rather the speaker, as evidenced by the failure of the four goddesses. There are, of course, other charms from this period. These, however, are garbed with a clear Christian overlay that covers a

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Christian/traditional lore content. That they were collected at a relatively late time (ninth and tenth centuries) shows that charms were able to adjust and maintain their popularity in a Christian but largely rural and conservative society. Instead of the Germanic gods, the powers appealed to are Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a saint. The magic is no longer contained in a formula (although these can still be found, as in, for example, the Wurmsegen), but in a supplication to the divinity, perhaps to protect a shepherd’s dog or to heal a lame horse. It is through this humble appeal that such charms— Christian prayers, actually—differ from those such as the Merseburger Zaubersprüche, which provide a modest but captivating glance into the otherwise closed cult life of the pre-Christian era. The Georgslied from around the end of the ninth century, on the other hand, provides a glimpse into Christian cultic beliefs of the period. The only surviving example of a Saint’s Life in Old High German, the fragmentary Georgslied is a hymn of praise to a saint who is probably identical with a martyr in Lydda, Palestine from the early fourth century. The events described in the work may refer to the persecution of the Christians by Diocletian in the early fourth century, at which time “George” appeared before an assembly of sixty-nine provincial governors in Nicodemia and appealed on the Christians’ behalf—to no avail. When he, himself, refused to abandon the Christian faith he was subjected to a week of torture and finally beheaded. Formed of irregular strophes with internal rhyme, the text reports of the public embrace of Christianity of George before an assembly of nobles, his subsequent condemnation, his miracles, the conversion of the queen, and, last not least, the three attempts to put him to death: first stabbed with a sword, then broken on a wheel, and finally burned, pulverized, and sunk in a well. Not only the plot is intricate, one could say confusing, but also the orthography—so much so, that the poem breaks off as George is in Hell, as an imitatio christi, subduing Abollinus (= Apollyon: Rev. 9,11), the Hound of Hell. The last two words are nequeo Vuisolf (I cannot [continue], Wisolf ). It has been conjectured that the scribe, Wisolf, also found the language of his original so unclear that he finally gave up in frustration. Possibly he rests easier in his grave knowing that modern scholars are likewise perplexed by the text. Saints’ Lives tend to fall into one of two categories, the historical or the fantastic, and the Georgslied definitely belongs in the latter

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group. The tale of George attracted the fabulous and bizarre from early on, so much so that Pope Gelasius (died 496), referring to George and other obscure saints, stated that they are justifiably venerated but that their deeds are “known only to God.” Although we have been concentrating on vernacular texts, it would be mistaken to conclude that the vernacular is characteristic of early literature or even commonly encountered. Quite the contrary: Latin was the medium of cultivated discourse, whether theological or mundane. If, for example, a work in Old High German is preserved only as a fragment or possibly in one manuscript (the Old Saxon Heliand and Otfried’s Evangelienbuch being decided exceptions), Latin works, even rather insignificant ones viewed from a cultural-historical perspective, can be found in several manuscripts. There are doubtless many reasons for the preference of Latin, not least of which is tradition. The perceived and actual crudity of the vernacular also did not serve to promote its use. Above all, of course, Latin was a sacred language and its use for sacred texts was a given. Not coincidentally then the production of texts took place within the confines of sacred places, primarily Benedictine monasteries during the Carolingian period. A frenzy of copying took place in the scriptoria of the monasteries, and it is to the diligent monks assiduously copying works, many of which they surely did not understand, that the modern Western world owes much of what it calls its cultural heritage. For not only were original texts like Bible commentaries, theological tracts, sequences, and hymns produced, copies were also made of the Bible and the writings of the Church Fathers. Perhaps even more significantly, many manuscripts containing copies of Latin secular works of Antiquity—under the guise of being aids in the study of grammar and rhetoric—were generated. For example, the Saint Gall monastic library contains, in addition to the oldest Alcuin Bible and the oldest clean copy of the Benedictine Rule, an especially impressive collection of the great writers of antiquity: Terence, Lucretius, Sallust, Cicero, Caesar, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Lucan, Quintilian, Statius, and Juvenal, among others. To assist in the building up of library holdings, the exchange of manuscripts among scholars and monasteries for the purpose of copying was commonplace. It is not possible to ascertain the holdings of all the most significant cathedral schools and monasteries in the greater Carolingian empire of the ninth century. But the manuscript catalogs that are available for such famous cathedral centers of scholarly activity as Freising

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and Würzburg as well as the monastic hubs of Saint Gall, Reichenau, Murbach, Lorsch, and Fulda attest to a considerable amount of scholarly activity and resources. The rich Latin literature of the Carolingian age includes two outstanding works: Einhard’s biography of Charlemagne, the Vita Karoli Magni Imperatoris (The Life of the Emperor Charles the Great) and Dhuoda’s Liber Manualis (Handbook, 843). The son of a nobleman, Einhard was born around 770 in Maingar, educated at the monastery in Fulda, and then sent, around the end of the century, to the royal court in Aachen. Here he studied with Alcuin, was soon elevated to the position of teacher in the court school, and became the emperor’s adviser in literary and mathematical matters. He remained in favor with Charlemagne’s son Louis the Pious, but when the relationship between Louis and his sons became increasingly strained and Einhard’s attempts at reconciliation failed, he withdrew in 830 to Seligenstadt am Main. He died there on March 14, 840. Written after 830, the Vita Karoli Magni Imperatoris is clearly the most mature historiographical product of the Carolingian age. Using the writings of the Roman historian Suetonius (De vita Caesarum— Lives of the Caesars) as a model, Einhard sets about presenting Charlemagne’s life so that the great emperor’s name would not “sink into oblivion” among succeeding generations since Charlemagne was a “most excellent king” and the “greatest of princes of his day.” Further, Einhard explains, he is best qualified to carry out this task because he was present at the events he is about to describe, an “eyewitness.” In other words, he is telling the truth and his information is reliable. Like Otfried, two generations later, Einhard, too, is a Frankish patriot. As a result, Charlemagne is not presented within the framework of Christian salvation history, as a sort of universal ruler, but rather as a Frankish king under whom the Franks achieved their greatest eminence. Thus, Einhard’s narrative is most interesting not necessarily just for the recounting of the personal habits and exploits of the great king, but also for his view of the relationship between the king and the Church. According to Einhard, Charlemagne clearly recognized the potential for conflict between Church and Empire with regard to the question of preeminence, a conflict that would erupt into war a little more than two centuries later during the Investiture Controversy (1076–1122). The basic question was, of course, who “made” the emperor. Was he a monarch before the Pope blessed him or only after papal intervention with

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God, as it were. The political power implications are obvious. Thus, Einhard’s choice of words to describe Charlemagne’s coronation in 800 is revealing: “quo tempore imperatoris et augusti nomen accepit” (at that time, he accepted the title of emperor and augustus, italics mine). And somewhat later in Chapter 29, the biographer writes: “post susceptum imperiale nomen . . .” (after he had received the imperial title . . ., italics mine). In other words, all that the pope gave Charlemagne was the title, not the office. This was a important distinction, for it meant that the emperor was such by dint of something other than the laying on of papal hands. Monarchs rule by the grace of God not by that of another human being. For Einhard, then, Charlemagne was the overlord of Roman Christianity; the title he received from the pope confirmed but did not confer that status. The duty of the Christian ruler is, of course, to protect the Church, not, however, as a subordinate of religious authority but rather as its overlord. After all, the emperor rules not by the grace of the pope but by the grace of God. This view of Christian monarchy was maintained and expanded by the succeeding Ottonian and early Salian kings, only to be put to its severest challenge during the Investiture Controversy when it would undergo a fundamental change. Another life of Charlemagne (Gesta Karoli Magni) was written by Notker Balbulus, a monk of St. Gall (c. 840–912) on the command of Emperor Charles III who visited the monastery in December 883. Since the text that has been transmitted is incomplete, it is uncertain when or if the work was ever finished. Of the three books, only Book I (Charlemagne and the Church) is complete; Book II (Charlemagne’s Battles) is missing the final section; and Book III (Charlemagne’s Personal Life) is entirely missing. It is clear, though, that Notker was not interested in historical accuracy as—presumably—was Einhard. Instead, Charlemagne is the paradigm, the ideal of the Christian, Frankish king. Einhard’s wish that the memory of the great king would be kept alive is more than fulfilled by Notker, but his Charlemagne shows not only the passage of time but also the changing fortunes of the Carolingian empire in the last quarter of the ninth century. Notker is justly famous for another, greater accomplishment in the history of liturgical music: he turned the sequence from a humdrum Latin text, used perhaps as a mnemonic device for monks singing the long syllable (-a) of the Alleluia between the Gradual of the Mass and the Gospel, into a work of poetry. In fact, he explains in a pref-

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ace to his Liber hymnorum (Book of Hymns), begun about 860 and completed around 884, that he always found it difficult to remember the long melody after the -a in the Alleluia. Then a monk from Jumièges near Rouen came to St. Gall after his monastery had been sacked by the Normans. He brought verses with him that were fitted to the extremely long and complicated melodies. Notker writes that he found the idea excellent but the verses were poetically crude. Thus he set about improving on the model. Of the fifty sequences in his Liber hymnorum, an integrated anthology of texts that encompasses the entire liturgical year, forty are considered to be authentically his. As indicated above, what distinguishes Notker’s texts from those that existed before them, is the genuine artistic, poetic concept that underlies each one. It is clear that his works are not mere contrivances, assembled merely to aid monks to keep a melody. Another result of the practice of troping (embellishing) liturgical texts took a dramatic form. The Quem quaeritis Easter trope, depicting the conversation between the angel at Christ’s empty tomb and the three Marys, was one of the earliest such pieces to demand dramatic performance: Quem quaeritis Iesum Nazarenum (crucifixum) Non est hic Surrexit

(Angel: Whom do you seek?) (Women: Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified one.) (Angel: He is not here.) (He has risen.)

From this rather austere beginning, developed the long tradition of liturgical drama, which, like the sequence, is centered upon the major feasts of the Church. Moving back closer to Einhard’s time, we encounter a secular genre in Dhuoda’s Liber Manualis, a book of advice from a mother to her son, which reveals much about conditions in the Carolingian Empire and about the life of a noble woman at that time. Dhuoda reports that she married Bernard of Septimania on 29 June 824. Shortly after her marriage she was taken to an estate of her husband in Uzès on the lower Rhone, where she lived in exile. On November 29, 826 her first son, William, was born, and on March 22, 841 she bore a second son, Bernard who, for reasons not clear, was taken from her even before the christening. In the summer of the same year, her husband sent William, as was a common practice at the time, as a quasi hostage to the court of Charles the Bald.

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She wrote the book for William between November 30, 841 and February 2, 843. It is not known when she died, although her husband was beheaded in 844 and, unfortunately, her son, William, for whom she composed her manual of correct deportment, suffered the same fate in 850. Her lessons fell, apparently, on deaf ears. Although the manual represents an early form of a Prince’s Mirror, it really is a work sui generis that gives the modern reader a good insight into the mentality of the Carolingian era. Aside from advising her son how to comport himself in society and how to serve his lord, Charles, she also explains the meaning of the Christian religion—replete with humility formulas and protestations of her ignorance. Far from demonstrating ignorance, Dhuoda reveals strong familiarity not only with the Bible but also with the writings of scholars such as Alcuin and Isidore of Seville. Clearly Dhuoda was an educated woman and an outstanding representative of the Carolingian policy of learning and educational reforms. In addition, her son, William, must also have been able to read, not always a foregone conclusion. In a dedicatory acrostichon she writes: Dhuoda Dilecto Filio Uuilhelmo Salutem Lege (Dhuoda to her beloved son, William, Greeting. Read!). She frequently admonishes him throughout to read her little book, even though he already owns many others and will own even more in the future. Her hope that others, too, will read her little book after William is finished with it reveals once again the success of the educational reforms of the Carolingians. Dhuoda’s work ends with the final words of Christ on the cross, “consumatum est” (It is finished); and with the death of Louis the Child in 911 one can say the same of Frankish influence in the eastern part of the former Carolingian empire. The destiny of the kingdom would now be guided by another dynasty. With the election of Henry I as king in 919, the sovereignty in the future German empire went from the Franks to the Saxons. The Ottonian era (936 to 1002), by which the period is known, witnessed not only a dynastic change but also a cultural and literary renewal with Latin as the language of religious and secular literary communication. For, in spite of the hopes of an Otfried, German was not yet a literary language nor a scholarly one. And although it can be assumed that vernacular literature continued in oral form, from 918 until about 1050 literature was mainly written in Latin—at least that which has survived. There was one individual, however, who did attempt to work with the “barbarian tongue,” and, by so doing, not only pro-

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duced masterpieces of translation, but also worked with the vernacular to make it more capable of expressing the sense of the Latin. This distinguished and yet modest man was Notker III (c. 950–1022) also known as Notker Labeo (the Thick-lipped) or Notker Teutonicus (the German). Leader of the Saint Gall monastery school, Notker was renowned as teacher and venerated by his students. He translated The Consolation of Philosophy of Boethius, the Categories and Hermeneutics of Aristotle, the first two books of the Marriage of Philology and Mercury of Martianus Capella, and the Psalms. In 1022 he died of the plague just after completing his translation of the Moralia of Gregory the Great. Unfortunately, this work has been lost. With his clear and idiomatic translations, Notker convincingly demonstrates that he is in absolute control not only of Latin, but also of German. Through his intensive work with the vernacular, Notker occupies a significant position in the development of written German. Some of his innovations are (a) a differentiation between long and short vowels, (b) short stressed syllables are marked with an acute accent, (c) a circumflex is used to denote long vowels—and not only in stressed syllables, and (d) his Anlautgesetz (law of initial consonants), according to which initial b, d, and g alternate with p, t, and k, respectively, depending on whether the final sound of the previous word is voiced or unvoiced. Doubtless because Notker’s interest in the vernacular was more of a practical nature, he had no followers in his efforts on behalf of the German language, which, to his mind was little more than a necessary aid to make the Latin texts more comprehensible to his pupils who were not yet comfortably versed in the language. The patriotism that had motivated Otfried was no longer present in the universal Holy Roman Empire with its universal Church and universal tongue. It would be a generation or more before the situation in Empire and Church changed so dramatically that claims of universality, both in terms of influence and language, were to be successfully challenged. Much of the impetus for literary activity continued to come from the monasteries, of course, but women at the imperial court played a significant role as patrons. From the convents came magnificent illuminated manuscripts, such as the Hitda Codex from Meschede (c. 1020) and the exquisite processional crosses of the Ottonian abbesses Saint Matilda and Saint Theophano of Essen. These abbeys were led by women of the Saxon aristocracy; Mathilde, the mother of the emperor Otto I, established the convent in Quedlinburg as

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an important cultural center; Adelheid, the second wife of Otto I, was the patroness of Ekkehard II of Saint Gall; her daughter Mathilde was also abbess of the Quedlinburg convent; Gerberga, the niece of Otto I, was the abbess of Gandersheim at the time of Hrotsvit. Although these are just a few of the personalities involved, it is clear that the role of noblewomen in the religious and cultural life of the Saxon imperial period was an important one. In addition to splendid treasures of religious art, the Ottonian period saw the creation of many literary works in the minor genres. The collection, Carmina Cantabrigensa (Cambridge Songs, c. 1050), so called after the location of the manuscript, manifests in an exemplary fashion the ease with which religious forms like the sequence are adapted for secular use. The corpus comprises forty-seven songs, some of which are of German origin. Among them are secular sequences, also called Modi, such as the Modus Ottinc, which celebrates the deeds of the three Ottos, and the Modus Liebinc (The Snow Baby), a farce about a clever Swabian who avenged his cuckolding by his wife in an ingenious way. Two Latin epics, the Waltharius and Ruodlieb, frame the Ottonian epoch, not only in approximate time but also in theme. Ekkehard IV (980–1060) reports in his chronicle of Saint Gall that a monk named Ekkehard I (c. 909–973) wrote in his youth a 1,456-line Latin Waltharius epic. On this basis, then, the work has been dated about 930. But in three of the twelve manuscripts there is a prologue by a Geraldus, who says that he presented the epic to Bishop Erchambald. It is not clear whether Geraldus meant that he composed the epic or that he merely gave it to the bishop; if the former is the case, there are several Erchambalds who could be the individuals involved, and the dating of the work would vary from around 850 to 918. There is also some controversy as to whether the Waltharius is a heroic poem that has been translated by Geraldus and provided with a Christian veneer. As such it would be an excellent example of the monastic reception of secular, vernacular, literature. In addition to allusions to classical mythology and the occasional pious musing, the work is replete with detailed accounts of the bellicose exploits of the hero, Walther. It is clear that the poet, whether Ekkehard or Geraldus, is enjoying himself immensely. The characters in the epic as well as the major theme, the conflict between personal loyalty and vassal obligations, are known from other heroic works, specifically the Nibelungen complex. As children,

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Walther, Hagen, and Hildgund are sent from their respective homelands (Aquitaine, Francia, and Burgundy) as hostages to the court of Attila the Hun who demanded that each country send the child of its ruler in exchange for peace. Hagen was sent by the Franks in place of Gunther, the king’s son, because the latter was considered to be too small and weak for the experience. The three grow up at the court and are treated well. Hildgund is put in charge of the king’s treasure, while Walther and Hagen gain renown as commanders of Attila’s armies. Before being sent as hostages, Walther and Hildgund were promised to each other by their parents, and while at the court Hagen and Walther swear a binding oath of friendship with one another. Thus the bonds joining the three are strong. One night Hagen escapes to return to the service of the new Frankish king, the now grown Gunther. In an attempt to keep Walther from doing the same, Attila tries to arrange a marriage between him and a Hunnish woman. Realizing that they have no choice, Walther and Hildgund escape, taking Attila’s treasure with them. To reach Spain they have to ride through Francia, where Gunther, over Hagen’s objections, leads twelve warriors (including Hagen) in an attempt to steal the treasure. After eleven individual combats, described in loving—and graphic—detail by the poet, in which all the Franks are dispatched in inventive ways, including Hagen’s nephew, his sister’s son, Patafrid, no one is left to defend the king but Hagen. The latter had not taken part in the battle because of the oath of friendship he and Walther had sworn. Only when the king begs for his help does he agree to fight. There is no doubt that Hagen is acting contrary to his inclination, but he is unable to gainsay the strength of the vassal ties to his lord, Gunther. Nonetheless, he makes it clear to Gunther that he is prepared to break the oath of friendship only because of his vassal loyalty. Not because of his beloved nephew, Hagen says, would he do battle with his friend, would he be prepared to break the bond of loyalty to Walther. Only because his king needs him will he join battle. On the other hand, he tells Walther that he is fighting only because the latter has slain his sister’s son—in other words, out of loyalty to his kin. The real reason he fights, however, is his vassal obligation to Gunther. Obviously, though, he knows that this is not a sufficient excuse—or would not be viewed as such by Walther—to renounce his friendship with him. Thus he provides the one reason that Walther would understand and accept—avenging the death of a blood kins-

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man. It is doubtless one of the many Christian elements in the work, but it is also one that cropped up again in the Nibelungenlied a few hundred years later when Hagen again found himself with a divided loyalty. Unlike that great epic, however, this monastic exercise lacks the inexorable tragedy at the end: instead, the three severely wounded men sit around the campfire. Hagen and Walther make grotesque jokes about their injuries, and are reconciled. Gunther, also severely wounded, is not part of the camaraderie among true heros, a stigma, echoes of which can also be found in the Nibelungenlied. The Ruodlieb (after 1050) is the product of a different historical and literary epoch. It is no longer concerned with Germanic heroes but with German knighthood a century before the rise of French courtly culture; for this reason it has been called the first courtly novel. Incomplete at 2,300 lines, Ruodlieb relates the tale of a young nobleman who, after having been treated disloyally by his lords at home, travels to Africa and enters the service of the rex maior (Greater King). In contrast to Ruodlieb’s former lords, the Greater King is the embodiment of the just and peace-seeking ruler. After winning a devastating war against the unjust rex minor (Lesser King), for example, the rex maior offers the latter an honorable and generous peace, which is humbly and gratefully accepted. The rex minor’s response to the Greater King provides a remarkable glimpse of the self-confidence and universal power, to which secular kingship had evolved from the time of Charlemagne through the Saxon emperors, reaching its peak in the Salian dynasty on the eve of the Investiture Controversy. Through a messenger, the Lesser King proclaims, for example, that the rex maior is the refuge and protector of society in Christ’s stead. And as if to reinforce this view even more, when the two kings meet at the former battle site in order to celebrate the peace, an altar stands ready for Mass, adorned with the diadem and cross of the rex maior, clearly symbolizing the close relationship of the king to God. After several years, Ruodlieb hears from his mother and his former lords that they acknowledge they treated him wrongly and urge him to return home. The Greater King asks whether Ruodlieb would prefer treasure or wisdom. Of course, Ruodlieb requests wisdom and receives twelve pieces of advice in addition to two loaves of bread that he is to break only when he reaches home. In his subsequent adventures he is confronted with episodes illustrating the wisdom of the king’s advice. After he arrives home, he breaks open

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the loaves of bread and discovers two exquisitely wrought silver containers filled with gold coins. The tale breaks off with Ruodlieb engaged in a bridal quest. The tale provides many insights into medieval life unmatched by any other literary work up to that time. A brief summary: a) Members of society: noble, petty or lesser noble, rich peasants, bishops, secular priests, and monks; b) Customs at table: utensils are knife and fork; two main meals; peasants sit at smaller tables; master is served first and sends food over; several courses at a meal in a noble dwelling; after each course a goblet of wine is drunk; c) conditions of village streets; d) importance of agriculture; e) the economic basis of marriage and attendant ceremonies; f ) diplomatic behavior: standing and doffing one’s hat before those of higher standing; g) insight into the life of rich peasants; h) sacral position of monarch; i) forms of legal proceedings; j) types of punishment: burning, drowning, burying alive, maiming, cutting off nose, lips, etc.; k) jewels and games such as chess; l) animals at court: bear, leopards, lynxes, talking birds, and so forth; and m) the racy side of life involving seductions, priests and their women, and so forth. The work portrays a harmonious society in which we are confronted with types rather than characters. The kings have no names and Ruodlieb himself is not named until late in the tale. He is introduced simply as a “man of noble lineage.” The Greater King represents the ideal of a Christian ruler. But the epic was written for entertainment as well as moral purposes. It provides a realistic and reasonable picture of life in which various peccadillos, especially sexual ones, are not condemned out of hand. It portrays a self-confident, optimistic society in which everyone has definite duties and responsibilities, the chief one of which is the practice of Christian charity. The Ruodlieb shows the direction that literature, including vernacular literature, might well have taken around the middle of the eleventh century had it not been for the confrontation between the papacy and the emperor known as the Investiture Controversy. This struggle had deep and far-reaching effects on Germany that are today hardly imaginable; it was a blow from which the empire would suffer long after the “official” end of the struggle in the Concordat of Worms in 1122. The clash cannot be understood in terms of a modern dispute between Church and state, concepts that at that time did not have the current meaning. It was rather a contest between

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pope and emperor for primacy in the leadership of Christian society. Through the Investiture Controversy the theocratic side of the German monarchy was put to an end once and for all. The result was a twofold emancipation: the Church freed itself from secular domination, and the monarchy was released from its archaic, theocratic bonds. It marked the dawn of a new age. But the profit from this long and bloody struggle was realized neither by the papacy nor the empire, but rather the German nobility. By 1100 Germany was the most feudal country in Europe, with a colorful multiplicity of territorial fiefdoms that were wholly independent of both the monarchy and the Church. The striving of the Saxon and Salian emperors for a centralized authority had been shattered; the real power in the land was with the princes. The designation Early Middle High German religious literature is applied to about ninety works written from about 1060—after nearly 150 years from which no written works in the vernacular, with the exception of Notker III’s translations, have survived—to about 1180. Among them are biblical epics, commentaries on the Song of Songs, penitential sermons, laments for sin, moral-allegorical tracts, historical literature, zoological treatises, minstrel epics, litanies, and commentaries on the Mass. That the stresses of this complex and dangerous time would be reflected in the poetry is obvious. The ascendancy of vernacular literature at this time is related to the changed role of the Church after the Investiture Controversy. Instead of being concerned with the afterlife, as it had been previously, the Church directed its attention to life in this world and claimed the right to lead secular society; therefore, it was forced to come to terms with questions about the duties of the various social classes, especially of the nobility, and these are the main themes of the literature of this period. Clearly if it wished to influence the noble laity, the Church had to use the vernacular. In addition, as we approach the middle of the twelfth century and further on toward the courtly period (c. 1170) the circle of patrons of literature expanded: great noble houses began commissioning works which would reflect the interests of their own group; the Latin-speaking imperial court and the great imperial monasteries would no longer hold the monopoly on literary production. For the Early Middle High German period, however, most of the works were composed by priests or monks and are assembled in five magnificent manuscripts: (a)   2696 (fourteenth century) contains the works of the Heinrich von Melk from the mid-

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dle of the twelfth century (Das Priesterleben, Von dem gemeinen Leben, Von des todes gehugede); the Anegenge, a christological narrative Creation and Redemption (c. 1180); and Tnugdalus, an example of vernacular Visionliterature about an Irish knight whose soul journeys to Hell and on to Heaven and back to earth (c. 1190) by Priester Alber of the Winderberg monastery in Bavaria; (b)   2721 (second half of twelfth century) contains three longer works, Genesis, Exodus, and a prose Physiologus (c. 1110); (c) ⁄  (c. 1150) has illustrations and also contains Genesis, Exodus, and Physiologus, all three of which have the same sources as the works in the Vienna manuscript; the Genesis, however, represents a revision of the Vienna work and the Physiologus is a rhymed version; in addition it contains several of the shorter didactic and allegorical works: Vom Rehte, die Hochzeit, Auslegung des Vaterunsers, das himmlische Jerusalem; (d) ß  (first half of twelfth century) was destroyed in 1870 during the French siege of Strasbourg. The contents have been preserved through copies. It contained the Rede vom heiligen Glouven of the Arme Hartmann, the Straßburger Alexander, Heinrichs Litanei, and a Pilatus fragment; (e)   of the Augustinian Canons’ chapter in Vorau Styria (second half of twelfth century) is probably the most interesting in that it contains more works than the others and has a clear “program” in the arrangement of the works in the manuscript itself: Kaiserchronik, Bücher Mosis, Wahrheit, Summa theologiae, Lob Salamons, Drei Jünglinge im Feuerofen, Ältere Judith, Jüngere Judith, Vorauer Alexander, the works of Frau Ava, the Vorauer Sündenklage, Ezzos Gesang, Arnold’s Loblied auf den Heiligen Geist, Himmlische Jerusalem, and the Gebet einer Frau. Following these German texts is the Gesta Friderici imperatoris (Deeds of Emperor Frederick [Barbarossa]) by Otto von Freising. Among the five manuscripts the Vorau codex is unique not only for the number of works it contains, but also, as mentioned above, for their programmatic arrangement. The manuscript exhibits three distinct parts, each occupying about one-third of the space available: (1) the vernacular Kaiserchronik (Chronicle of the Emperors), (2) the shorter vernacular works, and (3) the Latin Gesta Friderici imperatoris. In between the works dealing with the history of the world, Kaiserchronik—the pagan, Christian, and German Roman emperors; and the Gesta Friderici—the contemporary Roman emperor, are found several religious texts detailing the history of Salvation beginning with those containing Old Testament themes and motifs followed by the

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Alexanderlied—the tale of the last pre-Roman conqueror. Immediately following the Alexanderlied and the Old Testament texts come those works with material from the New Testament as subject matter, beginning with the Leben Jesu (Life of Jesus), Antichrist, and the Jüngste Gericht (Last Judgement) of Frau Ava. The necessity of preparing oneself for the life hereafter is found in the Vorauer Sündenklage (Penitential Lament from Vorau) and the Ezzolied. Following the texts dealing with the deeds of the son—and in keeping with the trinitarian structure (Old Testament: Father; New Testament: Son)—comes the praise of the Holy Spirit, Loblied auf den heiligen Geist (Hymn in Praise of the Holy Ghost). The program ends with a description of the goal of our journey on earth: Paradise, the Himmlische Jerusalem (Heavenly Jerusalem). Of course, given the current state of research, it is not possible to state unequivocally that this arrangement is deliberate or occurred more or less by happenstance. Nonetheless, such programmatic arrangements were not unknown in the Middle Ages. In addition, the order in the Vorau codex corresponds closely to the Augustinian concept of the progress of history and the two cities. If the order is accidental, then all one can say is that it was a serendipitous accident. A discussion of the entire Early Middle High German corpus is neither possible within the present context nor necessary. Certain works and/or poets will be chosen as representatives pars pro toto for a more comprehensive analysis. At the beginning of the new period (c. 1060–1065) stands a remarkable work, the cantilena de miraculis Christi (Hymn about the Miracles of Christ), more commonly known as the Ezzolied. For the first time since the Old High German Christus und die Samariterin (c. 900), a German work of mature quality literally burst upon the scene and forever changed literary convention in Germany. The Ezzolied is preserved in two manuscripts: C .  in the Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire Strasbourg (end of eleventh beginning of twelfth century, S) and the Vorau manuscript (V) mentioned above. While the Strasbourg manuscript contains an older and probably more original version of the work, only seven strophes have survived. The Vorau redaction, on the other hand, while retaining these seven strophes has expanded the text considerably up to thirty-four. The structure of the Strasbourg Ezzolied—the first and second strophes with eight lines apiece, and the remaining with twelve each—supports the assumption that it was meant to be sung. The Vorau version, on the other hand, with its

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strophes of varying lengths—and taking into account its monastic origin, was clearly meant to be read or read aloud. The earliest connection between the name Ezzo and a hymn composed around the middle of the eleventh century is found in the Vita Altmanni (Life of Altmann). The Vita, written around 1130 reports on the life of the Passau Bishop Altmann, who died in 1091. One of the episodes from Altmann’s life contains a description of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, in which he took part, under the direction of Bishop Gunther of Bamberg and Archbishop Siegfried of Mainz in 1064/65. Also participating in this pilgrimage, according to the Vita, was a cleric named Ezzo who wrote a cantilena de miraculis Christi, and, with regard to Ezzo and the hymn, the Vita writer adds the statement, [Ezzo] patria lingua nobiliter composuit (“. . . he composed [the hymn] splendidly in his mother tongue”). That the cantilena in the vernacular by someone named Ezzo and the Ezzolied are one and the same is a virtual certainty. Whether the circumstances of the hymn’s composition were as indicated by the Vita writer, namely to be sung on a pilgrimage is uncertain. The first strophe of the Vorau Ezzolied, and one that is unique to it, does, however, describe an occasion on which the hymn was also allegedly sung: Der guote biscoph Guntere vone Babenberch, der hiez machen ein vil guot werch: er hiez di sine phaphen ein guot liet machen. eines liedes si begunden, want si di buoch chunden. Ezzo begunde scriben, Wille vant die wise. duo er die wise duo gewan, duo ilten si sich aller munechen. (1–10) (The worthy Bishop of Bamberg, Gunther, directed that a splendid work be written. He bade his priests to write a lofty hymn. They began [working on] a hymn because they were well familiar with the books [that is, the Bible]. Ezzo began to write, and Wille composed the music. When he had created the melody, they all rushed to become monks.)

This stanza provides many interesting particulars about the possible genesis of the hymn. Not only is the name of the patron mentioned, Bishop Gunther of Bamberg (c. 1025–1065), but also the identities of the author and the composer. Wille is assumed to be identical with the later abbot (1082–1085) of the Michelsberg monastery in

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Bamberg; Ezzo is not identified further—but a presbyter Ezzo died in Michelsberg on November 15, 1100. The hymn also had a perceptible effect: “They all rushed to become monks.” Some scholars have associated this rather startling statement with the program carried out by Gunther between 1057 and 1061 to reform the Bamberg cathedral Chapter by establishing the Augustinian Rule, according to which the canons would have to live. Possibly the Ezzolied was used to inspire the canons to choose the Rule. Another possibility involves the dedication of St. Gangolf ’s in Bamberg. And, of course, the probability that it was sung on the pilgrimage, described in Altmann’s “Vita,” is attractive to many. Whatever the circumstances of its performance, it is clear that Ezzo’s creation had a great effect on its listeners. The Ezzolied reveals a sophisticated poetic structure to which a mature Christian content has been adapted. It presents the immutable lessons of Christianity beginning with Creation (S 2–4; V 5–8), proceeding to the Fall (S 5–6; V 9–10), moving through the Old Testament period, culminating in the mission of John the Baptist (S 7; V 11–13), concentrating on the birth of Christ and his baptism (V 14–17), the miracles done during Christ’s public ministry (V 18–19), the crucifixion and its significance, including the harrowing of Hell (V 20–30), and concluding with a paean to the Cross (V 31–34)—not with the Last Judgement, as might be expected. The older Strasbourg Ezzolied begins with a direct address to the listeners: Nu wil ih iu herron heina war reda vor tuon: von dem anegenge, von alem manchunne, . . . (1–4) (Now I intend to relate to you, my lords, a true tale about Creation and about all mankind. . . .)

A brief note to iu herron: The term of address, “my lords,” would be proper for the postulated audience of the original Ezzolied, namely members of the higher clergy, of the lay nobility, or of the members of the about-to-be-regularized Bamberg cathedral Chapter—or, certainly, the high-born participants in the pilgrimage described in the Vita Altmanni. The corresponding line in the Vorau version, too, leaves no doubt as to its intended audience: ich wil iu eben allen . . . (“I intend [to relate] to you all alike . . .”) indicates a monastic audience.

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In the second strophe Ezzo proceeds to praise the coming of Christ and extensively employs light metaphors from the Gospel of John to describe Christ and His significance for the world: Lux in tenebris, daz sament uns ist: der uns sin lieht gibit, neheiner untriwon er nefligit. in principio erat verbum, daz ist waro gotes sun; von einimo worte er bechom dirre werlte al ze dien gnadon. (9–16) (A light shines in the dark; one that is with us. He who gives us his light has never been unfaithful [that is, to us]. In the beginning was the word; that is, in truth, the Son of God. Through one word, He became the salvation of this world.)

Having firmly established the thematic parameters for his hymn, namely Creation and the History of Salvation in general, Ezzo relates the familiar account of the eternity of God, the creation of the world and man, the Fall of Man, and the darkness of the time preceding the advent of Christ in the remaining five strophes of the Strasbourg version. It was, he writes, again employing metaphors of light, a time of darkness illuminated only by a few stars that were prophets and other notables from the Old Testament, such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and David. And with the mention of David, the Strasbourg Ezzolied abruptly ends. Nonetheless enough survives to demonstrate that Ezzo had in mind a clear logical procession of straightforward religious “issues” that he presented with artistry and a sophisticated consciousness of form. He was not going to waste time bringing up subtle theological matters, for he was primarily concerned with depicting and celebrating the incontrovertible facts of salvation. The Vorau scribe, on the other hand, tends to be verbose and interpolative; compare, for example, the thirteen Vorau strophes (156 lines) with the corresponding seven Strasbourg ones (76 lines). The Vorau work is also filled with much discursive monkish learning— and sometimes pedantry, such as the account of the Creation of Man. In the Strasbourg manuscript, the event is described straightforwardly: Got, tu gescuofe al daz ter ist; ane dih ne ist nieht.

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 .  ze aller jungest gescuofe du den man nach dinem bilde getan, nah tiner getate, taz er gewalt habete. du blies imo dinen geist in, taz er ewic mahti sin . . . (29–36) (Lord God, You created all that exists; without you nothing is [possible]. Last of all you created man in your image, in your form, so that he would have dominion. You blew your spirit into him so that he might live forever . . .)

The above lines are repeated more or less intact in the Vorau version. However, one interesting deviation occurs in the line S 34 (“so that he [= Adam] would have dominion”); the corresponding line V 72 reads (so du gewalt hete = “so that you would have dominion”). It is clear that the Vorau monk did not understand the intent of the statement reflected in S 34, namely that God had intended to exalt man and give him dominion over all creation. It appears as if the monk were already contemplating the dreadful consequences of the Fall which are described two strophes later (V 9–10 = S 5–6). But the above represents not the only alteration to the schema set down by the Strasbourg poet. In addition to the common strophe, the Vorau account also has a strophe dealing with the creation of Eve (completely free of misogynist overtones), a description of Eden, and yet another one giving details of the composition of the human body—this two strophes before the actual common Creation strophe! This particular strophe (5) is a consummate example of monkish lore: Got mit siner gewalt, der wurchet zeichen vil manecvalt; der worhte den mennischen einen uzzen von aht teilen: von dem leime gab er ime daz fleisch, der tou becechenit den sweiz, von dem steine gab er imm daz pein (des nist zwivil nehein). von den wurcen gab er ime di adren, von dem grase gab er ime daz har, von dem mere gab er ime daz pluot, von den wolchen daz muot. duo habet er ime begunnen der ougen von der sunnen . . . (V 37–50) (With his power, God works many kinds of signs; He formed the man out of eight parts: He gave him flesh from clay; dew symbolizes sweat;

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He gave him bones from stone (there is no doubt about that); He gave him veins from roots; hair from grass; blood from the water [ocean]; [and] spirit from the clouds. He formed his eyes from the sun.)

As entertaining as the above may be, it also serves to illustrate the delight that the Vorau poet took in embellishing the original. The Ezzolied occupies a unique position in German literature in that it stands at the beginning of the resurgence of the vernacular as a vehicle of literary discourse, as well as at the end of a period of relative political stability in the Empire. A scant generation separates it from the Memento mori, for example, but in those twenty years the following happened: The abduction of the young Henry IV at Kaiserswerth in 1062—by Anno of Cologne; a minority rule in which Empress Agnes, Henry’s mother, ceded enormous portions of Salian lands, and with them, power, to great nobles who would soon prove to be a threat to the Crown; savage wars with the Saxons; and perhaps most important the struggle between Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII, the Investiture Controversy. The result of this struggle was the complete collapse of the Salian striving for effective monarchical rule, the alienation of the king from his subjects and nobles, the interdict of the Church, and fifty years of civil war, from which Germany never completely recovered. At the time of the Ezzolied, however, all that is in the not-foreseeable future. The Salian world is still whole and confident. Secular powers rule the empire and the Church. The Ezzolied is a joyous celebration of this state of affairs as well as of the triumph of Christ over death (von dem tode starp der tot: “death died as a result of death,” V 347) and Satan, who is portrayed as the Leviathan snapping at and getting snared on the Cross. Emphasized is not the suffering Christ of later Gothic centuries with their crucifixes of pain and martyrdom, but rather the majestic Christ the King, triumphantly wearing a crown on a victorious Romanesque cross. An altogether different tone is found in the short Memento mori (seventy-three long lines in nineteen stanzas), written around 1080 by someone named Notker, a monk and probably later abbot of the reform monastery of Zwiefalten. In addition to some uncertainty about the poet’s identity, there is one other issue that complicates dealing with the text. It is not complete: A lacuna of indeterminate length occurs between (short) lines 61 and 62 (strophes 8 and 9). This gap is not indicated in the manuscript text, but rather is revealed by a logical inconsistency:

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 .  “ter eino ist wise unde vruot, tes wirt er verdamnot.” (The one is wise and good, therefore he is (will be) damned.)

It clearly makes no sense to claim that one who is wise and good should be damned. But given the present state of research, attempts to fill the gap or determine its length—estimates range from two lines to an entire strophe—must remain on the level of conjecture. The title, Memento mori, is also somewhat misleading. It was given to the work in 1871 by its first editor, K. A. Barack, who believed that the poem stood in the long tradition of the religious call to renounce this world and prepare for life in the next. As we will see, this categorization is not quite apt. The Memento mori is representative of the genre of a rhymed penitential sermon. Rhymed sermons, in general, were rather common in Early Middle High German literature, and their purpose was to transmit a Christian didactic message or a theological truth in rhyme. It is also probable that rhymed sermons were held on special days in the Church calendar, for example, saints’ feast days. Appropriately enough then, a penitential rhymed sermon is one that calls for repentance of one’s sins and preparation for the afterlife, and this type of sermon was possibly delivered during the season of penitence, Lent. But calling for an examination of conscience is a far cry from demanding that the listeners shun the world and everything in it and concentrate only on the afterlife, a commonplace of the memento mori-genre. Further, it is not always possible to determine for whom these works were composed. The fact that they were written in the vernacular leads one to postulate a lay audience, and in many, if not most cases, this supposition would be completely tenable. Nonetheless, the presence of the vernacular itself does not necessary rule out a clerical audience. For it is known that many monks—and secular priests, did not possess a command of Latin beyond the absolute minimum necessary for carrying out their tasks. For all that, Notker’s intended audience is, however, almost certainly a noble one during a time of fasting. He begins with the admonition: nu denchent, wib unde man, war ir sulint werdan (Now think, woman and man, where you want to end up). This counsel makes clear that his work is not meant for a monkish audience. “Wip unde man” is a typical circumlocution for “everyone,” but it also implies exactly what it says: “men and women.” In addition, many of the themes that Notker takes up in his work are those that would have

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more application to lay people, such as the correct disposition of wealth so that it does not prevent the salvation of the soul. Monkish sins are of a different caliber, for example, greed, gluttony, and lust. The work can be divided into three parts: I, strophes 1–6; II, strophes 7–11 (this section contains the lacuna); III, strophes 12–17. The final two strophes (18 and 19), which may or may not be original, are viewed, in either case, as supplementary strophes in which the poet laments the deceit of the world and calls upon God to aid the seeker of Paradise in escaping the pitfalls of the earthly life. It is also in the last strophe that Notker names himself. In the first part, Notker introduces the basic themes of his work: (1) the Augustinian view of life as a journey; (2) as is the case with journeys, there must be a destination, in this instance the destination is Paradise; (3) this world is pleasant and because of this pleasantness, dangerous; (4) it is dangerous not so much because it actively imperils one’s immortal soul, but rather because its beauty is so attractive that one forgets the purpose of life, namely to rejoin God; and (5) Notker reminds his listeners, again and again, of the inevitability of death. An interesting aspect of the first part of the poem is that in spite of the subject matter (death of the body, salvation of the soul) Notker does not indulge in drastic, black and white depictions of heaven and hell. He avoids hyperbolic descriptions of the vanity of the world and the terrors of eternal punishment. Instead he presents general theses about the meaning of existence taken from traditional Christian theology. He doesn’t wish to horrify his listeners, but rather to appeal to their reason. He reminds them that although earth is beautiful, nothing on earth is permanent, least of all the human being. Notker places his listeners squarely before the inevitability of death and the judgement of the soul. And having confronted them with the fact of their ineluctable destiny, he is ready to move on to more specific concerns in the second part of the Memento mori. In the second and key part of the work (strophes 7–11) Notker turns his attention to the correct conduct of life on earth, again borrowing heavily from Augustinian thought. In strophe 7 he reminds the listeners that God created them all. Because they are all descended from one man, that is, Adam, they ought to live together in love and peace (strophe 7, 2): to gebot er [God] iu ze demo lebinne mit minnon hie ze wesinne” (in this life He commanded that you live together with love). Some, he says, have not done this, and this

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transgression is grievous. Further on in strophe 9, after the lacuna and the extraordinary statement that “he will be damned,” Notker proceeds to explain the nature of the offense: tes rehten bedarf ter armo man, tes mag er leidor niewit han, er nechouf iz also tiuro, tes varn se al ze hello. (The poor and powerless man needs fair treatment. Unfortunately he cannot have it/unless he pays dearly for it. For that reason they will all go to hell.)

The determination of the meaning reht has been hotly disputed in scholarly literature, and it is difficult, perhaps impossible to ascertain its precise meaning. But since the theology of the work is Augustinian, seen especially in the theme of the journey, and since there are several direct quotations and paraphrases taken from Augustine, it may not be too far-fetched to propose that the meaning of reht also be sought in the works of the bishop of Hippo. For Augustine justitia is the foundation of all Christian virtues, including “love,” as mentioned in strophe 7. Notker appears to be saying that the armen, that is, those without power in a power-driven society (not necessarily the economically disadvantaged), are being deprived of their reht. It stands to reason that those who deprive the poor and powerless are also those who are not only able to treat the powerless correctly, but are obligated to do so! In other words, those who do not live according to the principle of love mentioned in strophe 7, those who deprive the powerless of their just and fair expectations, and those who will ultimately suffer the eternal torments of Hell because of this transgression are the addressees of the Memento mori, members of the lay nobility. When dealing with this sin Notker abandons the circumspection that illuminated the first six strophes of the poem and assigns the offenders to the deepest pit of Hell (strophes 9 and 10). For without reht there can be no minne. The eleventh strophe, the final strophe of part II, provides then a solution to the difficulty: Ube ir alle einis rehtin lebitint, so wurdint ir all geladet in/ze der ewigun mendin, da ir iemer soltint sin./taz eina hant ir iu selben, daz ander gebent ir dien armen./von diu so ne mugen ir drin gen, ir muozint iemer dervor sten. (If you all lived according to one principle governing fair treatment, you would all be invited/into the eternal joy, where you would always remain./But one kind of principle you accord to yourselves and another

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you grant to the poor and powerless./In this way you will never enter [heaven]; you will have to remain standing before [the gates].)

In the above direct address to his listeners Notker summarizes the implications of the previous strophes. He explains that there is a divinely ordained order (reht) in the world (“to live together in love”). If they honor this order, their salvation is assured. If, however, they maintain the order only for their own advantage and ignore those who are unable to do so for themselves, the armen, they will be lost. With this, then, Notker has explained the nature of the sin that he introduces in the 9th strophe. It is the failure to love all one’s neighbors equally. This is not a call for equality, as some scholars maintain; it is, rather, a demand that Christian society function according to the Christian principles of love and justice, with each receiving his proper due. In the third part (strophes 12–17) Notker returns to the theme of the journey through life and in strophe 14 offers a concrete example of the minne and the reht introduced in the second part, namely the proper disposition of wealth: Habit er sinin richtuom so geleit, daz er vert an arbeit,/ze den sconen herbergon vindit er den suozzin lon./des er in dirro werlte niewit gelebita, so luzil riwit iz in da./in dunchit da bezzir ein tac, tenne hier tusinc, teist war. (If he has so arranged his wealth that he departs without travail;/in the beautiful lodgings he will find his sweet recompense./The time which he has not lived on earth—how little he regrets it there!/One day there seems better to him than a thousand here. That is the truth.)

Notker’s proposal is traditional and in keeping with Augustinian injunctions regarding how much one should give to the poor and powerless. Augustine says one should only give a part of one’s wealth and should retain enough for oneself, a view that accords nicely with Notker’s statement in strophe 15, 2: “habit er iet hina gegebin, tes muoz er iemer furdir lebin” (if he has given anything away, he will have everlasting life). Having presented his lesson, Notker closes the third part of the Memento mori by returning to the metaphor of the journey and indicates that everything he has said has application to his audience. The world is indeed beautiful, he states, but it can also be dangerous to one’s spiritual health, if one cleaves too much to it. For no matter how attractive life on earth may be, the necessity of leaving it is inevitable:

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 .  diu vart diu dunchit iuh sorcsam, ir chomint dannan obinan,/tar muozint ir bewindin, taz sund ir wol bevindin. (17, 3–4) (The journey seems arduous to you [but] since you come from up there [that is, Paradise/God],/you must return. That you will discover well enough.)

And with this strophe, Notker concludes the didactic part of his poem. The Memento mori evidences a logical internal cohesion proceeding from the death of the body to the possible death of the soul and ending with the purpose of existence, reunion with God. Nonetheless, the work deals with life and not death. God’s commandment demands active engagement in the affairs of life and active charity toward those unable to do so for themselves. Essentially, Notker is presenting the standard lessons of Christianity in order to demonstrate that while times may have indeed changed, the enduring admonitions of Christ have not. In an era when it appears that the powerful of a land were failing to carry out their duties as Christian princes, it should not come as a surprise that a churchman would concern himself with admonitions to the rich and powerful to return to the proper path. Notker’s work is a Christian social document in which he issues the call to a return and adherence to the social traditions of the Christian faith that he saw to be gravely threatened by the state of political and social disintegration taking place in the tumultuous final quarter of the eleventh century. The anonymous Summa theologiae (c. 1100) incorporates elements of both the Ezzolied and the Memento mori in its 324 verses. Like the Ezzolied it is a paean to the Creator and to the Redeemer. And like the Memento mori it stresses the need for vigilance in this life in order to gain eternity. This is not, however, a penitential sermon nor a hymn meant to be sung. It is, rather, a source for sermons, a sophisticated vademecum for clergy and, most probably, for educated lay persons. All the truths of the Christian religion, from Creation to the Last Judgement, are found in these few lines; all the mysteries of the Faith, from the Trinity to the Resurrection, are presented and celebrated. The poet explains the relationship of God and the Church as well as the relationship of the faithful with one another. Like Notker, he addresses the need of each contributing to the divinely ordained order in the world; unlike Notker, however, the Summa theologiae poet is not viewing the problem from the top down. Rather

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he stresses the necessary interaction of all in order for society as a whole to function. Using the Pauline metaphor of the body, perhaps for the first time in the German vernacular, to demonstrate the oneness of all humanity, the poet writes that God has created our limbs to serve one another. Those parts of the body that are apparently of the least worth, such as the feet, are needed the most, because the most sublime parts, such as the eyes, would be able to accomplish little without the mobility that is provided by the humble feet: Got, der du minni ist, hat uns offin gitan, wi wir di minni sulin han. Er giscuf an uns du gilit alli ein andir dinindi. Du gilit du dir sint ani di eri, der bedurfi wir meri. Nu nimugin di ougin virwizzen di nidiri den vuzzin. (195–202) (God who is love has revealed to us how we should love./He created all the parts of the body that they might serve one another./Those that seem most humble to you are the ones for which we have greater need./Thus the eyes cannot reproach the feet for their inferiority.)

So, too, he continues, is society constructed and concludes that while there are gradations of rank in society, the higher could exercise their functions only in a limited way, indeed, without the lower ones. This preoccupation with the value of the most lowly members of society echoes the Memento mori and points ahead to a central theme of much of the didactic literature of the twelfth century, namely the value of each member of Christian society and the necessity of fulfilling the just expectations of even the most humble by those in a position to do so. The poet of Vom Rehte (c. 1150) obviously has specific rural considerations in mind when he describes the proper behavior of the master and the serf as they work together to clear some land and make it arable. Once the land becomes productive, the poet admonishes, both master and serf should share in its crop in like measure to the work they each put into it. Neither should take from the other that which each has earned through the sweat of his brow. If they act in this way, each will come to God’s grace. Thus the duty not only of the serf to help his master but also of the master to guarantee the reht of his serf is stressed. What happens to those masters who do not act this way is laid out in harrowing detail by Heinrich von Melk in his Von des todes gehugede (Remembrance of Death; after 1160). On a visit to the grave of his moldering father, a youth hears from the corpse firsthand what will happen to those who treat the poor and powerless in society unjustly.

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Yes, the father laments, I took everything I could, even taking pittances from widows and orphans without pity. Now these ill-gotten gains have imprisoned me in terrors from which there is no escape. Melk is certainly extreme in his depictions. Nonetheless, in this work as in his others he rails against what he perceives to be the abuses of his society. Heinrich von Melk provides a good illustration of the colliding cultural forces around the middle and heading into the last quarter of the twelfth century. More than a generation had passed since the end of the Investiture Controversy. Friedrich Barbarossa was king and a period of relative stability was in place. Further, new literary and cultural impulses were slowly filtering in from across the Rhine. The courtly age that was being ushered in would bring with it a renewal and of secular culture surpassing even that of the Ottonian period. The new impulses were obviously finding great resonance in Germany and were, thus, being fought by such as Heinrich von Melk, although it was a battle he could not win. The biblical epic continued to enjoy popularity at this time. From the Old Testament come works based on Genesis and Exodus, as well as the Ältere and Jüngere Judith (The Older and Younger Judith) and the Drei Jünglinge im Feuerofen (Three Youths in the Oven). The earliest work based on Genesis is the Wiener Genesis (Vienna Genesis, 1060–1070); the latest is the Millstätter Genesis (Millstatt Genesis, presumably from the late twelfth century), and the middle position is occupied by the Vorauer Bücher Mosis (Vorau Books of Moses, c. 1120– 1140). In the Wiener Genesis, which served as a model for the others, the poet clearly intends more than his Anglo-Saxon and Carolingian forebears who also presented the story of Creation and delineated its significance. He wishes to relate biblical events to the present and addresses his listeners, who presumably came from noble circles, in images that were familiar to them from their own experiences. He describes the Garden of Eden, for example, as an ideal medieval tree and herb garden. But those events and customs, as well as the geography, that were peculiar to the ancient Israelites were deemphasized or entirely omitted. Circumcision, for example, as a visible sign of the bond with Yahweh is briefly identified merely as the Jewish variant of baptism. Above all, the poet presents the concept of history common for the Middle Ages. History begins with Creation; persons and events of the Old Testament are viewed as prefiguration of persons and events in the New Testament, thus going beyond the scope of the Ezzolied which reported exclusively on the history of

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Salvation. As the chosen people of God, the Israelites prefigure the Germans, a theme that has been encountered since Otfried. The Old Testament figures are portrayed as heroes and princes in a service relationship to God, not as the simple peasants and shepherds that they actually were. The obvious joy in storytelling which already points to the pre-courtly epic writers is not to be mistaken and is a sure sign of the new age. The history of salvation and the history of the world are interwoven in two works of this period, the Annolied (Song of Anno, between 1077 and 1081) and the Kaiserchronik (Chronicle of the Emperors, c. 1147). The Annolied, which has survived only in the printed version of Martin Opitz (1639), tells of the deeds of the eleventh-century bishop Anno of Cologne (d. 1075), who was one of the most powerful imperial princes and, as a result of his abduction of the young king Henry IV, ruled in his stead from 1062 to 1065. He was a contradictory personality, on the one hand politically controversial, and on the other a sincere sponsor of monastic reform and an avid founder of churches and monasteries. The Annolied, which originated at the jewel of his monastic establishments, Siegburg, has rightly been considered as a blatant justification for Anno’s beatification; the bishop is frequently referred to in the song as “sent Anno” (Saint Anno). However, since the canonization did not take place until 1183, this designation is rather premature. According to the song, Anno was the thirty-third bishop of Cologne, and the actual story of Anno begins with the thirty-third stanza (thirty three being the number of years of Christ’s life). In the thirty-two strophes leading up to it, the unknown monastic poet wishes to do more than merely present a ordinary case for canonization. He has the ambitious plan to locate Anno within the history of the world and to present him as the perfect combination—in the eyes of God—of a wise and just ruler who kept the kingdom strong while Henry was still in his minority and a compassionate priest and bishop. Before beginning the actual narration of the beginning of history, that is, Creation, the poet provides us with a tantalizing glimpse of popular poetry of his time. He writes: Wir horten ie dikke singen von alten dingen, wi snelle helide vuhten, wi si veste burge braechen, wi sich liebin winiscefte scieden, wi riche kunige al zergiengen. (I, 1–6) (We have often heard [poets] sing of ancient things, how brave warriors fought, how they conquered strong fortresses, how dear friendships were shattered, how powerful kings fell.)

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Is he relating the existence of tales from the Nibelungen complex— and in the vernacular—in the eleventh century? It is possible, indeed probable. He goes to say that we put these fictions behind us and concentrate on the truth that can be found in the story of Anno— if we wish to enter the kingdom of God. Then begins an ambitious historical narrative in which the poet presents an interesting deviation from the Augustinian “two-world” theory and embraces the concept espoused by the ninth-century philosopher, John Scotus Eriugena, of the human being as a “tertius mundus,” according to which the human is comprised of both matter and spirit and as such forms a third world. In addition, we encounter, for the first time in the vernacular, a description of the translatio imperii in the section dealing with the dreams of Daniel (Daniel, 7–8). In the biblical account, Daniel’s first dream is of four beasts: a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a terrifying beast with iron teeth and ten horns. An eleventh horn developed with eyes and a mouth that spoke against God. Daniel’s second dream was about a ram with two horns that was conquered by a he-goat with one horn. The great horn of the he-goat breaks and four smaller horns develop. One horn grows to great size, reaches to Heaven, disrupts the perpetual sacrifice, and casts truth upon the ground. The struggle will last for years until the evil is conquered. Elements of both dreams are merged into one account in the Annolied. Relying heavily on Jerome’s commentary on the Book of Daniel, the poet identifies the animals as representing the Babylonians (lion), Medes and Persians (bear), and Alexander the Great (leopard). Daniel’s mysterious fourth beast is identified as a boar and represents the Romans. The boar had ten horns, symbolizing ten kings who are allied with the Romans, and a mighty eleventh horn that reaches into Heaven and wages war against God is interpreted as the Antichrist. This theme of the four great empires, one succeeding the other, would later be expanded into the theory of the translatio imperii, that is the progression of empire from East to West. According to this theory, power progressed inexorably from the beginning in the East (Babylonians) to ultimate decline in the West (Romans). In the discussion of Alexander the poet offers another first—an episode describing legendary feats of Alexander the Great in the vernacular. The anecdote involves the familiar narrative of Alexander exploring the depths of the sea in a type of ancient bathysphere.

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But in the Annolied something new is added: Alexander is betrayed by his faithless men and abandoned to die on the ocean floor. (Although occurring in later versions of the Alexander story, the motif of the faithless men is not attested in any sources up to the time of the Annolied’s composition.) After seeing fear-inspiring merpersons and other marvels of the deep, Alexander devised a plan for his rescue. He caused some of his blood to spill into the water. The blood irritated the ocean to the extent that it spat Alexander out upon dry land. Following upon the exploits of Alexander are several strophes dealing with the last empire, the Roman, and the battles of Caesar against the tribes of Germany (Saxons, Swabians, Bavarians, Franks). While each section is interesting in its own right, the Bavarians and Franks deserve a closer look. The Bavarians are depicted as brave and worthy opponents of Caesar. They also have a weapon, called the “Noricus ensis” which simply means a “sword from Noricum,” a region south of the Danube, but in the Middle Ages considered synonymous with “German.” Most interesting about the Bavarians, however, is the “fact” that they originally came from Armenia, where Noah’s Ark, which can still be seen, by the way, came to land. There are reports that people in this area still speak German! The Franks have an equally impressive ancestry: Cêsar bigonde nahin zu den sînin altin magin, cen Franken din edilin; iri beidere vorderin quamin von Troie der altin, duo die Criechin diu burch zivaltin. . . . (22, 1–6) (Then Caesar came to his relatives of old, the noble [tribe of the] Franks. The ancestors of them both came from Troy, the venerable, when the Greeks destroyed the city.)

Aeneas, as is well-known, escaped Troy and, after many adventures and a long dalliance with Dido in Carthage, founded Lavinium and his son, Ascanius, founded Alba Longa, traditionally claimed as the city which later established Rome. The Annolied poet compresses the tale somewhat by having Aeneas build Alba Longa (23, 14–16). In addition, the poet provides further information about the fate of others of the exiled Trojans. Franko, the apparent progenitor of the Germanic tribe of the Franks and in all likelihood a relative of Aeneas, establishes a city:

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 .  Franko gesaz mit den sini vili verre nidir bi Rini. dâ worhtin si duo mit vrowedin eini luzzele Troie. den bach hizin si Sante na demi wazzere in iri lante. den Rin havitin si vure diz meri. dannin wuhsin sint vreinkischi heri. (23, 17–24) (Franko settled with his people far away on the Rhine. There they built a “little” Troy. They called the stream Xanten in remembrance of the river in their homeland. They accepted the Rhine in place of the sea. Later the Frankish people originated from that place.)

Although conjectures about the Trojan origin of the Franks exist since the seventh century, the details of the relationship appear here for the first time in the vernacular. These few lines in the Annolied serve the purpose of demonstrating the ties of blood between the Romans and the Franks, hinted at above when Caesar is described as approaching his altin mâgin, “his relatives of old.” The close nature of the ties between the Franks and Caesar, that is, the Romans, is illustrated further through the aid that the Germanic tribes render Caesar in his struggles against Rome and in his decisive battle with Pompey (strophe 27). In strophe 28 the poet presents yet another connection between the Germans (“diutischi liuti”) and the Romans (here “Germans” should be understood as synonymous with “Franks”). In order to honor Caesar’s primacy over Rome after his defeat of Pompey, the Romans greeted Caesar with a new form of address, “Ihr” (= pluralis maiestatis). This was meant to honor Caesar since he now had the power that was formerly held by many. Caesar liked this so much that he taught it to the Franks as a sign of his esteem for them. Thus, the Romans and the Franks are bound by ties of consanguinity, loyal service, and common linguistic custom. And not only do these bonds impute a special relationship between the Romans and Franks, they also, and more importantly, attribute a sort of political legitimacy to the Frankish empire which is viewed as the legitimate continuation of the Roman empire. Around 1150 in the monumental Kaiserchronik (17,283 lines), an anonymous Regensburg cleric relates the history of the Roman emperors from the foundation of Rome, and more specifically from Caesar on to the present (1147). The poet introduces his audience to the idea of a Christian empire in which the imperial and papal powers are one. In addition to relating “true history,” the Kaiserchronik is replete with fanciful tales and historical distortions. In addition to spurious emperors, or non-existent relationships (Charlemagne and

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Pope Leo are brothers for example), the work is brimming with fascinating episodes—real or imagined—from the lives of the—real or imagined—Roman emperors. The German emperors were apparently less interesting to the poet, for after spending 14,240 lines on the Romans, he allots 3,001 lines to the Germans, of which Charlemagne receives the lion’s share of 809 lines while the remaining 2,192 lines are meted out among the remaining eighteen emperors. With the coming of Charlemagne and his acceptance of the crown from his brother, Pope Leo, the translatio imperii described in the Annolied is complete. For because of their “proven” kinship with the first Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar, the Germanic Franks have the legitimate right to assume the imperial crown and rule the Romans as part of their own far-flung empire. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the Empire has been “restored,” since Charlemagne is regarded as the heir of Constantine/Silvester. One of Charlemagne’s first acts as emperor is to reinstate the laws of Constantine: “jâ was vergezzen harte/der pfahte Constantînî” (Indeed, the imperial laws of Constantine had been sorely neglected, 14,782–783). Not only, then, did Charlemagne receive Constantine’s crown, but he also set about to reintroduce and revitalize Constantine’s laws, thereby reinforcing the Latin Christian essence of the Roman Empire. Above all, the poet wished to depict rulers, both pagan and Christian, who could be taken as worthy role models for the secular nobility at the poet’s time. The emperor Trajan may be taken as an excellent example of such a role model. The picture of Trajan that is presented in the Kaiserchronik is consonant with the one developed by the historians of late Antiquity, namely: Trajan is the epitome of the just ruler, who respected his nobles (something of which the poet approves and something that the later Henry IV did not do, of whom the poet does not approve) and ruled all levels of society justly and without bias: “er rihte vil rehte/dem hêrren unde dem cnehte” (he judged both lords and servants justly, 5845–46). In fact, Trajan was so just that when he died, Pope Gregory interceded on behalf of his soul. As a result, even though a pagan, Trajan’s soul was saved from Hell and put into St. Gregory’s care until the Last Judgement. The poet then addresses his audience directly: Nû suln alle werltkunige dâ bî nemen pilede, wî der edel kaiser Trâjan

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 .  dise genâde umbe got gewan, want er rehtes gerihtes phlegete di wîl er an dirre werlte lebete. (6083–6088) (Now should all kings of the world take note how the noble emperor Trajan gained this grace from God. [he gained it] because he exercised just judgements, all the while he lived in this world.)

Essentially, the story of Trajan exemplifies the main concerns of the poet well. The ruler must respect his nobles and must be just in all his pronouncements. Otherwise he is an unjust ruler and “useless” to society because he is not fulfilling his chief duty as sovereign. Of course, those emperors such as Constantine and Charlemagne, who worked hand-in-glove with their respective popes who were coincidentally their brothers, are the individuals most worthy of emulation. But it must be emphasized that in the poet’s concept of sovereignty the paramount obligation of the ruler, whether pagan or Christian, was to uphold the laws of the empire ranging from the administration of the emperor’s house to maintaining distinctions among the levels of society, as, for example, in Charlemagne’s sumptuary laws regarding peasants, 14,791–813. The Kaiserchronik has no equal before or since in the vernacular, and it is just one more—magnificent—example of the concern of the medieval Church for the establishment and preservation of a just society, in which each, high or low, would receive his due. And as the tale of Trajan illustrates, salvation does not depend on outward membership in the Christian Church but on the inner moral substance of the individual, a clear sign of the new spirit of the twelfth century. Other examples of the new intellectual climate in the twelfth century can be glimpsed in the works of Otto von Freising, the Arme Hartmann, and Priester Arnold. We will take a closer look at the Rede vom heiligen Glouben of the Arme Hartmann as an illustration of this new tone. The Rede vom heiligen Glouben (1140–1160) can best be described as a rhymed theological tract. It is not a penitential sermon like the Memento mori nor an acerbic, satirical lashing out at human society as is the case with Heinrich von Melk. Rather it is an exposition of the Christian Credo as it appears in the Sunday liturgy, presumably for members of the laity who were not sufficiently competent in Latin. The work can be split into four sections of varying length: (1) God the Father, lines 1–178; (2) Jesus Christ, lines 178–1640; (3) The Holy Spirit, lines 1641–3630; (4) Final section, lines 3631–3708. An epilogue, in which the poet names himself, fol-

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lows (3709–3800). In each of the four sections Hartmann quotes articles from the Creed in Latin, translates them fairly exactly or sometimes paraphrases them, and then provides explications of varying lengths. Sections 2 and 3 are strikingly longer than Sections 1 and 4, and section 3, in which a 400-line lacuna falls, is the most extensive of all. Although the Rede vom heiligen Glauben is interesting as a catechismlike document in its own right, certain parts are fascinating for the glimpse into twelfth-century mentality that they provide. In Section 2, for example, a thorny problem connected with Creation is treated, namely did matter exist in a primal, chaotic state before Creation. Orthodox Christian thinkers could, of course, not accept that anything existed before Creation except God. God created everything ex nihilo. He did not take pre-existing matter and form it. But Plato and many thinkers after him, such as Aristotle, were convinced that a pre-existent matter called hyle was the “Urmatter” from which created matter derived. This concept, filtered through Christian thought and experience, was also taken up in the twelfth century by such renowned Platonists as Bernardus Silvestris and Alan of Lille. An echo of this reception is seen here: Daz di wisen hiezen yle daz nist ouch niwit me, wen daz got von nihte machete gesihte di vier elementa, dan abe di werlt begunde sta(n). . . . (321–326) (That which the wise men call hyle is [means?] nothing more/than that which God made visible from nothing—the four elements after which the world began to develop.)

Interesting in the above is the fact that hyle, in orthodox Christian thought, is not a substance, but is more an action of God from which developed the four elements, which He then proceeded to order. In essence, Hartmann is describing the “instant” before Creation, the initial act of the Creator, still outside time—in modern parlance, the “Big Bang.” In addition to demonstrating the adaptation of a Platonic concept by twelfth-century Platonists and providing evidence that Hartmann had more than a passing familiarity with Platonist discourse, the above lines also serve to introduce a lengthy segment of Section 2 that deals with secular wisdom (lines 321–444). In these lines Hartmann departs from his main theme and writes about the origin of earthly wisdom. Appropriately enough, Hartmann holds the view that the wisdom to which the medieval person is heir had its

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origin with the ancient Greeks. The ancient wise men concerned themselves with philosophical reflection and the application of philosophy to the search for truth and the analysis of nature. They examined the heavens, determined the measurement of time, named the zodiac, and measured the distance between earth and the heavens. Their greatest accomplishment, Hartmann writes, was to provide their spiritual heirs with the seven liberal arts. The purpose of the strivings of the ancient wise men was to engage in learning that would be useful to human beings on earth. This aim meets with Hartmann’s approval, but since he is attempting to direct his listeners, as the title suggests, toward a deeper understanding of the Christian Faith, he must also state that secular knowledge can only go so far. True knowledge which transcends death can only come from Christ: di aller besten liste di quamen von Criste, daz ist di wisheit di da niemer nezegeit, di niemer vertirbit in dem menscen so er stirbit; (431–436) (The best knowledge comes from Christ. That is the knowledge that never perishes, that never ceases in the human being when he dies.)

In his view of the world and secular wisdom, Hartmann strikes a reasonable chord, much as does Notker von Zwiefalten when debating the amount that one should give to the poor. Secular wisdom is good and beneficial for life in this world, but this wisdom is transitory and not enough for salvation—but he does not claim that secular knowledge is detrimental to one’s spiritual health. The only knowledge that remains with one after death is the knowledge of truth, and that knowledge can only come from God. Lines 2403–2488 within Section 3 are also worthy of special mention because they provide a startlingly contemporary picture of the intended addressees of Hartmann’s work, members of the nobility. Hartmann describes in detail the opulent life of the nobility: the great agricultural holdings, possessions, and treasure; the exquisite goblets of gold and silver; the precious jewels and ivory; the expensive furs and silk; the fine carpets and draperies adorned with gold. Hartmann then goes on to portray the noble in gleaming armor astride a great steed, with saddle and shield of gold. In his hand he carries a new shaft with silken pennants. He is surrounded by his squires and soldiers, who will react to his every whim. He describes

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great feasts with meat and fish, wine and mead. But, he warns his listeners, in the midst of this splendor, “vil luzzil du gedinkis, daz du bietis dicheine ere dinem sceffere, der dirz alliz hat gegeben, da zu din selbis leben,” 2470–74. (How little you consider that you [should] offer some honor to your creator, who has given you everything [that you have] in your life.) Hartmann closes this description of the noble life with the nobleman in bed with his wife enjoying her favors. The above is absorbing for several reasons. Most important, they provide a straightforward description of the emerging noble “life style” around the middle of the twelfth century. The descriptions are detailed and cover the most prominent aspects of noble existence: physical comfort, followers at one’s beck and call, opulent furnishings and clothes, splendid and costly food, and the pleasures provided by a beautiful woman. And in view of the fairly reasonable language that Hartmann uses in these descriptions (so unlike Heinrich von Melk), it would not be unreasonable to suggest that he betrays a definite fascination with this way of life. This premise is strengthened by the fact that he does not unequivocally condemn the nobility for living as they do, in spite of his utilization of standard descriptions of the frailty and ultimate decay of the body that becomes a home for worms and maggots. But it is the soul that is in danger and to avoid that peril, it would be best if the nobles abandoned all their possessions, family and friends, and entered the monastery in order to serve God as conversi. But if they cannot do that, Hartmann instructs them how to attain salvation while remaining in the world. What is his instruction? It is none other than that which is encountered in the works of so many of the writers from the Early Middle High German period (for example Notker von Zwiefalten). They should help the poor, not forget who is the author of all their wealth and joy, and control their sexual appetites—but not renounce sex—, “wande des fleiscis wollust daz ist der sele verlust, swer si ubit zo unmaze unde si durch gote nit newil laze(n),” 2493–96. (For the pleasures of the flesh bring about the loss of the soul of the one who engages [in sex] immoderately and does not intend to stop [this immoderation] for the sake of God.) Moderation in all things and a life of active Christianity will ensure the salvation of the soul regardless of one’s station in life. This principle is one that will continue to fascinate German poets in the high courtly period in Germany as well (c. 1160–c. 1250).

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This relaxed attitude with respect to worldly matters is also to be found in the works of the first woman poet in the German language who is known by name, Frau Ava. Ava probably came from a noble family and, as a widow, withdrew to a hermit’s cell at the monastery in Melk; she died in 1127. Her oeuvre consists of four works, totaling 3,338 short lines, that form a whole: Johannes, Leben Jesu (The Life of Jesus), Der Antichrist, and Das Jüngste Gericht (The Last Judgment). Her work is a song of praise by a pious Christian of Christ’s act of Redemption. She does not take the rhetorical approach of lamenting the modest poetic gifts she, as a woman, possesses; the humility formulas that one frequently encounters in the writings of other medieval poets are not found in Ava’s writings. She considers her poetic activity a natural outcome of her beliefs, and this view was no doubt shared by the audience that she addresses as “lieben mîne herren” (my dear lords). The subjectivity found in Ava’s writings pervades the great prose work of pious introspection of the twelfth century, the Sankt Trudperter Hoheslied (Saint Trudpert Song of Solomon), which was presumably written in the upper German language area around 1160. The manuscript was preserved in the Benedictine monastery of Saint Trudpert in the Black Forest. In contrast to Williram von Ebersberg’s paraphrase of the Song of Solomon (c. 1060) which followed a straightforward patristic tradition (the Song as a conversation between Christ, the groom, and the Church, his bride), the anonymous St. Trudpert poet interprets the erotic Song of Solomon by stressing the significance of the concept of the bride, rather than the groom. First Christianity is presented as the bride, then the Virgin Mary, and finally the soul of the believing individual. As a didactic commentary for a congregation of Benedictine nuns, who viewed themselves as brides of Christ, this interpretation is appropriate. The work is freed from the reserved erudition of earlier interpretations of the Song of Solomon; the erotic language and sensuous images of the biblical text now enter the vernacular. One example should suffice to demonstrate the evolution of exegesis from Williram’s Paraphrase to the St. Trudperter Hoheslied. In both works the image of the body is used to demonstrate the unity of the head (Christ) with the body (the soul or the human being). That which connects the head and body in both is, of course, the neck. Williram interprets the neck as representing the Fathers of the Church, the learned men of the early Church. The anonymous St. Trudpert poet (or poetess?) explicates the neck as representing

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the Blessed Virgin Mary! This work’s equal in the portrayal of the inner person and of the soul that passionately loves God is not found in German until the mystical writings of Mechthild von Magdeburg in the thirteenth century. Closely related to the spirit of the St. Trudperter Hoheslied is the vernacular poetry in honor of the Virgin Mary that likewise has its beginning in the twelfth century: the Melker Marienlied (c. 1140–1160); the Arnsteiner Mariengebet (c. 1150); the Mariensequenz aus Muri (c. 1180–1190); the Mariensequenz aus Seckau/St. Lambrecht (c. mid-twelfth century) among the most prominent. The earliest such work, the Melker Marienlied, may be taken as an illustration of the new devotion to the Virgin. Composed of fourteen six-line stanzas, each of which ends with the refrain Sancta Maria, the Melker Marienlied contains the full range of what would become traditional mariological epithets as “Cedar of Lebanon,” “Rose of Jericho,” “Gate of Paradise,” “Queen of Heaven,” and the like. Further, Mary’s role in the divine plan of salvation is given prominent and permanent expression: She is the Co-Redeemer. For example, the traditional image of the hook and bait (= Christ’s divinity) used to ensnare the devil, encountered earlier in the Vorauer Ezzolied is also found in the Melker Marienlied. This time, however, the line which holds the hook and bait is the humanity of Mary and her kin. Christ is the new Adam; Mary is the new Eve. Eve, the poet writes, brought us a twofold death (that is, body and soul). Mary, on the other hand, is the “second woman” (that is, the new Eve) and she has bought us life. And finally, Mary becomes the Mediatrix between us and her son. At the hour of our death, the poet begs, turn your countenance toward us. These attributes and honors became part and parcel of all vernacular mariological poetry, whether hymns or sequences. To be sure, the veneration of the Virgin enjoyed a long tradition in Latin hymnody, and she appears in many vernacular settings, such as Otfried’s Evangelienbuch. These new texts are not dry moralizing tracts. Rather they are infused with an approachable humanity that seeks its counterpart in vain in Christian religious writings. The Virgin was perceived as the most human of all the divine personages, a mother who suffered terrible calamities, but accepted them all because she realized that her son’s death was necessary for the salvation of humanity. Who better, then, to venerate and seek as an intermediary with the often distant-seeming male divinity? Mariological poetry with its lush images, emotional intensity, and passionate veneration of the mother of God can be viewed

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not only on its own terms but also as a logical bridge between the religious and secular strivings of the period. In every way, this poetry is a child of its time, the twelfth century. As with so much else from this great period, the poetry in honor of the Virgin looked forward and not back.

Bibliography Editions The editions given below represent only a limited selection. For all editions of the many works mentioned in this chapter, please refer to the pertinent articles in the Verfasserlexikon (VL) and to the Gentry Bibliographie zur frühmittelhochdeutschen geistlichen Dichtung. For General Reference about the Editions Gentry, Francis G. 1992. Bibliographie zur frühmittelhochdeutschen geistlichen Dichtung. Berlin: Schmidt. Ruh, Kurt et al., ed. 1978–99. Die Deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters: Verfasserlexikon. 2nd ed. 10 vols. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter. (VL) Specific Editions Der althochdeutsche Isidor. Ed. Hans Eggers (Altdeutsche Textbibliothek 63). Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1964. Der altdeutsche Physiologus. Ed. Friedrich Maurer (Altdeutsche Textbibliothek 67). Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1967. Deutsche Kaiserchronik. Ed. Edward Schröder (MGH Deutsche Chroniken, Vol. 1). Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 1895. Heliand und Genesis. Ed. Otto Behaghel. 8th edition by Walther Mitzka (Altdeutsche Textbibliothek 4). Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1965. Kleinere deutsche Gedichte des 11. Und 12. Jahrhunderts. Ed. Werner Schröder (Altdeutsche Textbibliothek 71/72). 2 Vols. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1972. Otfrieds Evangelienbuch. Ed. Oskar Erdmann. 4th edition by Ludwig Wolff (Altdeutsche Textbibliothek 49). Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1962. Die religiösen Dichtungen des 11. und 12. Jahrhunderts. Ed. Friedrich Maurer. 3 Vols. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1964–1970. Der sogenannte Heinrich von Melk. Nach R. Heinzels Ausgabe von 1867. Ed. Richard Kienast. Heidelberg: Winter, 1946 (1960, 2nd ed.). Translations Althochdeutsche Literatur. Ausgewählte Texte mit Übertragungen. Ed. and Trans. Horst Dieter Schlosser. Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer, 1980. Das Annolied. Ed. and Trans. Eberhard Nellmann. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1986 (3rd ed.). Deutsche Dichtung des Mittelalters. Ed. and Trans. Michael Curschmann and Ingeborg Glier. 3 Vols. Vol. 1: Von den Anfängen bis zum hohen Mittelalter. Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer, 1987. Frühmittelhochdeutsche Literatur. Ed. and Trans. Gisela Vollmann-Profe. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1996. Heinrich von Melk: Von des todes gehugede/Mahnrede über den Tod. Ed. and Trans. Susanne Kramarz-Bein. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1994.

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The Heliand: The Saxon Gospel. Trans. G. Ronald Murphy, S.J. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Otfried von Weißenburg: Evangelienbuch. Ed. and Trans. Gisela Vollmann-Profe. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1987. Secondary Works The following constitutes a brief list of the major secondary reference literature. For reference to further literature and individual studies, consult the appropriate articles in the Verfasserlexikon and the entries in: Gentry—Bibliographie zur frühmittelhochdeutschen geistlichen Dichtung. Bostock, J. Knight. 1976. A Handbook on Old High German Literature. Revised by K. C. King and D. R. McLintock. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Buttell, Sister Marie P., OSF. 1948. Religious Ideology and Christian Humanism in German Cluniac Verse. Washington D.C.: Catholic University Press. Green, D.H. 1994. Medieval Listening and Reading: The Primary reception of German Literature 800–1300. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Groseclose, J. Sidney and Brian O. Murdoch. 1976. Die althochdeutschen poetischen Denkmäler. Stuttgart: Metzler. Haubrichs, Wolfgang. 1988. Die Anfänge: Versuche volkssprachiher Schriftlichkeit im frühen Mittelalter (c. 700–1050/60). In: Geschichte der deutschen Literatur von den Anfängen bis zum Beginn der Neuzeit. Ed. Joachim Heinzle. Vol. I/1. Königstein/Ts.: Athenäum. Rupp, Heinz. 1971. Deutsche Religiöse Dichtungen des 11. und 12. Jahrhunderts. Untersuchungen und Interpretationen. Bern: Francke. 2nd ed. Vollmann-Profe, Gisela. 1986. Von den Anfängen zum Hohen Mittelalter. In: Geschichte der deutschen Literatur von den Anfängen bis zum Beginn der Neuzeit. Ed. Joachim Heinzle. Vol. I/2. Königstein/Ts.: Athenäum. Wehrli, Max. 1980. Geschichte der deutschen Literatur vom frühen Mittelalter bis zum Ende des 16. Jahrhunderts. Stuttgart: Reclam.

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The New Context of the Twelfth Century The eighth through eleventh centuries in Europe were a time of upheaval and radical change in medieval Christian Europe. All constitutive forces of society were contending, often violently, to establish and then maintain themselves and their newly won power and authority. The Church, with the support of secular rulers, was continually expanding both the borders of Christianity and its own influence; the empire and the papacy were engaged in a bloody struggle to be the one voice in Christian society; and there were threats from outside by Saracens, Vikings, and Magyars. But by the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries European medieval society achieved a new level of leisure and culture, as newfound economic prosperity took hold and external military threats faded. During this time considerable cultural contacts with the Arabic world had a farreaching impact on the European Middle Ages. These contacts were facilitated through the Crusades and Crusader states, through exchanges among the intellectuals, and particularly through a new interest in ancient knowledge and philosophy that had been preserved by the Arabs. This new context provided the cultural-literary framework for the sudden emergence in the early twelfth century of courtly love poetry by secular poets, and it triggered an enormous transformation of aristocratic culture for the next four to five hundred years, affecting almost all parts of medieval Europe. This poetry was first developed and performed at the aristocratic courts in the Provence in southern France around 1100 by troubadours. By around 1150 it had spread to central and northern parts of France, where it was performed by trouvères. These performers were followed by the German Minnesänger around 1160–1170, and about fifty years later in Northern and Southern Italy by the school of poets known as Il dolce stil nuovo.

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Minne The Middle High German word minne derives from Old High German minna, meaning “friendly thought.” The word’s content became ambiguous within Minnesang, however, as it combined the elements of liep and leit—joy and sorrow, signifying a highly problematic experience with love, and modern translations of minne as love do not do full justice to it. Fundamentally, Minnesang is concerned with the love between man and woman, understood to be love outside of the bonds of marriage. This love became the focal point for artistic selfproclamation and self-confirmation, and it had less to do with actual erotic love than with ethical, moral, social, and religious ideals, especially because hôhe minne (noble love) is intimately connected with the concept of unrequited love, service, and submission. Most songs reflect a deep sense of uncertainty and unhappiness about what for the singer is a sad state of affairs. Rudolf von Fenis (d. before 1196), for instance, provides a good example. In “Gewan ich ze minnen ie guoten wân” (If ever I gained hope in love, MF 80,1–8; MF refers to the edition Des Minnesangs Frühling and the numerals refer to the poem and to the line numbers), Rudolf laments that he has from “minne” neither comfort nor hope. He does not know what to do. He compares himself to the man climbing a tree who, halfway up, finds that he cannot go higher and also that he cannot descend. The singer is almost always caught “halfway up the tree.” His protestations of minne are too often rejected, ridiculed, and opposed, and are thus a continual source of pain. In his poem (MF 52, 7ff.) Friedrich von Hausen (d. 1190) first points out that he is always thinking of his lady and suffers from the pangs of love, although people do not notice this from his behavior. His hôhe minne however, causes him to experience much suffering, but his constancy forbids him to abandon his wooing. Often the singers bitterly accuse their lady of arrogance, aloofness, coldness, and unresponsiveness, but this experience also forces them to intensify their service both in words and deeds, and so to achieve their goal of courtly education. Indeed, in older scholarship it was proposed that Minnesang, like most courtly love poetry, served the specific purpose of developing a cultural and educational mechanism by which young nobles could learn to grow into the world of adults and become integrated within the court. And although the lady, especially in early Minnesang (see below), is occasionally given a voice to formulate her thoughts, it is mostly the male who

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reflects upon his own situation, emotions, and hopes. And even when these hopes are dashed he carries on in steadfast devotion to the woman who, through her dismissive treatment of him, is actually inspiring him to be even more virtuous and worthy. That the woman, too, is aware of her “responsibilities” in this regard is nicely illustrated by Albrecht von Johansdorf (d. before 1210) in a lengthy exchange between a man and his beloved “ich vant âne huote” (I found unguarded, MF 93, 12ff.). In the course of the lively dialogue the man presses his case for a “reward,” and the woman actually appears to be weakening. But she holds firm and suggests that he seek that kind of “reward” elsewhere. After all she must think of her reputation. But in the final strophe when the poet asks if his singing and his service to her were of no use, she says: “you will be successful; you will not go unrewarded.” The poet can scarcely believe his good fortune and asks: “How do you mean that, gracious Lady?” She laconically replies that what she really means is that his singing and service will serve to make him even “more virtuous and thereby happy.” Plainly there is more than a little irony and playfulness in this poem. Albrecht’s poem clearly demonstrates the limitations of the minne conventions. Yet he did not break with them. There were, however, early voices raised in protest against the catch phrase of “service being its own reward.” Hartmann von Aue (d. after 1210) provides an excellent example in his poem, “Maniger grüezet mich alsô” (Many a one greets me as follows, MF 216, 29ff.). Hartmann is being urged on by his friends to join them in gazing at courtly ladies. Hartmann grumbles that they should leave him in peace because the only thing he ever got from serving such ladies was tired feet! He is off to the village, he says, where the girls appreciate him for what he is. He will never again subject himself to standing in front of courtly ladies and the subsequent humiliation of rejection. Of course, Hartmann does change his mind and continues to write songs extolling noble love. It is interesting, however, that this critical poem was written probably in the 1180s, long before other great poets such as Walther von der Vogelweide (d. c. 1227). The dissatisfaction with minne, which from the beginning was in reality a nondynamic concept, grew in the thirteenth century as the works of such poets as Burkhard von Hohenfels (d. after 1242), Gottfried von Neifen (d. after 1255), and Ulrich von Winterstetten (d. after 1280), among others, clearly demonstrate. Reinmar der Alte or von Hagenau

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(d. before 1210) was also obviously fully aware that hopeless love and subsequent lamenting about the deeply felt frustrations could be viewed with contempt and be ridiculed by the contemporaries (MF 165, 12ff.). In other words, already within the classical Minnesang there was a sense about the artificiality of the minne ethos and its fragile nature within the real-life context. In early Minnesang, represented by Der von Kürenberg (active c. 1150–60) and Dietmar von Aist (d. c. 1171), the new notion of heart-felt love entered public discussion. Dietmar uses the word “herzeliep” (“true love,” MF 35, 6) in the context of his quest for his beloved and emphasizes the new quality of love he feels for her. Since then many other poets explored the meaning of this love coming from the heart and so tried to reemphasize the intensity of their feeling. Even here, however, pain is not far away and forces the singer to accept the hardships of all love, such as in Walther’s song “Herzeliebes, swaz ich des noch ie gesach, dâ was herzeleide bî.” (Whatever I saw of heartfelt love, heartbreaking sorrow was also present, L 41, 33. L refers to the edition of Walther von der Vogelweide by Karl Lachmann, and the numerals to the poems and line numbers.) Neidhart (d. c. 1250) was the first poet to transfer the scene of courtly love to the village where drastic, burlesque, even grotesque and violent forms of love develop. Neidhart, who is regularly addressed as “Neidhart von Reuenthal” (of the vale of grief ) in his poems, appears here in the persona of the impoverished knight who has success with peasant girls only during the summer season (“Sommerlieder”), whereas in winter, when nature prohibits the enjoyment of love outside, and when Neidhart is apparently too poor to offer the comfort of any heated housing, the village lads triumph over him and shut him out of the wooing process. Only few poets, such as Burkhard von Hohenfels, Gottfried von Neifen, and Steinmar (d. after 1288), followed Neidhart’s model, but none of them wrote in the same sarcastic tone, and they all refrained from the implied harsh social criticism of Neidhart—himself probably of noble birth—against the aristocratic class. Nature in Minnesang Although courtly love poetry was hardly focused on the outside world, the introductory lines of many poems are clearly marked by a specific situation reflecting a concrete season, usually spring or summer. While

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spring’s advent and the end of winter bring the singer joy or while the singer reflects back to the pleasant time of the summer, approaching winter causes sorrows (Rudolf von Fenis, MF 83, 25). The nature scene derives much of its material from the ancient Roman locus amoenus, which provided the relevant elements for the emotional make-up. Heinrich von Rugge (d. after 1192), for instance, focuses on the meadow (“heide”) that is now covered with snow, no flower is to be seen, all birds are filled with sorrow and refrain from singing (MF 106, 24). As in numerous other songs, the poet uses the nature framework as a springboard to illustrate his emotional state of mind as a result of his unsuccessful wooing of his lady. A whole cache of nature images such as “walt” (forest), “böume” (trees), “heide” (meadow), “bluomen” (flowers), “gras” (grass), “klê” (clover or flowers), and “vogellîn” (little bird) was at each poet’s disposal. Possibly the most important tree in Minnesang was the linden under which lovers met and dallied. A few birds, too, such as the “nahtegal” (nightingale), the “merlikîn” (black bird), the “lerche” and “droschel” (lark, thrush) are named, but mostly the poets refrain from specifying them and speak simply of a little bird, such as the one in Walther’s “Under der linden” (L 40, 16) who observed the lovers in their private meeting, or the one who awakened them early in the morning, warning them of imminent danger, in Dietmar von Aist’s Dawn Song: “slâfest du, vriedel ziere? (are you still asleep, my loved one? MF 39, 20). It is a woman speaking these lines as she goes on to say that someone will be coming to awaken them soon. But already, she laments, “a pretty, little bird has flown onto the branch of the linden tree.” Bird singing is also a metonymic representation of either the arrival of spring or the end of summer and hence the beginning of the cold winter (Dietmar von Aist, MF 37, 29). For the most part, however, the references to nature reveal their formulaic function, as the poets employ the same images again and again, and experiment with the associations triggered by spring, winter, birds, trees, and flowers. Motifs and Topics In a way Andreas Capellanus’ De amore (ca. 1184–1186) had set the fundamental pattern determining all courtly literature insofar as the treatise explored the dialectic intricacies of love and all its many aspects. A major section of Andreas’ book consists of dialogues

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between a man and a woman of different social classes, only rarely of the same class. Whereas the men try to convince the ladies to become their lovers, the latter, of course, refuse and argue against the suggestion. Nonetheless, the overall structure indicates that the idea of love at large is gaining the upper hand, especially as the narrator several times formulates concrete rules of love almost in a juristic manner. Even though the third book vehemently condemns love outside of wedlock, and harshly and furiously criticizes women as men’s seductresses, De arte honeste amandi and many other treatises by twelfth-century intellectuals suggest that love was to be treated discursively and as a matter of dialectics. Apart from dawn songs (tageliet), most of the German Minnesang follows this ideological program. The poets regularly express their deep frustration with their lady, formulate their sadness resulting from their unrequited love, and reflect upon the consequences of their wooing for their individual character development. Most commonly, Minnesang, just like troubadour and trouvère poetry, has as its major theme tougen minne or verholniu minne (secret love), which does not allow the singer to be together with his mistress. Both in the earliest poems and especially in the dawn songs the lovers have occasionally managed secretly to get together (Der von Kürenberg, MF 10, 1; Heinrich von Veldeke [d. c. 1190], MF 64, 1; Heinrich von Morungen [d. c. 1222], MF 143, 20). Heinrich (MF 138, 17ff.) reveals that he has not yet been able to declare his love to the lady and is reflecting upon how to do so. Nobody, he claims, knows about his deeply seated love pains, not even she. Nonetheless, he would not exchange his love for her for a whole kingdom. If any would criticize his secret longing, they would be sinning against him. For him her appearance is like a sunrise that sheds light over the highest tower. She is like Venus, even though she robs him of his joy and all his senses. The love for her has implanted “hôchgemüete” (high spirits) in his heart; and when she first looked at him, joy burned within him, “raising his spirits up to the sun”: “mîn muot stêt hôhe sam diu sunne” (139, 10). In the vast majority of cases the poets appeal to the lady to accept them as their wooers and as servants, and hopefully, at a later time, as their lovers. Having heard his lady’s praise sung all over the country, Meinloh von Sevelingen (d. last quarter of the 12th century) expresses his wish to meet her and soon finds her to be the most admirable person. Once she has accepted him as her friend, this

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relationship would tremendously increase the lover’s virtues (MF 11, 1). Love here functions as an ethical catalyst, as the young men’s desires force them to change their own behavior so as to become attractive in the ladies’ eyes. Love and public praise go hand in hand, and so love and service as the basic elements create cultural cohesion among the members of the court. Many poets lament the unwelcome and insurmountable distance to their lady who appears as inaccessible and remote, but this very distance also removes the need to enter a direct exchange with her and allows the poet to enjoy an internal transformation unrelated to any form of physical love (Heinrich von Rugge [active late 12th century], MF 110, 34). This form of distant love creates much pain, but the poets accept this experience as the major vehicle for their personal development and especially as a catalyst for the creation of songs (Bernger von Horheim [active late 12th century], MF 113, 33). Bernger goes so far as to admit that his lady is the person for whom his heart had always pined and whom he will woo for the rest of his days. Indeed, both his body and his mind are totally dedicated to her, and his love will never waver and turn to another woman (MF 114, 12ff.). In some cases we hear of a love relationship that dates back to the singer’s and his lady’s childhood, such as in Friedrich von Hausen (MF 50, 11), Albrecht von Johansdorf (MF 90, 16), Heinrich von Morungen (MF 134, 31; 136, 11), and Hartmann von Aue (MF 206, 17f.). Most of the time the reference to childhood serves to intensify the sentimental dimension of the love experience, but later poets such as Der Wilde Alexander (active end of the 13th century) also had in mind didactic and religious teachings. Sometimes the poets such as Reinmar der Alte (MF, 165, 26); Walther von der Vogelweide (L 48, 12; 115, 3; 120, 7); and Neidhart (L 20—L [= Lied/song] refers to the Siegfried Beyschlag edition of Neidhart; the numeral to the song number) lament the loss of past happiness or their previous love, relying on the classical topos of laudatio temporis acti (praise of past times). Despite the clear preference for highly esoteric images of love, some poets nevertheless also refer to experiences with kissing, such as Friedrich von Hausen (MF 49, 13); Walther von der Vogelweide (L 39, 26); and Neidhart (L 14, VII, 2). More often than one might expect from courtly love poetry, we also hear of the concrete desire to lie next to the beloved (bîligen), such as in the songs by Dietmar von Aist (MF 41, 6) and Reinmar der Alte (MF

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165, 10). Only few poets include references to the deflowering of the beloved, using such images as “bluomen brechen” (to break flowers), see, for instance, Reinmar der Alte (MF 196, 22) and Walther von der Vogelweide (L 112, 3). But a careful analysis of much of the nature metaphors reveals that in many cases the poets concretely address erotic desires and formulate in veiled language their longing for sexual union with their beloved. The plethora of allusions to animals, dew, fruit, human organs such as the eye, ditches, crevices, cloth, tools, the vast variety of activities of craftsmen, and objects of everyday life have lent themselves for deft erotic allusions. This phenomenon is not yet fully noticeable in Des Minnesangs Frühling, but the thirteenth-century poets obviously felt uninhibited to delve into this play with language using less and less concealed images for the act of coitus. Courtly spies, the merkære, who betray the lovers or prevent them from getting together, often figure as a major threat for the lovers and are severely reviled in the poems, as in texts by Der von Kürenberg (MF 7, 24), Meinloh von Sevelingen (MF 12, 16), and Walther von der Vogelweide (L 98, 16ff.). Other terms and other types of threats also come to the fore, as when Der von Kürenberg talks about lügenære (liars; MF 9, 17), Heinrich von Morungen about huotære (guardians; MF 131, 27), schimpfære (scolds; MF 133, 16), or valscher diet (deceitful people; MF 143, 17). Unhappy experiences in love lead to a confusion of the mind (Heinrich von Morungen, MF 130, 29; Reinmar der Alte, MF 160, 18); they can make a fool or a “Minnetor” out of the lover (Heinrich von Rugge, MF 103, 35); they cause the hair to turn grey (Reinmar der Alte, MF 172, 11); or they make the lover physically ill (Friedrich von Hausen, MF 43, 2; Bligger von Steinach [d. after 1209], MF 119, 7). A number of poets suffer from torturous self-doubt and feelings of guilt as a result of their unrequited love, such as Heinrich von Veldeke (MF 63, 9), Albrecht von Johansdorf (MF 90, 5), and Hartmann von Aue (MF 205, 10). Rudolf von Fenis explicitly formulates in “Minne gebiutet mir, daz ich singe” (Minne requires that I sing, MF 80, 25) that all his wooing and service on behalf of his lady will not help him to win her love, and she will not even help him gain some consolation, but expects him to continue with his service for the rest of his life (MF 81, 2). He considers quitting altogether and to turn his back to his lady, but he knows full well that this is not an option open to him, as love and love’s service hold

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him tight in their clutches (MF 81, 6). In fact, the lady openly “hates” him, yet his stæte (constancy) makes it impossible for him to end his efforts to win her love (MF 81, 11). Although this love for his lady has imposed severe suffering upon him, Rudolf admits that it provides him with the greatest joy (MF 81, 27). Her adamant resistance provides him with the opportunity to demonstrate that he will never let go of his love for her (MF 81, 29). Albrecht von Johansdorf begs the personified Lady Love to release him from her clutches as he feels confused and weak and needs a respite from his wooing (MF 94, 25ff.). Heinrich von Morungen warns that courtly love singing which does not produce any kind of joy will make the lover sick (MF 123, 37). Curiously, Gottfried von Straßburg points out that his deeply felt love for his lady threatens to make him speechless whenever he comes into her presence (K.S. 129—to be found in the edition of Des Minnesangs Frühling under Gottfried), although in his courtly romance Tristan the protagonist proves to be a master of all languages. Minnesang in its European Context The first vernacular love poets in the early twelfth century were Provençal troubadours such as Count William IX (1071–1127) of Poitou and Marcabrun (d. after 1148). Their works were soon complemented by erotic poetry composed by noble ladies, the troubairitz, like the Comtessa de Dia (b. c. 1140). German courtly love songs were first composed around 1160/70 in the area of Bavaria and Austria, the so-called “Danube Minnesang”—the term referring to the location of the major courts along the Danube where these songs were performed. Scholars have not been able to determine with satisfactory conclusiveness whether foreign, that is French or Latin, influences were responsible for the phenomenon of Danube Minnesang, or whether the ideas of courtly love were developed because of indigenous influences. Certainly, the strophic form of some of the early lyric, four long lines with rhyme pairs, are reminiscent of the Nibelungenlied strophe: The poems of Der von Kürenberg (discussed below), for example. This situation clearly suggests influences closer to home, if not exclusively so. On the other hand, the arguments in favor of French influence on Rhenish Minnesang as the key element are doubtless true, especially if we think of several major events promoting such exchanges. In 1147 King Louis VII of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine assembled

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an army near Metz to join the Second Crusade, and traveled through Germany on their way toward Palestine. It is assumed that Jaufre Rudel and Cercamon accompanied the crusaders and might well have shared some of their songs with their German audiences. In 1184 when Emperor Frederick Barbarossa knighted his two sons at an international festival and court ceremony in Mainz, many French poets also attended. The chronicles report, for instance, that Heinrich von Veldeke and Friedrich von Hausen were among the guests, as were also the trouvères Guiot de Provins and Deotes de Troyes. Especially those minnesingers who hailed from the Rhineland, living, thus, near the border, reflect obvious French influence. We also know that Friedrich von Hausen participated in the Third Crusade (1189– 1192) and certainly came in contact with French courtly love poetry. Last but not least, many of the poems by Minnesänger such as Dietmar von Aist and Reinmar der Alte, for example, have been identified as contrafacta, that is, the adaptation of an existing melody, in this case French, to a new text, in this case German. Religious texts might also have been sources for the love lyric. Members of the clergy had traditionally studied classical Roman literature, and, thus, also love poetry as a preparation for their reading of philosophical and theological texts, all composed in Latin. Their personal interest in these themes and genres certainly had some impact on the development of Minnesang as well, as the mostly Latin poems collected in the Carmina Burana (Songs from Benediktbeuren, written c. 1230 and later), together with a number of Middle High German songs, or combinations thereof, mostly dating from the early thirteenth century demonstrates. Early Minnesang One of the earliest examples of a love poem in Middle High German was possibly composed by a Tegernsee nun, who around 1180 wrote a letter in Latin possibly to her (male) teacher and appended a short poetic piece in German: “You are mine,” she writes. “I am thine. That you can be sure of. You are locked in my heart [and] the key is lost. You will have to remain there.” The poem is touching in its simplicity, naivete, and complete honesty. It does not evoke the feeling of a poetic convention in the reader, although the image of the heart as a shrine in which the lover’s heart is kept is not unusual. The known early poets such as the Kürenberger had, of course,

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an entire aesthetic arsenal at their disposal and used it. Since they had composed their songs before 1184 (Festival of Mainz), they relied almost exclusively on an indigenous poetic tradition, both in form and content. In sometimes amusing, sometimes tender individual strophes, the poet explores the fundamental significance of love. Kürenberg sings of the joy of love’s fulfillment and the sorrow that happens when love is impeded. Women sing, and men too. They sing of the desire to be close to each other, of the sorrow when one, usually the man, has left, of the dangers of being discovered, of the gossips lurking in every corner. In short, Kürenberg sings of life. Perhaps his best poem is “Ich zôch mir einen valken mêre danne ein jâr” (I trained a falcon, for more than a year MF 8, 33). In it a lady laments her unhappy situation. The falcon, which she had trained and on which she had lavished much attention, has now flown away. Later, she saw him flying with silken jesses on his legs; that is, he has found another lover. Another strophe with a falcon is more satiric; the male singer boasts that both “women and falcons can be easily tamed” (MF 10, 17). He goes on to say that all one must know is how to lure them correctly so that they come of their own accord to the man. The poet concludes by saying that whenever he thinks of such things he has “hôhe muot,” which is, as we have seen, the best state that a man can be in. Minnesang and Courtly Culture Motif parallels and similarities in poetic images and expressions between medieval Latin songs (eleventh and twelfth centuries) and vernacular love poetry always need to be considered as one of many explanations for the emergence of troubadour, trouvère, and Minnesang poetry, but it will remain difficult to assess the actual contact points and the mutual learning process. Undoubtedly, in the learned culture the concepts of love had flourished already in the eleventh century and had reached its apogee with the love affair of the famous couple Abelard (1079–1142) and Heloise (1095–1164). Whereas he described his life in his powerful Historia calamitatum, she expressed her misery and frustration with him through extraordinary letters. She later also penned a number of poems about her feelings, and these poems quickly became well known all over Europe. They may have influenced vernacular love poets given the powerful and romantic relationship and the dramatic conclusion of their affair.

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The discovery of the theme of love in the early twelfth century by secular poets all over Europe represented a major turning point in the history of medieval literature. Through Minnesang courtly audiences were given a literary platform upon which to examine gender relationships and to examine a wide variety of different love situations. Obviously, Minnesang was performance art for the courts and was by and for members of the aristocracy. It served noble society in exploring the meanings of eroticism, as well as to utilize emotional discourse to develop new levels of psychological sensibilities. Within this literary forum, however, a number of other important themes were investigated, such as communication, service, self-discipline, beauty, hope, suffering, and the experience of nature with its various seasons. A typical example of this kind of game with erotic images might be Heinrich von Morungen’s “Si hât mich verwunt” (She has wounded me, MF 141, 37ff.). In this song, the singer begins with his classical complaints that love has brought him wounds extending right through to his soul. Unrequited love threatens to bring him death. The key image used by Heinrich is “dienste” (MF 142, 6; ‘service’), which he offers to the lady from whom he hopes to get a kiss in return. The poet’s total obsession with the beloved focuses on her red lips, which he can never forget and which cause him constant pain, threatening him to take him down to Hell. “She wounded me,” he laments “in the deepest part of my soul, right down to the seat of life itself, when I informed her that I raged and tormented myself for the sake of her so perfect mouth. Once I asked it [the mouth] to accept me in her [the lady’s] service and to steal for me a tender kiss from her. Then I would be well forever.” Obviously his request was rejected, throwing him into deep depression. In the subsequent stanza, he expresses great anger toward his lady and stresses that he would rather burn in Hell than ever offer his service to her again. Courtly love also represented a serious effort to discover a new sense of identity within oneself and no longer only through physical acts of chivalry. Certainly, Minnesang was not a romantic form of passionate love or an expression of individual feelings so characteristic of our modern time, especially since Romanticism, but instead must be characterized as a type of role playing, often identified by the poets themselves as a kind of game, involving both poet and the audience. The lyric voice or voices represent specific roles acting out characteristic cases, to some extent perhaps modeled after the famous

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love treatise by Andreas Capellanus (De amore), and must not be confused with autobiographical confessions or utterances. All these love songs do not provide us with any clues about the poets’ biography, although they deeply probe the meaning of love in its many ramifications. Nevertheless, the development of courtly love poetry, and in our case of Minnesang, represented a radical change in the relationship between man and woman, as both were now perceived as of relatively equal standing, although she did not gain absolute superiority in the courtly wooing process. However, only if she was willing to share his emotions did he have a real chance of winning her as his beloved. Traditional forms of violent subjugation of women, particularly within marriage, are now viewed negatively (Hartmann von Aue, Erec; Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival ). Indeed, Walther von der Vogelweide went so far as to describe true love as that which is shared by both man and woman equally and to the fullest extent. In one stanza, Walther speaks to his audience: “If I am able to correctly guess what minne is, then call out ‘yes.’ Minne is the joy of two hearts: If both share equally, minne is there. If it is not shared, however, no one heart can contain [all of ] it alone” (L 69, 10ff.). During the period of classical Minnesang Walther’s was the rare voice proposing this new minne dialectic. Nonetheless, its presence once again demonstrates that the constraints of the artificial minne concept were too restricting for the German poets. Women’s Songs A number of Minnesänger relied on the genre of the woman’s song by way of assuming a female voice and formulating women’s opinions, observations, and feelings. The Kürenberger utilized the female voice in about half of his strophes, Meinloh von Sevelingen in three of his fourteen stanzas, the Burggraf von Regensburg (d. last quarter of 12th century) in three of his four stanzas, and Dietmar von Aist in seven of eighteen stanzas. Many more “Frauenstrophen” (women’s stanzas) can be found in Reinmar’s and Walther’s poetic œuvre, and later also in the satirical poems by Neidhart. A subgenre of “Women’s Songs” is the “Mädchenlied” (Girl’s Song) sung by a young woman who is not of the court. We have In his beautiful pastourelle “Unter den linden” (Beneath the linden tree, L 39, 11), Walther gives the young woman a unique voice:

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  There beneath the linden tree on the meadow where our bed was, you can find both flowers and grass tenderly broken. Before the forest in a valley— tandaradei, the nightingale sang so beautifully.

The young woman addressing the audience directly and in a playful manner suggests that if they look carefully they might find the idyllic location where she lay together with her sweetheart. The singing of the nightingale (the poet, perhaps?) intensifies the erotic setting. The refrain, “tandaradei,” expresses wonderfully her euphoric feelings. In the second stanza she continues with her narrative: I went to the meadow. My sweetheart had arrived before me. There I was greeted [that is, in such a manner]— oh Mother of God!— that I will be happy evermore. Did he kiss me?—At least a thousand times. tandaradei! Just look how red my mouth is.

By now it is clear to all that this poem is not going to extol the concept of “virtue is its own reward.” Here the woman’s mouth is not for providing chastisement and pain to the male, but rather is the giver and taker of pleasure. In the final strophe it at first appears that the woman wants to keep her tryst a secret, but as it turns out that is only a momentary lapse: That he lay with me, if anyone knew that (God forbid!), I would be ashamed. No one ever will know what he did with me, except he and I— and a little bird, tandaradei, who will keep the secret.

In more than one sense, we as the audience are turned into voyeurs here, and we are to approve this intimate love affair far outside of society in the tranquillity of nature.

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A number of Neidhart’s love poems also fall in the category of women’s songs, but here the speakers are either country girls or their mothers for whom, comically, the age difference with the lord of Reuenthal does not matter and who are even more eager to win his love than their daughters. In “Schouwet an den walt, wier niuwes loubes rîchet” (Look at the forest and how lush its foliage is, L 15), after a lengthy introduction by the old woman with exuberant praise of summer, she encourages her daughter to accompany her to a linden tree because she, despite her age, wants to look for love. Even though grey color has become noticeable in her hair, she still feels young enough and only needs to hide her hair under a silk shawl. Her daughter reprimands her, pointing out that such headgear would be more fitting for a young woman, and she wonders what has gotten into her old mother. The daughter then grows tired of her mother’s failed attempts to win love in her old age. In turn, she obviously throws herself at the proud knight of Reuental—a poetic projection— and gains his love, or at least his attention. The poetic language does not easily give away the meaning of the imagery used here, but the theft of a pair of red shoes from the knight clearly carries an erotic message, especially because the daughter gave him, as we are told, a wreath during the dance, an unmistakable signal of implied love-making. Although the early twelfth century saw the emergence of courtly love poetry truly composed by women in the Provence, the troubairitz, and although many Middle High German poets utilized the female voice in their œuvre, we know of no German woman poet within the courtly world. All the poems preserved in medieval manuscripts appear to be either identified with a specific male poet, or have come down to us anonymously. Ursula Liebertz-Grün once speculated that the thirty stanzas in the Heidelberg manuscript A, attributed to a person called Gedrut, might in actuality be by a female poet, that is, Gertrud. Given the present state of research, however, this intriguing proposal must remain a hypothesis. But one must ask: How was it possible for the troubairitz in the Provence; Marie de France, flourishing probably in England around 1200; and the various mystical writers in Germany such as Mechthild von Magdeburg, Gertrud von Helfta, and Mechthild von Hackeborn (all active during the thirteenth century) to make their voices heard? Is it simply a matter of different cultural environments, where women were allowed to express clearly erotic thoughts in verse—even if, in the case of the troubairitz, the number if verses is small? With the mystical

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writers, of course, their eroticism was masked by the religious subject matter. It would be difficult to prove from the content of any of the German songs that they really expressed female concerns and female ideas. On the contrary, practically all traditional Middle High German courtly love songs—including those songs such as Walther’s (see above), where the female’s words completely fulfill male fantasies—are governed by male perspectives, male interests, and male themes as knights invariably pursue the love of their ladies. Admittedly, all German women’s songs deal with a narrow range of topics. These include the feelings of a woman who longs for her lover, expressions of loyalty, renewed confirmation of the spiritual unity with the man despite his absence, laments about the courtly spies who threaten the happy fulfillment of the love affair, and also fear that the lover could abandon the woman and turn to another. In a song by Reinmar the female voice provides a good example of this latter theme: I will become wretchedly old if the world abandons me So that I have no power over my beloved friend that he fulfills some of my wishes. I am tortured by the thought that someone else could mean more to him Messenger, do not tell him anything else but that I am desolate and that I am afraid our mutual troth which we formerly cherished will disappear. (MF 152, 15ff.)

Nonetheless, whether exclusively by male poets or not, the emergence of courtly Minnesang and the establishment of a courtly culture indicates that the relationship of men and women at least within the sphere of the aristocracy had undergone a major change. Minne Terminology Even though the term minne is commonly translated as ‘courtly love,’ in essence it remains an untranslatable phrase, as mentioned earlier, because it has so many different nuances and yet cannot be identified with any of them fully. Heinrich von Morungen struggled to differentiate between minne and liebe, without fully reaching a satisfying conclusion:

(Video) 1000 AD - A Tour of Europe / Medieval History Documentary

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Since they call heartfelt love minne, I do not know what I should call love. May love reside often in my thoughts. I would like to have love, and sorrow I would gladly miss. Love gives me happiness, joy, and fortune. On the other hand, I do not know what it is that sorrow (leid) can bring about except that I must always be sad because of it. (MF 132, 19ff.)

Walther von der Vogelweide expands on this theme and has minne anthropomorphized and appearing in the role of arbiter, social interlocutor, and producer of happiness or unhappiness (L 57, 23). He also differentiates between minne that seems unreliable and minne that can be trusted and relied upon (L 67, 28f.). Moreover, Walter, like Heinrich above, also raises the fundamental question of what minne really means: Can someone tell me what minne is? Even though I know a little about it, I would really like to know more. He who understands more about it than I should teach me why it hurts so much. minne is minne if it feels good: if it hurts, it is not real minne. In that case [that is, when it hurts], I do not know what to call it. (L 69, 1ff.).

Minne implies mostly an abstract, esoteric form of love that only very rarely includes actual physical fulfillment. The lover’s adulation of the courtly lady often assumes profoundly religious connotations, though the erotic component is never quite lost from sight. Intriguingly, many of the thirteenth and fourteenth-century female mystics such as Mechthild von Magdeburg utilized this powerful element contained in Minnesang to express their absolute love for the Godhead. Mechthild has her soul sing a praise of God in passionate terms: Ah, joyous sight! Ah, lovely greeting! Ah, dear embrace! Lord, the wonder of you has overwhelmed me. Your grace has crushed me. O you lofty Crag. You are so nicely honeycombed. In you no one can rest but doves and nightingales. (Book I, 14).

Secular singers predominantly lament their physical and emotional distance from the beloved who often do not know about the lovers

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or do not care about them, and so the singers complain about their own inability to overcome the barriers or to reach out to their ladies, as this selection from Reinmar illustrates: Your [that is, woman’s] praise nobody can say with words. He whom you award with your loyalty will be a blessed man and will enjoy his life. You provide the whole world with high spirits: Can’t you give me a little joy, too? (MF 165, 32–36)

Of course the last line here gives the game away. Reinmar, like all the great poets, is having fun with and making sport of the conventions of minne. Essentially he is saying: You are such a great lady; you make life worthwhile for everyone—except me. In many cases the love scene is predicated on the concept of a lady who is closely watched by the courtly spies, while the lover pines away for her without having a chance of seeing her. Meinloh von Sevelingen, for instance, has a woman first complain about the gossips and the damage they do, but she then becomes defiant at the end: Alas, these courtly spies! They have treated me spitefully, they started an evil rumor about me through no fault of my own. They think they can spoil him for me, if they gossip in this way among each other. Now let all know that I am his amie, Without, however, sleeping with him; that is something, God knows, I did not do. [if they do not like the sight of the two of us] [then] let someone pluck out their eyes! My heart and mind lead me to no other man. (MF 13, 14ff.)

Friedrich von Hausen emphasizes that he will never forego his lady despite the threats from the spies: “I have selected her among all women./If do not reveal it because of the spies;/if I avoid looking at her,/my heart will, nonetheless, secretly love her” (MF 50, 31–34). Of course, the lyric discourse refrains, for the most part, from providing details about the singer’s and the lady’s social status. Further the pain of separation makes it possible for the poet to examine the impact of the ache of unfulfilled love. The language used by the poets indicates the serious efforts to create a literary forum for the development of courtly values and ideals, such as dienest (service), hulde (favor), genâde (grace), lôn (reward),

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mâze (moderation), and, above all, hoher muot (exhaltation, exhilaration). These positive ideals are closely coupled with terms for negative experiences, such as truren (sorrow), kumber (suffering), leit (pain), sorge (worry), and ungemüete (dejection). Love and Marriage There is practically never any reference to conjugal love in courtly lyric, since the husband functions as the most serious threat to the adulterous couple. In the Middle Ages, marriages were mostly arranged by the parents with the explicit purpose of producing offspring that could guarantee the continuation of the family and maintain and increase the growth of the family property and its political power. Andreas Capellanus has Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine stipulate in his Art of Courtly Love that marriage and love are incompatible, as jealousy proves to be a key component of true love, but marriage partners would not have any fear of losing the other and hence could not really feel jealousy, and so also not real love. At the same time the Church made serious efforts to change this ideology and strongly argued for consensual marriage, allowing both partners to choose freely and to marry only the one person they had set their heart in, though this had no impact on the composition of courtly love songs. For all poets presented extramarital love as the highest ideal of courtly love poetry, never addressing the matter of marriage, focusing instead on the pure experience of erotic feelings without taking into account the social context. As might be expected, this position did not meet with the Church’s approval at all. Further, with the exception of Gottfried von Straßburg’s Tristan, this concept of love finds no real parallel in contemporary literature. Other medieval epic and romance poets, such as Wolfram and Hartmann, advocated marriage as the basis for a harmonious society in their works. Minnesang, however, was not concerned with social reality or legal conditions. We never hear, for instance, of pregnancy or progeny as a result of a love affair. Instead Minnesang, like all other courtly love poetry, projected fantasy images of potential love affairs and analyzed the experience of pain in those instances of spurned or impossible love—unfortunately more often the case than not. While the authors of courtly epics and romances presented the significance of love and chivalry within a world divided between the court and the

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dangerous world outside, the Minnesänger focused exclusively on the dimension of love in its many manifestations—with, it bears repeating, the exception of marital love. Poetic Genres As we have seen up to now, German courtly love poetry consists of many different subgenres. While most do not require special exposition, it would be useful to discuss briefly three of the more interesting: the crusading songs, dawn songs, and the pastourellas. Crusading Song The main theme of a “crusading song” is that the man has to leave his lady behind because God has called upon him to go on a crusade. As can be imagined, the opportunities for innovation with this theme are great. For common to all these songs is the sad aspect of separation from the beloved, something that would usually result in great lamentation and, not uncommonly, recriminations—I call to mind Kürenberg’s “Falcon Song,” where the lady laments about her separation from the knight who had been in her service. In view of this, the poet might well seize this opportunity to renounce Minne as an idle pursuit and resolve to dedicate his life to God’s cause. Another possibility is for the poet to use the crusade song as an opportunity to achieve a new minne dialectic. There are, to be sure, others, but the majority of crusading songs fall into one of these two categories. To the former belongs the songs by Hartmann von Aue (MF 209, 25ff.) and to the latter the famous quandary of Friedrich von Hausen who laments that his body and his heart want to separate: His body must go fight the heathens, but his heart wants to remain with his lady (MF 47, 9). It is Hartmann who in yet another of his crusading songs not only strikes a similar theme but also proposes a “solution”: it is possible for both the man and woman to be together if the man fights for both in the Holy Land and the woman prays for both at home (MF 211, 20ff.). Dawn Song The dawn songs—significantly different in their thematic orientation in comparison with all other Minnelieder—are the only ones in which the poet indicates actual physical union of the two lovers, as we see them early in the morning waking up from a night filled

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with love, now warned by a bird or a guard about the coming day. The couple laments the need to separate, but they join in love making once more, until he finally departs (for example, Dietmar von Aist, MF 39, 18). Dietmar includes the famous line “liep âne leit mac niht sîn” (love without sorrow does not exist; MF 39, 24), implying that the sweetest moments of love are always intimately connected with the greatest pain. In addition, the lover declares that he would always be in her service (MF 39, 25), although he has to leave her alone. The lady, on the other hand, laments her loneliness and begs him to return to her as soon as possible because he takes all her joys away with him. Many poets experimented with the Dawn Song, but Wolfram von Eschenbach had, perhaps, the most unique “solution” to the forced separation of the lovers at dawn. Wolfram writes that all this fuss would be unnecessary if the man and woman were married to each other. If that were the case, the man would not have to leave his lady early in the morning in order to avoid being caught by the spies: “der darf niht durch den morgen/dannen streben” (MF 6, 4f.; he must not depart because of the coming of morning). Late medieval and early modern love poetry continued to explore the potentials of the genre, probably because it allowed the singer to intensify the erotic elements of courtly love. Pastourella In no other genre are we privy to such intimacy, except perhaps in the pastourella, rarely used by German Minnesänger, but still part of some of the poets’ repertoire. The pastourella was first developed by the troubadour poets, such as Marcabru (c. 1140) and Guiraut de Bornelh (c. 1180), and also in medieval Latin love poetry (Cambridge Songs, Carmina Burana). Generally, in a pastourella a noble knight meets a peasant girl in the woods or on a meadow, seduces her, and then brags about his adventure back at court. The trouvère poets fully espoused this genre, and about 150 songs of this kind have survived, whereas among the German poets only Neidhart specifically experimented with it. The erotic encounter in nature was dealt with by Albrecht von Johansdorf (MF 93, 12), Heinrich von Morungen (MF 139, 19), Walther von der Vogelweide (see “Women’s Songs,” above), Gottfried von Neifen (KLD 15, XXVII), and Steinmar (Schweizer Minnesänger, 26, 8). In addition, Neidhart also composed a parody of the pastourella in (L 8) where the man’s attempt to seduce the young

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woman at first fails because she physically overpowers him, but at the end love’s fulfillment appears to have been reached after all. Biographical Background of the Minnesänger In most cases no biographical information about the poets is available, although much circumstantial evidence allows us to date most of them and to define approximately their social background and intellectual orientation. Each poet whose work is contained in the Große Heidelberger Liederhandschrift, also known as the Manessische Liederhandschrift after the Zurich family responsible for its creation (MS C, see below), a total of 137, is also portrayed in stylized portraits, none of which allows us in any way to gain an impression of specific characteristics. The faces and bodies do not reflect realistic features; even the gender differences between men and women are hardly noticeable, except for the women’s long hair and their typical female headgear. Similarly stylized portraits are also included in the Kleine Heidelberger Liederhandschrift (MS A) and the Weingartner Liederhandschrift (MS B). In contrast to all modern editions of Minnesang, the medieval manuscripts arrange the poets according to their social status. In manuscript C the first four plates show Emperor Henry VI (1165–1197), King Konradin (1228–1268); King Tyro of Schotten and his son Fridebrant—not real people, it turns out, and, thus, out of place here. The confusion probably arose when the collector saw the miniature with the inscription of “King Tyro,” and assumed that was the name of the poet of the accompanying text and arranged both among the kings. Actually the name is the title of the epic work that follows by an anonymous poet from Thuringia, c. 1220–c. 1250. King Wenceslas (1278–1305), a real king, rounds out the list of royalty. The poets of the rank of duke and count follow: Henry of Breslau (c. 1253–1290); Margrave Otto of Brandenburg (1266–1309); Rudolf II of Neuenburg (1158–1192); Kraft of Toggenburg (middle of the thirteenth or early fourteenth century); and Friedrich II of Leiningen (1201–1237). The bulk of the Minnesänger who were of lower noble rank, come next, and at the end are the poets of bourgeois status. The last aristocratic poet in this collection is “Herr Reinmar von Zweter”, and the subsequent poets are identified as “Meister” (master), for example, “Meister Gotfrit von Straßburg” and “Meister Chuonrat von Würzburg” (Konrad von Würzburg). An oddity among

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the Minnesänger is “Süßkind, The Jew from Trimberg.” Süßkind (active 2nd half of the thirteenth century/first years of the fourteenth). Whether Süßkind was a Jew or not is hotly debated among scholars, although the miniature depicts him in the unique round, pointed Jewish hat and a long cloak in a discussion with a court or city official. Twelve strophes of his have been transmitted, and with the exception of one strophe there is no Jewish content to be found. In the one strophe, Süßkind complains about the lack of generosity on the part of the lords and announces his intention to wander the land in old Jewish custom wearing a long cloak and a large round hat. It is clear that this strophe gave the miniaturist the inspiration for the illustration. But whether it definitely shows that Süßkind was a Jew, or not, as some claim, cannot be determined with any degree of certainty. The critical edition of Des Minnesangs Frühling gives preference to the historical sequence of the poet’s appearance and has arranged the collection chronologically, beginning with anonymous songs, followed by Der von Kürenberg, Meinloh von Sevelingen, Der Burggraf von Regensburg, and so forth. Emperor Henry II appears only as no. IX, and at the end we find such poets as Reinmar der Alte, Hartmann von Aue, Gottfried von Straßburg, and Wolfram von Eschenbach. Walther, Neidhart, not to speak of the many thirteenth-century poets (including Süßkind), today included in Carl von Kraus’ Deutsche Liederdichter des 13. Jahrhunderts (1952/1978) and in Schweizer Minnesänger (1886/1990), are not considered as part of Des Minnesangs Frühling. The illuminators did not have any interest in identifying the individual poets, but, given the historical distance of c. 120 years between the time when the poems were composed and performed orally, and when they were finally copied in the manuscript, there would not have been a realistic chance for them to produce a authentic portrait. Instead, each poet is identified by mostly fictional coats of arms painted on a shield, and a helmet gear. Many of the paintings show characteristic situations taken from the songs, and some provide an image of a poet in the creative process dictating to a scribe, or holding a parchment scroll. Mostly, however, chivalric scenes such as tournaments, erotic scenes, or hunting scenes dominate. Nevertheless, much biographical information has been gleaned from contemporary chronicles, especially in those cases when the poet belonged to a high-ranking noble family. Der von Kürenberg is known to us as a member of a lower level aristocratic family in upper Bavaria who lived around 1160. The Burggraf von Regensburg

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is documented around 1185 as a member of the Lords of Stevening and Rietenburg, though not much more is known about him. Meinloh von Sevelingen seems to have lived in the area of Ulm, enjoying the rank of a knight. Many noblemen with the name Dietmar de Aist, or variants thereof, are mentioned in twelfth-century records, but none of these references provide us with any indication who the actual poet might have been. Heinrich von Veldeke, to whom many later poets refer as their model and ideal, hailed from the area of Spalbeke, west of Maestricht (today Belgium); he participated in the famous court festival in Mainz in 1184 and was apparently well connected with a countess of Cleve and the Landgrave of Thuringia. Rudolf von Fenis, Count of Neuenburg/Neuchâtel in Switzerland, probably was the second bearer of this name in his family and testified first in a document in 1158 and last in 1192. Manuscripts Even though the classical period of German Minnesang was between 1170 and 1230, most of the poetry was not copied down on parchment until the early fourteenth century. The Zurich family Manesse enjoys a high reputation that continues in the present day for their interest in preserving a dying literary and musical art, Minnesang, by commissioning scribes and painters in their endeavor to collect a large body of the love poetry that was still extant in their day in the so-called Manessische Liederhandschrift, today housed in the Heidelberg University Library (MS C). Songs and lays (leiche) from 140 poets were copied down on 426 parchment leaves, a total of almost 6000 verses. The Kleine Heidelberger Liederhandschrift, also housed in the Heidelberg University Library (MS A) was created around 1275 in Alsace, probably in Strasbourg, and contains songs by 34 poets. The third major manuscript is the Weingartner Liederhandschrift (MS B), now in Stuttgart. It was created in the Benedictine monastery of Weingarten near Lake Constance around 1305 on behalf of Bishop Heinrich von Klingenberg and contains 857 stanzas from 31 poets. The popularity of German courtly love poetry is demonstrated by a large number of other manuscripts created in many different parts of Germany well into the sixteenth century, before interest in it finally waned.

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The Court Versus the World Outside of the Court Even if Minnesang seems to be a reflection of highly personal experiences in matters of love, it would be erroneous, as mentioned above, to identify this kind of courtly poetry as biographical. Certainly some poets injected subtle allusions to their own lives, opinions, and interests, but the vast majority of songs does not have much to do with real life: it is entertainment. By the time of later Minnesang, the entertainment was sought in parodying the conventions on minne and, with that, the achievements of the older generation of poets. Neidhart’s poetry, composed between 1220 and 1240, and already belonging to the post-classical period, has always been recognized as satirical and outright comical with elements of the burlesque and grotesque. Surprisingly, however, some of the best-known representatives of courtly love poetry with its high ethical ideals, such as Reinmar, have recently been identified as the authors of additional quite different, almost crude and erotic love poetry that almost served as a parody of the entire Minnesang. Reinmar’s contributions, traditionally considered as the classical representative of the German courtly love poetry, shed new light on the alleged moral and ethical homogeneity of Minnesang, suddenly revealing its ludic character fulfilling specific requirements of the courtly performance system, if we accept the work of the so-called Pseudo-Reinmar as authentic Reinmar texts. Reinmar’s “Gegengesang,” as Tervooren calls it, would have to be included in the discussion of German courtly love poetry, as the poets obviously needed a diversified repertoire and could not always sing songs of high courtly love. In light of this observation we can also assume that the courts at earlier times welcomed such drastic songs as those by “Pseudo-Reinmar” or rather the true Reinmar der Alte, injecting facetious elements into a sometimes simply too esoteric Minnesang, demonstrating once again how the German poets attempted to transcend the rigid minne conventions–and how they succeeded. Historical Attestations There is little historical documentation on most of the better-known Minnesänger of the classical period. And what there is, is meager indeed. There is a Dietmar von Aist, for example, whose death is recorded in 1171, but it is doubtful that he is our poet. Friedrich von Hausen, on the other hand, is securely attested between 1171

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and 1190 in the immediate entourage of Barbarossa and Heinrich VI; he is recorded as being present at several meetings; he was in Italy in 1175, 1186, and 1187; and he took part in the Third Crusade and died in the Battle of Philomelium in 1190. Heinrich von Morungen is attested in two charters of 1217 and 1218. Walther von der Vogelweide, we know, received some money in 1203 from Wolfger von Erla, Bishop of Passau, to buy himself a fur coat. In the document Walther is identified as “cantor,” which guarantees that this person was the same as the poet. Like many other minnesänger, Walther seems to have wandered from court to court and searched for patrons who supported his art. The post-classical poet Neidhart was, we are certain, hosted by Duke Frederick II of Austria at his court in Vienna, but not much more can be said about him with any certainty. A number of other poets referred to Neidhart, which allows us to date his active years to 1210/1215 to c. 1240/1245. Tannhäuser appears to have flourished under Duke Frederick II in Vienna and subsequently under the Duke of Meissen, that is, between 1245 to 1260/1265. The Swiss Minnesänger Johannes von Hadloub is mentioned in a Zurich document as a burgher of that city in 1302. In his works he sings the praise of the patrician Rüdiger Manesse and his song collection (Manessische Liederhandschrift), which indicates that he was probably connected with that family. He also mentions the names of the ladies and lords in the city who supported his poetry. The circumstances of some of the later poets, such as Konrad von Würzburg Ulrich von Winterstetten, are better documented and make it possible to draft at least an outline of a biography. The latter originated, as the name indicates, from Würzburg, but he became active as a poet in Straßburg and Basel since c. 1260. In 1295 a document reports that a house in Basel once had been Konrad’s property, and the Colmar Annals list his death in 1287. Ulrich von Winterstetten (d. after 1280) belonged to one of the most influential ministeriales family in Swabia and occupied an important position in political and religious life between 1241 and 1280. Performance and Performers at the Courts Minnesang basically means oral performance with musical accompaniment before a noble audience. Even though the singers were from various social strata—from kings to burghers to wandering goliards—the ideological program of Minnesang primarily aims to

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reaffirm courtly values and ethics within the framework of secular eroticism. We assume that the goliards and others who wandered from place to place expected to receive some payment for their performances. Hence they had to pay close attention to the individual tastes of their patrons without falling into the trap of stereotypical love poetry. Thus the development and subsequent popularity of genres such as the Wechsel, in which man and woman express their concern about love independent of each other, that is, without fully entering a poetic debate or discussion, as in the poems by Der von Kürenberg, Dietmar von Aist, and the Burggraf von Regensburg, demonstrates that the search for the human psyche had begun, and Minnesang was one of the major tools for the aristocratic audiences to pursue this goal. Music, Form, Structure The highly artistic nature of Minnesang becomes apparent through the sophisticated rhyme scheme, meter, and musical structure. Even though many of the poems seem to express similar ideas, feelings, concerns, and desires, the poet’s true skill rested in his ability to vary the tone of voice, the images used, the melodic structure of the language, the musical rhythm, the rhyme scheme, and also the personal perspective. The internal meter of Minnesang poetry reflects a highly sophisticated system of verse cadences, verse forms, arrangements of stressed and unstressed syllables. Most commonly, the poems consisted of three parts, the first two, called Stollen, forming the Aufgesang, and the third part, different in its metric and rhyme pattern, forming the Abgesang or cauda. In the Aufgesang a melody was introduced in the first stanza and more or less continued in the second stanza, whereas a new melody entered with the third stanza. The terminology for this system derives from the late medieval Meistersinger (Mastersingers), but it can be applied to high medieval Minnesang as well. Since emphasis did not rest essentially on thematic innovation, but rather on the formal play with a given model, which is then filled with specific concepts and ideas, the arrangements of all formal elements of Minnesang could vary considerably. All songs can be divided into two categories, lied and leich. Whereas the lied consists of an unspecified number of metrically identical stanzas, the leich is composed of many strophic units that do not share the same metric identity. That means that the melody of the metrically

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identical strophes in the lied would repeat itself, whereas in the leich there was no melodic repetition. Early Minnesang, as we have seen, composed primarily in the area of Bavaria and Austria, consists usually of independent stanzas that have only a fairly loose connection with each other. High Minnesang, on the other hand, demonstrates a clear orientation toward a homogenous song composed of parallel stanzas. The genre of the leich gained in popularity only in the late Middle Ages, when poets such as Ulrich von Liechtenstein, Konrad von Würzburg, Ulrich von Winterstetten, and others explored the potentials of this type of courtly love song. Its widespread use can be explained by the leich’s openness to individual poetic structures and thematic orientation. The formal flexibility allowed the poets to express different opinions and pursue innovative perspectives in their discourse of love. Musical Performance and Reading All Minnesang was performed with musical accompaniment, but few melodies are preserved in manuscripts. Often the poems specifically indicate that the text was considered a song, and that the dialogues, for instance, were part of a musical exchange. Already Der von Kürenberg presents himself as a knight who is singing before an assembled company, using the “Kürenbergers wîse” (MF 8, 3), or the Kürenberg melody. Words and music were considered closely interconnected such as when Ulrich von Liechtenstein once mentions in his Frauendienst that his lady’s messenger had brought him a new melody or wise (from France?), unknown in Germany, with the request that he compose a German text to it: “This song you should sing in German,/this is her request, and I am her messenger” (Spechtler, 358, 7f.). The poets probably used very few musical instruments, at least during the early time, and only from the thirteenth century did the number of instruments increase. Gottfried von Strasbourg refers to many different types of songs and also musical instruments, which his protagonist Tristan has learned to play and which he then also teaches to his future love, Isolde (Krohn, 3547–3685; 7981–8141). Musical notation in manuscripts, especially the earlier ones, is almost nonexistent. The manuscript containing the Carmina Burana has staffless neumes for some of the German stanzas, but they give no indication of the pitch or the intervals between notes. In Walther

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von der Vogelweide’s œuvre only one complete melody has been preserved for his so-called “Palästinalied” (L 14, 38) and two fragmentary melodies of political songs in a fourteenth-century manuscript (Münster fragment [Z]). Only the Jena Songbook from the middle of the fourteenth century contains a larger number of melodies, ninety-one in total by twenty-nine composers. The poets represented here, however, composed mostly didactic songs. The fifteenth-century manuscript c with Neidhart’s songs offers forty-five melodies, whereas other Neidhart manuscripts, like the Sterzinger Miszellaneen manuscript (s), contain only a small number. In contrast, all the major manuscripts that have the largest collections (A, B, and C), as well as the important Neidhart manuscript, R, have no musical notations. Even though every poet in the Manessische Liederhandschrift is represented by a full-page illustration, few musical instruments are to be seen. A notable exception is Meister Heinrich Frauenlob who is depicted instructing a group of students who are equipped with a whole array of instruments: fiddles, drum, flute, shawm, bagpipes, and a plucked instrument called a psalterium. Text versus Melody Recent debate has focused on the question what value was placed on the texts in comparison with the now lost melodies. The patrons who commissioned the manuscripts certainly did not demonstrate interest in the latter, They considered the preservation of the words the most important task at hand. However, some illustrations depict a number of music instruments, so it would be misleading to assume that these collectors only appreciated the words of the songs. Even far into the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries many anthologies with love (and other types of ) songs do not include melodies but instead often indicate with a brief reference that a certain type of melody to be used: “König-Friedrichs-Ton,” “Wiener Hofton,” “Goldene Weise,” “Langer Ton,” “Kreuzton,” and “Feiner Ton” (McMahon 119). The common occurrence of contrafacta—religious melodies adapted to secular songs and vice versa, secular Romance poems and melodies copied for German songs—implies that the melodies were fairly simple and did not require to be specially noted. Because of the oral transmission of the music, variant versions emerged, as we can tell from the few extant melodies for one and the same song. The same phenomenon, however, can be observed with regard to the texts that

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were not always exactly copied from the original and often miss verses, replace whole stanzas, or rearrange the sequence of stanzas. Moreover, practically all surviving manuscripts were created a long time after the songs had been composed. Some of the oral transmission of melodies had probably been lost by that time, and when we do have melodies, they do not give clear indications about the duration of the notes or, as in the case of Neidhart’s poems in manuscript c, the melodies are placed on top of the texts and do not specify how the lines of the text are to be accommodated to them. We may also assume that medieval people had a much better capacity for memorizing song melodies, whereas the words could get lost. Thus it is possible that when the Minnesang texts were copied, the primary purpose was to make sure that the words would be preserved, whereas the melodies were not at risk of being forgotten, since the oral tradition was strong enough even centuries after the songs had been composed. Yet there is no reason to despair and give up all hope for the reconstruction of some of the melodies of medieval Minnesang, since the existence of contrafacta, late medieval adaptations of medieval songs which were accompanied by melodies, and of references to the assumed type of melody accompanying songs suggest that a considerable amount of medieval German music can be retrieved (McMahon 128–53). It is, of course, also possible to consider many of the songs as reading material, especially if we consider the heavy use of verbs such as sagen, sprechen, or reden (to say, to speak) where singen (to sing) could have been used instead. Moreover, many of the songs reveal their sophisticated message only if studied carefully as written texts, for the subtle statements would have been lost in a musical presentation. On the other hand, courtly audiences, used as they were to oral presentations, could, without doubt, easily handle complex poetic statements presented in an oral, musical form. Historical Centers of Minnesang Even though we may assume that courtly love poetry was practiced in many parts of Germany, the surviving manuscripts point to only a few particular centers. The three major manuscripts containing the songs constituting Des Minnesangs Frühling (A, B, C) were all written in the southwest of Germany, especially in Zurich, Straßburg, and

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Weingarten near Lake Constance. The most important poets of the early phase (c. 1170–1200) were active at the courts of the Hohenstaufen family, the royal house of Germany, and in Vienna, the seat of the Hapsburg family. Whereas scholarship has mostly focused on the early and classical period of Minnesang, those poets who were active in the thirteenth century and also made important contributions originated from a variety of locations in Germany. Many of them hail from Switzerland and document that even in this allegedly rural country where democracy emerged in continental medieval Europe for the first time in 1291, aristocratic culture and literature were highly esteemed and maintained their public significance. Only a few Minnesänger originated from or were active in Bavaria, and even fewer in Thuringia, Bohemia, and Brandenburg. Otherwise, Minnesang was not en vogue in northern Germany, at least not during the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Courtly culture, however, found its way into those areas by the late Middle Ages, mostly by imitation and copying of the classical Minnesang. Late Medieval Minnesang When the major manuscripts containing the texts of the Minnesänger were created in the early fourteenth century, both the character and function of Minnesang had already experienced a radical change, as they were from now on both oral and literary documents of a culture increasingly fading away and making room for an urban world where burghers and aristocrats closely interacted and shared their values and interests. Since that time the traditional goliardic and/or aristocratic poet was replaced by a professional singer who competed at the courts for the patron’s support. With Burkhard von Hohenfels, Gottfried von Neifen, and Ulrich von Winterstetten, a new Swabian school of Minnesang emerged in the wake of Neidhart’s satirical poems and in imitation of classical Middle High German love poetry. These late-medieval poets place a new emphasis on formalistic sophistication, rich use of metaphors and images, and a complex language, today identified as “geblümter Stil” (flowery style). Gottfried von Neifen, for instance, demonstrates great mastery in the use of rhyme schemes and an astounding play with meter. The urban poets Steinmar, Konrad von Würzburg, and Johann Hadloub followed the lead of this Swabian school by experimenting both with images and language, genres, and formal features in their poetry. More so than

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ever before, late medieval Minnesang proves to be a literary art resulting from a high level of stylistic and musical sophistication, although the basic content, wooing of a lady and expressing one’s feelings, did not change much. These poets reflected strong influences from French and Latin culture, and they combined religious with secular motifs. Even though the traditional role playing is continued here without major changes, thematic reorientations are clearly visible. Burkhard von Hohenfels, for instance, emphasizes the dangers of material wealth, arguing that it can have a negative impact on one’s life, whereas poverty is considered a positive experience. Gottfried von Neifen experimented with new female voices in his songs, creating dialogues between a man and a woman. These women figures belong to the lower classes, but we cannot simply assume that they were supposed to be peasant women as in Neidhart’s poetry. Instead they appear within a rural context but still are presented as ladies whom the singer woos. Ulrich von Winterstetten, on the other hand, alerts his audience to the prime importance of Minnesang as a cultural icon for courtly society that is supposed to recognize the singer as an artist in his own right. Although he employs a number of specific sexual metaphors, heightening the explicit erotic dimension of courtly love poetry, Ulrich primarily pursues his art as an expression of his artistic skills. Similarly Hiltbolt von Schwangau demonstrates an awareness and willingness to experiment with the well-established elements and reconfigures the classical constellation of noble wooer and his lady (KLD 24). The major aspects of most thirteenth-century poetry thus prove to be the art of variation, the formal sophistication, and the enjoyment of the play with rhymes, meters, and sounds, whereas the basic ideology of courtly love is hardly changed. As Hugo Kuhn formulates, late medieval Minnesang is communal art and communal cult, and no longer the expression of highly individualized aristocratic poetry searching for textual and musical expression of a new psychological experience (151). The fictional game is suddenly confronted by reality, and the only possible answer for most of these poets was the formalistic lament about the change of times. The liberation from these limits had to wait until the early fifteenth century when poets such as the anonymous Monk of Salzburg (late fourteenth/early fifteenth century), Hugo von Montfort (1357–1423), and especially Oswald von Wolkenstein (1376/77–1445) revolutionized

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German courtly love poetry. But it would be almost inappropriate to identify their songs still as Minnesang.

Selected Bibliography * For editions of the works and more information on the many poets mentioned in this chapter, please refer to the pertinent articles in the Verfasserlexikon (VL). Ruh, Kurt, Gundolf Keil, Werner Schröder, Burghart Wachinger, and Franz Josef Worstbrock, eds. 1978–99. Die Deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters: Verfasserlexikon, 2nd ed. 10 Vols. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter. Editions and Translations Backes, Martina, ed. and trans. 1992. Tagelieder des deutschen Mittelalters. Introduction by Alois Wolf. Stuttgart: Reclam. Bartsch. Karl ed. 1990. Die Schweizer Minnesänger. New rev. ed. by Max Schiendorfer. Vol. 1: Texte Tübingen: Niemeyer. Beyschlag, Siegfried, ed. 1975. Die Lieder Neidharts. Der Textbestand der PergamentHandschriften und die Melodien. Edition of the melodies by Horst Brunner. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Classen, Albrecht, ed. 2000. Frauen in der deutschen Literaturgeschichte. Die ersten 800 Jahre. Ein Lesebuch. New York: Peter Lang. Kasten, Ingrid, ed. and trans. 1990. Frauenlieder des Mittelalters. Stuttgart: Reclam. Kraus, Carl von, ed. 1978. Deutsche Liederdichter des 13. Jahrhunderts, 22nd edition by Gisela Kornrumpf. 2 Vols. Tübingen: Niemeyer. (Abbreviated as KLD) Krohn, Rüdiger, ed. and trans. 1980. Gottfried von Straßburg. Tristan. 3 vols. Stuttgart: Reclam. Moser, Hugo und Helmut Tervooren, eds. 1988. Des Minnesangs Frühling, 3rd edition. Vol. I: Texte. Stuttgart: Hirzel. (Abbreviated as MF) Parry, John Jay, trans. 1964. The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus, 2nd edition. New York: Ungar. Reusner, Ernst von. 1985. Hartmann von Aue. Lieder. Stuttgart: Reclam. Schweikle, Günther, ed. and trans. 1984. Friedrich von Hausen. Lieder. Stuttgart: Reclam. —— 1986. Reinmar. Lieder. Stuttgart: Reclam. —— 1994/1998. Walther von der Vogelweide: Werke. Gesamtausgabe. Stuttgart: Reclam. Spechtler, Franz Viktor, ed. 1987. Ulrich von Liechtenstein. Frauendienst. Göppingen: Kümmerle. Tervooren, Helmut, ed. and trans. 1975. Heinrich von Morungen. Lieder. Stuttgart: Reclam. Tobin, Frank, trans. 1998. Flowing Light of the Godhead. Preface by Margot Schmidt. New York, Mahwah: Paulist Press. Wapnewski, Peter, ed. and trans. 1966. Walther von der Vogelweide. Gedichte, 4th edition. Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer. Secondary Works Bertau, Karl. 1972–73. Deutsche Literatur im europäischen Mittelalter. 2 vols. Munich: Beck. Bumke, Joachim. 1991. Courtly Culture: Literature and Society in the High Middle Ages. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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Classen, Albrecht. 1995. Minnesang als Spiel. Sinnkonstitution auf dem ‘Schachbrett’ der Liebe. In Studi Medievali Serie Terza XXXVI, 1: 211–39. Fromm, Hans, ed. 1966. Der deutsche Minnesang. Aufsätze zu seiner Erforschung. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Haubrichs, Wolfgang. 1989. Männerrollen und Frauenrollen im frühen deutschen Minnesang. In Zeitschrift für Linguistik und Literaturwissenschaft 19: 39–57. Heinen, Hubert. 1989. Walther’s ‘Under der linden’. Its Function, Its Subtexts, and Its Maltreated Maiden. In Medieval German Literature. Proceedings from the 23. International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 5–8, 1988, ed. Albrecht Classen, 51–73. Göppingen: Kümmerle. Hirschberg, Dagmar. 1992. wan ich dur sanc bin ze der welte geborn. Die Gattung Minnesang als Medium der Interaktion zwischen Autor und Publikum. In Grundlagen des Verstehens mittelalterlicher Literatur. Literarische Texte und ihr historischer Erkenntniswert, ed. Gerhard Hahn and Hedda Ragotzky, 108–32. Stuttgart: Kröner. Jaeger, C. Stephen. 1999. Ennobling Love. In Search of a Lost Sensibility. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ——. 1985. The Origins of Courtliness. Civilizing Trends and the Formation of Courtly Ideals, 939–1210. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Kleinschmidt, Erich. 1976. Minnesang als höfisches Zeremonialhandeln. In Archiv für Kulturgeschichte 58: 35–76. Kuhn, Hugo. 1976. Minnesangs Wende, 2nd ed. Hermaea, Neue Folge 1. Tübingen: Niemeyer. Liebertz-Grün, Ursula. 1988. Höfische Autorinnen. Von der karolingischen Kulturreform bis zum Humanismus. In Deutsche Literatur von Frauen: Vom Mittelalter bis zum Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts, ed. Gisela Brinker-Gabler: 39–64. Munich: Beck. McMahon, James V. 1990. The Music of Early Minnesang. Studies in German Literature, Linguistics, and Culture. Columbia, SC: Camden House. Müller, Ulrich. 1983. Die mittelhochdeutsche Lyrik. In Lyrik des Mittelalters, vol. II, ed. Heinz Bergner et al., 7–227. Stuttgart: Reclam. Paden, William, ed. 1989. The Voice of the Trobairitz. Perspectives on the Women Troubadours. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Sayce, Olive. 1982. The Medieval German Lyric, 1150 –1300. The Development of Its Themes and Forms in Their European Context. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Schweikle, Günther. 1994. Minnesang in neuer Sicht. Stuttgart-Weimar: Metzler. Tervooren, Helmut. 1991. Reinmar-Studien. Ein Kommentar zu den “unechten” Liedern Reinmars des Alten. Stuttgart: Hirzel. Wachinger, Burghart. 1989. Was ist Minne? In Beiträge 111: 252–67. Tübingen. Walther, Ingo F., ed. 1989. Codex Manesse. Die Minitaturen der Großen Heidelberger Liederhandschrift, 4th edition, ed. and commented by Ingo F. Walther with Gisela Siebert Frankfurt a.M.: Insel. Wapnewski, Peter. 1975. Waz ist minne. Studien zur mittelhochdeutschen Lyrik. Beck’sche schwarze Reihe 195. Munich: Beck. Wentzlaff-Eggebert, Friedrich-Wilhelm. 1960. Kreuzzugsdichtung des Mittelalters Berlin: de Gruyter. Weil, Bernd A. 1993. Der deutsche Minnesang. Entstehung und Begriffsdeutung. Frankfurt a.M.: R. G. Fischer. Willms, Eva. 1990. Liebesleid und Sangeslust. Untersuchungen zur deutschen Liebeslyrik des späten 12. und frühen 13. Jahrhunderts. Munich: Artemis.

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The great epics of the world are relatively few in number: the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest (end of the 2nd millennium B.C.E.); ancient Greek and Rome boast Homer’s Iliad, his Odyssey (second half of the eighth century B.C.E.), and Virgil’s Aeneid (end of the first century B.C.E.); India, the Ramayana (second century B.C.E.) and the Mahabharata (between the fourth century B.C.E. and the fourth century C.E.). The Bible itself (third century B.C.E.—first century C.E.) may be included within the epic tradition on a grand scale. Ireland has the Táin Bó Cuailnge (seventh century), while England has Beowulf (eighth century). One of the world’s greatest epics originated in Persia, the Shakh-Nameh of Ferdowsi (tenth/eleventh centuries), and Russia can lay claim to the Song of Igor’s Campaign (1187). France’s popular Chanson de Roland originated about 1100 and its historical basis is to be found in the early ninth century. In Scandinavia, the corpus of individual lays in the Poetic Edda (thirteenth/fourteenth centuries) harks back to events that occurred in the period of the Great Migrations in the fourth and fifth centuries. Finland is the site of the latest epic, Kalevala, created by the Finnish doctor Elias Lönnrot in 1835, but based on centuries-old tales that had been handed down through oral tradition. In the German-speaking area, the Nibelungenlied (c. 1200) stands as a singularly impressive monument to the genre (notwithstanding the fact that at least a dozen other works are designated as heroic epics). Common to all are (archetypal) heroes, adversaries, motifs, topoi, situations, and landscapes. Less homogeneous are their primary functions within their respective points of origin. If the Aeneid purported to explain the beginnings of Rome, to recall the spectacular odyssey of Aeneas that culminated in the establishment of the new center of the ancient world, others, such as the Chanson de Roland, concentrated more on human failing, specifically hubris, and its sobering consequences.

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The memory of great acts by either an individual or a group, by “great men” (Carlyle) in the past could, of course, be used for the edification of a poet’s contemporaries (and presumably for subsequent generations), regardless of where those acts may have led. In the case of the Nibelungenlied, composed, it is assumed, at the close of the twelfth century, it is impossible to state with certainty that the poet (unlike the generations of bards who preceded him and who recalled these events solely in oral form) was aware of the historical basis for the final conflagration in his poem: the resounding defeat dealt the Burgundian king Gundaharius and his forces by Roman troops and their Hunnish allies in 436–437. Inasmuch as he may, in fact, have concerned himself with the historical background, his purpose will hardly have been to recount history, but rather to tell the traditional story that had grown out of historical events as though that story itself, had, in fact, taken place. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the remarkable body of German medieval works—commonly united under the rubric of “heroic epic”—whose manuscript origins range over a period of approximately 100 years from the beginning of the thirteenth through to the threshold of the fourteenth century. Many of the epics have been passed down in collections (Heldenbücher), the oldest being a Rhenish-Franconian manuscript from the first half of the fourteenth century, with others dating from c. 150 years later (the Dresdner Heldenbuch, the Piaristenhandschrift, the Straßburger Heldenbücher, the Augsburger Heldenbuch), and yet another group from the sixteenth century and originating in Hagenau, Augsburg, Frankfurt am Main and the misleading (given its content) Ambraser Heldenbuch commissioned by Emperor Maximilian I between 1504 and 1515 (Heinzle, Einführung 41–50). The individual works of the genre evince, however, little homogeneity with respect to the manner in which their subject matter is treated, and even with the largest single group of epics, those making up the Dietrich cycles, a differentiation must be made between the “historical” and the “fairy-tale” or “ahistorical” group. To the former belong Dietrichs Flucht, Rabenschlacht, Alpharts Tod, and the highly fragmented Dietrich und Wenezlan; to the latter, Goldemar, the Eckenlied, Sigenot, Virginal, Laurin und Walberan, and, peripherally, Biterolf und Dietleip, the Wunderer, and Der Rosengarten zu Worms. German heroic epic of the High Middle Ages is thus prolific, rich in its themes and motifs, and diverse in its emphases, while at the same time retaining any number of archetypal elements. Based on

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subject matter, five distinct thematic clusters can be discerned: 1) works dealing with Siegfried and the Nibelungs (Nibelungenlied, Klage, Das Lied vom Hürnen Seyfrid); 2) the fragmentary Walther und Hildegund; 3) the conciliatory Kudrun, which Werner Hoffmann (1976) has described as an “answer” to the Nibelungenlied; 4) the stories of Ortnit and Wolfdietrich; 5) the Dietrich cycles described above. Although those works that have survived most likely represent the major strands of the genre, we can assume with some justification that individual heroic tales may have been lost to posterity. Consider, for example, that an epic of the size and significance of Kudrun is extant in only one manuscript—from the sixteenth century. What has been handed down is testimony nonetheless to a remarkably rich tradition. A few words on procedure seem appropriate here. While occasional recounting of a text has been deemed necessary for background, I have made no attempt to regurgitate systematically the plots of the individual epics. Excellent structural summaries of plots can readily be found in Gustav Ehrismann’s monumental Geschichte der deutschen Literatur bis zum Ausgang des Mittelalters, for the Nibelungenlied/Klage and Kudrun in the Metzler volumes of Werner Hoffmann and Roswitha Wisniewski respectively, and for the Nibelung and Dietrich cycles, including the Scandinavian analogues, in Edward Haymes and Susan T. Samples’ Heroic Legends of the North. An Introduction to the Nibelung and Dietrich Cycles, and for the latter group, in particular, the recent Einführung in die mittelhochdeutsche Dietrichepik by Joachim Heinzle, who has also written most of the articles on the individual Dietrich epics contained within the 2nd edition of Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters: Verfasserlexikon. Werner Hoffmann’s older Mittelhochdeutsche Heldendichtung is also most helpful. There is, of course, no substitute for reading the primary works themselves, even though this may frequently tax the patience and aesthetic sensibilities of a modern reader, as, for example, when he confronts the four variants of the Wolfdietrich epic. It should also be noted that we are really speaking of “Germanic” (rather than simply “German”) heroic epic with respect to much of the material that forms the basis for these epics. In this instance, however, the Scandinavian epic and ballad traditions have been excluded in keeping with the parameters set by the current volume. I have been chiefly concerned with providing some thoughts on what constitutes, in my opinion, the major thrust of each of these works as well as those common areas of interest that they might

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display. Attention is also paid, where warranted, to the concepts of memory, time, and transformation as they pertain to the individual epics. I also offer some suggestions as to why, of all the works in this genre that have survived, the Nibelungenlied is truly unique. Most of the works discussed here were composed at a time commonly referred to as the first “classical” period of German literature (the Blütezeit), a remarkable span of approximately eighty years between 1170 and 1250 that witnessed a formidable surge of creative energy in the arts. They shared the stage at the courts of medieval aristocratic society with Arthurian romance, Spielmannsepen (to which there are intimate links), and lyric poetry. They have in common with romance and Spielmannsepik a love of adventure, sometimes for its own sake, an expectation of adherence to triuwe (loyalty) and êre (honor) on the part of the major protagonists, frequent forays, particularly (but by no means exclusively) with respect to the Dietrich epics, into the Otherworld of dwarfs, giants, and dragons, and the procurement of women as spouses in the course of, or through military expeditions. In contrast to courtly romance and lyric, however, there is little room in heroic epic for romantic love and the intrigue that emanates from its illicit manifestations. The world is more that of the warrior than the courtier and the protagonist is viewed as a protector, a judge, or a ruler, but only secondarily (if at all) as a lover. The Nibelungenlied, Klage, and Das Lied vom Hürnen Seyfrid Appearing for the first time in written form about the turn of the thirteenth century, the Nibelungenlied is based partly on historical events that occurred in the fifth and sixth centuries: the military defeat, in 436/437, of the Burgundians under Gundahar(ius) by the Roman leader Aëtius, assisted by Hunnish auxiliaries. Attila (= Etzel in the Nibelungenlied ) was not present at the battle. The Nibelungenlied contains no reference to the historical Aëtius, nor do Rome and Roman military campaigns play any role in the plot of the epic. Attila lived between 406(?) and 453, making him a contemporary of Gundahar. His guest, the homeless, exiled Dietrich von Bern (Verona), is normally associated with the Ostrogothic king Theoderich the Great, who was born about 451 and died in 526. He would still have been a child at the time of Attila’s death. An Austrasian Frankish king, Sigibert I—the historical model for Siegfried?—was married to a certain Brunichildis. He was murdered in 575, a victim of a prolonged

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feud between his wife and his sister-in-law Fredegunde, married to his half-brother Chilperic, King of the Neustrian Franks. Brunichildis reigned in Worms for a short time, but met an untimely death in 613. Over two hundred years of Roman and Germanic history constitute, then, the backdrop for the events of the Nibelungenlied, but history itself was clearly of little concern to the poet who first had the epic committed to parchment. All of the associations alluded to above between fiction and history have been made by later scholars. Clearly, the poet knew who Attila was, but the memory he imparted of the Hunnish ruler has little in common with that recorded even three hundred years later, for example, in the Schedelsche Weltchronik, where Attila is depicted as an incorrigible womanizer, and whose liaison with a certain Ildiconi led to his apparently violent death (Pförtner, cxl). Between six and eight centuries had passed since the advent on the world stage of some of the historical figures who appear to have found their fictional counterparts in the Nibelungenlied. The written work clearly does not represent the genesis of the stories that deal with the Nibelung theme. The reference to the alten mæren (all quotations from Manuscript C: Hennig 1977) cited in the first verse of the first strophe of the epic, tales that no longer exist, at least in written form (if they ever did), remains vague, indistinct. The mæren are generic in nature, they consisted of stock motifs such as “praiseworthy heroes” and “great travail” (1,2), “joy and festivals,” “weeping and lamenting” (1,3), and the “battles of bold warriors” (1,4). It is soon specified that these alten mæren were concerned with both Siegfried and the Burgundians and that the accent lay on strife and tragedy. Precisely how old the mæren themselves are, is not known, nor does the poet/narrator express any interest in such detail. The story to be recounted has its origins in a timeless past; the events related have been passed down for as long as anyone can remember. Their great age testifies to their validity. The events occurred in illo tempore, and the medieval audience may be expected to accept that they transpired in more or less the manner in which they are described in the epic. The object of recalling such things from the past, a past that ranges far beyond the narrator’s memory, or that of any of his contemporaries, is not so clear. Is the literary memorialization of those long past events intended as a message and, if so, what? Authorial intentionality is notoriously difficult to ascertain, even with living authors, but this is particularly the case with medieval romance and epic. Perhaps a general theory

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(not intended as a conclusion) is appropriate: the poet of the Nibelungenlied (and particularly the scribes of MSS A and B) writing down the epic about the year 1200, based on the oral-formulaic renditions of the songs he and his predecessors had heard regarding the stories of Siegfried and the Burgundians, prepared a text that he knew would delight his potential audience as entertainment while, at the same time, sending an unequivocal message that the reins of power must be held tightly in the hands of legitimate rulers, and under no circumstances be allowed to be usurped by an ambitious woman. The plot of the Nibelungenlied itself is intimately bound up with the matter of memory and recollection, both in terms of affirmation and denial. Seifrit (Siegfried) in manuscript k is described by Jan-Dirk Müller as the “Gegenstand heroischer Kollektiverinnerung” (1997, 277). In epic tradition, Siegfried represents something that is no longer a prominent factor within high medieval society, a relic of earlier times, in which greater emphasis was given to spontaneity and immediacy of action than courtly society was likely to tolerate, and it was for this society, after all, for whom the Nibelungenlied of the late twelfth/early thirteenth century was written. The poet himself may well have entertained highly ambivalent feelings toward the hero of the Netherlands (as appears to have been the case with the author of the Klage), for although he is compelled to express his outrage over the latter’s murder while a guest at the Burgundian court, his condemnation of the act and its chief perpetrator is never absolute, but is rather limited by time. With Siegfried dead and buried, the narrator/poet moves on. Unlike Kriemhild, he does not extend his outrage into the second half of the epic. In fact, a strong argument could be made in favor of a growing admiration and respect for Hagen on the part of the narrator (and individuals such as Dietrich) as the Burgundians ride to their deaths. Siegfried’s murder is not forgotten; it is, however, relativized through the passage of time (becoming more a death than a cold-blooded murder), for the narrator, the thirteenth-century audience, at least to some degree, and for figures such as Dietrich and Rüdiger, who demonstrate nothing but camaraderie, friendship, and outright respect towards Hagen, who, it should be noted, is called a murderer in manuscript C but not in either A or B (Gentry). Kriemhild is the only figure in the Nibelungenlied who consciously rejects such a relativization of the crime on both the personal and the legal level. As Hera is intent in the Iliad on sacking Troy and destroying Priam and the Trojans, Kriemhild is

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obsessed with the desire to avenge both the murder of Siegfried and the theft of her treasure, even more than two decades after the fact, and it is of little or no consequence to her who may fall victim in the process. Time plays a pivotal role in the Nibelungenlied. In the first âventiure, the first strophe reflects on the events that have transpired a long time ago and are now to be recalled. The narrator refers to an undefined past that is then transported into the present, the events of which are then related in the present tense and with continual references to the future. With respect to the latter, we may consider, above all, Kriemhild’s falcon dream, which is focused entirely on events to unfold later on in the epic. Kriemhild foresaw the death of Siegfried (albeit unidentified, except, in generic terms, as a warrior in the interpretation of the dream by her mother, Ute) in that dream, which appears to be aimed more at the audience than anything else. As soon as it has been (incompletely) explicated by Ute, her daughter removes herself from the wooing circuit—a feeble effort to defy destiny through self-imposed isolation. It is a spontaneous, although perhaps psychologically justified, reaction on Kriemhild’s part, but a policy to which she adheres religiously until Siegfried arrives at Worms. Henceforth, the actual dream, at least in Kriemhild’s mind, is relegated to obscurity. She never brings it up again, not even in the context of the two dreams that she experiences on the final night spent with her husband prior to the fatal hunt. Siegfried’s assistance to the Burgundians and his achievements in the Saxon-Danish war bring Kriemhild out of her isolation. His service to her brother Gunther in the matter of Brünhild eventually culminates in the union of the princess of Burgundy and the prince of Xanten. What of Kriemhild’s dream, however? Would it not hold particular significance from this stage of her life on? Given the importance of dreams as portents in the Middle Ages, the absence of any further mention of this falcon dream is astonishing. Kriemhild’s failure, or unwillingness, to recall that first dream (which, thematically, is certainly a precursor to the later “boar” and “mountain” dreams) is, I suspect, directly linked to a combination of repression and arrogance on her part. It is certainly possible that Kriemhild may still have (fleetingly?) recalled the dream subsequent to meeting and marrying Siegfried and that we are told nothing of it. But it is equally possible that she would have dismissed its message out of hand as incapable of having any bearing on her husband who was, after all,

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a virtual demi-god. The dream no longer is a part of her active memory. Repression is, of course, a term derived from analytical psychology and, as a method of examining human behavior, has no medieval equivalent within the Nibelungenlied. While the descriptive term may be lacking in the thirteenth century, the phenomenon is not, and it is this phenomenon that occupies an important thematic role evident within both parts of the epic. Kriemhild is never depicted as referring to her first dream in her years with Siegfried, perhaps because, like her spouse, she can hardly conceive of him being the victim in any conflict. When such a fear does arise in the sixteenth âventiure, Kriemhild refuses to acknowledge the portent of many years earlier. If Kriemhild has had foreknowledge of Siegfried’s tragic death, made clear to her through three dreams on two different occasions and years apart, Siegfried has experienced no such portents, either subconsciously or consciously. What he brings with him from the past is the self-confidence gained from consistent success in all of his endeavors, whether in battle against his peers, or powerful nonhuman enemies in the Otherworld. Yet Siegfried has been raised in the world of warriors, not of mythological beasts; he has been initiated into knighthood, if also into the Otherworld of giants, dwarfs, and dragons. It is fair to assume that he has become fully acquainted with the mores of the court and the expectations of society. Yet his more than superficial initiation into the Otherworld—dramatically symbolized by his bathing in the blood of the dragon he has slain— tempers or compromises his memory of proper decorum in the normal world of the court, causing him to commit increasingly serious blunders against its “ordo.” Although by no means conforming to the “wild man” motif, Siegfried’s personality and his actions run counter to that which would be expected in the world in which he attempts to function. He is described as having been knighted along with four hundred swertdegene (squires), but do we subsequently learn of a close bond between the hero of the Netherlands and any of his contemporaries? On the contrary: Siegfried remains a “loner” throughout his life, at least in terms of his relationship to other warriors (a trait that is shared, although not with the same consequences, by Wolfdietrich). This underscores a novel individualism that brings him, however, into conflict with a view of the world characterized by an adherence to the interests of the clan. In this regard, Siegfried is a herald of a new ethos that is more inclined to break with tradition than uphold it. He represents a real threat, not just for the Burgundians,

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but in a larger sense for a world that revolves around the concept of clan and that is detemined to combat any challenge to the ethos of clan loyalty. On a larger plane, Siegfried, it might be argued, had to be killed for the good of society per se, even if the killing was carried out for reasons that appeared much more superficial. For Kriemhild, the memory of Siegfried’s death is coupled with the (subconscious) realization that her own imprudence was instrumental in bringing it about—she never openly admits to this in the epic— both with respect to the indiscreet public display of Brünhild’s ring and belt before the minster and the remarkably naive revelation to Hagen of Siegfried’s ultimate secret regarding his vulnerability. The Burgundian kings are, in contrast to their sister, eager to put the past behind them and to re-establish a normal filial relationship with their sister. Hagen is, however, coldly indifferent to the killing. As stanza 1002, and later 1012, make abundantly clear, he is ready to acknowledge his role in the murder and will never repent of it, for at no time does he view his actions as reprehensible. In this regard at least, Hagen shows himself to be more honest—and, judged by the ethos of his time, more ethical—than any of the Burgundian kings. While the latter may not have taken an active part in killing Siegfried, they knew only too well what Hagen was planning and made no real effort to put a stop to it. Their pathetic behavior remains consistent throughout the first half of the epic, for they are conveniently “out of town” when Hagen later robs Kriemhild of the Nibelung hoard. Their subsequent protests ring hollow and hypocritical. Apart from the less than admirable behavior of her brothers, the Burgundian kings, both at the time of Siegfried’s murder and following the theft of Kriemhild’s treasure, no statement emanates at any time from another male character in the Nibelunglied that could conceivably be understood as a condemnation of Hagen’s course of action. Kriemhild stands alone as a perpetual mourner and, as the poet relates, for twelve years her days are filled with lamentations. It is Kriemhild’s inability, or unwillingness, to allow time to effect one of its most important benefits on the human psyche, namely, healing, coupled with her exaltation of the need and passion for revenge, that slowly but systematically alienates her from society and its standard mores and that ultimately leads to actions which find unequivocal condemnation by that society—although that condemnation is tempered in manuscript C of the Nibelungenlied, in contrast to what we find in MSS A and B. She completely rejects something that the rest of her

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contemporaries accept as a sine qua non of their existence: that all grief must be temperate—a viewpoint that finds expression throughout the entire spectrum of German medieval heroic poetry, in fact, throughout all of medieval literature, and which is by no means confined to grief—and that the preservation of the ordo takes precedence over an individual’s (particularly a woman’s) right to avenge past wrongs. Kriemhild’s self-absorption and her inability to accept this basic tenet of society, together with the absoluteness of her grief and the destructive proclivities that flow from it (prompting Dietrich to refer to her publicly as a vâlandinne (she-devil) shortly after the arrival of the Burgundians at the Hunnish court) provide the Nibelungenlied with a dimension unknown to any other work of the period, the dissolution of the unity between the inner and the outer (Haug). Everything that unfolds in the second half of the Nibelungenlied is directly linked to the concept of memory, specifically the extent to which, and the manner in which, Siegfried’s death (and, in a secondary way, the theft of the Nibelung hoard) is recalled. For Kriemhild, as already intimated above, the act is absolutized through the passage of time, as is evident in the grief that she demonstrates. It is nigh on four years after Siegfried’s death before she again speaks to her brother Gunther. Gernot’s observation that she has been mourning Sigfried for too long (1121,1) is undoubtedly reflective of the opinion both of the fictitious characters in the epic and a number of the poet’s contemporaries. The manner in which Kriemhild allows the circumstances of Siegfried’s death to dominate her memory of him is considered unnatural. While no one has even hinted that Siegfried’s murder was justified, it is obvious that the attitude prevailing in Burgundy (and elsewhere, consider Rüdiger and Dietrich’s stance!) is that everyone should get on with his or her life. This is an intriguing view of the past, particularly when we consider how important it was for other heroic figures, such as Dietrich in his own epic cycle, or Wolfdietrich, for example, to right past wrongs. Siegfried was, after all, murdered in a treacherous fashion (but who would have had a chance against him in a “fair fight”?), while enjoying the hospitality and, ostensibly, the protection of the Burgundians. Whether or not one considers the act justifiable from a moral and political point of view, it remains, at the least, a highly problematical deed, particularly as Kriemhild has been cast into legal limbo through the disqualification of the chief justice of the land—her brother Gunther—by virtue of his own complicity in the killing. She

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is given no opportunity for a resolution through legal channels, no one of stature comes forward to champion her cause, and she subsequently resorts to regarding the future solely as a vehicle for rectifying past outrages. Everything undertaken by Kriemhild—from having Siegfried’s treasure brought to Worms to marrying Etzel—is motivated by the memory of those injustices. In essence, Kriemhild denies the essence of the future as an instrument of hope, reconciliation, and restoration of harmony. The murder of Siegfried is known to everyone in the Nibelungenlied. Etzel’s wooing of Kriemhild is predicated upon it. Major responsibility—although not necessarily blame—is laid at Hagen’s door. To what extent the world beyond Worms is cognizant of the role played by the Burgundian kings—Gunther for going along with the killing, his brothers Gernot and Giselher for, at best, remaining passive about it—is debatable. What is not debatable, however, is that Hagen continues to function at the Burgundian court in much the same manner as he had done prior to Siegfried’s initial appearance in Worms some years earlier. The “memory” of Hagen as the murderer of Siegfried is not retained or cultivated in a manner commensurate with his depiction by the narrator as a treacherous lout in the sixteenth âventiure of the epic. Throughout the entire second half of the Nibelungenlied, there is no condemnation by anyone of Hagen (apart from Kriemhild), either for killing Siegfried or for stealing the Nibelung treasure. In fact, one has the distinct impression that, upon the arrival of the Burgundians at Etzel’s court, the Hunnish warriors are in awe of the man who had dispatched the hero of Xanten and scramble to get a glimpse of him. Neither they en masse, nor Rüdiger, later participate in the fight against the Burgundians out of a deep sense of justice or because they are morally outraged by Hagen’s (or the Burgundians’) earlier deeds or, as the case may be, lack of action. Loyalty to oaths (in the case of Rüdiger, sworn too hastily) and greed (on the part of many Hunnish warriors) are the motivating factors behind their “support” of Kriemhild. This leads us to two questions: how did the rest of the world view Siegfried’s murder at the time it was committed and how did it regard it over two decades later? In the immediacy of the moment, it is hard to believe that any foreign guest present at the court of the Burgundians when the deed was done would not have shared the narrator’s repeatedly expressed horror over the treachery inflicted upon Siegfried. Even Dietrich who, in works of the Dietrich cycle,

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faces (and triumphs over) Siegfried as an adversary when the latter fights on behalf of Dietrich’s treacherous uncle, Ermenrich, would have been hard pressed to condone the killing. On the other hand, neither he nor anyone else ever demonstrates an inclination to champion Kriemhild’s cause. Two reasons for this attitude might be suggested: fear of one’s own fate at the hands of the Burgundians (about whom Siegmund had already warned Siegfried, albeit to no avail), and of Hagen, in particular; secondly, condonation. Admittedly, this second reason is speculative. The text at no point explicitly states, or even implies, that the conspiracy among Hagen and the Burgundian royal family to do away with Siegfried could be extended to include, after the fact and by implication, figures such as Rüdiger, Dietrich, and Hildebrand. Furthermore, this suggestion begs yet another question, namely, on what grounds could or would such characters condone such an act? Yet does not the reaction of Dietrich to the arrival of the Burgundians in Gran lend support to the idea that he, at least, has reached some understanding, perhaps even understood from the outset, even if he might have deplored the circumstances of Siegfried’s death, that the act was justifiable? Siegfried could not have been more mistaken when, in his dying breath, he declared that future generations of Burgundians would be damned by their peers because of the deed (999). The repercussions for his murderer(s) are of a military and political, not moral, nature. We can pose more questions than offer answers on this particular topic. The marked absence, however, of any protest from without (again, with the notable exception of the narrator and then for a limited time) is, in itself, significant. Is it possible that the “epic world” (or even the courtly world) recognized a dangerous streak in Siegfried that was by no means confined to his relationship to the Burgundian court? Perhaps others could and did identify primarily with the plight of the members of the Burgundian royal family in the wake of the terrific quarrel between Kriemhild and Brünhild before the minster in Worms with all of its sordid revelations. After all, this fiasco can hardly be seen as comparable to the trials and tribulations of those who today defy bourgeois expectations of morality. Nothing less than the integrity of kingship and the royal line is at stake here and that was most assuredly threatened by Siegfried’s (and Kriemhild’s) indiscretions. It is not at all impossible, or even unlikely, that such a perspective predominated among outsiders, and that some rationalization subsequently took place with respect even

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to the manner in which Siegfried had to be killed. (Consider, in contrast, how much Heime and, in particular, Witege, are condemned in Alpharts Tod for the unchivalrous manner in which Alphart is attacked from the side.) No one save Kriemhild continues to maintain a stance toward the killing that is comparable to what we encounter in the hours and weeks immediately following the act. Over twenty years later, her memory of what has transpired (and what has been done to her) remains unaltered. It is as though time had stood still for Kriemhild, as have, indeed, her expectations of the measures that should be taken against the perpetrator. Kriemhild’s self-imposed and relatively short-term physical isolation subsequent to the death of Siegfried and the theft of the Nibelung hoard is complemented by a long-term emotional or psychological isolation that ultimately precludes her reintegration into a society in which the interests of the collective (clan) claim a higher priority than those of the individual. For society as a whole, Siegfried’s demise is relegated to memory, and not a particularly active one, as he is hardly referred to again throughout the Nibelungenlied by anyone other than Kriemhild and Hagen. Here, time continues on its natural course and the more of it that passes, the less we hear of Siegfried outside the private sphere; the implication may also be that the increasing passage of time allows less justification for seeking redress. Even Siegmund, Siegfried’s father, who had initially sought to avenge his son’s death, is never heard from again, perhaps content to allow the memory of his slain son, whom he had loved, but who he had also known to be brash and reckless, to live on in the person of his grandson, young Gunther. As the latter’s permanent guardian, once Kriemhild has effectively turned her back on motherhood, Siegmund could, at least, still conceivably envision a legacy left by his son. Kriemhild, on the other hand, appears to erase even this most intimate and familial part of her memory, perhaps as a subconscious rejection of everything progeny symbolizes or, given her later attitude towards Ortlieb, her son by Etzel, ought to symbolize: continuity, hope, optimism, a looking forward rather than backward. While it cannot be said that the narrator of the Nibelungenlied ultimately accepts or adopts the negative attitude of Kriemhild towards time and the future, with everything the latter symbolizes, his image of what is to come scarcely betrays any optimism. At the end of the epic he poignantly sums up his (and perhaps also the poet’s) thoroughly

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nihilistic philosophy: “the king’s festival ended in sorrow as joy needs must turn to sorrow in the end” (C: 2438,3–4; B: 2378,3–4). The narrator, too, appears to have no further use for, or has forgotten, the progeny that do, in fact, survive, namely, young Gunther in the Netherlands and young Siegfried in Worms. Not so, however, the narrator/poet of the Klage, who takes pains to have a messenger sent back to Worms, not only to relate of the catastrophe that has befallen the Burgundians at Etzel’s court, but also to insure that continuity in leadership is preserved through the crowning of young Siegfried. It is possible that Siegfried was already a problematic figure among the poets of heroic epic in the thirteenth century and a reflection of that position may be found again throughout the various works of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in which he plays a role. What is particularly striking here is the fact that, with the exception of Kriemhild, there is no one, whether in the Nibelungenlied or in any other heroic work of the period, who seems ready to establish a fitting memorial to him. We note the remarkably laconic initial reference to Siegfried in the first commentary on the Nibelungenlied, the Klage, where the anonymous poet states that Siegfried himself was killed because of his “übermuot,” his arrogance. To be sure, the anonymous poet may condemn in a fashion similar to that of his predecessor, the author of the Nibelungenlied, the killing of Siegfried by Hagen, but the words in the Klage fall far short of a paean to the fallen hero. The word “übermuot” (“arrogance, haughtiness” in this context) constitutes the major aspect of his memory of Siegfried. This is also reflected in the late fifteenth-century Lied vom Hürnen Seyfrid, in which we are presented with the picture of a willful and stubborn youth who followed only his own whims much to the distress of his parents. Both the poet of the Klage and the author of Das Lied vom Hürnen Seyfrid state explicitly something that the author of the Nibelungenlied demonstrates through Siegfried’s behavior but that he leaves the audience/reader to deduce: that the catastrophes which ensue within the Nibelung tradition can, in large measure (although by no means exclusively), be attributed to the hubris of Siegfried. In the Lied vom Hürnen Seyfrid, the protagonist demonstrates the same tendency as his literary forebear to ignore the stature and status of others, which consequently leads to animosity and his death. There is no memory of Etzel and his demise, although this was known to the chroniclers of the age. The intensity with which the

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poet of the Klage laments the destruction at the court of Etzel raises an interesting issue with respect to the idea of memory. This does not seem like the type of commentary one would expect of a literary work, a work of fiction. It is almost as though the Klage-poet is commenting on actual historical events: Burgundians/Nibelungs who lived and died in a cataclysmic encounter with the Huns, a historical Rüdiger, who will be mourned forever and venerated for his high nobility, and a Dietrich left devastated by the elimination of those forces he had gathered to establish a new empire in northern Italy. The excessive lamentation found within the Klage, a form of remembering the greatness of those who have fallen and the dimensions of the calamity witnessed at Etzel’s court, runs counter to the (usually unsolicited) advice regarding moderation proffered by older, more experienced warriors to their younger charges in German heroic poetry (such as from Wate to the Hegelings in Kudrun, following the disastrous battle against the Normans on the Wülpensand; and Hildebrand to Dietrich in Dietrichs Flucht, after news has arrived of the fall of Verona to Ermenrich). We appear to have nothing less here than the emergence of a genre out of a standard motif. The Nibelungenlied moves from individual to collective tragedy for a number of different reasons: Kriemhild is left in a legal and psychological vacuum following the murder of Siegfried; no one sets up an effective set of checks and balances against her machinations, machinations made necessary, however, because of the lack of recourse she confronts in the legal sphere. The Burgundians are enthusiastic about her marriage to Etzel, erroneously viewing it as the opportunity for a new start, although subconsciously they may welcome her departure from Worms. Etzel himself does not provide a deterrent to Kriemhild’s scheming because he refuses to believe (that is, he represses or denies) that his spouse’s main objective is to exact revenge for prior wrongs, although this is abundantly clear to his guest Dietrich. Kriemhild herself is incapable of forgiveness or reconciliation. Hagen (and eventually his liege lords) are bound to a code of honor and loyalty that precludes any act (such as staying at home in Worms out of fear of what could happen at Etzel’s court; turning Hagen over to Kriemhild in exchange for free passage home) that might compromise the esteem in which they are held by their peers. It has been said of the outbreak of World War I that once the troops were on the trains and moving, there was no turning back, no longer any hope for diplomacy. An analogy presents itself

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in the Nibelungenlied: once the Burgundians depart for Etzel’s court, there is nothing that will ward off disaster (something that is underscored by the dream of Ute, the portents of the water sprite, and the confirmation of the latter by Hagen in his unsuccessful attempt to drown the priest). The action has developed its own dynamic, which is determined less by the will of individual men than by the traditions and expectations of pre-courtly society. The demise of the Burgundians, a good part of the Hunnish army, and Dietrich’s Amelungs serves as the stunning example of the poet’s (basically nihilistic) philosophy that all joy must, in the end, turn to sorrow (2438,3–4). Das Waltherlied (or: Walther und Hildegund) A few fragments in two manuscripts, one in Graz, the other in Vienna, are all that remain of this thirteenth-century version of the late ninth-century Latin Waltharius, the story of Walther of Aquitaine and Hildegund, hostages at the court of King Attila. While the Graz manuscript contains a mere eight stanzas that depict Hagen taking his leave of the Hunnish royal couple (Attila and Helche) and a conversation between himself and Hildegund and Walther, in which he reminds the latter of his engagement to the young woman (who fears Walther might return home without her), the Vienna manuscript has thirty-nine strophes that provide some clues to the relationship of this epic to the Nibelungenlied. Deviating from the Latin precursor, the Waltherlied cites Spain (not the Aquitaine) as the home of the hero, Hagen does not escape from the court of Attila, but leaves with the ruler’s knowledge and blessing, and finally, Gunther, Walther’s potential adversary, is, along with his men, Burgundian, not a Frank as in the Waltharius. The connection to the Nibelungenlied is transparent. In contrast to the epic, however, and in keeping with the Waltharius, this thirteenthcentury work appears to have concluded on a positive note, with a wedding underscoring the prevailing festive atmosphere. It is likely that the original Waltherlied had, in terms of its dominating spirit, much in common with Kudrun. Whatever vestiges of the latter remain in the Waltherlied, they are devoid of the tragic element so integral to the Nibelungenlied.

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Kudrun While 735 strophes shorter than manuscript C of the Nibelungenlied (674 strophes shorter than manuscript B), the 1,705-strophe long Kudrun (written down perhaps about 1230/1240) is often considered in conjunction with its great predecessor. Like the Nibelungenlied (and several Dietrich epics), it contains mass battle scenes, stock motifs such as the dangerous wooing mission, “heroic” landscapes, the inevitable emphasis on honor and loyalty, anonymity of authorship, occasional forays into otherworldly spheres, and, as many other epics, is written in strophic form. Unlike the Nibelung and Dietrich cycles, however, no major male protagonist emerges who stands out as a central figure within the work and around whom the action revolves. The focus on Hagen, king of Ireland, in the first section of this three-part epic, is relatively limited and does not extend beyond the eighth of thirty-two âventiuren, except in the sense that the spirit he represents manifests itself later in his granddaughter during her long captivity in the Norman stronghold of Kassiane. It is this granddaughter, Kudrun, from whom the work also takes its name, who is at its center; for this reason alone, Kudrun stands out as an anomaly among the heroic epics of the period. Considerable emphasis is placed on the royal background of the various generations leading up to that of Kudrun. The reader is struck from the outset with the detail provided by the narrator regarding the lineage of the Irish rulers. Gêr, sovereign over seven lands and thousands of knights, is, with Ute his wife, father of Sigebant, who in turn marries a princess Ute of Norway. It is their son, Hagen, after whom the first part of the epic has traditionally been named. His marriage to Hilde of Portugal following a multi-year sojourn on an otherworldly island (?) after having been abducted by a griffin, produces a daughter, also called Hilde. She is also abducted, albeit by human beings—Hegeling warriors—and with her acquiescence. Married to the Hegeling king Hetel, she gives birth to Kudrun. It is a banality to state that women play highly significant roles in all of the major genres in Middle High German literature. While this is particularly apparent in both lyric poetry and the courtly romances, it is also true of heroic epic, although the accentuation can be different in each case. In two instances, Kudrun and Virginal, the epics are named after major figures in the plot, and the version of the Nibelungenlied contained within the Ambraser Heldenbuch states

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specifically that this book is about Kriemhild. Common to all three genres is the attractiveness of women to potential suitors. Women, at least initially, are portrayed as the recipients of attention, on the surface the passive partner in the game of love, which is not to suggest for an instant that women do not “control” the action of males— on the contrary! In Kudrun, women tend to play a relatively active role in the plot. Like Enite in Hartmann von Aue’s Erec, Ute must caution her husband Sigeband (Hagen’s father) to be wary of acedia (“sloth”) through inactivity at the Irish court. Only then does he resolve to sponsor a festival the likes of which the world has hitherto never seen. Hilde, Hagen’s daughter, is not inclined to spend the rest of her life hidden away from suitable male companions and welcomes the Hegeling plan to take her out of Ireland and bring her back to Hetel, even if she fears the predictably irascible reaction of her father. Kudrun is largely responsible for organizing the military aid needed by her fiancee Herwig in his conflict with Siegfried, and it is her perseverance while a long-term prisoner of the Normans which is highlighted in the third section of the work. The spotlight falls on women in a way that is rare in German heroic epic, the notable exception being, of course, the Nibelungenlied, with its generally negative portrayal of Kriemhild, the perspectives of the Klagepoet and the compiler of manuscript C notwithstanding. Central to the three parts of Kudrun (the Hagen, Hilde, and Kudrun sections) are abductions (Stackmann, Kudrun, xiv–xv): the non-voluntary seizure of the little prince Hagen of Ireland by a griffin in the first; the voluntary “abduction” of King Hagen’s daughter, Hilde, by Hegeling forces in the second; the unforeseen and unwanted capture and abduction of Kudrun by Norman forces in an action reminiscent of a Viking raid under Hartmut and Ludwig in the third. Each section concludes on a harmonious note: Hagen returns to Ireland, Hilde eventually marries Hetel with her father’s blessing; Kudrun is rescued from Kassiane and oversees multiple marriages at the conclusion of the epic. In contrast, then, to the Nibelungenlied, time in Kudrun leads to a restoration of harmony and order rather than to inordinatio and chaos. The structure is cyclical rather than linear. Time is also used as a test of major protagonists in the work: the years spent by Hagen on the island of the griffins are formative ones that see him transformed from an adolescent into an independent, but also irascible, adult who later, as king of Ireland, is portrayed as brutal towards both law-breakers and potential suitors of

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his daughter, Hilde. Kudrun spends many years as a captive in Kassiane and remains loyal throughout to Herwig. Scholars have long deliberated the “meaning” of Kudrun and various main themes have been proposed for the work: the conflict/transformation between an older and a younger generation and as an “answer” to the Nibelungenlied (Hoffmann, 1967, 1976); a concentration on leadership, personality, and parenthood (Campbell); a focus on more decisive, inwardly sovereign female characters who are contrasted with inept male monarchs (McConnell, 1988); a poetic projection and transcendence of the everyday degradation of medieval woman through the heroism of suffering on the part of Kudrun (Nolte); the main protagonist as a “patriarchal hero in a masculist Frauenroman” (Frakes). In some respects, Kudrun may be seen as an epic that revolves around individual transformations that ultimately benefit not only the specific figures who undergo them, but also their respective societies, without, as Frakes has pointed out, effecting an actual transformation of society itself. Hagen’s formative years are spent in the otherworldly realm of griffins and gabilûns where he is transformed from a young boy into a formidable hunter, protector, and, as will subsequently become evident, ruler. This transformation is not without a darker side. It is possible that, without the presence of the three similarly abducted princesses to keep alive the memory of life at the royal court, Hagen might well have become fully integrated into the otherworld with its uncourtly mores. As it stands, he returns to Ireland quite capable of assuming the kingship, but endowed, nonetheless, with a brutal and uncompromising nature that earns him the appellative “Vâlant aller künige” (devil of all kings, 168,2). His overprotectiveness towards his daughter Hilde—removing her from any participation in the wooing ritual, but also, it appears, from enjoying even the benefits of sun and wind (note 198,2–3)— is, in its essence, unproductive and a challenge to the rest of society. (A similar situation pertains in Wolfdietrich B in which King Walgunt of Salneck shuts his daughter, Hildeburg in a tower: strophe 18.) It seems clear, however, that Hagen’s chief concern (unlike that of Machorel in Ortnit, who wishes to “keep” his daughter for himself and even desires an early demise of his wife in order to realize this aim) is to insure the most effective protection for her, something of which he did not have the benefit as a young boy. As such, his “tactic” works, for he can (physically) disappear from the epic at the

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conclusion of the eighth âventiure, secure in the knowledge that Hetel is a sovereign with the capacity to ward off any external threat and thus a suitable match for Hilde. (As it turns out, however, this is a miscalculation, for while Hilde is never threatened, Kudrun is, and Hetel’s attempt to rescue his daughter is both unsuccessful and, for both himself and the greater part of his warriors, fatal.) Kudrun’s “unwanted” abduction (in contrast to that of her mother) and its consequences constitute the greater part of the work, with the usual “bridal quest” motif expanded to include what might be described as a reminiscence of a Viking raid (Schröbler) and coming close to the depiction of a raptus motif. There are legal, political, military, social, and, of course, moral and psychological dimensions to this attack by Hartmut and his father (a moving force behind which is also Hartmut’s mother, Gerlind) that results in the capture of Kudrun. Legally, Kudrun is betrothed to Herwig, all of Hartmut’s wishful thinking notwithstanding; politically, the raid will have the effect of bringing together a former suitor of Kudrun—Siegfried of Morland (earlier rejected by Hetel and subsequently creating a serious threat to Hegeling power)—with the Hegelings in an alliance and common rescue effort; militarily, the Norman attack will initially leave the Hegeling forces decimated on the Wülpensand and deprived of their leader, Hetel, although ultimately it will result in the demise of the Normans as a military power; socially, Hartmut, along with his mother and father, defy tradition: the feudal dependency of Ludwig upon Kudrun’s grandfather, Hagen of Ireland, precludes any union between the two. Finally, from a moral and psychological perspective, Kudrun is forced into a multi-year, humiliating captivity, orchestrated by the mother of a man to whom she was by no means ill disposed and, prior to her engagement to Hetel, attracted. She is exposed to a unique test of both her loyalty to Herwig, her betrothed, as well as of her own physical and mental perseverance and rises with distinction to the occasion. Despite the crude, and often brutal, conditions that prevail in the Norman stronghold of Kassiane and the degradations visited upon Kudrun by Gerlind, who is designated, as was Kriemhild, as a vâlandinne (she-devil), it is worth noting that the initial Norman effort to woo Kudrun was made through “normal” channels. Messengers with letters of intent were dispatched to Hetel’s court (593). It is also intriguing that Ludwig, Hartmut’s father, harbors grave reservations about the whole enterprise from the outset, a reaction that mirrors

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that of Siegmund in the Nibelungenlied when he learns of Siegfried’s expressed intention to ride to Worms to woo Kriemhild. Not every wooing mission in German medieval literature is a dangerous one, but it is more often than not the case. Ludwig plainly knows that wooing Kudrun’s mother, Hilde, had proven fatal for many an optimistic suitor: “many of those who tried to woo, fared (very) poorly,” that is, were killed (577,4). Whether this is simply to be understood as part of the narrative structure of Kudrun or as Hetel’s adoption of Hagen’s criterion for determining the best mate for his daughter is not readily ascertainable. There is a reference in strophe 535,1 to “Hetel’s arrogance” which would compare with Siegmund’s allusion to the haughtiness of the Burgundians, particularly Hagen, in strophes 55–56 in the third âventiure of the Nibelungenlied. Ludwig’s initial reasons for rejecting the “project”—he questions whether Kudrun is all that beautiful, and remarks that, after all, she lives far away, so that Norman messengers might not survive the trip (590)—ring hollow and echo in part the very excuse offered by both Gunther and Siegfried in the Nibelungenlied for initially rejecting the suggestion put forth by Brünhild that, after a considerable absence, Siegfried and Kriemhild ought to make an appearance at the Burgundian court. Gunther and Siegfried had their ( justifiable) forebodings of coming together at Worms; Ludwig’s are just as strong and just as justifiable with respect to Hegelingenland. We recall the emphasis placed on Hagen’s lineage in the opening strophes of Kudrun. The Irish king has no (direct) role to play in the work subsequent to the eighth âventiure, and it seems reasonable to assume that he is either dead or no longer in office. The successful abduction of his granddaughter following Hartmut’s abortive second attempt to win Kudrun peacefully would be inconceivable were he still a presence to be reckoned with. However, even if he is no longer a physical reality, there appears to be some effort made by the poet to suggest that his spirit lives on in Kudrun (and much more in her, in fact, than in the person of Ortwin, his grandson!). This form of remembrance of an illustrious forebear was already in evidence in the characterization of Hilde, Kudrun’s mother, as “wild Hagen’s child” (506,4; note also 1008,3). It is said of Kudrun, who is raised in Denmark: “Si wuohs ouch in der mâze, daz si wol trüege swert,/ob si ein ritter wære” (She reached the age in which she would carry a sword, if she were a knight. All Kudrun citations from Stackmann, 1965. 577,1–2). While this may simply be seen as an

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eloquent way of expressing her coming of age (see Stackmann, note to 577,1–2), it simultaneously evokes an image of the princess as someone endowed with the traits of her male counterpart, and this is underscored when Hartmut refers to her in 614,2 as “daz Hagenen künne” (Hagen’s kin), which is repeated verbatim by the narrator in 1270,1 while describing Kudrun’s state of mind just prior to her defiance of Gerlind by throwing the washclothes into the ocean, and once again when she confronts the “wülpinne” (wolf bitch, that is, a nasty, unpleasant woman) in strophe 1281. Kudrun’s perseverance in this northern wasteland is reminiscent of the situation faced by her grandfather in the land of the griffins. She emerges from it stronger, more experienced and mature; in addition, given her role in orchestrating the manifold weddings at the conclusion of the epic, she represents a positive contrast to the vâlandinne Kriemhild. Nolte’s depiction of her as a “poetic projection” that contrasted with the reality of the normal “degradation” of medieval woman has merit, even though it remains unclear precisely who the poet might have been, or even the gender of the latter. She is reintegrated into “normal” society as a constructive force—the symbolic significance of the multiple marriages she orchestrates will not have been lost on the medieval audience—but while she may constitute an ideal “model” for her time (for both men and women), she can hardly be understood as “revolutionary.” Just as Werner Hoffmann has suggested that Kudrun is an “answer” to the Nibelungenlied, it is feasible that Kudrun was thought of as an “answer” to Kriemhild; she bears her sorrow, but retains her (by no means demure) pride in the face of adversity. She does not herald in a new age; rather by preserving her êre and triuwe, she embodies all of the best qualities of her time, whether seen from a male or female perspective. Finally, while the Nibelungenlied is the story of Kriemhild (to a lesser degree of Siegfried), and of the Burgundians, Kudrun’s role is not rivaled by the story of her people, or any other. It remains the “buoch von Chudrun.” If judged solely by the number of extant manuscripts, however, it was the material of the Nibelungenlied, with its negative “message,” and not Kudrun, with its positive outcome, to which the collective memory of medieval (and modern) society proved most receptive.

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The Dietrich Cycles (c. 1230–1300) A. The “Historical” Dietrich Epics: Dietrichs Flucht, Rabenschlacht (both end of the thirteenth century), Alpharts Tod (c. 1250), Dietrich und Wenezlan ( first half the thirteenth century) Dietrich von Bern (Verona, Italy) stands in the center of what Joachim Heinzle has so aptly described as a “gewaltigen mittel- und nordwesteuropäischen Stofftradition . . ., die neben der Nibelungensage den bedeutendsten Komplex der heroischen Überlieferung germanischer Herkunft, der germanischen Heldensage, darstellt” (powerful Central and Northwest European epic heritage that, next to the Nibelungen saga, forms the most significant complex in the Germanic, heroic tradition. Heinzle, 1999, p. 1). Dietrich is a reflex of the Ostrogothic king Theoderich the Great (c. 455–526) and some of these fictional individual epics which depict Dietrich as the main protagonist have as their basis the effort undertaken by the historical Theoderich to establish an empire in northern Italy. He was the son of the Amaler king Thiudimir who, together with his brothers Valamir and Vidimir, had fought alongside the Huns in a losing battle against the Romans and their German allies in 451. Theoderich was sent as a hostage to the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) for ten years. He later fought against and killed Odoaker, military leader of those Germanic mercenaries who had deposed the last Western Roman Emperor, Romulus. The Dietrich epics were no more intended to record history than the Nibelungenlied was meant to represent the struggle between the Burgundians and the Huns in the fifth century (Heinzle, 1999, 5). Historical veracity was not the major aim of the poet. The historical Theoderich was a conqueror, the Dietrich of fiction is an exile, and no one explanation of this reversal of fortune has found resonance among scholars. Dietrichs Flucht With its 10,152 verses arranged in rhyming couplets, Dietrichs Flucht (all citations of Dietrichs Flucht from Martin) represents the longest of the “historical” Dietrich epics. The narrator begins with reminiscences, of Dietwart, ancestor of Dietrich, of the opulence of his court, his affinity to Arthur in the way he lives “mit rehter ritterschefte” (with true chivalry, 107; see also 130–131), and of the ruler’s exemplary

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piety (149–151). He moves quickly to the description of a custom that prevailed in Dietwart’s time: chastity is observed to the extreme among men, thus keeping them strong and allowing them to concentrate on developing their virtues. But these are now mere memories. It is fascinating to observe how the narrator links the development of premature relations among the sexes to the decline of strength (191) and the rise of treachery and deceit (192). In fact, the deterioration of this “good custom” has taken on cosmic dimensions: “nû ist diu werlt sô unstæte,/daz unvuore und unzuht/zuo den liuten hât nû vluht” (now the world is so inconstant that dissipation and immorality find refuge with people, 198–200). The narrator’s litany of ills continues: disgrace has replaced honor, outrages may be observed at every turn, the courts have withered and declined and the nobles have fallen into a state of acedia and now “tuont niwan den niuwen site” (follow nothing but the new custom, 219). Moreover, the narrator finds that his (laudatory) words about their forebears and their old ways fall on deaf ears. He presents a stark contrast between the older nobility as the epitome of loyalty and virtue and his own time with its sloth, unwilling to accept and adhere to an example from the “golden past.” Most of the plot dealing with Dietwart is concerned with the procurement of a bride, the sending of his envoys to the King of Westenmer, the successful wooing mission, the dangerous voyage to collect her (involving a fight against a dragon-worm), the wedding to outdo all others, and their many happy years together in “Roemisch lant.” Dietwart’s age attains Biblical proportions (400 years, 1870), and he is graced with forty-four children (1875), forty-three of whom die, but the survivor, Sigeher, goes on to conquer twenty-four lands. Sigeher, whose virtues, however, are proclaimed to be even greater than his father’s (1929ff.), also lives four hundred years, in this instance is blessed with “only” thirty-one children, two of whom, a son (Ortnit) and a daughter (Sigelint), survive. Sigelint is eventually brought to the Netherlands by Sigemunt and gives birth to “Sîvriden den hôchgemuoten,/den starken und den guoten” (Siegfried the proud, the strong, and the good, 2049–2050). Ortnit follows in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, accepting the advice of his counselors to woo a woman overseas, although the difference in the case of Liebgart, daughter of Godian, is that the wooing mission in itself is deemed highly dangerous, as Godian is the stereotypical protective father (similar to Hagen and Hetel in Kudrun) who makes short work of suitors.

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The “fairy-tale element” is prevalent in the earlier section of this epic, although it is entirely missing from the over eight thousand verses that deal with Dietrich himself. Ortnit is killed by a dragon and is subsequently avenged by Wolfdietrich (not a relative) who slays the beast. He is succeeded by his son Hugedietrich, who, in turn, passes on his holdings to his only son, Amelung. The latter eventually divides the land between Diether, Dietmar (Dietrich’s father), and a third brother, Ermrich (Ermenrich), Dietrich’s future adversary, is described by the narrator as “der ungetriuwist . . ./der ie von muoter wart geborn” (the most deceitful man, ever born of a mother, 2414–2415). In keeping with his forefathers, Dietmar lives a “biblically” long life (340 years), but produces only two children: Diether and Dietrich. Compared to the Nibelungenlied, Dietrichs Flucht is both thematically and aesthetically disappointing. It lacks the psychological subtlety and overall sophistication of the former. The plot is fairly straightforward, even though the actions of the irascible Ermenrich lack any convincing motivation other than the fact that he appears to have been born evil. He is intent on adding Verona, inherited by his nephew, Dietrich, to his holdings, and nothing will hinder him from realizing this aim, even if it means killing Dietrich or sacrificing his son. The poet seems to have had one aim with respect to this protagonist, namely, to depict him as the incarnation of disloyalty and evil, a scion of the devil (2563–2564), whose interest lies solely in the augmentation of his personal power at the expense of his own clan (he is, after all, Dietrich’s uncle). He is encouraged in that venture by the stereotypical malevolent counselors (Sibeche and Ribstein, 2567ff.). It is noteworthy, however, that Ermenrich is able to enlist the assistance of tens of thousands of formidable warriors, including men of such stature as Gernot and Gunther with their Burgundian followers, despite the fact that he enjoys a unique reputation for his butchery of the defenseless once his troops have taken a town. It might be contended that Dietrich himself represents a far cry from the illustrious relatives listed at the beginning of the poem. He is not wanting in personal courage; yet, were it not for figures such as Hildebrand, Amelolt, or Wolfhart, to say nothing of the generous aid provided to him in men and equipment by Etzel and, in particular, the latter’s spouse, Helche, Dietrich’s fate would have been sealed when he prostrated himself before Ermenrich in an unsuccessful bid to retain Verona and was unceremoniously sent packing with his

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men and the inhabitants of the town on foot. Certainly a major contrast that can be drawn between Dietrich and Ermenrich is the concern that the former has for continuity, a basic (sometimes naive) humanity, in contrast to the unscrupulous and brutal Ermenrich, the advocate of power politics for its own sake. Nowhere is that clearer in the readiness that Ermenrich displays to sacrifice his son Friedrich (3914ff.) in order to achieve his goals, in comparison to the concessions that Dietrich is prepared to make in order to save his men. Dietrich, for all of his youth and inexperience, is already endowed with a remarkable degree of loyalty and a sense of responsibility totally lacking in his adversary. The action of Dietrichs Flucht revolves around the taking and retaking of cities and territories, various descriptions of mass battle scenes, occasional depictions of individual combat, and the invariable lamentations on the part of Dietrich over the loss of many of his allies. It is a young Dietrich who is portrayed in this work, and, as intimated above, a leader greatly dependent on others for any military successes he does manage to chalk up. Ultimately, Dietrich and his forces prove victorious, although a final resolution of the entire question, which would involve a definitive confrontation with Ermenrich, is lacking. The man simply escapes and the epic concludes with a lamentation scene reminiscent of what we encounter in the Klage. The decadence of the times to which the narrator referred earlier on in the poem is to some degree embodied not only in the behavior of Ermenrich but also in the manner in which material gain serves as a sufficient means of coaxing even otherwise highly reputable warriors to serve in a campaign marked principally by personal aggrandizement, wanton destruction, and abject brutality. Towards the conclusion of the work, Dietrich pays chivalrous attention to the proper interment of his enemies who have helped to bring considerable misery down upon him because he represents a bastion of tradition in contrast to Ermenrich who does not feel bound by chivalrous mores. Rabenschlacht Although the vocabulary of the opening stanzas of the Rabenschlacht (all citations of Rabenschlacht from Martin) is reminiscent of what we encounter in the Nibelungenlied, and while it is fair to say that both are inherently tragic works, the scale of the tragedy in the Rabenschlacht is hardly comparable to what we find in the Nibelungenlied. The epic

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picks up where Dietrichs Flucht, with which it constitutes a sort of Dietrich-unit, left off, with a despondent Dietrich lamenting the loss of his warrior Alphart, although he is admonished to moderation by Rüdiger. Here, too, Dietrich is totally dependent upon the good will and favor of his Hunnish hosts, Etzel, and, in particular, his wife Helche. The latter holds out hope for an optimistic future for Dietrich through marriage to her companion Herrat. Yet even the description of the wedding festival is tempered by a digression of the poet that is, in its essence, an admonishment to contemporaries: “rehtiu milte und êre” (true generosity and honorable behavior, 96,5) have apparently disappeared “bî disen tagen” (in these days, 96,4). He complains to Christ about (the misapplication of ?) guot (wealth, goods, 97,2), and is particularly hard on the youth of the world for not having used it to virtuous ends (97,6). As in Dietrichs Flucht, memories are awakened of the world of the “good, old days” (98,2), a world that was characterized by the epithets, loyal and honorable, while the contemporary world is identified with vice and disgrace. Just as in Dietrichs Flucht, the narrator laments that no one pays attention to “swaz grôzer schande nû geschiht” (whatever depravity occurs nowadays, 100,4). While this aside is confined to five stanzas, it nonetheless provides a poignant and familiar critique of contemporary society while simultaneously looking back to former times for a positive contrast. Current times are not good and the plots of the Dietrich epics seem tailored to reflect some of the ills of the age that the poet/narrator has addressed. Poor or malevolent counselors abound, treachery is constantly afoot, the accepted mores of combat are ignored, and even a shadowy figure such as Ermich (Ermenrich) is able to attract warriors of considerable stature, often through the promise of payment. The Rabenschlacht serves to heighten Dietrich’s lamentable position in a power struggle against his uncle. On the whole, it does depict him as less given to outbursts of grief and a more mature strategist than his counterpart in Dietrichs Flucht, which is not to say, however, that there has been a complete transformation from immature youth to mature, seasoned warrior. The decision to allow the young sons of Etzel and Helche, Scharphe and Orte, to accompany him and his troops on the campaign against Ravenna with his assurance that they will be safe, is imprudent, if not to say arrogant. At least a part of the responsibility must be placed, however, at the door of Helche, who allows the festivities surrounding Dietrich’s wedding to Herrat

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to dispel her anxiety over the ominous message imparted by an earlier dream of an intrusive dragon which abducts her two sons (note 123ff.). The memory of that premonition of what may befall Scharphe and Orte is nowhere in evidence when Dietrich gives his assurance that the two boys will be safe in his care. When the two Hunnish princes, along with Dietrich’s brother Diether, are slain by “Witege der ungetriuwe man” (Witege, the faithless man, 454,4), the blow to Dietrich and his sense of honor is so great that he refrains from carrying the news of the tragedy back to Helche and Etzel, but rather asks Rüdiger to go in his stead. Nonetheless, Dietrich’s prowess on the battlefield is fully attested; apart from the anonymous masses of warriors who fall under his sword, there is an intriguing episode that pits Dietrich against Sîvrît (Siegfried), who is supporting Ermenrich, and which culminates in a defeated Sîvrît begging Dietrich for mercy (682,5–6; note also the fight between Dietrich and Siegfried in Der große Rosengarten). It is evident that Sîvrît early on began to lose much of the greater-than-life attributes with which he is associated in the Nibelungenlied, and which will culminate, in later versions of the encounter, with the grotesque image of Siegfried, pursued by Dietrich, seeking refuge in Kriemhild’s lap. The Rabenschlacht presents the reader with the first real potential for divisiveness between Dietrich and his Hunnish allies. The initial reaction on the part of both Helche and Etzel to the news that their sons have been killed is to curse Dietrich and it is only through the good offices of Rüdiger, who underscores Dietrich’s own suffering not only over the death of Scharphe and Orte, but also over the death of his brother Diether, that they are prepared to welcome the Amelung leader back into their midst. The work can thus conclude on what it appears to be a happy note. Yet the whole matter of Ermenrich’s war against Dietrich and the laying to waste of his territories and cities remains unresolved, as the former has simply ridden off and disappeared and Witege, who had betrayed Dietrich and also helped to slay Alphart, has been saved from certain death at the hands of a pursuing Dietrich by the Siren Wâchilt, one of the few instances when the mythological plays a role in what is otherwise an “historic” epic. Alpharts Tod The action of Alpharts Tod (all citations of Alpharts Tod from Martin) is also set against the backdrop of the feud between Ermenrich and

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his nephew Dietrich. Precisely what the cause of conflict might be is unclear to the latter. He sees Ermenrich as intent on depriving him of his rightful inheritance, passed on by his father. A malevolent counselor of the Emperor clearly has a vital role in the story, as Dietrich postulates: “Sibeche der ungetriuwe hât über mich rât gegeben/mîm vetern Ermenrîchen . . .” (the faithless Sibeche advised my relative, Ermenrich, about me, 71,1–2), but no clue is provided in the narrative as to the motivation behind Sibeche’s treachery. This, however, does not constitute the focal point of the epic, but rather the clash of loyalties that ensues over Ermenrich’s demand that Dietrich, whom he characterizes as “arrogant,” quit Verona. That the Emperor has been led astray by malicious advice seems implicit, although not explicit, in the words of Heime (62,4), who clearly functions as a reluctant messenger to Dietrich in the service of Ermenrich. From the ensuing conversation between Dietrich and Heime, it is evident that the latter may not only have reservations about the validity of the campaign planned by the Emperor against his nephew, but that he also recalls the oaths he had earlier sworn to Dietrich and the silver and gold he had accepted from him in a lord-vassal relationship; in other words, that he does indeed have a bad conscience. Dietrich dwells on those earlier oaths, particularly on the oath of loyal service that has now given way to a similar one sworn to Ermenrich, from whom Heime has also received “daz liehte golt sô rôt. . . . die rîche miete” (bright, gleaming gold, a considerable recompense, 32,1–2). Heime’s position on the matter of loyal service—his insistence that it would be wrong of him not to carry out the orders of the Emperor and to return to his side—represents an attitude in total opposition to that embodied by Dietrich. He looks back to what was, views the earlier relationship based on mutual loyalty as an absolute, and concludes that Heime cannot be anything but a man without honor for having elected to side with Ermenrich. From Heime’s perspective, fidelity to the Emperor, from whom he has accepted payment, must take precedence over anything he may owe Dietrich on the basis of earlier oaths. Pragmatically, he underscores as well that Ermenrich has eighty thousand men at his disposal and clearly does not hold out any hope that Dietrich will prevail against his uncle. Heime is something of an opportunist, although not altogether unscrupulous, and there is a sincere concern, even liking, for his former lord— note his obvious reluctance to carry Ermenrich’s message to Dietrich

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and his insistence in strophes 62 and 63 that the persecution of Dietrich is unwarranted, on familial grounds alone. Two different ways of looking at the world are in conflict in Alpharts Tod, and this is particularly brought out by the very circumstances of the death of the young hero. Moreover, it is Heime, once again, who is fully aware of the ramifications that may follow from not observing protocol when two knights attack one: “ ‘daz stüende uns übel an,/slüege wir nû beide den kindeschen man’ ” (we would not fare well [that is, we would be dishonored] if both of us now were to slay the young [inexperienced] man, 254,1–2). More emphasis is placed on this particular transgression against the warrior ethos than the fact that Heime and Witege (among others) have “changed sides” over time. The epic’s narrator is even more radical in his condemnation of the two when he anticipates early on the demise of Alphart: “Witege unde Heime die brâchen gotes reht” (Witege and Heime broke God’s law, 14,1; the same phrase is used by Alphart himself in 279,2), and underscores a basic, negative change in attitude that was not prevalent in former times: “Zwêne bestuonden einen: daz was hie vor niht site” (two against one: that was not the custom before, 15,1). The identical sentiment is expressed also by Alphart. Heime is fully cognizant of this break with tradition, but a severely wounded Witege is more than prepared to endure the disdain of worthy women than to maintain his honor and be killed by Alphart. What stands out about the episode is that Heime, from the outset, expresses grave reservations about this breach of the warrior ethos. Unlike Witege, he is concerned about his future reputation and, if he is to die, wishes to die honorably and not as one known for having transgressed against the warrior code. There is complete sincerity in his call to Witege to heed Alphart’s admonishment about an uneven fight: “ ‘hoerstû daz, geselle Witege? er hât uns wâr geseit./dû solt von mir entwîchen, ich wil in eine bestân’ ” (are you listening, friend Witege, he [Alphart] spoke truly. You should leave me; I intend to do battle with him alone, 280,2–3). The tradition is broken, however, and Witege and Heime forfeit their honor. Alpharts Tod culminates in the victory of Dietrich’s forces over those of the Emperor—thanks to a successful recruiting campaign by his faithful Hildebrand—but a major emphasis in the work, even considering the loss of vital leaves of the manuscript at a highly significant juncture (the death of Alphart), appears to have been devoted to the rupture of at least two essential traditions: adherence to the clan

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before all others and defiance of a basic rule of the warrior: to insure a “fair fight.” There is much reminiscing on the part of Dietrich and Alphart, in particular (but also by both Heime and, to some degree, even Witege), regarding earlier oaths of loyalty sworn to one who is now an adversary. Heime and Witege’s simultaneous attack on Alphart, in itself something new to the time, is exacerbated by the breaking of their own oath not to come at him from behind or the side. Customs are in a state of flux and are grounds for considerable consternation, as one can readily see in other parts of the Dietrich tradition. Dietrich und Wenezlan There is little that can be said of the greatly fragmented Dietrich und Wenezlan (all citations of Dietrich und Wenezlan from Zupitza), which may also be aligned with the major “historical” epics in the Dietrich tradition, although influences to be found in the “ahistorical” epics are also in evidence. Challenged by King Wenezlan of Bolan, Dietrich does not convey by any means the image of an unassailable warrior. In fact, in numerous works, in both cycles, Dietrich finds himself in dire straits and subjected to the censor of Hildebrand, from whom it might be expected, but also from the firebrand Wolfhart, from whom, given his relative youthfulness, it appears less appropriate. It is clear from this text that Wolfhart, who carries Wenezlan’s challenge to Dietrich, thinks the world of his lord, and is taken aback when the latter appears to be reluctant to pick up the gauntlet. Wolfhart calls memory into play, specifically, the loyalty shown by both him and Hildebrand when Dietrich found it necessary to abandon “Roemischlant” (38). Yet Dietrich wavers, maintaining: “durch sô getâniu mære/wil ich mit nieman strîten” (I will not fight against anyone because of such tales, 46–47), and it is this that prompts Alphart to refer to him as a coward. The situation is all the more problematic as Hildebrand is clearly in trouble and in need of Dietrich’s assistance. It is virtually inconceivable, however, that Dietrich would ever shrink from an armed confrontation (although he does, in fact, incur Alphart’s wrath again in Biterolf und Dietleib and Hildebrand’s in Der große Rosengarten for the anxiety he demonstrates at the thought of fighting against Siegfried). Wolfhart is there as a constant reminder to Dietrich of the consequences that are bound to ensue if he does not live up to his reputation. Thus, when seeing his liege lord hard pressed by Wenezlan, Wolfhart laments:

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  owê der herzen swære! wie nu, her Bernære? war ist iur starkiu kraft hin komen? wirt iu diu were hiute benomen daz ir verlieset den sic, daz ist der leidiste blic der mir ie an iu geschach: ouch gêt iu diu hoene immer nâch. (429–436) (What now, lord of Bern? Where has your strength gone? If you lose the battle today so that victory is lost, that will be the sorriest sight I have ever seen. You will also be followed by scorn.)

Reputation in this world of the warrior is everything, as both Wolfhart and Dietrich well understand. Moreover, should Dietrich lose this battle against Wenezlan, his very name will be compromised: “wert ir sigelôs, künec hêr,/so genennet man iuch nimmer mêr/Dietrichen von Berne” (if you lose, my lord king, you will never more be called Dietrich von Bern, 443–445). What is clear already at this point is a significant difference between the hero Siegfried and the—in the Middle Ages and beyond—much more popular hero Dietrich: the “humanness” of the latter in contrast to the otherworldly attributes of the former. Dietrich can be defeated, and, as we shall see in the “ahistorical” epics, can even be captured. He is repeatedly criticized by Hildebrand and Wolfhart for being too brash or not demonstrating sufficient courage and prowess in the face of adversity. Yet he prevails, and it may well be that it was precisely these “human” characteristics—both of a positive and a negative nature—which endeared him more than any other “hero” to the recipients of heroic epic from the thirteenth through to the sixteenth century. B. The “ahistorical” (Aventiurehafte) Dietrich Epics: Goldemar (1230/40), Eckenlied (second half of the 13th century), Sigenot (c. 1250), Virginal (after 1260), Laurin und Walberan (c. 1250), Rosengarten (c. 1250), Wunderer (13th/14th century) Goldemar Goldemar, Eckenlied, Sigenot, and Virginal are often grouped together under this category because of the strophic form that characterizes them, the “Bernerton” (a thirteen-verse strophe with rhyme scheme: aabccbdedefxf, albeit with some variation). Goldemar, with its nine stro-

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phes and a fragmented (three-verse) tenth strophe, is the shortest segment of a Dietrich epic that has survived from the Middle Ages. The narrator looks back, with considerable nostalgia, to former times: “during the time of Lord Dietrich” (Zuspitza 1,3). Its alleged author, Albrecht von Kemenaten, points to a hitherto unknown facet of Dietrich: his apparent lack of interest in women until, on his way to see the giants of Trutmunt forest, he catches a glimpse of a beautiful woman who is being kept by Goldemar, king of the dwarfs. Goldemar intimates to Dietrich that he is hardly up to facing him in combat, but the text breaks off here, although the final three lines would seem to indicate that the dwarf king is not about to give up the woman without some form of resistance. Joachim Heinzle has correctly summed up the significance of this modest Dietrich-fragment: the renowned warrior, symbolic of what Victor Udwin (1999) has referred to as epic culture, undergoes a transformation from an individual who had previously given no consideration to his feminine side, to a knight who moves between âventiure and minne. Goldemar thus depicts a Dietrich who embodies traits more commonly associated with the world of Arthur than with the older, epic realm. Eckenlied The popular Eckenlied (also passed down as a fragment), which takes its name from the first of three giant figures whom Dietrich confronts during one of his adventures (two of whom he kills), has survived in three different versions (Donaueschingen, Dresden, and the Straßburg printing of 1559). Here again, Dietrich is intimately associated with the realm of lower mythology. The perspective is intriguing, as it is Ecke who is the quester (in contrast, for example, to Dietrich in Goldemar); it is the giant who is warned of the risks that lie ahead should he pursue his goal of seeking out and fighting against Dietrich, simply because he is irritated that his fame is not as great as that of the hero of Verona. The quest proves fatal; Ecke disappears rather early from the scene, prompting us to question the rationale behind the naming of the epic after him. A fairy-tale atmosphere prevails, wherein Dietrich encounters further mythological and semi-mythological beings: Babehild, ruler of an aquatic kingdom, a soothsayer and healer, a young woman (pursued by Ecke’s giant brother Fasold), who is also a healer and who provides Dietrich with a “natural” cure for his wounds, Fasold himself, Eckenot, who also falls victim to Dietrich, Fasold’s mother,

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Birkhild, killed when she attacks Dietrich, and finally Uodelgart, Birkhild’s daughter, concerning whose fate we know nothing, as the text breaks off at this point. In the Dresden variant, Fasold is also killed by Dietrich after having proved treacherous, a motif that appears to have been common at one time to all three strands of the tradition. While some aspects of the Eckenlied appear more in keeping with the “historical” Dietrich epics and occur in the various versions, the action of the work is associated throughout all of the variants with the motif of the Otherworld. This switch in emphasis has (rightly) been seen as a conscious attempt to transform the Dietrich of the heroic epic cycle into a figure that more closely approximates the Arthurian knightly ideal. Sigenot Also relatively short in length (an older version numbering forty-four stanzas; a later one c. 200), Sigenot (all citations of Sigenot from Zupitza) portrays a Dietrich who takes the initiative against the giant community led once again by the epic’s namesake. In the later version of the work, Dietrich does this against the express advice of Hildebrand. Here, as elsewhere, Dietrich is no superman, and in combat with the giant, who wishes to avenge the death of his relative Grine (killed earlier by Dietrich), is defeated and taken prisoner. In some respects, the spotlight in this work tends to fall more on Hildebrand than on Dietrich, for although the former is also captured by the giant, it is Hildebrand who is able to free himself, kill Sigenot, and, with the assistance of the dwarf Eggerich, free Dietrich from his imprisonment. Sigenot has a clear message to impart to contemporaries that is unmistakably articulated by Hildebrand: nu sage mir, helt gewære; war hâst du dîne sinne getân daz du einec rîte von Berne? nu hâst doch mengen vrumen man, der mit dir rîte gerne. (27,6–10) (Now tell me, noble hero: what were you thinking to ride alone from Verona? You have many a brave man who would gladly ride with you.)

Dietrich’s overweening pride and self-confidence had led him astray by allowing him to think that he could ride out alone from Verona against the mythical world. This is precisely the type of reckless

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behavior exhibited by Siegfried in the Nibelungenlied, and it was demonstrated there how, unchecked, such an attitude could lead to personal grief. It is also the reason why, in Virginal, the Saracen Orklise rides off alone from his men and meets his death at the hands of Hildebrand (note Virginal 83). Dietrich, as it turns out, is thoroughly dependent upon Hildebrand, and the advice, even threat, uttered by the more experienced mentor, is meant to underscore in no uncertain terms the necessity of heeding one’s friend and (older) companion. In contrast to Siegfried, Dietrich does have a true friend to fall back on, a man who constantly has his best interests at heart. A final observation on Sigenot which is pertinent to numerous other heroic epics under consideration in this chapter: the association that exists between warriors and the dwarfs and giants of the Otherworld is virtually impossible to reduce to a common evaluative denominator. The relationship may be adversarial (as in the case of Dietrich and the dwarf king Goldemar or the giant Sigenot, or when Dietrich and his forces face the giants allied to King Gibeche in the Rosengarten), it can be transformed from adversarial to mutually beneficial (Alberich and Siegfried in the Nibelungenlied; Dietrich and Laurin), or warriors and otherworldly entities may be allies from the outset (Eggerich and Hildebrand in Sigenot; Alberich and Ortnit in Ortnit). Virginal If we turn our attention now to the last member of this group, Virginal, it can be asked with some justification why Zupitza (following a suggestion made by Karl Müllenhoff ) accorded this Dietrich epic the title Virginal in his edition (all citations of Virginal from Zupitza), given the relatively minor role played by the queen (who is not even named in the Dresden variant noted below). Prior to receiving this designation, the work had been known under three other titles: Dietrichs Drachenkämpfe, Dietrich und seine Gesellen, and Dietrichs erste Ausfahrt. Considering the number of complete (3) and fragmentary (c. 16) manuscripts that have survived, Virginal (in three versions: Heidelberg, 1097 strophes; Dresden, 130 strophes; and Vienna, 866 strophes) can be ranked among the more popular works of the German High Middle Ages, although the incessant regurgitation of specific scenes is more likely to tire than delight the modern reader. In a sense, Virginal could be regarded as an epic of “transformation” with respect to the major protagonist. Dietrich von Bern has, at the outset, no concept of the term âventiure, and is subsequently

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initiated not only into the world of the warrior, but also that of the courtier and lover. The work thus shares a focus on minne with the brief Goldemar. Common to other epics in the cycle is the close bond between Dietrich and Hildebrand, who once again serves as Dietrich’s mentor and protector. The dichotomy between Christianity and heathendom runs like a red thread throughout Virginal. In combat against the Saracen Orkise, Hildebrand trusts completely in God and is, of course, victorious, a point that is not lost on another heathen who later fights against Dietrich: “daz er alsô erslagen ist,/des mahtu loben dînen Krist” (you can thank your Christ for the fact that he has been killed, 87,4–5). Moreover, the dwarfs in Virginal, who are described in the most noble terms, are ruled by a queen (Virginal) who is obviously a Christian and has been waiting for God to send his knights against the “unbaptized”. The perennial adversary of heroes—the dragon—is well represented in this epic, although primary attention is accorded Hildebrand and his successful battle against a dragon that had abducted the knight Rentwîn (Heinzle, 1999, 140–143). Noteworthy about the Rentwîn episode is Hildebrand’s advice to the young knight not to fall asleep in the forest (157,12), precisely the same recommendation made to Ortnit by the dwarf Alberich (see below) and which, when ignored, allowed that hero to be carried off by a dragon as food for its young. Virginal might most profitably be viewed as providing a forum for Dietrich’s rite of passage or initiation. At this point in his career, Dietrich is portrayed, however, as something of a carper. Consider this lamentation to Hildebrand: Her Dietrich sprach ‘diz ist mîn klage: diz trîbent ir naht unde tage daz ir mich heizent rîten. durch vrouwen und durch werdiu wîp muoz ich wâgen mînen lîp in sturmen unde in strîten ich wânde daz sî wol gesunt mich verre gerner sæhen, dann ich von swerten wurde wunt.’ (236) (Lord Dietrich spoke: This is my lament. You spend day and night telling me that I should ride out. I must put my life on the line in the storm of battle for the sake of good and worthy ladies. I believe that they would much rather see me healthy than wounded by swords.)

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Dietrich still evinces a high level of dependency on Hildebrand, but as the epic progresses, the young warrior comes into his own as he confronts the giant Hülle without any sense that his old mentor is at hand to assist him should he get into difficulty. Dietrich does, in fact, encounter problems, being taken prisoner by the giant Wicram, who is in the service of King Nîtger. News of his abduction does not sit well with his warriors Witege and Heime (his adversaries in the historical Dietrich epics!) who, while angry over the “loss” of Dietrich, wonder aloud whether it was his “übermuot” which led to his predicament: “ist er gevangen umbe guot/oder truoc in dar sîn übermuot” (has he been taken prisoner for ransom, or did his arrogance bring it about, 612,4–5). A considerable jump from the fretting adolescent of strophe 236 to the image of a Dietrich whose haughtiness to strike out on his own may have led to these dire consequences! From a stylistic point of view, Virginal suffers from an overabundance of detail and repetition of stock scenes that frequently obscure the primary objective—in particular, individual fights against giants, with Hildebrand playing the role of a medieval referee who teams up each of his Wülfing warriors against a Brobdingnagian. Stock motifs associated with the Dietrich cycle prevail throughout, including the tension between Dietrich and Hildebrand, that is, between pupil and mentor (with Dietrich suggesting at one point that Hildebrand would just as soon see him dead as alive, 855,11), the irascible Wolfhart (admonishing Hildebrand for being “ein valscher man” who has led Dietrich to his death, 596,2–4), and the arrival of bad news in the midst of festivities (the impending siege of Verona that is announced to Hildebrand and Dietrich while they are enjoying the hospitality of Virginal). Finally, there is also a role for memoria in this work, specifically, the nostalgia expressed by Hildebrand in strophe 916 for his youth, when he was known as the best there was, in contrast to the present, which he laments to God and the Virgin Mary, because of the onset of old age. It is not a philosophical platform that the poet is presenting at this point, of course, but rather the reflections of an aging warrior who has led an active life throughout all of his adult years and who sees the latter coming to an end. Laurin und Walberan Both of these works present the reader with an already mature image of the experienced hero (in contrast, for example, to what one finds

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in Dietrichs Flucht or the Rabenschlacht). Yet Dietrich’s mentor, Hildebrand, finds him to be, in one respect, “incomplete,” as he has not yet experienced âventiuren in the high mountains where his adversaries would have been dwarfs. Had Dietrich defeated the latter, Hildebrand would be in a position to praise him above all others. This “gap” in Dietrich’s realm of experience is to be attributed solely to ignorance, and the hero himself claims that he wishes he had known about the challenge long ago. Above all, there is the necessity of dealing with the dwarf king Laurin, who represents a threat to any warrior/knight who dares to disturb a rose garden he has cultivated in Tyrol (this accounting for the designation of Laurin in many reference works as Der kleine Rosengarten to differentiate it from Der große Rosengarten). Laurin’s revenge for such an act—the mutilation of his adversary through the severing of his right foot and left hand—is not something that Dietrich can let go unanswered. His companion on this quest is Witege (his adversary and the killer of Alphart in the historical epics), an irascible character who has no qualms about trampling on Laurin’s flowers. While a medieval audience would undoubtedly have sided with the cultivated knight-warrior figure in any conflict between the latter and entities from the world of lower mythology, a modern reader may well, like Laurin himself (note 251ff.; all Laurin und Walberan text references from Jänicke edition), justifiably reproach Dietrich and Witege for their actions—at this point in time—and inquire what, in fact, they have against the dwarf king, who never did anything against them (292). This episode becomes more complicated once Dietrich’s men, Hildebrand, Wolfhart, and Dietleib, appear on the scene. Having already unseated Witege, Laurin shows himself to be a formidable opponent, and Dietrich has to be advised by Hildebrand that, given the dwarf ’s advantage through a magic cap that makes him invisible, it is only through closing and wrestling with him that he will be defeated. Dietrich allows himself, however, to fall into a fury and is intent upon killing Laurin then and there. His lack of self-restraint is responsible for a temporary rift between himself and Dietleib, who, having learned that the dwarf has abducted his sister, Künhild, rescues Laurin from the berserkr and rides off with him. Dietrich and Dietleib’s subsequent clash of arms, one that favors the latter (!), is only brought to a halt through the good offices of Witege and Wolfhart and Hildebrand’s ability to effect a reconciliation. What is intriguing about this episode is that it was Dietrich who had earlier

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cautioned Witege not to become overly zealous and whose advice was not heeded by the headstrong youth. Yet, Dietrich’s own zeal after having subdued Laurin might well have threatened Dietleib’s ability to rescue his sister from the realm of the dwarfs. The landscape of the work subsequently gives way to the sphere of lower mythology, and the bowels of a mountain leading to Laurin’s kingdom where Künhild, whose virginity has been respected by Laurin (who assures Dietleib that his sister is still a virgin, note 776–777), has been made queen of the dwarfs. The integrity shown by Laurin towards Künhild is not indicative, however, of a transformation of his essential character. As a dwarf, he is considered a master of deceit. While Dietrich may view the mountain as a center of joy, Laurin, through stealth, succeeds in imprisoning him along with Dietleib, Hildebrand, Witege, and Wolfhart. His success is shortlived, however, and, assisted by a ring provided by Künhild that allows the heroes to see the otherwise invisible dwarfs, the Amelungs prove ultimately victorious. It will be recalled that the figure who provides the title of this epic is Laurin, not Dietrich. The dwarf is an odd mixture of deception, integrity, courage, and a potential convert to Christianity, something that appears to be particularly inviting to Künhild, who is concerned over the fact that the dwarfs do not believe in God (1112). The central matter is the elimination of his kingdom as an independent, sovereign realm, and his conversion to the Christian faith. It is a tale of intrusion, beginning with Laurin’s abduction of Dietleib’s sister, Künhild (although this is not known to Dietleib at the time), and continuing with Dietrich’s seemingly unprovoked invasion of Laurin’s rose garden and its wanton destruction by Witege. The image of Dietrich is one far removed from the often despairing king/ruler of the Amelungs in the historical Dietrich epics. His depiction in Laurin corresponds more to that of an Arthurian knight who is constantly prepared for new âventiuren. Laurin’s reproaches against Dietrich and his companion are not, as we now know, entirely justified. He has, in fact, assaulted their world through prior treatment of their peers—this Dietrich and the others knew about and were to some degree acting upon—and his abduction of Künhild—this they ostensibly did not know about—and all of this would eventually have to be addressed. The tale has all of the elements associated with the realm of lower mythology: Apart from the dwarfs themselves, there are giants, vast

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treasure hidden in the mountains, magic rings, magic caps and belts, which are capable of making their owners invisible or endowing them with superhuman strength. Laurin himself is, however, more than a figure from lower mythology. He is a king with a widespread reputation, capable of displaying considerable knightly skill in mounted combat (as Witege learns to his embarrassment), generous, but also no scion of the devil, as his treatment of the captive Künhild attests. He desires her passionately, but clearly does not engage in raptus, hoping instead that by making her queen of his mountain kingdom and co-owner of his vast fortune he will win her over as his bride. Laurin’s “gentlemanly” stance ultimately saves his life on two occasions with the assistance first of Dietleib, and then of his sister, Künhild. More important, however, is his conversion to Christianity in the moving final verses of the epic, his recognition of the power of Christ in comparison to the ineffectiveness of his own gods, and his integration into courtly society with his baptism and the swearing of a pact of friendship between himself and Dietrich. All of this is, however, unknown to Sindran, the dwarf left behind in charge of Laurin’s mountain kingdom, who despairs over the fate of his master. When Sindran sends a messenger to Laurin’s uncle, Walberan, informing him of the events that have transpired, the latter resolves to free his nephew. One of the allies engaged by Walberan in this enterprise is Nibelung, yet another Schiltung, two figures intimately connected to the Nibelung cycle. In this instance as well, a “chivalrous” attitude on the part of the dwarf forces prevails. Walberan is advised by Polias, a counselor, to send a message to Dietrich to let him know precisely what he can expect. It might be conjectured that Walberan is a short appendage to Laurin which affords the poet the opportunity of demonstrating the extent of the transformation of the dwarf king from a heathen into a loyal Christian ally of Dietrich. Laurin proves true to his word and instructs Schiltung to inform Walberan that he and Dietrich have become good friends. Imbued with a new spirit, Laurin offers to attempt a reconciliation with Walberan on behalf of Dietrich with the aim of establishing a pact of friendship between the two of them. Although the work has remained a fragment, enough has survived to indicate that, after some initial sparring, a successful reconciliation, culminating in a festival, is achieved. Laurin und Walberan are basically “conversion” epics which lack the solemnity and depth of the Nibelungenlied, but also some of the more

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burlesque elements of a work such as Virginal. The predominant spirit is thoroughly optimistic and geared towards a productive future. The latter is possible because of the transformation of heathen into Christian, of adversity into friendship. Absoluteness gives way to compromise and reconciliation (on the part of the heathens, of course), and the conclusion of the work thus has much in common with the Arthurian romances that preceded it. Der große Rosengarten Der große Rosengarten, which takes its major motif from Laurin, was popular in the Middle Ages (twenty-one manuscripts dating from the early fourteenth century to the beginning of the sixteenth and six printed editions in the Heldenbuch) and was known in at least five different versions. The Nibelung and Dietrich traditions come together here, with the main part of the work embracing (in manuscript A) 390 four-verse strophes (all citations of the große Rosengarten from Holz). The central location for the action in the work is Worms on the Rhine, and the court of King Gibeche, father to Kriemhild and three sons (Gunther and Gernot are named); it is set at the time of Siegfried’s wooing of Kriemhild. The poet is aware of Kriemhild’s darker side and it is she whom he allows to control the plot. One is reminded here of the emphasis placed by Kriemhild in the Nibelungenlied on the superiority of Siegfried over Gunther. In this instance, she is intent on matching her suitor against the highly renowned Dietrich, simply to determine who is the better warrior. The challenge is issued, however, to all and sundry: “Who has the courage to enter my rose garden which is protected by twelve doughty warriors?” There is much criticism in Rosengarten of this foolish manipulation by Kriemhild and one can reasonably speculate that the poet shares the opinion of those writers of Arthurian romances who wondered about the concept of âventiure for its own sake. Kriemhild’s challenge is obviously not on the level of warriors called to assist in ridding the world of malevolent, otherworldly entities. The comments of both Biterolf and Rüdiger are telling: Dô sprach der alte Biterolf: ‘ir müget tôren sîn, daz ir durch rôsen willen rîtet an den Rîn, und daz ir welt volgen einer unsinnigen meit, diu durch ir grôze affenheit daz mort zesamene treit.’ (111)

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  (Then spoke old Biterolf: “You are fools that you go riding to the Rhine for the sake of roses, and that you intend to follow a thoughtless woman who, through her gross foolishness, will bring about a slaughter.”)

Biterolf ’s sobering admonishment is delivered to the Wülfings after Dietrich has picked up the gauntlet, albeit not because he wishes to make any claim to Kriemhild’s roses (he has plenty of his own, note 88), but because he cannot simply overlook her arrogance (88,2). Rüdiger also regards the enterprise as foolish and chides the Wülfings for being simpleminded (115,3) should they, in fact, take up Kriemhild’s challenge and ride to the Rhine. Unlike his namesake in the Nibelungenlied, Rüdiger recognizes full well a certain demonic trait in Kriemhild (vâlandîn, 116) which, even though it may not eventually lead to Armageddon, nonetheless has dire consequences for the Burgundians and their allies. Kriemhild is simply a spoiled child and Dietrich is not shy about chastising Gibeche for having given in to her. He is also aware that this trip to the Rhine for the sake of a rose garden must make him and his men the laughing stock of the Burgundians (and perhaps not just them): “Dô sprach der voget von Berne: ‘wir müezen iuwer gespötte sîn,/daz wir durch rôsen willen sîn komen an den Rîn” (Then spoke the Lord of Verona: “We must look ridiculous to you, coming to the Rhine because of roses,” 173,1–2). Moreover, there is a real danger—both individual and collective— in allowing Kriemhild to manipulate the action in a sphere which appropriately lies within the responsibility of the king, as Dietrich makes patently clear: “welt ir ir alsus volgen, ir verlieset manegen man,/ouch mac ez in ze jüngest an iuwer leben gân” (“If you follow her like this, you will lose many a man. In the end it may also cost you your life,” 174,3–4). The perennial hothead, Wolfhart, is prepared to give Kriemhild a slap in the face, and his anger is tempered only through Hildebrand’s admonishment that he will compromise his honor by so doing. The individual fights between Gibeche’s giant allies and Dietrich’s Wülfings all result in decisive victories for the latter, fulfilling the prophecy made by Dietrich to Gibeche in strophe 174. The message seems clear: keep such a woman in her place. The image of Kriemhild that prevails in this short epic is clearly based on the memory of her namesake’s role in the Nibelungenlied, although it never approximates the dimensions of the vâlandinne in the latter. The relationship between Siegfried and Dietrich is also

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noteworthy. It is adversarial and, as in Biterolf und Dietleib, Dietrich is less than enthusiastic about the prospect of fighting against the hero of Xanten, because he is fully aware of the virtual invulnerability of his opponent. As elsewhere, tension develops between Hildebrand and Dietrich over the impending fight against Siegfried. In this case, Dietrich accuses his mentor of wishing to see him dead (337,1). The relationship between Dietrich and Hildebrand seems to break down as the older warrior hits his charge in the mouth and Dietrich attacks Hildebrand with his sword (342–344). In effect, all of this is meant to get Dietrich ready, to make him angry enough to fight Siegfried. In the ensuing battle, Siegfried, in fact, is only too eager to escape Dietrich’s wrath and runs off to find succor in Kriemhild’s lap and the princess covers him with the sleeve of her garment to shield him. It is not only Siegfried whose portrayal in the Rosengarten is diametrically opposed to what we encounter in the Nibelungenlied. Hagen is also depicted as beating a hasty retreat from Eckehart. The court of Worms is shamed by Kriemhild’s machinations, which is evident not only in the outcome of the individual combat scenes, but in Gernot’s remark to this effect: “Owê dirre schanden! . . . uns hât brâht ze laster mîn swester Kriemhilt” (“Alas for this infamy! . . . My sister Kriemhild has brought shame upon us,” 295). Using some of the same background material as the poet of the Nibelungenlied, the author of Der große Rosengarten brings the Nibelung and Dietrich cycles together in what amounts to little more than an episode aimed at chastising the monarchy represented by King Gibeche for abdicating its responsibility to keep the reins of government firmly within its hands. The destruction caused by Kriemhild’s zeal to assert the prominent stature of Siegfried is contained. The Burgundians lose their giant allies in individual combat, but more telling is the compelling evidence of Dietrich’s superiority over Siegfried, underscored by the burlesque scene of the latter hiding under the garments of Kriemhild. Composed approximately fifty years after the Nibelungenlied, it is Rosengarten’s less than flattering image of Siegfried and the malicious intent of Kriemhild which predominated for generations of future storytellers. Der Wunderer Dietrich is also the hero of the Wunderer, a short work that has survived in two manuscripts (Dresdner Heldenbuch, 1472; Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich, early sixteenth century) and three printings

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(Augsburg, c. 1490; Straßburg, 1503; Erfurt, 1518) respectively. In addition, the tale has also been told in a Fastnachtspiel (134 verses), dating from the end of the sixteenth century. The Wunderer may have its origins in the thirteenth century, but as no version of the story has been found that antedates the Dresdener Heldenbuch, this remains highly speculative. Dietrich’s role in the work is unambiguously positive. Here, however, he is without the benefit of counsel from the older and wiser Hildebrand. Situated at Etzel’s court, he becomes the champion of a young woman pursued for three years by the demonic “Wunderer” who, rejected by her in a marriage suit ostensibly arranged by her father, intends now to devour the woman. Noteworthy here is that Dietrich is in his mid-teens and that he spontaneously and without reservation demonstrates his willingness to fight the “Wunderer” on behalf of the young woman after both Etzel and Rüdiger have declined to assist her. He is, of course, victorious, the maiden turns out to be Dame Sælde, and the work concludes with the departure of guests from Etzel’s court. There is a blend of romance and epic here, with Etzel, a relatively docile, inactive monarch, compared to Arthur, and the maiden described as the epitome of beauty, who causes some burlesque activity at court as the bread slicer cuts a deep wound in his hand while viewing her, and the “Schenke” in his distraction pours wine under the benches. The Wunderer follows the standard pattern of the hero challenged by an otherworldly, demonic force which threatens the ordo of courtly society. The work has something in common with Virginal with Dietrich portrayed as the young, inexperienced lad who undergoes a rite of initiation into the world of the warrior in the service of a beautiful woman. Biterolf und Dietleib In contradistinction to other epics of the period (for example, Kudrun), Biterolf und Dietleib (all citations of Biterolf und Dietleib from Jänicke) provides no information whatsoever on the background of the main protagonists. “This strange tale,” as the narrator describes it, has been passed down in a “buoch” (179, 198, 1674, 1864), but it contained no information regarding lineage:

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Von sînen alten mâgen darf mich nieman frâgen: wie die schuofen ir leben, des kan ich iu niht ende geben. der dise rede tihte, der liez uns unberihte, und ist doch übele belîben. hæte er iht dâ von geschriben daz lieze wir iuch unverdeit: uns hât das nieman niht geseit. (19–28) (No one may ask me about his family [or] or what they did in life, [because] I cannot tell you. He who composed this tale, left us ignorant [about such matters] and we will, unfortunately, remain so. Had he written about it, we would not hold that back from you: no one told us anything.)

We are thus dealing with what might be called “memory-less” history; the concentration is on the present, rather than on the past, although this by no means indicates an uncritical stance by the narrator towards current, prevailing customs. As in Dietrichs Flucht (179ff.), there is concern over inappropriate liaisons with women: man saget uns an dem mære daz dô minnete nieman wîp er enhæte danne ir lîp ze sîner rehten ê genomen. nu ist ez ûz den zühten komen: ob einer möhte drîzic hân, er wolt sich nicht genüegen lân, er hete ir dannoch gerne mê. dirre frevel tuot der sêle wê und ist dem lîbe lasterlîch und stêt den tugenden ungelîch, ez sî man oder wîp, der minnet mêr dann einen lîp. (490–502) (One tells how at that time no one loved a women unless he had taken her lawfully [that is, in marriage]. Now it is completely immoral. If a man could have thirty, he would not be satisfied but that he would like to have more. This wantonness harms the soul and is abusive to the body and is immoral. Be it man or woman who loves more than one.)

The remarks follow on the heels of the narrator’s observation that the wives of Biterolf ’s twelve companions were not particularly happy with their participation in the journey to the land of the Huns, and

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that these companions subsequently tarried longer with their women than they had intended. For all of its brevity, this moralizing tenor stands out in the work, a criticism of contemporary customs, perhaps an attack on the widely accepted idea that found such poignant expression in Andreas Capellanus’s treatise on courtly love that marriage was no excuse for not loving (another woman). The call for adherence to a monogamous state accords, however, with the stricter clerical code. It is not the only time that the narrator indulges in a digression that contrasts the memory of earlier practices with the degeneration of the present. A few thousand verses later, we encounter a diatribe against the avarice of the aristocracy, specifically in contrast to the largesse demonstrated by Etzel the Hun, whose fame, despite the fact that he was a heathen, will last “until he dies” (4053). The poet’s contemporaries do not fare as well. The poet remarks extensively on the rapid decline in virtuous conduct among the nobility and the passing on of dissolute attitudes to their children so that the new generations are even worse than the old. The anonymity of the poet relegates to the realm of pure speculation any consideration that his criticism may have been prompted by personal experience. There is, however, an aura of generality about it that is reminiscent of Walther von der Vogelweide’s famous elegy. This relatively long work (13,510 verses composed in rhyming couplets with some internal fragmentation) is, with its happy, conciliatory ending between warring parties, more akin to courtly romance than to much of what we include in the category “heroic epic.” At its center is the campaign of Etzel’s Huns (although excluding Etzel himself ) against the Burgundians, a campaign that is unleashed ostensibly because of the manner in which Dietleib, Biterolf ’s son, was mistreated by Gunther and his men during his trip to the land of the Huns. While the efforts of Biterolf, allied with the Huns, to seek satisfaction from Gunther and the Burgundians constitute the major focus of the plot in Biterolf und Dietleib, there are several other points which deserve mention here. Although the work is not normally cited among the Dietrich epics, Dietrich does appear (mentioned first in 4584 in conjunction with Ermenrich). The hostility between the nephew and his uncle otherwise so evident throughout the Dietrich cycle is completely lacking, however, and both are engaged in the singular pursuit of aiding Biterolf. Dietrich is afforded the opportunity of fighting against Siegfried. Intriguing here is Siegfried’s characterization of

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Dietrich as arrogant, a trait of which he intends to “cure” him. The paradox is clear: this boast emanates from one of the most arrogant figures in German(ic) heroic epic, a man whose own hubris is cited by the anonymous poet of the Klage as responsible for his downfall. Yet, when Hildebrand “teams up” adversaries for the impending battle (in a scene not unlike that which we encounter in Virginal), whereby Dietrich is matched with Siegfried, the Amelung leader demonstrates considerable anxiety at the prospect of facing the latter: “dâ von gezwîvelt in der muot” (he became apprehensive at the prospect [of meeting Siegfried in battle], 7810). Dietrich is cognizant of Siegfried’s adventures in the Otherworld and justifiably wonders: “wie kan ich dan vor im genesen?” (how can I survive [a battle with] him, 7853). His honor, however, precludes his requesting another adversary. The dynamics are worth noting here. It is Wolfhart, the perennial hothead, who first perceives Dietrich’s mood and suggests that he is of no more use to them in this state than a woman. It is a comment that brings a sharp rebuke from Hildebrand (7896ff.). Yet the latter has a vested interest in determining the cause of Dietrich’s anxiety, given the oath he swore to Dietmar, Dietrich’s father, to raise his son in honor. The “discussion” between the two culminates in a challenge by Hildebrand to fight, and an infuriated (and taunted) Dietrich is not found wanting. Hildebrand is, however, basically testing his ward. An angry Dietrich confronts Wolfhart and inquires who told the young warrior that he, Dietrich, was afraid of Siegfried, and Wolfhart replies that he could read it on Dietrich’s ashen face. Dietrich’s response to Wolfhart’s observations is remarkable. He acknowledges the fear he had of Siegfried, but he has also been helped by Hildebrand’s admonishments. Although Dietrich is by no means the major protagonist in this epic, the match between him and Siegfried is of notable significance and may well allow us to draw some conclusions as to the manner in which these two warriors were regarded by contemporary recipients of the Nibelung and Dietrich stories. The hero of the Netherlands fights with Dietrich, then Biterolf, Heime (twice), and then again with Dietrich, after the latter has been shamed into taking up the struggle once more by Wolfhart’s taunting. It is Siegfried’s reputation and the challenge he represents to a warrior of Dietrich’s stature which more than anything else fuels the competitive spirit that exists between the two of them. There is no deep-seated animosity; in keeping with the overall “spirit” of the work, a reconciliation is achieved at the end, which

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presents an image of congeniality and festivity with knights joking among themselves and Siegfried and Dietrich appearing as the best of friends. As Michael Curschmann has indicated, there is really no major ethical conflict in Biterolf und Dietleib (Curschmann 1978, 881). Potentially tragic situations are defused, although it is incumbent upon Dietleib to see his honor restored after the insult he has suffered at the hands of Gunther. Ortnit Ortnit (all citations of Ortnit from Amelung/Jänicke) represents an anomaly among German heroic epics for the simple reason that the hero dies a remarkably ignominious death while serving as food for the progeny of a “wurm” (dragon). The work has in common with any number of other heroic epics and Spielmannsepen the motif of the dangerous wooing mission, the lack of enthusiasm of a parent (or parents) for the project, the pathless ways through the wilderness, and the infusion of magical elements as aids to the person undertaking the quest. In this instance, and once again representing something of an exception, the quest is undertaken alone. Even Siegfried had elected to take along twelve warriors when he set out for Worms. What was once suggested of Hagen’s motivation for denying his daughter Hilde to any suitor in Kudrun, namely, that it harked back to an earlier incest motif, is explicitly stated of King Machorel in Ortnit. He would prefer, in fact, to see his wife dead so that he might marry his daughter. Ortnit’s mission to woo a bride is thus lent a “divine” dimension: to cleanse Machorel of his impure ways and to bring his daughter into the fold of Christendom. This motif of conversion to Christianity is a primary element within the work and it is intriguing to note that the most prominent representative of the faith is a being from the realm of lower mythology: the dwarf Alberich. Ortnit’s encounter with Alberich early on in his quest leads not simply to the recruitment of the dwarf as an ally in the pursuit of the beautiful girl, but also to the revelation that the “wild dwarf ” is actually his father. Ortnit is thus of both the worldly and otherworldly realm, a trait he shares with Hagen (whose father in Nibelung tradition was an elf ). In some respects, however, it is Alberich, rather than Ortnit, who elicits the attention of the reader and not because of his access to otherworldly props such as magic rings and the abil-

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ity to become invisible. While Ortnit had set out not only to procure a bride, but also to convert Machorel’s daughter, it is Alberich who proves to be the outspoken advocate of the Christian God; he becomes, in fact, Ortnit’s spiritual mentor when his son demonstrates some skepticism over the Almighty’s ability to perform miracles: “got tuot ûz einem steine und ûz erde swaz er wil./jâ ist im ze tuone niht gar unmügelich:/daz solt du gelouben” (God makes from stone and earth whatever he wants. Nothing is impossible for him, 247,2–4). Alberich is the figure who recalls the essence of Christianity in Ortnit. Machorel, ruler of Syria, who cannot see the dwarf when he speaks to him, and who inquires if he is the devil (269,4), is informed: “mich hât her gesendet mîn meister und mîn got” (my master and my God sent me here, 270,2). Alberich also admonishes Machorel: “wie lange wilt unsaelic sîn” (how long do you intend to be wicked, 271,4). This is a far cry from the Alberich otherwise encountered in German heroic epic. The dwarf is not only an eloquent spokesman for Christianity, but also proves to be the principal advocate of a major chivalrous virtue: moderation. He becomes incensed over the murderous behavior of Ylias, Ortnit’s uncle, who in a berserk frenzy decapitates not only male but also female Saracen prisoners: “dîn oeheim sleht die frouwen, des maht du dich wol schemen” (you can well be ashamed [of the fact that] your uncle slays women, 332,3–4). He is prompted to refer to Ylias as a “devil” (338,2). Indeed, Alberich is nothing short of a missionary in Ortnit, referring to himself in no uncertain terms: “ich binz von himel ein bot” (I am a messenger from heaven, 391,4). To the princess, Ortnit’s future bride, who claims: “daz enweiz ich wer der ist, der mich hât beschaffen” (I do not know who the one is who created me, 396,1–2), Alberich appears in the role of a priest: “der heizet Krist./erst gewaltic über die erde und über daz himelrîch/und über alle geschefte” (he is called Christ. He rules over earth and heaven and all creation, 396,2–4). Finally, it is the dwarf who insists on the baptism of the princess prior to her marriage to Ortnit. All of this stands in stark contrast to the expectations of the medieval audience with respect to the function of a dwarf. In the Nibelungenlied, Alberich belongs to that netherworld which also includes the dragon slain by Siegfried. In Ortnit, the dragon is associated with the realm of the Saracen, an instrument that will be used by the heathen to sow chaos and mayhem in Ortnit’s kingdom, and to destroy its ruler. Alberich ultimately fails as a mentor to his son, for

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his wisdom about the ways of the dragon does not stave off Ortnit’s untimely demise. Resolved to put an end to the dragon threat that has been introduced into his land by one of Machorel’s hunters (who had come across two dragon eggs and left them to mature in Ortnit’s kingdom), the son is warned by his father about the danger he faces and urged not to let himself be caught asleep. Owing to the presence of an enchanted lime tree, this is precisely what occurs and Ortnit becomes food for the dragon’s progeny. The epic concludes with a “teaser”: the avenger of Ortnit has not yet been born. Situating Ortnit within the corpus of medieval German heroic epics is no easy task. Its (597) strophes remind one of the Nibelungenlied and Kudrun; its magic objects and landscapes of Arthurian romance; the motif of the dragon head minus the tongue (547) as indicative of deceit recalls the episode with the dragon and the steward in Gottfried’s Tristan; the raging Ylias, decapitating all Saracens who come within his grasp, is comparable to the irascible Wate among the defeated Normans in Kudrun; Alberich’s advice to Ortnit to pretend to be a merchant (243,4) is also reminiscent of Fruote’s suggestion to King Hetel in Kudrun as to the best tactics to use to “obtain” Hilde of Ireland, and also elicits a negative reaction from Ortnit, although less harsh in tone than Wate’s reaction to Fruote in the latter. It is a successful blend of the elements of heroic epic and courtly romance, with a notable infusion of Christian didacticism, that principally, and paradoxically, is conveyed by a figure normally associated with the darker side of the medieval imagination. Wolfdietrich The epic commences with a reference to the origins of the story, in this case a book that was found in a monastery in “Tagemunt” where it had been lying (in the dust) for many years. The book is sent to Bavaria, to the Bishop of Eistet, who is familiar with it. He appears to use it to pass the time for seventeen years until his death. Ten years later, it is found by his chaplain. It then passes on to an abbess who directs two masters to carry the stories found therein out among the Christian population. The didactic function of the work would thus seem to have something in common with Laurin and Ortnit. Wolfdietrich (c. 1230) is normally considered in conjunction with Ortnit, as it is the story’s main protagonist, Wolfdietrich, who avenges

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the death of the latter by killing the dragons that had threatened Lombardy. Wolfdietrich subsequently weds Ortnit’s widow. Four major variations of the tale (A, B, C, D [known as the Große Wolfdietrich]) have survived, the last in no fewer than ten manuscripts and six printed copies, making it, as Joachim Heinzle aptly states, “einer der großen literarischen Erfolge des Spätmittelalters” (one of the great literary successes of the later Middle Ages, Heinzle, Einführung, 42). The work consists of a veritable potpourri of âventiuren. The major contours of the tale involve court intrigue instigated by a malevolent adviser and/or jealous sons, the trusted mentor who cannot, however, insure the safety of Wolfdietrich as heir to his father’s (Hugedietrich’s) realm, exile, the successful avenging of Ortnit’s death and marriage to the queen of Lombardy, eventual return to his homeland, retreat to a monastery, death. There are, however, two major themes which stand out throughout the tales of Wolfdietrich: the memory of the mentor (Berhtung) who had protected him and whom he had left, together with his ten sons, in dire straits in his homeland, and the constant warring against the Saracens. Wolfdietrich is imbued with much the same crusading and conversion spirit found in Ortnit, although here it is the main protagonist, rather than a dwarf, who is at the forefront of the spiritual conflict. The susceptibility of otherwise sage and highly respected rulers to malevolent counselors is well illustrated in Wolfdietrich A when Hugedietrich, father of Wolfdietrich, allows himself to be convinced by Saben that his wife has invoked the devil to be with her and that Satan, in fact, is the father of Wolfdietrich. Saben had had his own intentions on the queen, who is Etzel’s aunt, had been rebuffed, and is clearly exacting revenge by suggesting something so monstrous. That Hugedietrich believes him is, however, even more incredible, and he orders his trusted man Berhtung to kill the child. Berhtung, whose relationship to Wolfdietrich in these tales develops in a manner analogous to that of Hildebrand to Dietrich, recognizes that the child is blessed, a fact demonstrated that, when left alone in the woods, the wolves and other wild animals do not touch him. Wolfdietrich is raised by forest dwellers—his being spared by wolves is the source of the first component of his name—and Berhtung takes pains to write down a full account of what has happened to the child up to this point. Berhtung is, however, accused of having killed the child himself and is subsequently imprisoned.

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All of this leads the reader to wax critical of the judgment of Hugedietrich and perhaps, by extension, of the reigning state of affairs among the nobility. Berhtung is forced to stand trial for the murder of Wolfdietrich, and finds that there is no one among the assembled observers to champion his cause, not even among his close friends. It is at this point that an “honest man,” Baltram of Bulgaria, appears and frees Berhtung from his fetters. Baltram is clearly infuriated with the situation with which Berhtung was confronted and says: “jâ habent des edele fürsten immer laster unde scham,/daz si verderben lâzen einen fürsten guot./und tuot man im daz hiute, daz man iu morgen tuot” (Oh, the noble princes will forever have scorn and shame because of this, namely that they allow a good prince to be treated unjustly. If something like that happens to him today, the same will happen to them tomorrow. 190,2–4; citation from Amelung/Jänicke). Baltram sees through the injustice that is being perpetrated against Berhtung through the treachery of Saben, and goes so far as to declare that he would cut down even kings and emperors who would allow someone such as Berhtung to be ruined. King Hugedietrich is thus cast into a less than flattering light, not unlike Gunther’s situation following the murder of Siegfried. Hugedietrich had, after all, ordered Berhtung to kill his son. It is intrigue at home, emanating from the malevolent counselor who has undue influence first over the father of Wolfdietrich and then the latter’s brothers, which eventually leads to civil war and the departure of Wolfdietrich from his homeland. The series of adventures which ensues—and they vary from manuscript to manuscript— is reminiscent of what one encounters with questing knights in Arthurian romance. A major thrust in the Wolfdietrich story is the portrayal of the protagonist as the avenger of Ortnit, a crusader against the demonic world of heathens, dragons, and giants, but always cognizant of the men he has left behind, Behrtung and his sons, whose welfare is of great concern to him. In Wolfdietrich D, he is separated from them for over thirty years, although they are constantly on his mind, as underscored by the almost excessively repetitive allusion to his eleven vassals. In addition to the Arthurian-like adventures in which the hero participates, there is also a marked crusading/conversion element to Wolfdietrich, emphasized by the baptism of 80,000 heathens that is described in the closing strophes of Wolfdietrich B (see, in particular, strophe 928), and Wolfdietrich’s crusading fervor is also apparent in

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the relatively long Wolfdietrich D. Moreover, the question of Christianity is of paramount importance in Wolfdietrich A, with the hero rejecting as his bride Marpali, daughter of King Belîan, because God would not wish him to marry a heathen! In fact, to counter the advances of, and his own lust for, the sexually aggressive Marpali, Wolfdietrich feels compelled to call upon the Virgin Mary for assistance—which is then granted to him, in the form of an angel. (In Wolfdietrich B, Christ intervenes to the point of carrying Marpali off to hell along with other demons.) Scholars have long recognized the parallels between Dietrich and Wolfdietrich and it may well be that attributes of the former were consciously used by the poet in the depiction of Wolfdietrich. The two figures are, however, not identical. A major difference is the “loner” status of Wolfdietrich in comparison to Dietrich. For if Dietrich is never far removed from Hildebrand, Wolfdietrich does not enjoy the consistent, long-term friendship of an older mentor, but is more given to striking out on his own (as he does after four years of siege to seek Ornit’s assistance). There is also nothing to be gained by attempting to link Wolfdietrich to the historical Theoderich. The texts provide no evidence whatsoever of such an association. Wolfdietrich appears to fit the mold of the archetypal hero figure on one level, but on another, he conforms more to the perpetually questing knight of Arthurian romance, a part of him constituting the memory of a past age while the other is comfortably at home in the courtly world of the knight. Concluding remarks By the time one has completed a reading of the extant heroic epics of the German High Middle Ages, certain points have become abundantly clear. In general, the epic world is a precarious one. It is a characteristic shared with the more genteel world of the Arthurian knight. Appearances may often prove deceptive, not so much in the fairy-tale manner of Arthurian romance (although heroic epic also has its share of “close encounters” with the Otherworld), but more in terms of a dangerous tendency on the part of powerful figures to let their guard down, to suspend their awareness of the very real dangers that are constantly present in their environment, including those which emanate from within as well as from without. To this

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must also be linked the “epic” equivalent of the capital sin of pride, übermuot, often caused by an uncompromising commitment to preserving or enhancing one’s honor. While Dietrich has a mentor, Hildebrand, to caution him against the consequences of overweening pride, Siegfried and the Burgundians do not, and the ramifications are devastating. How often do festivals with their tournaments, splendor, and general merriment serve as the prelude to disaster, with calamity visited upon the world of the warrior and his companions in the form of invasion by worldly or otherworldly adversaries. In most instances, the crises are resolved after an (occasionally extended) period of arduous confrontation with the opponent and, in this regard as well, many “heroic epics” mirror the cyclical thematic structure of medieval romances. The Nibelungenlied stands alone in its monumental uniqueness: resolution gives way to destruction on a scale unparalleled in any other work of the period. Numerous figures are to be found repeatedly in several epics, but, regardless of where they might appear, they tend to display stereotypical (even archetypal) traits and occupy expected roles: Wolfhart is always the brash, young warrior; Hagen is dark, dangerous, and contemplative; Etzel (Attila), in contrast to his portrayal in the chronicles and in the Scandinavian tradition, the refuge of exiles and a reliable ally to warriors of integrity; his spouse, Helche, the epitome of largesse; Rüdiger the consummate envoy and mediator; Dietrich the perpetual exile; Hildebrand the wise (that is, experienced) counselor and loyal master-at-arms and inevitable companion to Dietrich; Siegfried the impetuous, over-confident, and tragic embodiment of youth; Wolfdietrich, something of a parallel to Dietrich, the exile troubled constantly by the memory of those faithful vassals left behind in his homeland so many years earlier. Constellations and alliances may vary: Liudeger and Liudegast, for example, who launched a war against the Burgundians in the Nibelungenlied, are unreserved supporters of Gunther against the Huns in Biterolf und Dietleib, as are Dietrich of Verona and Ermenrich, otherwise antagonists in the historical Dietrich cycle. Most of the figures of heroic epic remain static. Dietrich, to be sure, eventually casts off the image of the hapless, whining adolescent who appears in both Dietrichs Flucht and the Rabenschlacht, but neither he nor Siegfried ever undergoes a process of real individuation, and the latter always remains, in psychological terms, the “outsized, uncontrollable natural force” described by

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Gottfried Weber several decades ago (Weber, 42). German heroic epic does not portray its major protagonists as individuals on significant “spiritual” quests that culminate in a greater understanding of their world and a capacity to function more benevolently in it. There may be spontaneous change or conversion, as in the case of Laurin to Christianity; a “process” of transformation is, however, not in evidence. If internal transformation of their characters within the epics was not on the agenda of the poets, this is not necessarily true when we consider the gap that may exist between the history (or the memory of the history) in which the genre is rooted and the fictitious portrayal of historical figures. One of the more fascinating curiosities about German heroic epic is the consistency with which Etzel (Attila), who crosses the boundary between Nibelung and Dietrich traditions, is depicted in a positive and thoroughly laudatory manner, in direct contrast to what one finds written about the historical Hunnish ruler in medieval chronicles. The characterization of Etzel is astounding, as it defies historical memory of the “scourge of Europe.” His court is a refuge for the homeless warrior, he himself a generous leader with a strong sense of integrity and loyalty. Even in the Nibelungenlied, he never evinces any strong or lasting enmity towards the Burgundians, despite the murder of his son and the mass slaughter of his men. His last words are words of horror over the way in which Hagen, who is, after all, the killer of his son Ortlieb, has found his end at the hands of a woman. Karl Bertau has written of the tolerance towards the “other” to be found in the work of Wolfram von Eschenbach (Bertau, 241–248). Perhaps that tolerance was more widespread among the purveyors of belles lettres in the twelfth and thirteen centuries in Germany than has been hitherto acknowledged. The heathens remain heathens, of course, and there are some, such as Machorel in Ortnit, who appear to be incorrigible. Yet for all of the battles against the Saracens that occur, for example, in the epics of the Dietrich cycle, there is certainly no consistent demonization of the adversary. A major question that arises when one surveys the works categorized as German heroic epic between c. 1050 and 1300 (and beyond) is the extent to which Christianity pervades the basic tenor of the genre. Historically, Christianity determined the everyday life(style) of most western Europeans during this period and was, at least in theory, the reason for the Crusades, which so often form the backdrop for the epics. Yet much of the content of heroic epic, while presented

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to a “Christian” public, is rooted in a time in which Christianity had scarcely found a firm foothold in European society north of Italy. The consequence of this anomalous marriage between centuriesold themes and a courtly society that had more than a mere veneer of religious piety is the incorporation into the work of the trappings of Christianity without, however, any real sense of depth with respect to the message of that religion. While this latter statement might be disputed in the case of works such as Kudrun, Laurin und Walberan, and Ortnit, it does hold true for the Nibelungenlied. The latter is a tale of treachery and revenge, and it remains that throughout. There is no moderation of this stance, no place created for the “spirit” of the Christian message. What references we encounter in the epic to God, the Church, or Christians in general, are invariably of a superficial nature. No theological considerations ever enter into the deliberations among the Burgundians on Siegfried’s murder. At no time is the Almighty invoked, at no time are moral consequences an issue, except from the perspective of a pre- or non-Christian ethos as, for example, Siegfried’s stated belief as he lies dying that, by having murdered him, the honor of the Burgundians will be compromised for generations to come (998–999). In that, however, as in so many other things, Siegfried entertains a thoroughly mistaken perception of the world around him and the place he occupies in it. Consider as well the secondary function of the Catholic Church in Burgundian society, the cavalier attitude towards religion exemplified by knights who rush as quickly as possible out of the Mass in order to participate in tournaments (32–33). Even more poignant: the most important elements of the plot transpire outside the Church, including directly before it, as in the case of the quarrel between Kriemhild and Brünhild in the fourteenth âventiure. There is even disdain, in a sense, for the institution of the Church as demonstrated by the manner in which the priest accompanying the ill-fated Burgundians is treated by Hagen on the trip to Etzel’s court. We note that, words of dismay and outrage from the Burgundian kings notwithstanding, no real effort is undertaken by anyone to assist the hapless man, who is cast into the water and whom Hagen attempts to drown in an effort to determine whether or not the prophecy of the water sprite was, in fact, accurate. Yet Hagen is the same man who later expresses concern that the Burgundians be spiritually (as well as physically) prepared for the fate that awaits them at Etzel’s court. But most significant of all is the extent to

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which Christianity has no role whatsoever to play as the action in the Nibelungenlied moves towards its Armageddon-like conclusion. Apart from the token Mass celebrated by the Burgundians prior to the conflagration, there is no solace for anyone on the spiritual level. A void is created that is never addressed. The Nibelungenlied is, of all the heroic epics under consideration, the one least permeated by Christianity, the work that superimposes a veneer to meet audience expectations about the turn of the thirteenth century, but never allows any essence of Christianity to permeate or influence the dynamics of the plot. The Nibelungenklage, on the other hand, appears to combine consciously a pre-Christian ethos with a Christian spirit that cannot help but appear self-contradictory to a modern audience. The poet does not place emphasis on revenge, which is certainly the major motivation behind Kriemhild’s actions, but rather on the loyalty demonstrated by the queen towards her murdered husband. He moves this, however, from the more archaic, perhaps even pre-Christian level, to a Christian platform: Kriemhild will be accorded a place in heaven precisely because of that loyalty. Rationalization and denial are the order of the day here; there is no condemnation of Kriemhild’s obsession with revenge, the decimation of tens of thousands is simply attributed to her sick mind and it is suggested that she really would have preferred to have dealt merely with Hagen, who was solely responsible for the catastrophe at Etzel’s court. On the surface, and particularly in contrast to the Nibelungenlied, Kudrun appears to be endowed with a Christian spirit, given its conclusion and the manner in which, for example Wate attributes the catastrophe on the Wülpensand to having commandeered ships from Christian pilgrims against their will for the campaign against the Normans. Yet here, too, it seems more a matter of externals than true internalization. Being a Christian is used as a way of identifying or distinguishing a person from wild sea monsters, as is the case with Hagen and the abducted princesses on the island of the griffins, and later when the Count of Garadie and his men appear, the matter of whether or not Hagen and his female companions are Christians (or monsters) is paramount. Neither of these epics was written, of course, as theological treatises; the accent lies squarely on the secular, although this is not to say that the references to God are not real. Christianity is simply not at the forefront of the poet’s interests. It might be argued, on the other hand, that the Dietrich epics,

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which appear later than the Nibelungenlied and Kudrun, are more influenced by a Christian spirit, although it is fascinating to note that its most eloquent representatives are the dwarfs Laurin and Alberich. There are no priests, monks, or other clergy to be seen. The dwarfs, normally associated with deceit, trickery, and malicious intent, become, for all practical purposes, the “priesthood” in these instances, defying the inbred characteristics and the images with which they are traditionally identified. This portrayal of successful conversion of entities from the realm of lower mythology certainly will not suffice to allow us to draw conclusions as to the ultimate authorship of the epics in question, but does suggest that the connection between poet(s) and Church may well have been closer than has hitherto been assumed. There is another thread that runs throughout all of German heroic epic and that may explain why it appears so important for poets/narrators to point to earlier lineage and to provide digressions that often decry the times and their mores. This is the consistent portrayal of kings as highly flawed, not in their ability to fight when armed conflict is inevitable—Gunther’s comportment in the camp of the Huns, or Ludwig’s defense of Kassiane, are excellent examples of how that particular component of the heroic king does not appear to have been compromised—but in matters pertaining to justice, seeking sage advice, choosing good counselors, making wise decisions, in short, acting in accordance with the best interests of their realm. The exception is Dietrich, but it requires even a transformation on his part from the insecure youth to the mature ruler/statesman before one can accord him the stature that might be expected of such a figure. Within the Nibelung cycle, Siegmund, Siegfried’s father, is completely ineffective in dissuading his son from journeying to Worms and the trip (from which Siegfried could hardly have backed away once Siegmund had issued his warning) ultimately proves fatal. He never does follow up on his initial resolve to deal with the murderer of his son. Gunther gives in to Hagen on the matter of Siegfried’s murder and does nothing when his liegeman robs Kriemhild of the Nibelung treasure. Etzel represses the agony expressed daily by Kriemhild over the wrong done her even years after the events, as well as any sense he may have that the Burgundians have come to his court prepared for more than just festivities. In Kudrun, Sigeband, Hagen’s father, has to be reminded by Ute, his spouse, about the necessity of holding festivals and protecting the court from the scourge

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of sloth; Hagen himself carries things too far against those who would transgress against him and acquires the appellative “Vâlant aller künige.” Ludwig of Normandy seems to be almost an afterthought, for the action taken against the Hegelings is planned by Gerlind and executed by Hartmut, with Ludwig “tagging along for the ride.” He scarcely appears in the role of a king at all and, by the conclusion of the epic, his realm is in a shambles and both he and his wife lie among the rubble. Hugedietrich in Wolfdietrich could not have found a worse counselor than Saben. This depiction of inept kings accords with what we find with considerable consistency in the courtly romances of the period (viz., Arthur, as well as Mark in Tristan). It could be suggested that, since most of the literary works of the period were written for performance before, or consumption by, members of the nobility, between whom and the king/emperor more often than not there existed a fair degree of tension, such a portrayal of royalty would have found considerable sympathy. Prodesse et delectare undoubtedly describes the functions of these heroic epics in the period encompassing approximately 100 years between the end of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. More difficult to ascertain is the manner in which they were to instruct, although one particular speculation on the matter may be ventured. The modern reader is not only aware of the negative portrayal of kings, but also the frequent critical references that occur (and not only in heroic epic) to the tenor of the times. While the opinion may not have been unanimous, several poets are evidently anything but enamored not only of regents, but of their age in general and use the collective memory of earlier times as a model to be held up to their audiences. One cannot, however, generalize with respect to this point. The Nibelungenlied, one of those “alte mæren,” balances its emphasis on, and examples of honor and loyalty with singular instances of treachery and mayhem unparalleled by anything to be found elsewhere in heroic epic or, for that matter, medieval literature in general. We continually return to the Nibelungenlied and its unique status within the genre. While the epic was extremely popular in the curricula of German schools and universities throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth century (and the “Nibelung saga”—as distinct from the epic—continues to attract admirers through Wagner’s Ring), it has clearly lost ground over the past fifty years. It remains, nonetheless, the work of Medieval German Heroic Epic included on reading lists of German undergraduate and graduate programs in

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North America, as well as Britain and Ireland, although the recipients are clearly limited to a relatively select few in contrast to the mass consumption enjoyed by the work a century ago. The Dietrich epics are not readily available in English translation, and are also virtually unknown to contemporary Germans, although it is clear that the figure of Dietrich and the stories that surrounded him were among the most popular components of heroic epic during the High Middle Ages. Kudrun, in contrast, has recently seen three new translations into English (see bibliography), while the first translation into English of the Klage appeared in 1996 (McConnell). Here again, however, the works are familiar to but a few in Germany. To try to explain why a work such as the Nibelungenlied has, in fact, proven so popular, while others have remained in, or been relegated through the years to, secondary status is no easy task. The reasons for its popularity in Germany between the Franco-Prussian War and the end of World War II are by no means the same as those that induce educators to include it on the reading lists of North American graduate programs in German in the twenty-first century. If German teachers and their charges of the former epoch saw in protagonists such as Siegfried, Hagen, or the Burgundians models of exemplary behavior of warriors in the face of tremendous adversity—whereby the recipient becomes an extension of the character himself—the interest in the epic over the past fifty years has been directed more towards the inner dynamics of the work per se, including the psychological motivations of the major protagonists. The Nibelungenlied is seen less as the basis for a particular mode of behavior to be emulated by the recipient than as an entity unto itself. It is, however, not an appreciation that is rooted in a vacuum, nor can one contend that contemporary readers are necessarily successful in transferring themselves to the cultural parameters of the thirteenth century. What is fascinating to modern recipients is the extent to which, despite clear differences between the era in which the epic was composed and that in which it is now being read, archetypal images, motifs, landscapes, motivations, and personalities remain common to both historical venues.

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Selected Bibliography Editions and Translations Alpharts Tod, Dietrichs Flucht, Rabenschlacht. Ed. Ernst Martin. 2nd ed. Deutsches Heldenbuch. Part 2. Dublin: Weidmann, 1967 (first edition 1866). Biterolf und Dietleib. Laurin und Walberan. Ed. Oskar Jänicke. 2nd ed. Deutsches Heldenbuch. Part 1. Berlin: Weidmann, 1963 (first edition 1866). Dietrichs Abenteuer von Albrecht von Kemanten nebst den Bruchstücken von Dietrich und Wenzelan. Ed. Julius Zupitza. 2nd ed. Deutsches Heldenbuch. Part 5. Dublin: Weidmann, 1968, 265–74 (first edition 1870). Das Eckenlied. Mittelhochdeutsch/Neuhochdeutsch. Ed. Francis B. Brévart. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1986. Das Eckenlied. Sämtliche Fassungen. 3 vols. Ed. Francis B. Brévart (Altdeutsche Textbibliothek 111). Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1999. Ekkehards Waltharius. Ed. Karl Strecker. Berlin: Weidmann, 1907. Die Gedichte vom Rosengarten zu Worms. Ed. Georg Holz. Halle (Saale): Niemeyer, 1893. Keller, Adalbert von, ed. Ain Spruch von aim Konig mit Namen Ezell. In Erzählungen aus altdeutschen Handschriften, 1–9. Stuttgart: Litterarischer Verein, 1855. Diu Klage mit den Lesarten sämtlicher Handschriften. Ed. Karl Bartsch. 1875. (Repr. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1964.) Kudrun. Ed. Karl Stackmann. Wiesbaden: Brockhaus, 1965. Kudrun. Trans. Brian O. Murdoch. London: Dent, 1987. Kudrun. Trans. Marion E. Gibbs and Sidney M. Johnson. New York: Garland, 1992. Kudrun. Trans. Winder McConnell. Columbia (SC): Camden House, 1992. The Lament of the Nibelungen (Div Chlage). Trans. Winder McConnell. Columbia (SC): Camden House, 1994. Das Lied vom Hürnen Seyfrid. Ed. K. C. King. Manchester: University of Manchester Press, 1958. Das Nibelungenlied. Ed. Roswitha Wisniewski. Mannheim: Brockhaus, twenty-second edition 1988 (MS B). Das Nibelungenlied nach der Handschrift C. Ed. Ursula Hennig. Altdeutsche Textbibliothek 83. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1977. The Nibelungenlied: A New Translation. Trans. Arthur T. Hatto. Baltimore: Penguin, 1965 (several reprints). Ortnit und die Wolfdietriche. Ed. Arthur Amelung and Oskar Jänicke. Based on Karl Müllenhoff ’s prior research. 2nd ed. Deutsches Heldenbuch. Parts 3 and 4. Dublin: Weidmann, 1968: Ortnit, 1–77 (1871); Wolfdietrich A and B, 79–301 (1873) Walther von der Vogelweide. Werke. Ed. Joerg Schaefer. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1972. Die Schedelsche Weltchronik. Ed. Rudolf Pförtner. 2nd ed. Dortmund: Harenberg Kommunikation, 1978. Secondary Works Bertau, Karl. 1983. Das Recht des Andern. Über den Ursprung der Vorstellung von einer Schonung der Irrgläubigen bei Wolfram von Eschenbach. In Wolfram von Eschenbach. Neun Versuche über Subjektivität und Ursprünglichkeit in der Geschichte: 241–58. Munich: Beck. Bloom, Harold. 1994. The Western Canon. The Books and School of the Ages. New York: Riverhead Books. Campbell, Ian R. 1978. Kudrun: A Critical Appreciation. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Curschmann, Michael. 1978. Biterolf und Dietleib (“Biterolf ”). In Die deutsche Literatur

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des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon 1:879–83, ed. Kurt Ruh et al., 2nd ed. Berlin: de Gruyter. Eckerth, W. 1905. Das Waltherlied. Gedicht in mittelhochdeutscher Sprache. Halle (Saale): Niemeyer. Ehrismann, Gustav. 1959. Geschichte der deutschen Literatur bis zum Ausgang des Mittelalters. 2nd ed. 2 vols. Munich: Beck. Frakes, Jerold C. 1994. Brides and Doom: Gender, Property, and Power in Medieval German Women’s Epic. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Gentry, Francis G. 1989. Mort oder untriuwe? Nibelungenliet und Nibelungennôt. In Ergebnisse und Aufgaben der Germanistik am Ende des 20. Jahrhunderts: Festschrift für Ludwig Erich Schmitt zum 80. Geburtstag, ed. Elisabeth Feldbusch: 302–16. Hildesheim, New York: Olms-Weidmann. Haug, Walter. 1987. Montage und Individualität im Nibelungenlied. In Nibelungenlied und Klage. Sage und Geschichte, Struktur und Gattung. Passauer Nibelungengespräche, ed. Fritz Peter Knapp: 277–93. Heidelberg: Winter. Haymes, Edward and Susan T. Samples. 1996. Heroic Legends of the North. An Introduction to the Nibelung and Dietrich Cycles. New York: Garland. Heinzle, Joachim. 1999. Einführung in die mittelhochdeutsche Dietrichepik. Berlin: de Gruyter. —— 1999. Virginal. In Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, ed. Kurt Ruh et al., vol. 10:385–88. 2nd edition. Berlin: de Gruyter. —— 1992. Rosengarten zu Worms. In Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, ed. Kurt Ruh et al., vol. 8:187–92. 2nd edition. Berlin: de Gruyter. —— 1992. Sigenot. In Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, ed. Kurt Ruh et al., vol. 8:1236–39. 2nd edition. Berlin: de Gruyter. —— 1985. Laurin. In Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, ed. Kurt Ruh et al., vol. 8:187–92. 2nd edition. Berlin: de Gruyter. —— 1980. Dietrich und Wenzelan. In Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, ed. Kurt Ruh et al., vol. 2:149–51. 2nd ed. Berlin: de Gruyter. —— 1980. Eckenlied. In Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, ed. Kurt Ruh et al., vol. 2: 323–27. 2nd edition. Berlin: de Gruyter. —— 1978. Albrecht von Kemenaten. In Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, ed. Kurt Ruh et al., vol. 1:195–98. 2nd ed. Berlin: de Gruyter. Hoffmann, Werner. 1976. Die ‘Kudrun’: Eine Antwort auf das Nibelungenlied. In Nibelungenlied und Kudrun, ed. Heinz Rupp. 599–620. Wege der Forschung 54. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. —— 1974. Mittelhochdeutsche Heldendichtung. Grundlagen der Germanistik 14. Berlin: Schmidt. —— 1969. Nibelungenlied. 6th rev. edition of Gottfried Weber and Werner Hoffmann, Nibelungenlied. Stuttgart: Metzler. —— 1967. Kudrun. Ein Beitrag zur Deutung der nachnibelungischen Heldendichtung. Stuttgart: Metzler. Kuhn, Hugo. Dietrichs Flucht und Rabenschlacht. In: Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon. 2nd ed. Ed. Kurt Ruh et al. Vol. 2. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1980, 116–27. McConnell, Winder. 1988. Kudrun. A Critical Commentary. Göppingen: Kümmerle. —— 1999. Otherworlds, Alchemy, Pythagoras, and Jung: Symbols of Transformation in Parzival. In A Companion to Wolfram’s ‘Parzival,’ ed. Will Hasty: 203–22. Columbia (SC): Camden House. Müller, Jan-Dirk. 1998. Spielregeln für den Untergang. Die Welt des Nibelungenliedes. Tübingen: Niemeyer. —— 1997. bei heldes zeiten. Anmerkungen zum Beginn des ‘Nibelungenliedes’ k. In Verstehen durch Vernunft. Festschrift für Werner Hoffmann, ed. Burkhardt Krause: 271–78. Vienna: Fassbaender. Nolte, Theodor. 1985. Das Kudrunepos—ein Frauenroman? Tübingen: Niemeyer.

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Rosenfeld, Hellmut. 1978. Alpharts Tod. In Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, ed. Kurt Ruh et al., vol. 1:258–61. 2nd edition. Berlin: de Gruyter. Schröbler, Ingeborg. 1934. Wikingische und spielmännische Elemente im zweiten Teil des Gudrunliedes. Halle (Saale): Niemeyer. Udwin, Victor Morris. 1999. Between Two Armies: The Place of the Duel in Epic Culture. Leiden: Brill. Weber, Gottfried. 1963. Das Nibelungenlied: Problem und Idee. Stuttgart: Metzler. Wisniewski, Roswitha. 1969. Kudrun. 2nd rev. edition. Stuttgart: Metzler.

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Introduction Among the most significant developments in the flourishing vernacular literary culture of western Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries was romance, a new kind of narrative about chivalric exploits and love, and its most significant proponents in Germany were Hartmann von Aue, Wolfram von Eschenbach, and Gottfried von Straßburg. The medieval verse romances were largely a result of the emergence in literary culture of the matière de Bretagne—particularly the stories about King Arthur and the ladies and knights of his court—that provided flexible narrative frameworks within which elements from already existing secular and religious narrative traditions could be accommodated in a novel way. Poised between history and legend from early in their history, the stories about King Arthur and his knights became so popular in the High Middle Ages because they were able to incorporate elements from other genres and to express the increasingly differentiated interests and concerns of authors and audiences. The figure of Arthur is illustrative of the flexibility of the new narrative materials of the matière de Bretagne. Although Arthur has become the regal focal point of an ideal courtlychivalric order in the Arthurian romances, his early existence in Welsh poetry was as a fearsome warrior, and it was probably as such that the oral narratives about Arthur first began to draw stories about other heroes (such as those concerning “Drustan,” that is, Tristan) into their orbit. Even if the King Arthur of the High Middle Ages no longer inspires the dread he once seems to have inspired, and even if the courtly-chivalric order over which he presides in the romances no longer closely resembles the warrior band he once led,

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Arthur nevertheless continues to be associated with a military ethos of heroic action with which elements from indigenous Germanic heroic traditions can be amalgamated (Thomas, 128). At least as early as the ninth-century Historia Brittonum, attributed to a South Wales priest named Nennius, Arthur also fulfilled a messianic function in his role as the protector of the Christian faith in his battles against hordes of pagan Saxons. The Arthur described in the Historia Brittonum bears an image of the Virgin as he rides into battle, thus combining military prowess with religious purpose and providing early glimpses of the Arthur who will later serve as the head of a religiously inspired chivalric order. Yet another Arthur is visible in the saints lives of St. Cadoc and St. Gildas, a flawed Arthur who is cast negatively in order to underscore the holiness of saints. Thus, another of the formative possibilities in the variegated oral and written narratives involving Arthur, which provided much of the raw material for the romances, is criticism of Arthur from a religious-monastic perspective. These different manners of depicting the figure of Arthur can be seen as exemplary of the broader adaptability of the tales of the matière de Bretagne to the articulation of a variety of different communal interests. Although the matière de Bretagne provides most of the narrative raw material, the romances are also shaped by other, oral and written narrative traditions, ranging from the heroic epics with their angry warrior heroes (Curtius, 170) to the saints lives with their happily suffering martyrs and confessors. In the High Middle Ages these narrative traditions were imbedded in the values and interests of the different communities that produced and fostered them (the heroic epics evincing the military values of the lay nobility; the saints lives the religious values of monks and clerics), but in the romances elements from these traditional genres, along with the communal values and interests with which they are affiliated, have been combined in a manner that is increasingly open-ended. Elements from heroic epics and saints lives are no longer the signifiers of a predetermined, absolute communal meaning in the romances, but rather have become, by virtue of their novel juxtaposition, alternative perspectives in an increasingly complex and indeterminate depiction of events (Bakhtin, 3–40). The increasing generic and ideological open-endedness and complexity of the romances corresponds to the increasingly variegated profiles of authors and audiences in the High Middle Ages, who are in the process of combining warrior, clerical, and monastic values

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in themselves ( Jackson, 1994, 60), orality and literacy in their cultural activities (Groos, 35) and coming to grips with the increasing complexity of experience in the High Middle Ages. The romances thus begin to move away from the preservation of a hallowed communal memory of the past as preserved in traditional stories about heroes and saints in the direction of what Bakhtin (7) has called “a living contact with unfinished, still-evolving contemporary reality (the open-ended present).” The German romances were involved in a relationship of mutual enrichment with other contemporary genres, such as the love lyrics (Minnesang), and they left their distinctive mark on nearly every kind of secular and religious narrative composed in the vernacular languages, ranging from classical epics such as Virgil’s Aeneid (reworked in German as a chivalric romance by Heinrich von Veldeke) to a narrative such as the Nibelungenlied with its roots in ancient Germanic oral traditions. Where one observes the concerns of love and adventure that are the hallmarks of the Arthurian romances, the flexible four-stress rhymed couplets that are their most immediately visible formal characteristic, and signs of the bipartite structural design first visible in the works of Chrétien de Troyes (Kuhn), then it is appropriate to consider a given narrative in its relationship to the romances, if not as a romance itself. This is the case even with narratives with a strongly religious content, such as Hartmann von Aue’s Gregorius and Der arme Heinrich. Important in the appraisal of such narratives as romances, as we shall see, is the extent to which the religious elements in them are made less determinate, or transformed into another perspective, by virtue of their juxtaposition to more strictly secular interests and concerns. Although the production of literature is shaped by authoritative oral and literary traditions on the one hand, and by the dictates of powerful patrons and the expectations of audiences on the other, individuality is nevertheless another way to understand the novel way in which traditional genre elements and the communal values and interests affiliated with them are being combined in the romances. One of the most immediately tangible aspects of individual experience in the German romances is arbeit, a Middle High German term with a broad spectrum of meaning that includes “work,” “effort,” and “suffering” (Gentry). At one level a given romance is the arbeit of its author, with its own singular linguistic and stylistic imprint. This effort is typically thematized by the authors’ alter-egos, the

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narrators, who in turn frequently stress that a proper understanding of their narratives is an effort, usually a difficult and painful one, in which their audiences must also be involved. A successful outcome of the events in which the figures are involved at the plot level of the narratives is also largely dependent on painful effort, in which we may observe individuality as a coming to grips with the demands of different and sometimes conflicting life priorities. A painful effort manifested particularly by women figures involves dealing with one of the fundamental paradoxes of the chivalric life, which is that the same military action that make knights worthy of love also frequently deprives them of their lives. Another significant aspect of many of the romances that is associable with arbeit is a miraculous transformation of the hero—akin to a “chivalric resurrection”—that occurs after the demands of the hero’s adventures have seemingly exhausted his physical and mental resources. While this miraculous transformation can be understood as analogous to the redemptive action of God in Christian salvation history, in the context of romance it has become less determinate (that is, less overtly religious or theological) by virtue of the different generic elements and communal values arrayed around it. Even as it contrives to express truth in its own way, romance as an artistic and cultural construction seems designed to leave open the possibility of different and even contradictory understandings of seminal events, and thus perhaps better to represent and participate in the increasing complexity of historical experience in the High Middle Ages. In the present survey of the romances of Hartmann von Aue, Wolfram von Eschenbach, and Gottfried von Straßburg we shall see that this complexity of experience is rendered in the distinctive idiom of romance, the central components of which are adventure and love. Adventure generally designates chivalric actions undertaken by the hero in order to win a wife, land (that is, political power), and honor (that is, social status). Although adventure takes the hero away from the court, and thus contains a more purely individual element (particularly when cast as a physically and mentally grueling, ascetic ordeal), its primary aim is to overcome something that is provocative (especially excessive aggression or sexuality), or to recover something that has been lost (such as honor and reputation), which is to say that it must begin and end, and thus can only have meaning and closure, in the social context of the court. Love, though it almost always finds its ideal realization in conjunction with and as a result

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of adventure in the social context of the court, is occasionally depicted as a more strictly individual concern. Besides the happy couples who celebrate their love in the proximity of Arthur, the romances depict lovers who do not return to the court (Wolfram’s Sigune), who realize their love on a different plane (Parzival and Condwiramurs at Munsalvæsche) or who, in the case of Gottfried’s Tristan, labor unsuccessfully to integrate the demands of love and society and whose love achieves its final “realization” only in death. Although in these cases love is depicted, with the aid of more or less explicitly religious imagery, as a kind of “absolute,” it seems that the attempt is always being made in the romances to reconcile the different and often conflicting demands of adventure and love. This endeavor can be depicted in terms of establishing a balance between the conflicting demands of the chivalric life and one’s amorous obligations to one’s beloved (Hartmann’s Erec and Iwein), or it can be given a more grandiose spiritual (and possibly “subjective”) dimension by virtue of the depiction of love as something manifestly religious or otherworldly (Hartmann’s Gregorius and Der arme Heinrich, Wolfram’s Parzival, and Gottfried’s Tristan) that is recoverable for the court and for life in this world only with the utmost effort, if at all.

Hartmann von Aue Hartmann von Aue lived and worked during the latter two decades of the twelfth and the beginning of the thirteenth century somewhere in the Alemannic region that today encompasses southwestern Germany, northern Switzerland, and the French Alsace. It is likely that Hartmann received the patronage of one or more of the three most powerful families in this region, the imperial Hohenstaufen, the Welfs, and the Zähringer. Although he composed no single narrative on the same scale as Wolfram’s Parzival or Gottfried’s Tristan, Hartmann was a seminal figure in the efflorescence of vernacular literature in medieval Germany. Besides a short dialogue on the topic of love called the Klage and a substantial corpus of love lyrics, Hartmann composed four significant and influential romances: Erec, Gregorius, Der arme Heinrich, and Iwein. Hartmann continued to be praised and emulated by poets throughout the thirteenth century, but the most memorable tribute to him is in the famous literary excursus of Gottfried von Straßburg:

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  Hartman der Ouwære, ahî, wie der diu mære beide ûzen unde innen mit worten und mit sinnen durchverwet und durchzieret! wie er mit rede figieret der âventiure meine! (4619–4625) (Ah, how Hartmann of Aue dyes and adorns his tales through and through with words and sense, both outside and within! How eloquently he establishes the story’s meaning! How clear and transparent his crystal words both are and ever must remain. All Tristan citations are from Hatto.)

Hartmann’s depiction of himself as a learned knight in the initial lines of Der arme Heinrich and Iwein is significant for our assessment of the ideological position of his narratives. Scholars have tended to stress Hartmann’s emphasis of his learning, which stands out all the more in view of Wolfram’s later statement in Parzival that he (Wolfram) does not know a single letter of the alphabet. Hartmann’s advocation of his learning has caused some scholars to align him closely with the Latin clerical culture of books, an alignment which, when combined with the relatively high degree of fidelity of Hartmann’s romances Erec and Iwein to the corresponding ones of his source Chrétien de Troyes, has had the effect of diminishing Hartmann’s literary stature (again, relative to Wolfram). Viewing Hartmann as the clerical mouthpiece of earlier sources ignores the significant way in which Hartmann sets himself apart from Chrétien and is similar to Wolfram: Hartmann is a knight, and despite the clerical learning of which he is so proud, the narrative perspectives of his romances remain consistently and staunchly chivalric. Hartmann’s courtly-chivalric perspective is perhaps most evident in the more starkly religious narratives, Gregorius and Der arme Heinrich, which are not based on works by Chrétien. When Hartmann’s narratives are seen in their entirety (as Wolfram was presumably in a position to see them), one of their most striking features is the artistic juxtaposition of different generic elements and ideological perspectives. Rather than stressing the ways in which Wolfram goes beyond both Chrétien and Hartmann, it seems more appropriate to concentrate on the ways in which each of the German authors contributes, according to his own creative energies and the available formative possibilities, to the ever increasing richness and complexity of the romances.

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Erec Erec, the first Arthurian romance in Germany that has the court of Arthur and the deeds of its knights as its focal point, is generally assumed to be Hartmann’s first romance. The only complete copy of Erec is in the Ambras manuscript from the early sixteenth century, produced some three centuries after the author’s death. Although the scarcity of Erec manuscripts suggests that this was not among Hartmann’s more popular narratives in the Middle Ages, some themes in this work did spark the interest of later poets (Kern). Hartmann names Chrétien de Troyes as his source in the Wolfenbüttel fragment, but there are many divergences from the text of the French author (many more than in the later Iwein), which have led some scholars to conjecture that Hartmann may have used other sources or independently created parts of this romance. Noteworthy among the many differences between Hartmann’s work and that of Chrétien is that the former is more than three thousand verses longer. Hartmann’s narrative is also seen to have a strong proclivity to description and enumeration, particularly in the portrayal of courtly pageantry, which includes detailed and lengthy lists of names that Hartmann does not have from Chrétien. The German author describes the saddle of Enite with some five hundred verses, whereas the French author employs only forty, and Hartmann’s portrayal of the tournament after Erec’s marriage is four times, Enite’s lament of Erec’s death six times, and the final duel with Mabonagrin three times longer than the corresponding sections in Chrétien’s work. While Hartmann’s description of Enite’s saddle can be seen as a striking instance of rhetorical virtuosity, consistent with Hartmann’s emphasis of his clerical education, many of the other changes are suggestive of a more strongly chivalric perspective that give a distinctive color to the work of the German author. Erec can be seen generally in terms of an engagement of a courtlychivalric order, that of Arthur, with an alternative domain beyond the court, the most important aspect of which is a socially destructive individualism with two complementary characteristics. Figures associated with this alternative domain (Iders and his lady at the beginning of the narrative, Erec and Enite at Karnant, Mabonagrin and his lady in the final adventure at joie de la curt) are associated in different ways either with inappropriate displays of aggression, with sexual excess, or with both. The parameters of this engagement

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are established at the beginning of the poem. As we know from the beginning of Chrétien’s Erec et Enide (Hartmann’s prologue has not survived), King Arthur has ordered his court to renew an old custom and undertake the hunt for the White Stag. This resolution is questioned by Gauvain, who points out that the hunter who brings down the stag—and thereby earns the right to kiss the most beautiful lady at court—will inevitably choose his own lady, upon which the other knights, each considering his own beloved to be the most beautiful, will take issue with this choice. Gauvain’s concern about the possibility of discord and strife as a consequence of the hunt for the white stag clearly shows the strong danger of a socially destructive individualism within Arthur’s courtly-chivalric order, and it suggests a correspondence between the self-assertion of knights and the beauty of their ladies that is visible elsewhere in this narrative. As if this internal problem were being projected onto the external landscape of Erec’s future adventures, the danger of a socially destructive individualism appears at the outskirts of Arthur’s court, where Erec is riding in the company of the queen and a lady servant— the point at which the preserved text of Hartmann begins. There they espy an unknown knight, his lady, and a dwarf, and when the lady servant, and subsequently Erec, attempt to discover the identity of the knight and his lady on behalf of the queen, they receive insults and a whipping at the hands of the dwarf. The fact that the unknown knight and lady ride in the company of this dwarf, who responds with the violence of his whip to politely presented requests from powerful individuals such as Arthur’s queen, has the effect of separating this unknown party from the relatively greater degree of self-control that is characteristic of Arthur’s courtly order. This greater selfcontrol is first visible in Erec’s response to the whipping he receives: Êrec der wolde ouch vürbaz, wan daz getwerc imz niht vertruoc: mit der geisel ez in sluoc, als ez der maget hete getân. ouch wolde er sich gerochen hân, wan daz er wîslîchen sînem zorne kunde entwîchen. der ritter hete im genomen den lîp, wan Êrec was blôz als ein wîp. (95–103) (Erec was likewise about to ride on ahead, save that the dwarf did not permit it: with his whip he struck Erec, just as he had done to the maiden. Erec would fain have avenged himself, but instead he

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wisely managed to control his wrath. The knight would indeed have slain him, for Erec was clad in no more armor than a woman wears. All Erec citations are from Resler.)

Because he is without armor and weapons, Erec “wisely” restrains himself from responding immediately and forcefully to the dwarf ’s aggression, understanding that the unknown knight might kill him in return. Erec’s response to this aggression, as which the first structural part of this romance in its entirety can be seen, shows that there is nothing inherently wrong with violent self-assertion as long as it is employed strategically (that is wîslîchen). From the moment he receives the blow, Erec’s aim is revenge, but circumstances—particularly the fact he is unarmed—compel him to proceed carefully and with reflection. The agreement to marry Enite, which Erec later makes in order to put himself in a position to fight against the dwarf ’s knight, whose name turns out to be Iders, is a byproduct of the overriding concern with vengeance. Although Enite herself is certainly important with respect to the contest of the sparrow hawk in which the knights meet in combat—Erec can correctly argue that she is more beautiful than Iders’ lady, and the sight of her during the fight with Iders provides Erec with needed inspiration—Erec’s relationship to her in the first part of the romance is entirely subordinated to the interest in revenge against the unknown knight and the reestablishment of his honor, which is achieved when Erec finally defeats Iders after a long and difficult fight. At this time a disassociation of Iders from his dwarf occurs: Iders professes not to know about the affront Erec suffered at the hands of the dwarf, thus beginning to pave the way to his integration into the Arthurian court, while Erec concentrates his most vindictive aggression on the dwarf, Maliclisier, who is tied down and whipped. The ultimately successful engagement of Arthur’s courtly order in the person of Erec with the uncourtly violence of Iders and his dwarf in a landscape of adventures beyond the Arthurian court provides the solution to the internal problem caused by the hunt for the white stag. The lady whom Erec has agreed to marry and brought back with him to Arthur’s court is recognized by everyone as the fairest of all, her beauty corresponding to the valor and prowess Erec has shown in his adventures and will show in the tournament following their marriage. The possibility of internal strife is overcome when Arthur, who has brought down the white stag, confers the kiss of honor upon Enite. All would be well, were it not for signs of another danger to the

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ordered life of the court that are visible even as the successful conclusion of the hunt and of Erec’s adventures is celebrated. When Erec and Enite gaze upon each other with a voracious desire comparable to that of a hawk for its prey (1859–1869), and think to themselves that they will not be able to be happy until they have spent several nights together (1873–1875), we see the first signs of the excessive sexual appetite that will soon bring Erec down from his position of high fame. After returning to his homeland of Karnant, Erec yields completely to his desire for Enite and forgets entirely about chivalric deeds. He thus manifests a socially destructive behavior that causes him to lose the fame he has won and that, on a broader level, threatens the integrity of a courtly/chivalric order that is dependent on a controlled balance of amorous interests and martial endeavors (2966–2973). The adventures of the second part of this narrative, which begin when Erec discovers from his wife the disrepute into which his sexual appetite has caused him to fall, are designed to recover his lost position of honor and a more socially responsible perspective by balancing his devotion to his beautiful wife with his responsibilities to the chivalric profession. The second part of the romance is itself divided into two segments. In the first, Erec and Enite engage two groups of robber knights, a count who endeavors to take Enite away from Erec, and a chivalric opponent named Guivreiz le petiz. In the second, they must deal with two rampaging giants, a count named Oringles who endeavors to wed Enite against her will, and Guivreiz le petiz a second time. Until Erec finally reconciles himself with her after rescuing her from Oringles, he forces Enite to ride ahead of him. This places her in a position to see impending dangers, but Erec also commands her to hold her tongue on pain of death. Enite repeatedly breaks this command in order to warn Erec of threats, although doing so involves a substantial degree of mental anguish. In these adventures we see just how difficult it is to arrive at a successful balance of minne and âventiure, for it seems at times that the extremity of Erec’s sexual appetite at Karnant has simply been replaced by an extreme and hence destructive emphasis on the warrior ethos, which involves the cruel treatment of Enite (replete with formulaic elements of medieval misogyny) and a sometimes mindless aggression in combat. Although some aspects of his approach seem questionable, Erec’s military approach, which contains a strongly ascetic element that

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recurs in corresponding segments of the later romances, is ultimately efficacious precisely because it is so extreme. Erec’s cruel treatment of Enite turns out in the end to have been a test of her loyalty (however illogical such a test may seem in light of the previous narrative events). The reconciliation of Erec and Enite, which does little to excuse the torments to which the latter has been subjected, grows out of a series of events in which military action has brought Erec to a condition near death. After his battle with the giants, wounds that Erec had previously suffered break open and Erec loses consciousness. At this point, Enite, believing her beloved husband to be dead, utters the first of many noteworthy accusations against God in the German romances: vrouwe Ênîte zurnte vaste an got. si sprach: “herre, ist diz dîn gebot daz ein ritter alsô guot durch sînen reinen muot sînen lîp hât verlorn, sô hât ein wunderlîcher zorn dîner genâden erbarmunge genomen.” (5774–5780) (Lady Enite opened the vials of her anger towards God, exclaiming: “Lord, if this is your command, that so fine a knight has lost his life because of his noble spirit, then it is an extraordinary sort of anger indeed which has snatched away all compassion from your mercy.”)

Thus the first representative of the courtly/chivalric world in the German romances to express anger at God is not Gregorius or Parzival, but rather Enite in Hartmann’s first romance, who—with an anger that is entirely lacking in the corresponding episode of Chrétien—holds God responsible for the death of an exemplary knight and for ignoring His own words that husband and wife are one flesh. As in the later cases of Gregorius and Parzival, God seems here to have the best interests of the courtly/chivalric world at heart, even if this is not immediately evident to the protagonists. In this case, Erec’s apparent death is part of a process in which military action is taken to a quasi-religious extreme: Erec apparently dies in chivalric action, only to “arise” when he hears the cries of his wife Enite, whom the count Oringles is attempting to beat into submission. The “resurrected” fighter Erec kills the uncourtly Oringles along with a couple of his followers, and puts the rest of the horrified court to flight. Hartmann’s depiction of the happiness that Enite experiences when Oringles beats her (6550–6566), reminiscent of the happy

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suffering of Christian martyrs, is also suggestive of the ascetic-spiritual quality of the transformation that the protagonists undergo in this episode. By the time Erec and Enite are recovering at the castle of king Guivreiz, now reconciled with one another, it seems that a combination of extreme chivalric effort and divine providence, culminating in the chivalric “resurrection” of Erec at the castle of Oringles, has overcome the destructive consequences of their previous lustful behavior. This combination has also apparently qualified them, however miraculously, to undertake the last great adventure of joie de la curt as the representatives of a courtly-chivalric social order in which the demands of adventure and love have been placed in an appropriate relationship to one another. This last adventure, which stands out structurally by virtue of its placement at the end of the narrative after the joint adventures of Erec and Enite leading to their reconciliation, presents an extreme and succinct version of problems that we have seen elsewhere: Mabonagrin displays a non-courtly, patently gruesome aggression, by placing the severed heads of his defeated opponents on posts around his secluded garden, and what amounts to amorous excess by living a life that is entirely devoted to the love of his lady, in isolation from the court. Erec defeats his former self by defeating Mabonagrin in this combat, thus restoring the joy of the court to what had previously been a “riuwigez lant” (sorrowful land). Much as Parzival will restore happiness to Munsalvæsche, another “riuwigez lant,” by releasing its most important member from a sorrowful and demeaning existence associated with sexual excess, Erec here takes on the function of a chivalric redeemer in the first major Arthurian romance in German. Not only does he restore Mabonagrin to the court and the court to its happiness, but he also adds more generally to courtly joy by liberating the eighty widows of Mabonagrin’s defeated opponents, who are subsequently accepted into Arthur’s court (a significant digression from Chrétien, which connects the actions of the hero more strongly to Arthur’s courtly-chivalric order). Beyond its bipartite structural design, Erec contains much that influences subsequent romances. Most important, perhaps, is the integrity of a courtly-chivalric order based on love and adventure. As love and adventure (and the persons practicing them) revert to more primitive, less civilized forms of conduct, the maintenance of courtly-chivalric order is shown to be an ongoing project, which is

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depicted narratively as the engagement of the hero as the court’s representative with an alternative domain beyond the court that is largely characterized by untrammeled lust and aggression. In the second series of adventures, following the hero’s fall from his position of fame and honor, this engagement does not really involve a condemnation of aggression or a placing of it in “proper” perspective, but rather something closer to an absolute intensification of it, as God—another force associated with the realm beyond the courtlychivalric world—is involved in the chivalric action in such a way as to ensure a successful outcome. The convergence of chivalric action and divine providence, although the latter is visible only in traces in this first Arthurian romance, thus merge in the second part of the narrative in a way that is most consequential for the future development of the romances in Germany. Gregorius Hartmann’s Gregorius, which is preserved in six complete manuscripts and five fragments from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, is generally regarded as the author’s second major narrative work. Gregorius involves a substantial shift from the new Arthurian tales of love and adventure in the direction of the religious perspectives of hagiographical literature. The likely source for Hartmann’s work is a version of the French Vie du Pape Grégoire, probably composed around the middle of the twelfth century at the court of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is not known whether one of the six preserved versions of the French Grégoire served as Hartmann’s source, or whether he based his narrative on a lost manuscript of this work or a common archetype that antedates both Grégoire and Gregorius. Hartmann’s “seltsænen mære” (strange tale) about the good sinner relates how Gregorius is conceived in an incestuous relationship between brother and sister, set upon the waves as an infant, found by the abbot of an island monastery, and raised as a monk, unaware of his sinful origins. When he comes of age, Gregorius sets out into the world as a knight over the objections of the abbot, who reveals to him the awful story about his parents and argues that a religious life of penance and prayer would be more appropriate for a person of his sinful origins than the chivalric life. In his first knightly adventures, Gregorius demonstrates great chivalric valor, and seemingly acts as a colleague of such knights as Erec and Parzival, by liberating

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the castle of a lady besieged by an unwanted suitor. After marrying the lady and ruling wisely over the land for some time, Gregorius eventually discovers that the lady he has won with his chivalric actions is none other than his mother, and that his return to the world has thus led to a recurrence of incest. In an extreme act of penance, Gregorius has himself chained to a rock in the middle of a lake, where he lives miraculously for seventeen years. In the end he is summoned to Rome to become pope, where he is eventually rejoined by his mother, now in a spiritual life devoted to Christ. An understanding of this story as a relative of hagiography, or as a “courtly saint’s life,” emphasizes the clearly religious nature of the subject matter. Viewing Gregorius as a romance, or at least as a text that is strongly influenced by the contemporary chivalric romances, involves considering the elements of love and adventure in this narrative as more than sins, or actions that lead to sin, even if they are construed as sinful in some parts of the work. Even as they are implicated in sin and are, as such, reprehensible from a religious perspective, love and adventure continue, even within the framework of this strongly religious work, to provide an important, non-ascetic, worldly perspective that remains valuable in itself and essential to the final successful outcome of the story. Love and adventure, the definitive aspects of courtly-chivalric culture as depicted in the Arthurian romances, are maintained in Gregorius, even if they have to be substantially modified to accord with the different generic and ideological center of gravity. What is initially a sinful, because incestuous minne is transformed during the progress of this narrative into an asexual, spiritual love in Christ when Gregorius’s mother joins her son in Rome and remains with him there at the end of the work. What is initially a sinful instance of âventiure—Gregorius’s departure into the world to become a knight, his winning of a wife (that is, his mother), and his involvement in worldly fame and political power—becomes part of a complex process in which Gregorius achieves the high power of the papacy. Particularly striking about Gregorius, if viewed as a narrative relative of the Arthurian romances rather than as a quasi-hagiographical text that is aligned against them, is Hartmann’s striking artistic juxtaposition of courtly-chivalric and religious-ascetic perspectives, and the ways in which the logic and value of both are preserved. The initial incest between the orphaned son and daughter of the duke of Anjou is something other than just an extreme example of

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sexual excess that is associated with sin and the designs of the devil, although it is clearly also this. It is also the first significant example in the German romances of forbidden love, a topic that will be quite differently and more elaborately developed in Gottfried von Straßburg’s Tristan. However illegitimate and sinful the bond between brother and sister may be, minne is set forth in this narrative as something that has a value in and of itself, even if it sufficiently problematic (in its relationship to sin) that it has to be kept secret. When the sister reveals to her brother that she is with child, the unexpected and ominous turn of events in Anjou is cast by the narrator not in religious terms, but rather according to a standard formula in court literature according to which love and pain are inextricably entwined: An disem ungewinne erzeicte ouch vrou Minne ir swære gewonheit: si machet ie nâch liebe leit. (451–454) (In this misfortune Lady Love also revealed her unhappy habit; she always causes pain after pleasure. All Gregorius citations are from Fisher.)

While the consequences of the incest are here depicted according to the logic of a standard courtly-love topos, elsewhere another familiar convention for the depiction of courtly love is used to describe the ongoing bond of affection between brother and sister. When the former leaves Anjou on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in penance for his sins, the departure is described with a courtly convention that is ordinarily used to depict the departure of knights headed for tournaments or adventures (see also Erec, 2360–2367): “sîn herze volgete ir von dan,/daz ir bestuont bî dem man” (his heart followed her away, hers remained with the youth, 653–654). It is interesting that the ostensibly penitential purpose of the brother’s pilgrimage is here and later overshadowed by the ongoing effects of his clandestine love for his sister. The brother soon becomes ill and dies, weakened not by a sense of remorse for his sins, but rather by his inability to live on without his beloved (833–852). Love is never completely and exclusively aligned with sin in the case of the initial incest, nor does this occur in the events that follow. Later in the work, when Gregorius decides to become a knight, departs into the world from his island monastery, and wins a wife by liberating an unjustly oppressed land, courtly-chivalric interests again present themselves in such a way that it is difficult to view

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these actions exclusively as a relapse into sin. Although it is tempting to criticize Gregorius for acting against the advice of the abbot when he decides to leave the island abbey, we must bear in mind that Gregorius—particularly with his strong arguments that demonstrate a detailed knowledge about the chivalric life—seems to win this debate, for the abbot is eventually persuaded that the young man’s chivalric calling is genuine (1635–1640). Later on, when Gregorius leaves his lady (his mother) in the church, the effect she has had on him is described according to the already familiar minne topos (1966–1969). This love has an entirely positive, beneficial effect, for it inspires the liberation of the lady from the uncourtly, aggressive demands of the invading duke, who has laid waste to her land. Gregorius thus comes by a circuitous route to occupy the position once occupied by his father. As duke of Aquitaine he provides the land of his forefathers with the political continuity and security that have been lacking until his arrival. Gregorius’s exercise of worldly power is exemplary. A common feature of the princely life he leads here and the papal life he will lead later on is the effective manner in which he wields authority. This is visible particularly in the guiding principle of mâze (moderation), which prevents the secular lord from attempting to extend his power over realms that do not belong by right to him (2272), and which will later prevent the papal lord from attempting to overextend his control (over the body) with penances that are so severe that they drive the sinner to the devil (3809ff.). Gregorius’s angry accusation of God is another significant narrative event that allows us to appreciate him as a romance relative of figures such as Enite and Parzival. When he finally discovers that his wife is in fact his mother, Gregorius, somewhat like his chivalric compatriots, seemingly stands at an existential threshold, unable and unwilling to regard his best efforts and intentions in his worldly (that is, chivalric) undertakings as utterly without substance: sînen zorn huop er hin ze gote, er sprach: “diz ist des ich ie bat, daz mich got bræchte ûf die stat daz mir sô wol geschæhe daz ich mit vreuden sæhe mîne liebe muoter. rîcher got vil guoter, des hâstû anders mich gewert danne ichs an dich hân gegert.” (2608–2616)

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(He raised his anger to God, saying, “This is what I always prayed for, that God should bring me to the place where it would be my good fortune and my pleasure to see my dear mother. Oh mighty God most gracious, you have granted me this indeed, but not as I desired of you!”)

In contrast to his chivalric compatriots in the Arthurian romances, Gregorius’s anger seems quickly to turn from God to himself, as he takes upon himself a penance of brutal severity by having himself chained to a rock in the middle of a lake, where he lives miraculously for seventeen years. This severely ascetic action is framed in terms of an adversarial relationship with the fisherman, who doubts the earnestness of Gregorius’s intentions, abuses and mocks his noble guest, and predictably experiences his comeuppance in the end. In this relationship to the fisherman, the dignity of Gregorius’s social class seems to be at least as important as his penitential attitude. The concern with the dignity of nobility is consistent with studies positing that Gregorius’s penance, which is completely independent of the control of religious authorities, corresponds to non-orthodox forms of religiosity and atonement practiced by lay nobles in the High Middle Ages (Mertens). Both as a suffering holy man, and as an exemplary representative of the dignity of his high social rank, Gregorius qualifies himself by means of his extremely harsh penance for the office of high worldly power that he achieves in the end, when the legates arrive to fetch him to Rome. While Gregorius is not returning to his previous courtly life, the things with which he associates the papacy—people, honor, and power (3542–3562)—lead in a similar direction. The bearing of the pope is compared here by Gregorius to the bearing of lords who wield power (“herren vuore,” 3553), something he now claims to have forgotten. The wise manner in which he subsequently wields power as pope indicates that his memory quickly returns. Instead of a replacement of worldly concerns by religious ones, we have in Gregorius a mixture of courtly-chivalric and religious-ascetic perspectives. A significant aspect of Hartmann’s juxtaposition of worldly and spiritual concerns in this narrative is secrecy and deception. Almost nothing is only what it appears to be on the surface. As we have seen, the penitential pilgrimage of Gregorius’s father is really the painful end of an unhappy love; the worldly life of Gregorius’s mother between the two instances of incest conceals a secret asceticism and suffering; the monastic life of Gregorius at the island abbey

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depends on a concealment of Gregorius’s worldly, chivalric origins; and Gregorius’s courtly-chivalric life after his departure from the island abbey into the world also conceals a secret suffering, on account of his incestuous origins. These and other concealments in this narrative facilitate the simultaneous maintenance of the interests in worldly power and spiritual welfare until the penance on the rock, by means of which Gregorius achieves the supreme power of the papacy. By the time this happens, there is good reason to consider that everything Gregorius has experienced has served to qualify him for this high office of spiritual and worldly power (as which the papacy in the time of Hartmann needs to be appreciated), which is as far from the unrestrained sexual aggression of the initial incest as it is from the radical asceticism of Gregorius’s existence on the rock. Gregorius’s anger at God is not expressed explicitly on behalf of chivalry and love; his suffering on the rock is not a grueling and quasi-ascetic half-decade of combat; and the miracles that bring him to the papacy are quite different from the extraordinary events leading to Parzival’s call to the grail. Nevertheless, it may not be incorrect to see in Gregorius many of the same elements that will later be recast, albeit on a much grander scale and in a manifestly chivalric romance, in Wolfram’s Parzival (Murdoch, 148). Der arme Heinrich With little more than fifteen hundred verses, Der arme Heinrich is Hartmann’s shortest narrative, and with only three complete redactions and a few fragments, it is one of his most poorly preserved works. Der arme Heinrich has no known source. Volker Mertens has advanced the intriguing thesis that Hartmann combined elements from a traditional narrative with events in his own experience in such a way as to give literary justification to a marriage that lowered the social standing of his family (156–162). This might explain the marriage between the noble Heinrich von Aue (possibly a literary figuration of an ancestor of Hartmann) and the peasant girl at the end of the work, which is contrary to legal and social practice and to standard literary usage, in which the equality of birth of marriage partners is the norm. Even if this historical connection remains somewhat speculative, it would be consistent with the new narrative perspectives associated with romance if this narrative were based at least in part on the family history of its author. It would also be

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consistent with the content of some of Hartmann’s pioneering love lyrics, particularly the so-called Unmutston (Song of Discontent; Des Minnesangs Frühling [MF ], 216, 29ff.), in which the singer Hartmann rejects the unhappy, unrequited love of highborn ladies, thereby rejecting one of the dominant currents in the German love lyrics, in favor of the love of a maiden of lower social standing who is inclined to return the sentiment. The story tells of a young nobleman named Heinrich von Aue, whose apparently ideal courtly existence comes to an end when he is struck by leprosy. Heinrich seeks a cure for his disease until he is told by a doctor that he can be cured only with the heart’s blood of a virgin who is willing to sacrifice herself for him. Faced with this apparent impossibility, Heinrich gives up hope of finding a cure, donates his worldly possessions, and retires to the property of one of his more prosperous peasants. This peasant has a beautiful young daughter, with whom Heinrich develops a close relationship. After discovering what is necessary to cure him, the daughter persuades her parents to allow her to sacrifice herself for Heinrich. In Salerno, when the excision of the girl’s heart is about to occur, Heinrich, upon beholding the beauty of her naked body through a hole in the wall, suddenly decides that he would rather accept the illness as God’s will than have the girl die for him. On the way back home God miraculously cures Heinrich, along with the girl, who herself fell ill when Heinrich refused to accept her sacrifice. In the end, Heinrich and the girl marry and live happily ever after. Many scholars have seen this narrative, just as they see Gregorius, as a strongly religious one that indicates a turn away from the worldly concerns of the Arthurian narratives. Consistent with this view is the understanding of Heinrich’s infirmity as a malady of the soul, an external sign of an internal unwillingness or inability to appreciate God as the source of his worldly happiness. As in the case of Gregorius, understanding Der arme Heinrich as a narrative that is strongly influenced by the chivalric romances involves looking at the ways in which the events in which Heinrich is involved are rendered not merely in religious terms, but also in terms of the courtly-chivalric interests in love and adventure. Just as the significant events in Gregorius were connected in different ways to a courtly-chivalric perspective according to which worldly action maintains a positive significance and cannot simply be condemned from a dualistic, religious standpoint, so too in Der arme Heinrich do we see Heinrich’s disease and his even-

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tual cure associated with both religious and worldly (courtly) concerns. The most significant courtly concern is love. Heinrich is cast on at least three occasions in the role of the lover. The first is during the description of Heinrich’s seemingly ideal courtly life at the beginning of the work: “er was des râtes brücke/und sanc vil wol von minnen” (He was a bridge to good counsel, and was most talented at love songs; 70–71; all Arme Heinrich citations are from Fisher). Activity as a Minnesänger is here mentioned as an essential ingredient of the worldly/courtly life. Although this life, in which the love lyrics have their natural home, is soon hereafter shown to be without any substance from the religious-ascetic perspective suddenly adopted by the narrator (82–119), we continue to observe references, albeit less direct ones, to the courtly interest in love. After he has taken up residence with the peasant family, the interest in love suggested by Heinrich’s activity as a lyricist during his previous courtly life begins to be shaped in his relationship to the peasant’s daughter. Given the generally courtly manner in which Heinrich’s life with his peasants is depicted (which will be discussed below), and the previous casting of Heinrich in the role of the Minnesänger, it is perhaps not surprising that the peasant girl is eventually described in terms usually reserved for the courtly Minnedame, or for ladies of high rank in the Arthurian romances (311–314). The relationship between Heinrich and the peasant maiden, whose beauty makes her a suitable object of courtly love even in this ostensibly uncourtly setting, is deepened to such an extent that Heinrich soon calls her his gemahel (bride). The courtly interest in love is brought to an unexpected dramatic climax in the crucial episode in Salerno, in which we observe the relationship between Heinrich and the maiden deepening and receiving a physical, even erotic aspect. This deepening occurs when Heinrich sees the beauty of the girl’s naked body through a hole in the wall and experiences something akin to a “rebirth”: “ir lîp der was vil minneclich./nû sach er sî an unde sich/und gewan einen niuwen muot” (Her form was most lovely. Now he looked at her and at himself, and gained a new outlook, 1247–1249). This passage, and the verses preceding it, indicate that Heinrich’s transformation—his “niuwe güete” (1254)—does not begin in some spiritual place within himself, but rather is set in motion by a series of sensual events. The sight of the maiden’s physical beauty leads the doctor to sharpen his knife. The sound of the knife against the stone

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leads to Heinrich’s vision of the maiden’s beauty through the hole in the wall, which in turn results in the inner transformation. When Heinrich says a few verses later: “ich enwil des kindes tôt nicht sehen” (I do not want to see the girl’s death, 1270), this is based as much on his deepened attachment to her, achieved in the vision of her corporeal beauty, as on a deepened relationship to the Almighty. The physical beauty of the girl continues to be stressed later in this episode when Heinrich states his reason for stopping the sacrifice: “ditz kint ist alsô wünneclich,/zwâre jâ enmac ich/sînen tôt niht gesehen.” (This child is so lovely, I surely cannot see her die, 1287–1288). The generally courtly tone of Heinrich’s attitude in this episode is rounded out by the description of his demeanor when the girl, whose heart was set on her sacrifice and heavenly reward, vents her anger on Heinrich. Displaying exemplary courtly forbearance, Heinrich patiently suffers the maiden’s verbal abuses: swaz dô scheltens ergie, der arme Heinrich ez enpfie tugentlîchen unde wol, als ein frumer ritter sol, dem schœner zühte niht gebrast (1361–1365) (Whatever abuse came his way, the unfortunate Heinrich accepted it manfully and well, as any worthy knight should who is not lacking in good manners.)

The casting of Heinrich in the role of the lover, and not merely in that of the sinner, can be seen against the backdrop of an association in courtly culture between love and debilitating illness. In the love lyrics, for example, the suffering connected to the unrequited love of the Minnesänger is often portrayed in terms of illness. Friedrich von Hausen laments “mir ist daz herze wunt/und siech gewesen nû vil lange” (my heart has long been sore and sick; [MF ] 49, 13–14), and Heinrich von Morungen sings in a similar vein, connecting infirmity with longing for the beloved: “ich bin siech, mîn herze ist wunt./vrowe, daz hânt mir getân/mîn ougen und dîn rôter munt” (I am ill, my heart is sore; lady, your eyes and red lips have done this to me”; [MF ] 137, 14–16). Notable as an example from the romances is Wolfram’s Titurel, in which the tormented love of the youthful knight Schionatulander for the lady Sigune is described in the eighty-fifth quatrain as a physical ailment. If seen not merely in theological terms, but also against this courtly backdrop, the significance

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of Heinrich’s infirmity seems to become somewhat less determinate. The understanding of Heinrich’s ailment as a disease of the soul appears to be juxtaposed to an alternative, courtly perspective according to which Heinrich may be suffering from an amorous, and not just from a religious/spiritual deficiency. It is consistent with a courtly understanding of Heinrich’s infirmity that the relationship between Heinrich and the girl is grounded in a nexus of economic favors, obligations, and rewards that connects this relationship both to Heinrich’s previous courtly life and to the happy courtly end of the work. The gifts Heinrich lavishes upon the girl—the kind of objects one might expect to find in the possession of ladies at court—continue the generally courtly tone of Heinrich’s stay with the peasant family and bring into this particular relationship the same kind of material benevolence previously manifested by Heinrich in his relationship with the maiden’s family before the onset of his illness. Heinrich is permitted to dwell with his peasant and to enjoy “rîch gemach” (great comfort, 294), because he previously treated this peasant in accordance with the principle of mâze, by not oppressing him with taxes and other services, and in accordance with the principle of triuwe by defending him against the aggression of others. The surroundings in which Heinrich finds himself—richer than those of any other peasant in the land (281–82)—are largely of his own making and clearly linked to his previous courtly life, however sinful this life may have been from the religious-dualistic standpoint. The worldly, material aspect of the girl’s relationship to Heinrich is also maintained in the context of her otherwise starkly dualistic arguments with her parents. When she tries to persuade them to allow her to sacrifice herself, she links the economic welfare of her family to the physical well-being of Heinrich (617–624). Couched in arguments that could be dismissed as dualistic commonplaces is, if one looks closely enough, the reality of poverty, a reality which the peasant family seems to know well enough to fear, despite its present prosperity. The maiden’s decision is thus motivated not by a categorical rejection of the material, but by the desire to maintain a condition of material abundance for her family. This amounts to the maintenance of a nexus of economic favors and rewards in which continued prosperity, along with all of its related benefits (such as happiness, good health), is linked to the payment of a debt. This becomes evident when the parents explain to Heinrich that they

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have permitted the maiden to sacrifice herself in order to pay him back for everything he has done for them: der vater und diu muoter sprâchen: “lieber herre, ir hât uns vil verre geliebet und geêret: daz enwære niht wol bekêret, wir engültenz iu mit guote.” (984–89) (The father and mother said, “Dear sir, you have shown us great kindness and honor. This would not have been well invested if we did not repay you with the means at our disposal.”)

In her arguments the maiden also informs her parents of another purpose of the sacrifice, which links the girl’s wish to leave the travails of this world behind to an interest in minne: the girl imagines for herself a heavenly life of comfort and plenty as the bride and love of Christ (790–808), a more grandiose version of the life of wealth and ease her sacrifice will achieve for her family in this world. Later on in Salerno, after Heinrich stops her from sacrificing herself, it seems to be the apparent loss of this rich life that causes her ranting and raving, for the girl stresses the êren (1318) of which she sees herself being deprived by Heinrich’s change of heart, and a material understanding of this term as wealth or property is entirely appropriate and consistent with the girl’s thinking to this point. Of course, the girl does not have to worry. The heavenly bridegroom of which she is deprived in Salerno is eventually replaced by her worldly gemahel Heinrich, who in the story’s happy end views her readiness to sacrifice herself as one of the reasons for his cure, even if the sacrifice was not carried out (1517–1520). Besides paying the girl back for her commitment to him by marrying her, Heinrich also rewards the girl’s family by giving them the plot of land upon which he lived together with them. As the accounts are closed at the end of the poem, it is clear that the investments of the main protagonists, however “speculative,” have paid off very well. Considered individually, each of the worldly/courtly aspects discussed here might be dismissed as a digression from what is generally construed as the major concern of this poem: Heinrich overcomes his disease, and thereby his sinful involvement in the world, by finding his way to a proper relationship to God. Taken together, the discussed aspects might be seen as constituting an alternative, courtly framework for understanding Heinrich’s problem and how he deals with

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it. Such a courtly perspective does not replace, but rather complements the religious one, and the result is an open-ended narrative into which Hartmann has placed different generic and ideological elements connected both to the principle protagonists’ relationship with God, and to their intense interest in each other and in a happy worldly life. Iwein With Iwein, assumed to be the last of his narrative poems, Hartmann returns to the courtly-chivalric world of King Arthur. In contrast to the earlier Erec, this work is richly preserved in fifteen complete manuscripts and seventeen fragments. Also attesting to the medieval popularity of this work are numerous references to it in the works of later authors such as Wolfram von Eschenbach, Heinrich von dem Türlîn, Der Pleier, and Rudolf von Ems, and the thirteenth century frescoes in the Rodeneck castle (depicting Iwein’s initial adventure at the fountain) and on the walls of the drinking room in the Hessenhof in Schmalkalden (depicting the initial adventure and scenes from Iwein’s wedding). Two scenes—Iwein’s battle against Ascalon and his introduction to Laudine—were also woven into a tapestry produced in the first half of the fourteenth century, which is now in the Freiburg Augustinermuseum. Along with Der arme Heinrich, Iwein is considered to be Hartmann’s stylistically most accomplished work, showing the author to be at the height of his poetic ability. There are numerous medieval versions of the Iwein story (“Owen and Luned” in the Mabinogion, the Old Norse Ivens Saga, the Swedish Ivan, the Knight of the Lion, Ulrich Füetrer’s Iban, and the Middle English Ywain and Gawain), but Hartmann’s work clearly follows the Yvain of Chrétien de Troyes and does so much more closely than was the case with the earlier Erec. As a result of the closeness of the German work to its French source, and other considerations that have more to do with modern national interests than with the medieval narratives, Iwein served throughout the nineteenth and into the current century as a point of contention between French and German literary scholars, with the latter tending to argue that the German poet succeeded in giving greater psychological depth to his characters. In this century scholars have continued, albeit with a lesser degree of nationalistic fervor and a greater appreciation of Hartmann’s indebtedness to Chrétien, to insist upon the uniqueness of Hartmann’s

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version of the Iwein story by stressing the German poet’s tendency to “even, smoothen, and soften” (Wapnewski, 61). We shall also see that the increased degree of courtliness seen by many scholars in the German romance—the so-called adaptation courtoise—is accompanied by a corresponding emphasis of the value of chivalric action that is consistent with Hartmann’s own knightly status. The German poet, despite his close fidelity to his French source, invents slightly different ways to talk about love and adventure that permit us, even in a text with a high degree of fidelity to its source, to discern the important and independent position Hartmann occupies between Chrétien de Troyes and Wolfram von Eschenbach. Much as Erec before it, Iwein depicts the engagement of Arthur’s courtly-chivalric order with an alternative domain, the underlying mythic structure of which has been the object of detailed critical scrutiny (Sparnaay, 19–31). Laudine’s land of the fountain, which is juxtaposed to the court of Arthur, might be seen as an analogue of the grail kingdom in Wolfram’s Parzival, which is also characterized by fantastic events and mythic attributes (both realms are organized around a “stone” with marvelous properties, Wolfram’s grail corresponding to the stone by the spring in the land of Laudine upon which water must be poured to initiate the adventure; 624–627). In contrast to the concern with sexual excess, as manifested in the Karnant episode of Erec, the engagement of the courtly-chivalric order with the otherworld of Laudine in Iwein seems to focus more directly on chivalric action and its consequences, an issue of profound interest and importance to knightly audiences in Germany, and an issue that will receive a much more elaborate and complex treatment in Wolfram’s Parzival. At the outset of the narrative the courtly-chivalric order of Arthur is faced with a provocation. During a Whitsun festival at Arthur’s court, the knight Kalogreant relates how he rode out into the wilds in search of adventures, learned from a wild man in a forest clearing about the marvelous adventure in the land of the fountain, and finally suffered a shameful defeat in battle at the hands of the land’s overlord. The response of Arthur, when he later hears of Kalogreant’s defeat, indicates that this defeat is experienced as a provocation to the whole court: the good king resolves to ride with his entire retinue to the land of the fountain a fortnight later in order to undertake the adventure. The provocation from without goes hand in hand with an internal provocation from Sir Keie that affects Iwein more personally: notoriously envious

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of the accomplishments of others, Keie first chides Iwein’s cousin Kalogreant for being the first to rise in honor of the queen upon her unexpected arrival, and he continues with his verbal aggression when Iwein states his intention to journey to the land of the fountain and undertake the marvelous adventure himself (815–836). Worried that Gawein will be granted the adventure before him if he waits until the expedition announced by Arthur, Iwein secretly sets out for the land of the fountain. By this time, Kalogreant’s account of his failed adventure has already established significant parameters for evaluating what occurs subsequently. Particularly important is Kalogreant’s succinct definition of âventiure, which he articulates during his conversation with the wild man in the clearing: “nû sich wie ich gewâfent bin: ich heize ein riter und hân den sin daz ich suochende rîte einen man der mit mir strîte, der gewâfent sî als ich. daz prîset in, und sleht er mich: gesige aber ich im an, sô hât man mich vür einen man, und wirde werder danne ich sî.” (529–537) (“See here how I am armed—I am called a knight, and am of a mind to ride in search of a man who will do battle with me, armed as I am. It is to his glory if he slays me; but if I am victorious over him, I will be deemed to be a man, and will be more honored than I might be at present.” All Iwein citations are from Fisher.)

Although it is frequently assumed that Kalogreant’s conception of adventure, along with his corresponding modus operandi (and that of Iwein later on), is morally or ethically flawed, it is difficult to find unambiguous support for this in Hartmann’s text. Beyond Kalogreant’s statement that it is “unwîser muot” (foolish impetuosity; 635) that brings him to pour water on the stone in the land of the fountain, thus unleashing the adventure that will lead to his defeat and dishonor, there is nothing in Kalogreant’s story about his failed adventure that undermines his understanding of chivalric action. Indeed, even this statement is consistent with his definition, if seen as anticipating his impending defeat and loss of honor. Kalogreant’s approach is unwise in view of the fact that he is not equal to the challenge that faces him—and consequently loses. Much is at stake in Iwein’s initial adventure in the land of the

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fountain. This adventure involves engaging an adversary of Arthur’s court who has inflicted damage and shame on an Arthurian knight (Kalogreant), and it aims to avenge the defeat of a kinsman (Kalogreant is Iwein’s cousin). If successful, Iwein will also win status and honor, assuming Kalogreant’s definition of âventiure holds true, and thus respond to Keie’s disparagement of him. In the battle between Iwein and Ascalon, a glorious fight that the narrator Hartmann assures us God would have enjoyed watching (in one of many brief, but revealing divergences from Chrétien’s text; 1020–1022), Iwein delivers a stunning blow to Ascalon’s head, which causes the latter to become disoriented and flee towards his castle. Concerned about obtaining some proof of his victory, Iwein initiates a pursuit of his fleeing and wounded adversary that has been seen by many scholars as a single minded and selfish pursuit of personal glory. This view is based on Hartmann’s comment that Iwein pursues Ascalon “âne zuht” (1056), words that have been understood as meaning a lack of appropriate courtly restraint. If a reservation about Iwein’s approach is expressed here, other aspects of his pursuit suggest that Iwein is acting in a manner that is entirely appropriate to the situation. One event is especially significant: when the fleeing Ascalon reaches his castle, he releases a portcullis that severs Iwein’s horse in half at the saddle, but leaves Iwein unharmed, because—in a noteworthy divergence from Chrétien’s text—Iwein is leaning forward at precisely this moment to deal the final, mortal blow to Ascalon. Hartmann here seems to be anticipating the argument that Laudine will later use to make Iwein less objectionable as a candidate for marriage. In her eyes, and possibly also in the eyes of Hartmann’s chivalric audiences, Iwein is exculpated by the fact that his killing of Ascalon saves his own life. Trapped now in the castle of his dead opponent, and protected by another marvelous stone given to him by the helpful lady servant Lunete, which makes him invisible, Iwein finds himself in a land of sorrow that is of his own making. The clearest and most compelling sign of a possible criticism of Iwein’s chivalric zeal is the pain it has inflicted on Ascalon’s wife Laudine, whose grief is described in great detail (1310–1339). In the lamentations of figures such as Enite upon the apparent death of her husband Erec, and Laudine upon the death of Ascalon (which also includes an angry questioning of God’s purpose; 1381–1384), we catch early glimpses of the grief that is experienced more fully and memorably by characters such as Herzeloyde,

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Sigune, and Giburg in the romances of Wolfram. This suffering may be the most tangible way in which a criticism of the generally brutal business of chivalry occurs in the romances. Of course, women such as Enite and Laudine, just as Herzeloyde and Sigune, are implicated in the chivalric way of life that causes them such pain, since love is inextricable from the military qualifications of the beloved. This implicatedness is especially striking in the case of Laudine, who has to be concerned about defending the fountain against invaders, because she knows that the Arthur’s contingent will soon be arriving to issue a challenge. It is not Laudine’s fault that the show of loyal grief she manifests for Ascalon functions to make her attractive to the invisible Iwein, or that she falls in love with Iwein and even actively pursues him as her husband. Even if this somewhat implausible love may indicate that Hartmann is having some trouble effecting the transition from one ruler and protector to another, it is clearly designed to help remove doubt about Laudine’s future course of action. When Laudine begins to regard Iwein as a potential husband, one of her considerations allows us to see Iwein’s adventure at the fountain, despite the suffering it has caused along the way, as a successful implementation of Kalogreant’s conception of adventure: “mîn herre was biderbe genuoc: aber jener der in dâ sluoc, der muose tiurre sîn dan er: erne het in anders her mit gewalte niht gejaget.” (2033–2037) (My lord was fine and good, but the one who slew him must have been more accomplished than he, otherwise he would not have forced him to flee here.)

Thanks to considerations such as these, Iwein is ultimately able to rescue the land from grief and dread by marrying Laudine and responding to the challenge from Arthur’s contingent when it finally comes. It happens to be Sir Keie, impugning the honor of Iwein with his sharp tongue to the last minute (2456–2503), who is granted the joust with the overlord of the fountain, whom nobody knows to be Iwein. When Iwein unhorses Keie and subsequently reveals himself to Arthur, his achievements, which have eliminated the external provocation to Arthur’s court and the internal one to his own personal honor, are celebrated with a festival that marks the end of the first part of this romance.

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Warned against resting on his laurels by the renowned knight Gawein, who specifically mentions the example of Erec as a warning, Iwein obtains a leave of absence from Laudine so that he can participate in tournaments. Laudine gives Iwein a ring as a token of their agreement that he will return in one year, but Iwein subsequently gets so caught up in his successful chivalric exploits, in the company of his Arthurian compatriot Gawein, that he forgets his wife’s deadline and stays away much longer. Although one might see signs of the same single minded pursuit of adventure and personal glory that culminated in the death of Ascalon in Iwein’s initial adventure, the narrator Hartmann attempts to exculpate Iwein by telling us that it is actually the fault of Gawein that Iwein stays away from his wife so long. In contrast to Chrétien’s brief reference to Gawein in the corresponding episode of Yvain, the German poet spends quite a bit of time and effort trying to shed a favorable light on Iwein’s chivalric comrade and to show the strength of their friendship (3029–3058). When Lunete finds Iwein among Arthur’s contingent, demands her lady’s ring back, and announces the end of Laudine and Iwein’s relationship, her stated reason for his downfall is not his obvious love of adventure, but rather the simple fact that he missed his wife’s deadline. The problem is not the chivalric life itself, but rather that Iwein has shown himself unable to uphold his end of a bargain, thus demonstrating a lack of triuwe. Here as earlier, the most tangible criticism of chivalric action per se is the emotional pain it has caused. In her initial words to Arthur, before she begins her upbraiding of Iwein, Lunete connects the pain Iwein has caused Laudine by staying away too long to the original pain he caused her by killing Ascalon: in dûht des schaden niht genuoc daz er ir den man sluoc, erne tæte ir leides mêre und benæme ir lîp und êre. (3133–3136) (He was not content with the harm he did her by slaying her husband, but had to cause her more pain and take her life and her honor.)

Iwein reacts to Lunete’s upbraiding of him by losing his sanity, shedding his clothing, and running naked into the wilderness, an indication that the psychologically and emotionally damaging effects of chivalry are here spinning out of control and have engulfed the

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chivalric hero himself. Not surprisingly, a chivalric metaphor is employed to suggest that the damaging consequences of Iwein’s actions have caught up with him: “in hete sîn selbes swert erslagen” ( his own sword had slain him, 3224). As clear and unambiguous as the damaging effects of chivalry in Iwein is the chivalric way in which the hero ultimately manages to get beyond them. The mad Iwein, who has been living like a beast in the wilderness, is eventually recognized by some courtly ladies who happen upon him while he is asleep. With the help of a magical ointment produced by Feimorgan, generously applied by a lady servant, Iwein’s wits are restored to him. Although Iwein first experiences the memory of his former courtly-chivalric life as a dream (3549–3562), it is a dream that clearly lays out his future course of action. The restoration of Iwein’s wits and memory in this episode is explicitly cast as a chivalric rebirth: instead of the gown that Yvain finds in Chrétien’s version, Iwein finds the clothes of a knight, and he is soon fighting again in the service of the lady of Narison. The hero’s chivalric rebirth suggests how his coming adventures as the “knight with the lion” differ from those of the earlier Iwein. The initial chivalric approach is not so much criticized or undone as it is infused, as Iwein passes through insanity and near-death, with a messianic significance. Without exception, the adventures of Iwein as the knight with the lion manifest a spirit of Christian caritas, for they are fought in the service of others (he saves Gawein’s relatives from the terrible giant Harpin, Lunete from death at the hands of the angry seneschals, three hundred imprisoned noble women from demeaning labor imposed upon them by two more giants, and the younger sister of the land of the Black Thorn from the injustice of her elder sister). They also show a knight who manifests triuwe, or loyalty, by being able to arrive on time for crucial legal combats. It is tempting to understand the differences from Iwein’s earlier behavior (that is, his concern with his own honor in his initial adventure, his inability to return to his wife on time) in terms of a criticism or qualification of Iwein’s earlier chivalric approach, but the approach of the knight with the lion suggests an inspired, providential continuation of the chivalric past rather than a break with it. Just as Iwein before him, the knight with the lion retains a strong sense of loyalty to his chivalric friend Gawein, and it is only on account of this loyalty—which in verses 4863–4868 is somewhat daringly compared with the degree of his loyalty to God—that Iwein

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helps Gawein’s family against the giant Harpin, although doing so threatens to delay his appearance at the trial by combat in which Lunete’s life is at stake. In this trial by combat, Iwein not only saves the life of Lunete, a person who was instrumental to Iwein’s earlier personal success, but also sets the stage for his reinstallation as lord of the land of Laudine at the end of the work by revealing to her that he has lost the favor of his lady (Laudine, who does not recognize the knight with the lion as Iwein, will later swear to help reconcile him with his lady, whom she will be surprised to discover is herself !). The triuwe manifested by the knight with the lion, his ability to show up punctually at the legal combats and thus to comply with promises he has made, seems to be more dependent on the timely and fortuitous outcome of potentially fatal encounters that could easily delay or stop him, than on an ability to prioritize or to place the significance of one action over another at a given moment. The knight with the lion does not miss a single opportunity to strike a blow, but circumstances conspire to make the blows he strikes timely and effective, and to broaden the range of their beneficial effects to include others besides himself. In the final fight of the romance, the knight with the lion unknowingly contends with a disguised Gawein at Arthur’s court. Corresponding to his identity as the knight with the lion, Iwein again fights here on behalf of another— in this case on behalf of the young woman whose sister wishes unjustly to deprive her of her inheritance. But it is also clear that Iwein continues to fight as the former Iwein, which is to say as a knight who is intent on winning honor with the force of his blows: da entlihen sî stiche und slege beide mit swerten und mit spern: desn moht sî nieman gewern vol unz an daz halbe teil: des wuochs ir êre und ir heil. (7204–7208) (They lent thrusts and blows both with swords and lances, and no one could refund as much as half of it. From this practice their prestige and their success prospered.)

Arthur finally settles the inheritance dispute by tricking the elder sister into confessing that she is acting unjustly, which has the effect of disassociating the combat of Iwein and Gawein from the legal and moral issues involved in the inheritance dispute. In the end this fight between Iwein and the Arthurian paragon Gawein stands out

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as the glorious and memorable chivalric encounter as which the narrator Hartmann takes pains to depict it. In Iwein, as in the earlier Erec, the hero encounters a mirror image of himself in the final episode. Erec contended with a knight (Mabonagrin) whose amorous devotion to his lady resulted in his isolation from the court and his social responsibilities in it, and thus with a knight whose situation corresponded to his own earlier lapse into sexual excess and isolation from court society. In Iwein Hartmann, as Chrétien before him, proceeds somewhat differently by employing the two different identities of the hero that have been developed in this narrative—the goal-oriented, aggressive Iwein of the initial adventure and the charitable knight with the lion—in order to restore Iwein to his lost position as Laudine’s husband and lord over the land of the fountain. After his battle with Gawein, which seems to establish his chivalric credentials to return to the position he formerly occupied, Iwein resolves to ride back to the land of Laudine and take it by force, exactly as he did in his initial adventure (7792–7804). The knight who responds to Iwein’s challenge is none other than the knight with the lion, whom Laudine, unaware that the challenger and the defender are one and the same, calls upon to help her in this moment of apparent need. In obvious contrast to Erec’s fight against Mabonagrin, a real battle between the knight with the lion and Iwein cannot occur. Not knowing this, Laudine swears an oath that she will do everything she can to restore the knight with the lion to the favor of his lady. An indeterminate mixture of chivalric aggression and the fear provoked by it, combined with the former charitable actions of the knight with the lion and the hope they instill, lead to a critical moment in which Laudine is forced by her own oath to forgive her husband, when it becomes evident that she is that lady of the knight with the lion whose anger she has sworn to assuage. In yet another divergence from Chrétien that is consistent with the strongly chivalric orientation we have observed elsewhere, Hartmann has Laudine fall to the feet of Iwein and ask for his forgiveness (8121–8135), as if to suggest that she was wrong to have withdrawn her love from him. Iwein reiterates a basic pattern that is visible in his earlier narrative works. The courtly-chivalric protagonists, upon finding an initial condition of fame and happiness insubstantial, pursue their ambitions to the utmost limit of their physical and mental strength,

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at which point something resembling a rebirth occurs, which is cast in more or less explicitly religious terms. In their subsequent endeavors, the initial approach is not so much qualified or criticized as endowed with a messianic function that extends the beneficial consequences of the heroes’ actions to include the oppressed (the many imprisoned ladies liberated by Erec and Iwein), the socially and economically disadvantaged (the peasant family of the maiden in Der arme Heinrich), and remorseful sinners (those who experience the wise, because moderate penances issued by pope Gregorius). In this way, the Arthurian and the more starkly religious narratives manage to accommodate both courtly-chivalric and religious-ascetic perspectives. Taken as a group, the romances of Hartmann—with the multiple ideological perspectives and generic elements they manifest—can be seen as the foundation upon which the later romances of Wolfram and Gottfried will build. Wolfram von Eschenbach Wolfram von Eschenbach was the most famous and influential poet of medieval Germany. His works continued to be copied and broadly disseminated for a quarter-millennium until the age of the printing press, when Wolfram’s Parzival was first printed in 1477 by John Mentelin in Strasbourg. There is scarcely a domain of vernacular literary culture that was not influenced by Wolfram’s work (Bumke notes Wolfram’s influence on epics, hagiography, romances, chronicles, didactic poetry, love lyrics and dialogues, and religious poetry, 28), which is not to say that Wolfram’s unconventional approach to literary composition was embraced by all contemporary poets. The most famous criticism of Wolfram’s pridefully “unlettered” approach is in the famous Literaturschau of the proudly learned Gottfried von Straßburg, who pointedly withholds from Wolfram the laurel wreath that he has preferred to bestow upon Hartmann: swer nû des hasen geselle sî und ûf der wortheide hôchsprünge und wîtweide mit bickelworten welle sîn und ûf daz lôrschapelekîn wân âne volge welle hân, der lâze uns bî dem wâne stân, wir wellen an der kür ouch wesen. (4636–4643)

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  (But if some friend of the hare, high-skipping and far-browsing, seeks out Poetry’s heath with dicing terms, and lacking our general assent, aspires to the laurel wreath, let him leave us to adhere to our opinion that we too must have a hand in the choosing.)

Although Gottfried never mentions Wolfram by name, the target of these verses, and those that follow (4663–4673) is clear, if we call to mind the startled hare mentioned in the Parzival-prologue (1, 19). As negative as Gottfried’s assessment of Wolfram is, the amount of critical attention he devotes to his literary adversary stands as an unintended testimony to Wolfram’s importance in the German literary scene of the early thirteenth century. Little is known about the life of Wolfram, as is generally the case with medieval authors. Wolfram von Eschenbach was probably born sometime in the last decades of the twelfth century in Ober-Eschenbach, renamed Wolframs-Eschenbach in 1917. Based on historical references gleaned from his own works and those of other authors, it is assumed that Wolfram composed the three narrative works and the lyrics for which he is famous during the first two decades of the thirteenth century. Wolfram’s work was possibly supported by patrons near his hometown during his early career, which would have included the early work on Parzival, and later on he seems to have worked at the large court of Landgrave Hermann of Thuringia, a powerful magnate widely known for his patronage of literature. It is primarily on the basis of Parzival, probably composed in the first decade of the thirteenth century, that the fame of Wolfram rests. With sixteen complete manuscripts and some eighty fragments, Parzival was the most popular German verse narrative in the Middle Ages. It was (along with the Nibelungenlied ) foremost among the medieval texts that were rediscovered and popularized during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and it is today considered one of the great works of world literature (Bloom, 500). Even if he had never composed Parzival, Wolfram would have been a significant poet on the basis of his lyrics (seven songs, of which four are dawn songs) and two other narrative works probably composed during the second decade of the thirteenth century—Willehalm and the Titurel-fragments—all of which bear Wolfram’s distinctive poetic signature. One of the most important aspects of this signature is a strong advocation of the chivalric life. In the so-called “self-defense” in Parzival, Wolfram proudly proclaims himself to be a knight: “schildes ambet ist mîn art” (I am of the chivalric order; 115, 11). Like Hartmann

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before him, Wolfram presents himself as a knight, but in pointed contrast to Hartmann, who mentions his knightly status and his learning in the same breath in the prologues of Der arme Heinrich and Iwein, the narrator Wolfram has something quite different to say about the degree of his learning: ine kan decheinen buochstap. dâ nement genuoge ir urhap: disiu âventiure vert âne der buoche stiure. (115, 27–30) (I haven’t a letter to my name! No few poets make their start from them: but this story goes its way without the guidance of books. All Parzival citations are from Hatto.)

One of the greatest mysteries in Wolfram-scholarship is why the author of a vast narrative such as Parzival, which is full of specialized knowledge associated with the Latin clerical culture of books (Groos, 204), distances himself from this culture by suggesting he is illiterate. Whatever we make of Wolfram’s professed illiteracy, there is little reason to doubt the narrator’s strong advocation of knighthood. Forceful chivalric action is the thread that holds Wolfram’s major narrative works together, as was the case with Hartmann’s Arthurian works, although Wolfram’s depiction of chivalric action and love, both in their positive and their negative aspects, is more complex and encompassing than that of his predecessor. An important and much discussed aspect of this greater complexity and scope, which is consistent with Wolfram’s apparent rejection of clerical culture (and by implication his rejection of the rhetorical ideal of elegant clarity in literary composition), is Wolfram’s difficult, idiosyncratic, poetic idiom which, as Neil Thomas has observed, is characterized by the “use of non-standard syntax, neologism, demotic registers and other studied linguistic peculiarities designed to shock and raise consciousness on behalf of one cause or another” (Thomas, 125). On the basis of an intimate knowledge of the chivalric life, and on the basis of an education that he denies having, Wolfram transforms the medieval cosmos of the High Middle Ages, with all its innovations, tensions, and contradictions, into a grand narrative world of love and adventure.

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250 Parzival

Wolfram claims that the source of his Parzival is a poet named Kyot, but the scholarly consensus today is that his source for Books III–XIII was Chrétien de Troyes’ Li contes del graal. Wolfram may have used other sources for the parts of Parzival that are not contained in Chrétien’s text (most notably the beginning and the end), but it is also possible that these parts were Wolfram’s own creations. It seems likely, in any event, that “Kyot” is an invention of Wolfram, designed among other things to satisfy, although possibly at the same time to mock, the conventional medieval invocation of an authoritative source. “Kyot” would thus be a cover name for Wolfram’s own creations and for the many liberties the German poet takes with the text of Chrétien. Kyot is only one of the many difficulties posed to modern readers by Wolfram’s text. Among these is Wolfram’s prologue, which, in contrast to the relatively concise and clear beginnings of Hartmann’s narrative works, is difficult to the point of being obscure, as the first few lines indicate: Ist zwîvel herzen nâchgebûr, daz muoz der sêle werden sûr. gesmæhet unde gezieret ist, swâ sich parrieret unverzaget mannes muot, als agelstern varwe tuot. (1, 1–6) (If vacillation dwell with the heart the soul will rue it. Shame and honor clash where the courage of a steadfast man is motley like the magpie.)

If Wolfram’s audience hoped to get a clear idea about the coming narrative on the basis of verses such as these and the following, it may have been somewhat frustrated, but probably also intrigued. Will the tale be a chivalric one, an Arthurian narrative perhaps, or a more overtly religious one, like Hartmann von Aue’s Gregorius or Der arme Heinrich? What exactly does Wolfram mean with the word zwîvel (vacillation, inconstancy) in the first verse? If understood in theological terms, it may be the same unforgivable sin that Hartmann mentions in his Gregorius prologue (162–170). If Wolfram is referring to the work of his renowned predecessor, the reference may be a pointed one. Although the exact significance of Wolfram’s words here is debatable, his romance in its entirety puts forward a complex conception of humanity that embraces its best and worst aspects.

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Wolfram depicts human beings in all of their troubling complexity, acknowledging and even accepting their weaknesses. If the prologue is announcing this in a general way, its basic message might be underscoring the difference between Wolfram’s narrative and the relatively more static conception of the human condition and sin as set down in the Gregorius-prologue of Hartmann. One of the features that makes Wolfram’s Parzival prologue difficult to understand is its mixture of religious (zwîvel, himel, sêle) and courtly-chivalric (unverzaget mannes muot) terminology, which suggests that the story Wolfram is singlehandedly going to tell, despite the great effort this will involve (4, 2–8), is both religious and worldly in nature—in contrast to the ideological and generic division one finds among the narrative works of Hartmann. As difficult as it is to know exactly what Wolfram means, assuming he means something exact, in the end one might say that the prologue anticipates Wolfram’s story quite well, although in a somewhat unconventional way: like the story itself, the prologue seems to advance significant religious and courtly-chivalric framesof-reference and allow them to stand together with all their tensions and potential contradictions (Groos, 4). Wolfram’s Parzival can be seen as an elaborate and distinctive variation of the model that is familiar to us from the Arthurian narratives of Chrétien de Troyes and Hartmann von Aue. The hero, as representative of a courtly-chivalric order based on love and adventure, encounters and deals with an alternative domain beyond the spatial limits of the court, in two cycles of adventures that are organized around the hero’s sudden loss of high fame and honor. In the Arthurian narratives of Hartmann von Aue, this domain beyond the court was depicted primarily as a profane one, with elements of mythic origin. We also saw that the adventures of Erec and Iwein during the second part of their chivalric careers were associated with God’s providential action and a “chivalric rebirth” of the heroes. Given the mixture of religious and courtly-chivalric elements suggested by the prologue of Parzival, it seems likely that Wolfram’s text is also informed by and responds to the more strongly religious works of Hartmann, in which the worldly fame of the heroes is followed by a long period of asceticism and suffering that qualifies them for the position of high honor and happiness they achieve in the end, by God’s grace. With regard to the development of the romances in Germany, it is evident that Wolfram takes Hartmann’s chivalric reinterpretation of Chrétien to much greater lengths. This is consistent

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with Wolfram’s staunchly chivalric self-understanding (as visible in the narrative self-presentations mentioned above) and with his detailed knowledge about the military life, ranging from armor and siege engines, to strategic thinking ( Jackson, 1999). The numerous detailed depictions of warfare and jousting, and also the portrayals of courtly etiquette and pageantry—what Hatto has called “the style of life which Wolfram knew at the German courts of the brilliant Hohenstaufen period” (Parzival trans., 8–9)—show the extent to which Parzival engages and discusses contemporary cultural, political, and social developments, and justify the appraisal of this text as the most transparently historical of the chivalric romances (Wynn). It is especially in the adventures of Wolfram’s titular hero that we are able to appreciate the cultural scope and complexity of Parzival. Perhaps the most important characteristic of Parzival himself, a quality relating him to past knights such as Erec and Iwein that he manifests from the beginning of his adventures to their successful end, is courageous chivalric self-assertion—what Wolfram in his prologue calls “unverzaget mannes muot.” One of the purposes of Wolfram’s story about Parzival’s parents is to show that Parzival follows in the footsteps of his father Gahmuret, who might be seen as the embodiment of the courtly-chivalric principle of âventiure. Upon the death of his father Gandin, Gahmuret sets out to seek his own fortune. This he eventually achieves in a landscape especially tailored for him, an Oriental domain that enriches one of the standard structural elements of the chivalric romances by lending unprecedented geographical and ethnographic detail to the landscape of chivalric adventuring. The Orient of Gahmuret’s adventures seems otherworldly by virtue of the fabulous wealth and the unusual characteristics of the marvelous figures (such as the Baruc) and events that it contains, which are depicted sympathetically by Wolfram, but it nevertheless functions according to the same courtly-chivalric values that are elsewhere present in Wolfram’s text. In this novel space of adventure, Gahmuret wins his first wife, Queen Belakane, and her land by lifting a siege. He soon deserts her, however, again throwing himself into the life of chivalric action. His stated reason for leaving Belekane is that she is not a Christian, but this reason rings hollow. Belekane would willingly convert out of love for her husband (57, 7–8), and she dies of grief after the birth of Gahmuret’s son, a black and white speckled son named Feirefiz. Gahmuret’s real reason for deserting Belekane is desire for chivalric action, which he

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finds at Kanvoleiz, where his valor and skill soon win him a second wife, Herzeloyde, and her land. This time in agreement with his wife, Gahmuret rides out again on adventures, again serves as a mercenary for the powerful Baruc in the Orient, and eventually dies in combat, like most of his male relatives before him. Upon discovering that her husband has died, Herzeloyde, who is on the verge of giving birth to Parzival, is overcome with grief like Belekane before her. Despite the fact that Gahmuret leaves behind two unhappy, grief-stricken women and two orphaned sons, because of his seemingly reckless pursuit of knightly adventures, the narrator Wolfram has nothing but glowingly positive things to say about him, and the narrator’s praise typically concerns both Gahmuret’s prowess and, perhaps surprisingly, his triuwe (loyalty), precisely the quality modern readers might consider him to lack. Despite the grief it obviously causes, Gahmuret’s strongly chivalric approach receives nothing but enthusiastic support from the narrator and other characters in the work. The same will be true of narrator’s evaluation of the adventures of Parzival, who inherits the strongly chivalric orientation of his father. In contrast to her African predecessor Belekane, Herzeloyde does not die as a result of the loss of Gahmuret, at least not immediately. Instead, she responds by moving with her infant son into the wilderness of Soltane. This move is motivated by the hope that she will not lose him, as she has already lost two husbands (Castis and Gahmuret), if she is able to prevent him from discovering knighthood. Somewhat like Munsalvæsche later on, Herzeloyde’s wilderness domain—the first clear alternative in Wolfram’s text to the courtly-chivalric world of love and adventure—is a complex conglomeration of religious and profane elements. Herzeloyde’s decision to leave the courtly-chivalric world behind is praised by the narrator in explicitly religious terms, which seem to cast Herzeloyde in the role of anchoress: “ich wæne ir nu vil wênic lebe,/die junc der erden rîhtuom/liezen durch des himeles ruom” (I wager that there are few alive who, while young, would renounce earthly riches in favor of heavenly reward, 116, 22–24). Yet Herzeloyde’s wilderness existence quite notably lacks, beyond its generally ascetic tone, any overtly Christian aspects, and Parzival’s religious instruction, which occurs only because he hears the word “God” and asks what this means, is rudimentary at best. Earlier, when she is about to leave the courtly/chivalric world behind forever, Herzeloyde’s words and actions

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upon the birth of Parzival strikingly endow her breast milk and her tears with a religious significance that is as compelling as it is unorthodox, befitting the earthy quality of Wolfram’s work as a whole and prefiguring, in particular, the nourishing characteristics of the grail. The alternative existence of Herzeloyde also receives class specific attributes, because the manner in which she and her people cultivate the soil is suggestive of the way of life of peasants rather than of nobles, and it may be for this that the narrator Wolfram says Parzival was “cheated of a royal style of life in all things,” which is the most critical assessment of Herzeloyde’s actions that the narrator makes. Another indication of the complexity of Wolfram’s text is that Herzeloyde’s wilderness existence receives the same degree of enthusiastic support from the narrator Wolfram as the chivalric life of Gahmuret against which it is directed. Already in the story of Parzival’s parents, Wolfram’s narrative finds a way to advocate both the glory accruing to the single-minded devotion to chivalric action and an alternative existence that can be understood both as an expression of, and as a rebellion against the emotional damage chivalry causes. According to the unverzaget mannes muot that he has inherited from his father, Parzival moves inexorably forward to achieve a goal as soon as he has become aware of it. Learning of knighthood and King Arthur, for example, Parzival leaves the wilderness existence of his mother quickly behind. He promptly obtains the kisses, ring and brooch of a beautiful lady ( Jeschute), thereby unknowingly but probably not coincidentally offending her husband Orilus, a personal enemy and an enemy of the Round Table (135, 7–24). He uses the brooch to bribe a miserly fisherman to take him to the court of Arthur, where he wins armor and helps Arthur out of a difficult political situation (for which he is later thanked by Arthur; 280, 1–15) by defeating a doughty knight (that is, Ither) against whom nobody else wants to fight. He makes up for his lack of a courtly-chivalric upbringing by immediately assimilating the sage council of the wise old knight Gurnemanz, and then puts this knowledge into action at Pelrapeire, winning a wife (Condwiramurs) and a land. His extraordinary impetus brings him, evidently against all expectation, to the grail castle, where he again demonstrates his assimilation of Gurnemanz’s courtly-chivalric council by modestly holding his tongue and observing the marvelous events around him. Before he rejoins the court of Arthur, he overcomes Orilus, restores his wife to his

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favor, and sends the couple to Arthur’s court, where they remain as members. Finally, before rejoining the Arthurian circle himself, Parzival soundly defeats Sir Keie, who previously impugned his honor by thrashing Cunneware and Antanor (151, 11–153, 20; the similarities to Iwein’s victory over Keie in about the same structural position of Hartmann’s Iwein are obvious). In this survey of some of the significant events in the first part of Parzival’s chivalric career, every step might be seen as necessary and successful, and there is good reason to regard Parzival, and for him to regard himself, as a chivalric overachiever, who is following in the footsteps of his illustrious father. There is of course a different way to look at these events, a way that is consistent with the critical bent of Herzeloyde’s wilderness existence. Parzival’s departure from his wilderness existence is so traumatic for his mother that she dies of grief. His acquisition of the lady Jeschute’s kisses, ring and brooch is achieved against the lady’s will by violent force, and the lady’s husband, suspecting her of entertaining a lover when he returns, inflicts a brutal punishment on her for which Parzival has to bear some of the responsibility. The manner in which Parzival becomes a knight is doubly reprehensible, because it involves killing a kinsman (as we find out later) and doing so unchivalrously by using a javelin. At the grail castle Parzival clings somewhat mechanically to the council of Gurnemanz (171, 17) and keeps his mouth shut, even though he is surrounded by marvelous events and signs of pain that are designed to elicit the question that would release Anfortas and the people at Munsalvæsch from their plight. In view of the suffering he causes or prolongs at nearly every step, because of youthful immaturity or a more serious flaw in his relationship to God, one could also maintain that Parzival has done almost nothing right. Much as the heroes of the earlier romances of Hartmann, Parzival seems to have heaped guilt on himself despite his best intentions and his considerable chivalric successes. This contrastive dynamic in Wolfram’s depiction of Parzival’s early career, in which the glory of chivalric action is immediately juxtaposed to the pain and grief it causes, is not resolved, but rather made more extreme and complex in the second part of Parzival, in which the critical function of Herzeloyde’s wilderness existence is fulfilled by the grail castle and its various representatives. One of the most important of these representatives is Cundrie la surziere, who is most famous for her two memorable appearances before Parzival and the entire retinue of Arthur. On the occasion of her

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first appearance, Parzival is enjoying the high fame his chivalric deeds have earned him (according to the understanding of these deeds suggested above) and has just been inducted into the distinguished knightly ranks of the Table Round. Occupying the same structural position as Lunete in Hartmann’s Iwein, when she appears before Arthur’s court to demand back her lady’s ring and to accuse Iwein of a lack of triuwe (fidelity), Cundrie issues a scathing public indictment of Parzival that focuses on his failure at the grail castle to manifest triuwe by asking the redeeming question that would have relieved Anfortas from his awful suffering. Parzival’s response to Cundrie’s criticism of him continues what might be regarded as a specifically German romance tradition of chivalric anger at God. When Gawan, whose honor has also been impugned on this occasion by the accusations of Kingrimursal, expresses the wish that God guide him in his coming trials, Parzival responds with words, the likes of which are never uttered by Chrétien’s Perceval: wê waz ist got? wær der gewaldec, sölhen spot het er uns pêden niht gegebn, kunde got mit kreften lebn. ich was im diens undertân, sît ich genâden mich versan. nu wil i’m dienst widersagn: hât er haz, den wil ich tragn. friunt, an dînes kampfes zît dâ nem ein wîp für dich den strît: diu müeze ziehen dîne hant; an der du kiuche hâst bekant unt wîplîche güete: ir minn dich dâ behüete. (332, 1–14) (Alas, what is God? Were He all-powerful—were God active in His almightiness—he would not have brought us to such shame! Ever since I knew of Grace I have been His humble servitor. But now I will quit his service! If He knows anger I will shoulder it. My friend, when your hour of combat is at hand, let a woman join issue in your stead, let her guide your hand! Let the love of one whom you know to be modest and given to womanly virtues watch over you there.)

In contrast to Hartmann’s Gregorius, whose anger against God is short-lived and who retires from the world to his ascetic life on the rock, Parzival’s anger against God becomes the central and abiding component of a courtly-chivalric approach based on the principles

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of minne and âventiure, an approach that Parzival maintains until he finally achieves the grail and is reunited with his beautiful wife (these two goals invariably being united in the hero’s mind). Parzival’s continuing anger is still evident during the second appearance of Cundrie before Parzival and the Arthurian contingent in Book XV, when she has come with the good news that he has been called to the grail castle. When Cundrie falls at Parzival’s feet and begs for his forgiveness, Parzival’s immediate reaction suggests the continuation of the anger he manifested after Cundrie’s first appearance: “Parzivâl truoc ûf si haz” (Parzival nursed great resentment toward her; 779, 29). After being prodded by Arthur and Feirefiz, his half-brother, Parzival eventually forgives Cundrie, but it is difficult to avoid seeing in his ongoing enmity toward her a continuing anger against the inscrutable power that has kept him away from the grail for so long. Any doubt about the coherence of Parzival chivalric orientation, and the consistently aggressive and angry self-assertion it has involved, seems to be dispelled in the final Book when Trevrizent, to his great wonderment, has to tell Parzival that his angry approach has been successful: grœzer wunder selten ie geschach, sît ir ab got erzürnet hât daz sîn endelôsiu Trinitât iwers willen werhaft worden ist. (798, 2–5) (A greater marvel never occurred, in that, after all, with your defiance you have wrung the concession from God that His everlasting Trinity has given you your wish.)

Parzival has seemingly obtained his goal without abandoning the zorn (anger) of which Trevrizent was so critical in Book IX, because of anger’s closeness to the sin of pride and its incompatibility with the proper attitude of Christian humility that Trevrizent was trying to impress upon his nephew. Of course, to say that Parzival wins the grail by fighting angrily is to comprehend only one dimension of Wolfram’s complex narrative. According to the contrastive dynamic already discussed, other perspectives—and explanations of Parzival’s ultimate success—are put forward during the second part of Parzival’s career. The most authoritative of these is the counsel Parzival receives from the hermit, his uncle Trevrizent, in Book IX. Parzival is brought to his uncle by a miraculous event, the closest thing to a “rebirth” that Wolfram’s

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determined hero experiences. Shortly after his words with the grey knight Kahenis, who is on a pilgrimage and gently rebukes Parzival for being armed and seeking combat on Good Friday, the burden of Parzival’s long years of fruitless questing for the grail and longing for his wife (we soon discover that it has been more than a halfdecade: 460, 19–30), combined with a sudden sense of remorse and a growing appreciation of God’s merciful power (linked to the quality of triuwe that he is said to have from his mother; 451, 6–8), seems to be mingled with the hero’s continuing anger, when he lays down the reigns of his horse and asks—or perhaps challenges—God to deliver him from his tribulations: er sprach, “waz ob got helfe phligt, diu mînem trûren an gesigt? wart ab er ie ritter holt, gedient ie ritter sînen solt, ode mac schilt unde swert sîner helfe sîn sô wert, und rehtiu manlîchiu wer, daz sîn helfe mich vor sorgen ner, ist hiut sîn helflîcher tac, sô helfe er, ob er helfen mac.” (451, 13–22) (“What if God has such power to succor as would overcome my sorrow?” he asked himself. “If He ever favored a knight and if any knight ever earned His reward or if shield and sword and true manly ardor can ever be so worthy of His help that this could save me from my cares and if this is His Helpful Day, then let Him help, if help He can!”)

The result is that Parzival’s horse (the one he has just won in a joust with a grail knight; 445, 13–20) brings him straight to the grotto of the hermit Trevrizent. Parzival’s hermit uncle is a multifaceted individual, a much more complex person than the priestly figure who appears in Chrétien’s Perceval. Although much of what Trevrizent tells his nephew indicates his erstwhile allegiance to and continuing fond memory of chivalric action, Trevrizent, the most informative spokesperson for the grail castle, articulates the most starkly Christian perspective in Parzival. This perspective, similar to that of Gregorius on his way to his penance on the rock, is the ascetic contempt for the world and sensual experience that is the central component of Trevrizent’s grotto existence, which has come about as a consequence of the damaging effects of chivalry, in this case the wound—the living death—of Anfortas. Trevrizent has

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responded to the wound of Anfortas in a way that is unique in Wolfram’s text by giving up the life of chivalry and forswearing meat, bread, and wine (480, 10–18). In response to Parzival’s continuing angry advocation of the value of combat, Trevrizent endeavors to impress upon his nephew the danger of pride and the value of humility that is appropriate for the grail court (472, 13–17). In Book IX Wolfram’s narrative seems to accommodate different ideological positions—Parzival’s angry (prideful) insistence on the value of chivalric combat and Trevrizent’s admonition to humility— without providing a clear resolution to their inner tensions and contradictions. In contrast to the relatively brief corresponding section in the text of Chrétien, in which the hero Perceval, prostrating himself and shedding tears of contrition, immediately conforms to the religious-ascetic perspective of his uncle, Parzival briefly acknowledges his sin at the outset of his visit, but continues to manifest an attitude of pride and even defiance when his chivalric priorities are questioned (500, 15–22). After leaving Trevrizent and before being called to the grail at the end of Book XV, Parzival leads the same chivalric life in pursuit of deeds-in-arms that he led after leaving the court of Arthur in Book VI. Two of the battles in which he is involved are especially significant. In Book XIV, Parzival unknowingly engages his Arthurian compatriot Gawan (in a battle that is clearly reminiscent of Iwein’s fight against Gawein in Hartmann’s final romance), and in a second and more significant battle in Book XV, Parzival struggles against a “mirror image” of himself (Wolfram stresses that they are one flesh and blood; 740, 2–6), when he contends with his black and white speckled brother Feirefiz. When the conflict against Feirefiz becomes most intense and difficult, Wolfram provides an important indication of the importance of Trevrizent’s council to Parzival: “der getoufte wol getrûwet gote/sît er von Trevrizende schiet” (The Christian had placed his full trust in God since leaving Trevrizent; 741, 26–30). Despite this indication of a change in Parzival’s attitude toward God, it is also evident that this fight between the world’s two best knights, which ends when God causes Parzival’s sword to break, has a chivalric value of its own that seems to have the effect of qualifying Parzival for the high office he is about to fill. The events in the life of Parzival between Book IX and his call to the grail thus remain indeterminately poised between worldlychivalric and religious-ascetic priorities, juxtaposing aspects from both

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without ever resolving their basic tensions and contradictions. At most we can say that Parzival’s long and difficult time of adventuring subsequent to his condemnation by Cundrie represents an openended mixture of chivalry and religiosity, of undiminished chivalric aggression, ascetic severity, and occasional moments of pious reflection. Somewhat like his romance predecessors Erec and Iwein, Parzival never ceases to seek chivalric action, but in the course of the second part of his career this action assumes a messianic function. Against all expectations, and against earlier indications that Parzival missed his opportunity to relieve the suffering of the grail kingdom (484, 1–2), Parzival ultimately heals his uncle and the suffering of the grail castle with the simple words: “œheim, waz wirret dier” (uncle, what ails you?; 795, 29). Wolfram’s Parzival is primarily about the ultimately successful quest of Parzival for the grail. Yet another aspect of the rich complexity of this romance is that it is also about the chivalric actions of Parzival’s Arthurian compatriot Gawan, which occupy the structural position corresponding to the second series of the hero’s adventures in the bipartite structure first devised by Chrétien de Troyes ( Jones, 39–40). Gawan’s adventures, although somewhat less organized and goal-oriented than those of Parzival, also have a redemptive function when he liberates the castle of wonders along with its inhabitants from the magical spell placed upon it by the diabolical Clinschor. As in the case of Parzival, this messianic action is situated in the context of love service. Whereas Parzival’s ascension to the grail throne is simultaneously a reunion with his wife Condwiramurs, the memory of whom has sustained him at least as much as the thought of the grail during his many battles, Gawan’s chivalric successes lead to his union with the lovely and powerful Orgeluse. Despite these broad similarities, the spaces in which Gawan moves are more characterized by the randomness and contingencies of the day-to-day life of a knighterrant. A case in point is the way in which the union between Gawan and Orgeluse is ultimately achieved, which, besides the prowess of Gawan in the many fights he has had to undertake, involves the reputation and diplomatic know-how of Gawan’s uncle, King Arthur. A series of events (that is, the chance arrival of Parzival, and Bene’s discovery that Gawan is to be Gramoflanz’s opponent) that occur while the contingents of Arthur and Gramoflanz’s uncle, the King of Punturteis, await the battle between Gawan and Gramoflanz, make it clear that this battle involves unacceptable conflicts of allegiance,

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for it is established that Gawan will be fighting, and possibly injuring or killing, the beloved of his sister Itonje. Circumstances conspire in a positive way to bring about a compromise in the interests of love. Arthur arranges a truce between Gawan and Gramoflanz, and Orgeluse is persuaded—although she obviously does so reluctantly—to swallow her anger against Gramoflanz, against whom she has been seeking revenge for the death in combat of her first husband, Cidegast ( Jones, 67–73). Parzival’s adventures encompass extremes of chivalric and religious experience, and thus seem to involve the struggle of cosmic forces, while the career of Gawan is more closely implicated in the primarily secular concerns of Arthur’s court. Judging by the content of the prologue and the structural position of the Gawan adventures, Wolfram’s greater interest is doubtless in Parzival, but the lengthy attention devoted to it by Wolfram ensures that Gawan’s career is much more than merely the not-too-serious diversion from the weightier and far more substantial adventures of Parzival, as which it has often been seen, if not dismissed, in scholarly literature. By means of the story of Gawan—which has been seen by some scholars as a continuation of Hartmann’s Arthurian conception—and the complex ways in which Gawan’s adventures are linked to those of Parzival, Wolfram completes his grand depiction of a courtly-chivalric cosmos and suggests that the essential is sometimes in the mundane detail. Willehalm Probably in the second decade of the thirteenth century Wolfram composed Willehalm, basing his tale loosely on a French narrative of the Chanson de Geste-tradition concerning the deeds of count William of Toulouse, who fought against Saracens in southern France and Spain in the latter eighth and early ninth centuries. Based on the number of extant manuscripts and the influence it exerted on later poets, Willehalm is arguably the second most significant German narrative of the Middle Ages. The work survives in twelve complete versions and fifty-eight fragments, making it the second best preserved German verse narrative after Parzival. A complete version of Wolfram’s work was composed around the mid-thirteenth century by Ulrich von dem Türlîn, and within the next couple of decades Ulrich von Türheim composed a romance called Rennewart based on the deeds of the significant character of that name in Wolfram’s

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romance. Willehalm is also associated with an unusually high number of manuscript illuminations depicting events in its significant episodes. It is not known exactly which version of the French Bataille d’Aliscans Wolfram employed as his source during the composition of Willehalm, but it is clear that the German poet radically transformed the traditional material by shifting its central concern from a just and holy war against heathens in defense of Christendom—although it does not stop being this, to some degree—to a chivalric battle for the love of a lady. This narrative begins, as does Parzival, with problems associated with the inheritance of land and power. Count Heimrich of Narbonne decides to reward one of his vassals, a man of unswerving loyalty who dies for him in combat, by naming the vassal’s son his heir. This conferral of Heimrich’s power and wealth assuages the grief of the loyal vassal’s son, but it deprives the count’s own seven sons of an inheritance which they might have hoped, and perhaps had a right to expect, to divide in some way or another among themselves. According to the same apparently self-evident service ideology that enables him to reward his faithful vassals and to deprive his sons of their inheritance (for this deprivation Wolfram uses the strong term verstiez; 5, 16–17), Heimrich sends his sons out into the world to make their own fortune, confident that if they exert themselves with the same loyalty and resolve as the vassal whom he has rewarded, they too will be able to win a position of wealth and power corresponding to the one of which they have been deprived at home. Such wealth and power is equated by Heimrich with the reward of noble ladies, one of the early indications that Wolfram is infusing the traditional Chanson de Geste material with the romance interests in love and adventure. The aggressive energy of Willehalm, Heimrich’s eldest son, is thus directed onto an external landscape of adventure where it soon obtains those things that were withheld from him by his father. Following the courtly model of love service held forth by Heimrich, Willehalm earns with his knightly deeds the love of the beautiful lady Arabel (220, 1–10). Although Wolfram’s text does not explain exactly how Willehalm wins this love, the French versions of the story, with which Wolfram’s audience may have been familiar, inform us that the winning of Arabel coincided with the conquest of Orange from the heathen king of Aragon, who held this city and protective custody of Arabel on behalf of Arabel’s first husband, Tibalt, the king of Africa.

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The defense of Orange on the plain of Alischanz constitutes the first major episode of Wolfram’s poem, in which much more is at stake than an insignificant, disputed outpost on the frontier. In Wolfram’s text Orange becomes the focal point of an armed struggle between opposed faiths not only for the person of Arabel, who is christened Giburc, but also for rule over the entire world. By struggling to recover this seemingly modest piece of property, and the apostate queen within it, the Muslims are simultaneously struggling for dominion over all of Christendom (75, 3–9 and 338, 15–340, 11). Orange thus rivals the importance of Aachen as the locus of a contest for the prize of a lady’s love that is also a confessional struggle for world domination, and this city may also be seen as a former part of the vast lands and wealth of the mighty Terramer, Giburc’s father. The power of the Muslims’ overlord Terramer, which extends to the edge of the world and includes exotic lands inhabited by men covered with horny skin who run as swiftly as horses (34, 26–35–19), must have had a fascination all its own by virtue of the amount of attention devoted to its elaborate and detailed description. Yet the descriptions of this fantastic wealth may also be suggestive of the power to which Willehalm aspires. Count Willehalm contends with distinction and valor on the battlefield with powerful kings, like the ten sons of Terramer (all of whom are powerful kings; 30, 2–9), thus seeming to demonstrate his worthiness not only to possess the person of Giburc, but also to wield royal power himself. In a notable aside, Wolfram lends support to the idea that Terramer should accept Willehalm on the basis of his prowess in love service when he states that a man who is good enough for his daughter ought to be good enough for the mighty king himself (11, 19–30). If the “humanity” frequently attributed to Wolfram’s poem is in the courtly-chivalric values and the bonds of kinship that are shared by Christians and Muslims alike, then this humanity is inextricable from Willehalm’s quest for land, wealth, and power, for the desired acceptance of Willehalm by his father-in-law Terramer on the basis of the count’s prowess in love service (or, to put it more generally, on the basis of their common humanity) would, at the very least, amount to the concession of Orange to Willehalm. Given Terramer’s seemingly endless territories and wealth, one might expect the conferral of an even greater amount of land and power upon Willehalm, if the courtly-chivalric logic of love and adventure held exclusive sway. Despite the general adherence to the ideal of love service on the

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part of both Christians and heathens, who fight as much for the love of their ladies as for their salvation and the greater glory of their respective deities, religious opposition stands in the way of a courtly-chivalric resolution of conflict, in which Terramer might be expected to concede to Willehalm the love and the land that he has so clearly earned with his aggressive initiative and courageous effort. The initial battle at Alischanz results in horrific losses on both sides, and the narrator makes no attempt to prettify this fight: “dâ wart solh ritterschaft getân,/sol man ir geben rehtez wort,/diu mac vür wâr wol heizen mort” (Such chivalry was performed there that if one were to give it its proper name it could only be called ‘slaughter,’ 10, 18–20; all Willehalm citations from Gibbs/Johnson). At the battle’s end the invading Muslims are in control of the field, and Willehalm’s claim to Giburc/Orange is in jeopardy. Since Willehalm is unable to substantiate his claim at the periphery of the Christian realm, his aggressive energy is redirected to the empire’s center. Willehalm’s journey to the court festival of the emperor Louis at Laon is not merely a desperate attempt to request reinforcements, as which it presents itself on the surface, but something like a military campaign, in which Willehalm brings to the heart of the French kingdom the aggressive claim to power that he has been unable to maintain in the initial battle on the plain of Alischanz. Prominent in Willehalm’s journey to the court of Louis, the “Roman” king, are the complementary attitudes of aggression and asceticism. The first is the manifestation of a potentially disruptive energy that was initially (that is, upon Heimrich’s disinheritance of his sons) directed toward faraway lands according to the logic of chivalric adventuring in the service of ladies, and that has now been redirected toward the center of imperial power by the overwhelming numbers of the Muslim adversary. Aggression on the part of Willehalm is consequently not a new development, but merely maintains the aspiration to land and power that has been central in his motivations from the beginning, even if the person from whom power is being claimed has changed from Terramer and the lands and wealth of the heathens, to Louis and the resources of the French realm. The attitude of asceticism—announced by Willehalm’s vow, when he departs from Orange, to nourish himself only with bread and water (105, 1–13)—has grown out of the defeat at Alischanz and suggests that at least part of the count’s anger has been directed against himself, particularly on account of the death in combat of

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his young nephew Vivianz (67, 5–30). Somewhat like Trevrizent in Parzival, Willehalm has renounced most of the comforts associated with the courtly-chivalric life, but unlike the quasi-monastic existence of Parzival’s hermit uncle, Willehalm’s asceticism is only temporary and it is combined with aggression in a way that continues to involve the count in the power and resources of Louis’s realm. The count’s ascetic practices might be seen as a reminder to Louis’s court of the material and spiritual suffering he has incurred for the good of France and the integrity of Louis’s power, while his aggression continues to be directed at his own homeland until this suffering is not just his own burden, but the pain of all of France and an incitement to military action against the Muslim foe. The aggression with which Willehalm directs his claim to status and power, which takes the form of a “debt” that has to be repaid, is first manifested in the conflict that occurs outside the gates of the city of Orleans as the count passes by this city on his way to Laon. When the citizens mistake Willehalm for a merchant and demand tribute from him for safe passage, Willehalm beheads a judge who would enforce this payment and inflicts heavy damages on the burghers, employing against his own countrymen the battle cry heretofore reserved for use against his heathen adversaries (114, 22–26). As Willehalm rides northward into his own country, the bloodshed of Alischanz thus seems to spill over into the French countryside. The violent aggression of Willehalm’s ride through France is continued and takes a potentially fratricidal form when Ernalt, Willehalm’s brother and the king’s representative in the area, rides out to apprehend the unknown “invader,” and the two knights turn their lances and swords on one another. Only by identifying himself to his unknown adversary does Ernalt avoid death at the hands of his incensed brother. The result of this aggression on the part of Willehalm is eventually the reception of Ernalt’s help, to which Willehalm now seems entitled not only by virtue of his efforts against the heathens at the borders of the French kingdom, but also by virtue of the prowess he has continued to demonstrate against his own countrymen. Willehalm is no longer killing and jousting with the French by the time he reaches Laon, perhaps a first manifestation of the pacifying effect of the courtly situation in which he now finds himself. Nevertheless, his aggressive demeanor, which will culminate in physical violence against the person of the queen and in provocative, usurpatory words that question Louis’s right to rule over France, is

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clearly maintained and will soon be infused into the court festival, transforming it from the empty pageantry of a king who seems too weak to rule into a beautiful and effective weapon to use against the Muslim invaders. When Willehalm first appears in Laon, he is shunned by the court, which apparently wants to enjoy the present courtly festiveness and splendor without having anything to do with the painful effort that makes it possible. Particularly Willehalm’s sister, the queen, is responsible for keeping the angry Willehalm—who stands outside the window in the dusty and battered armor of the heathen Arofel, peering like a wolf looks at sheep into the carefree courtly festival (129, 14–17)—at a distance. Initially only the merchant Wimar seems to acknowledge the suffering of Willehalm and to provide some recompense for it by bestowing the welcome that Willehalm is denied by his sister. But Willehalm’s claim cannot be resisted by the French crown for long. On the day after his arrival and the initial rejection of him, Willehalm, nursing thoughts of violent revenge against his own people (136, 22–30), comes to court in the company of Wimar. After the king, queen, Heimrich, and Willehalm’s brothers have arrived and taken their places, Willehalm finally raises his voice, first threatening the life of Louis, and then reminding him with angry words that the king’s sovereignty has depended above all on his own efforts, which have overcome internal and external threats to Louis’s rule (145, 16–146, 7). Louis seems to acknowledge the validity of these words by quickly acquiescing to Willehalm’s demands, but the queen continues to resist, voicing the concern that she and her husband would retain little or nothing of their power if they gave Willehalm everything he desires (147, 7–10). Willehalm’s reaction to the reservations of his sister represents the culmination of his aggression against the power of the French throne: vor al den vürsten daz geschach: die krône er ir von dem houpte brach und warf si, daz diu gar zebrast. dô begreif der zornebære gast bî den zöpfen die künegîn. er wolde ir mit dem swerte sîn daz houpt hân abe geswungen: wan daz dar zwischen kom gedrungen ir beider muoter Irmschart, des wart ir leben dâ gespart. (147, 15–24)

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(In front of all the princes he snatched the crown from her head and hurled it down, so that it shattered in pieces. Then the raging guest seized the Queen by her braids and would have sliced off her head with his sword, had not Irmshart, the mother of them both, come between them. Thus her life was spared.)

By removing the crown from his sister’s head, and nearly removing her head as well, Willehalm clearly announces to the noble onlookers, whose allegiance to the king he has brought about by the power of his influence and his sword, that he does not consider his sister fit to rule if she resists his just claim. The queen/sister saves herself only by fleeing before the wrathful count and locking herself in a chamber with her daughter Alize. As if to make up for his neglect at the hands of the imperial couple, Heimrich of Narbonne now approaches his son, discovers what has transpired at Alischanz, and promises his assistance. In the words between Willehalm and his father, the losses suffered by Willehalm in the initial battle finally begin to be recognized not just as the material and spiritual losses of the count individually, but as the losses of the entire French kingdom, and they finally begin to be repaid with the men and resources that will permit Willehalm to maintain his claim to power at Orange in the second great battle that is to come. Although narrative events continue for awhile to be shaped by a potentially disastrous internal venting of Willehalm’s aggression, Heimrich’s condolence over the death of Vivianz and his promise of material assistance has the effect of beginning to redirect this aggression toward the external, heathen enemy, at which point the event in which everyone is involved at Laon begins again to look like a courtly festival, rather than the site of a violent power struggle. The king’s power and resources are eventually placed at the disposal of Willehalm (183, 3–10), and in Orleans, where the last troops who are to join the campaign have been instructed to gather, an important decision is made when the King selects Willehalm to lead the forces of the empire into battle against the Muslim invaders (211, 7–22). This transfer of authority coincides with a spatial shift in the locus of the court from the center of the French kingdom to its periphery, from Laon to Orange. The sudden disappearance of the heathen armies upon the arrival of Willehalm’s forces, inexplicable from a military standpoint, given the heathens’ vast superiority in numbers, allows the courtly pageantry, which has never completely

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ceased since Willehalm’s “victory” in Laon, to continue and come to a culmination in Orange, with Willehalm and Giburc now seeming to occupy the positions formerly held by the king and queen of France, and with Willehalm’s military interests supported by a powerful new ally named Rennewart (another of Terramer’s sons, whose own story rehearses the basic idea of a meritorious, but unrecognized claim to prestige and power). The count has thus seemingly acquired the power and resources to which he is entitled by virtue of his chivalric valor, and with this power and these resources, the products of a narrowly averted political coup within, Willehalm is able in the coming battle—during which Wolfram’s narrative breaks off, after some fourteen-thousand verses in all—to defend his love, his land, and the integrity of all Christendom. Holy war, the courtly chivalric interests in love and adventure, and a claim to land and power stand side by side in Wolfram’s text, each interest alternatively influencing and determining the direction the story takes. Willehalm’s marriage to Giburc is simultaneously a provocation to Giburc’s Muslim family and thus an incitement to confessional conflict, a courtly match with a beautiful lady on the basis of knightly prowess, and an external claim to the power of which Willehalm has been deprived internally. This work is thus about winning a victory for God, preserving a just claim to the love of a beautiful courtly lady, and obtaining and maintaining political power and wealth—multiple interests that are indicative of Wolfram’s singular amalgamation in his Willehalm of the Chanson de Geste tradition with the themes and concerns of the chivalric romances. The Titurel Fragments Possibly during the period he was working on Willehalm, sometime during the second decade of the thirteenth century, Wolfram began work on a remarkable narrative about the love of Sigune and Schionatulander, two characters that would have been familiar to Wolfram’s audiences on the basis of their appearance in the earlier Parzival. It is likely that Wolfram completed only two sections, the so-called Titurel fragments, so named because of the occurrence of the name “Titurel” in the initial verse of the first and larger fragment. If this highly lyrical work, which was probably intended to be sung, was based on sources other than Wolfram’s own fertile imagination, these are not known. The scanty preservation of the frag-

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ments—one hundred sixty-four quatrains in the G-manuscript of Parzival, and a smaller number of quatrains in two other manuscripts—suggests that Titurel remained something of a literary experiment. One of the most remarkable aspects of Titurel is its metric form, quatrains of long lines with an a-a-b-b rhyme scheme, which shows similarities to the quatrains of the Nibelungenlied and seems to have been invented by Wolfram for this work. A few decades after Wolfram, a Bavarian poet by the name of Albrecht composed a fulllength romance based on Wolfram’s text called Der jüngere Titurel. In the Titurel fragments Wolfram depicts the love of Sigune and Schionatulander with a psychological and emotional detail and intensity paralleled only by Gottfried’s treatment of the love of Tristan and Isolde. Necessary for an understanding of the way in which love is depicted in Titurel is a familiarity with Parzival, in which the lovers appear on several occasions. When they first appear in Book III of Parzival, Schionatulander has been killed in a joust and Sigune has withdrawn from the world to mourn her dead beloved. Striking about the posture of Sigune in Parzival is that her love for Schionatulander transcends the limits of life itself. Sigune loves him in death as she did in life (Parzival, 141, 24: “nu minne i’n alsô tôten” [now I love him dead]), and their inseparable bond draws her inexorably to him. By the time Parzival comes upon them in Book XVI for the last time, Sigune has joined her lover in death, and Parzival has the two buried together. Wolfram’s depiction of the love of Sigune and Schionatulander in Parzival captures one of the painful realities of the chivalric life, which is that love is necessarily attached to military exploits and is consequently a gamble, since the death of the beloved is always a real possibility. If love is a gamble, Wolfram seems to hedge his bets in the case of Sigune and Schionatulander by suggesting that love does not end, but rather is continued and transformed upon the death of the beloved. The love of Sigune and Schionatulander as depicted in Parzival shows that, for Wolfram, love’s power overcomes even death and thus cannot be renounced as insubstantial because it is transitory. This love that reaches beyond death, and that is depicted with a religious imagery that does not detract from its worldly, sensual quality, is consistent with Wolfram’s broader literary interest in accommodating secular and religious values and interests. As Wolfram succinctly states in a few verses of the first Titurel fragment, “minne hât ûf erde und ûf ze himele vür got geleite:/minne ist allenthalben wan ze helle” (Love here upon this

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earth and in heaven also walks before God; Love is in all places save in hell, quatrain 51). The Titurel fragments provide details of the past history of Sigune and Schionatulander’s love that are only hinted at in Parzival. In the first fragment, in which the lovers are introduced during an exposition of their familial relationships to the grail castle (in the case of Sigune), and to Gurnemanz and Gurzgri (in the case of Schionatulander), Schionatulander unsuccessfully asks Sigune for her love. The final exchange in their dialogue, in which Sigune commands chivalric service and Schionatulander complies with this command, shows that both lovers, despite their youth, understand the necessary connection between the woman’s granting of her love and the man’s successful performance of chivalric action: “mich hât dîn jugent noch niht rehte erarnet. dû muost mich under schiltlîchem dache ê dienen: des wis vor gewarnet.” “vrouwe, als ich mit krefte diu wâpen mac leiten, hie enzwischen und danne mîn lîp wirt gesehen in süezen sûren arbeiten, sô daz mîn dienst nâch dîner helfe ringe.” (quatrains 71 and 72) (“Your youth has not yet rightly earned me: you must first serve me by fighting under the protection of your shield. Be so advised beforehand!” “Lady, as soon as I have the strength to use weapons, here meanwhile and then hereafter I shall undertake those bittersweet labors so my service may try to win your help.” All Titurel citations are from Passage.)

The first fragment ends with Schionatulander in the company of the adventuring Gahmuret, who recognizes the signs of love in his young kinsman and lends support to Sigune’s words by saying that Schionatulander will have to use up whole forests in jousting to achieve her love (quatrain 102). The second fragment, the relationship of which to the first is not entirely clear, finds the lovers in a pastoral setting, in which Sigune insists that Schionatulander fetch a dog upon whose leash a story is written (which closely resembles the story of their own love), so that she can continue reading it. If he can successfully bring the dog back to her, she promises she will reward Schionatulander with her love. The Second Fragment ends at this point, but the narrator Wolfram makes it clear that Schionatulander’s effort to obtain the dog will result in his death. Much has been made in the critical literature of Sigune’s possible responsibility for the death of her lover, who ultimately dies trying to win her love with chivalric deeds of arms, and Sigune herself

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invites critical assessments because of her laments that she did not grant Schionatulander her love (Parzival, 141, 20–24). To be sure, following the death of her lover, Sigune is a unique figure whose individuality is grounded in guilt and suffering, and her experience is made all the more individual to the extent that she regards Schionatulander’s death as her responsibility and does not take this for granted as the inevitable result of following established social codes. Even so, it must be recognized that Sigune did not act contrary to accepted norms of courtly behavior—as generally depicted elsewhere in Wolfram’s romances—by insisting that her love be earned with chivalric deeds. However we construe the significance of guilt in Sigune’s experience, the depiction of the outcome of her love of Schionatulander may be seen as consistent with Wolfram’s broader literary project, already visible in the earlier Parzival, which involves the merging of worldly and spiritual elements. This project seems to be made necessary by the inevitability of chivalric fatalities in the service of ladies. Seen as part of this broader project, and read in its relationship to Parzival, the love of Sigune and Schionatulander as depicted in the Titurel fragments, particularly the weight placed from the start on the suffering love involves, can be seen as corresponding to, and perhaps foreshadowing, that painful moment of “transition”—the death of the beloved—at which a worldly love oriented toward the physical union of the beloved (even if this is, regrettably, not realized in the case of these two young lovers) becomes necessarily disembodied and spiritual, even as it preserves a degree of its sensual quality (noteworthy in Parzival is that Sigune is always touching the body of her beloved). In some of its aspects Wolfram’s depiction of the pain of love is reminiscent of other medieval treatments of the topic, such as that of Andreas Capellanus (for whom love is a passio innata, or “inborn suffering”), but Wolfram gives extraordinary depth to the conventional association of love and pain by suggesting a continuum between the temporary inability or impossibility of being united with the beloved, because of constraining social conventions, and the seemingly permanent absence of the beloved in death. As already suggested, Wolfram’s unique text holds forth the hope that even this painful lack can be overcome by love’s power. Wolfram’s association of love and death in the story of Sigune and Schionatulander shows similarities to Gottfried’s depiction of the love of Tristan and Isolde. In both cases, young lovers experience suffering as a result of social conventions (which the lovers them-

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selves accept) that prevent them from being united. In both cases, love seems from the start to be connected with and lead inexorably to death, which does not end, but rather transfigures it. While Wolfram and Gottfried both appear to be interested in the inherent value of worldly love, the manner in which they give literary expression to this interest is quite different.

Gottfried von Straßburg Among the three great German authors of romances in the High Middle Ages, Gottfried von Straßburg is exceptional in many respects. He was probably not a knight, as Hartmann and Wolfram claim to have been. This is based in part on the designation of him as meister rather than as her, the latter being the normal form of address for nobles and knights. Although there is no preserved historical document about Gottfried’s life, it has been considered likely that he belonged to the burgher class, and the word meister may mean that he earned a Masters Degree in the liberal arts. This would be consistent with the broad range of learning Gottfried demonstrates in his Tristan, which includes a first rate knowledge of the Trivium (that is, grammar, rhetoric, dialectic) as well as expertise in the more advanced special subjects of theology, philosophy, jurisprudence, and in the arts of the hunt and music. Gottfried’s Latin and French are considered to be flawless, he is familiar with the works and culture of antiquity, and his literary idiom suggests a background in Middle Latin poetics. Gottfried is also knowledgeable about the contemporary literary situation in Germany, as indicated by the extraordinary section of his Tristan, the so-called Literaturschau or literary review, in which he discusses the great poets and literary developments of his time. Besides providing an invaluable tool for reconstructing the chronology of significant literary events (such as the biographical data of authors and the approximate dates of composition of their works), the Literaturschau has been seen both as an example of Gottfried’s own rhetorical and stylistic virtuosity and, beyond this, as a literary theoretical reflection in which the author provides crucial information about his own artistic program (Haug, 218–223). Gottfried’s fame both in the Middle Ages and in moderns times has rested largely on his formal virtuosity, the elegant beauty of his language, meter, and rhymes, and not primarily on the subject mat-

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ter of his romance, perhaps because medieval and modern audiences found the subject either difficult to understand, or religiously or morally objectionable. Gottfried was much lauded by later poets in the thirteenth century, but the praise is based primarily on his talents as a versifier. While they praised his artistry, the continuators of Gottfried’s unfinished Tristan, Ulrich von Türheim and Heinrich von Freiburg, did not follow Gottfried’s challenging and provocative conception of love. This conception is particularly challenging for its striking employment of religious imagery in the depiction of an adulterous love. In the prologue, for example, the story of the love of Tristan and Isolde is likened to the bread of the Holy Eucharist; in the episode involving the test of the glowing iron, a Christ as “pliant as a windblown sleeve” comes to the aid of the lovers’ deception of Marke; and in the depiction of the physical properties of the Minnegrotte—site of the lovers’ most uninhibited dedication to their adulterous relationship—Gottfried has been seen as indebted to treatises discussing the allegorical significance of Gothic architecture. Gottfried’s challenging literary conception, which thus endows the adulterous love affair of Tristan and Isolde with a quasi-religious, “absolute” value, found some of its most virulent condemnations among bourgeois readers in the early nineteenth century, when Karl Lachmann’s assertion that Gottfried’s poem contains little more than “extravagance and blasphemy” was not untypical. Gottfried’s audacious conception of love has its roots not only in the educational accomplishments of the author, but doubtless also in the rich and diverse cultural life of the city in which he lived. Medieval Strasbourg was shaped by the intellectual currents of early scholasticism coming from nearby France, and also by religious heresies such as Catharism, which were prosecuted during the time in which Gottfried was composing his Tristan with the ordeal of the glowing iron. Frictions between the archbishop of Strasbourg and the city’s powerful patricians (Gottfried and his patron are generally assumed to have been among the latter) are suggestive of a volatile mixture of interests in this urban setting that would inevitably have left a mark on Gottfried’s romance. Consistent with the increasing economic and social differentiation that is first occurring in medieval cities such as Strasbourg is the way in which the problems caused by love are managed by a talented group of “specialists” on behalf of the court as a whole, which might be seen as one of the central concerns of Tristan.

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Tristan Tristan is preserved in eleven complete manuscripts and some thirteen fragments. Gottfried’s work breaks off after some twenty-thousand verses, and one of his continuators, Ulrich von Türheim, says that the author’s early death was the reason Tristan remained unfinished. An acrostic beginning in the initial quatrains of the prologue and extending throughout Gottfried’s work spells the initials of the author, the name of the probable patron (Dieterich), and the names of the lovers Tristan and Isolde (with the letters of the two names alternating). The point at which the acrostic breaks off, along with the preserved fragments of Gottfried’s probable source, suggests that a much longer work was envisaged. Gottfried says in his prologue that he is following the version of the Tristan-story as set down by Thomas. He thus seems to reject an alternative strand of the Tristan-tradition, visible in the Tristan works of Béroul and Eilhart von Oberge, which contained language and episodes he regarded as unseemly for his courtly audiences (on one occasion in Eilhart’s Tristrant, Marke punishes Isolde by handing her over to lepers for their sexual gratification). The choice of Thomas’ restrained and polished version of the Tristan story—the only extant version of which starts at about the point Gottfried’s text breaks off—is consistent with the more elegant tone of Gottfried’s work. We have seen that the chivalric romances of Hartmann von Aue and Wolfram von Eschenbach did not neglect to explore love’s troubling aspects. While love is recognized as the ideal bond between a man and a woman and as the foundation for chivalric deeds, both Hartmann and Wolfram frequently dwell on love’s penchant for inflicting suffering upon helpless people and driving normally responsible people to commit asocial, immoral or heinous acts. Despite its troubling aspects (which in the Arthurian narratives tend to be associated with the spaces beyond Arthur’s well-regulated courtly order), the interests of love generally end up being successfully balanced against other priorities during the course of the hero’s adventures (which deal with those various challenges posed by the regions beyond the court, thus “civilizing” them). The closure established in the Arthurian romances of Hartmann implies a successful balance of love and chivalric endeavor, while the closure of Wolfram’s Parzival involved a more elaborate and complex narrative mixture of devotion to one’s beloved, chivalric accomplishments, and religious piety or humility.

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In the cases of Parzival’s love for Condwiramurs (which is portrayed almost as a shadow of his desire for the grail) and Sigune’s love for Schionatulander, we observed that Wolfram also endeavors to conceive of love as an “absolute,” even if he seems unwilling to accept the proposition that, as such, it must inevitably lead to the dissolution of social order. In contrast to the ultimately happy harmonization of worldly love with chivalric deeds and religious demands that is achieved in the adventures of heroes such as Erec and Parzival, Tristan portrays a love that cannot, in the end, be successfully balanced against other social interests and priorities in a harmonious way (that is, assuming that Gottfried, had he finished his work, would have followed the version of Thomas to its conclusion)—although this is not for lack of trying. While the tendency in much of the criticial literature has been to attach the greatest meaning to this ultimate failure to reconcile individual desires with social expectations, an alternative view of Gottfried’s narrative recommends itself. Tristan presents a unique narrative, in which a courtly-chivalric order, however fragile, is maintained, however temporarily, by virtue of the painful effort of the lovers, whose devotion to the demands of love is matched only by their sense of duty to Marke’s court. By means of their extraordinary characteristics, the lovers Tristan and Isolde provide for the integration of an “absolute” love into the court society of which they are integral members and in which—as we shall see—they continue to have a strong personal and political interest. Gottfried’s Tristan begins with the unprovoked attack of Tristan’s father Riwalin on his liege lord Morgan. The reason for this attack, which leads to the temporary victory of Riwalin, has something to do with a problem that we have seen in other romances: Riwalin wants to live “entirely as he pleases” (262) and thus lacks restraint. In order to polish his rough edges, Riwalin journeys to the court of the renowned King Marke, whose sovereignty over Cornwall and England represents a victory of courtly-chivalric order over the kind of conflict and chaos from which Riwalin himself is just emerging: nu die daz lant besâzen und ez under sich gemâzen, dô wolten si alle künegelîn und hêrren von in selben sîn: diz wart ir aller ungewin. sus begunden sî sich under in slahen unde morden starke

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  und befulhen ouch dô Marke sich und daz lant in sîne pflege; sît her diendez im alle wege sô sêre und sô vorhtlîche, daz nie kein künicrîche eim künege mê gediende baz. (435–447) (When they had seized the land and shared it amongst themselves, all wished to be kinglets and lords in their own right, but all were the losers by it; for they took to killing and butchering one another and ended by placing themselves and their lands under Marke’s protection. From this time on, England served him so well and reverently in every way that no kingdom ever served king to better purpose. All Tristan citations are from Hatto.)

This account of the manner in which the kinglets and lords of England hand over control of their land to the courtly Marke anticipates the “civilizing” effect that Marke’s court has on the initially impetuous and violent Riwalin. At Marke’s court Riwalin meets Blanscheflur, the sister of Marke, the two fall in love, lie together secretly, and conceive Tristan. By this time Riwalin’s nemesis Morgan has launched the inevitable counter-attack against Parmenie, and when Riwalin departs for his homeland to resist Morgan, Blanscheflur—now pregnant and fearing for her reputation when this becomes evident—secretly leaves with him. The two are married shortly after their arrival in Parmenie, Riwalin eventually dies in battle against Morgan, and the grief caused by his death, along with the exertions of childbirth, cause Blanscheflur to die shortly after Tristan is born. As cast by Gottfried in the case of Riwalin and Blanscheflur (and later on in the case of Tristan and Isolde), love might be seen as a specifically courtly lack of self-control for which the lovers bare no personal responsibility or culpability (as opposed to the lack of restraint that led to Riwalin’s unprovoked military assault on Morgan, which Gottfried condemns as arrogance; 264–302). Since they cannot help but love each other, Riwalin and Blanscheflur are absolved from personal responsibility, even as their love continues to have important political implications that will be developed in the story of their son Tristan, who has to deal with the troubled legacy of his parents. Aspiring to a higher level than his own social station, Riwalin seems to achieve in his love with Blanscheflur more than he was able to achieve on the battlefield against Morgan, putting his son in a position to inherit vastly greater lands and power than were

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bequeathed to him. As the child of Riwalin, the parvenu from Parmenie, and Blanscheflur, the royal sister of the powerful king Marke, Tristan is the product of a love that is troublesome not least because of the political claim it makes, however unintentionally. Much of what happens after the unhappy end of Riwalin and Blanscheflur can be related to the claim to power implicitly made by their love, a claim that is about to be realized, in a more direct and compelling way by virtue of his blood relationship to Marke, and in more aesthetically pleasing way by virtue of his many courtly accomplishments, by Tristan. Tristan is brought up believing he is the son of Rual, Riwalin’s loyal lieutenant, who sees to it that the youth receives a thorough education. Besides the normal aristocratic training in the wielding of arms, Tristan learns the languages and customs of different peoples and becomes accomplished in the arts of the hunt and of music. An attempt by Norwegian traders to abduct Tristan is the first of many events that eventually bring the hero from Parmenie to Marke’s court, where he quickly becomes, by virtue of his many courtly accomplishments, Marke’s closest friend: Der künec sprach: “Tristan, hœre her! An dir ist allez, des ich ger, dû kanst allez, daz ich wil, jagen, sprâche, seitspil. Nu suln ouch wir gesellen sîn, dû der mîn und ich der dîn.” (3719–3724) (“Tristan, listen to me,” said the King, “you can do everything I want— hunting, languages, music. To crown it let us be companions. You will be mine and I will be yours.”)

Tristan thus positions himself with his many talents at the center of Marke’s courtly-chivalric order, and he will remain here, by virtue of these same talents, for the duration of Gottfried’s narrative. One of the reasons for Tristan’s rapid early success at Marke’s court may be that no one yet knows that he is the son of Riwalin and Blanscheflur and, hence, the problematical potential heir of Marke’s kingdoms. Tristan, who is himself still in the dark about his true relation to Marke’s court, nevertheless contributes to the concealment of the political claim he embodies by lying about his personal history and claiming to be the son of a merchant. Whatever the motivations behind this deception may be (even if it is untrue, Tristan’s claim suggests that merchants can be courtly, perhaps an indirect compliment

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on the part of Gottfried to his patrician audience), it buys time for Tristan’s accomplishments to have an ingratiating effect, so that a close bond between Tristan and Marke already exists when their true familial relationship is later revealed. In this respect, this initial deception is somewhat similar to the later, highly motivated deceptions on the part of Tristan and Isolde, the function of which is not only to dupe Marke so that they can consummate their love, but also to maintain their position—and hence the position of love—in Marke’s courtly-chivalric order. When Rual later arrives at Marke’s court, reveals Tristan’s true identity, and relates the unhappy love story of Riwalin and Blanscheflur, Marke—obviously on the basis of their already very strong friendship—adopts Tristan as his own son and heir: “Tristan, gâ her und küsse mich!/und zwâre, soltu leben und ich,/ich wil dîn erbevater sîn” (Tristan, come here and kiss me! I swear that, if you and I live, I will be your father by right of succession; 4297–4299). At this significant moment, the relationship of Riwalin and Blanscheflur is also legitimized and blessed by Marke’s authoritative voice (4300–4304). Tristan is subsequently knighted, an occasion that is used by Gottfried to present the famous Literaturschau mentioned above, but more significant in this context is the designation of Tristan as Marke’s heir (also: 4444–4460), which represents the overt realization of the claim to political power that was implicit in the clandestine union of Riwalin and Blanscheflur. Tristan’s first action, now as Marke’s heir and as a knight, is to exact revenge for the death of his father by returning to Parmenie and killing Morgan treacherously. In another of the many deceptions that precede the adulterous love affair, Tristan prepares himself for a parley with Morgan by concealing his armor and gear under his traveling cloak. Thus ready either for a warlike or a peaceful engagement, Tristan confronts Morgan, who is out hunting, and requests to be recognized as ruler of Parmenie. When Morgan refuses, based on his conviction that Tristan is a bastard, Tristan suddenly draws his sword and kills the man responsible for the death of his father. However reprehensible this brutal act may be, it is consistent with the manner in which blood feuds were conducted historically, and the narrator Gottfried provides no clear indications that there is anything wrong with Tristan’s approach (the narrator’s commentary is limited to the adage that “debts lie, yet don’t rot”; 5460–5462). In this episode it is possible to see that Gottfried—even

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if he is not as staunchly chivalric as Hartmann or Wolfram—tolerates the violence of military action as a sometimes necessary matter of course. Tristan’s deception in this episode is also consistent with that which he practiced after his arrival in Cornwall (when he somewhat inexplicably claimed to be the son of a merchant), and with the deceptions he will employ later on with Isolde, all of which function to preserve his position within Marke’s court. It must not be forgotten that Morgan’s doubts about the legitimacy of Tristan’s birth question not only his qualifications to wield power in Parmenie, but also the legitimacy and greater power only recently conferred upon Tristan by the authoritative, courtly voice of Marke. Upon his return to Cornwall, Tristan finds the court of Marke held hostage by the fearsome Morolt of Ireland, who is demanding a tribute of thirty boys from the lands of England and Cornwall. In the person of Morolt and in the uncourtly, savage demands he makes, we see that Marke’s courtly order is an ongoing project that is never far removed from, and sometimes still held hostage by, less “civilized” modes of action. Tristan chooses to fight Morolt instead of handing over the tribute, and with God, justice, and a stout heart on his side (6886–6891), Tristan overcomes and kills Morolt in their combat. Unfortunately, this victory does not establish closure, as the monstrosity of Morolt seems to be introduced into Tristan in the form of the awful wound he suffers from the tip of Morolt’s poisoned spear. The stench of this wound makes Tristan, the court’s savior, burdensome (7279–7286), and Tristan discovers he must endeavor to obtain a cure from the person in the world who is least likely to bestow it knowingly, queen Isolde of Ireland, Morolt’s sister (and the mother of the Isolde with whom Tristan will fall in love). In the first of his two journeys to Ireland, Tristan, pretending to be a merchant named Tantris, uses his special abilities with languages and music to ingratiate himself at the Irish court and to achieve a cure from the elder Isolde, who thus unknowingly saves her worst enemy. To repay this service, Tristan (as Tantris) becomes the younger Isolde’s tutor and as such begins to lay the foundation for his second sojourn in Ireland, during which he will win Isolde for Marke and simultaneously merge Gurmun’s initially savage Irish realm with Marke’s courtly-chivalric order. In his initial performances in Dublin before the admiring eyes of one and all, and as Isolde’s tutor, Tristan works his wonders in languages and music, thereby seeming to tame the savage beast that Ireland once was.

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After returning to Marke’s court, Tristan tells of the great beauty of the younger Isolde, and thus endangers his own position as Marke’s heir. Barons, who are jealous of Tristan’s successes and believe them to involve sorcery, urge Marke to seek Isolde’s hand in marriage, saying that she will be able to provide him with an heir (8354–8361). The disintegrative forces previously coming from outside Marke’s court (that is, Morolt, Ireland) thus increasingly appear to be present within the court, as the barons begin to conduct themselves with such open enmity toward Tristan that he fears for his life (8369–8382). The barons doubtless see Tristan as a man of relatively humble and somewhat questionable beginnings, perhaps not too different from their own, who, by means of the love of his parents and his own uncanny talents, stands to achieve a level of social prestige and power that nobody was able to achieve on the battlefield in the time of bloody warfare before Marke’s courtly order. On the basis of what he has already accomplished, the barons also have good reason by this time to fear that Tristan will be a stronger ruler than Marke. The barons’ disintegrative designs are resisted at first by Marke, who continues to insist on Tristan as his heir (8362–8368), but the pressure is too great, and Marke ultimately agrees to allow his nephew to lead an expedition back to Ireland to seek the hand of Isolde. Tristan’s second journey to Ireland thus occurs to preserve the integrity of a courtly order that is already full of conflict and in danger of disintegrating. Once again in Ireland, Tristan—again as Tantris—slays a rampaging dragon, the promised reward for which is the hand of Isolde. A complication prevents Tristan/Tantris from taking immediate possession of her. Another man—predictably a seneschal—claims that he killed the dragon, and a public hearing has been arranged at which the rivals will present their conflicting claims and possibly settle their dispute by means of combat. In the meantime, Isolde, employing a keen intellect no doubt sharpened in Tristan’s tutelage, realizes that a section missing from Tristan’s sword matches the sword fragment they found in the brain of Morolt. Thus establishing that the sword must be that of Tristan, Isolde begins to think about the similarity of the names Tantris and Tristan, and finally comes to the realization it is none other than Tristan, the killer of her uncle Morolt, who was her tutor during his previous sojourn in Ireland and who has now slain the dragon. Isolde does not follow her first urge, which is to kill Tristan, because such a bloody deed

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would not be appropriate for the courtly lady that she has become— likely as a result of the “civilizing” influence Tristan/Tantris has had on her. Tristan, now finally as himself, steps forward to counter the false claims of the seneschal (who wisely backs down) and to take possession of Isolde on behalf of Marke. When Tristan sets sail for Cornwall to bring Isolde back to the waiting Marke, Ireland is no longer the threatening domain it once was. All the children once taken from Marke’s realm are being returned to their homes, and Gurmun has ended Ireland’s policy of summarily executing people from Marke’s kingdoms who are stranded upon its shores. It is at this point, well over half way into Gottfried’s extant narrative, that the illicit love of Tristan and Isolde begins. While at sea on the way to Cornwall, the two mistakenly drink a love potion intended for Isolde’s wedding night with Marke. The oppositional aspects of this love, the ways in which it seems to place the interests of the lovers at cross purposes with those of Marke’s court, cannot be overlooked, but it nevertheless seems appropriate to understand this love as radically complicating the already complex and difficult relationship between Tristan and Marke’s court. An important aspect of this greater complexity is that the interests of the lovers and of Marke’s court remain congruent in significant ways that suggest that the lovers’ efforts are a continuation of Tristan’s socially constructive past, rather than a break with it. According to the romance ideal of love-service, the love of Isolde is the logical reward for the many services Tristan has rendered on behalf of Marke’s court. Like the adventures of Arthurian knights such as Erec, Iwein, and Parzival, the efforts of Tristan have won him the love of a lady and a queen, even if, as in this case, the queen belongs officially to another. Despite its obviously difficult aspects, this love preserves Tristan’s position at the center of Marke’s courtly order (however fragile this order has shown itself to be), a position that only Tristan appears qualified to occupy on the basis of his ability to overcome the many challenges to its integrity. As always in the romances, political power, however directly expressed this may be, goes along with the love of the lady. An episode after the inception of Tristan and Isolde’s love demonstrates the ongoing importance of Tristan for Marke’s court, as well as the authority he is seen to wield. The episode in question involves the Irish knight Gandin, who has managed to abduct queen Isolde from Marke and now waits with his unhappy captive on the strand for favorable tides that will allow him to sail back to Ireland. Once

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the tides reach the ship, Gandin’s men, worried that they will have a difficult time of it if Tristan turns up, urge their lord to come aboard so that they can set sail: “hêrre, hêrre, gât her an! und kumet mîn hêr Tristan, die wîle ir an dem lande sît, uns begât ein übel zît. ez stât gâr in sîner hant beidiu liut unde lant. ouch ist er selbe, sô man seit, von alsô grôzer frecheit, sô geherze und sô gemuot, daz er iu lîhte schaden tuot.” (13, 335–13, 344) (“My lord, my lord, come aboard! If Sir Tristan arrives while you are still ashore we shall have trouble on our hands! He commands the whole land and people and is himself [so they say] so daring and mettlesome that he may easily do some harm!”)

Tristan predictably arrives in the nick of time and again does what nobody else seems capable of doing by rescuing queen Isolde for the court of Marke—and for himself. The remaining episodes in Tristan are variations on a basic theme: the lovers undertake numerous deceptions of Marke that allow them to realize a love that they must realize, but in such a way that the integrity of Marke’s court and their position (of power) in it is maintained. The interests in love and in social integrity (and, by extension, in power) are often so congruent that Tristan and Isolde sometimes appear as the defenders of courtly order even as they endeavor to consummate their love, while those who are ostensibly responsible for upholding this order appear to endanger it by trying to expose the adultery. This occurs when Marke pretends that he will undertake a pilgrimage, leaving his often-challenged realm in the hands of Isolde while he is away. Isolde’s recommendation of Tristan, when Marke asks her who should wield power during his absence, is the most sensible response with respect to the welfare of the court (13694–13702). Yet, if this recommendation were followed, favorable circumstances for Tristan and Isolde’s love would be created, and this is what Marke correctly suspects. The proposed pilgrimage turns out to be a ruse to test Isolde, and she eliminates her husband’s suspicions, after consultation with Brangæne, with a better rehearsed response on the next evening. This episode and others indicate that if the lovers are the problem, they are also the

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solution. They must be resourceful enough to obey the demands of their love and also to manage the disruptive effects of this love so that the stability of Marke’s court and their place in it is preserved. It is largely for their ability to accomplish this apparently impossible task for so long that they make themselves admirable within Gottfried’s literary conception. It is perhaps no coincidence that Gottfried’s text breaks off shortly after the lovers—whose union has just been observed by Marke and who now appear to regard another socially-constructive deception to be impossible—make what they believe to be their final farewell. One can only speculate how Gottfried would have cast the well-known end of the Tristan-story, as preserved for example in the fragments of Thomas’ version (that is, Tristan’s unhappy and unconsummated marriage with Isolde White Hands, his incognito returns to the court of Marke, and the dramatic finale with Isolde White Hands’ deception concerning the message of the sail, its falsification by Isolde White Hands, and the lovers’ ensuing death). Support for viewing the actions of Tristan and Isolde as the sociallyconstructive actions of talented “specialists” is provided by Gottfried’s prologue, in which the poet tells us something about the audience for which his story was composed. It is not “ir aller werlde” (the whole court) to which Gottfried dedicates himself in the following significant passage, but rather a special group of people within the court called the “edele herzen” (noble hearts), who are able to accommodate within their hearts all the joys and pains of love: ein ander werlt die meine ich, diu sament in eime herzen treit ir sûeze sûr, ir liebez leit, ir herzeliep, ir senede nôt, ir liebez leben, ir leiden tôt, ir lieben tôt, ir leidez leben. dem lebene sî mîn leben ergeben. der werlt wil ich gewerldet wesen mit ir verderben oder genesen. (58–66) (I have another world in mind which together in one heart bears its bitter-sweet, its dear sorrow, its heart’s joy, its love’s pain, its dear life, its sorrowful death, its dear death, its sorrowful life. To this life let my life be given, of this world let me be a part, to be damned or saved with it.)

The “edele herzen,” somewhat like Tristan and Isolde, are cast by Gottfried as “specialists,” who are not so much opposed to the whole

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court (to which Gottfried extends his best wishes in verse 54) as a talented sub-group within the court, a specialist group that is able and willing to deal with all the contradictory aspects of love. Like the lovers in the story, Gottfried’s specialist audience has to commit itself to an effort that will be both joyous and painful, an effort that is as difficult as it is necessary for a courtly community that desires to imagine itself in terms of love and adventure.

Conclusion Much of what has been said about the German romances could also be said, with a greater or lesser degree of qualification, of the French and Latin narratives upon which they are based. While the situations, characteristics, and preferences of the different authors can never be dismissed as a possible explanation of the differences between the German romances and their various sources (whereby it would be appropriate to remark that in some respects the former are as different from each other and they are from the latter), these differences may also have something to do with the political and cultural situation of Germany, where a high level of clerical learning and religious fervor exists alongside the staunchly and pragmatically militarist values of lay magnates and their largely unfree retinues in an ambience largely characterized by unregulated violent aggression (Arnold, 13). Due perhaps in part to this situation, the German romances manifest clerical learning and monastic-ascetic values in frequently striking juxtapositions to an unapologetically militarist approach to life and life’s challenges. But the differences between the German romances and the previous works to which they are indebted are by no means clear-cut or necessarily consistent with geographical borders. For an adequate understanding it seems appropriate to emphasize the affinities of the German romances and their sources, particularly of the courtly-chivalric romances and their French sources, and to see all of these works as participating in different ways in the panEuropean cultural and social developments of the High Middle Ages. This is doubtless preferable to drawing dubious distinctions between German and French horizons, for example, on the basis of presumably ingrained national character traits, a regrettable penchant of many scholars and artists since the nineteenth century. We have suggested a view of the romances of Hartmann, Wolfram

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and Gottfried as a nexus of the different values and interests of medieval communities in the High Middle Ages. The adventures and loves that make up the romances represent different secular and religious perspectives, and at the same time suggest medieval people whose interests and concerns are as open-ended and frequently contradictory as the romances themselves. One of the central concerns of this survey was to suggest an understanding of the romances as a novel way to express new kinds of individual experience. We saw that individuality is closely associated with arbeit, the painful effort involved in coming to grips with different life priorities. The happy endings with which most of the romances end are certainly based on arbeit, but another important aspect of the romances would go unrecognized and unappreciated if we left things at this. In the loves and adventures of romances, we also have—to put it generally—a literary expression of the joy and happiness possible in this world despite the imperfections of people and the transitoriness of life, which is to say outside the strictures of a strict monastic or clerical weltanschauung. The medieval romances also articulate this individual experience, and their specific contribution, in contrast to antique literature, may have been to endow human joy and happiness with a sanctity, a spiritual quality, that it did not previously possess. However significant arbeit may be in the verse romances of Hartmann von Aue, Wolfram von Eschenbach, and Gottfried von Straßburg, we should not lose sight of the fact that painful effort is bound to the discovery of new possibilities of individual experience that are positive and potentially emancipative. It is still relatively early, and the work seems to be quite hard, but the German authors are nevertheless participating in and contributing to a gradual repositioning of human beings in the grand scheme of things that will come to full fruition in subsequent centuries—and to which one will later give the name Renaissance.

Selected Bibliography Editions and Translations Chrétien de Troyes. 1985. The Knight with the Lion, or Yvain (Le Chevalier au Lion). Ed. and trans. William W. Kibler. New York: Garland. Gottfried von Straßburg. 1977. Tristan. Ed. Karl Marold. Rev. ed. by Werner Schröder. Berlin: de Gruyter. ——. 1967. Tristan. Trans. A. T. Hatto. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

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Hartmann von Aue. 2001. The Complete Works of Hartmann von Aue. Trans. Frank Tobin, Kim Vivian, Richard Lawson. Penn. State Press: University Park. ——. 1995. Erec. Ed. and trans. Thomas Cramer. Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer, 1995. ——. 1985. Erec. Ed. Albert Leitzmann, Ludwig Wolff. 6th edition by Christoph Cormeau and Kurt Gärtner. Tübingen: Niemeyer. ——. 1984. Gregorius. Ed. Hermann Paul. 13th edition by Burghart Wachinger. Tübingen: Niemeyer. ——. 1983 Der arme Heinrich. Ed. and trans. (into modern German) Hemut de Boor. Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer. ——. 1983. The Narrative Works of Hartmann von Aue. Trans. R. W. Fisher. Göppingen: Kümmerle. ——. 1968. Iwein. Ed. G. F. Benecke and Karl Lachmann. 7th edition by Ludwig Wolff. Berlin: de Gruyter. Lachmann, Karl and Moriz Haupt, ed. 1982. Des Minnesangs Frühling. Vol. 1: Texte. 37th rev. ed. by Hugo Moser and Helmut Tervooren. Stuttgart: Hirzel. Wolfram von Eschenbach. 1984. Titurel: Translation and Studies. Charles E. Passage. New York: Ungar. ——. 1980. Parzival. Trans. A. T. Hatto. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. ——. 1965. Parzival. Ed. Karl Lachmann. Repr. of 6th edition (Berlin, 1926). Berlin: de Gruyter. ——. 1963. Willehalm. Buch I–V. Ed. Albert Leitzmann. 5th ed. Tübingen: Niemeyer. ——. 1963. Willehalm. Buch VI–IX; Titurel; Lieder. Ed. Albert Leitzmann. 5th ed. Tübingen: Niemeyer. ——. 1984. Willehalm. Trans. Marion Gibbs and Sidney M. Johnson. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. Secondary Works Arnold, Benjamin. 1985. German Knighthood 1050–1300. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Bakhtin, M. M. 1981. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays by M. M. Bakhtin, trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press. Bloch, R. Howard. 1991. Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of Western Romantic Love. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Bloom, Harold. 1994. The Western Canon. The Books and School of the Ages. New York: Riverhead Books. Bumke, Joachim. 1991. Wolfram von Eschenbach. 6th ed. Munich: Metzler. ——. 1999. Wolfram von Eschenbach. In Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, ed. K. Ruh et al. 2nd edition, vol. 10: 1376–1418. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter. Cormeau, Christoph. 1981. Hartmann von Aue. In Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, ed. K. Ruh et al. 2nd edition, vol. 3: 500–20. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter. Curtius, Ernst Robert. 1963. European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, trans. Willard Trask. New York, Evanston: Harper & Row. Gentry, Francis G. 1999. Gahmuret und Herzeloyde: Gone but Not Forgotten. In A Companion to Wolfram’s ‘Parzival,’ ed. Will Hasty: 3–11. Columbia, SC: Camden House. ——. 1979. Arbeit in der mittelalterlichen Gesellschaft: Die Entwicklung einer mittelalterlichen Theorie der Arbeit vom 11. bis zum 14. Jahrhundert. In Arbeit als Thema in der deutschen Literatur vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart, ed. Reinhold Grimm and Jost Hermand: 3–28. Königstein/Ts.: Athenäum. Groos, Arthur. 1995. Romancing the Grail: Genre, Science, and Quest in Wolfram’s ‘Parzival.’ Ithaca: Cornell UP. Hasty, Will. 1996. Adventures in Interpretation: The Works of Hartmann von Aue and their Critical Reception. Columbia, SC: Camden House.

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Haug, Walter. 1997. Vernacular Literary Theory in the Middle Ages: The German Tradition 800–1300, trans. Joanna M. Catling. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Henne, Hermann. 1982. Herrschaftsstruktur, historischer Prozeß und epische Handlung: sozialgeschichtliche Untersuchungen zum ‘Gregorius’ und ‘Armen Heinrich’ Hartmanns von Aue. Göppingen: Kümmerle. Huber, Christoph. 1986. Gottfried von Straßburg ‘Tristan und Isolde’: Eine Einführung. Munich: Artemis. Huby, Michel. 1974. Adaptation courtoise et société ou ‘La réalité dépasse la fiction’. In Etudes Germaniques 29: 289–301. Jackson, W. H. 1994. Chivalry in Twelfth-Century German: The Works of Hartmann von Aue. Cambridge: Brewer. ——. 1999. Tournaments and Battles in Parzival. In A Companion to Wolfram’s ‘Parzival,’ ed. Will Hasty: 143–58. Columbia, SC: Camden House. Jones, Martin. 1990. The Depiction of Military Conflict in Gottfried’s Tristan. In Gottfried von Straßburg and the Medieval Tristan Legend, ed. Adrian Stevens and Roy Wisbey. Cambridge: Brewer. ——. 1999. The Significance of the Gawan Story in Parzival. In A Companion to Wolfram’s ‘Parzival,’ ed. Will Hasty: 37–76. Columbia, SC: Camden House. Kern, Peter. 1984. Reflexe des literarischen Gesprächs über Hartmanns Erec. In Artustum im späten Mittelalter, ed. Friedrich Wolfzettel: 126–37. Giessen: Schmitz. Kuhn, Hugo. 1981. Gottfried von Straßburg. In Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, ed. K. Ruh et al. 2nd edition, vol. 3: 153–68. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter. ——. 1948. “Erec.” In Festschrift für Kluckhohn und Schneider. Tübingen: Mohr. (Repr. H. K. Dichtung und Welt im Mittelalter. Stuttgart: Metzler, 21969, 133–150.) Mertens, Volker. 1978. Gregorius Eremita: Eine Lebensform des Adels bei Hartmann von Aue in ihrer Problematik und ihrer Wandlung in der Forschung. Munich: Artemis. Müller, Ulrich. 1999. Wolfram, Wagner, and the Germans. In A Companion to Wolfram’s Parzival, ed. Will Hasty: 245–58. Columbia, SC: Camden House. Murdoch, Brian. 1999. Parzival and the Theology of Fallen Man. In A Companion to Wolfram’s ‘Parzival,’ ed. Will Hasty: 143–58. Columbia, SC: Camden House. Picozzi, Rosemary. 1971. A History of Tristan Scholarship. Frankfurt: Lang. Ranke, Friedrich. 1925. Die Allegorie der Minnegrotte in Gottfrieds ‘Tristan’. Berlin: Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft für Politik und Geschichte. Sparnaay, Hendrik. 1938. Hartmann von Aue: Studien zu einer Biographie. Vol. 2. Halle. (Repr. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1975.) Thomas, Neil. 1999. Wolfram von Eschenbach: Modes of Narrative Presentation. In: A Companion to Wolfram’s ‘Parzival,’ ed. Will Hasty: 124–39 Columbia, SC: Camden House. Trimborn, Karin. 1985. Syntaktische-stilistische Untersuchungen zu Chretiens ‘Yvain’ and Hartmanns ‘Iwein.’ Berlin: Schmidt. Wandhoff, Haiko. 1996. Der epische Blick: Eine mediengeschichtliche Studie zur höfischen Literatur. Berlin: Schmidt. Wapnewski, Peter. 1979. Hartmann von Aue. 7th ed. Stuttgart: Metzler. Wynn, Marianne. 1961. Geography of Fact and Fiction in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival. In Modern Language Review 56: 28–43.

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DRAMA Stephen L. Wailes

A leading scholar of medieval German drama provocatively entitled his recent summary of the subject ‘From Sacrament to Excrement . . .’ (Linke 1987). He thus suggested the vast range of the tradition, which includes many plays about the central mystery of Christianity (the Passion and Resurrection) as well as coarse comedies involving body functions; which spans from three hundred to seven hundred years (depending on what starting point is accepted); and which comprises from 400 to nearly 1,000 surviving works (depending on definition and classifications). The greater number of these, including those that are longest and called for the greatest effort (and expense) to produce, as well as the purely secular plays, come from the period 1350 to 1500 and lie beyond the pale of this discussion, but the earlier period offers not only a prelude to the breadth and diversity that follows, but also many texts of substance and artistry.

Basic Considerations The first difficulty in appreciating medieval plays is the powerful force exerted on all readers by the characteristics of modern drama. It is hard to liberate oneself of unconscious assumptions about illusion, realism, plausibility, suspense, Aristotelian unities, and philosophical weight that are derived from the great European dramatic tradition of the period ca. 1650 to 1950, yet it is absolutely necessary to be so liberated in order to grasp medieval plays in their own nature. Even the term ‘drama’ is treacherous, implying as it does high culture, literature, serious and original efforts to study human nature and the human condition. Medieval theater was not high culture (except in unusual cases), nor were the scripts regarded as literature; this probably explains why texts survive for only a minor fraction of the documented or

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deduced performances, no cultural importance having been attached to preserving the specific wording used. Medieval ‘theater,’ for which no theaters existed but which utilized for performance public and private space such as churches, town squares, and halls in monasteries or castles, was popular culture; the performers were male clerics or laymen recruited for the occasion; the scripts were committee products directly connected to earlier work of the same kind, and often of the same region. If a town council decided to sponsor a Passion Play for performance on the town’s main square the following spring, one of the first actions of the men put in charge of this project was to look around in the region for a usable precedent—a script, possibly costumes and properties from an earlier production. Such common-sense efficiencies and cost-savings help explain the development of regional play traditions, such as those evident for Hesse and Tirol. Seldom is there reason to imagine that some remarkably bright and creative individual was commissioned to ‘write’ a new ‘drama,’ much less that he did this on his own initiative. (We have no evidence that women were directly engaged in any aspect of a theatrical performance in Germany before the fifteenth century.) Producing, performing and seeing plays were acts of social solidarity, for the sacred drama (and all plays before 1350 are sacred) articulated communal truths. Medieval civic authorities thought it worth their while, and worth public money, to underwrite play performances because these affirmed the rightness of the existing order, assuring everyone that God’s justice would prevail and, by implication, that citizens fulfilled their divinely-ordered duty by quietly accepting life as it was. Medieval sacred drama is deeply conservative. Even in its early centuries, when performances seem to have taken place in churches and monasteries and at courts, drama served the interests of cohesion and stability, that is, the interests of the classes at the top of the social pyramid. Our knowledge of medieval drama is derived in largest part from the surviving texts, which served the needs of actors, directors, and archivists. Detailed performance records for certain productions of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries give fascinating insights into practical matters (for example, how much wood was required to build the main platform, and how many men worked on it. See B. Neumann). Almost completely absent, however, is direct evidence of the visual aspect of the event, for we have only three small sketches of performance space from medieval Germany and these are difficult

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to interpret. Surely visual experience was of primary importance, because even in a period that lacked public address systems and thus fostered the development of powerful speaking voices, many people watching an open-air performance must have missed some or all of the words and must therefore have been compensated by the force of spectacle, including broad, histrionic movements and gestures. Approaching the manuscript’s dry dialog with few or no stage directions, the modern reader must be sensitive to implied visual events and attempt to supply these imaginatively. When, for example, in a tenth-century Easter office we read that the disciples Peter and John, hearing that Christ’s tomb was empty, ran together to see if this were true, and that John, the younger, outdistanced the older Peter, we must realize that this non-biblical discrepancy in age was almost certainly exploited for gentle humor: Peter huffing and puffing, perhaps limping along behind the youth, trying to recover his breath as John verifies the Resurrection (see the discussion of the Easter office from St. Lambrecht, below). Very few records of dramatic performances exist for the period before 1350, and it is virtually impossible to connect these to specific, surviving texts. A major problem in the study of medieval German drama is deciding if the words written down on parchment or paper are a part (or the whole) of a script, the verbal portion of an enacted spectacle. The fact that these words constitute dialog is no help, because the dialog was an old and popular form of composition for both pedagogical and belletristic works. A term for ‘drama’ in the title or introduction of a text is valuable evidence, yet the only term we can rely on is Latin ludus (or German spil, ‘play’), which is conspicuously absent from many texts that are undoubtedly playbooks. Frequently a text is introduced by mere reference to its subject (for example, ‘This is the Passion of the Lord . . .’). The presence of stage directions is important, for where these occur, it seems clear that some kind of mimetic performance was intended, although this need not have approached the scale associated with modern theater. On the other hand, the absence of stage directions does not mean that a text was definitely not a drama. In some cases we think surviving manuscripts are role books for performers, from which stage directions were omitted because unnecessary, while in other cases we have scripts for directors consisting of detailed instructions on positions, movements, and gestures with just snippets of dialog connecting them. It is also possible that texts appearing to be plays with a few roles

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and substantial directions were actually a mixed dramatic-narrative genre (the directions as well as the dialog to be recited), and one must reckon with the existence of Lesedramen (plays for reading, but not for enactment) as well. A final issue is the musicality of medieval sacred drama. It was an art of vocal performance, as indicated by the common use in stage directions of verbs meaning ‘to sing,’ but rarely is musical notation transmitted together with the words. The reconstruction of the musical dimension of sacred drama is a highly specialized problem, calling for the expert knowledge of the musicologist working with the liturgist and textual scholar (if possible, all in a single individual), and scholars rightly object to the handling of play texts as if they were merely spoken. As a practical matter we must leave aside questions of music in this short survey, while cautioning the reader that these questions are of great importance for full understanding and appreciation of medieval theater.

Two Exceptions: Hrotsvit of Gandersheim and The Tegernsee Antichrist Play Hrotsvit of Gandersheim It is impossible to place Hrotsvit and her plays into a logical literary-historical frame except by simple chronology, because she is an exception to virtually every generalization one can make about drama in medieval Germany. She was a self-aware and self-confident writer who did not hesitate to make herself known (she names herself several times in her works); moreover, she was a woman. Of her life certain facts are known and others plausibly surmised: she was of noble family and well educated, she lived among and wrote (exclusively in Latin) for an elite, and she found inspiration for her plays not in the liturgy and ceremonies of the Church but in classical Roman literature. She was also a zealous champion of women, asserting the dignity, strength, and genius of her sex in an epoch when these were commonly disparaged. She had a clear, subtle, highly creative mind; her apologetic writing suggests that she was politically and socially astute. She had a powerful ego: punning on her own name, she calls herself the clamor validus Gandeshemensis (‘the clarion voice of Gandersheim,’ in the preface to her dramas). The fact that

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she may not have understood correctly the meaning of her name’s Old Saxon components—probably hrôt and swîth, ‘strong in fame’— does not diminish her evident self-esteem. At the same time she possessed deep spirituality and reverence for holiness. The Humanist Conrad Celtis, who discovered the principal manuscript of her works and brought out the first edition of these in 1501, stood on firm ground when promoting her as the glory of her gender in German antiquity, for no woman except Hildegard of Bingen made a comparable contribution to German art and letters before the modern period. Hrotsvit was born around 935; her date of death is unknown but thought to be after 973. She seems to have entered the abbey Gandersheim (about 40 miles southwest of Braunschweig) in her youth and to have lived there as a canoness, a woman committed to conventual ideals but not bound by the same set of vows taken by nuns. She would have enjoyed, for example, the ownership of personal property and some freedom of movement and association; it is reasonable to connect her interest in imperial politics and her sophisticated ideas about female sexuality to acquaintances and experiences beyond the walls of her abbey. She had a close relationship with Gerberg, her teacher and (after 959) abbess, daughter of the duke of Bavaria and niece of the emperor Otto the Great. Her choice of pious legends featuring Roman emperors engaged with Christianity as subjects for plays, and her fragmentary Deeds of Otto (a kind of Christian history of the Ottonians, written in leonine hexameters), no doubt reflect her keen interest in the tenth-century dynamics of the Holy Roman Empire, which she observed from a close vantage point. Hrotsvit begins the manuscript preface to her plays by deploring the fact that many Christians, herself included, read pagan authors in preference to sacred ones because of their beautiful literary Latin; even less easily seduced readers are known to delight in the style of Terence, sullying their souls as they do so by contact with his tawdry themes and characters. Her ambition is to celebrate sacred subjects in the same style, thus providing aesthetic rewards together with uplifting content and so displacing Terence from the attention of good Christians. This ostensible motivation has earned Hrotsvit the sobriquet ‘Anti-Terence,’ but one must doubt its sincerity (see esp. Dronke). Its real purpose may have been to justify Hrotsvit’s extraordinary ambition in writing serious literature and to rationalize her

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choice of sexual passion and prostitution as subjects (the triumph of virtue could only appear in full glory, she claims, if seen in a setting of depravity). Although she did not invent her plots but instead dramatized legends from Christian tradition, she was fully responsible for the selection of legendary subjects she made from among the almost limitless possibilities. Her plays are comedies in that they end happily: flagrant sinners such as Maria and Thais perform penance and gain divine forgiveness; young innocents martyred in the flesh are glorified in the spirit. The essential optimism of the legend—and Hrotsvit wrote eight legends—characterizes her plays (see F. Neumann on her Legendendenken, ‘legend mentality’). Hrotsvit’s six plays in rhymed prose are usually titled by the names of the principal male characters: the best-known is Abraham, then Dulcitius, Gallicanus, Pafnutius, and so forth. These titles, which stem from Celtis’ first edition, are in five of six cases seriously misleading and must be abandoned, suggesting as they do that Hrotsvit was mainly interested in the stories from the point of view of the men. The manuscript titles state otherwise. The Fall and Conversion of Mary, the Niece of the Hermit Abraham tells readers exactly who the main character is, and shows that Abraham is peripheral; the play should be known as The Fall and Conversion of Mary. Similarly, The Passion of the Holy Virgins Agape, Chionia, and Irene must not be further cited as Dulcitius, as though this coarse and oafish imperial governor were the focus of the playwright’s interest. One must also be at least skeptical of the common opinion that virginity or chastity is the unifying theme of the plays (see Wilson 1984, 32–33). Virgin martyrs are heroines of Agape, Chionia, and Irene and of its companion piece The Passion of the Holy Virgins Fides, Spes, and Caritas, but both Mary and Thais (The Conversion of the Courtesan Thais) are highly successful prostitutes; Sapientia, the mother of three daughters (Fides, Spes, and Caritas), is no less a Christian model than her virgin daughters; and Drusiana (The Revivification of Drusiana and Calimachus) is a married woman whose marriage has but recently shed its sexual aspect. Sexuality is surely a dramatic theme, but virginity is, as a counsel of perfection, simply one special case. Hrotsvit’s plays are united by their exploration of the fundamental conflict in human life, that of flesh and spirit, which St. Paul explained in Galatians (‘This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other,’

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5:16–17, King James Version). Hrotsvit studies the conflict of the spirit and the flesh through the prism of her dramatugy, with each play presenting a different aspect of the problem and with women crucial in each for revealing the playwright’s vision of the truth. The three political plays—Gallicanus (suitably named for the male principal; featuring the emperors Constantine the Great and Julian the Apostate), Agape, Chionia, and Irene (Emperor Diocletian), and Fides, Spes, and Caritas (Emperor Hadrian)—study the relationship between political power (the flesh) and religious faith (the spirit). In Gallicanus the Christian emperor Constantine is trying to subdue an eastern people, the Scythians, in order to incorporate them into the Pax romana. His general Gallicanus lusts after the emperor’s daughter Constantia, who contrives a plot that leads to Gallicanus’ military victory through divine intervention, his conversion to Christianity and to celibacy, as well as to the compassionate integration of the Scythians into the Christian realm. The first part of the play shows the wisdom of imperial policy firmly grounded in the Christian faith. It can be read as flattery of Otto the Great, who had won a major victory and enlarged the empire to the east by defeating the Magyars at the Lech in 955, just a few years before the play was written. The second part shows the martyrdom of Gallicanus and two others, who die for the Cross under an evil emperor. The climax of this part, however, is another conversion, parallel to that of Gallicanus, when an imperial general accepts Christianity and causes both himself and his son (stricken by madness after taking part in the martyrdoms) to be baptized. In this play two principles conflict in the same political body, the flesh of the pagan empire and the spirit of the Christian, the unconverted Gallicanus and the chaste Constantia, the martyrs John and Paul and their persecutors Terentianus and his son. The fleshly empire’s head is Julian, the other’s Constantine. In the political understanding of Hrotsvit and her contemporaries, Emperor Otto was a direct successor of Emperor Constantine, and so this play held up as a model for Ottonian policy the Christian thought and deeds of Constantine the Great. The two other imperial plays concern the martyring of virgins. The clash of flesh and spirit is obvious in the attempts of pagan men to sexually debauch Christian maidens, but the clash occurs in more subtle ways as well. In Agape, Chionia, and Irene, three men at different levels of political authority try to prevail over the women. The emperor Diocletian wants them to agree to marriage with

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members of his (heathen) court, that is, he wants a non-violent victory of the flesh over the spirit; his governor Dulcitius tries first to rape them in secret, then to strip them in public; after his attempts fail, Diocletian gives the girls over to Count Sisinnius, who also fails to persuade them and finally has them killed. This comedy embodies carnality in male, political officeholders and spirituality in females whose allegiance is to God. The men cut a sorry figure, not realizing that the flesh only has power over the flesh; in this respect the most dangerous attack on the virgins is that of the emperor himself, who tries to corrupt their minds. Thereafter the humor grows broader, including a slapstick scene in which Dulcitius passionately embraces pots and pans in the scullery, mistaking them for the heroines, and another in which Sisinnius tries in vain to reach Irene, who has been whisked to the safety of a mountain top by two angels when she was to have been consigned to a brothel. In Fides, Spes, and Caritas the conflict is first embodied in the defiance of Emperor Hadrian by the girls’ mother, Sapientia. Once again the man is carnal and stupid, the woman spiritual and intelligent. This is developed at length in the long ‘math lesson’ given the emperor by the mother, which seems to lie outside the aesthetic of ‘drama’ and causes critics some difficulties. (Some think Hrotsvit succumbed to an interest in parading her erudition.) To learn the ages of the three girls, Hadrian must listen to an extensive explanation of numerical relationships from their mother, but as boring as these lines are if merely read, they become entertaining if one imagines them acted with accompanying pantomime: the ponderous, befuddled men (Hadrian, Antiochus) in contrast with the clever, amused girls. These martyr-dramas show the pagan Roman empire (in the fleshly person of men) battling against Christianity (in the spiritual person of women). The immediate victory may go to the flesh, when the lackeys of Diocletian and Hadrian kill their prisoners, but the final triumph is that of the spirit, for as Hrotsvit and her society knew, the pagan Roman empire was to be transformed into a holy, Christian one, the Imperium Sacrum Romanum. In these plays Hrotsvit declares a special role for religious women in the realization of the Christian idea of empire, part of the fulfillment of God’s will on earth. The other three plays present the struggle of flesh and spirit in its most basic form, the dynamics of sexuality. Two plays concern prostitutes (Mary, Thais) and their escape from this debasement; the third (Drusiana and Calimachus) concerns overwhelming carnal passion

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that drives a man toward necrophilia. This play shows that the gravest sins are not those of the body, but of the spirit. Both Calimachus, overwhelmed by passionate love and ready to violate the corpse of chaste Drusiana, and the perfidious overseer Fortunatus, who sold him access to the body, are struck dead by God. Calimachus is saved through grace and penitence, but Fortunatus chooses eternal death and damnation, so consumed is he by the spiritual evil of envy and malice. The prostitute plays are remarkable juxtapositions of young women of the world to old men withdrawn from it. One of Hrotsvit’s richest comic inventions is the doddering hermit Abraham in The Fall and Conversion of Mary, who bungles his guardianship of the heroine so badly that, in despair at her fall from sexual purity, Mary commits herself to a brothel. Mary’s peril is not sexual corruption, which is venial, but despair, a sin against the Holy Spirit. When Abraham fails to understand why he no longer hears her singing in her recluse’s cell, and obtusely fails to grasp the meaning of prophetic dreams, she falls into the hopelessness that leads her to choose a whore’s life (that she lives most successfully). For all the monastic derring-do of Abraham’s visit to the brothel in the guise of a customer, Mary saves herself. To do this she must be taught the doctrine of penitence and forgiveness, which the nearly incompetent Abraham does (at last!) teach her. Immuring her when she was seven, he had prescribed endless corporal disciplines but had failed to nurture her understanding, her mind, and so left her vulnerable. Hrotsvit presents the theme of woman’s power of understanding and need for guidance in a commentary on her own youth and education: “I am able to grasp certain concepts . . . because I am a creature capable of learning,/but I also know that through my own powers, I know nothing./I also know that God gave me a sharp mind, but my mind has remained/neglected through my own inertia and untrained/ever since the efforts of my teachers ceased to nourish it” (Wilson 1989, 5). Clearly, Mary’s situation in the play, her mind neglected and untrained, is comparable. In Mary’s counterpart Thais we find the issue of sexual depravity and spiritual exultation raised to an even higher plane, for Thais is a natural wonder of carnality and just as amazing a penitent. The conflict of flesh and spirit is fought out within Thais and Mary, not between them (young, carnal creatures) and advisors who are old ascetics. The women require guidance, to be sure, but the power of the spirit is phenomenal in each. It is as though Hrotsvit

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had meditated on the polarity of woman’s nature as summarized for the Middle Ages by the antagonism of Eve and Mary, and so studied the opposition of the Fall (carnal Eve) and the Salvation (spiritual Mary) within her dramatic heroines. Hrotsvit exerted no influence on the development of medieval German drama, which is rooted in different soil. Her plays, isolated but eloquent, are a testimony to her intelligence, her character and convictions, and her remarkable creativity. They are also testimony to the openness of tenth-century ecclesiastical and secular culture to a woman’s imaginative literary exploration of a range of themes important to men and women of her milieu. The Tegernsee Antichrist Play Preserved in a twelfth-century manuscript from the Benedictine cloister at Tegernsee (Bavaria) is a Latin play treating the Antichrist, a figure alluded to briefly in the Bible and expounded at length in a highly influential, tenth-century tract by a French monk, Adso of Toul. The German play is extraordinary not because of its subject as such, but because the story of Antichrist is embedded in a complex political action involving the German king and Holy Roman Emperor, the King of France, the Kings of Greece, Jerusalem, and Babylon, Christendom (Ecclesia), Jewry (Synagoga), the Gentiles (Gentilitas), as well as the Old Testament prophets Enoch and Elijah, the abstractions Heresy and Hypocrisy, and minor figures. The play’s early action shows the subjugation of other Christian kings under the rule of the Holy Roman Emperor (who is also the King of the Germans, rex Teutonicorum). No European audience could have mistaken this for mere political theory in an eschatological frame because of the dramatic conflict between the King of the French (rex Francorum) and his German counterpart. The former defies the latter’s claim to sovereignty, causing a war between them that is won by the Germans. The German king and Emperor, seated, receives the homage of the defeated French king, who must stand, and then accepts him as a vassal! Given the highly charged rivalry between France and Germany at this time (despite their cooperation on crusades), this theatrical humiliation of France by Germany is a powerful polemic. Even the triumph of the Antichrist shows the primacy of the German king and Emperor, who, after the French king and others have blindly sworn allegiance to the enemy, defeats

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the forces of evil in warfare but then succumbs to the Antichrist’s demonstration of (false) miracles. The Tegernsee play is political theater for which the dramatic traditions of central Europe provide no precedent. There is little doubt that this work glorifies the Hohenstaufen dynasty of the emperor Frederick Barbarossa and his family, and gilds their claims to international authority. It consists of 414 lines of verse, expanded by many stage directions and by detailed instructions regarding the physical setting. These suggest a grand spectacle. If the armies, royalty, priests, and evildoers were costumed and equipped realistically, and if the movements of ambassadors and clashes of armies were equestrian performances, then the play must have been a superb pageant to which an excellent Latin text (for the most part sung) gave intellectual depth. The Emperor’s last action in the first part of the play is to defeat the King of Babylon, thus securing Jerusalem. The stage directions for this and the following ritual read: Meanwhile the Emperor and his forces proceed to battle; the chorus having finished [its verses], he joins battle with the King of Babylon, who is defeated and flees. The Emperor and his followers then enter the Temple; after he has prayed there, he removes the crown from his head and, holding it with the scepter and imperial insignia, sings: ‘Accept that which I offer thee, o King of Kings . . .’ Placing these things on the altar, he returns to the seat of his kingdom . . . (Froning, 212)

It has been argued that this spectacle must have taken place on grounds perhaps comparable to a polo field, which would agree with the magnitude of the setting by cardinal compass points described in the play’s opening words (‘To the east, the Temple of the Lord, and with it the seats of the King of Jerusalem and of Jewry. To the west, the seat of the Roman Emperor and with it the seats of the King of the Germans and of the King of the French. . . .’ [Froning, 206]). The Tegernsee Antichrist Play stands as isolated in terms of literary history as do the plays of Hrotsvit, for not until the fifteenth century do serious and topical political issues, such as the menace of encroaching Turkish power, again become a subject for German theater. Although textually brief, it is a work of great originality and power. This play and those of Hrotsvit are closely linked to the intellectually rich culture of German monasteries in the Middle Ages, which was by no means cut off from the secular world. Persons in

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these houses enjoyed the social position for addressing issues of interest even to the emperor and his court.

Origins of Sacred Drama and the Plays About Christ’s Passion The sacred drama of western Europe arises in the expansion and intensification of a specific moment in the liturgy of the Church. Not later than the tenth century, the Easter Sunday ceremony of matins included a question posed by angels at Christ’s tomb to those appearing before it (‘Whom do you seek?’) as well as the visitors’ response (‘Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified’). As closely similar as this moment is to the gospel accounts, it is not the same. The questionand-answer dialog between two groups is not itself biblical, but shows a development of the biblical foundation in the direction of imaginative drama. This Easter trope, found in simplest forms in tenthcentury, monastic manuscripts, is understood to be the fountainhead of medieval sacred play tradition (for more on Easter tropes, see Bevington). Developments proceeded rapidly as the trope was expanded into small, liturgical plays. In German scholarship there is disagreement about terminology here, because the term Osterfeier (“Easter office”) is used for the Latin, liturgical texts while the term Osterspiel (‘Easter play’) is used for vernacular or macaronic texts of essentially the same content. If one believes that the former, which were enacted only as part of a religious ceremony, are basically different from the latter, which could be enacted in principle when- and wherever people wished (although conventionally linked to Eastertide), then one will separate the histories of the two. But if one believes that the common elements of dialog, impersonation, and staging (for example, the use of props) creates a common form, then the Easter offices are simply Easter plays bound to the liturgy (for a thorough discussion of this subject, see Linke 1994). The Easter office was especially popular in Germany. Of more than 600 texts preserved in manuscripts, four-fifths originated in religious houses of the German cultural area. A twelfth-century manuscript from the Benedictine abbey of St. Lambrecht in the Rhineland Palatinate transmits an Easter office with a most interesting set of scenes and fascinating stage directions. The text (in Latin) begins with the ‘trembling women’ (o tremulae

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mulieres) asking who will roll away for them the stone from the mouth of the sepulcher; then comes the ‘Whom do you seek?’ exchange; then a hymn sung in German by ‘the people’ ( plebs), meaning the lay congregation at the church for Easter matins; and then the race of Peter and John to the tomb: Meantime, while the people produce this loud sound, let the cantor appoint two, one old and the other young, who, after the shouting of the people has been finished, should come to the sepulchre, the youth first and let him wait; let the old man, following, gaze attentively into the tomb, and the other with him. (Bevington, 38)

The three women then hold up the shroud and proclaim the tomb empty and the Lord risen. The office ends with the singing in Latin of ‘Te Deum laudamus’ by the clergy and the singing of another hymn in German by the laity. The St. Lambrecht office thus occupies a middle ground between religious ceremony in which the congregation participates and theater in which the audience is passive; it includes vernacular material, but restricts this to the common folk while the ‘actors’ use only the language of the Church. One catches only tantalizing glimpses of plays performed inside or outside churches before the year 1200, but the earlier thirteenth century offers two outstanding German texts that suggest a tradition of drama far more richly developed than the sparse textual remnants directly reveal. These are the Long Passion Play from Benediktbeuern (Latin, but with German texts for many passages) and the Easter Play from Muri (transmitted text entirely in German). It is scholarly convention to distinguish Easter plays, in which the Crucifixion and Resurrection dominate the action, from Passion plays, in which the Passion forms the center of a panorama of sacred history which was subject to almost indefinite expansion, and it has been argued that just as more complex Easter tropes and offices grew out of simpler ones, so the Passion play tradition is a development out of simpler and earlier Easter plays. Modern scholarship has shown that complex forms are not always the chronological successors of less complex ones (esp. Hardison; cf. Bevington, 22–24). The Long Benediktbeuern Passion Play is textually contemporary with, or somewhat earlier than, the Muri Easter Play, but it is much more complex in content. This may reflect a greater sophistication of play tradition in Latin than in German at the time, or it may show that in certain regions, under certain circumstances of patronage and

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reception, a more ambitious Passion play could arise earlier than a more narrowly focused Easter play. The Benediktbeuern Passion Play The monastic library at Benediktbeuern, in southern Bavaria, counted among its treasures a large and elegant manuscript (the ‘Codex Buranus’) containing hundreds of poetic texts in Latin and German (the lyrics are commonly known as the ‘Carmina Burana’) and six Latin plays. Among the latter are two plays about Christ’s Passion, the macaronic ‘Long’ play being textually ten times the Latin ‘Short’ play. Our interest is in the Long Passion Play (Das große Benediktbeurer Passionsspiel). It is almost certainly incomplete because it ends directly after the death of Jesus. (The Resurrection is not depicted, although there is a separate Resurrection play in the manuscript.) The action begins with a procession of actors to their places on the standard medieval Simultanbühne (a stage on which all actors were present at all times, associated with specific sites, and the action progressed from one set of players and one site to another). The following scenes from Jesus’ life are played: the calling by Jesus of Peter and Andrew; the miraculous healing of a blind man; the calling of Zachaeus down from the tree; Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday); the meal at the house of Simon the Pharisee; the story of Mary Magdalene; the raising of Lazarus of Bethany; Judas’ treacherous negotiation with the Jewish priests; the Last Supper; the arrest of Jesus in Gethsemane; the denial of Peter; the trial before Pilate, and the scourging of Jesus; the remorse and suicide of Judas; the Crucifixion; the laments of the Virgin Mary; and the last words of Jesus. Many of these scenes pass with little written dialog, but significant substance was added in the form of liturgical passages and sacred songs merely cued in the manuscript by a few words. Clearly the play was a major enactment not only of the last few days of Jesus’ life, but of his public ministry as well. It includes the characteristic form of his teaching when, in the scene at Simon’s house, Jesus tells the parable of ‘The Two Debtors’ (Lk. 7:41–43). Within this broad panorama, two sections are especially important, to judge from the length of the transmitted text. The ‘story of Mary Magdalene,’ as we have phrased it, is nearly a play within a play. (It occurs in other plays in similar wording, which suggests that

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it was at least semi-autonomous, and is commonly known in German scholarship as das Magdalenenspiel, ‘the Magdalene play’.) Accounting for roughly half the dialog of the entire drama, it includes most of the German-language material. Mary Magdalene, as constructed in the Middle Ages out of biblical allusions and learned exegesis, was a notorious prostitute who was moved to penitence by Jesus and belonged thereafter to the small group of women who followed him and were present for the Crucifixion and Resurrection. In the Benediktbeuern Passion Play she first appears as a merry wench singing a song of worldly delight, who goes to a merchant of unguents to buy fine salves for herself, ‘nam volo perungere corpus hoc decorum’ (‘[for] I want to use them [perfumes] on this shapely body,’ Dronke 1994, p. 205). Her song is composed in the strophic form from the Carmina Burana made famous by the ‘confession’ of the ‘Arch-Poet’ (‘Estvans Interius ira uehementi,’ ‘Burning inwardly in violent wrath. . . .’), who admitted that he was the thrall of wine, women, and dice. Thus Mary Magdalene appears in the play as his female counterpart, singing her own confession in the same poetic form (perhaps to the same melody), enslaved especially by sexual pleasure (the refrain in her song reads ‘Seht mich an, junge man. Lat mich ev gevallen,’ ‘Look at me, young men—let me captivate you!’ Dronke 1994, 205). She falls asleep and is visited in a dream by God’s angel, who announces the ministry of Christ, but only after the third such visit does she grasp the message inwardly and repent. She then returns to the merchant, this time to buy salve for the anointing of Jesus; goes to Simon’s house and casts herself at the feet of the Lord, where she weeps in the agony of her sinfulness; and even after Jesus has blessed her, she sings two quatrains in German expressing her grief. The playwright has skillfully developed the idea of salves and salving, so that Mary first anoints her own body as an instrument of pleasure, then the feet of Jesus in an act of honor and submission, and then (in the future of sacred history, as everyone well knew) the dead body of the Lord in deepest piety (cf. Mk. 16:1). He has also evoked the paradoxical, deep kinship of the two Marys by placing into the mouth of the angel who visits the Magdalene words that recall Gabriel’s Annunciation to the Virgin: ‘nova tibi nuntio’ (‘I declare new things to you’). The other remarkable section is the lamentation of Mary, mother of Jesus, at the Cross, which is long and includes sixteen German lines (in rhymed quatrains) as well as two Latin sections, one of these

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(the Planctus ante nescia) a well-known Marian lament found in many other manuscripts. Some scholars believe that the genetic center of the medieval Passion play is Mary’s lament for her dead son, and that a process of accretion around this center produced the complex combinations of scenes that constitute the Passion plays of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. This cannot be known with certainty, but in the Benediktbeuern play the grief and extended lamentation of Mary was to be played as forcefully as possible, to judge from the relevant stage direction (‘Again the mother of the Lord, bringing forth many laments amid all her tears, also cries out to the women weeping in deep mourning . . .,’ Dronke 1994, 229). However entertaining Mary Magdalene’s theatrical worldliness may have been, the medieval audience was more disposed to be caught up in the despair that followed hard upon her conversion, and in the heart-rending ululations of the Virgin, than in lilting statements of joie de vivre. The characteristics of the Benediktbeuern Passion Play permit us to surmise something of its author and audience. The former was a cultured cleric familiar, of course, with biblical accounts and liturgical traditions, familiar also with secular courts, where flourished the Minnesang that influenced his writing in German for Mary the Sinner, and familiar with the poetic traditions of the ‘wandering scholars’ (vagantes). His audience shared these familiarities at least to the extent of appreciating his creativity, which suggests that the play was written for performance at ecclesiastical courts or in the major churches of larger communities, before an audience that included sophisticated men and women. The generally accepted explanation for the presence of German verses supplementing those in Latin in the Magdalene scenes and the Virgin’s lament—that they were a gloss and a trot to help the uneducated follow the play—is highly questionable. They are not translations or even close paraphrases of the Latin, therefore not true parallels but rather complementary texts. Given the mimetic force of the play, which is easily imagined, it would have been unnecessary to add German passages to involve an audience that couldn’t follow the Latin. The macaronic texture of this play should be appreciated and analyzed as a kind of artistic collage, in which two distinct cultural vocabularies were combined for the sake of deeper statements than either alone could have made.

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The Easter Play of Muri In the former monastic library of Muri, canton Aargau, Switzerland, the distinguished scholar Friedrich Ranke discovered fragments of a parchment roll about two meters long and twenty centimeters wide containing the German dialog of an Easter play. These fragments are strips that were cut from the roll for use in book binding; they preserve 612 lines of rhymed iambic tetrameter, which scholars estimate to be about half the original text, and which can be reliably dated to the mid-thirteenth century. Analysis of the language indicates that the play originated in the area of its preservation, conceivably in Muri itself. The Easter Play of Muri, as this work is known, is prominent if exceptional in German literary history because a) it is the first transmitted drama that was written entirely in German, b) in language and style it is highly cultivated, comparable to the best literary narrative composed in German at that time, c) it contains both staple scenes from the surmised Easter play tradition as well as new ones for which there is no direct precedent, and d) in several respects it gives fascinating insights into the realities of contemporary play performance. The manuscript is clearly not the full text for a performance. There are no songs or liturgical passages in Latin, and no stage directions. The absence of the latter means it was not a director’s script, but neither was it an actor’s script because the lines for all speaking parts are entered. (Actors’ scripts contained only their own lines.) The evidence strongly suggests it was written for use by a prompter. The familiar Latin portions of an Easter play are omitted because everyone knew these and no prompting would have been necessary; similarly, stage movement and action was not the responsibility of the prompter but was controlled by the director, who had his own script for that purpose. (See the discussion below of the Frankfurt Director’s Script.) All the dialog for all the parts was copied on this parchment because it was essential for the prompter to carry out his duties. Other indications of this manuscript’s function (which is unusual in medieval drama) are short, wavy horizontal lines entered here and there beside the dialog. The best hypothesis identifies these as warnings to the prompter to expect laughter or other audience reaction at these spots—and therefore not to misinterpret the actor’s pause in delivery as a memory lapse! Furthermore, the manuscript twice places the name ‘Jesus’ at the start of a speech by an angel,

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probably because the same actor played both roles, and the name ‘Antonius’ introduces a speech by Mary Magdalene in the fifth fragment, probably because an individual named Antonius was a distinguished performer and played this most important part. The start of the play is lost and the first fragment begins with the end of negotiations between the Jewish leaders and Pontius Pilate. The dialog is continuous from Pilate’s appointment of soldiers to guard the tomb to their terrified reactions ‘after the thunder,’ meaning either that the Resurrection itself was not depicted, or that it was enacted without dialog. (The latter is more likely.) In the second fragment the soldiers report the Resurrection to Pilate, who conspires with the Jews to bribe them so that the truth will not be known. The third fragment starts with a remarkable scene between Pilate, who has come to the marketplace to dispense justice, and the vendor of salves and unguents, known by the Latin term mercator (merchant), who seeks permission to do business. The only ‘justice’ dispensed by Pilate is to extort the huge sum of twenty golds marks from the mercator for a license. This action is remarkable because it is a complete innovation. Perhaps the playwright had a statement to make about venal officials, or about the justice of this world more generally. The fragment continues with a lively scene in which the mercator touts his wares to the play’s audience, notably aphrodisiacs for the young bucks and cosmetics for the girls. He calls on two individuals by nicknames, thus anticipating the ‘modern’ device of drawing the spectators into the play. (In the manuscript this monolog is provided with several of the short, wavy lines in the margin!) The Harrowing of Hell follows, but without identification of individual souls awaiting redemption, such as Adam and Eve and the prophets, which is customary in later dramatizations of this moment. Possibly such individuation has been lost in the fragmentary transmission of the play. Mary Magdalene then buys salve from the vendor to anoint Christ’s body. At the tomb she and the other women despair of rolling away the stone from the entrance, and with the angel’s query ‘Good women, whom do you seek?’ (sixth fragment) the core of the Easter tradition is reached. The last two fragments present the meeting of Jesus and Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection, and consist primarily of her effusions of sorrow at the Lord’s suffering, joy at his triumph over death, agonized grief over her own sinfulness, and trembling hope for salvation. These are beautifully written speeches, stylistically pure and emotionally intense,

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worthy of the presumed talents of the Antonius who delivered them. They modulate between the first personal pronoun in the singular, appropriate to the dramatic situation, and that in the plural, as the Magdalene speaks for all sinners and thus becomes the voice of the audience. The text breaks off here, and one can only suppose that the play concluded with the disciples learning of the Resurrection from the women, with Peter and John running to the tomb, and perhaps with communal singing of the Easter hymn Christ ist erstanden (‘Christ is risen’), as in the earlier Easter office from St. Lambert. The Muri fragments do not contain a lament by the Virgin at the Cross; possibly this is an accident of transmission, but it is also possible that a decision was made to eliminate or much abbreviate it because of the grand laments written for Mary Magdalene. This would have been a break with tradition, and tradition accounts for a great deal of the Muri Easter play, but it is certain that this is the work of a strong and original mind. Scholars have pointed out certain similarities between the Muri play and the Latin Easter Play from Tours [France], poorly preserved in a thirteenth-century manuscript, but these are in the broad area of content rather than in wording or characterization. For example, these two plays explain the denial of the Resurrection by Pilate and the Jews as their own deliberate conspiracy, while most other plays show the guards at the tomb concealing the truth from the start, keeping their masters ignorant of what had happened for fear of punishment because they failed in their duties. As interesting as such similarities are, and as plausible the possibility of influence from France on a play from northern Switzerland, they do not establish any direct connection, much less dependence. The Easter Play from Muri exists in a literary-historical isolation comparable to, if less extreme than, that of Hrotsvit’s plays. Perhaps it was part of a vernacular tradition of plays about Christ’s Passion, perhaps it signals a flourishing culture of drama in the German southwest, where at this time such prominent writers as Rudolf of Ems prospered—the author of Muri must have learned versification from exposure to superior models. The fact remains that no direct links to other medieval German writings can be shown.

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For the period of our concern, the texts are few and often incomplete but fascinating for their variability of content and method. If surviving fragments are to be relied upon, German drama was diverse, even experimental in this period. The most important monument is an early director’s manuscript from the rich Passion play tradition in Frankfurt am Main, but there are fragments from other regions and an incomplete but impressive script apparently copied in Bavaria from a Rhenish source, but named The Vienna Passion Play for its place of preservation. Fragments from the Himmelgarten Monastery Knowledge of these short German and Latin fragments rests on the edition published in 1889 because the manuscript (formerly in the library of Himmelgarten, near Nordhausen, Thuringia) has been lost. They appear to represent six different scenes from the life of Jesus and the editor dated them paleographically to the middle of the thirteenth century, that is, contemporary with the Muri play. The scenes are: the Flight into Egypt; the Three Magi; the Temptation in the Wilderness; the Calling of the Disciples; the Sermon on the Mount; and the Miracle at the Wedding in Cana. Initially these fragments were thought to represent a play about Jesus’ life, just as there were narrative poems on this subject. There is no tradition of this subject in medieval drama, however, and present opinion regards them as part of a play culminating in the Passion. The scope of Passion plays was virtually unlimited, so there would be nothing extraordinary about such a play beginning with the infancy and early life of Jesus. If indeed these fragments represent a Passion play, it must have been a long one, or at least one that passed in review a broad panorama of the history of Jesus. In this respect it would have complemented the contemporary Muri play, which was more narrowly centered on the events at the end of the gospel narratives, and this suggests that multifaceted Passion play traditions existed in Germany by 1250. The manuscript of The Vienna Passion Play can be dated to the first half of the fourteenth century. The language shows many features of Bavarian dialect resting on a base of Rhenish-Franconian, which suggests that the play originated in the area of Mainz and Frankfurt

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am Main, where there was great activity in religious drama in the later fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The text is assumed to be incomplete because it breaks off in the middle of the Last Supper, with Jesus’ words about the man who will betray him as reported in John 13:26. The Last Supper is the third of three clearly distinguished dramatic subjects in the text; it was presumably followed by other subjects from the history of the Passion, but the manuscript does not transmit any of these (for example, the capture, trial, mockery and scourging, crucifixion). It begins with the revolt of Lucifer and his fellows in Heaven, with their banishment and fall into Hell, followed by the seduction of Eve and Adam and, after their deaths, their consignment to suffering in the underworld. Lucifer gloats over them as he tells them their fate. The scene in Hell ends with the lament of four sufferers before Lucifer, who vainly plead for mercy: they are a usurer who corners agricultural markets, a lecherous priest, a sorceress adept at making wives unfaithful, and a robber and incendiary. Although related to themes in didactic and satirical literature, this dramatic critique of vicious types, unique in German drama before 1400, is not directly derived from any known work and is probably not an early example of the ‘satire of classes’ (Ständesatire) frequently found in later plays because three of the types attacked are not representatives of widely-practiced vocations or trades, but of moral evils (the priest representing both). The point is not to vent the grievances of people in urban society, such as anger against butchers who give false weight by slipping a thumb onto the scale, but to show the corruption of human nature by the devil. Without transition the text moves to a ‘Mary Magdalene Play,’ which is similar to that in the Benediktbeuern Passion Play but contains unique features. For example, Mary sings about having left her cloak in the meadow (after a tryst) and about her mistress’s inquiry into her actions, which associates her as a type with young girls in domestic service. ‘Can’t I behave as I want to?’ she asks, to which her young man eagerly replies ‘Oh yes, yes, yes you can, you pretty girl!’ After the angel visits her she repents, which leads to her purchase of ointment and anointing of Jesus at the house of Simon the Pharisee. Again without transition, we begin the dramatization of the Last Supper. Only 26 lines survive for this subject, however, compared with 278 for the story of Lucifer, Adam and Eve, and another 228 for the Mary Magdalene scenes.

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If one were to judge only from the transmitted dialog and songs it would be conjectural at best to call this work a Passion play, and there is a short, Latin introduction to the text in the manuscript that does not solve the modern problem of classification: ‘Ad materie reductionem de passione domini’ (‘A précis of the Lord’s Passion’), ‘Incipit ludus pascalis’ (‘The Easter play begins,’ Froning, 305). The play was composed by dramatization of discrete, major subjects in series leading to the Passion (and perhaps the Resurrection), as if by analogy to the Stages of the Cross. For an audience thoroughly familiar with the story of the Fall and Salvation, this technique posed no difficulties of comprehension: no transition was needed to ‘explain’ the sensual worldliness of Mary Magdalene after the scenes in Hell, nor to explain Jesus’ modeling of the Eucharistic feast as he moved toward his immolation for the saving of the Magdalene and the rest of humankind. This text shows that around 1300 along the middle Rhine, the Passion was staged in an original and expansive manner, and that the particular person or persons responsible for the play had a flair for the linking of telling moments from sacred history. The treatment of the subjects is highly dramatic itself, economical in language, swift, and sharply focused on vivid characters. The Frankfurt Director’s Script is one of the more important documents bearing on the history of the drama in medieval Germany. It was written in the fourteenth century, by the most recent evaluation between 1315–45. The dialect is that of the Frankfurt area, hence it constitutes the first link in a chain of manuscripts and documentary evidence that reveals a major Passion Play tradition in Frankfurt reaching from the fourteenth century to the sixteenth (see B. Neumann, vol. I, 310–26). The manuscript is a roll made of seven parchment pages glued together and terminated at each end by a wooden rod, with an overall length of four and a third meters. It is carefully written in red and black ink, stage directions in red and the first words of speeches and songs in black. These outline a grand Passion Play that lasted two days (a Latin note [Froning, p. 363, no. 251] suggests dividing the play between two days so the audience will not be tired out but fresh for the Resurrection!). Clearly the roll was made for the director of this vast undertaking, which required sixteen dramatic sites for more than eighty actors on the first day, then twelve sites and 49 actors on the second, and for which some 400 speeches and songs are cued in just under 500 textual lines. A look at that part of the roll opened on his lectern would

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have shown the director an outline of the scene or scenes underway, so that he could (if necessary) direct performers to specific sites or speeches. As outlined in the Director’s Script, the Frankfurt Passion play of the earlier fourteenth century begins with a series of messianic prophecies from seven Old Testament authorities, who are brought forward by St. Augustine in an effort to persuade obdurate Jews of the truth of Christianity. Their witness, however, is scorned by the Jews, and so Augustine calls for a dramatization of sacred history to be performed as another way to convince the unbelievers. The following Passion Play is thus a play within the play. It begins with the story of John the Baptist and scenes from Jesus’ public life, from his baptism through various healings; there follow the Sermon on the Mount, the raising of Lazarus, the entry into Jerusalem, the meal with Simon the Pharisee and the anointing by Mary Magdalene, then the heart of the Passion story, the Last Supper through the Crucifixion. The play does not end there, however, but includes the Resurrection and standard scenes from Easter Play tradition, culminating in Jesus’ Ascension. The final two scenes are a return to the frame, the conflict between Christians and Jews regarding the true faith, and Church disputes successfully with Synagogue, from whom a group of ‘eight or ten’ Jews fall away and request baptism. This baptism is staged, as the insignia of authority (robe and crown) fall from the figure of Synagogue. Both the main action and the frame demonstrate to the play’s audience the correctness of Christian belief. In view of the virulent anti-Jewish tone of the late fifteenth-century Frankfurt Passion Plays (below), it is noteworthy that in the Director’s Script, the Jews appear to be vulgar, obtuse, and comical, but not vicious or evil persons. The script reflects an optimistic belief that the Jews (of whom there were a significant number in the Frankfurt ghetto) could be converted, and so brought into the community of those for whom salvation was possible. As Augustine states when baptizing the Jewish converts at the play’s end, they are worthy of Heaven. The first documentary reference to a Passion play in Frankfurt is for the year 1467, with other performances following in 1480, 1492, 1498, and 1506. (The city council refused to authorize a performance in 1516.) The Director’s Script establishes the existence of this tradition 125 to 150 years before the first surviving reference to a performance, which is striking evidence that medieval theater in Germany was far more important, far richer in texts and performances, than

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the scattered records and monuments directly prove. Textual analysis suggests several layers of development within the Director’s Script, the earliest being a Latin Easter office (discernible in the cues for the second day). It is reasonable to infer that by the time this script was written, plays about the Passion and Resurrection had been performed in Frankfurt for many years.

Sacred Plays for Other Feasts for Occasions There are surviving German plays for many moments in the Church year, for saints’ days and at least one each for Corpus Christi, Ascension Day, the Assumption of the Virgin, Palm Sunday, Pentecost, and the Presentation in the Temple. There are also about ten Christmas plays (the exact number varying in scholarly judgement because of questions of autonomy and character). On the whole, these plays come from the late Middle Ages and lie beyond the scope of this volume, but to conclude our survey we will look briefly at the Christmas play preserved in the thirteenth-century Benediktbeuern manuscript and at a dramatization of the parable ‘The Ten Virgins’ from the first half of the fourteenth century. The Benediktbeuern Christmas Play transmitted in the Benediktbeuern manuscript together with the Passion Play discussed above is a series of dramatic scenes relating to the birth and infancy of Jesus that are divided into two parts (edited as two separately numbered but consecutive items, written entirely in Latin). They are not explicitly identified as ‘plays,’ but start immediately with stage directions, which certainly imply this status. (The term ludus [play] is used about midway through the first piece.) Scholars are not sure if the two texts are really one Christmas drama. The arguments against this are evident from the external facts of transmission, and from differences of style, but the strong relationship of content argues for it: the first ends with the angel appearing in a dream to Joseph and instructing him to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus, while the second begins with the stage direction ‘The King of Egypt and his retinue shall be conducted to his site with singing’ and the Holy Family enters soon thereafter. More telling, if interpretive arguments are allowed, is the subtle coherence of the two in demonstrating the supplanting of the pagan epoch by the Christian. The manuscript division of this drama (we take it as a unity) may reflect a performance

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tradition according to which the second part was somewhat separated from the first. It begins with a ‘Prophets’ Play,’ in which St. Augustine sits at center stage with five prophets of Christ’s birth to his right and with Jewry (Archisynagogus et suos Iudeos) to his left. After the prophets have delivered their speeches, outrage and scorn breaks forth from the Jews, a pantomime of indignation and ridicule (all indicated in stage directions) specifically directed at the absurd idea that a Virgin will give birth. In order to ‘prove’ to the Jews that the prophets are right, Augustine calls for performance of the Christmas play that follows. This concept of play-within-play is a striking anticipation of the start of the Frankfurt Director’s Roll, written a century later. The action proceeds with the Nativity, followed by the visit of the Magi (‘Three Kings’), and ends with Joseph’s dream. After the King of Egypt and his court enter at the start of the second part, the Holy Family arrives, with disastrous consequences for the pagan religion: ‘When Mary and Joseph enter with the Child, all the idols of the Egyptians are to fall over’ (stage direction), an episode derived from apocryphal legends of the Infancy. With much ado, music and mime, the King has the idols erected again, but they immediately topple once more. When the King realizes that their old beliefs are wrong and that the Egyptians’ world has been forever changed, he commands the worship of ‘the new god and his mother,’ so that the end of this part of the play is positive in tone. The King of Egypt is not, however, the highest instance of paganism, for with his conversion the King of Babylon enters. The last part of the play is poorly transmitted, the action unclear and the dialog confusing, but one gathers that the King of Babylon does not accept Christ and perseveres in error; he then becomes a victim of Antichrist. The connection between this theme and that of the Tegernsee Antichrist Play, written perhaps a generation earlier, is obvious, and there are many lines of verse shared by the two works. The term ‘Christmas play’ for this impressive piece is justified by the centrality of the Nativity, although this central event has attracted into the dramatic structure other events at some distance in time and space. The quality of the play is found not only in the imaginative presentation of its large design, which shows the crumbling of the pagan epoch after the Incarnation, but also in dramatic details of striking originality. As mentioned above, the Arch-Synagogue is an important character in the dramatic frame, as a counterpart to

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Augustine, but this figure is also a character in the inner Christmas play, staged at Augustine’s command. How was this handled? Did a single actor move between the sites for the frame and the inner action, or were there two actors identically costumed, one watching the other? The inner character appears before Herod ‘cum magna superbia’ (‘in great pride’) for a consultation regarding the birth of the Messiah; when the Magi do not return to him as bidden, Herod turns to him for enlightenment regarding the rumored Child, and Arch-Synagogue thereupon reads the famous prophecy from Micah 5:2 (‘out of thee [Bethlehem] shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel’). The inner Arch-Synagogue is thus a witness against the outer one; or, Arch-Synagogue is forced to perceive and admit his own hypocrisy and denial. Another fine moment occurs after the shepherds have heard the angelic annunciation (Luke 2:8–12) and have set out for Bethlehem to see the Child. As they walk a devil whispers in their ears with the voice of human reason: ‘You simple shepherds, don’t believe such nonsense! That Divinity should be bedded in a manger is an obvious lie!’ The shepherds are persuaded and turn to go back to their flocks, but the angel returns and encourages them so that they resume the trip. This back-and-forth is repeated three times, including dialog by the bewildered peasants (‘One voice tells us about the Son, who has been born, but then I’m told that all this is untrue. . . . My simplicity, my confused understanding cannot see what to believe’). Their uncertainty is finally resolved by the gathered Heavenly host, who sing ‘Honor to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will, alleluia, alleluia!’ That is, the conflict between reason and faith, dramatized in the shepherds but known to all Christians, is resolved not by arguments and evidence but by angelic voices that excite inner response (‘This song moves me within to exuberant joy!’). The Benediktbeuern Christmas Play appears, like other early dramas, isolated in German literary history. It is generally believed that the St. Gall Christmas Play is chronologically the next that has survived, but it is transmitted in a fifteenth-century paper manuscript and did not originate before the fourteenth century. Moreover it has the character of a reading rather than a playscript. The ‘Prophets’ Play’ which, as in the Benediktbeuern Play, introduces it, lacks the theatrical vivacity of the earlier text, being simply a series of eight prophecies. There are no Jewish antagonists and the Christmas action simply follows, rather than being encapsulated. As in the case of the

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Passion Play, the Benediktbeuern Christmas Play gives evidence of a highly sophisticated literary culture capable of producing complex plays, but at present no proofs can be offered that this culture directly stimulated or enriched the vernacular play traditions of the later Middle Ages. The Thuringian Ten Virgins Play Medieval historical records report that in May 1321 a dramatization of the parable ‘The Ten Virgins’ was performed in Eisenach, Thuringia, at the court of the Landgrave Frederick (and that he was so deeply upset by it that he suffered a stroke and was bedridden for years. See Curschmann Glier, 689–90). Two plays on the subject of the parable have been preserved. The earlier, mixing Latin and German, was written in Thuringia between 1350 and 1371, and the later, entirely in German, is contained in a manuscript dated May 2, 1428. Neither seems to be the script for an actual performance, although the earlier text includes stage directions that make the character of the implicit staging clear. It is unlikely that this is exactly the play performed in 1321 in Eisenach, but it must be closely related and can be taken as evidence of vernacular theater in Germany at that time. It is a remarkable innovation, for other plays based on Jesus’ parables were not developed in Germany until late in the fifteenth century, and the much earlier ‘Ten Virgins’ play from France (the Sponsus, in French and Latin) cannot have served as inspiration or model. This play begins with the procession of the Lord, the Virgin Mary, a group of angels, and the Ten Virgins singing in Latin. In German couplets Christ instructs his angelic messengers to invite the Virgins to his feast, which is eternal life, and to bid them make ready. Having heard the message, the girls divide into equal groups of prudent and foolish, with two of each explaining their reactions. The foolish trust in divine mercy and in their option to repent at life’s end; they call for playthings, ball and dice, and merrily end the scene by dancing off to another site. When Christ appears and the foolish are found lacking oil for their lamps (oil signifies good works in the play, as it did in conventional exegesis), the prudent are welcomed into the feast of life and crowns placed on their heads by Mary, but Christ condemns those who wasted their youth impenitently. Now the pathos and lament of the damned begins to build to its terrible climax. Individual foolish girls plead with Christ, but are rejected. Prostrate

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on the ground, they in unison implore the Virgin to intercede for them; Mary kneels before Christ, begging him to forgive, but he is firm. Now Lucifer and other devils come on stage to urge Christ to judge justly, which he agrees to do: ‘The accursed must depart from me and consort with the devils in the depths of Hell.’ Again Mary pleads on her knees, again Christ is adamant and explains to her gravely (leniter) that the foolish girls’ worldliness, indifference to good works, and postponed contrition must damn them. The devils bind them in chains, and each of the condemned delivers a long lament (thirteen to seventeen couplets). When these are finished, the chained girls, presumably with their demonic captors, walk out into the audience (‘vadant inter populum’!) to deliver a stunning finale: twelve stanzas of lamentation sung in sequence by the five individuals (two complete series, then a third stanza each by the fourth and fifth girls), the stanza being that of the tragic Nibelungenlied (with a slight metrical extension of the last line in eleven stanzas). After each stanza they give the unison refrain ‘Alas, alas, we shall never see Jesus Christ again!’ and the play ends with the poor victims’ simple, final declaration ‘And so we are lost eternally.’ Whether or not Landgrave Frederick suffered a stroke because he had experienced the performance of a play much like this, one cannot question the power of the Thuringian text. It skillfully blends biblical, liturgical, and exegetical elements, alternates between Latin and German and between singing and speech, and includes few but vivid theatrical effects (the girls’ dancing, Mary on her knees, the eager devils, the procession of the damned in chains through the midst of the audience to Hell). One can only wonder whether it was indeed as unique as it now appears, or whether the author learned his skillful dramaturgy from traditions that have been lost. Surveying German drama of the Middle Ages before 1350 is somewhat like making an aerial survey of a landscape shrouded in fog. Major contours can be discerned, large, individual landmarks spotted and identified, but the connections between them and the multitude of finer features cannot be seen. They can only be, at best, cautiously inferred. The variety and the artistic quality of surviving plays justifies the belief that theater was enjoyed as entertainment and valued as instruction, at least from the time of Hrotsvit onward, and attracted its share of creatively gifted persons as authors, actors, and directors.

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Selected Bibliography Editions and Translations: ( * = key items) Bevington, David. 1975. Medieval Drama. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Dronke, Peter. 1994. Nine medieval Latin plays. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. *Froning, Richard. 1891–92. Das Drama des Mittelalters. 3 vols. Deutsche Nationalliteratur 14, 1–3. Stuttgart: Union. (Reprinted in one volume, 1964.) [Himmelgarten Fragments]. 1889. Bruchstück eines mittelniederdeutschen spieles vom leben Jesu. In Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie 21:393–95. Hrotsvit of Gandersheim. 1970. Hrotsvithae Opera. Ed. Helena Homeyer. München et al.: Schöningh. Schneider, Karin, ed. 1964. Das Eisenacher Zehnjungfrauenspiel. Texte des späten Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit, 17. Berlin: Erich Schmidt. Vollmann, B. K., ed. 1987. Carmina Burana. Bibliothek deutscher Klassiker, 16. Frankfurt a.M.: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag. Wilson, Katharina, trans. 1989. The Plays of Hrotsvit of Gandersheim. Garland Library of Medieval Literature, Series B, 62. New York and London: Garland. *Young, Karl. 1933. The Drama of the Medieval Church. 2 vols. London: Oxford University Press. (Reprinted 1951, 1962, 1967. Diplomatic editions of many important medieval plays are included in this monumental study.) Secondary works: ( * = key items) Bergmann, Rolf. 1994. Geistliche Spiele des Mittelalters—Katalogerfassung und Neufunde. In Osterspiele: Texte und Musik. Ed. Max Siller, 13–32. Innsbruck: Wagner. ——. 1986. Katalog der deutschsprachigen geistlichen Spiele und Marienklagen des Mittelalters. München: Beck. ——. 1984. Spiele, Mittelalterliche geistliche. In: Reallexikon der deutschen Literaturgeschichte. 2nd ed. 5 vols. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter. Vol. 4, 64–100. Brett-Evans, David. 1975. Von Hrotsvit bis Folz und Gengenbach. Eine Geschichte des mittelalterlichen deutschen Dramas. 2 vols. Grundlagen der Germanistik, 15 and 18. Berlin: Erich Schmidt, 1975. Curschmann, Michael and Ingeborg Glier. 1980. Deutsche Dichtung des Mittelalters. 3 vols. München, Wien: Hanser. *Dronke, Peter. 1984. Hrotsvitha. In: Women Writers of the Middle Ages. A Study of Texts from Perpetua (d. 203) to Marguerite Porete (d. 1310): 55–83, 293–97. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. *Hardison, O. B., Jr. 1965. Christian Rite and Christian Drama in the Middle Ages. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP. Linke, Hansjürgen. 1994. Osterfeier und Osterspiel. Vorschläge zur sachlich-technologischen Klärung einiger Abgrenzungsprobleme. In Osterspiele: Texte und Musik, ed. Max Siller, 121–33. Innsbruck: Wagner. ——. 1991. Germany and German-speaking central Europe. In: The Theatre of Medieval Europe. New Research in Early Drama, ed. and trans. Eckehard Simon, 207–24 and references. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. ——. 1987. Vom Sakrament bis zum Exkrement. Ein Überblick über Drama und Theater des deutschen Mittelalters. In: Theaterwesen und dramatische Literatur, ed. Günter Holtus, 127–64 and references. Tübingen: Francke. Michael, Wolfgang F. 1971. Das deutsche Drama des Mittelalters. Grundriß der germanischen Philologie, 20. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter. *Neumann, Bernd. 1987. Geistliches Schauspiel im Zeugnis der Zeit. Zur Aufführung mittelalterlicher Dramen im deutschen Sprachgebiet, 2 vols. MTU 84, 85. München, Zürich: Artemis.

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Neumann, Friedrich. 1971–72. Der Denkstil Hrotsvits von Gandersheim. In: Festschrift für Hermann Heimpel. 3 vols., 3: 37–60. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. *Ruh, Kurt, Gundolf Keil, Werner Schröder, Burghart Wachinger, and Franz Josef Worstbrock, eds. 1978–99. Die Deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters: Verfasserlexikon. 2nd ed. 10 Vols. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter. This authoritative reference work in progress contains articles on many individual works and authors important for medieval German drama. A list of those for individual Easter plays is found in vol. 7, cols. 124–25; for individual Passion plays, ibid., cols. 352–53. The following articles are especially relevant to our discussion: “Benediktbeurer Passionsspiel” [Benediktbeuern Passion play] (forthcoming in addenda); “Frankfurter Dirigierrolle” [Frankfurt Director’s Script] (2, 808–12); “Himmelgartner (südostfälisches) Passionsspiel” [Himmelgarten (south-Eastfalian) Passion play] (4, 27–8); “Hrotsvit von Gandersheim” (4, 196–210); “Osterfeiern” [Easter offices] (7, 92–108); “Osterspiel von Muri” [Easter Play from Muri] (7, 119–24); “Tegernsee Ludus de Antichristo” (9, 673–79); “Thüringische Zehnjungfrauenspiele” [ Thuringian Ten Virgins Plays] (9, 915–18); “Wiener (bairisches) Passionsspiel” [Vienna (Bavarian) Passion play] (10, 1031–34). Wailes, Stephen L. 2001. Beyond Virginity: Flesh and Spirit in the Plays of Hrotsvit of Gandersheim. In: Speculum 76: 1–27. Wehrli, Max. 1980. Geschichte der deutschen Literatur vom frühen Mittelalter bis zum Ende des 16. Jahrhunderts, 508–680 (origins and early history), 766–802 (later medieval plays). Stuttgart: Reclam. Wilson, Katharina M. 1984. The Saxon Canoness, Hrotsvit of Gandersheim. In: Medieval Women Writers, ed. Katharina M. Wilson, 30–63. Athens: University of Georgia Press. *Young, Karl. 1933. The Drama of the Medieval Church. 2 vols. London: Oxford UP. (Reprinted 1951, 1962, 1967.)

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The study of medieval technical literature (Fachliteratur) is a relatively young discipline. German scholars who spearheaded this research have so far been able to agree neither on a generally accepted term for the subject nor on a definition as to which texts belong to this diverse field and which do not. Since much of technical writing in the Middle Ages was in prose, the German term Fachprosa (technical prose) was initially used, soon to be replaced by Fachliteratur as a significant number of texts were coming to light that were written in verse, such as the immensely popular Regimen sanitatis Salernitanum. Using the modern English distinction between fiction and non-fiction as his starting point, William Crossgrove (1994) has recently suggested that the term Sachliteratur be applied to this body of literature that can range from glossaries and grammars to astronomical and alchemical treatises, encyclopedias, horticultural and veterinary tracts, medical and culinary recipes, magic incantations, and lawbooks, just to name a few. While the discipline as such may only be a few decades old, the interest in medieval writing other than belles lettres goes back to the early days of German philology. Throughout the nineteenth century important editions of medieval technical texts were published, such as Franz Pfeiffer’s 1861 edition of Konrad von Megenberg’s Buch der Natur (Book of Nature); by 1900, when the individual sciences began to study the histories of their respective disciplines, they could build on those early philological achievements. Within medieval technical writing medicine is the area that generated the largest number of texts, and in Germany the study of this immense wealth of literature is connected with the name of one man, Karl Sudhoff. It was this Leipzig historian of medicine who began the daunting task of cataloguing the tens of thousands of medieval medical and scientific codices, and through the journal Archiv für Geschichte der Medizin, which he founded, made editions and studies of individual texts and genres available to a wider audience.

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Not until the 1930s did a definition of German literature emerge that was inclusive enough to accommodate technical literature. Thanks to the efforts of Gerhard Eis, the true father of Fachliteratur research, technical literature became an integral part of Germanistik. And it was Eis who came up with a way to organize the diverse material. By using the seven artes liberales (Trivium: grammar, rhetoric, dialectic; Quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy) of late Antiquity, and the medieval classification of the seven artes mechanicae (trades, warfare, travel, agriculture, hunting, medicine, entertainment) in combination with the artes magicae or artes incertae, he was able to fit the majority of texts into a more or less coherent framework that was rooted in medieval thought. Exceptions remained, however, such as encyclopedias, which may contain information from various artes groups, or legal texts, which fit none of the artes categories. In his seminal book Mittelalterliche Fachliteratur, Eis (1962) discusses encyclopedias first, continues with the three artes groups, and concludes his survey with a chapter on lawbooks. In the most comprehensive study to date on the subject, entitled Altdeutsche Fachliteratur, Peter Assion (1973) follows Eis’s model, but leaves out legal texts. Crossgrove (1994) discusses the literature chronologically and not according to artes, but agrees with Assion in excluding legal literature from his survey. All three, however, see technical literature as distinct from religious, historical, and fictional writing. Fachliteratur was written and read throughout the Middle Ages, initially in monasteries and at court, and later at the universities and by urban professionals. This shift in audience from the country to the city, which coincided with the arrival of paper as an inexpensive alternative to parchment, led to an explosion in technical writing, and an increased use of the vernacular. While in the early Middle Ages German functioned primarily as a tool for teaching and understanding Latin (for example, Abrogans), and in the High Middle Ages the aristocracy occasionally commissioned translations of technical literature into the vernacular (for example, Lucidarius), starting in the thirteenth century an independent Fachliteratur in German emerged that was later translated into other vernacular languages (for example, Meister Albrants Roßarzneibuch), and at times even back into Latin. Given the dominant role Latin played in the spread of Greco-Roman and Arabic technical literature, both Latin and German texts will be included in this survey, specifically those that were written, translated, adapted, or compiled in Germany. With regard to sources in

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German, the focus will be on High German ones, but important Low German texts will also be mentioned. The publication of the second edition of the Verfasserlexikon starting in 1978, has substantially facilitated research in medieval German technical literature, and all references to the work (VL) will be incorporated in the text.

Encyclopedias The encyclopedic works produced in medieval Germany, whether in Latin, German, or a hybrid of both, were written first and foremost by clerics, and modelled after the writings of Isidore of Seville, and the Venerable Bede. One of the earliest examples was Hrabanus Maurus’ De rerum naturis dating back to the ninth century, which was followed in the twelfth century by the works of two nuns, Hildegard of Bingen, and Herrad of Landsberg. Hildegard (1098–1179), abbess of the convent on Rupertsberg near Bingen, whose work has recently seen a revival that has elevated her to cult status in the eyes of feminists, homeopaths, and believers alike, was the author of a variety of religious and scientific writings that according to her were the result of her visions (VL 3, 1257–80). In the 1150s she turned to medicine and pharmacology, and produced a book on simple drugs known as the Liber simplicis medicinae (LSM ) or Physica, and the Liber compositae medicinae (LCM ) or Causae et curae, which may originally have constituted one larger work. In the LSM she describes the “physical” world, that is, the plants, elements, trees, stones, fish, birds, land-animals, reptiles, metals, and their medicinal properties. In the LCM she focuses on man and his physical and psychological constitution, pathology and therapy, all embedded in a systematic cosmology. Although Hildegard wrote in Latin, her scientific work is remarkable for its approximately 900 German glosses. It appears that whenever she did not know the Latin name for a plant or disease, she would resort to her native German, a flaw that the users of her work in the late Middle Ages tried to remedy. The hybrid language together with the fact that her source material is still largely unknown, suggest a reliance on oral traditions as well as a certain amount of originality. Herrad of Landsberg (†1196), abbess of Hohenburg in Alsace, was instrumental in the production of a beautiful codex known as the Hortus deliciarum whose almost 150 illuminations filled nearly half of

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the book (VL 3, 1138–44). Among the sources used by Herrad to describe nature is the Summarium Heinrici (see the Trivium section below) written in Worms around 1010, and Honorius Augustodunensis’ Elucidarium. The approximately 1250 German glosses found in the Latin text are not inserted in lieu of the Latin words, as in the case of Hildegard’s LSM, but appear as interlinear glosses intended to assist in understanding the Latin. Nevertheless, both Hildegard and Herrad discuss nature within the context of Christian salvation. The first encyclopedic work written entirely in German is the Lucidarius, which originated in Lower Saxony (VL 5, 939–47). According to Prologue A it was compiled by the chaplains of Duke Henry the Lion of Brunswick (c. 1129–1195), composed in prose because that is, more “truthful,” and in German because it was meant to “illuminate” (hence the title) lay people who did not know Latin sufficiently. The work consists of three books: the first discusses Creation, that is, Hell, Heaven, Paradise, and Earth, the second religious questions, and the third the afterlife, that is, the Last Judgement, the agonies of the damned, and the joys of the blessed. Sources for this strongly religious text were Honorius Augustodunensis’ Elucidarium, Imago mundi, and Gemma animae, as well as William of Conches’ Philosophia mundi, and Rupert of Deutz’ De divinis officiis. Written in the form of a dialogue between student and master, the work became a favorite teaching tool in monastic schools, and spread quickly all over Germany and the Low Countries. By 1350 Michael de Leone, then Canon and Scholasticus of Neumünster, a collegiate church in Würzburg, had both the Elucidarium and the Lucidarius entered in a parchment codex (VL 6, 491–503), and by 1400 it was already available in Czech translation. In many of the manuscripts (A-Redaktion) the emphasis is on Book I (Creation), at the expense of the theological contents of Books II and III. With over 70 manuscripts and 100 printed editions, the Lucidarius remained one of the most popular books until the end of the nineteenth century. Despite the early success of the German Lucidarius, the golden age of medieval encyclopedias was the thirteenth century when Aristotle’s works as mediated by the Arabs had their full impact on Western European thought. Arnoldus Saxo, a cleric from Lower Saxony, and Albertus Magnus (1193–1280), Dominican friar and teacher of Thomas Aquinas, were the first Germans to incorporate Aristotle’s teachings into their Latin encyclopedias, the former in his five-part collection De finibus rerum naturalium written around 1250, and the latter a decade

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or so later in his botanical and zoological works De vegetabilibus and De animalibus (VL 1, 485–88; VL 1, 124–39). Other European encyclopedias that influenced German authors/compilers were Bartholomaeus Anglicus’ De proprietatibus rerum from around 1240, and Thomas Cantipratensis’ Liber de natura rerum compiled between 1228 and 1243. Jacob van Maerlant’s Der Naturen Bloeme from the end of the thirteenth century is based on Thomas’ Liber de natura rerum, and so is Konrad von Megenberg’s Buch der Natur, a natural history composed in the mid-fourteenth century, and consisting of books on man, the sky and the planets, animals, trees, plants, stones, metals, and water (VL 5, 221–36). An encyclopedia that was translated into most European vernaculars and whose medical information had considerable influence on Western Regimen sanitatis literature in the Middle Ages and beyond, was the Secretum secretorum (VL 8, 994–1013). Forerunner of both Latin redactions (version A and version B) was an anonymous Arabic compilation of the tenth or eleventh century that claims to be a collection of letters Aristotle wrote to Alexander the Great, in which he gives his famous student advice on issues ranging from good government, warfare, and personal conduct to physiognomy, astronomy, alchemy, and the preservation of health. The longer version B, translated from Arabic into Latin by the Bishop of Tripoli, was the first to be rendered into German. Jacob van Maerlant’s 1266 verse translation under the title Heimelijkheid der heimelijkheden was followed in 1282 by the first High German prose translation by the Cistercian nun Hiltgart von Hürnheim. Other German translations independent of Hiltgart’s were produced in the fifteenth century by Andreas Schweidnitz, Hans Schober, and Melchior Königshofen. In addition, translations into Hebrew, Castilian, Anglo-Norman, Provençal, English, French, Italian, and Spanish make this encyclopedia one of the most popular texts of medieval and early modern Europe. The secret of the Secretum secretorum’s success was the common-sense advice it gave to readers on everything from ascertaining a person’s character from his or her looks, to grooming oneself in the morning. It did that in the simple language of popular science, and in the concise form of letters that could easily be passed on separately.

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Medieval education was based on the seven liberal arts that were taught at cathedral and monastic schools, universities, and city schools alike. The didactic literature of the Trivium, which focused on the mastery and effective use of Latin, consisted of glossaries, grammars, readers, rhetorical texts, formularies for letters and legal documents, and philosophical treatises on logical thinking and the art of reasoning. One of the earliest Latin-German glossaries is the Abrogans, which originated at the court of the Bishop of Freising around 760, and which lists c. 700 Latin words in alphabetical order together with their Old High German equivalents (VL 1, 12–15). Not arranged alphabetically but according to subjects (man, animals, plants, tools, and so forth) is the Vocabularius Sancti Galli of the late eighth century, which was probably a product of the monastic school in Murbach (VL 10, 479–82). Both are followed in 1010 by the Summarium Heinrici, a collection of terms from the artes liberales, artes mechanicae, and law (VL 9, 510–19). Starting in the fourteenth century, bilingual word lists emerged that were always in alphabetical order and more general in nature, such as the Low German Vocabularius Brevilogus (VL 2, 1033–34), and the Bavarian/Austrian Vocabularius Lucianus (VL 10, 475–78). The most popular Latin dictionary for beginners in the city schools of Germany and the Low Countries in the fifteenth century was the Vocabularius Ex quo (VL 10, 469–73). To teach Latin grammar, instructors all over Europe relied on the Ars minor by the Roman author Aelius Donatus from around 350, which presents the material (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, participles, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections) in the form of questions and answers (VL 2, 193–94). The Ars maior by Donatus and the Institutiones grammaticales by Priscianus were the more advanced textbooks, also used in the arts faculties of the newly founded universities. Both Priscianus and Donatus are included in a list of books from the school of Neumünster in Würzburg that was compiled in 1233 (Keyser 39). Texts that had the dual function of teaching the language as well as moral values and manners were the Disticha Catonis, Cato for short, and Facetus (VL 1, 1192–96; VL 2, 700–03). The former was a collection of 144 distichs of the third/fourth century augmented in Carolingian times by 56 prose aphorisms. This pre-Christian poem, which discussed the cardinal virtues iustitia, prudentia, temperantia, and fortitudo, was as widely used as Donatus’ gram-

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mar. As early as the thirteenth century it was translated into German in Bavaria/Austria, and other German versions of the full text and an abridged version were to follow. Initially the Latin and German text appeared side by side, which suggests that the German translation served as an aid to understanding the Latin. In the late Middle Ages German separate versions, which were aimed at a Germanspeaking literate audience, began to circulate. The title Facetus applies to two different verse poems of the twelfth century, the Facetus Moribus et vita or Moretus, which advises people of the proper behavior according to their station in society, and also includes a Pseudo-Ovidian Ars amatoria and Remedia amoris, and the Facetus Cum nihil utilius, or Supplementum Catonis. It is the latter that was used in medieval classrooms to teach students the proper etiquette regarding table manners, polite conversation, social interaction, a pleasing appearance, when at home and on the road, as well as religious devotion. It therefore added a welcome Christian element to the Roman value system found in the Disticha Catonis. Because of its immense popularity, thanks to the practical advice it offered readers for their daily lives, the Latin Facetus underwent numerous changes, and by 1350 German translations were spreading from Swabia and Alemannia all over Germany. The Cato and Facetus were eagerly absorbed by the urban middle class, as Michael de Leone’s Hausbuch, which contains both texts in Latin and German, from the mid-fourteenth century demonstrates. Medieval rhetoric was firmly rooted in the classical works De oratore by Cicero, the anonymous Rhetorica ad Herennium of the first century B.C., Quintilian’s Institutionis oratoriae libri XII, and Martianus Capella’s chapter “De rhetorica” in Book 5 of his allegorical work on the liberal arts called De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii. Among the German authors who drew on these sources were Ornulf von Speier in the eleventh century, whose Colores rhetorici (VL 7, 38–42) are based on the Rhetorica ad Herennium, and Udalrich von Bamberg of the early twelfth century, whose Epitome rhetorica is a compilation from Cicero, Quintilian, and Martianus Capella (VL 8, 1245–47). Around 1000 Capella’s De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii was available in German translation thanks to the pioneering work of Notker Labeo (c. 950– 1022) in St. Gall, who also translated the rhetorical treatises De syllogismis and De arte rhetorica. From the thirteenth century on the ars rhetorica flourished in Germany as chancelleries and scriptoria tried to meet the increased demand for Latin and German letters and

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documents by the aristocracy, the clergy, and the rising urban middle class. Among the formularies used were the Codex epistolaris by Udalrich von Bamberg (c. 1125), the Summa arte prosandi by Konrad von Mure (1275/76), and the Cancellaria and Summa Cancellaria, which Johannes von Neumarkt had compiled for Emperor Charles IV in Prague in the second half of the fourteenth century. With medieval society still being primarily an oral one, the ars memorativa, or mnemotechnic, of Antiquity discussed in Book 3 of the Rhetorica ad Herennium, and in Cicero’s De oratore, continued to be an integral part of rhetoric. In the fourteenth century the Tractatus de arte memorativa cujusdam magistri Parisiensis was compiled, which Hans Hartlieb translated into German in the fifteenth century, and which also made it into print. To teach dialectic or logic, medieval schools relied primarily on Boethius’ De consolatione philosophica of the early sixth century. Written in the form of a dialogue between author and philosophy, the work was translated into German by Notker Labeo, as were the Aristotelian writings De categoriis and De interpretatione. Notker himself is the author of De partibus logicae, which he wrote for the use in monastic schools. According to the twelfth-century writer Hugh of St. Victor, the three subjects grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic taught students the correct use of the language and sharpened their minds.

Quadrivium Like the Trivium, the Quadrivium was taught in Latin, and was based on the works of classical and late Antiquity, especially those of Boethius (arithmetic, music), Martianus Capella and Isidore of Seville (geometry). Notker Labeo’s work in the Quadrivium included Old High German introductions to mathematics called the principia arithmetice (probably based on Boethius’ De institutione arithmetica, and now lost), music (De musica), and astronomy (computus) (VL 6, 1219–20). Developed by the Romans, computi were mathematical tables used in the Middle Ages to establish calendars and calculate the Easter date (computus paschalis). One of the earliest such treatises from Germany was De computo written by Hrabanus Maurus in 820 in the form of a dialogue between master and pupil (VL 4, 179–80). From the thirteenth century on, vernacular versions of these computi were at times included in encyclopedias. Through Arab mediation the Greek works of Aristotle, Euclid,

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Archimedes and others reached Europe in the High Middle Ages in Latin translation, and as early as the thirteenth century German versions of some of these texts began to circulate. The Arabs also introduced the concept of zero, and the new method of calculating with Indian-Arabic numerals called algorism, which eventually replaced the abacus. The Algorismus vulgaris by the Englishman Johannes de Sacrobosco ( John Holywood, †1256 [1244]) quickly became the most popular medieval textbook on arithmetic. (VL 4, 735–36). It taught the new numerals, as well as addition, subtraction, duplication, mediation, multiplication, division, square- and cubic root. The most important German text on the subject was the Algorismus Ratisbonensis from c. 1450, a practical handbook for business people with many exercises. Also late in coming and very practice-oriented was the German literature on geometry. The Geometria Culmensis from around 1400 dealt with land surveying, and the Geometria deutsch, first printed in 1498, with the construction of churches (Matthäus Roritzer VL 8, 168–71). Music theory was regarded as a branch of mathematics in the Middle Ages, and was rooted in the works of Nicomachos of Gerasa, Euclid, and Ptolemy, which Boethius had used as sources in his Institutio musica from c. 500. Notker Labeo’s De musica, which discusses the musical scale, tetrachords, the eight church keys, and the bore of organ-pipes, was for a long time the only German treatise in an otherwise Latin tradition of technical writing (VL 6, 1220). Early theoretical works were written by Hermannus contractus from Reichenau in the eleventh century (VL 3, 1082–90), Franco of Cologne in the thirteenth century (VL 2, 825–27), as well as Engelbert von Admont (VL 2, 535–49) and Hugo von Reutlingen (VL 8, 35–40) in the fourteenth century. Music, which in the early Middle Ages was inextricably linked with religious practice (Gregorian Chant), later also found a home at aristocratic courts. Starting in the fourteenth century, notations for ecclesiastical music and German love poetry (Minnesang) are sometimes entered in codices. In the area of astronomy, which throughout the Middle Ages adhered to Ptolemy’s geocentric world view, two important German contributions were made, the encyclopedic Mainauer Naturlehre from around 1300 (VL 5, 1175–78), and Konrad von Megenberg’s midfourteenth-century translation of Johannes de Sacrobosco’s Sphaera mundi (VL 5, 221–36). The former discusses nature in the context of time, and the establishment of the Julian calendar. The latter, a handbook on physics and astronomy, is indebted to Ptolemy’s Megale

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Syntaxis from the ninth century, also known as Almagest, and its Arabic commentaries by Alfraganus and Albategnius (VL 4, 731–36). Unlike the German version from the second half of the fourteenth century and two printed editions from the sixteenth, which were more faithful to the original, Megenberg’s German Sphaera contains several additions to Sacrobosco’s Latin work. The first perpetual calendar was created in 1373 by the Viennese Wurmprecht, and in the fifteenth century almanacs (Volkskalender), which combined astronomical and astrological information and which were aimed at a wide lay audience, began to proliferate, as did a variety of astrological texts such as labors of the month, prognostics, horoscopes, unlucky days, and the like (Brévart 1988).

Trades In the Middle Ages trades were organized in guilds and consisted of two major groups, the ars textrina, which produced materials such as silk, wool, linen, bast, fur, felt, and leather and turned them into clothing and household items, and the artes fabriles, which used hammers (“malleo utuntur”) in the processing of their raw materials stone, metal, and wood. Spinners, dyers, weavers, ropemakers, furriers, basket- and felt-makers, hatters, tanners, and shoemakers are examples of the first group, and miners, brickmakers, masons, carpenters, smiths, founders, ladlers, coiners, gold- and silversmiths, painters, and carvers of the second. Alchemists also worked with some of the above raw materials but did not form guilds due to the secret nature of their activities. In Germany the earliest written documents on the subject were in Latin and originated in monasteries. A good example is the Schedula diversarum artium of the eleventh century, in which the northern German monk Theophilus Presbyter discusses the various arts and crafts practiced in the religious sphere from painting and glassworks to bell foundry, metalworks, and organ building (VL 8, 782–85). Italian forerunners of this type of literature were the Lucca manuscript from c. 800, and the Mappa clavicula from the tenth century. However, passing on trade secrets orally and in the vernacular was probably the norm outside monastery walls. A written tradition in German set in rather late with some color and dye recipes from the late thirteenth century. Not until the fifteenth century do we find more exten-

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sive literature on colors and dyes such as the Bairisches Färbebüchlein (VL 1, 582). Information on the textile industry can also be gleaned from the sumptuary laws (Kleiderordnungen), which German towns passed starting in the mid-fourteenth century in an attempt to curb conspicuous consumption among the nouveau riche burghers. One “profession” that guarded its secrets more fiercely than any other in the Middle Ages was alchemy. Early European alchemists were highly educated men such as Arnald de Villanova and Raimundus Lullus, and their field of study a hodgepodge of occult knowledge going back to Ancient Greece, Byzantium, and the Arab World. Its stated goal was to find the “philosopher’s stone” or elixir that would turn lowly metals such as lead into gold or silver by means of transmutation. Steps along the way included calcination, solution, putrefection, reduction, sublimation, coagulation or fixation, fermentation, multiplication, and projection (Birkhan 1992, 78–79). To obscure their knowledge, alchemists resorted to metaphorical language, and in addition often wrote their treatises in cipher thus hampering the attempts by medieval and modern scholars alike to study the subject. The first Latin translation of an Arabic alchemical treatise was produced by Robert of Chester in 1144 (Kieckhefer 1989, 33–34). Given its potential for wealth creation, alchemy quickly aroused the interest of the Church, and the aristocracy. As the practice spread to larger segments of society, and pharmacists and tinkers began to dabble in alchemy, the Church declared it one of the artes suspectae. The vernacular tradition of alchemical literature starts in the late fourteenth century with Cod. Vind. 2372, a composite codex written in the Netherlands that contains a Dutch version of the Tabula chemica by the Arab writer Zadith ben Hamuel from c. 1200, treatises attributed to Constantinus Pisanus, Gilbert de Laindrac, Gratheus filius philosophi, and miscellaneous alchemical and astrological additions. By the early fifteenth century the major Latin alchemical treatises such as the Liber de quinta essentia attributed to Raimundus Lullus, the Quaestiones ad Bonifazium VIII by Arnald de Villanova, and Johannes de Rupescissa’s Liber de consideratione quintae essentiae, were available in High German translation (VL 4, 724–29). Around the same time independent German texts on alchemy also began to appear including the Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit (Book of the Holy Trinity), later attributed to a Frater Alemannus, and the Alchymey teuczsch. Aside from alchemy, medieval get-rich-quick-schemes also brought forth literature for treasure-hunters called Walenbücher. Popular from

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the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, they instructed the reader in equally arcane language as alchemical treatises and often published together with them, where the mother lode of precious metals, usually gold or silver, was hidden. The more serious literature on mining did not set in until the late fifteenth century, and to this day is connected with the name of Georg Agricola. When it comes to the medieval construction industry, which, after all, brought forth those magnificent castles and cathedrals we still revere today, no technical literature from Germany exists that predates the fifteenth century. This points to a strong oral tradition and a fierce protection of trade secrets comparable to that among alchemists. Agriculture In medieval Germany the tradition of agricultural literature goes back to the eighth century. Most of it originated in monasteries, was written in Latin, and drew heavily on the writings of such classical authors as Pliny, Cato, Varro, Columella, Palladius, and a compilation of Greek and Byzantine writings from the tenth century known as the Geoponika. In Charlemagne’s Capitulare de villis from c. 800 over 70 plants are mentioned, especially vegetables and fruits to be planted on the royal estates. The plan for the monastery in St. Gall from c. 830 identifies sixteen plants for the herb garden and eighteen for the vegetable garden. Also in the first half of the ninth century the Reichenau monk Walahfrid Strabo wrote a poem on gardening entitled Liber de cultura hortorum that consists of 444 Latin hexameters and mentions 23 plants (VL 10, 584–603). In the twelfth century the Italian Burgundio Pisano produced a Latin version of the winebook from the Geoponika, which by the fifteenth century was available in German translation. In 1305 the Patrician landowner Petrus de Crescentiis from Bologna wrote the Latin agricultural work Ruralium commodorum libri XII, that became an international success and was translated into Italian, French, German, Polish, and Russian (VL 7, 499–501). In twelve “books” Petrus touches on all aspects of running a big estate from building the manor house, maintaining the fields, and growing wheat, wine, and other plants, to forest management, beekeeping, hunting, fishing, and animal husbandry. His sources include Palladius and Varro, the winebook of the Geoponika as mediated by Burgundio Pisano, and Albertus Magnus’ botanical work.

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In the mid-fourteenth century Germany contributed to this genre of technical literature a work that quickly became the standard text and was used until the nineteenth century. Named by Eis after its first treatise a “book on grafting” (Pelzbuch), the text discusses the grafting of fruit trees, the cultivation of grapes, as well as the conservation of fruit, production of fruitwines, grape-gathering and wine making (VL 3, 125–36). It was originally written in Latin by Gottfried von Franken, a native of Würzburg or the surrounding area, and translated into German shortly thereafter. In the Pelzbuch Gottfried combines information found in Palladius and the Geoponika with that of his contemporaries and his own expertise gained on his travels to Brabant, Greece, and Italy where he claims to have owned an estate in Bologna, the hometown of Petrus de Crescentiis. The Pelzbuch had its strongest impact on Bavaria, Austria, and Bohemia, but copies of the entire work and fragments in all major German dialects and neighboring languages attest to its mass appeal. In the first half of the fourteenth century through Italian mediation the technique of distilling wine became known in Germany, and this generated a type of literature known as Branntweintraktate. Originally used for medical purposes, alcoholic extracts were later also made of a variety of herbs. The beginnings of German culinary literature fall into the same time period. When the oldest German cookbook, the Buoch von guoter spîse (Book of Good Food) was entered in a parchment codex around 1350, its upper-class cuisine was already being appropriated by the urban patriciate, in this case by Michael de Leone, protonotary to the Bishop of Würzburg. Of the c. 45 extant High- and Low German cookbooks from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, which range from just a few to several hundred recipes, the Book of Good Food is of medium length, consisting of a rhymed prologue, 55 recipes, two recipe parodies, and an additional 44 recipes. While the first part is not arranged in any particular order— aside from the occasional small group of recipes that share the same ingredient, shape, consistency, or dish name—the second part distinguishes between dishes for fast- and feastdays. Popular dishes were purees, puddings, pies, blanc manger, casseroles, fritters, roasts, flat cakes, sauces, and special lavish dishes (Schaugerichte), in which expensive ingredients such as spices, nuts, sugar, rice, and meat abound. More modest cookbooks, such as the Tegernseer Kochbuch, originated in the monastic sphere. Not until the fifteenth century do aristocratic cooks like Meister

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Hanns and Meister Eberhard attach their names to cookbooks. The latter complemented his recipe-collection with a dietetic list of foodstuffs based on the treatise Sanitatis conservator by the fourteenth-century physician Konrad von Eichstätt (see Medicine), and the former also included recipes for colors, dyes, and miscellaneous remedies in his 289-recipe collection. The literature on table manners (Tischzuchten) goes back to classical times, and especially the twelfth-century Facetus taught as part of the Trivium. After 1300 such etiquette books were in high demand among the bourgeoisie keen on emulating as much as possible the aristocratic dining experience.

Animals and Hunting With the exception of a few magic formulae for bees (Lorscher Bienensegen), dogs (Wiener Hundesegen), and horses (Pferdesprüche), the Old High German period brought forth practically no literature on hunting and veterinary medicine. This is in part due to the fact that monks who preserved classical and contemporary knowledge for posterity were not involved in hunting, traditionally considered an aristocratic sport. Not until the thirteenth century did an extensive literature appear in Germany that focused on falconry and deer-stalking. In his Liber de animalibus Albertus Magnus included a treatise on falconry for which he used the socalled Ptolemy-letter (Ptolemäus-Brief ) as his source, and which was translated into German twice in the early fifteenth century. The most famous book on falconry was De arte venandi cum avibus written in 1250 by Emperor Frederick. The Latin text with its abundance of illustrations shows a remarkable level of empiricism combined with classical and Arabic knowledge on the training of falcons, and their use in the hunt. It is complemented with a general introduction to birds, and a section on the anatomy of birds of prey. Unlike their Latin neighbors, Germans preferred hawks for hunting, which is why Frederick’s book never really caught on north of the Alps. The German literature on hawking started in the fourteenth century with the Ältere Habichtslehre whose 39 chapters discuss different kinds of hawks, male and female birds, their training, care, healing, and interaction with hunting dogs. Around 1400 a reworked version of the text, the Jüngere Habichtslehre, was expanded by the Ptolemy-letter and became known as the Beizbüchlein. With regard to the stag-hunt, the fragmentary treatise De arte

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bersandi, whose author Guicennans calls himself miles teotonicus, is superseded in the fourteenth century by a treatise on the signs of the hart (Lehre von den Zeichen des Hirsches) that deals extensively with animal tracks and other “signs” left by deer in the forest. German literature on fishing did not start until the fifteenth century. A German veterinary tract that became an international success and was still in use in the nineteenth century was the book on horse remedies by Master Albrant (Meister Albrants Roßarzneibuch). Its thirteenthcentury author who claims to have been in the employ of Frederick II in Naples put together 36 horse remedies based on simple ingredients such as wine, vinegar, eggs, salt, honey, garlic, sulphur, and the like. From Naples the popular text, of which 218 manuscripts, eight incunabula and countless editions are known, spread north to Prague, Silesia, Lausitz and Friaul, Hungary, East Prussia, Centraland Northern Germany, and over the centuries was translated into Czech, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Hungarian, and even Swedish.

Medicine Of all the artes mechanicae medicine generated by far the most literature and was the only one to become a university discipline. Rooted in the Greco-Roman rather than the Germanic medical tradition, the texts of the Old High German period are often smaller groups of recipes, such as the Basler Rezepte from c. 800, and the Würzburger Rezepte from the ninth century. The former are German translations of two Latin recipes, and the latter provide interlinear glosses in German. The home of early medieval medicine was the monastery, and it was there that the first medical compendia (Arzneibücher), such as the Pseudo-Hippocratic Arzebuoch Ypocratis, the Bamberger-, Züricher-, and Innsbrucker Arzneibuch were compiled, and they frequently arranged the material from head to toe (a capite ad calcem). The Innsbrucker Arzneibuch contains one of the earliest herbals (Kräuterbücher), a list of eighteen medicinal plants and their indications known as the InnsbruckPrüler Kräuterbuch. The most famous European herbal of this period was the Macer floridus de virtutibus herbarum, a didactic poem in Latin hexameters composed around 1070 by the Frenchman Odo de Meung (VL 5, 1109–1116). It lists 77 herbs together with their prime qualities hot, cold, wet, and dry according to the humoral theory of Antiquity, and their therapeutic value. The German tradition of the

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Macer began in the twelfth century with German glosses to the Latin text, followed by a prose translation around 1200, and another in the fourteenth century, which also saw the appearance of a verse translation. Aside from German the herbal was translated into English, French, Danish, Spanish, and Italian. Contemporary sources used by Odo include Constantine the African who in the eleventh century was instrumental in making important Arabic medical works, which themselves were based on Greek medicine, available to the doctors of Salerno in Latin translation. An early Arzneibuch based on Salernitan and Pre-Salernitan medicine written in German was the Bartholomäus from the late twelfth century whose title is an allusion to the Practica Bartholomaei of Bartholomaeus Salernitanus (VL 1, 609–15). It consists of a general section on complexions, and a uroscopy, medical recipes for ailments from head to toe, a pharmacopoeia known as the Antiochus-letter (Antiochus-Brief ) and two pharmaceutical treatises. The complete text as well as excerpts spread quickly all over Germany and into neighboring countries. The over 200 complete and fragmentary versions, together with a Danish and Bohemian translation are proof of its enormous popularity. Pharmacopoeias associated with Salerno were the Circa instans (VL 1, 282–85), which contained a variety of plant-, animal-, and mineral-based drugs, and which was translated into German in the fifteenth century; the Antidotarium Nicolai (VL 6, 1134–51), compiled by Nicolaus Salernitanus around 1240 and translated into German before 1300; as well as the Liber iste (VL 5, 759–62) from the twelfth century, also translated into German in the thirteenth century. The Breslauer Arzneibuch from the early fourteenth century is a German medical compendium that combines a number of Salernitan texts ranging from the Macer floridus and Bartholomäus to the Antidotarium Nicolai (VL 1, 123–24). In the thirteenth century Salerno was superseded by Montpellier as the center of medical learning, thanks to a second wave of translations from Arabic into Latin that entered France from neighboring Spain. Salerno and Montpellier are immortalized in Hartmann von Aue’s Middle High German verse epic Der Arme Heinrich whose protagonist travels to both places in search of a cure for leprosy. Among the medical works translated in Toledo in the twelfth century by Gerard de Cremona and his translation school were the Canon medicinae of Avicenna, and the Liber de medicina ad Almansorem

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of Rhazes that were adopted as school texts at Montpellier. There students from all over Europe, including Germany, studied these works under the guidance of teachers such as Arnald de Villanova, and later compiled their own manuals from these sources. One of the earliest Arzneibücher in German that combines material from the first and second wave of translations from Arabic, is the Arzneibuch Ortolfs von Baierland from the mid-fourteenth century (VL 7, 67–82). Its author, a university-trained surgeon from Würzburg, had a good command of Latin, and probably wrote the book for barber-surgeons who received their medical training not at the university but as apprentices. The compendium consists of three “books,” a healthbook or Regimen sanitatis, a book on diagnostic and prognostic, and one on therapy. This rich and well-organized work soon overtook the earlier Bartholomäus in popularity, and was translated into Czech, Low German, and Danish; parts of it also found their way into a variety of other Arzneibücher. The third major genre of medical writing in the Middle Ages, aside from the recipe and Arzneibuch, was the Regimen sanitatis, which reflected the strong emphasis put on prevention in the medical schools. Based on humoral pathology, it ordered the material according to the res naturales (elements, temperaments, humors, members or parts, powers or faculties, operations or actions, spirit) and/or the six res non naturales (air, food and drink, repletion and excretion, exercise and rest, sleeping and waking, accidents of the mind). An early example of a Regimen sanitatis is included in the Secretum secretorum, which may have been available in German translation as early as 1250. The healthbook that became the matrix for most German regimens was compiled in Latin by the German physician Konrad von Eichstätt in the early fourteenth century (VL 5, 162–69). Konrad (c. 1275–1342) who probably studied at Montpellier or Paris, uses a citation method hitherto unknown in German Fachliteratur. Obsessed with the accuracy of his quotes he not only provides information on the author and title of the work, but often also refers to the treatise and chapter. As his main source for the archetype of his regimen (Urregimen) he used Avicenna’s Canon, Rhazes’ Liber de medicina ad Almansorem, and Averroës’ Colliget from which he excerpted material on five of the six res non naturales (air, food and drink, repletion and excretion, exercise, sleeping and waking), which he combined with a dietetic list of foodstuffs (De qualitatibus ciborum). A shorter and more practiceoriented version of the Latin regimen known as the Sanitatis conservator

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was followed by several German translations and adaptations of the Urregimen, which included the Regimen vite, the Ordnung der Gesundheit, and Pseudo-Arnaldian Regel der Gesundheit, all three from around 1400, and the Büchlein der Gesundheit from the fifteenth century. The Sanitatis conservator was incorporated by Heinrich Laufenberg in his 1429 verse regimen known as Versehung des Leibs. The Latin Regimen sanitatis Salernitanum was composed in the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century in leonine hexameter and first appeared in bilingual Latin-German versions in the mid-fourteenth century, and in the fifteenth century entirely in German verse (VL 7, 1105–11). Like the Secretum secretorum, it was popular among lay medical practitioners. Although most of the Regimen sanitatis literature addressed healthy adults in general, regimens that discussed the six non-naturals were also written for special groups such as travelers, children, the elderly, and pregnant women. Aimed at a patient suffering from a specific ailment, they were called consilia. At the beginning of the gynecological literature in Germany were the Secreta mulierum (VL 8, 986–93) attributed to Albertus Magnus, which by 1400 were translated into Dutch, Low- and High German. Hans Hartlieb’s fifteenth-century translation combined the Secreta with excerpts from a gynecological treatise attributed to the twelfth-century medical author Trota or Trotula of Salerno (VL 9, 1083–88). Although women were the primary healthcare providers especially in obstetrics and gynecology in the Middle Ages, women medical writers such as Trotula or the German abbess Hildegard of Bingen were rare. The exclusion of women from medical faculties, and the introduction of licensing severely restricted women’s medical practice from the thirteenth century on, and by 1500 German towns also required midwives to be licensed. The advent of the Plague in the mid-fourteenth century generated a flurry of Latin texts known as Plague treatises (Pesttraktate), which were initially written in Latin by French and Italian physicians, and in the fifteenth century translated into German. It was believed that the epidemic was caused by a fateful constellation of the planets in 1345 that released corrupt vapors into the air. These vapors emanated through the pores of a victim’s skin and traveled to the heart, liver, and brain, a theory known as miasma theory. Often in the form of a Regimen sanitatis these treatises gave advice how to avoid the disease through clean air, proper food, personal hygiene, and bloodletting. With the exception of bloodletting, university-trained physicians

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( physici) in the Middle Ages performed practically no surgical procedures. These were done by surgeons and barber-surgeons (cirulogus, wuntarzet). In Germany a Salernitan surgical manual by Roger Frugardi became known through the Rogerglosse that Ortolf von Baierland included in his Arzneibuch (VL 8, 140–53); a German translation of Frugardi’s complete manual was not available until the fifteenth century. This was also the time when the most famous European surgical texts, the Chirurgia parva, and Chirurgia magna by the Milanese surgeon Lanfranco from the late thirteenth century, and the Chirurgia magna written in 1363 by the French surgeon Guy de Chauliac were translated into German. The first surgical manual compiled by a German was the Cirurgia by Peter von Ulm from the fifteenth century for which Guy de Chauliac was one of the main sources.

Travel Tourism in the modern sense of the word did not exist in the Middle Ages. When people traveled, it was usually for religious or commercial reasons. One of the earliest travelogues in the vernacular is the Old High German Merigarto from c. 1100 (VL 6, 403–06). In rhymed couplets the fragmentary text from Bavaria describes a trip to Iceland based on the accounts of Reginpreht von Hagenau, the future Bishop of Passau, and complemented with excerpts from authors such as Isidore of Seville. In the middle of the twelfth century the famous Navigatio S. Brendani from c. 1050 was translated into German verse, and in the fifteenth century into prose by Hans Hartlieb (VL 1, 985–91). With pilgrimages gaining in popularity after 1300, travel literature focusing on the three favored destinations for medieval Christians, the Holy Land, Rome, and Santiago de Compostela, proliferated. The most famous example of this genre was the book on Palestine by John Mandeville written in French between 1356 and 1371, and first translated into German by Michael Velser in 1388/93 (VL 5, 1201–14). In the fifteenth century, High German translations by Otto von Diemeringen and Hans Bart followed, as well as a Low German and a Dutch rendition. Mandeville, presumably a pseudonym used by the Lüttich physician Jean de Bourgoigne, had little first-hand knowledge of the places he described; he relied instead on earlier Latin accounts such as the Iter ad Terram Sanctam (VL 8, 793–95) by

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Magister Thietmar in 1217, and Wilhelm von Boldensele’s Itinerarius from 1336. The latter was also a source for Ludolf von Sudheim’s Von dem gelobten Land vnd weg gegen iherusalem (VL 5, 984–86). Around 1377 Leopold Stainreuter translated a Latin travelogue by Hêrtel von Lichtenstein into German based on a trip to Mount Sinai. He also wrote on pilgrimages to Rome and Jerusalem (“Leopold von Wien” VL 5, 716–23). At the end of the fourteenth century the pilgrimage of a group from Erfurt to the Holy Land was described in German by Lorenz Egen from Augsburg (VL 2, 365). In the fifteenth century pilgrimages became popular especially among the wealthy bourgeoisie who often sought indulgences in places closer to home than Jerusalem. German and Latin versions of the Mirabilia Romae listed the churches where indulgences were to be had in Rome, for instance, and Hermann Künig von Vach gave a description of the approach routes to Santiago de Compostela (VL 5, 437–38). Travel literature, which introduced European readers to the Far East, included Marco Polo’s 1298/99 account of his two trips to China in 1260 and 1271, which was not translated into German until 1477, and the Franciscan Odorico de Pordenone’s trip to the Orient in the early fourteenth century which Konrad Steckel translated into German in 1359 (VL 8, 241–43).

Warfare, Entertainment Medieval literature on warfare falls into two categories, tactics and technology. For tactics the model was the Epitoma rei militaris by the fourth-century Roman author Flavius Vegetius Renatus (VL 10, 189–90), on which medieval authors drew extensively. Technology changed dramatically following the invention of gunpowder, which was initially used in low-pressure weapons. According to the Feuerwerksbuch (Firework Book) of 1390/1400, the German alchemist and monk Bertholdus niger, later to become the legendary Berthold Schwarz, was the inventor of high-pressure weapons. The most comprehensive and influential book on late-medieval warfare was called Bellifortis (VL 5, 477–84). It was written around 1405 by the German army-engineer and physician Konrad Kyeser from Eichstätt. In times of peace medieval knights competed in tournaments, which together with sports such as fencing and wrestling, games, and

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other forms of entertainment were regarded as part of theatrica. The most popular board game in the upper classes was chess, which the Dominican friar Jacobus de Cessolis used in his didactic work Solacium ludi scacorum to describe professional ethics, and the responsibilities of the individual in society. By 1370 it was translated into German verse four different times, by Heinrich von Beringen around 1290, Konrad von Ammenhausen in 1337, the Pfarrer zu dem Hechte in 1355, and Meister Stephan around 1370. In general, however, moralists and the Church had a negative view of games and sports, and condemned them in countless sermons and didactic works, such as Hugo von Trimberg’s massive Renner from c. 1300 (VL 4, 268–82). In it the author not only criticizes games and tournaments but also the literature that glorified them, the courtly epics.

Magic, Fortune-telling, and Petty Crime Throughout history, human beings have been intrigued by the idea of transcending the laws of nature, and of knowing their future. Aside from some Germanic magic formulae (for example, Merseburger Zaubersprüche), the thrust of medieval magic and mantic literature in Germany was based on classical Greek, Arabic, Egyptian, Babylonian, and Hebrew traditions, which came to Europe via Spain in the twelfth century. Scholars were their first audience, followed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries by the aristocracy, especially in southern Germany and Austria. By the time a broader public gained access to German translations of these texts, the Church had declared most of the magic and mantic practices “forbidden arts.” In his book Puch aller verpotten kunst from the mid-fifteenth century Johannes Hartlieb provides a catalogue of all forbidden arts and names as literary sources the Sigillum Salomonis, Clavicula Salomonis, Jerarchia, Puch Kyranndorum, Liber consecratus, Hebrew texts of the Kabbala, and the eleventh-century standard work on Arabic magic known in Europe under the name Piccatrix (VL 3, 480–99). In addition to being able to tell the future through necromancy, geomancy, hydromancy, aeromancy, pyromancy, chiromancy, and spatulamancy, he claims to have mastered 84 other methods. Of them all, necromancy, conversing with the souls of the dead, was the most controversial, and banned by the papal court as early as 1318. Geomancy, the Arabic art of telling the future by connecting points in the sand, was introduced

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to Europe by books such as the Liber Alfadhol. Chiromancy or palm reading was as popular in the Middle Ages as it is today. One of the earliest vernacular treatises on chiromancy was written in Middle Dutch in 1351. By 1400 onomatomancy that sought to tell the future from the numeric values of names, was also available in Dutch translation. Oneiromancy or predicting the future through dreams generated a type of literature known as Traumbücher (VL 9, 1014–28). In addition to texts such as Arnald de Villanova’s Expositiones visionum, que fiunt in somnis, and Albertus Magnus’ De somno et vigilia, which saw dreams as divine revelations and as influenced by the stars, two kinds of practical dream manuals circulated in medieval Europe, the Somnile Danielis, which listed dream-motifs and their meaning in alphabetical order, and the Somnile Joseph, in which dreams were interpreted in conjunction with other oracles. The German tradition of dreambooks set in around 1400 with a verse translation of the Somnile Danielis. Astrological treatises that predicted personal fortunes and natural events such as the weather, harvests, epidemics or wars, on a monthly or yearly basis following the lunar cycle (Monatskalender, Jahreskalender) are the oldest form of mantic literature in Germany, starting in the twelfth century with a German translation of a Latin prognostic, the Tegernseer Prognostica. To conclude the “forbidden arts,” Eis (1962) discusses the dishonest professions that, though on the margins of medieval society, were still regarded as part of the divine order, as Hugo von Trimberg’s Renner illustrates. Beggars and vagabonds, usually illiterate, nevertheless had their own secret symbols in the Middle Ages (Gaunerzinken), and their own jargon (Rotwelsch), which transformed existing vocabulary, and borrowed Yiddish and Gypsy words. A Rotwelsch-Latin glossary was compiled around 1350 by Dietmar von Meckebach, chancellor of Breslau, and a Rotwelsch-German one of c. 100 words in 1488 by Gerold Edlibach, a town-councillor in Zurich. Even earlier con-artist registers (Gilerverzeichnisse) were put together, such as the Augsburg Achtbuch from 1342/43. Methods used by these swindlers included feigned illness, injury, or pregnancy, and disguises as monks or pilgrims. But petty crime was not restricted to people on the fringes of medieval society. In fact, most medieval professions had ways to defraud their customers, from the spice-merchant adulterating pepper to the innkeeper cheating pilgrims, and their Fachliteratur is full of caveats—or recommendations as the case may be.

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Law From the fifth to the eighth century German law was the common law (Leges) of the individual tribes, written in Latin and interspersed with hundreds of Germanic legal terms. The Visigoths had their Leges Visigothorum, the Burgundians the Lex Burgundionum Gundobadi, and the Salian Franks under Chlodwig their Lex Salica, whose German glosses being preceded by the word mallobergo are known as Malbergische Glossen (VL 5, 1193–98). Somewhat younger are the Lex Baiuvariorum, and the Lex Frisiavonum. Not until the thirteenth century does a tradition of lawbooks in German set in whose most important representatives were the Sachsenspiegel from c. 1235, and the Schwabenspiegel from c. 1275. The former, composed by the knight Eike von Repgowe, and dealing with Eastphalian common and feudal law, became the model for many German lawbooks, including the Schwabenspiegel from Augsburg that, according to Eis, was the most wide-spread German book of the Middle Ages. In Germany as elsewhere in Europe these regional law codes were gradually replaced by Roman Law. Graduates of the famous law school of Bologna included the German Michael de Leone, who studied both Roman and Canon Law, went on to become the highest notary in the chancellery of the Bishop of Würzburg, and ended his career as Canon and Scholasticus of Neumünster, a collegiate church in Würzburg. His two-volume familial codex, the Hausbuch, compiled around 1350, contains a wide range of legal, religious, and didactic literature grouped around Hugo von Trimberg’s Renner. It also provides valuable insights in the Fachliteratur available to a wellconnected member of the Würzburg patriciate. Volume I, now lost, contained the Cato and Facetus in Latin and German, and the Libellus de plantacionibus arborum, which may have been a Latin version of Gottfried’s Pelzbuch; Volume II Honorius Augustodunensis’ Elucidarium, and German Lucidarius, the oldest German cookbook, two Latin Regimina sanitatis, two Latin Plague-treatises, excerpts from the Regimen sanitatis Salernitanum and a Regimen duodecim mensium or labors of the month in Latin and German, a Latin poem on table manners, and a German physiognomy in the Secretum secretorum tradition. Michael’s choice of Fachliteratur shows a strong emphasis on the Trivium and two of the artes mechanicae, namely agriculture and medicine. For the vernacularization of medieval Fachliteratur the Hausbuch is a milestone. By providing etiquette books, encyclopedias, a cookbook, and simple

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medical verses in German or bilingual versions, it makes these texts accessible to an upwardly-mobile urban middle class eager to emulate the lifestyles of the Middle Ages’ rich and famous.

Selected Bibliography * For editions of the many works mentioned in this chapter, please refer to the pertinent articles in the Verfasserlexikon (VL). Ruh, Kurt, Gundolf Keil, Werner Schröder, Burghart Wachinger, and Franz Josef Worstbrock, eds. 1978–1999. Die Deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters: Verfasserlexikon. 2nd ed. 10 Vols. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. (VL) Secondary Works Adamson, Melitta Weiss. 1995. Food in the Middle Ages: A Book of Essays. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc. ——. 1995. Medieval Dietetics: Food and Drink in Regimen Sanitatis Literature from 800 to 1400. Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang. Assion, Peter. 1987. Fachliteratur. In Die deutsche Literatur im späten Mittelalter 1250–1370. Ingeborg Glier, ed. Part II. Reimpaargedichte, Drama, Prosa, 371–95. Munich: C.H. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung (= Helmut de Boor and Richard Newald, eds. Geschichte der deutschen Literatur von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, vol. 3.2). ——. 1973. Altdeutsche Fachliteratur. Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag. Birkhan, Helmut. 1992. Die alchemistische Lehrdichtung des Gratheus filius philosophi in Cod. Vind. 2372: Zugleich ein Beitrag zur okkulten Wissenschaft im Spätmittelalter. 2 Vols. Vienna: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Brévart, Francis. 1988. The German Volkskalender of the Fifteenth Century. In Speculum 63: 312–42. Copeland, Rita. 1991. Rhetoric, Hermeneutic, and Translation in the Middle Ages: Academic Traditions and Vernacular Texts. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Crossgrove, William. 1994. Die deutsche Sachliteratur des Mittelalters. Bern: Peter Lang. Eis, Gerhard. 1962. Mittelalterliche Fachliteratur. Stuttgart: Metzler. Ertzdorff, Xenja von and Dieter Neukirch. 1992. Reisen und Reiseliteratur im Mittelalter und in der Frühen Neuzeit. Amsterdam: Rodopi. Flint, Valerie I. J. 1991. The Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe. Princeton: Princeton UP. Grant, Edward. 1994. Planets, Stars, and Orbs: The Medieval Cosmos, 1200 –1687. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Hagenmeyer, Christa. 1995. Das Regimen Sanitatis Konrads von Eichstätt: Quellen-TexteWirkungsgeschichte. Sudhoffs Archiv Beihefte, 35. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag. Hoffmann, Richard C. 1997. Fishers’ Craft & Lettered Art: Tracts on Fishing from the End of the Middle Ages. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Keyser, Peter. 1966. Michael de Leone (†1355) und seine literarische Sammlung. Würzburg: Kommissionsverlag Ferdinand Schöningh. Kieckhefer, Richard. 1989. Magic in the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Lambert, Carole, ed. 1992. Du manuscrit à la table. Essais sur la cuisine au Moyen Âge et Répertoire des manuscrits médiévaux contenant des recettes culinaires. Paris: ChampionSlatkine. Lindberg, David C. 1992. The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scientific

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  (FACHLITERATUR)


Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Constitutional Context, 600 B.C. to A.D. 1450. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Moulinier, Laurence. 1995. Le manuscrit perdu à Strasbourg: Enquête sur l’œuvre scientifique de Hildegarde. Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne. Schleissner, Margaret R. 1995. Manuscript Sources of Medieval Medicine: A Book of Essays. New York: Garland Publishing Inc. Siraisi, Nancy G. 1990. Medieval & Early Renaissance Medicine: An Introduction to Knowledge and Practice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Stoll, Ulrich. 1992. Das ‘Lorscher Arzneibuch’: Ein Medizinisches Kompendium des 8. Jahrhunderts (Codex Bambergensis Medicinalis 1), Text, Übersetzung und Fachglossar. Sudhoffs Archiv Beihefte, 28. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag. Wagner, David L., ed. 1983. The Seven Liberal Arts in the Middle Ages. Bloomington: Indiana UP. White, Lynn, Jr. 1978. Medieval Religion and Technology. Berkeley: University of California Press. Wilson, David Fenwick. 1990. Music of the Middle Ages: Style and Structure. New York: Schirmer Books.

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I. Toward a Definition of Mysticism In speaking of mysticism, mystics, and mystical literature, we must, first of all, be aware that we are, as in the case of Gothic architecture, employing terms imposed on medieval phenomena by those of a later age—in this case by nineteenth- and twentieth-century investigators. The nouns mystic and mysticism do not appear in medieval texts, and the adjective mystical usually refers to a way of interpreting scripture, though it is also used to describe something hidden or mysterious. Put simply, medieval “mystics” would not have understood what was meant by calling them mystics, and what we now call mystical literature was not held to be a separate category of religious writing. And, indeed, when one tries to determine what those writings now termed mystical all have in common or what distinguishes them from other kinds of religious writing, clear and satisfying answers do not spring readily to mind. How, for example, can one include in the same term both the theologically refined and intellectually stimulating discourses of Meister Eckhart on the birth of the Son in the soul and the extremely intimate and subjective descriptions of visions, ecstasies, spiritually ennobled sicknesses, and ascetic practices revealed by Margaret Ebner? Or what distinguishes the content of several chapters in Mechthild of Magdeburg’s Flowing Light of the Godhead from what is frequently found in ordinary manuals of piety? It should not surprise one, then, to find a certain vagueness among scholars in how the term is used. Though one can point to a plentitude of valuable studies on these writings replete with rewarding insights and convincing analyses and despite an assumed consensus that there is something like a mystical core uniting them, a generally accepted definition of mysticism or mystical text has been elusive. It has not always been clear what one studies in studying mysticism. A brief look at the problem and its history can be informative.

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Initial interest in mysticism in Germany in the nineteenth century was informed by three concurrent movements: philosophical idealism, nationalism, and romanticism, with its concomitant enthusiasm for the medieval period and resurgence of Roman Catholicism. The first to use the phrase German mysticism (deutsche Mystik) was the Hegelian Carl Rosenkranz who in 1831 applied it to the then recently rediscovered German works of Meister Eckhart. Eckhart was celebrated as the liberator of the “German spirit” (Geist) from the bonds of pedantic medieval scholasticism. He and German mysticism, Rosenkranz maintained, provided the foundation of a “German” philosophy characterized by bold flights of thought and inward intensity that contrasted sharply with the cold supra-national intellectuality of mainstream medieval thought. In his four-volume Die christliche Mystik (1836–42), the journalist and professor Joseph Görres, who returned late in life to his Roman Catholic roots, applied his considerable intellectual and polemical talents to making a case for the existence of a supernatural realm against his rationalist and positivist contemporaries. Conceiving mysticism in broad terms, Görres drew not only upon the religious writings of the medieval past but also investigated a wide variety of phenomena contemporary to him, such as ecstatics, visionaries, and the like. His fanciful conception of the supernatural brought as much embarrassment as assistance to his cause and his allies. For the rest, however, in most German scholarly circles of the nineteenth century, Eckhart—and secondarily his fellow Dominicans Suso and Tauler—provided the principal focus of investigations into mysticism. The religious vitality emanating from these figures was frequently contrasted with the Protestantism of the times, which was portrayed as desiccated and spiritless. Quite a different approach, popular among scholars at the beginning of the 1900s, was to strip mysticism of all characteristics stemming from its being rooted in a specific time, place, and culture and to examine what all manifestations of it have in common. The American philosopher and psychologist William James pioneered this approach (The Varieties of Religious Experience, 1902). For James personal religious experience “has its roots in mystical states of consciousness,” which have four principal characteristics: 1) ineffability, meaning that language is inadequate to describe them; 2) noetic quality, meaning that one achieves in a mystical state depths of insight and truth inaccessible to discursive reason; 3) transiency,

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meaning that such a state cannot be long maintained; 4) passivity, meaning that although such states can be facilitated by willed preliminary operations, once they are attained, the subject feels under the dominance of a superior power. In such states, James asserts, we experience becoming “one with the Absolute” and becoming “aware of our oneness” ( James, 379–82). He considered transport, rapture, and ecstasy to be mystical states, and he cites examples of such states that were induced by drugs and by an overwhelming experience of nature. He concentrates more heavily, however, on descriptions of experiences deriving from world religions, giving Christian mystics the most detailed treatment. Another American, Rufus Jones, and the British investigator Evelyn Underhill pursued similar paths in their life-long study of mysticism. Early on (Studies in Mystical Religion, 1909) Jones described mysticism as “the type of religion which puts the emphasis on immediate awareness of relation with God, on direct and intimate consciousness of the Divine Presence. It is religion at its most acute, intense and living stage” ( Jones: 1909, xv). Years later (The Flowering of Mysticism, 1939) Jones called it “an immediate, intuitive, experiential knowledge of God.” It is a “consciousness of a Beyond, or of transcendent Reality or of a Divine Presence” ( Jones: 1939, 251). In attempting to define it, however, he emphasized how little such a definition means unless one grasps it as a deep personal experience. Underhill, whose book Mysticism (1910) went through several editions and continues to be popular, focused on the Christian mystical tradition but emphasized “the individual not as he stands in relation to the civilization of his time, but as he stands in relation to truths that are timeless” (Underhill, xiii). Mysticism, she stated, “is the science of union with the Absolute” (Underhill, 72). It is “a movement of the heart, seeking to transcend the limitations of the individual standpoint and to surrender itself to ultimate Reality” (Underhill, 71). She then set out to make the path of the mystic through the via purgativa (purifying oneself by emptying oneself of all attachments to creatures), the via illuminativa (consciousness of God’s presence and of the transcendent aspect of things), and the dark night of the soul (sense of God’s complete absence) to the via unitiva (union with God, life on a higher plane). In addition to thus systematizing mysticism, Underhill reminds us, as do other authorities, of the gulf separating the absolute reality that mystics perceive and the images they choose to describe it. More than others of the time

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she also tried to distinguish the mystic from those experiencing other religious phenomena, such as ecstatics or visionaries. Mention must also be made of the ferment in France from the turn of the century through the 1930s among Roman Catholic thinkers revolving around the question of who is called to be a mystic. All those involved assumed that Christian faith and divine grace were prerequisites for true mystical contemplation. The disputed point was whether the attainment of the mystical state required a special grace and was open to only a few, or whether its attainment was within the grasp of all Christians striving for spiritual perfection to which all are called. One consequence of this debate, apart from the positions taken, was that the concepts of mysticism and mystical contemplation were placed more directly into the mainstream of theology and spirituality and removed from the sphere of unusual religious phenomena. The ensuing decades, especially from the 1970s on have seen a veritable explosion of interest and knowledge concerning mysticism. Scholars in Germany had freed themselves from their questionable patriotism as well as from their ignorance of the transnational and trans-ethnic nature of medieval mysticism that had led them to conceive of “German mysticism” and began in earnest to examine mystical writings with a fuller understanding of their historical and cultural setting. And yet pinpointing exactly what it is that allows a religious document to be termed mystical remains elusive, as a glance at the musings of the two most recent historians of mysticism confirm. In the opening remarks to his Geschichte der abendländischen Mystik, Kurt Ruh states that one must approach the question pragmatically because the adjective mystical has been applied by scholars so indiscriminately. He admits to a large gray area of texts that can be linked to what is clearly mystical either as to content or style. He finds it impossible within the framework of his task to offer a critique of definitions scholars have offered of mysticism, even if he were to restrict himself to Christian mysticism. Shifting the discussion to language, Ruh declares mystical language to be that which expresses mystical experience; but since such experiences find no adequate expression in human language, one must view the language mystics use to describe their experiences as a transitus or meta-language mediating between human language, which describes multiplicity, differentiality, and temporality, and the language of God. In other words, we must not presume to have penetrated the language of the mystics. Of course,

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Ruh admits, few mystical documents remain entirely on such a high plane but rather contain much that leads up to it. Finally, obviously implying what he considers to be the limited value of all such theorizing, Ruh declares that what mysticism is can only be shown through an examination of concrete texts (Ruh: 1990, 13–27). Bernard McGinn begins his multivolume study (The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism) by calling attention to what he considers the shortcomings of the universalist approach (for example, James and Underhill). He criticizes those whose emphasis on the mystical experience results in their largely dissolving the bonds between the experience and its context. Mystical experience, he points out, in its ineffable otherness cannot be directly accessed by the historian and, as a term, is fraught with ambiguity. Is it, he asks, an altered state or just a deepened awareness? He also notes that, since descriptions of mystical experiences are generally limited to those mystics who choose an autobiographical mode of expression—which many mystics may well choose not to do—one is still further narrowing unduly the scope of one’s investigation. Echoing Ruh’s sentiments, McGinn asserts that one cannot progress far in the study of a Christian mystic if one does not address the question of the significance of a mystic’s writings within the history of Christian mysticism. Putting off a thorough treatment of the term mysticism to the end of his as yet unfinished undertaking, McGinn cautiously proposes three points as a heuristic point of departure. First, mysticism occurs generally as one element of a concrete religion. Mystics are Christians, Jews, Muslims, or Hindus whose personal religiosity emphasizes the mystical elements of these religions. Second, mysticism is a process or way of life. Its culmination may be a transcendent inexpressible experience of loss of self and union with God, but everything that prepares the way for this event is of legitimate concern to a study of mysticism. To isolate the goal from the paths leading to it is again to risk serious misunderstanding and distortion. Finally, rather than employ the per definitionen impenetrable mystical experience as his starting point, McGinn prefers one equally legitimized by tradition and similar to that emphasized by Jones among others. He provisionally describes mysticism as that which “concerns the preparation for, the consciousness of, and the reaction to what can be described as the immediate or direct presence of God” (McGinn, 1991, xvii). Such a description, he contends, helps broaden the investigation and avoids the ambiguities of experience with its proximity to

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such things as visions, locutions, raptures, and the like, which some mystics have insisted are not to be confused with mystical encounters. McGinn concludes his remarks by admitting that presence is also not without ambiguity and that the meaning of direct must rest on the assertion of the mystics of the immediacy of this consciousness when compared with ordinary religious consciousness. While we, too, can do no better than to let the matter rest there, one area of widespread agreement among investigators deserves mention, namely, that mystical language is closely akin to poetic language. Certainly this is true in the sense that poetry does not use words solely for their denotative function but rather as symbols in the sense that Goethe understood the word: that words in poetry point beyond themselves to a higher plane of reality. In this sense mystical language at its best could be considered to be the highest form of poetry. It is also true, however, in that when choosing what McGinn terms “verbal strategies” (McGinn: 1991, xvii) for their attempts to express the inexpressible, mystics resort most frequently to poetic and rhetorical figures. This applies even to the male Dominican mystics trained in the strictly conceptual modes of scholastic thought. Though a basic understanding of scholasticism is indispensable for understanding most of Eckhart (and much of Tauler and Suso), the learned doctor seldom simply explains the concepts of the schools in his vernacular sermons. Rather, he more often creates contexts for conceptual language that forces the concepts to expand beyond themselves. Some of the most frequent rhetorical figures found among the German mystics are: simile, metaphor, (extended) allegory, paradox, hyperbole, antithesis, oxymoron, parallelism, and chiasmus. Ironically, because of the nature of the reality being expressed, what would ordinarily be simply a rhetorical exaggeration or contradiction is discovered to be literally true. Thus Eckhart will say that calling God good is like saying the sun is black, thereby asserting the utter inadequacy of human language when applied to God—that saying God is good is to say something more false than true. Or, in full agreement with orthodox theology, mystics will maintain that God is more interior to us than we are to ourselves.

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II. Major Influences and Traditions The Bible The biblical passage most frequently quoted or alluded to by mystics to legitimize their encounters with God is Paul’s description of his being “caught up to the third heaven” and of his hearing there “things that cannot be told, which man may not utter” (2 Cor. 12: 1–8). Moses’ encounter with God on Mount Sinai occurs frequently as well. Other favorite passages of the mystics are Paul’s declaration that “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20) and Johannine passages, such as Christ’s allegory of the vine and the branches (15:1–8) in his discourse at the Last Supper and references to a divine indwelling in the human person or a human indwelling in God (14:23; 17:21; 1 John 4:15–16). The two main authorities affecting the development of Christian mysticism in the West, however, were Augustine (354–430) and (Pseudo-) Dionysius (fl. c. 500). Augustine Given his dominating influence on the development of so many aspects of Western Christianity, it should come as no surprise that the power of Augustine’s personality and his voluminous writings should be so strongly felt in mystical thought as well. While the dispute over whether he himself was a mystic continues—largely a question of defining terms—there can be little doubt about the importance of his contributions to the theology of mystical union. The idea— common in later centuries—of presenting progress toward union as a series of steps, stages, or degrees can be traced back to him, and his narrations in the Confessions of two visions, one at Milan and one at Ostia, greatly influenced how such experiences were later narrated and viewed. Though scholars have discovered a structure borrowed from Plotinus in his descriptions of these visions, which has caused some to suspect an altering of any actual events, its use by Augustine in the Confessions guaranteed its legitimacy as a model for others in describing a spiritual ascent to God. First, the soul turns away or separates itself from physical reality. Then it looks within itself. Finally, it is taken up into God, though this elevated state is of only short duration. The experience has both a cognitive and an

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emotional element. What was transmitted in the Milan vision was a conviction of God’s existence and goodness, an understanding of the nature of evil, of the manner of existence of all things below God, and of God as Truth ruling over them. To describe the soul’s gazing lovingly at God and all things, Augustine frequently employs what will become a central term: contemplatio. Yet contemplatio is only part of how Augustine conceives of the soul’s relation to God. It is his certainty that God is the only object capable of satisfying the soul’s infinite longing—a thought that permeates his writings—that most characterizes his mystical thought more than anything else. This restlessness of the heart till it rests in God he found expressed in Psalm 41: “As the deer desires fountains of waters, so does my soul have desire of you, God.” For Augustine it is the similarities between the soul and God that make union possible. Whereas other created things only resemble God remotely as vestigia Dei (traces, footsteps of God), man was created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26). The similarities penetrate to the essence of the soul, on the one hand, and to the inner life of God, on the other, since both are trinitarian in nature. God as mens or memoria (a subject capable of consciousness) posits the act of self-knowledge: the Verbum (Word), and knowing himself, is drawn to love (amor) what he knows. This triune life of the one God is mirrored in the soul, especially in the human intellect, which is a conscious subject capable of knowing and loving. Despite his obvious limitations, it is man as the image of the Trinity that provides the basis for the vision of God which the soul will attain in heaven and which, Augustine believed, could be attained on earth in a limited way. Again, it is the similarities between our normal way of seeing and visions divinely caused that make the latter possible. We “see” on a corporeal level (physical objects present to us), on a spiritual level (in our imagination, sense images in the mind), and on an intellectual level (without images). Subsequent religious writers will adopt this way of distinguishing visions caused by divine intervention and assume a hierarchy with intellectual or imageless visions being the highest kind. (Pseudo-) Dionysius The strong impact of Dionysius on medieval mysticism rests no doubt in part on mistaken identity since, before the sixteenth century, he

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was thought to be Dionysius the Areopagite, Paul’s Athenian convert and disciple (Acts 17:34). Today he is believed to have been a late fifth-century Syrian monk. The Greek originals of his writings were made available to the Latin West through translations by the tenth-century Irish monk and theologian John Scotus Eriugena, who also wrote a commentary on him, as did, among others, Hugh of St. Victor, Albert the Great, and Thomas Aquinas. Combined with his supposed link with the apostle Paul, commentaries by such respected theologians guaranteed his continuing authority and influence throughout the Middle Ages. Dionysius was much more mystical than Augustine in that, while the latter’s influence covers all aspects of religious thought, the former’s principal focus was to plumb the depths of the unknowable God in order to unite with him in darkness and silence. Not all aspects of his thought were exploited in the West. How he saw human language relating to God, however, greatly affected theologians and mystics alike. All our knowledge of God, he says, comes from our understanding of his actions to the outside and their effects, namely, creation. In the universe we see being, goodness, and beauty. These “appearances of beauty are signs of invisible loveliness.” To this point Dionysius sounds like most Christian theologians, but he is actually much less sanguine about what we may conclude from this about God himself. Cataphatic language about God, that is, names like “goodness,” “being,” or “life,” that apply some positive quality or attribute to God, are only true in a symbolic manner since “God is in no way like the things that have being, and we have no knowledge at all of his incomprehensible and ineffable transcendence and invisibility.” Hence, to learn more of God, one must proceed to apophatic language, the language of negation, and say that God is invisible, infinite, and “unknowable darkness.” The way of negation, of denying qualities to God, is higher than that of affirmation in that it contains more truth about God than the merely symbolic language of affirmation. It leads us further in our search to know God. It is clear that Dionysius is employing dialectic inasmuch as the knowledge gained by denying attributes to God depends on understanding the positive attributes denied him. Continuing this dialectic Dionysius explores a third possibility for talking about God: hyperlanguage, hyper being Greek for “above” or “beyond.” This language enables one to say, for example, that God is Goodness beyond goodness and thus attribute a goodness to him infinitely surpassing what

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we are able to capture in our impotent conception of goodness. In this way we gain some notion of God who “stands outside all good things, being the superfullness of all these things.” We have presented the thoughts of Dionysius on language in a more orderly and logical manner than how they appear in his writings and have, no doubt, distorted them and robbed them of their profundity. Foremost in his thinking is that God is a God of mystery, whose power and essence remain hidden from the human intellect and unutterable by human tongue. This is his most significant legacy to the mystical tradition. Bernard of Clairvaux Another major current affecting later mystics was that originating in pre-scholastic monastic spirituality, the Cistercian abbot Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153) being the greatest single force. Three aspects of his contribution deserve mention: the centrality of love in his thinking, the centrality of Christ, and his elaborations on bride mysticism. For Bernard God is, above all, love itself (1 John 4:8). God’s love for us is “modus sine modo” (a kind of love without limit). His love overcame, still overcomes and banishes all modesty, propriety, or self-seeking shrewdness; and we must respond in like manner. In lyrical flights he describes this unrestrained (intemperans) love as sudden and spontaneous ( praeceps), violent (vehemens), burning ( flagrans), and impetuous. Under its spell the soul feels nothing but boredom and loathing for all else. He describes how the soul should progress in loving from carnal to spiritual love. In contrast to Dionysius, Bernard’s thought is Christo-centric. It is the Incarnation, the fact that the Word became flesh, that enables the human being to enjoy union with God. Christ, as the God-man, especially through his suffering and death, bridges the abyss separating the infinite Divinity from finite and fallen humanity. Bernard’s treatment of the passion, however, is not the affective call to unite with Christ in his suffering typical of later centuries. He urges us, rather, to imitate Christ in practicing virtue, especially humility and long-suffering. Though others before him had written influential commentaries on the Song of Songs, Bernard’s eighty-six sermons on this biblical text composed in the course of his last eighteen years were the culmination and finest expression of his theology of mystical love and an

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authoritative source for a host of mystical writers to follow. The Bridegroom is Christ, who is not only the perfect Lover but Love itself; the bride is the soul that thirsts for God. The sermons narrate and theologically interpret the story of the lovers, their separation and yearning, their search for and discovery of each other, and their ultimate union. Bernard often prefers amor (love in all its aspects) to dilectio (a spiritual, non-erotic term) to describe this love, and the bride, inebriated by her yearning, gives herself totally to love, demanding the kiss of the mouth. For Bernard bridal love is the highest form of love. The bride loves without self-interest—unlike the love of children, who hope for inheritance—and without distrust. Bridal love is pure love because that is what a bride is. Both as a masterpiece on the theology of love and as a masterful literary exposition of the power and subtleties of love between God and the soul, these sermons resonate in countless medieval texts and beyond. The Victorines Another twelfth-century current affecting contemporary and subsequent mysticism was the thought coming out of the canonical house and school of St. Victor just outside the walls of Paris. Here one attempted the reconciliation of traditional monastic theology with nascent scholasticism, which attempted to infuse the faith with new intensity and to achieve a deeper understanding of it through more rigorous intellectual investigation. The school’s first major figure, Hugh, influenced by (Pseudo-) Dionysius among others, aimed at uniting the profundity of traditional symbolic theological language with the newly admired conceptual clarity achieved through the careful application of logic and, by this means, illuminating the soul’s contemplative ascent toward union. Another Victorine, however, the Scotsman Richard, ranks higher and had more impact on the mystical tradition. Largely through allegorical interpretation of sections of the Old Testament, Richard explains both the theory and the practice of the mystical ascent. He begins by describing levels of contemplation that are above but not beyond reason, then progresses to those that are both above and beyond it, and finally clarifies various modes of ecstasy. His descriptions of violent love and the madness of love that willingly abandons the experience of divine love for the sake of love surface again later, especially among the women mystics.

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The Franciscans The main Franciscan contributions can be linked to the order’s founder and to Bonaventure, its most celebrated theologian. In Bonaventure’s mystical writings Francis is portrayed as the model and exemplar of the mystical life. Though in many ways Bonaventure was more of a synthesizer of the various mystical traditions preceding him than original in this area, he left his mark on certain directions of mystical thought by portraying Francis as the embodiment and synthesis of all previous mystical traditions and by insisting on the primacy of love over knowledge in the pursuit and attainment of union (though not denying a cognitive aspect to the highest forms of love). Bonaventure also followed Francis in approaching the passion of Christ as an opportunity to unite with him in suffering: to look upon the crucified Savior, to ponder, to reflect, and to be crucified with him in spirit. Francis, as portrayed in hagiographies and paintings with his stigmata and rapt in vision and ecstasy, gave importance to these unusual phenomena, often causing them to be considered proof of or even essential to extraordinary holiness. The Dominican scholastic tradition The three most important male German mystics, the Dominicans Eckhart, Suso, and Tauler, cannot be understood without a knowledge of the rigorous intellectual formation they received as demanded by their order. This tradition left its mark on those under their spiritual direction as well. The great Dominican thinkers of the preceding generations—giants to whose who followed—left behind an intellectual legacy as much because of the spirit in which they explored the nature of God and his creation as in the philosophical-theological edifice they erected. The universal genius of Albert the Great was highly esteemed, but it was the thought of Thomas that most affected the course of Eckhart’s mysticism and, secondarily, that of Suso and Tauler. Repeatedly an idea of Eckhart’s will only become clear if one sees it in a Thomistic context. This is true whether Eckhart is simply showing that Thomas agrees with him or whether, as often happens, he goes beyond the thought of Thomas or turns it on its head. Thus , for example, with regard to the concept of being, so pivotal for both thinkers, Eckhart will take the standard deus est esse (God is being) and, reversing the order, state something more

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extreme: esse est deus (being is God), implying that nothing but God is being. Or, he will deny that God is being, maintaining that God is more properly knowing (intelligere). Eckhart’s theology was crafted and can only be understood in tension with the thought of Thomas. That mysticism generally continued to be conceived primarily as a kind of knowing (cognitio dei experimentalis) rather than as feeling owes much to this tradition. The Desert Fathers As scholasticism began to decline as a vital intellectual force in the fourteen century, the influence of early Christian monastic traditions reasserted itself. The lives and sayings of the fourth-century desert fathers of Egypt became popular reading material with their emphasis on withdrawal from the world, sexual abstinence, extreme asceticism, and contemplative prayer as the means of achieving perfection. The first hermit Paul, Antony of Egypt—as presented by his biographer Anthanasius—Pachomius, and others were the subjects of various anecdotes portraying miraculous events, contests with demons, feats of asceticism, visions, and the practice of virtue. The popularity of such material signaled in some quarters a return to a simpler, less cerebral approach to mysticism. The pithy sayings of these pioneers were no doubt a welcome alternative to those confused by the richness and diversity of approaches offered by the many treatises on mysticism of the previous centuries. In Germany Suso, hagiographic writings, and women mystics all drew upon these sources.

III. The Meaning of “German” Mysticism In restricting our examination to mystical documents written in the German vernacular, we would do well to understand that so doing would have seemed much more questionable to the people of the times than it does to us today. We risk repeating the distortions of the nineteenth-century investigators who emphasized how “German” these texts were and largely ignored what everyone in the Middle Ages knew, that these were documents expressing the spirituality of Latin (Western) Christianity. Distinctions made on purely linguistic grounds are simply that and can easily lead to overemphasis of differences in at least two areas. First, there are many important

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mystical texts written by Germans who wrote in Latin. Second, one would do better to speak of German languages (or dialects) existing at the time than of the German language. To include vernacular texts in High, Middle, and Low German while excluding those in Dutch is to be led by post-medieval distinctions. Mechthild of Magdeburg, for example, might well have felt more comfortable with the Dutch-speaking Beguines than with someone from the German-speaking Tyrolean South. And any uneasiness she felt because her fellow sisters in Helfta wrote in Latin can be attributed to her own deficiencies in that language. Among the Dutch mystics mention must be made of the Cistercian prioress Beatrice of Nazareth (1200–1268) whose Seven Manners of Loving shows both great spiritual profundity and literary accomplishments. Equaling or surpassing as poetry anything written by German women mystics were the diverse works of Hadewijch of Antwerp (fl. 1250). Hadewijch, about whose life we know little aside from her being a Beguine, wrote letters, a book of visions, and poems both in stanzaic and couplet forms. In all these genres she shows herself to be a consummate artist conscious of the secular and religious literary traditions upon which she draws to create consistently mystical literature of high quality. Foremost among German women writing in Latin is the Rhineland abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179). Though some would deny her the name mystic, maintaining that she made no contributions to the mystical tradition, others find in her broadly diverse writings some traces of mysticism. The Benedictine Elisabeth of Schönau (1128–1165), whose visions were written down in Latin by her brother Ekbert, is another case of someone marginally mystical. Two Helfta Cistercians, however, Mechthild of Hackeborn (1214–1298) and Gertrude (the Great) of Helfta (1256–1301/02), were the principal authors of books contributing much to the mystical tradition; but they, too, chose to write in Latin.

IV. The Immediate Context German mystical literature has not only a specific geographical setting. When speaking of medieval times, it is bounded by a definite time framework as well. Before the middle of the thirteenth century there was little written in German that one could associate with mys-

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ticism. Then, beginning in Italy and in the Low Countries and soon spreading into other areas, a veritable explosion of mystical spirituality occurred, resulting in numerous mystical writings. Within Germanspeaking lands, the Rhineland from Cologne in the south to Strasbourg and beyond into Switzerland saw the greatest concentration of this activity, but it spread to other areas as well. Several factors contributed to this sudden growth. Economic conditions had improved. Important towns began to emerge that made possible a heightened social, cultural, and religious climate foreign to rural society. Though clear evidence is lacking, there are indications that literacy in the vernacular was beginning to increase. The new mendicant orders, Dominicans and Franciscans, took up the pope’s call for a renewal of the vita apostolica and, despite some opposition from local clergy, contributed much to preaching, instruction, and other pastoral duties in the towns. They proclaimed that everyone was called to a life of deep spirituality, a message that found resonance especially among women. Communities of Beguines, women seeking a life of spiritual perfection but belonging to no recognized religious order, began to appear. Often such communities would then attempt to gain approval to become Cistercian, Franciscan, or, more frequently, Dominican houses, a move opposed by many male Dominicans who thought the burden of pastoral care such houses would impose on them would be excessive. Pope Clement IV, however, sided with the women and declared in 1267 that the cura monialium (the pastoral care of nuns) was an important duty of the Dominican fathers. The German Dominican provincial Hermann of Minden confirmed the pope’s decree for those under him in 1287. By 1300 there were 80 houses of Dominican nuns in Germany numbering 80 to 100 members each. Franciscan nuns numbered less than half of this. This cooperation between theologically well-grounded male Dominicans and women, “each pollinating and enlivening the other” (Grundmann, 104) must be recognized as the decisive event giving rise to the flowering of mysticism in Germany. It is important to note that the relationship between men and women was not divided into active and passive roles. The Dominican spiritual fathers found great spiritual ferment and intellectually sophisticated minds awaiting them. In the case of Meister Eckhart, for example, it has been argued that his vernacular sermons were occasioned as much by a well-developed spirituality already present in his audiences of nuns and Beguines as by their eagerness to learn more. One result of this

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fortunate cooperation was the development of a “vernacular theology” (McGinn: 1998, 19ff.) that would complement the currents of monastic and scholastic theology which had molded mystical thought up to this time. Some vernacular writings, if highly esteemed, would be translated into Latin, so that a wider audience could be reached. In any case, it was in this context of male-female cooperation that most major German mystical texts came about.

V. Two Twelfth-Century Forerunners St. Trudpert Song of Songs The St. Trudpert Song of Songs, an exegetical interpretation in rhythmic prose, represents a transition from understanding this biblical love song as expressing the love of Christ for his church to interpreting it as symbolic for his love for the individual soul. Yet, though manifesting mystical elements—especially in its prologue and epilogue—in its totality it is more didactic than mystical. Its title refers to the monastery south of Freiburg in Breisgau, where the most important manuscript was found. Two monasteries have been suggested as its place of origin: either the dual monastery for men and women at St. Georgen in the Black Forest or a similar Benedictine establishment at Admont in Austrian Styria. The person who wrote it about 1160 was most likely a spiritual advisor addressing nuns under his care or, possibly, one of the nuns of the monastery. Its message is rooted in the monastic theology of Bernard, the Victorines, and other twelfth-century theologians but relies on a translation of the Song of Songs written by Williram, Abbot of Ebersberg in Bavaria, about a hundred years earlier. The St. Trudpert Song of Songs is mentioned here because it is the first mystical document in German and because it is “an original contribution to monastic mysticism” (McGinn: 1994, 347). Original certainly is the mediating role of Mary, “the first to be kissed.” She is the model according to which others may also be kissed. The Bridegroom is sometimes the Holy Spirit, sometimes Christ, and sometimes the Trinity. The entire work aims at educating and preparing bridal souls for a union that so warms hearts that they melt like wax in fire (cf. Song 5:6). The bridal souls flow “back into the Godhead where they were first created.” The perfect fulfillment of love, however, is attained only in heaven.

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David of Augsburg David of Augsburg (c. 1210–72), though less well known than his contemporary, Mechthild of Magdeburg, deserves mention as the most important predecessor of Meister Eckhart. David, who sometimes accompanied his fellow Franciscan Berthold of Regensburg on the latter’s preaching forays and was his order’s master of novices in both Regensburg and Augsburg, is best known for his Latin treatise ponderously entitled The Composition of the Interior and Exterior Man according to the Triple State of Beginners, Proficient, and Perfect. As is clear by the large number of surviving manuscripts and translations, the work was immensely popular due in part to the fact that David shows little interest in propounding a specifically Franciscan spirituality with its emphasis on Francis as model, poverty, and the passion of Christ. Rather, he bases his ideas on the monastic spirituality of the previous century and displays, in general, little originality. The Composition is only marginally mystical in content but offers much common sense regarding, among other things, how one may easily be deceived by ecstasies, revelations, and visions—especially those tinged with eroticism or having to do with the coming of Antichrist. David’s inclusion here rests on the fact that he was among the first to treat mystical themes in the German vernacular. Since his authorship of some texts is in doubt, we shall mention only his Seven Stages of Prayer in which the last three stages are mystical. In stage five the soul is “beside itself ” and, as in Bernard’s thought, inebriated. It is one spirit with God and can neither see nor hear nor feel nor perceive anything, but has fallen into a sleep that withdraws it from all things. In stage six the soul is wrenched (gezúket) beyond itself into heavenly peace and divine repose. Here it comprehends only God and becomes one spirit with him, just as the glowing iron is one with the fire in the forge. Such a union is of short duration, and yet the soul is one heart, will, love, and spirit with God, though it is not God. It cannot will except what God wills. In stage seven, which only a few have attained on earth (Paul, John the Baptist, John the Evangelist, and possibly the mother of Jesus, Mary) and which is reserved for those in heaven, the soul sees God in his brightness (lûterliche) face to face. David’s pioneering efforts to create a mystical vocabulary in German are just now being recognized.

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Mechthild von Magdeburg (c. 1208–84/92) Mechthild is a confirmation of two fundamental truths about mysticism in medieval Germany. First, as the first major author endowed both with a refined literary sensibility and spiritual insight who wrote in the vernacular, she illustrates the fact that it was among women that one finds early on the predisposition to mysticism: a sensitivity and yearning for the absolute and a willingness to explore total commitment to becoming the bride of Christ. Second, the spiritual guidance afforded her by enlightened advisors well-grounded in theology helped bring her gifts to fruition. The little we know of her life comes from her solitary book The Flowing Light of the Godhead, additions made by her Latin translators, and the anonymous forewords to both. She was born about 1208 not too distant from Magdeburg. Most scholars assume that she was of noble birth from what can be gleaned about her upbringing and because of her familiarity with courtly literature. She tells us she first received “God’s greeting”— her term for experiencing God’s special presence—at age twelve. About 1230 she left home and joined a Beguine community in Magdeburg. About 1250, on the advice of her spiritual advisor, the Dominican Heinrich of Halle, she began writing about the spiritual favors granted her. The first five books of the Flowing Light were completed by 1260. Book VI was written sometime during the following decade. Probably because of deteriorating health she gave up the strenuous and insecure life of a Beguine about 1270 and entered the Cistercian convent at Helfta. Here, weak and her eyesight failing, she wrote the seventh and final book, possibly dictating parts of it. She probably died about 1282, or possibly as late as 1294. The first six books were translated into Latin shortly after Mechthild’s death, probably by two Dominicans at Halle (but not by Heinrich of Halle, who preceded her in death). Despite their radical re-ordering of the chapters of the original, the toning down of Mechthild’s erotic passages, and the elimination of some passages criticizing the clergy, we are fortunate to have the Revelationes, because Mechthild’s original version in Low German (with Middle German coloring) has been lost. What does exist is a High German (Alemannic) version based on the original that was undertaken in Basel by one or some of the “Friends of God,” the spiritually minded people gathered

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around Heinrich of Nördlingen. Perhaps he was involved in translating it as well. This is the version on which Hans Neumann based his critical edition while making good use of the Revelationes in the critical apparatus. No one has seriously contested Neumann’s claim that Mechthild’s language and mode of expression are well captured in the High German version. Scholars also agree that Mechthild alone is, in any real sense, the author, and that Heinrich of Halle limited his advice to incidentals, recognizing and giving free rein to her talents. Mechthild’s book is unique for its time and place. It is not based on any model, and no one sought to imitate it. What sets Mechthild’s book apart is that it incorporates almost all genres of writing that existed at the time. Religious genres include the vision, hymn, sermon, spiritual instruction and tract, prayer, litany, liturgy, and prophecy. Courtly literature is represented by the lyric poetry of courtly love, allegorical dialogue, dialogue between lovers, the messenger’s song (Botenlied), and the exchange (Wechsel ). Other kinds of writing worth noting are: autobiography, drama, epigrammatic poetry, wisdom literature, anecdote, letter, parody, nursery rhyme, and polemics. As one can conclude from this list, one cannot claim that every chapter is mystical. Her lyrical flights expressing a yearning for union or union achieved, however, display a marriage of mystical content and poetry of unsurpassed quality. And yet one could, for two reasons, justify calling the whole book mystical. First, striving for union and achieving it, though it be transitory, are the central events informing the rest of the book and motivating Mechthild to write. Second, in reading the book, one realizes that Mechthild was convinced that she was writing in the special presence of God. In Mechthild’s view, God, not she, is the author of the book; and it is God who authorizes it. The reasons for this unshakable conviction of hers are rooted in her precarious situation as well as in her mysticism. As a Beguine she could not count on ecclesiastical support that would be readily given to the member of a recognized order, though it is clear from her book that she had admirers among the clergy as well as detractors. Further, she could expect to be asked by what authority she wrote. As she herself once puts it, “if I were a learned religious man—”. She has no serious training in theology, (though the grasp of theology her book shows bears witness both to her own intellectual abilities and to the quality of instruction she received). She is not a member of a religious order. And she is a

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woman in a century when male domination in the church was increasing. This is not to say that she is not convinced of the truth of the vision in which the Lord appears to her holding the book in his right hand and declaring that no one can destroy it, that it speaks of his interior life. It is clear, however, that such a vision confirming the book’s authority was necessary to gain a readership for it. Regarding many of her visions, it should be noted that they differ markedly from the visions of women in the fourteenth century. These later visions report experiences in the visionary’s personal and private world. Though some of Mechthild’s visions can also be thus described, it is the cosmic nature of many of them that is unusual. For example, she sees the whole court of heaven, the length and breadth of hell, and purgatory filled with suffering souls tormented by devils; and she lets the drama of the coming of Antichrist unfold before our eyes. The many mystical passages of the earlier books draw heavily on courtly love poetry and the Song of Songs, and they are often explicit in their eroticism. The soul is not satisfied with child’s play. She is a “full-grown bride” who wants to share the marriage bed with her divine Lover. In the last books, however, the spiritual passion abates, and Mechthild describes herself not as God’s lover but as his housewife (husvrouwe). What she longs for patiently in these books is the union that will come in heaven. It is unfortunate that this marvelous book had such a short and limited impact after Mechthild’s death. It soon disappears completely, except for occasional anonymous excerpts found in manuals of piety. It was not rediscovered until 1861. Meister Eckhart (c. 1260–1328) Both in his thought and its daring expression, Eckhart stands out as a fascinating figure who, for one so devoted to the spiritual advancement of those of good will, came to a tragic end at the hands of the church he so diligently served. The title meister (Latin: magister) refers both to his having received the highest academic degree then attainable and to his professional duties at the university of Paris. He was born to a family of the lower nobility in the village of Hochheim near Gotha in Thuringia. He most likely entered the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) at the priory in Erfurt at about age fifteen. Possibly he received his early training in the arts at Paris

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and was witness to Bishop Stephen Tempier’s condemnation of 219 articles of theology including several taught by Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274), the Dominican order’s most distinguished theologian. At any rate, Eckhart is documented in Paris lecturing on Peter Lombard’s Sentences in 1293–1294. This was one of the requirements for his degree. Prior to this he had absolved the various stages of Dominican formation: one year novitiate, two years studying the order’s constitutions and the divine office, about five years studying philosophy, and three additional years devoted to theology. Eckhart was no doubt also among those chosen to go to the German province’s studium generale, a center for advanced study, in Cologne where he might have had direct contact with Albert the Great. After his return from Paris, Eckhart advanced rapidly within the order: prior in Erfurt (1294–98), professor in Paris (1302–03), and provincial of the newly formed German Dominican province of Saxonia (1303–11). He was then sent a second time to hold a chair of his order in Paris (1311– 1313), an honor only he and Thomas Aquinas attained. Subsequently he was sent to Strasbourg as a general vicar of his order to oversee the cura monialium of the many Dominican houses for women in the area. He likely went to the defense of the numerous Beguines there who, along with the Mendicants themselves, were under attack by the local bishop. Much of his time in Strasbourg (1314–1323/24) was taken up with preaching both to Beguines and to Dominican women. Thereafter he took up duties as professor of theology at the studium generale in Cologne, where he also continued his vernacular preaching. In 1325 the first clouds appear when some of Eckhart’s teachings are investigated as to their orthodoxy. Eckhart is cleared, but the following year Henry of Virneburg, the archbishop of Cologne, begins inquisitorial proceedings against him charging him with heresy, the first such proceedings against a major theologian. Henry already had a reputation for his ruthless suppression and extermination of heretics, especially those known as the Brothers and Sisters of the Free Spirit. Eckhart responds to lists of suspect theses taken from a broad selection of his Latin and German works and, on January 24, 1327, citing delays and the public scandal the proceedings are causing, appeals to the pope. On February 13 he protests his innocence from the pulpit of the Dominican church in Cologne and soon thereafter travels to Avignon, where a papal commission begins an investigation. On March 27, 1329, some time after Eckhart’s death, a papal bull,

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“In agro dominico,” definitively ends the investigation. In it seventeen articles are condemned as heretical, two of which Eckhart claimed never to have taught. Eleven others are judged to be evil sounding but capable of an orthodox interpretation. The bull states that Eckhart, before his death, recanted the articles and anything else that might have caused error in the minds of his audience “quoad illum sensum.” In other words, he recanted a heretical interpretation of his words, not the words themselves. Eckhart’s works can be divided into those in Latin (professional theological treatises, learned commentaries on scripture, and some sermons or sermon outlines) and those in German (spiritual tracts and, especially, sermons). Because of Eckhart’s sad fate at the end of his life, his Latin works were generally suppressed and forgotten, only to be rediscovered in the late nineteenth century. His German works became mixed with those of other spiritual authors or were passed on with false or no attribution. As a result, the task of creating a reliable critical edition of the German works begun by Josef Quint in 1936 is just now nearing completion. New approaches to authenticating sermons are finding approbation and the question of chronology is now being seriously addressed. Eckhart is admired both for the brilliance of his mystical thought and his virtuosity in expressing it. The first admirers of Eckhart after his rediscovery in the nineteenth century, because of their unfamiliarity with medieval thought, made uninformed judgments about his originality in thought and language. Although scholars still view him as an original thinker, he is now recognized as being original within the context of the already well-developed system of scholastic thought. His mysticism has been termed speculative to indicate both that it is rooted in scholastic thought and that he does not talk about mystical union in terms of personal experience. His aim, rather, is to describe the metaphysical constitution of both the human soul and God’s nature that makes union possible. For Eckhart mystical union between God and the soul rests on their metaphysical oneness. He sees creatures as differing from God, but they differ only through the nothingness limiting the being which they possess; and being is God. Eckhart distinguishes between two kinds of being in creatures: formal or limited being which constitutes them in existence separate from God, and virtual being, that is, the being of creatures in the mind of God existing from eternity. The virtual being of creatures at one with God’s being is their more real and vital being. Their

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formal being is a mere shadow by comparison. This distinction between formal and virtual being in creatures provides the context for understanding most of Eckhart’s characteristic doctrines. Thus, for example, he urges us to become as poor in spirit as we were (in the mind of God) before we were (formally existing). In other words, we are to “reduce” our existence to our existence in God. So, too, in becoming the just man, we do so by uniting completely with justice, which is identical with God’s being. Through our oneness with God’s being the birth of the Son takes place in us as it does in Bethlehem; and united with this divine action we become both the begotten (Son) and the begetter (Father). The human intellect, that faculty most essential in establishing our likeness with God, is in its purely spiritual activity the spark of the soul in which we throw off the confines of our creatureliness and imitate divine activity. And through detachment, a key term in Eckhart’s mystical asceticism, the creature frees itself from its own specific self or formal being, which is in essence the limiting factor separating us from God, in order to become whole or one with him. It is characteristic of Eckhart that we find him in a different context denying that God is being. At best, he says, he can be called puritas essendi (the purity of/from being), or that we should only think of his being as knowing, something higher. Or he will maintain that we best capture God, not in attributing qualities to him taken from human language (cataphatic) but through the negatio negationis, that is, by denying that nothing can be predicated to him: nothing is the only thing lacking in God. Here Eckhart’s reliance on (Pseudo-) Dionysius is obvious, as he tries to emphasize God’s transcendence. In other contexts we find him stressing God’s immanence in the soul in terms just as extreme. He obviously often counts on the shock value of his formulations to keep his audience’s attention. The startling vigor of Eckhart’s thought is matched by the power and artfulness with which he expresses it. Though the Latin works show skillful manipulation of language, it is in his German works, especially the sermons, that he displays a rich variety of linguistic artistry, some of it best termed rhetorical and some clearly poetic. Often he overcomes the limitations of the young vernacular’s ability to express his rarified mysticism by placing a key term in a variety of juxtaposed contexts in the manner of a leitmotif and thus gradually reveals to his audience the treasures it contains. He employs such figures as accumulation, antithesis, parallelism, hyperbole, chiasmus,

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and paradox to great advantage. Word games and original verbal combinations of other kinds abound. Eckhart influenced most immediately John Tauler and Henry Suso, Dominican mystics of the next generation, and less clearly their Flemish contemporary Jan van Ruusbroec. From the library of the Swiss cardinal Nicholas of Cusa Latin works by Eckhart have come down to us with comments by the cardinal scribbled in the margins. Cusanus shows much affinity in thought with Eckhart and defended him against the attacks of the Heidelberg theologian Johannes Wenck. The baroque poet Johann Scheffler (Angelus Silesius) was certainly touched by Eckhartian ideas, but, as with many authors and works of the Reformation period and beyond, whether the influence was direct or not is impossible to tell. As mentioned above, philosophers such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, and Franz von Baader all admired his thought, though until the mid-twentieth century admiration was usually based at least in part on misunderstanding. The last forty years have seen great progress in understanding this exhilarating mystic, though much of his uncharted profundity remains to be explored. The Granum sinapis: This is the traditional title, which means mustard seed in Latin (cf. Mt. 13:31–32), given to a vernacular poem of eight ten-line stanzas resembling a liturgical sequence that Ruh plausibly has attributed to Meister Eckhart. Though there is no such attribution in the manuscripts, thus far no one has raised serious objections. In the earliest manuscript the poem is embedded in a learned Latin commentary that quotes it verse for verse, stanza for stanza in order to interpret it. Both the poem, “in form and content the most beautiful piece of religious poetry of the times” (Ruh: 1996, 282), and the commentary reflect the thinking of someone thoroughly grounded in the profundities and nuances of Eckhart’s thought. The poem divides into two parts. Stanzas 1–3 treat the mystery of God as three persons yet one substance. Stanzas 4–8 treat the mystical path and its final destination. In the first lines, which allude to the beginning of John’s gospel (1:1), the poet adopts a Eckhartian strategy by “correcting” John. He states: “in the beginning . . . the Word is” in place of John’s “was.” This change of tense expresses Eckhart’s oft stated doctrine of a God beyond time “in the eternal now” (im êwigen nû). The rest of the first stanza describes the procession of the Word out of the Father using a rhetorical device

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ubiquitous in Eckhart’s works: paradox; first, “the Beginning [The Father from whom the Son proceeds] gave birth to the Beginning [the Son as the Issue of this process].” Second, though the Word “flows” from the Father, it also truly remains within him. The second stanza, in describing the procession of the Holy Spirit, “the glowing of love,” from Father and Son, stresses God’s incomprehensibility for us, though he knows himself most of all. The third stanza begins by expressing the terror mystics often express at experiencing God’s overwhelming, even oppressive presence as they begin to realize just who he is. This Presence is a “depth without bottom” that “checkmates all attempts to bind it in time, space, and form.” It is the source of all, a ring (the symbol of infinity) whose point is immovable (the Creator God as Aristotle’s unmoved mover). The mystic’s path (stanzas 4–8) is replete with Eckhartian themes and images. It proceeds beyond understanding to a marvelous desert wilderness with a nature all its own—limitless expanse beyond time and place. The something (icht) of self must become nothing (nicht), leaving time and images. Then one shall come upon the path to the desert. The poem concludes, bidding the soul that it go out of itself so that God may enter, that it sink its something (icht) into the nothingness of God, an unfathomable flood. In thus losing itself it shall find God who is the “Goodness beyond being” (überwesenhaftes gut). The poem is a finely wrought masterpiece of lyric mysticism. Henry Suso (c. 1295–1366) Suso’s family name was originally von Berg, his father having descended from landed Swiss nobility that had fallen upon hard times and moved to Constance to take up an honorable profession in the town. The father had married a native of Überlingen, a town also on Lake Constance, with the family name Süs. Henry will later take her name as a sign of his veneration for his mother. A daughter who became a nun is the only sibling mentioned. About 1308 Henry entered the Dominican house in Constance at thirteen, before the canonical age. This troubled him for years—especially because his parents had made the house a gift he considered simony—until a talk with Meister Eckhart brought him peace. His first years as a Dominican were spent in Constance completing the normal course of studies and religious formation. At some point, Suso tells us, he underwent a

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conversion from a mechanical observance of religious life to a life of full spiritual commitment. His three years of theological studies (c. 1319–1322) might have been passed in Strasbourg where he would have had contact with Meister Eckhart. In any case, Eckhart would have been his professor at least part of the time at the studium generale in Cologne where he was sent about 1323 for advanced study because he had been chosen to fill a teaching position in the order. In Cologne he would have witnessed at least the beginning of the proceedings against his revered teacher. In 1326 or 1327 he returned to Constance and as lector was responsible for directing the studies of younger Dominicans and for the intellectual environment of the whole community. It is not clear how long he held this position. In 1330 he was called before a province chapter in Maastricht to answer charges of heresy in his writings. Once or possibly twice during his many years in Constance he held the office of prior. Most of his time, however, was devoted to pastoral duties, especially to the cura monialium in several Dominican convents of the area. At one of these convents in Töss he developed a close spiritual bond with Elsbeth Stagel who wrote part of that convent’s sister book and who plays a part in Suso’s own writings. The Dominicans were exiled from Constance (1338–1346/49) for siding with the pope against the emperor but took up residence in neighboring communities. Perhaps as a result of a paternity suit in which he was ultimately exonerated he was transferred to Ulm where he spent the rest of his life. Here among other activities, he completed the definitive edition of his vernacular works for posterity under the overall title of the Exemplar. Because the various kinds of writing he engaged in are so diverse in character, they are best taken individually: Little Book of Truth Written 1326–1328 in dialogue form, it is Suso’s only speculative treatise. In it he both defends Eckhart’s teachings and distances himself from parts of it that received official criticism. The main topic is detachment, and Suso follows Eckhart in grounding this ascetic term in the metaphysical relationships between God and creature. In Chapters 1–4 the dialogue is between the disciple and Eternal Truth. In the last chapters the disciple’s partner is the “Wild One,” who advocates unrestrained spiritual liberty and claims Eckhart as his source on the matter. The disciple defends Eckhart’s thought and clarifies it for the ultimately submissive “Wild One,” who probably

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represents thoughts arising out of the fringe groups usually subsumed under the heading of those of the “Free Spirit.” Little Book of Eternal Wisdom (A much altered Latin version carrying the title Horologium sapientiae was widely known in the late Middle Ages.) The charges of heresy Suso faced in Maastricht probably arose out of the Little Book of Truth. This would explain why Suso in his next book would avoid theological speculation and write rather a manual of piety, which retains the dialogue form. The author’s purpose is the renewal of the interior life of his readers. The first and longest part is a depiction of the passion as Christ and his mother experienced it. The second part treats the themes of dying well, the interior life, proper reception of the Eucharist, and praising God. In an appendix Suso lists one hundred meditations for prayerful consideration. The book’s great popularity over the next hundred and fifty years marks a turn away from speculation towards affective mysticism. Little Book of Letters This consists of eleven letters Suso radically edited from the Great Book of Letters for inclusion in the Exemplar. The Great Book of Letters, also extant but not included in the Exemplar, were letters written by Suso to nuns over the course of many years and collected in part at least by Elsbeth Stagel. The letters in the Little Book have been stripped of all that is personal and, in the tradition of Seneca’s Moral Epistles, seek to impart concise spiritual instruction and exhortation. The Vita or Life This has been called the first autobiography in German, but two qualifications are in order. First, it was written not just to narrate incidents in Suso’s life as they actually occurred but also to portray him as a model to be imitated. This would help to account for the many visions (unusual among male mystics) and the descriptions of his exemplary conduct at meals, his observance of silence, of the cloister, and the like. Such chapters serve well as model conduct for young male Dominicans and cloistered nuns. There are, however, many chapters that, in their realism and candor, do seem to contain real autobiography. Second, there is still some dispute about Elsbeth Stagel’s part in the composition of the Vita, though most scholars now consider her role to be at best minor. The first thirty-two

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chapters narrate Suso’s life. Chapters 33–45 center on Suso’s relationship with Stagel. In the last chapters (46–53) Suso again resorts to the dialogue form to treat again lofty mystical themes which he had avoided since writing the Little Book of Truth. Though possessing great literary and intellectual talents, Suso is most remarkable for his ability to convey the spiritual intensity within him, to share the intimacies of his interior life, and to turn his own experiences into a source of inspiration and guidance of others. John Tauler (c. 1300–61) Tauler is unusual among the German medieval mystics in that his reputation remained undiminished well into the nineteenth century. One reason for this was Luther’s admiration for him. Another is the reason why Luther could admire him: Tauler’s spiritual message is much more in the Christian mainstream when compared to most other mystics. Strasbourg, where he was born about 1300 to a wellto-do family, was where he spent most of his life. At about fourteen he entered the Dominican house there where he then spent the six to eight years devoted to formation. There, too, it was that he most likely had personal contact with Meister Eckhart and heard him preach, though he was probably never Eckhart’s student. He was not selected to pursue advanced studies and seems to have begun his life’s main activity soon after completing his basic years of formation. Tauler’s chief pastoral activity was to preach, and sermons— about 80 of them—are the only authentic works we possess. The audience for these surviving sermons were most likely nuns at the seven Dominican houses for women in Strasbourg and Beguines, who occupied several houses locally. Tauler must also have preached frequently to general audiences, but such sermons were apparently never gathered into a collection. He was exiled from Strasbourg with his fellow Dominicans from 1339 to 1343 for siding with the pope against the emperor. Most of this time was spent in Basel where he was in contact with Heinrich of Nördlingen, a secular priest then active there in promoting mysticism and the interior life who had gathered like-minded people around him who called themselves the Friends of God. He also seems to have spent some time during these years in Cologne. About 1350 he journeyed to Groendale near Brussels to visit the Flemish mystic Jan van Ruusbroec and his circle.

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Tauler died and was buried in Strasbourg in 1361. His gravestone showing a slight and sensitive figure is preserved there in the former Dominican house. In his sermons Tauler often makes use of terms also found in Meister Eckhart’s German sermons, such as “spark of the soul,” “ground of the soul,” “the desert wilderness,” “the abyss,” “detachment,” and “without a why.” He also urges his hearers to become one (ein einiges ein) with God. Upon closer inspection, however, one notes that he creates contexts for such expressions that temper the daring metaphysical dimensions Eckhart gave them and, despite the force they still contain, locates them safely within the tradition of orthodox asceticism. Tauler starts with the nothingness of creatures who owe nothing to themselves. Based on this insight of one’s nothingness, one should surrender oneself to the nothingness of God, who is the infinite nothing beyond qualification (úber wise), being (úber wesen), and goodness (úber guot). One is to throw oneself into the abyss of God and become one with him, thus becoming through grace what God is by nature. The central event is the ker, or conversion, by which the soul turns in spirit to God’s spirit. The path is made clear by Christ, whose example or image (bilde) one is to follow. This image of Christ is like one in a mirror held up to our gaze. The human creature is one, yet threefold: fleshly and endowed with senses, rational, and possessing gemüete, which is the substance of the soul and its highest part. While Tauler admits that he never attained to the ground of God, he accepts the validity of ecstatic experiences. In expressing his thought in sermons Tauler employs allegory frequently and often shows little regard for the literal meaning of the scriptural text he is interpreting. He uses images taken from nature and the daily life of his audience but always pragmatically, to make his point, and never for their own inherent worth. He avoids speculation for itself, but there is evidence that in later years he drew on the neo-platonic thought of Proclus. The mid-fourteenth century was a time of great upheaval. Schism, papal excommunication of the emperor, and interdict were the order of the day. Earthquakes, floods, failed harvests, famine, and the plague impressed themselves indelibly on the consciousness of the times. Thus it is not surprising to find an apocalyptic tenor underlying much of Tauler’s preaching. The fact that his sermons continued to be read and cherished centuries after they were given, however, testifies to their transcendent qualities.

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 .  VII. The Sister Books and Individual Holy Lives

Contemporaneous to Tauler and Suso, and bearing similarities to Suso’s spirituality, especially as expressed in his Life, were two kinds of writing with mystical components originating in convents, most frequently in Dominican convents that had begun as Beguine communities. One were the sister books, which in earlier scholarship were given the misleading name of convent chronicles. These were collections of short lives of departed sisters who had been esteemed for exemplary holiness in the convent, had in many cases been blessed with manifestations of God’s special favor, and had died holy deaths. The authors of these lives were nuns of the convent who wrote to provide spiritual recreation and models of holiness for the convent community. The extant sister books are 1) Adelhausen, by Anna von Munzingen (originally in Latin, c. 1315, and translated into German about 1350); 2) Unterlinden, or Vitae sororum in Latin, by Katharina Gebweiler (1320–1340); 3) Töss, at least in part by Elsbeth Stagel (c. 1340); 4) Ötenbach (c. 1340); 5) Engelthal (Büchlein von der genaden uberlast), by Christine Ebner; 6) Kirchberg, Württemberg (first half of fourteenth centery), by Elisabeth of Kirchberg; 7) Nuns’ Lives of Kirchberg bei Haigerloch; 8) the Ulm sister book, though the convent in which it originated is unknown; 9) the Weiler sister book (c. 1350); 10) St. Katharinental (c. 1400). The second kind of books originating in these convents were longer accounts of individual lives that fall into two categories: those relating the life of a holy sister and written by a male cleric and those written in German by the holy sister herself. Two from the first category worthy of mention are the Vita et Revelationes of Agnes Blannbekin, a Franciscan nun in Vienna who died about 1315, which was written by a male Franciscan (in Latin) and the Life of Luitgart of Wittichen (1291–1348) by Berthold of Bombach (before 1356). Lives and revelations written by the nuns themselves include those by 1) Elsbeth of Oye (c. 1290–1340) in the convent Ötenbach; 2) Margaret Ebner (c. 1291–1351) in the convent Maria Medingen; written at the urging of Heinrich of Nördlingen; 3) Christine Ebner (1277–1356) in the convent Engelthal; 4) Adelheid Langmann (d. 1375) also in the convent Engelthal. Both the writing of the sister books and of the individual lives continued beyond 1350 and into the fifteenth century. There has been much discussion of late concerning how we should

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interpret these lives and revelations. What they all have in common is their intent to show how God showered his special favors upon the holy sister. Hence, the name Gnadenleben (life touched by grace). There is disagreement, however, regarding to what degree these documents report real events. That the genre holy legend with is long tradition and popularity at the time helped determine the content of these lives is, in any case, highly probable. Most accounts emphasize the holy sister’s humble submission to the rule, her ascetic practices, and the exemplary conduct of her daily life: how, though she would, like Mary, have gladly given herself over completely to contemplation, she performs, as did Martha, the routine tasks necessary for the maintenance of a healthy convent community. A standard feature is also how she accepts suffering and ennobles it by uniting it with the passion of Christ. The account usually concludes with a description of the final hours and holy death of the blessed sister. Those accounts written by the sisters themselves contain more detailed and personal descriptions of revelatory material: descriptions of visions, auditions, and ecstasies in which the joy (or suffering) is so intense that it is impossible to speak. In contrast to similar passages in Mechthild a century earlier, these descriptions lack a cosmic dimension and focus entirely on the event as a personal experience.

Concluding Remarks The fate of medieval German mystical texts varied greatly in subsequent centuries. Some now considered among the finest, such as Meister Eckhart’s vernacular sermons and Mechthild’s Flowing Light, disappeared from sight, either because their author had become controversial or from benign neglect. Others, such as Tauler’s sermons and Suso’s Little Book of Eternal Wisdom, retained wide appeal in part, no doubt, because they were devotional rather than theological in character and thus could be made to fit in with most mainstream orthodoxies. Whatever the fate of individual writings, the contribution of the medieval mystics to the enrichment of the German language was immense. Both in religious discourse and in literature the language of the medieval mystics would reappear again and again. In the course of later centuries those religious movements that sought to counteract rationalists, such as the deists of the Enlightenment,

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who attempted to reduce religion simply to the exercise of rational thought and common-sense morality while divesting it of all mystery, relied heavily on the rich language of the mystics, to present their case for a religion that engaged the total human being in a relationship with a God, both present to the interior of the soul and yet surpassing all attempts to reduce the divine being to something the human mind can grasp. In literature mystical language has reemerged several times as a most fitting medium for poetic, especially lyrical, expression. To name but a few poets in this tradition, one could mention Johannes Scheffler (Angelus Silesius), Daniel Czepko, Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock, and Rainer Maria Rilke. The affinity of poets to mystics should hardly surprise us. For both are engaged in expanding human thought and its expression as they strive to capture in language what is ultimately inexpressible.

Selected Bibliography Helpful bibliographies Largier, Niklaus. 1989. Bibliographie zu Meister Eckhart. Freiburg (Switz.): Universitätsverlag. Lewis, Gertrud Jaron. 1989. Bibliographie zur deutschen Frauenmystik des Mittelalters. Mit einem Anhang zu Beatrijs von Nazareth und Hadewijch von Frank Willaert und Marie-José Govers. Berlin: Erich Schmidt. Studies of Western mysticism James, William. 1936. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. New York: Random House (The Gifford Lectures, 1902). Jones, Rufus M. 1939. The Flowering of Mysticism: The Friends of God in the Fourteenth Century. New York: Macmillan. ——. 1909. Studies in Mystical Religion. London: Macmillan. McGinn, Bernard. 1992–98. The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism. Vol. 1: The Foundations of Mysticism, 1992. Vol. 2: The Growth of Mysticism, 1994. Vol. 3: The Flowering of Mysticism: Men and Women in the New Mysticism (1200–1350), 1998. Vol. 4: Continuity and Change in Western Mysticism. In progress. Vol. 5: The Crisis of Mysticism. New York: Crossroad. Ruh, Kurt. 1990–96. Geschichte der abendländischen Mystik. Munich, Beck. (Vols. 1–3: 1990, 1993, 1996, which treat up to and including Eckhart, Suso, and Tauler, have been published.) Underhill, Evelyn. 1955. Mysticism. Cleveland: Meridian. (Originally published in 1910.) For an overview of German mystical literature Haas, Alois M. 1987. Deutsche Mystik. In Geschichte der deutschen Literatur im späten Mittelalter, 1250–1370. Part II. Reimpaargedichte, Drama, Prosa, 234–305. Ed. Ingeborg Glier. Munich: Beck. (same as Helmut de Boor and Richard Newald, eds. Geschichte der deutschen Literatur von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart. Vol. III/2)

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Translations Henry Suso. The Exemplar with two German Sermons. Trans. Frank Tobin. Mahwah (NJ): Paulist Press, 1989. Johannes Tauler. Sermons. Trans. Maria Shrady. Mahwah (NJ): Paulist Press, 1985. Margaret Ebner. Major Works. Trans. Leonard P. Hindsley. Mahwah (NJ): Paulist Press, 1993. Mechthild of Magdeburg. The Flowing Light of the Godhead. Trans. Frank Tobin. Mahwah (NJ): Paulist Press, 1998. Meister Eckhart: The Essential Sermons, Commentaries, Treatises and Defense. Trans. Edmund Colledge and Bernard McGinn. Mahwah (NJ): Paulist Press: 1981. Meister Eckhart: Teacher and Preacher. Trans. Bernard McGinn, Frank Tobin, and Elvira Borgstadt. Mahwah (NJ): Paulist Press, 1986. Other Secondary works Davies, Oliver. 1991. Meister Eckhart: Mystical Theologian. London: SPCK. Grundmann, Herbert. 1995. Religious Movements in the Middle Ages. Notre Dame (IN): University of Notre Dame Press. Mohr, Wolfgang. 1963. Darbietungsformen der Mystik bei Mechthild von Magdeburg. In Märchen, Mythos, Dichtung: Festschrift zum 90. Geburtstag Friedrich von der Leyens, 375–99. Ed. Hugo Kuhn and Kurt Schier. Munich: Beck. Neumann, Hans. 1964. Beiträge zur Textgeschichte des ‘Fließenden Licht der Gottheit’ und zur Lebensgeschichte Mechthilds von Magdeburg. In Altdeutsche und altniederländische Mystik. Ed. Kurt Ruh, 175–239. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Peters, Ursula. 1988. Religiöse Erfahrung als literarisches Faktum: Zur Vorgeschichte und Genese frauenmystischer Texte des 13. und 14. Jahrhunderts. Tübingen: Niemeyer. Ruh, Kurt. 1985. Meister Eckhart: Theologe, Prediger, Mystiker. Munich: Beck. Tax, Petrus. 1979. Die große Himmelsschau Mechthilds von Madgeburg und ihre Höllenvision. In Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum und deutsche Literatur 108:112–37. Tobin, Frank. 1995. Mechthild von Magdeburg: A Medieval Mystic in Modern Eyes. Columbia (SC): Camden House. ——. 1986. Meister Eckhart: Thought and Language. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

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The European practice of writing world histories in Latin began in the third century and continued into the seventeenth. In the twelfth century, chroniclers started using German and within a hundred years vernacular chronicles were popular, far more so than the courtly literature with which modern medievalists are so familiar. The reason for such popularity is that by the mid-thirteenth century historical texts had emerged as entertainment literature, catering, thus, to the same taste as the established historical romances about Alexander and Aeneas. With increasing literacy, all texts offering historical information in a familiar literary style attracted readers. Assuming that audiences desired both information and entertainment, we must seek the popularity of chronicles in their treatment of historical material and handling of the audience’s assumptions about the world. Judging from the composition of manuscripts, thirteenth century medieval audiences enjoyed compendia that collected all there was to be told about a person or topic, and since that trend continued another two hundred years, it stands to reason that world histories were also popular. Since they provided their audience with historical, geographical, and cultural information from the beginning of time, they fulfilled the edifying function of a book of knowledge in a single volume. If so, these texts shed a fascinating light onto the medieval educated layman’s concept of the past, of his place in the world, and of what constitutes history and knowledge. A further third reason for their popularity is the increase in spirituality gained by hearing or reading about Creation. Until recently modern scholars neglected these chronicles because the lengthy narrative is often confused, and lacks apparent structure and purpose when judged by modern standards. Historians reading these texts in order to discover historical facts were, of course, disappointed and condemned them as extremely unreliable, even deliberately misleading. The chronicles backtrack, repeat, and contradict

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themselves, and they also place fantastic stories next to verifiable historical events. The literary historians have been equally dismissive and consider the chronicles to be deficient in literary skill, plausibility, and overall unity. Since the narrative appears to be grafted together from many diverse elements, the literary historian cannot rely on conventional aesthetic criteria. Clearly our expectations have limited our ability to understand these texts, but, happily, insights of the last fifteen years are proving to be of great assistance in redefining the text itself, thus allowing us to delve into the historical consciousness of the writers and their contemporaries. How are we, then, to approach these chronicles in order to discover how these texts were evaluated in their own time? Our first guide to reading is the implicit or explicit goal of history writing: to preserve and fix the memory of the past so that it can be interpreted. To accomplish this task and satisfy the audience, chroniclers adopted two sets of conventions. Latin chronicles were the first models and also the most frequently-used sources, but since the audiences of vernacular chronicles were laymen as were most of their authors, their rhetorical strategies could not rely solely on the Latin tradition. Writing in German meant drawing on oral traditional forms of thought and expression. Hence, authors incorporated popular stories, legends, and motifs from the often crude, comical stories called Schwänke that circulated orally. However, they shaped their narratives according to the stylistic and rhetorical conventions of vernacular romance and epic, which were also often read as historiography. Heinrich von Veldeke’s Eneide, Konrad von Würzburg’s Trojanerkrieg, Rudolf von Ems’s Alexander, Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Willehalm, the Dietrich epics, and the Nibelungenlied all straddle the boundary between epic and romance, between literature and history. What this means is that the writing of history was not a separate discipline. Nor did it need to be since several written genres as well as other vehicles of expression (such as public celebrations, processions, political poetry, visual symbols) were available to memorialize past events and through them define the present. The second insight is that in the process of collecting and integrating several types of sources, the chronicler can discover previously forgotten or suppressed information and thus recover lost memory. The implication here is that the newest history, the latest compilation is the most informative and accurate so that the author’s text was not necessarily the most esteemed version. In addition, the

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chronicler, being an educated member of the community, shared its belief system and unquestioned assumptions. This mutual perspective guided his writing and kept him in tune with the expectations of his audiences. At the same time, authors exercised a great deal of power indeed in selecting what to include or exclude. Hence, their selection patterns can reveal the individual’s or the community’s biases and interests that the author may or may not have been aware of. Close textual studies of individual chronicles looking for such biases have yet to be done. Recognizing that few writers are anchored in one genre or another, we can abandon the search for precise generic definitions and accept the texts based on their own stated goals, their affinity with other types of text, and their own reception and transformation as reflected in their manuscript transmission. The transmission history of each chronicle is extremely important, for not only are individual chronicles placed in different textual contexts, their texts also change strikingly from one manuscript to another. Thus we are faced with constantly mutating texts that are continuously recreated in every manuscript in their transmission. This process is similar to the one that traditional oral poetry also undergoes with each new performance. Each manuscript version is a modification that becomes more interesting to an audience because it accrues information. Consequently, we must study the changes and not merely a single text. The implications of studying such a multiplicity of textual transformations are several: 1) The concept of the “authoritative” text must be replaced by a set of manifestations. Even if a single author penned the first version, we must treat the multiple manifestations as one evolving set. 2) The concept of authorial intent is still valid if we use the stated purpose in each mutation as one classifying factor. 3) The manuscript context of an individual mutation becomes an equally important criterion in assessing the reception of the multiple mutations. What we conveniently excise as an independent text from “unauthentic material” was not always viewed as such by medieval readers. Patrons dictated the combination of textual matter to be placed together in complementary fashion in order to create a book, and for this reason, it is necessary to study a chronicle in its peculiar environment within each manuscript. This means that the book, when studied as the basic unit, can reveal much about the attitudes and expectations of audiences. (Indeed, new studies examining chronicle transmission, especially the selection of texts typically combined

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into a book would make an excellent contribution to the field.) In view of the special nature of its development, we will proceed in our analysis first to outline chronologically the development of chronicle writing and then to examine a single representative chronicle in detail so that the application of the insights gained can be demonstrated. From 1150 to 1400 chronicles of many types were written in all German-speaking areas including the Low Countries, Swabia, Thuringia, Franconia, Saxony, the Baltic area, Switzerland, and Austria. The earliest were the world chronicles but soon more narrowly focused accounts were written to describe the history of a region, a dynasty, or a city. These more specialized chronicles concentrated on regional and local history (Landesgeschichte) and on the contemporary political concerns of the region or city and its perceived past. In view of the abundance we will limit our survey to world chronicles since they, in essence, were the progenitors of the other types. The expressed goal of universal or world chronicles is all-encompassing: to tell the story of God’s salvation plan for humanity by incorporating known historical events into the framework of history given by the Old and New Testaments. Recasting the divine plan on a human scale, they synchronize human events with Christ’s earthly life, resurrection, and second coming. The German vernacular chroniclers utilize this system in the mid-twelfth century. Within this frame the chroniclers harmonized secular history with biblical events. They introduced the convention of world ages and the four empires as an internal organizing principle that allowed them to designate time and the concept of teleology. The four empires division derives from the four animals in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in the book of Daniel. The concept of the six ages (aetates) forms a similar division, but is based on a firm belief in the translatio imperii that explained the transfer of the Roman Empire to the Germans. According to the theory, the apocalypse cannot occur while the Roman Empire flourishes. Consequently, the author’s contemporary period, the Holy Roman Empire, becomes the penultimate age. In the final age, the Empire’s demise is signaled by the arrival of the Antichrist. This internal set of divisions provided medieval readers with a temporal perspective based on past events, both sacred and profane, from which to evaluate themselves and their present. Since the Bible lacks temporal specificity of this kind, these world histories provided readers with the additional assurance of knowing where they were in the

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continuum between the unalterable past and the promise of future salvation. At the same time most chronicles do not include any extended discussion of apocalyptic events like the coming of the Antichrist. All vernacular chronicles were based essentially on this framework. Five vernacular world chronicles written before 1300 became the models for all others. The earliest is the Kaiserchronik (c. 1150), next the Sächsische Weltchronik (c. 1230–50), the unfinished Weltchronik by Rudolf von Ems (c. 1250), the Weltchronik by Jans Enikel (c. 1270), and the Christherre Chronik (c. 1250–88). Given the numerous histories written in the fourteenth century, we can only mention the three most representative: Heinrich von München’s Weltchronik (c. 1300–1350), Ottokar von Steiermark’s Österreichische Reimchronik (c. 1301–19) and Jakob Twinger von Königshoven’s Straßburger Chronik (c. 1390–1400). The following discussion will deal in passing with the Kaiserchronik because it best illustrates the vernacular prototype of a world chronicle, but will concentrate on Jans Enikel’s World Chronicle because it typifies the later development. Following the Kaiserchronik, second generation histories, like those by Jans Enikel, Rudolf von Ems, and the Sächsische Weltchronik, contained these same elements of sacred and profane history but written into a seamless narrative. To the extent that the authors followed the Kaiserchronik model and traced the successive reigns of kings chronologically, they produced a paratactic structure that could be added to or expanded at will, with the chronicle becoming more detailed the closer the poet came to his own time. Eye-witness information gathered from informants and their own experience lent additional authority to their narrative and its claims of veracity. Since chronicles aspire to present a truthful history of the past in order to preserve it in memory while at the same time providing a historically defined present for contemporaries, a detailed analysis of the differences between a poet’s descriptions of early periods of history and his depiction of his own period would yield productive insights into the way historical change was recorded (Schreiner, 237–286). In attempting to meet their goal of preserving the past, the defining characteristic of world chronicles is that they typically attempted to include all that history could possibly have meant. Aspiring to produce the most extensive account, chroniclers placed together everything that applied—in one way or another—to a topic or set of events. This procedure created lengthy texts making each chronicle

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longer than the previous one: the Kaiserchronik, for example, has 17,283 lines, while Rudolf von Ems’s chronicle had only reached King Solomon’s reign by line 33,346. Enikel’s text runs 29,000 lines. Most are composed in rhymed couplets, although some, like the Sächsische Weltchronik, are in prose while others are in a mixture of prose and verse called prosimetric. Their length certainly did not detract from their popularity, since they are extant in a great many manuscripts. The chroniclers of the fourteenth century incorporated these texts, extended them, and enhanced them with even more supplementary material. The Sächsische Weltchronik, for example, was expanded in four different versions. Heinrich von München’s, Ottokar’s, and Jakob Twinger’s works are typical of these later chronicles in that they recombine material from previous chronicles and additional sources, constantly increasing the amount of information and the length of their texts. For example, Heinrich von München’s chronicle may have anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 lines depending on the manuscript. Examining Jans Enikel’s World Chronicle in some depth is revealing for three reasons: First, having been a model for later chroniclers, it exemplifies world chronicles in the first 100 years of development and their affinity with other literary genres. Second, its typical narrative strategies suggest reasons for popularity. Third, its manuscript transmission illustrates the current issues surrounding our study of these texts. Enikel opens the prolog with an appeal to God to “Give my mind mastery and allow my tongue to speak at least partially of the meaning of your grace and your majesty which will never be completely described” (3–8). By defining his writing as a pious project, Enikel, as many before and after him have done, suggests to his audience that reading about God’s works is an act of piety and for that reason alone a compelling argument to read his chronicle. Enikel’s frequent use of wunder (“miracle”) in the prolog to describe God’s deeds designates every event as a miracle and thereby underscores the edifying nature of the book. Next he outlines the scope of his task: “if all the sand and all the leaves, and all that flies or flits had tongues they could never fully describe the miracles that God accomplished in every place” (13–22). These remarks do not merely intone a banal inexpressibility topos. Instead, Enikel offers a distinctive definition of a world history, namely, that it should ideally contain everything that God has done. Behind this definition lies the premise that people desire an exhaustive world history, and not a selection of past

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events. Thus in spite of these conventional remarks Enikel shows us the serious purpose of a chronicle: it should be an all inclusive single work recounting the history of all that has been created and continues to exist under God’s guidance. Further it should include information about the natural world, the history of all of existence, especially of humanity. However, Enikel acknowledges that neither he nor anyone else can provide more than a partial account of world events (23–5), which leaves open the possibility, indeed necessity, for later additions. Consequently, right from the start, Enikel suggests that chronicles are protean. Nonetheless he trusts his own judgment, stating that he intends to follow the content of the Bible, and retell according to his own understanding (39–46). Saying he wants to learn from the poets (99–108), Enikel gives vent to literary aspirations. Unfortunately, his hopes remain unrealized. His style proves to be uninspired, repetitive, and cliché-ridden. Nevertheless, the introductory lines offer an explanation of the function and popularity of chronicles in general. A chronicle in one volume offers the reader an opportunity to increase his piety and knowledge of the world by reading. In this way, the chronicle is polysemous and fills the dual function of feeding both body (mind) and soul. If the author achieves some level of literary proficiency, then the text may also be elegant as well as entertaining. While Enikel may be lacking in that quality, his colleagues, Ottokar and Rudolf von Ems, both adhered to a high literary standard. In such an instance, a chronicle would be a much more satisfying choice than a romance for any patron wanting a complete library in one volume. The content of Jans Enikel’s World Chronicle is a prime example of these thirteenth century pursuits. From a modern perspective, Enikel intersperses serious, reliable historical accounts with fanciful tales. Although the concept of the six world ages underlies the entire work, he mentions it only sporadically and offers no other formal organizing element to link the individual narratives. As a result, his chronicle will appear to be an ungainly, haphazard run-on narrative until careful thematic studies are done to discover as yet indiscernible connections that guided Enikel’s selection of stories and embellishments. Beginning with the creation of the world, Enikel tells of Adam and his descendants, Noah and the devil in the Ark, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, and Samson. Then he relates the story of Alexander

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(including his trip to Paradise, his dive into the deep sea, and his flight through the air), the founding of Rome, Peter the apostle, and numerous saints. After that we find a catalog of popes including the marvelous legends of Pope Silvester and of the woman Johanna who became pope. Next Enikel describes the Roman emperors in the manner of the Kaiserchronik up to Charlemagne whose deeds are recounted in great detail. The narrative then jumps to Saladin, the “parable of the three rings,” a prose enumeration of emperors from Charlemagne to Frederick II, a genealogy of the Babenberg dynasty, and to Frederick II who is confused with Frederick I. It ends with the earliest version of the myth that Emperor Frederick did not die and is alive (28,945–56). This condensed list of contents demonstrates the conglomeration of stories Enikel combined from many different types of texts and hints at many factual inaccuracies. If we look at style and method of composition it is clear that none of the chroniclers were slaves to their sources. Enikel’s sources are Honorius of Autun’s Imago Mundi and several Austrian Annals. His many stories and anecdotes reproduce internationally common themes and plots found in the Gesta Romanorum, Schwänke, crusade and travel accounts, and interestingly, the Jewish apocryphal tradition. Enikel interwove all his sources, combining several accounts into a single tale. All chroniclers like Enikel also intended to entertain and therefore focused especially on curious or unusual actions and events to provide a lively narrative. They attempted to portray leading figures and dramatize their deeds by presenting terse, sometimes exaggerated dialogue and crafting poignant or shocking episodes out of elements recombined from romance and popular stories. Yet in no way did they lose credibility with their audiences because of these recombinations and anecdotal embellishments. Enikel’s retelling of Moses’ life illustrates his method of embellishing events and also the polysemous nature of chronicles. Enikel describes Moses as an innocent toddler at the Pharaoh’s court where he was much loved. One day at dinner Moses playfully removes the crown from the pharaoh’s head and places it on his own. Offended, the pharaoh rejects the child saying “he is not like me” (6,788) and fears this playful act is an omen that Moses will take control of the realm by force (6,790). This scene lays the basis for pharaoh’s distrust of Moses. In addition, the text, by providing the rationale for the Exodus, signals this event as an indication of God’s plan at work.

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Enikel’s account of Frederick II’s reign demonstrates the way in which he transformed the standard narrative conventions that define a good or bad king. Following the Latin tradition, he attributes piety, ability, and courtly demeanor to Frederick (28,037–39). Nevertheless, he does not continue the positive portrayal but goes on to ascribe shocking and gruesome acts to Frederick. These elements, taken from contemporary popular stories, probably appealed to his audience as well. But more importantly, they present his view of historiography: History is to be presented in a personalized manner, where a ruler’s words and deeds characterize his immediate concerns and may have serious impact on his subjects, but carry few implications for broader political principles of rulership or historical change, unlike, for example, the view of the Kaiserchronik poet. This approach, exemplified in the personalized report on Frederick II, illustrates the epic rather than the Latin rhetorical style. Enikel introduces each ruler as good or bad, but once the narrative turns to actions, positive attributes are conspicuously missing. This is a sign that we as readers may not expect logical and thematic consistency in characterization. The chronicler shifts the ruler’s attributes from scene to scene as the narrative requires just as the epic poet ascribes certain traits to a character in one scene and in a later one shows the character acting in defiance of those traits because the narrative situation or type scene is what produces the rationale for individual action. The episodic nature of the chronicle, like the epic, allows for this shift from scene to scene. Nevertheless certain motifs and stylistic habits recur producing a unique continuity in each chronicle. Enikel and Rudolf von Ems, like all chroniclers, refashioned their stories to reflect contemporary customs, fashions, and values. They moved away from the type of character portrayal and motivation found in Latin historiography to make room for the images and leitmotifs of courtly poetry and placed historical events into a contemporary situation. For example, Enikel portrays all the heroes of the Old Testament as knights. Much of this refashioning is based on the application of courtly scenes and themes typical of romances. Joseph’s relationship to Potiphar’s wife becomes love service (Minnedienst), Goliath looks just like a giant out of a traditional Dietrich epic, and David fights him in order to win a princess. Enikel’s informal anecdotal style focuses on individuals and combines well with the motifs derived from courtly romance. By describing them in familiar, human

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terms rather than as formal, historical icons, he creates sympathy for the characters and draws the reader into the narrative. If Enikel’s goal was to entertain, then topics of local interest to his Viennese audience like the story of Emperor Frederick’s encounter with Duke Frederick the Warlike, the last of the Babenberg dynasty, deserved inclusion particularly because it flatters the Duke. Their dialogue of a dozen lines begins with an insult and ends with reprisal. At the Diet of Verona (1245) the emperor invites Duke Frederick to dinner, but Frederick turns him down arrogantly saying he has enough money to buy his own meal. Taking the response as a political affront, the emperor angrily forbids the entire city to supply Frederick with firewood for his kitchen. Frederick then burns walnuts to cook his meal. When the two meet again, the emperor is impressed with the duke’s ingenuity. Although the duke is in the spotlight in this episode, and the emperor is quick to anger, the latter maintains the high moral ground because he was carrying out an important public ceremony in which the emperor must, as the generous and courteous ruler of the empire, invite the princes to his table (28,562–64). In this episode seeking historical accuracy yields no insight, but asking about the combination of motifs is instructive. Enikel often took contemporary reports about one person or place and attributed them to another. In some annals and chronicles Frederick the Warlike is said to have had to burn walnuts in a time of crisis during a siege of Vienna, and so this element, apparently true in its essence, Enikel placed into the duke’s encounter with the emperor, in order to produce a new story in which the duke wins the emperor’s admiration. Story elements and contemporary legends are recombined in an even more complex way in another episode with Duke Frederick and the emperor. This time Enikel attributes to Frederick II the training of the Brotherhood of Assassins (stecher) in order to safeguard his political power when, in fact, the Brotherhood was established as a Shiite revolutionary group in Persia. The assassins were known for their absolute loyalty, which they demonstrated by leaping to their death from the top of a tower on command. In Enikel’s story the duke asks the emperor to demonstrate their loyalty and obedience. Emperor Frederick agrees, and an assassin, immediately upon hearing the command to jump, plunges to his death from a tower. The chronicle describes several gruesome and cruel deeds, and Enikel delights in shockingly dramatic events, but this one is par-

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ticularly instructive because this episode is the first known attribution of the Assassins to Frederick II. Whether Enikel was the first to connect Frederick with the Brotherhood is unimportant. What is important is that he ascribed to Frederick actions that place him outside the moral bounds of Christianity. Neither the duke nor the emperor is concerned about Christian morality, and for that matter, neither is the narrator. The reader must judge the terse comments and explanations of the characters themselves. For example, Frederick II boasts that the assassins fear him more than God (28,640–42), thus placing himself in a superior position to God. For his part, Duke Frederick reacts to the assassins by assuring the emperor that no man alive can oppose him. When read between the lines this lurid tale demonstrates Frederick’s ruthless preservation of absolute power (Tersch, 170). Enikel’s selection of scenes and deeds makes a lively story, and it is the juxtaposition of words and deeds scene after scene that allows the audience to evaluate Frederick’s reign. The recombining of anecdotes and legends is just one of the dramatizing devices at the chronicler’s disposal, another is dialogue and is used most effectively in rapid alternation with action scenes. Providing only minimal background information, the narrative gives way quickly to candid, brusque, and often confrontational dialogue followed promptly by action. Dialogue makes the scene much more immediate, but requires the chronicler to project onto the characters what was said, a strategy that gives him great latitude for interpretation and, of course, falsification. In Enikel’s description of the meeting between Duke Frederick and Frederick II, the dialogue depicts a lord and a vassal both of whom are swift to anger and full of pride. The descriptions of such situations ignore the greater political strategy of either ruler. One might say Enikel often trivializes the words and deeds of great leaders and shows them to be petty, proud, narrow-minded, and selfish. Although a conglomeration of scenes and stories, Enikel’s work is not merely a fantastic tale. World chronicles are a complex mixture of material containing a great amount of knowledge of the natural world, foreign countries, and their cultural and political history. Enikel’s collection of information may be viewed as a compendium, an attempt to produce what might be called an encyclopedic history that contains a concise account of what an informed person would want to know. If this is the case, then it is necessary to study

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the manuscript compilations that provide information concerning the desires of the audience. The extensive manuscript transmission of Enikel’s chronicle in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries confirms his continued influence on the writing of vernacular chronicles. Among the thirty-eight manuscripts containing Enikel’s World Chronicle, only two fourteenth-century manuscripts contain it as a complete, independent text (,  , and ,    , Strauch, IV–VII). In every other manuscript Enikel’s chronicle is recombined and rewritten with at least one additional historical text. The company Enikel’s work keeps in these manuscripts enables us to infer the historical consciousness of the patrons because fourteenth century authors, scribes and patrons composed these books with a plan in mind. They carefully selected the particular order of excerpts and texts to guide the reader, and their final composition also reveals the purpose of the book. Further work in this area is a desideratum. The  . .  shows that the type of codex in which each group of texts maintains its own identity continues to be produced as late as the fifteenth century. It contains in sequence: Hugo von Trimberg’s Renner, Freidank’s Bescheidenheit, Der deutsche Cato, Der kindere Hovescheit, and the first third of Enikel’s World Chronicle. All but Enikel’s text deal explicitly with proper behavior and morality, but aptly enough, the portion of the World Chronicle cited retells the biblical story from Genesis to the complete story of Noah (Strauch, XX). This composition begs to be viewed as one book with one or several themes and suggests that Enikel’s text served as a cautionary tale to illustrate the pitfalls of ignoring the previously prescribed moral path. Thus the truncation of Enikel’s text in this manuscript is a sign to the modern reader to treat the manuscript, that is, the book, as a unit, and not as a collection of discrete texts. Within the first eighty years of Enikel’s reception we also find different composite manuscripts that maintain even less of the integrity of the texts copied so that we can no longer speak of Enikel’s text. The patron controlled the content and composition of these manuscripts with the result that these manuscripts tell us more about the reception of history writing than about the chroniclers. The writers of these later manuscripts proceeded the way Enikel did: they copied Enikel’s text, but they also copied from several world chronicles and supplementary sources and wove them together taking a bit from one and something else on the same topic from another. Occasionally,

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some writers listed their sources at the end, but made no effort to stipulate which parts were copied and which parts were their own. Jakob Twinger, a true innovator, created a most useful index of subject headings making his text even more of a reference work— although the goal of most chroniclers and compilers was limited to producing a fluid narrative. Thus we find that the writers have interwoven extensive segments from Enikel and other chroniclers, additional hagiographic legends, common myths, romance, epic and Schwank motifs, and anecdotes assembled into a single, longer narrative. The intention appears to have been to produce a more detailed account of world history, to create a single book that contains all the information available about the history of the world. The mutations Enikel’s work underwent are drastic. One formula for rewriting was to extend each topic by interspersing sections from other texts at the appropriate places to relate a consistent chronology of actions and motivations. Enikel’s chronicle was most frequently augmented with excerpts from the Christherre Chronik. Often a third and a fourth chronicle was intertwined using the same method and resulted in a patchwork. For example, in manuscript   a compilation of Enikel, Christherre Chronik, and Rudolf von Ems is created (Strauch, XXX). Since the segments from each author are normally taken verbatim, they are individually recognizable but were not meant to be. Each new patchwork book tends, of course, to be longer than the previous one. Finally, demonstrating the blurred boundary between romance and chronicle, the lengthy patchwork . . .  contains Enikel, Christherre Chronik, Konrad von Würzburg’s Trojanerkrieg, and Ulrich von Etzenbach’s Alexander. All this interweaving should not mislead us, however. Although transmitted in a seemingly patchwork arrangement, these chronicles are not haphazardly combined or arranged. The manuscripts are large and expensively illustrated, and their compositions betray great meticulousness. They were doubtless composed according to the specifications and desires of their patrons. Furthermore, the transmission of chronicles as outlined here documents that many texts, but most often chronicles, were not considered independent texts in the late thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. With few exceptions, patrons and compilers of manuscripts had little understanding of an individual text’s integrity and felt free to add, delete, or modify a text in any way deemed appropriate. Once the patron dictates the composition of his book, his interests

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and attitudes become visible. Thus the creation of patchwork manuscripts divorces the text from the author so that as the text mutates, so does the highlighting of past events. It follows then, that the compositional strategy and interests of the patron are best seen when we examine an entire manuscript, because we then do not carve out that which we consider to be a unit, but attempt instead to understand the context and combinatorial possibilities of medieval historical narratives. The patchwork nature of the mutations thus forces us to treat them not as separate texts but as one evolving cultural phenomenon. This method of studying the textual transformations has been suggested by Higgins with respect to travel literature; he calls it “intratextual multiplicity,” and the set of mutations he calls “the Book” (Higgins, 16–18). It is difficult to draw definitive conclusions based on this short survey because we lack a study of mutations and manuscript contexts. Nevertheless, a shift is visible from the Kaiserchronik to Enikel’s World Chronicle and to Twinger’s Straßburg Chronicle in author, concept, and audience. If the Kaiserchronik was interested in the progress of the ages of the world seen under the rubric of rulership and the inexorable progress toward the Christian emperors, ending with the Germans, later chronicles, written primarily for the laity, expand the content keeping the formal organization of the six ages but without a consistent overarching framework. The Sächsische Weltchronik, written by a Franciscan, remained more faithful to the model of the chronicle detailing the history of salvation than texts written by laymen, for example. The process of accretion in the Enikel-based patchwork books during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries demonstrates that the audience was not interested in a theoretical framework, but wanted as much information about the world as possible. The manuscript contexts also indicate that texts of the same type were combined to produce a new, expanded book. The fact that continuators also brought the chronicle up to date means these books were expanded in order to include ever more worldly knowledge. Hence it is likely that the primary function of these lengthy chronicles was to provide in a single volume everything known about the world. The world chronicle became such a successful formula for writing history in the fourteenth century that in the following century, it continued but was also adapted for local use. Ottokar’s Österreichische Reimchronik and Jakob Twinger von Königshoven’s Straßburger Chronik both begin with Creation and express the intention to pro-

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duce a world chronicle but use that framework to ground the history of their own region or city in the commonly esteemed distant past. The chroniclers then quickly turn to their local history enumerating memorable events in ever greater detail as they relate the affairs of their own time. Because these two works emphasize Austria and Straâburg respectively, some consider them local histories even though their stated goal is the same as that of other world chronicles. The framework of the world chronicle justifies current history and it does so the way earlier vernacular and Latin chronicles did, by placing the royal and noble audience within the context of world events, and in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries this audience has been expanded to include the literate ruling groups of the cities and members of the lower nobility.

Chronological List of Selected Vernacular Chronicles, 1150–1400 This list includes the following information if available: author, date, type if not stipulated in title, patron or audience, length and number of manuscripts. Kaiserchronik, c. 1130–50. World chronicle, originally for the Welf court 17,283 lines, 15 MSS, some illustrated. Rudolf von Ems. Weltchronik, c. 1250. Commissioned by the imperial court of Wenczel IV, unfinished, 33,346 lines, over 100 MSS., many with patchwork text, 17 illustrated. Sächsische Weltchronik, c. 1230–50. Franciscan author, for the Welf court, 26 MSS., 46 emended and patchwork texts. Christherre Chronik, c. 1250–88. World chronicle, dedicated once to Landgrave Heinrich of Thuringia, 8 MSS, patchwork texts in over 100 MSS. Jans Enikel Weltchronik, c. 1270–80. Written for the nobility and patriciate of Vienna, 28,958 lines, 38 complete and patchwork texts, most illustrated. Jans Enikel Fürstenbuch, c. 1277–84. Territorial and dynastic, written for the Viennese patriciate, 4,500 lines, 7 MSS. Braunschweigische Reimchronik, c. 1279–98. City and dynastic chronicle, written by a cleric for the Dukes of Braunschweig-Lüneburg 10,000 lines, 2 MSS. Livländische Reimchronik, c. 1290. Territorial, by and for the Order of Teutonic Knights, 12,000 lines, 3 MSS. Heinrich von München. Weltchronik, c. 1300–50. 56,000 to 100,000 lines by manuscript, 18 MSS and several patchwork texts. Ottokar von Steiermark. Österreichische Reimchronik, c. 1301–19. World chronicle, for Austrian nobility, 100,000 lines, 8 MSS. Nikolaus von Jeroschin. Kronike von Pruzinlant, c. 1332–1341. Territorial, for the Teutonic Order, 28,000 lines, 20 MSS. Henrich von Mügeln. Ungarnchronik, c. 1358–65. National, dedicated to Rudolf IV of Austria, 9 MSS. Jakob Twinger von Königshoven. Straßburger Chronik, c. 1390–1400. Written for the guild leaders of Straßburg, 82 MSS.

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  Selected Bibliography

Editions Diemer, Joseph, ed. 1849. Die Kaiserchronik nach der ältesten Handschrift des Stiftes Vorau. Teil I: Urtext. Vienna: Braumüller. Enikel, Jans. 1900. Jansen Enikels Werke. Ed. Philipp Strauch. MGH Deutsche Chroniken, vol. 3. Leipzig: Hahnsche Buchhandlung. Ottokar von Steiermark. 1974. Ottokars Österreichische Reimchronik. Ed. Joseph Seemüller. Zurich: Weidmann. Rudolf von Ems. 1915. Weltchronik aus der Wernigeroder Handschrift. Ed. Gustav Ehrismann. Berlin: Weidmann. Schröder, Edward, ed. 1895. Deutsche Kaiserchronik. MHG Deutsche Chroniken, vol. 1. Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung. Twinger, Jakob. 1961. Chronik des Jakob Twinger von Königshoven. Chroniken der deutschen Städte v. 8–9, ed. Carl Hegel. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Weiland, Ludwig, ed. 1877. Sächsische Weltchronik. MHG Deutsche Chroniken, vol. 2. Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung. Secondary works Alfen, Klemens, Petra Fochler, and Elisabeth Lienert. 1993. Entstehungssituation und Publikum der deutschen Trojaliteratur des 12. bis 16. Jahrhunderts. In Wissensliteratur im Mittelalter und in der Frühen Neuzeit. Bedingungen, Typen, Publikum, Sprache, ed. Horst Brunner and Norbert Richard Wolf: 177–208. Wiesbaden: Ludwig Reichert. Bumke, Joachim. 1990. Geschichte der deutschen Literatur im hohen Mittelalter. Vol. 3: 343–55. Munich: DTV. Cary, George. 1956. The Medieval Alexander. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Dobozy, Maria. 1989. The Role of the Chronicler, the Poet and the Minstrel in Heinrich von Veldekes Eneid. In Mediaevistik. Internationale Zeitschrift für interdisziplinäre Mittelalterforschung 2: 81–96. Ebenbauer, Alfred. 1985. Das Dilemma mit der Wahrheit. Gedanken zum ‘historisierenden Roman’ des 13. Jahrhunderts. In Geschichtsbewußtsein in der deutschen Literatur des Mittelalters. Tübinger Colloquium, 1983, ed. Christoph Gerhardt, Nigel F. Palmer, and Burghart Wachinger: 52–71. Tübingen: Niemeyer. Gärtner, Kurt. 1994. Die Tradition der volkssprachigen Weltchronistik in der deutschen Literatur des Mittelalters. In Pirkheimer Jahrbuch 9: 57–71. Graus, Frantisek. 1987. Funktionen der spätmittelalterlichen Geschichtsschreibung. In Geschichtsschreibung und Geschichtsbewußtsein im späten Mittelalter, ed. Hans Patze: 11–56. Sigmaringen: Thorbecke. Günther, Jörn-Uwe. 1993. Die illustrierten mittelhochdeutschen Weltchronikhandschriften in Versen. Katalog der Handschriften und Einordnung der Illustrationen in die Bildüberlieferung. Munich: Tuduv. Higgins, Iain Macleod. 1997. Writing East. The “Travels” of Sir John Mandeville. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Johanek, Peter. 1987. Weltchronistik und regionale Geschichtsschreibung im Spätmittelalter. In Geschichtsschreibung und Geschichtsbewußtsein im späten Mittelalter, ed. Hans Patze: 287–330. Sigmaringen: Thorbecke. Knape, Joachim. 1985. Zur Typik historischer Personen—Erinnerung in der mittelhochdeutschen Weltchronistik des 12. und 13. Jahrhunderts. In Geschichtsbewußtsein in der deutschen Literatur des Mittelalters. Tübinger Colloquium, 1983, ed. Christoph Gerhardt, Nigel F. Palmer, and Burghart Wachinger: 17–36. Tübingen: Niemeyer. Kornrumpf, Gisela. 1985. Heldenepik und Historie im 14. Jahrhundert. Dietrich

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und Etzel in der Weltchronik Heinrichs von München. In Geschichtsbewußtsein in der deutschen Literatur des Mittelalters. Tübinger Colloquium, 1983, ed. Christoph Gerhardt, Nigel F. Palmer, and Burghart Wachinger: 88–109. Tübingen: Niemeyer. Liebertz-Grün, Ursula. 1984. Das andere Mittelalter. Erzählte Geschichte und Geschichtserkenntnis um 1300. Studien zu Ottokar von Steiermark, Jans Enikel, Seifried Helbling. Munich: Fink. Menzel, Michael. 1985. Die Sächsische Weltchronik. Quellen und Stoffauswahl. Sigmaringen: Thorbecke. Möhring-Müller, Helga. 1993. ‘Den Laien zu Zeitvertreib und Kurzweil.’ zu den lateinischen und mittelniederdeutschen Fassungen der ‘Chronica novella’ des Lübecker Dominikaners Hermann Korner. In Wissensliteratur im Mittelalter und in der Frühen Neuzeit. Bedingungen, Typen, Publikum, Sprache, ed. Horst Brunner and Norbert Richard Wolf; 237–44. Wiesbaden: Ludwig Reichert. Müller, Jan-Dirk. 1985. Wandel von Geschichtserfahrung in spätmittelalterlicher Heldenepik. In Geschichtsbewußtsein in der deutschen Literatur des Mittelalters. Tübinger Colloquium, 1983, ed. Christoph Gerhardt, Nigel F. Palmer, and Burghart Wachinger; 72–86. Tübingen: Niemeyer. Ott, Norbert. 1984. Chronistik, Geschichtsepik, historische Dichtung. In Epische Stoffe des Mittelalters, ed. Volker Mertens and Ulrich Müller. Stuttgart: Kröner. Schreiner, Klaus. 1987. Sozialer Wandel im Geschichtsdenken und in der Geschichtsschreibung des späten Mittelalters. In Geschichtsschreibung und Geschichtsbewußtsein im späten Mittelalter, ed. Hans Patze: 237–286. Sigmaringen: Thorbecke. Spiegel, Gabrielle M. 1999. Theory into Practice: Reading Medieval Chronicles. In The Medieval Chronicle, ed. Erik Kooper: 1–12. Amsterdam: Rodopi. Sprandel, Rolf. 1994. Chronisten als Zeitzeugen. Forschungen zur spätmittelalterlichen Geschichtsschreibung in Deutschland. Cologne, Vienna: Böhlau. Tersch, Harald. 1996. Unruhe im Weltbild: Darstellung und Deutung des zeitgenössischen Lebens in deutschsprachigen Weltchroniken des Mittelalters. Cologne, Vienna: Böhlau.

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Memory or remembrance, in the Middle Ages, may have been either oral, or written, or both. It seems reasonable to assume that information was transmitted to a large extent orally in view of the fact that the ability to read books was confined to that small minority of people who had been taught to read Latin. And even among that small minority, learned scholars such as Thomas Aquinas had prodigious memories and seldom relied even on written notes when dictating to scribes (Carruthers, 4–8). In a largely illiterate society, then, oral memory must have been extremely important for the transmission of knowledge of tribal history, customs, laws, healing, religion, and many other areas. People who could not depend on written sources of information had to have some way of preserving knowledge. They relied on memory much more than people do today in literate societies where the written word, stored either in books and documents or computers, makes the ability to use one’s memory perhaps less important. We do not necessarily have to store information in our memory; we need only to know how to access the information being sought. Of course, oral memory could also be transposed into written form in the Middle Ages. Charlemagne, for example, was apparently interested in written records of articles existing otherwise only in oral memory. His biographer, Einhard, writes: “Omnium tamen nationum, quae sub eius dominatu erant, iura quae scripta non erant describere ac litteris mandari fecit. Item barbara et antiquissima carmina, quibus veterum regum actus et bella cantabantur, scripsit memoriaeque mandavit.” (However he had the laws of all the nations under his sway, which had not been written down, collected and committed to writing. In like manner the savage and most ancient songs in which the deeds and wars of the old kings were sung he wrote down and committed to memory, that is, thus preserved their memory: my translation).

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Here Einhard mentions two types of oral memory: laws (iura quae scripta non erant) and heroic poetry (barbara et antiquissima carmina). Unfortunately the collection of poetry has not survived, if, indeed, it was ever made. But there is other evidence that such oral poetry existed and that it was admired and, probably, also written down. Meinhard, a cleric in Bamberg, writing to an absent friend, complains about Bishop Gunther: “Et o miseram et miserandam episcopi vitam, o mores! Numquam ille Augustinum, numquam ille Gregorium recolit, semper ille Attalam, semper Amalungum et cetera id genus portare tractat. Versat ille non libros, sed lanceas, miratur ille non litterarum aspices, sed mucronum acies.” (And O, the miserable and deplorable life of the bishop, O the character of it! He never reflects upon Augustine, never on Gregory, he always pulls out Attila, always the Amalung [that is, Dietrich of Verona] and others of that ilk. He is occupied not with books, but with lances, he admires not aspects of literature, but the sharpness of swords. Briefsammlungen der Zeit Heinrichs IV. 121, Brief 73; my translation). For Meinhard, with his classical education in rhetoric, such heroic poetry could hardly be considered literature. Even though it seems from the context to have existed in written form, it surely was alive earlier in oral memory. The pre-courtly German epics of the period roughly 1150–1200 have a variety of sources: native Germanic material of a heroic nature, stories from classical antiquity and history, and Old French chansons de geste. In every instance, to a greater or lesser degree, memory is involved, but not always in the same way, as we shall see. It would be nice to be able to say that it was all copied down from oral sources, but that was highly unlikely. However, earlier scholarship considered most of the anonymous epics of this period to be the work of traveling minstrels who went from court to court singing their tales. Hence the term Spielmannsepen was invented to describe the genre. More recent scholarship has largely rejected the idea of the wandering minstrel, but the term is still in use for that particular type of epic poem, for want of a better one. We know actually very little about how such epics were presented, or, put more accurately perhaps, performed. It is difficult to say whether the extant epics originated as oral-formulaic heroic poetry or not. Such poetry did not have one fixed text that was memorized and transmitted verbatim from singer to singer, although that possibility cannot be ruled out completely. Instead it was re-created in various versions

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by putting together formulaic expressions to suit given situations. There must have been longer and shorter versions of the same story line, depending on how much or how little embellishment a particular singer wished to include or how great a reward he might expect for his performance. However, the question of performance should not be separated from the problem of the reception of literature in oral and written traditions, and exhaustive discussion of aural reception versus reading or a combination of the two has occurred in recent years. The Spielmannsepen under discussion here may show some evidence of oral-formulaic origins in the use of set phrases, but by and large they are the written work of a single, anonymous poet. That means some nameless cleric, whose performance was based on a written text. We do not know whether the performance included musical accompaniment, but that may have been a part of it. It is also likely that manuscripts of the epics circulated and were read privately by individuals, probably women, who were literate. Public performance would not exclude private reading and vice versa. Another characteristic of Spielmannsepen, aside from the anonymity of the poet, is the lack of courtly refinement in them. Many of them do deal with royalty and or the upper nobility, and some may reflect political situations and personalities, but the atmosphere is a far cry from the courtly idealism and elegant manners of Arthurian epics. The descriptions of lavish entertainment, expensive clothing, and fierce fighting in the poems probably appealed to somewhat less than courtly tastes, and, of course, the appearance of strange and exotic creatures encountered in the orient was surely fascinating to listeners/readers. The literary style, too, is crude, and the characters are generally uncomplicated and one dimensional. The poems are written in rhymed couplets, eschewing the usual strophic form of heroic poetry. A central motif in many, but not all Spielmannsepen is the bridal quest (Brautwerbung), in which a ruler seeks a bride in a foreign country, usually in the Orient. The object of the quest is normally the daughter of an eastern potentate, who has sheltered her from all suitors, executing any who were bold enough to try—or even their messengers. It is therefore extremely dangerous for the hero to attempt to win the daughter, but through trickery and reckless courage he manages to gain the affection of the princess and spirit her away from her father’s castle. The father then pursues the couple and is able to take his daughter back, but the young ruler makes a second

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quest and eventually regains his bride. Bridal quests are not, of course, unique to Spielmannsepen; they occur in heroic poetry, for example in the Nibelungenlied, as well as in courtly romances, but in these cases the bridal quest is merely part of a larger design, not the main framework. The Spielmannsepen precede true courtly epics chronologically, hence we can group them with other epics of roughly the same period of time and call them all “Pre-courtly Epics.” Other such epics are those from classical sources, such as Alexander and Eneide, and at least one from an Old French chanson de geste, the Rolandslied. Unlike the Spielmannsepen, these latter tales are not anonymous, although we know relatively little about their authors. They do share many of the characteristics of the Spielmannsepen, however, especially in their distance from the later courtly literature and in the similar rhymed couplet composition. There is little agreement on precisely which poems should be considered Spielmannsepen, but the most consistently named are the following: König Rother, Herzog Ernst, Oswald, Orendel, and Salman und Morolf. Other epics frequently mentioned are Reinhart Fuchs, Dukus Horant, and Graf Rudolf. The first two, König Rother and Herzog Ernst, may have some connection with historical events and personages and are essentially tales of adventure. Both involve trips to the Orient, but of the two, only König Rother is based on a bridal quest. Herzog Ernst, on the other hand, has adventures with strange peoples and unusual experiences in the lands of the East. The material for Oswald is the legendary life of an English saint, and Orendel is the story of the acquisition of the Seamless Garment of Christ by the eponymous hero. Both, however, are concerned with bridal quests, which eventually end in chaste marriages. Salman, the Christian king of Jerusalem, and his brother Morolf in Salman und Morolf have a difficult problem keeping Salme as Salman’s wife. She is abducted twice after Salman has won her and must be found and brought back twice. The second time Morolf kills the unfaithful Salme. Reinhart Fuchs, written by a certain Heinrich, is a satirical beast epic; Dukus Horant, written in Yiddish in Hebrew characters, is difficult to identify, although it seems to have a definite connection to the Hilde/Kudrun material and to König Rother. The fragmentary Graf Rudolf is a crusading epic. Since it is not possible to discuss all these Spielmannsepen here, we shall concentrate on König Rother as our prime example of this type of pre-courtly literature.

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König Rother Access to König Rother may be gained by approaching it from the point of view of memory, that is, the traditional motifs and patterns, familiar and well remembered by the audience, that propel the action forward. The central motif is that of the bridal quest, in this instance “Dangerous Bridal Quest,” mentioned above as a common denominator of most Spielmannsepen. Rother of Bari (Italy) is the most powerful ruler in the West and needs a wife to produce an heir and thereby secure the future of his kingdom (a common motif in Spielmannsepen). After the obligatory council with the king’s advisors (also part of the pattern), it becomes clear that only one princess will do, the beautiful (nameless) daughter of King Constantine in Constantinople. The best king in the West will seek the hand of the most beautiful princess in the East, exogamy being another memorable requirement of a bridal quest. The dangerous part of the quest is the fact that King Constantine has sworn to kill any suitor for his daughter’s hand, or the latter’s messengers. Rother, in accordance with the council’s advice, sends his faithful vassal Count Lupold with eleven other counts and their accompanying knights to Constantinople to press the suit for the princess. In Constantinople, they make a great impression with their expensive armor, horses, clothing and wealth, but when Lupold tells Constantine the purpose of their mission, Constantine refuses and has them all imprisoned. This is obviously a break with the original bridal quest pattern—they should have been executed—and seems insufficiently motivated, but one can easily see that not killing the emissaries is required by the ultimate outcome of the narrative. “Memory” in the form of the original model has been modified with a view towards the ending, and we shall see more evidence of this tendency to motivate action from the end, rather than the beginning. Interesting, too, is the fact that Constantine insists that the treasure of the prisoners be entrusted to his chamberlain, rather than confiscated. Back in Bari, Rother waits the obligatory year and a day for word from his men. Then, having heard nothing and again on the advice of his council, sets out for Constantinople himself disguised as a certain “Dietrich” with only a small group of men, pretending to be an exile banished from Rother’s kingdom. Included among his men are two giants, the fearsome King Asprian, and Witold, who is so

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violent that he has to be kept in chains. The two giants—the audience would certainly recognize them as figures from its memory of heroic poetry—frighten the people of Constantinople, but Constantine nevertheless grants asylum to Dietrich, the “exile” from Rother’s realm. Dietrich’s wealth and his lavish gifts—another feature of the standard pattern—impress everyone, and this allows him to raise an army of 5,000 men among other refugees in Constantinople. Furthermore, the queen is moved to criticize the king for not having given his daughter to Rother earlier, arguing that Rother must be a very powerful king, if he has banished a man such as Dietrich from his land. The next stage in the traditional model is the secret meeting between the princess and her suitor. The princess, curious after having heard so much about Dietrich, arranges to have him come to her chamber secretly, where he reveals his true identity and she her favor for him. The problem then is to secure the freedom of Rother’s messengers. This is accomplished, at least temporarily, when the princess requests their release for a few days from her father as an act of Christian compassion and Dietrich pledges his life to guarantee that they will not leave the city. Accordingly, the messengers leave their wretched cells, get cleaned up, receive new clothing, and their quarters are refurbished. Strangely enough, there is no great recognition scene between Rother and his men. That is postponed until a banquet, during which Rother slips behind a curtain and plays certain melodies on a harp. The messengers, remembering that Rother had impressed these tunes on their memory before they left Bari, recognize that Dietrich is really Rother, and the joyful scene can then be played out without anyone save Rother’s men and the princess knowing Dietrich’s true identity. At this point, the audience, which surely had the bridal quest model in mind, must have wondered how the expected abduction would take place. This is accomplished in a way that is dictated by later events that involve not only the first abduction but also the return of the princess to Constantinople and Rother’s subsequent return there to win her back. The occasion is the threatened attack on Constantinople by the heathen king Ymelot of Cairo with an immense army. “Dietrich” and his 5,000 men, including the freed prisoners, offer to help Constantine. Together with Constantine, they move outside the city and place their camp close to the heathen army. There they attack Ymelot’s army at night, Rother takes Ymelot

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himself captive, turns him over to Constantine, and in the confusion returns to the city. The word is spread that Constantine has been killed, thereby alarming the queen and all her ladies. Rother offers them help, has them brought to his ship, but takes only the princess on board. He reveals his true identity to the queen and tells her that the news of Constantine’s death was really a ruse to get the princess away. At that, the queen is happy—she had been in favor of Rother as a suitable husband for her daughter for some time—and Rother and the princess sail away. Constantine, however, is angry and laments the loss of his daughter. Worse yet, Ymelot has managed to escape. Having returned to Bari, Rother is faced with the problem of reasserting control over his lands. To do this, he must travel to the north, and in his absence the princess is lured aboard a ship by a nefarious minstrel who had been sent by her father. He sails back to Constantinople with her. Thus the traditional second phase of the bridal quest pattern begins. Again, Rother calls a council of his nobles. This time it is decided to take an army of 30,000 men, not to attack Constantinople directly, but to hide in the woods nearby, while Rother and a few others will enter the city disguised as pilgrims. Inside the city they learn that Ymelot has returned, made Constantine a captive, and intends to marry the princess that very evening. Rother and the other “pilgrims” enter the banquet hall and hide under the table at which the princess is seated. Rother makes his presence known by slipping a ring with his name on it to the princess. She becomes so elated that the people are convinced that Rother must be somewhere around. With all the doors blocked, Rother and his men can only trust in God and come out from under the table. Rother is given the choice of how and where he wishes to be executed. He chooses death by hanging and in the forest, knowing full well that his 30,000 men are hiding there. He insists, however, that Ymelot and all his 30 heathen kings be present at his execution. Meanwhile, the 5,000 Christians whom Rother as “Dietrich” had previously recruited in Constantinople take up arms to help him. They attack while the gallows are being set up and free Rother and his two companions, whereupon Rother sounds his horn, summoning his army, including the two giants Asprian and Witold, from their hiding place to rush out and slaughter the heathens. Thus, Constantine and his city are freed from the heathens, and he comes

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out to meet Rother, accompanied by the princess and all the ladies of the court. The queen, after accusing Constantine of arrogance, gives her daughter back to Rother. Thus, the story ends happily, but there is a short epilogue to it. After Rother and the princess return to Bari, the princess gives birth to a son, who is named Pippin and is later to become the father of Charlemagne. All of Rother’s nobles are given fiefs and lands, to which they retire, as a reward for their loyalty. When Pippin is 22 years old, he is knighted in Aachen, and Rother and his wife then follow the advice of a wise old vassal to renounce the world and enter a monastery. In reviewing the story, we have tried to point out the events that are part of the bridal quest pattern (memory)—the identity of the hero, his need for a bride, the council with his nobles, the cruel father of the princess, the sending of messengers, the deception of the hero to abduct the daughter, the abduction and return home of the princess, and the ultimate winning back of the bride (again with deception) by the hero. These traditional events comprise the framework of König Rother. However, we have also indicated that the kausale Motivation (Kiening), which moves the action forward from the beginning, is modified by the kompositorische Motivation, which looks back on the action from the end to give the work a different literary quality from what it would otherwise have if the work had adhered strictly to a straightforward cause-and-effect development. The failure of Constantine to have Rother’s messengers killed is that kind of modification, as are other instances of apparently unmotivated events. Characterization is fairly one dimensional, as is the case in most bridal quest stories of this type, but here the relationship of Constantine to his wife shows some character differentiation, especially in the queen’s partisanship for Rother and her criticism of her husband. Viewed from the end of the tale, we see that she has been right all along. We should also point out that there is a subtext in the work of some socio-cultural significance. Rother is pictured as a model of the ideal Christian king. He is generous, fair-minded, and merciful, and he seeks and accepts advice. Constantine, on the other hand, is just the opposite, the model of what a Christian ruler should not be: parsimonious, except when he is obliged to spend his money, selfish and despotic, unreceptive to advice, arrogant and not always trustworthy. His wife sees things much more sensibly than he does.

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König Rother is a fairly lengthy work of some 5,200 lines in rhymed couplets and is generally thought to have been composed about 1160–1170. It exists in only one virtually complete manuscript, Heidelberg Cpg 390, that is dated to the end of the twelfth century. However, there are also fragments of three other manuscripts that would indicate its popularity well into the fourteenth century. We know nothing about the author. Even the language of the extant text, a curious mixture of Low and High German, does not help. He was probably a cleric and does occasionally refer to “books” as his source, presenting the possibility that the tale may have existed earlier in written form. He may have been writing for a Bavarian audience since the names of two noble Bavarian families, the Tegelingen and the Dießen, occur in the text. The name of the Langobard king Rothari (d. 652) may have inspired Rother’s name, but the location of his residence in Bari in Southern Italy may reflect the influence of the more contemporary Norman king, Roger II of Sicily (d. 1154). The remaining three epics that we shall discuss here are different in many ways from Spielmannsepen such as König Rother. In the first place, they are not anonymous, although we may not know very much about the poets. Secondly, and most importantly, they are based on Old French sources and are the earliest works that show the influence of the already courtly literature of that culture. Numerous others, especially Arthurian romances, will follow, as Middle High German literature moves towards its classical period. Furthermore, the subject matter comes from classical sources, legends about Alexander the Great and Aeneas and their Old French versions, but also from Old French chansons de geste, that is, the Roland story. In general, we can speak of them as historical sources, for they were surely viewed as such by their authors and by medieval listeners/readers, as well.

Pfaffe Lamprecht: Alexanderlied Today we remember Alexander the Great as the greatest of generals in the ancient world, a man who conquered the whole world and then wept because there were no more worlds to conquer. People in the Middle Ages remembered him somewhat differently; as a great military hero, yes, but also as a symbol of the transitoriness of earthly

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life, a man who must ultimately learn that his insatiable desire to experience everything on earth, under the sea, and even, in some versions, in the sky, must inevitably fail. The main source for the memory of Alexander in the Middle Ages was the so-called Late Greek Pseudo-Callisthenes from the third century in Alexandria, which tied together many disparate tales about Alexander. A Latin translation from the Greek in the fourth century by Julius Valerius, entitled Res gestae Alexandri Macedonis brought the story to the West, but probably the most widely known of the western versions was the tenth century Historia de Preliis, a Latin translation by Archbishop Leo of Naples. There was also the Latin account of Quintus Curtius Rufus, a Roman writer of the first century. These were the literary sources for the first vernacular version of the Alexander story in a Western vernacular language, the French-Provençal version of Alberic of Besançon (or Pisançon) in the early twelfth century. This is the version that Pfaffe Lamprecht, the initial author of the German Alexanderlied, refers to in verse 10: “der brâchte uns diz liet zû./er hetez in wahlisken getihtet./nû sol ich es iuh in dûtisken berihten.” (He brought us this song. He composed it in a Romance tongue. Now I shall tell it to you in German: my translation). Alexander was also known from the Bible, for example, in Maccabees I, which begins: “After Alexander, son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came from the land of Kittim, had defeated King Darius of the Persians and the Medes, he succeeded him as king. (He had previously become King of Greece.) He fought many battles, conquered strongholds, and put to death the kings of the earth. He advanced to the ends of the earth, and plundered many nations. When the earth became quiet before him, he was exalted, and his heart was lifted up” (New RSV). Alexander also played a part in salvation history. He was considered to be the winged leopard, the symbol of the Third Realm, in the vision of Daniel. Although Alexander was widely remembered in the Middle Ages, we cannot say the same about the poet of the German Alexanderlied. Pfaffe Lamprecht, or Lambrecht, is known only by what he says about himself in his works, a fragmentary Tobias of only 274 lines, based on the apocryphal Book of Tobit, and in the prologue to his Alexander. His basically Mosel-Franconian dialect and a reference to Trier in his Tobias allow us to locate him in Trier or that general vicinity. He calls himself a paffe in the early lines of both of his works, thereby emphasizing his religious calling, but we cannot tell whether he was

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a priest or a cleric. Middle High German paffe, or phaffe, can mean both. Surely he was educated, had learned Latin and was acquainted with the Franco-Provençal language of his source, and there is a distinct theological bent to his works. No other record of him exists. Since there is more than one version of the work, it would not be correct to consider Lamprecht as the sole author of the Middle High German Alexander, but rather probably the earliest German poet to deal with it. His version (V) covers 1533 lines in Manuscript 276 of the Augustiner-Chorherrenstift in Vorau, Austria. However, there is also a much later version in a Basle manuscript, E. VI.26 of the Sächsische Weltchronik, the ‘Basle Alexander’ (B), in Alemannic dialect, of the fifteenth century, from which we can deduce an earlier continuation of Lamprecht’s poem. That continuation represents an intermediary version between Lamprecht (V) and the “Strasbourg Alexander” (S) of some time before 1187. S is by an anonymous author, in Mosel-Franconian dialect, and is about five times as long as V. It, too, was part of a Sammelhandschrift, and was destroyed in the fire of 1870 in Strasbourg. Fortunately, we have a copy of it by Massmann. The relationship of these versions to one another has occupied the attention of scholars for a long time, but there are different characteristics in each version on which scholars can agree. It is the interpretation of such differences that vary. V is probably Lamprecht’s version or a close copy of it. Whether it is a copy of Lamprecht’s entire effort is another question. It seems to end abruptly, as if Lamprecht has left it unfinished, and the ending actually reads as if a scribe had quickly finished it off. A comparison with Alberic’s fragmentary work shows it to be a substantially close translation. Lamprecht, using rhymed couplets instead of the laisse-form of Alberic, needs almost twice as many lines to relate roughly the same material. He also has his own separate prologue of about 20 lines before following Alberic’s text. Since we have only a small portion of Alberic’s version we can not know whether Lamprecht continued in the same manner throughout the 1533 lines of V, but it is generally assumed that he did. The Strasbourg version begins with the same prologue with almost identical wording and then goes on to cover roughly the same events as in V: the story of Alexander’s parentage and birth, his education, his horse Bucephalus, his early feats of arms on behalf of his father, and his election at the age of twenty to the kingship upon the death

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of his father. (There is a page missing in S, which covers vv. 509–959. That would be the equivalent of vv. 431–728 in V). Then the campaign against Darius begins when Alexander decides that Greece should refuse to pay tribute to Darius. However, it takes Alexander some time before he gets there. He goes first to Sicily and Rome, then to Carthage and on to Egypt, where he founds the city of Alexandria. From there he continues through Palestine to Tyre, where he lays siege to the city by using—somewhat anachronistically—siege weapons, siege works, and even Greek fire to conquer it. A series of conflicts with vassals of Darius follows as he approaches the Euphrates River, and at the same time a series of messages are exchanged between the two kings in which each one threatens to destroy the other. Finally, in V, Alexander arrives before Mesopotamia, where a battle begins, at the end of which Alexander slices Darius’s head off, and the story ends abruptly. In S, however, there is another exchange of messages, two of Darius’s vassals attempt to assassinate him, they wound him severely, and Alexander arrives. Weeping, he holds the dying Darius in his arms, showing him the greatest respect. The two assassins are later discovered and hanged by Alexander. In comparison to V, S is a much more polished achievement, elaborate in detail, with greater description of the fighting and especially of the lavish buildings and celebration. All in all, one can see that it is a more modern work that would appeal to the increasingly courtly tastes and interests of its contemporary audience. It is almost twice as long in the corresponding part of V, and it continues on from Darius’s death for almost 3,400 lines. Alexander invades and conquers India. In single combat he slays King Porus, who had wanted to come to the aid of Darius. From there he goes to the land of the Occidratis, a very impoverished country, where the inhabitants go around naked. They ask Alexander for only one thing: the gift of eternal life, which, of course, Alexander cannot give them. From this point, Alexander travels to the end of the world and writes a long letter to his mother Olympia and his teacher Aristotle, describing the perils to which he and his men have been exposed. These include encounters with elephants and other terrible beasts, giants, the phoenix, the lovely flower maidens, who bloom and then ultimately die, and the wise and beautiful Candacis, who easily conquers him with her love, much to his own chagrin. After having written the letter, Alexander comes via the Euphrates to the walled city of Paradise (Probable source: the Iter ad Paradisum,

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a twelfth-century Latin work derived from the Babylonian Talmud). There an old man gives him a small stone and advises him to leave. When he returns to Greece, Alexander searches for someone who can tell him the nature of the stone. At length, an old Jew is found, who knows what the stone signifies. He puts the stone on one pan of a scale and a large amount of gold on the other. The stone proves to be so heavy that even a large amount of gold cannot balance its weight, but when a feather is put in the other pan and covered with a little soil, it more than outweighs the stone (Note: this is probably an error. It would make more sense for the stone to be covered with dirt, whereupon the feather would outweigh it). It is a message to Alexander from God, telling him that his pride and the honors he has won will not keep him from death and that he should turn away from his sins at once, worship God, and obey his commandments. Alexander modifies his behavior and practices moderation. He governs his kingdom for only twelve more years and dies after having been poisoned. The ending thus returns us to the topos of transitoriness that had been mentioned at the beginning with a quotation from the Book of Ecclesiastes on vanitatum vanitas (Alexanderlied, 19–26; Ecclesiastes, 2–3) and then apparently forgotten at least as far as the death of Darius. There, and in his encounters with the Occidratis, the flower maidens, and Candacis, Alexander is admonished to temper his overweening ambition and pride. The clerical authors have a message for the audience, but it becomes a mixed message when one considers the excitement of combat, victory, and the description of exotic places. Alexander must learn what it takes to be a rex justus et pacificus, another strong subtext, but it takes him a long time—much to the enjoyment of the listeners. The Vorauer and Straßburger Alexander are only the first stages in a series of German Alexander epics. Rudolf von Ems composed his Alexander using a variety of Latin and German sources in 1235/1250. It is a fragment of well over 21,000 lines. Ulrich von Etzenbach wrote his Alexandreis, which is based on the Latin Alexandreis of Walter of Châtillon, between 1271 and 1286. It contains 28,000 lines, plus a 2,000-line appendix. In the fourteenth century there were two Alexander epics in verse, one in 1352 by a certain Seifrit in BavarianAustrian dialect and based on Latin sources, and the puch der groz Alexander, the so-called Wernigerode Alexander by an unknown Alemannic poet using a Latin source. It was completed near the end of the

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century. Prose versions also begin in the fourteenth century and continue into the fifteenth. The Alexander story is part of a popular Low German text devoted to religious instruction and serves as an exemplum in the discussion of the Tenth Commandment in the Großer Seelentrost of around the middle of the fourteenth century. In the first half of the fifteenth century, a certain Meister Babiloth wrote a fairly literal Low German prose translation of the Latin Historia de preliis, which is preserved in nine Middle and Upper German manuscripts. Perhaps the best known prose Alexander is Johann Hartlieb’s Das buoch der geschicht des grossen allexanders (c. 1444). Hartlieb wrote thirteen works on commission, this one at the behest of the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick. It is a free re-working of Latin sources and provided a Fürstenspiegel to show through example how a prince could attain noble virtue and manliness. In 1473 it was printed as a popular text and reprinted repeatedly into the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Pfaffe Konrad: Das Rolandslied The memory of Charlemagne was very strong in Germany during the latter half of the twelfth century, over three hundred years after his death, especially during the reign of Emperor Friedrich I (“Barbarossa”), who was elected Roman King in Frankfurt, but crowned in Aachen on March 9, 1152. This was symbolically significant for Barbarossa; after all, Charlemagne had occupied the throne as Roman Emperor in that very city, and there was much thought of a renovatio imperii under Friedrich. Thus, a connection between the Hohenstaufen and the storied Carolingian, an imitatio Karoli Magni, was very important. Three years later Barbarossa was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in Rome by Pope Hadrian IV. In 1165, on December 29, the vigil of King David (significant because the Biblical David was acknowledged to be the model of the rex justus et pacificus), Barbarossa had Charlemagne canonized and his remains in Aachen elevated and placed in a temporary shrine in the center of the cathedral there. In France, Charlemagne was even better known, not only through Latin accounts of his life such as Einhard’s Vita Caroli Magni (c. 833), but also popularly through vernacular tales about his exploits and those of his paladins. Indeed, a new literary genre of songs about such heroic deeds developed towards the end of the eleventh cen-

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tury, although there is little consensus about the specific nature of their origins. Known as chansons de geste from the Latin gesta (“things done,” “exploits”), these epic songs were composed of stanzas, called laisses, of irregular length, with decasyllabic, assonating lines. Extant manuscript versions of the epics, such as the so-called O (Oxford) version of the Chanson de Roland, may be dated from the early 1100s. Some version of this particular Old French epic poem is the source for the German Rolandslied by a certain Pfaffe Konrad, a cleric like Lamprecht. In a short epilogue to his poem, Konrad says: “Ob iu daz liet gevalle,/sô gedenket ihr mîn alle./ich haize der phaffe Chunrat./also ez an dem buoche gescriben stat/in franzischer zungen,/so hân ich ez in die latîne betwungen, danne in die tutische gekêret./ich nehân der nicht an gemêret,/ich nehân der nicht überhaben” (9077–84: If this song pleases you, then may you all think of me. I am Pfaffe Konrad./In just the way it is written in the book in French, I put it into Latin and then turned it into German. I have told nothing more, nor less: my translation). By referring to a “book,” Konrad indicates that he had a written version as his source, and since he admits that he had translated it into Latin first before putting it into German, some have inferred that his Latin was probably better than his Old French. This alone does not help very much in identifying where Konrad lived—his name and station reveal nothing—but a close examination of the extant manuscripts leads to the conclusion that the original was composed in Bavarian. There are other clues to Bavaria as well. The manuscript illustrations resemble a type associated with Regensburg, which was the leading city of the Duchy of Bavaria in the Middle Ages, and the text mentions a sword as having been made in Regensburg (v. 1602). In addition, Konrad names a certain Duke Heinrich as his patron whose wife, “the daughter of a powerful king” (v. 9025), urged her husband to have the story rendered into German. The most likely “Heinrich” is Henry the Lion, at that time Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, who married Matilda, the daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, a noted patron of French literature. If that identification is correct and since they were married in 1168, this would yield a date of c. 1170 for Konrad’s Rolandslied. It all fits together nicely: the fame (read: memory) of Charlemagne and his paladins in Germany and France, a French/English princess as wife of the Duke of Bavaria, Barbarossa as the renovator of Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire, the crusading fervor in the

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period between the Second and Third Crusade, and a cleric at Henry’s court. All of these elements contributed to the influence of French literature on the vernacular literature developing in Germany. The origins of the Chanson de Roland, some version of which was undoubtedly Konrad’s source, go back to the year 777 when Charlemagne made an agreement in Paderborn to give military aid to AlArabi, the Saracen governor of Barcelona and Gerona, in his revolt against the Emir Abd al Rahman of Cordova. In return for the aid, Al-Arabi promised to submit to the authority of the Franks. Accordingly in 778 Charlemagne, wishing to extend his realm, led his army into Spain, took Pamplona, and arrived at the gates of Saragossa, where the governor, supposedly an ally of Al-Arabi, repudiated the agreement and refused entrance to Charlemagne. Thereupon Charlemagne laid siege to the city for a month and a half before finally deciding to give up and return home. In August of that year while marching through the narrow valleys of the Pyranees, Basques attacked the baggage train and the rear guard of the Franks from ambush. They slaughtered all the soldiers and plundered the baggage train before the main force of the Frankish army could do anything about it. Some fifty years later, Einhard, writing his biography of Charlemagne, describes the defeat of the Franks for the first time and mentions dispassionately the names of several of the Frankish noblemen who were killed, among them a certain Hruodlandus (Roland). This is the only mention of Roland in a historical document, except possibly in a mid twelfth-century gloss on Einhard’s Vita Karoli Magni from the monastery of Steinfeld. This inglorious episode in Charlemagne’s otherwise brilliant career is the nucleus for what was to become a French national epic poem some three hundred years later. By then, events and personalities had been added, themes had changed, and above all, the spirit of the Crusades had exerted an enormous influence on the story. How all this came about has been the subject of much scholarly speculation, too much to be discussed here. For our purposes, we need only refer to the text that may have been available to Konrad, one that probably was close to the Oxford manuscript of the Chanson de Roland, for we are interested primarily in what Konrad did with the material he had before him. This, however, is difficult to determine. Newer research is not so sure that O is one of the earliest versions, and it may be that what Konrad used could be from a different, missing source. If that is true, Konrad’s Rolandslied would be very

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important in determining the manuscript tradition of the Chanson. The first thing to be noted is that the Chanson is clearly named for its central figure, Roland. Konrad’s version, however, is just as clearly misnamed as Rolandslied. In fact it has no title and was only given that title by Wilhelm Grimm, the first editor (1838), who apparently followed the title of the Chanson. Actually, Rolandslied is really one of several German legends of Charlemagne. Konrad in his prologue asks for divine assistance to write the truth about eineme tiurlîchen man,/wie er daz gotes rîche gewan./daz ist Karl, der keiser (About an excellent man, how he gained God’s kingdom, that is, the Emperor Karl. vv. 9–11: my translation). From these lines one might infer that the poem is to be about Karl. At any rate, Karl does play a much greater role in Rolandslied than in the Chanson. Konrad goes on to emphasize the fact that Karl was the one who conquered many heathen lands for Christianity, converted them, and now reposes in heaven. The Rolandslied, seen from this point of view, becomes almost a hagiographic piece and has been so considered by some. Although Konrad’s emphasis seems to have been on Karl rather than Roland, the basic structure of his work and the Chanson are essentially the same. (For convenience, the names in the Rolandslied are used here in referring to characters in both works). The first major part is devoted to the attempt by the Saracens to get Karl to leave Spain. This highlights the enmity between Roland and Genelun, Roland’s stepfather and Karl’s brother-in-law, and leads to Genelun’s betrayal of Karl, who has agreed to withdraw his forces from Spain on the promise that the heathen King Marsilie and his men will come to Aachen and be baptized. Genelun is designated as the messenger to go back to Saragossa with the Saracen messengers and inform King Marsilie of Karl’s intent. Once Karl begins his withdrawal, leaving his nephew Roland, his twelve paladins, and 20,000 men behind to oversee Marsilie’s compliance with the agreement, the heathens, acting on the advice of Genelun, will prepare to attack Roland and his men. The second and third parts of the story describe two fierce battles between the heathens and the Christians. In the first, Marsilie and his men attack Roland’s forces. Despite the heroic efforts of Roland, Olivir, Bishop Turpin, and the rest, the Christians are defeated and all are killed. The slaughter could conceivably have been avoided, if Roland had blown Olifant, his horn, to call Karl back, but he refuses to do so, until he is practically the only Christian

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left alive. Of course, the Saracens suffer horrendous losses themselves; even King Marsilie loses part of his arm, but the third part begins when Karl finally arrives on the scene. He chases the heathens away, only to be attacked on the next day by the Emir Paligan, the most powerful ruler in heathendom, who has come to Marsilie’s aid with an immense army. The ensuing battle is even more momentous than the first. Karl, with divine aid, is ultimately victorious. He kills Paligan, and the heathens are forced to flee. The fourth and final part is the trial of Genelun for treason. After his champion is killed in a trial by combat, thereby establishing Genelun’s guilt, the main action ends with his execution. Probably the most obvious difference between the Chanson and the Rolandslied is that of size. The Rolandslied is twice as long as the Chanson. This may be due in part to the difference in form, the laisse of the Chanson versus the rhymed couplets of the Middle High German work. Yet more than anything else, the crusading aspects of the Rolandslied take up much more space than they do in the Chanson and are emphasized more. There is an extensive prologue in the Rolandslied, a typical legend prologue, in which Konrad asks for God’s help in telling his story truthfully and then goes into the prehistory of his story, describing how an angel had told Karl to go to Spain to destroy heathendom and spread Christianity, and how the Christians would be rewarded in heaven for their fighting, yea, even martyrdom. In other words, Konrad brings his story to the point where the Chanson matter-of-factly begins, with no prologue, just stating that Karl had been fighting in Spain for seven years and had conquered everything save Saragossa, the stronghold of Marsilie. Without doubt, the Rolandslied is an excellent example of the crusading mentality. There is repeated reference to the idea of fighting in a holy war to convert the Saracens, and to kill or disperse them. The heathens are depicted as monsters, some of them physically so, but all as devils, or adherents of their false gods, Apollo, Mahmet, and Tervagant. The reward for the Christians who are eager to die in the cause is eternal salvation in heaven. It is an occasion for martyrdom. Karl, acting on God’s orders to convert the heathens in Spain, is seen as a figuration of Christ. Certainly, this is all mentioned in the Chanson, but not developed nearly to the extent that it is in Rolandslied. As we have said, the Chanson is a French national epic with Charlemagne as the French king, fighting for douce France. In the

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Rolandslied, Karl is centered more as divinely appointed ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, the leader of the entire Christian world. If there is any connection of Karl to anything else it is to figures in the Bible. He bears traits of David, Solomon, Joshua, Gideon, and, as we have seen, Christ, not to mention other Old Testament patriarchs whose actions are determined by messages from God or in dreams. Such references to the Bible—there are some 170 of them— serve as illustrative and transitional material and are the reason for much of the expansion of Rolandslied as opposed to the Chanson. On a more mundane level, Konrad seems to delight in courtly splendor. His descriptions of Karl’s court, the splendid armor of the knights on both sides, the gold and the jewels, and the wealth that Marsilie offers to Karl and that Genelun accepts so readily in return for his treason, may have appealed to the developing courtly audience in Germany. These are all extravagantly listed in the Rolandslied, whereas in the Chanson they are, by comparison, barely mentioned. Combat gets a much more detailed treatment in the Rolandslied, too. Heads are lopped off, bodies split from head to toe, eyes popped out of sockets, and so forth. Not that such gruesome acts are absent in the Chanson, but in the Rolandslied it is a matter of degree. Even before the fighting begins, each side has to arrange the order of battle, that is, who will attack first, and this leads, particularly in the Rolandslied to lengthy speeches. Looking at the characters, we see Karl as the ideal ruler in both versions. He always calls his council together for advice before making any decisions, though he may not always accept the position of his council members. In the Rolandslied we are witness to Karl as he struggles with his own desires. He is tempted as a peace-loving ruler, to accept the heathens’ peace proposal, and remains at first indecisive. The Saracens tempt Karl with immense wealth and hostages, but those in themselves do not sway him. He reluctantly agrees to try to settle matters on his own terms. In the second battle at Roncesvales, Paligan, staring defeat in the eyes, offers Karl a deal to settle the fighting, which Karl naturally declines, and at the very end, he seems almost swayed by the sentiment of his own council to pardon Genelun. But Karl always looks to God for guidance, which generally is given to him in dreams. Roland’s character is consistent in both versions. He is zealous in his desire to serve Karl and the Christian cause. He takes pride in his abilities and does not hesitate to remind people of his previous

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accomplishments, nor does he shun new tasks. As Karl notes, he does have faults. He is too quick to anger, and not to be trusted with sensitive diplomatic missions. He is very desirous of fame and of preserving his reputation, hence his refusal to blow Olifant for help. But his zeal, his prowess, and his martyrdom make him an appealing figure, and it is no wonder that the Chanson was named after him. Genelun, on the other hand, is a problematic figure in both versions, though in the Rolandslied he has more evil attributes. He appears first as someone who genuinely seeks a peaceful solution to the “Saracen problem,” but then his rivalry with Roland becomes evident, and before we know it he becomes an embodiment of Lucifer himself in all his splendor, as he betrays the Christians and above all the spirit of the Crusade, a crime against God for which he ultimately pays with his life. Konrad closes with an epilogue, as mentioned above. It is an unabashed panegyric to Henry the Lion, comparing him to the Biblical King David, and asking God to have pity on all of us. There are two almost complete manuscripts of Konrad’s Rolandslied, one of which was lost in the 1870 fire in Strasbourg, but a copy of it exists. The main manuscript is Heidelberg, Cpg 112. About 150 verses of it are missing, but it contains 39 drawings. There are four other fragments. All manuscripts are from the late twelfth century. After 1215 and before 1233 another poet named “Der Stricker” reworked Konrad’s Rolandslied, improving its somewhat uneven language, but sticking fairly closely to Konrad’s text. That version is known under the title of Karl der Große and was apparently popular. At the beginning of the fourteenth century an anonymous poet compiled a tale known as Karlmeinet, using over 3,500 verses from Konrad’s version. Of greater interest and importance, of course, is the influence of Konrad’s Rolandslied on Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Willehalm (c. 1220). But memory was not limited to written or sung versions. Continued popular interest in the Rolandslied is evidenced by the 40 or so medieval Roland-statues in Germany, one of the most famous being the Roland in front of the city hall in Bremen.

Heinrich von Veldeke: Eneide Virgil’s Aeneid was well known in the Middle Ages. Not only was his Aeneid a standard text used in learning Latin, but it was also con-

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sidered a prophetic text and hence had a place in the general religious education of the laity. His Aeneas was well remembered as the founder of Rome, the city and later empire that became the fourth world empire, the boar in the vision of Daniel in the Bible (Daniel 7:1–28). It was, after all, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus that Christ was born in the course of salvation history. And that empire included its translatio, the contemporary Holy Roman Empire. It was also a matter of heredity. Dardanus, the ancestor of Aeneas, had left Italy, traveled to Asia Minor, and founded the city of Troy. Aeneas, as Virgil tells us, fled that burning city after the victorious Greeks had entered it and eventually made his way to Italy where he married the daughter of King Latinus, fulfilling his destiny as ordained by the gods. There he established a kingdom in Alba Longa, and his grandsons, Romulus and Remus, founded the city of Rome. However, that is not the only hereditary connection. Other Trojans also escaped from Troy, wandering around the world, until their leader Helenus married Hector’s widow and took possession of the realm of his former enemies in Greece. There he built a new Troy. Another Trojan, Franko, migrated to the lower Rhine, where the Frankish people settled and flourished. Of course, everyone knew that the great Emperor Charlemagne was a Frank, and the earlier Franks, although subjugated by Julius Caesar, had actually helped him as mercenaries in seizing Rome. Consequently, at the time of Frederick Barbarossa (see Rolandslied above), the connections between the Franks, the Trojans, and the Roman Empire was a current matter and in the memory of all, tutored and untutored alike. It is perhaps not very surprising then to find a poet such as Heinrich von Veldeke at work on a version of Virgil’s Aeneid during the period of Barbarossa’s reign, especially after the canonization of Charlemagne in 1165. Heinrich was born near Hasselt in the modern Belgian province of Limburg, not too far from Aachen, in the general area of the lower Rhine. He tells a bit about himself at the end of his earlier work, Servatius, a rhymed life of his own patron saint, based on a Latin vita. Countess Agnes of Loon (documented until 1175), wife of Ludwig I (died 1171), was his patroness, and he was also supported by a certain Hessel, Dean of the Servatiusstift in Maastricht (documented 1171–76). It is likely that Heinrich began work on his Eneide about 1170 after finishing the Servatius. At least there is an account in the epilogue to the Eneide—whether by Heinrich or someone else is not certain—to the effect that after he had finished

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about four-fifths of the work (Eneide 13429–90), he gave the manuscript to Countess Margarete of Cleve to read. At her wedding to Landgrave Ludwig III of Thuringia in March 1174, it was taken away from one of Margarete’s ladies, to whom it had been entrusted, by a Count Heinrich, presumably the brother of the Landgrave, and taken to Thuringia. Nine years later the Count Palatine, later Landgrave, Hermann of Thuringia, invited Veldeke to Thuringia to finish his Eneide. Hermann was a renowned literary patron at whose court a number of noted poets were supported. He was particularly interested in having the Old French romans d’antiquité translated into German. The Barbarossa connection—he was Hermann of Thuringia’s uncle—is reflected again when Heinrich compares the wedding feast of Eneas and Lavinia in his Eneide to Barbarossa’s famous court festival in Mainz in 1184, at which two of Friedrich’s sons received their swords (Eneide, vv. 13222–52). Heinrich says he was there— probably in the party of Hermann of Thuringia—and calls it the greatest festival ever. With this firm date we can say that the Eneide was finished after 1184, but probably before Friedrich’s death in 1190. References to Heinrich von Veldeke by other German poets lead to the assumption that he died around 1200 himself. Aside from his Servatius and his Eneide, Heinrich also wrote lyric poetry. There are thirty-six poems ascribed to him in the collection entitled Des Minnesangs Frühling. In the Manesse Manuscript, he is called her Heinrich von Veldeke, indicating perhaps that he was of the nobility. He is certainly remembered well, even fondly, by such noted younger poets as Gottfried von Straßburg and Wolfram von Eschenbach. Gottfried particularly lavishes praise on Heinrich as the one who ‘grafted the first slip on the tree of the German language’ (Tristan, vv. 4738f.), suggesting that courtly literature really began with Heinrich. There is indeed some justification for that point of view, for in the Eneide we find not only most of the elements of courtly literature that we noted in connection with the Spielmannsepen (see above), but also courtly love, at least love in its Ovidian form. His poetry even shows traces of the hohe Minne that dominates the classical courtly lyric. A particular problem of Veldeke research has been that of his dialect. His native Limburg dialect is a Low German one, whereas the extant manuscripts of his works are all in High German, save for some fragments. It is very likely that his earlier Servatius, a poem of some 6,000 lines, was written originally in his native dialect,

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although the only complete manuscript extant is a fifteenth century revision in High German. However, Low German fragments from around 1200 have been found, and the modern edition by Schieb and Frings is a retro-construction of a possible original from the fifteenth century revision, based on the dialect of the Low German fragments. The original language of Heinrich’s Eneide is somewhat more problematical. Seven more or less complete manuscripts exist, dating from the early thirteenth to the fifteenth century, plus seven fragments, so that we have a relatively large manuscript tradition. All of the manuscripts are in High German or Upper German. Since we are pretty sure that Heinrich began working on his Eneide in his native Limburg, there are two possible explanations for the discrepancy: he wrote first in Limburg dialect, but someone else revised the poem in Thuringia in the nine years before Heinrich was invited there. Once there, he could have finished it off in High German himself or continued it in Low German, whereupon someone else revised the ending. In verses 13,461–463 of the epilogue it is stated that in Thuringia “the story was written differently than if it had remained with him [Heinrich]; that is the truth.” The other explanation is that Heinrich himself avoided rhymes in his native dialect that would not be rhymes in High German, thereby making it possible to translate his work into High German, or, alternatively, composed the poem himself, using what has been termed the “Standard Middle High German.” Since we cannot be certain about the composition method of the Eneide, this has made it also very difficult to produce a reliable text. Even the High German manuscripts display some Low German characteristics. The only standard text is the one by the first editor, Ettmüller (1852), who used what he considered the best, oldest manuscript, B (= Berlin, thirteenth century), for his edition. In 1882, Behaghel was able to base his edition on more manuscripts, and made the attempt to reproduce the text in what he considered to have been the Maastricht dialect of Heinrich. In 1964, Schieb and Frings, using a language based on the Servatius fragments, attempted something similar, but along with their reconstruction, they included a diplomatic rendition of manuscript G (= Gotha, 15th century). Their reconstructed text was controversial and has not convinced other scholars. The most recent text by Kartschoke (1986) goes back to the Ettmüller text but does include other possible variants in notes at the end.

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At the end of the epilogue to the Eneide, Heinrich refers to his sources, mentioning French books in which the tale had been rendered from the Latin of Virgil with complete accuracy. He then goes on to say: “If he (Virgil) was not lying, then what Heinrich composed from him is true. He was not in such a hurry to tell the tale that he would deliberately alter the sense after undertaking the work. For as he found it written down, so he has recorded the tale, without inventing anything other than what he himself read in the books. If that was not invented, then he claims to be blameless also; as it is here, so it is written in French and in Latin, without alteration” (13514–27. Fisher translation). This sounds very much like a conventional medieval affirmation of truth and should probably not be taken seriously. Some have even suggested that the epilogue is not Heinrich’s work, but that of someone else; it is written in a curious mixture of first- and third-person subjects. Be that as it may, even a superficial comparison of Veldeke’s work with his sources reveals some striking differences. Heinrich’s French source was an anonymous Anglo-Norman version of the Roman d’Eneas, written before 1160. It exists in nine more or less complete manuscripts, the oldest of which is dated from the end of the twelfth to the early thirteenth century, the rest being of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. It must have been considered to be a historical work because it is often found in manuscripts together with the Roman de Thèbes, Benoît de Sainte-Maure’s Roman de Troie, and Wace’s Brut, hence also thought to have originated at the Plantagenet court of Henry II. In medieval French literature it occupies a position between the heroic chansons de geste and the courtly romances, tending towards the latter, and similar to the place of Veldeke’s Eneide between the Spielmannsepen, Alexander—and Rolandslied on the one hand and the courtly Arthurian romances of Hartmann von Aue and his successors on the other. Even a superficial view of Virgil’s Aeneid comparing it to the French and German versions shows that the French and German versions are much closer to one another than to the Aeneid. Virgil begins more or less in medias res after Aeneas arrives in Carthage and then tells Dido the story of his flight from Troy and his travels to Carthage, whereas the medieval versions begin chronologically and first detail the events that pre-date the Trojan’s arrival in Carthage. The love story then between Aeneas and Dido follows in all three versions, ending in his divine instructions to leave and proceed to Italy, after

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which Dido commits suicide. On his way there, Aeneas lands in Sicily, where his father had died and was buried. His father Anchises tells him that he must visit him in the underworld. This he does, having been led by the Sybil, and his father then shows him his future. After returning from the underworld, Aeneas travels on to Latium, where King Latinus promises him his kingdom and the hand of his daughter in marriage. At this point (end of Book VII), Turnus opposes Aeneas, and the general outline of the Aeneid is followed in both the French and German versions. However, in Virgil the story is concluded in another 4,300 lines, slightly less than half the total lines in the entire work. The French romance finishes in slightly over 6,000 lines, almost 60% of its total lines and Heinrich uses over 8,200 more, likewise 60% of the total lines of his work to conclude it. Of course, there are many factors that affect these proportions, but it is apparent that there has been considerable expansion of the second half of Virgil’s work in the corresponding parts of the French and German versions. In these latter two works the expansion is due largely to the development of the Eneas-Lavinia love story, but also to the lengthy descriptions of the entombment of Pallas and of Camilla. Aside from the physical expansion of the medieval versions, other differences are important, even though all three works cover roughly the same events. Virgil’s Aeneid is composed in classical dactylic hexameters, whereas both the French and the German works are in rhymed couplets with lines containing four stressed syllables each. The French romance is somewhat more regular in the alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables than is Veldeke’s, where the anacrusis is frequently missing or expanded to two or more unstressed syllables. More importantly, the difference in overall thrust, in the glorification of the Roman Empire and its world mission through the history and heroic action of Aeneas, and the nationalistic sentiment evidenced in Virgil’s work has undergone a significant transformation in the medieval versions. They have adapted the story basically to the taste of their times, to the already flourishing Norman-French courtly culture, including as it does Ovidian love, or in Germany where that culture was at least beginning to bud. Knighthood, as understood by the Middle Ages, is different from the virtus of the Romans. Therefore, we must realize that, culturally speaking, the French and German versions are much more similar to one another than either one of them is to Virgil. They are truly romans rather than classically Roman.

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The problem of how a medieval Christian poet deals with the obviously pagan gods of the Aeneid has occupied a number of scholars. It is not an important problem so far as the Roman de Troie is concerned since the anonymous author does not appear to be particularly worried about them. He just refers to ‘gods’ or ‘god’ indiscriminately as the occasion would seem to arise. However, Marie-Luise Dittrich in her otherwise excellent comparative study of the Aeneid, the Roman de Troie, and the Eneide (1960/61; 1966) argues that Veldeke had the clear intention of transforming Virgil’s Roman imperial concept behind the story to an imperial Christian idea, and that this is evident throughout the text. To be sure, as we have seen, Veldeke does connect the founding of Rome by Eneas’ great-grandson Romulus and from him through Julius Caesar to Augustus and the birth of Christ and the beginning of the Christian era (Eneide, vv. 13365–428), but it is difficult to see anything more in the text than that Heinrich used the terms ‘gods’ and ‘god’ as at most a symbol of Christian Providence. Eneas does, of course, obey the will of ‘his gods’ in the course of the work, but that is the material that Veldeke had to work with. He is surely not attempting to ‘Christainize’ Virgil’s classical gods, as Dittrich would have us believe. On the other hand, Eneas’s journey to the underworld in Veldeke tends to depart from the classical view of the underworld as found in Virgil and in the French source and transform it into a sort of Christian hell inhabited by devils and tortured souls. The Ovidian concept of love, particularly in reference to Dido, Lavinia, and Eneas, has been another bone of contention. There was some opinion that Dido’s love was inferior, improper, or at least different in comparison to Lavinia’s. It is generally agreed now, however, that there is no difference in the quality of that love. The difference lies in Eneas’s reaction. In Virgil, the goddess Venus, Aeneas’ mother, is the cause of the love between Dido and Aeneas. She sends Cupid in the form of Ascanius, Aeneas’ son, who is embraced by his father and kisses Dido, thereby causing her to fall in love with Aeneas and to suffer the pangs of Ovidian love. Of course, Anna, Dido’s sister, also encourages her in her love, but the impetus for Dido’s love is mythological, clearly coming from the goddess. In the two medieval versions, love is also caused by Venus through the agency of Cupid, but here Venus has become almost a personification of a love that may have begun as the result of more natural causes. Nevertheless, the mythological means of producing

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the love are maintained. In the Roman, Venus kisses Ascanius, who then kisses Dido and his father. Veldeke, however, is very careful to see that his hero does not participate in the exchange of kisses. He has Ascanius kiss only Dido, thereby underlining the fact that Eneas is not made to fall in love with her. The effects of Ovidian love— the sleeplessness, the burning passion, and so forth—are essentially the same in both versions. In Virgil, Lavinia plays a very minor role. There is no suggestion that she is even in love with Aeneas. She is merely the prize to be won in the ultimate contest between Aeneas and Turnus. However, in the expansion that has occurred in both the Roman d’Eneas and Eneide, she becomes a person in her own right. In both, she begins as King Latinus’s naive daughter, who had been originally promised to Turnus, but Latinus then turns around and, mindful of the will of the gods, promises her to Eneas. Her mother, Amata, in the French version, unnamed in Veldeke, champions Turnus. Her conversation with her daughter begins by telling her that she can love and marry anyone she wants to so long as it is Turnus, but Lavinia then asks about the nature of love and her mother then begins to explain, one of the highlights of the medieval versions. In modern terms, they begin as elementary instruction in the ‘birds and the bees,’ but they get beyond the nature of Love when the conversation returns to Amata’s insistence that Lavinia accept the political necessity of her role as a woman and marry Turnus. Lavinia initially does not even want to hear about love and marriage and asks the obvious stereotypical questions, such as “How can something be so sweet that causes such distress?” She then sees Eneas and her natural liking for him is already evident. But then she is wounded by Cupid’s arrow at the behest of Venus and immediately experiences the truth of her mother’s words on her own person when she falls madly in love with Eneas, much to the dismay and, indeed, outrage of her mother. The conversations between the two of them and Lavinia’s soliloquies could have, and perhaps did, come straight out of Ovid’s Heroides. This is particularly important culturally since it defined for a German audience the beginnings and nature of courtly love. Like the women in early Middle High German Minnesang, Lavinia then takes the initiative in her love for Eneas, writes him a letter and has it shot by an archer to land at his feet outside the castle walls. Thereupon, Eneas, also wounded by another arrow from Cupid, also suffers the pangs of Ovidian love, the fever, the sleeplessness,

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and the worry about fulfillment. The nature of love remains essentially constant; the difference between Dido’s love and Lavinia’s is only one of situation. There are still several problems to look at in regard to Eneas and Dido, and Eneas and Lavinia. Considerable discussion has taken place concerning the nature of the Eneas-Dido relationship, but the current opinion is that Eneas did not treacherously forsake Dido, hence causing her suicide. She, if anyone, is at fault herself for having forsaken her duties as a ruler, and, as she admits, for having loved immoderately. Eneas himself is not without fault as a knight—to look at him from the medieval point of view, which is reflected in almost all the negative comments about him. He abandons Troy and his family, when he might have continued to fight; he has a love affair with Dido, who practically throws herself at him, and then forsakes her; he is reminded of all his faults during his trip to the underworld; and he is accused of homosexuality as well by Lavinia’s mother. His affair with Dido is unworthy from a knightly point of view because he had to do nothing to win her. In fact, except for the promises of the gods, he has very little to recommend him when he arrives in Italy. This all changes when he fights to establish his presence in Latium and wins the hand of Lavinia by fighting, of course, proving the gods’ predictions completely, and establishing his fitness to rule, and also his and Lavinia’s fitness for each other. We have touched on some of the differences between the Roman d’Eneas and Veldeke’s Eneide above, but a few further general aspects should be mentioned. Veldeke’s French source uses much more direct discourse by his characters and less description in order to tell his story. This gives his work a sense of dramatic immediacy. Veldeke, on the other hand, has a somewhat more discursive epic style. He loves to use rhetorical descriptio, and delights in telling all the details of clothing and jewelry (such as Dido, dressed for the hunt, 1687–1758), armor (such as Eneas’ armor made by Vulcan, 5671–5824), and architecture (such as the tomb of Pallas, 8264–8373). This does not mean that Heinrich necessarily dwells longer on such details. The description of the armor made by Vulcan, for example, takes up approximately the same number of lines in both versions, but the accents in each description are set differently. In addition, Veldeke puts a greater emphasis on courtly life, making a point of noting appropriately fine manners and customs. This may, perhaps, be a function of the state of courtly life in Germany, as opposed to the

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more fully developed courtly culture in France. It is possible that Veldeke may be consciously helping to raise courtly standards in Germany by his examples, although, of course, he does not come right out and say so. The poet of the Roman d’Eneas, on the other hand, is not loath to mention unsuitable conduct or even to use uncourtly language himself on occasion. Again, this makes for a livelier, more colorful narrative in the French version, as opposed to Veldeke’s more reserved, modulated manner that incorporates his own reflections on the events. Rodney Fisher (1992) has provided a detailed comparison of the two versions. In conclusion, let us return to our original theme of memory and look briefly at a recent article by Herfried Vögel (1998) on that very topic in Veldeke’s Eneide. Vögel calls attention to the fact that Heinrich begins his tale by jogging the memory of his audience, recalling something that they had already heard about, namely the Trojan war and the fall of Troy (1–32). He continues immediately to introduce Eneas, telling about his high rank, about his lineage as son of Venus and brother of Cupid, as described by Virgil, and finally about Eneas’ orders from the gods to leave Troy and go to Italy, the native land of Dardanus, the founder of Troy. These are all important facts that the reader will have in mind as the story unfolds. At the very end of his story, Veldeke also outlines the ultimate result of his tale: Eneas as king in Italy, his son Silvius, his grandson Silvius Eneas, and his great-grandsons Remus and Romulus, the founders of Rome (13321–80). He then goes on to recapitulate the history of the Roman Empire through Augustus and the beginning of the Christian Era (13381–428). This should be part of the initial memory of the audience, who surely know about the glory of the Roman Empire, to which they are heirs, although now in the translatio to the Holy Roman Empire in the age of Grace, as envisioned in salvation history. The problem for the narrator is how to get from beginning to end, taking into account what the audience can, or should remember. There are essentially two contradictory views of Eneas that overlap in that memory: Eneas as the cowardly refugee from Troy, leaving the fight in order to save his life, deceiving and abandoning Dido to go to Italy and wrest a kingdom and a wife from Turnus, and the view of Eneas as the obedient follower of the orders of the gods to claim his right to rule in Italy, to take a loving wife, and to become the patriarch of the Roman Empire, read also: the contemporary

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Holy Roman version thereof. The first view seems to predominate in the first part through the Dido-episode, and the second view in the latter part thereafter, but at all times the alternate view is present in the memory of the audience. Vögel sees Eneas’ trip to the underworld and his conversation with the shade of his father as the turning point. During that frightening and dangerous trip, Eneas is confronted with the figures from his past, who died as a result of his actions, including Dido, emphasizing his shame and feelings of guilt. His father, however, then rolls out a picture of Eneas’ future destiny, which eventually is fulfilled. In the underworld with Eneas, the audience develops an interior memory that also encompasses the future. At all times throughout the narrative Veldeke’s audience can recollect events of the past as well as those to come, and Eneas himself is also aware of them in his own memory. To illustrate how this works, let us look at just one instance among the several that Vögel discusses. In the second part, once Eneas has arrived in Italy, he makes almost no reference to his Trojan background himself. Latinus knows that the gods have decreed that Eneas shall rule in Italy, and most of the action is devoted to that end. But there is one exception: the enmity of Lavinia’s mother, the queen. She is the one to keep the memory of the first view of Eneas in the forefront, as she denounces Eneas to her husband and her daughter and champions Turnus. The remembrance of Eneas’ former life is encoded in the speech of the queen, who is portrayed so negatively, while weak King Latinus is the one to memorialize the oracle of the gods. With the queen’s death the remembrance of Eneas as a refugee is extinguished. Thus, the memoria of past events and also those of the future are incorporated skillfully into Veldeke’s narrative. From the pre-courtly Eneide to the classical courtly Arthurian romances it is just a short step, both chronologically and narratologically.

Selected Bibliography

Introduction and König Rother Editions and Translations Einhard. Vita Karoli Magni. Das Leben Karls des Großen. Ed. and Trans. Evelyn Scherabon Firchow, Stuttgart: Reclam, 1997. König Rother. Ed. Theodor Frings and Joachim Kuhnt, besorgt von I. Köppe-Benath. Halle (Saale): Niemeyer, 3rd edition 1968.

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König Rother. Geschichte einer Brautwerbung aus alter Zeit. Trans. Günter Kramer. Berlin: Verlag der Nation, 1961. King Rother. Trans. Robert Lichtenstein. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1966. (Repr. New York: AMS Press, 1969.) Secondary Works Bahr, Joachim, and Michael Curschmann. 1958–88. Spielmannsdichtung. In Reallexikon der deutschen Literaturgeschichte. 2nd ed. 5 vols. 4: 105–22. Berlin: de Gruyter. Bäuml, Franz. 1980. Varieties and Consequences of Medieval Literacy and Illiteracy. In Speculum 55: 237–65. Carruthers, Mary. 1990. The Book of Memory. A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Curschmann, Michael. 1968. Spielmannsepik. Wege und Ergebnisse der Forschung von 1907–1965. Mit Ergänzungen und Nachträgen bis 1967. Stuttgart: Metzler. Green, Dennis H. 1994. Medieval Listening and Reading. The Primary Reception of German Literature 800–1300. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Lord, Albert, and Milman Parry. 1965. The Singer of Tales. New York: Athaneum. Schröder, Walter Johannes. 1962. Spielsmannsepik. Stuttgart: Metzler. (2nd ed. 1967). Szklenar, Hans. 1985. König Rother. In Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, ed. K Ruh et al. 2nd edition. Vol. 5: 82–94. Berlin: de Gruyter. Lamprecht’s Alexander Editions and Translations Das Alexanderlied des Pfaffen Lamprecht (Straßburger Alexander). Text, Nacherzählung, Worterklärungen. Ed. and Trans. Irene Ruttmann Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1974. Lamprechts Alexander, nach den drei Texten mit dem Fragment des Alberic von Besançon und den lateinischen Quellen. Ed. Karl Kinzel. Halle (Saale): Waisenhaus, 1884. The “Strassburg Alexander” and the Munich “Oswald.” Trans, J. Wesley Thomas. Columbia, SC: Camden House, 1994. Das Annolied. Mittelhochdeutsch und Neuhochdeutsch. Ed. and Trans. Eberhard Nellmann. Stuttgart: Reclam, 4th edition 1996. Die Kaiserchronik eines Regensburger Geistlichen. Ed. Edward Schröder. Dublin: Weidmann, 1885, 3rd edition 1969. Maurer, Friedrich. Die religiösen Dichtungen des 11. und 12. Jahrhunderts. Vol. II. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1965, 536–566. Secondary Works Buntz, Herwig. 1973. Die deutsche Alexanderdichtung des Mittelalters. Stuttgart: Metzler. Ehlert, Trude. 1989. Deutschsprachige Alexanderdichtungen des Mittelalters. Frankfurt amMain: Peter Lang. Schröder, Werner. 1985. Der Pfaffe Lambrecht. In Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, ed. K Ruh et al. 2nd edition. Vol. 5: 494–510. Berlin: de Gruyter. Konrad’s Rolandslied Editions and Translations Das Rolandslied des Pfaffen Konrad. Mittelhochdeutscher Text und Übertragung. Ed. and Trans. Dieter Kartschoke. Frankfurt a. M.: Fischer, 1970. Das Rolandslied des Pfaffen Konrad. Mittelhochdeutsch/Neuhochdeutsch. Ed. and Trans. Dieter Kartschoke. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1993. Das Rolandslied des Pfaffen Konrad. Ed. Karl Wesle. 3rd edition by Peter Wapnewski. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1985.

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Priest Konrad’s Song of Roland. Trans. J. Wesley Thomas. Columbia SC: Camden House, 1994. The Song of Roland. Trans. Frederick Golden. New York: Norton, 1971. Karl der Große von dem Stricker. Ed. Karl Bartsch. Quedlinburg 1857. (Repr. With an afterword by Dieter Kartschoke. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1965.) Secondary Works Geary, Patrick. 1976. Songs of Roland in Twelfth Century Germany. In Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum 105: 112–115. Kartschoke, Dieter. 1989. In die latîne bedwungen, Kommunikationsprobleme im Mittelalter und die Übersetzung der ‘Chanson de Roland’ durch den Pfaffen Konrad. In Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur 111: 196–209. ——. 1965. Die Datierung des deutschen Rolandslieds. Stuttgart: Metzler. Nellmann, Eberhard. 1985. Pfaffe Konrad. In Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, ed. K Ruh et al. 2nd edition. Vol. 5: 115–31. Berlin: de Gruyter. Ohly, Friedrich. 1974. Die Legende von Karl und Roland. In Studien zur frühmittelhochdeutschen Literatur. Cambridger Colloquium 1971, ed. L. P. Johnson, H.-H. Steinhoff, and R. A. Wisbey: 292–343. Berlin: Erich Schmidt. Wesle, Carl. 1924. Kaiserchronik und Rolandslied. In Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur 48: 223–58. Heinrich von Veldeke’s Eneide Editions and Translations Die ‘Eneide’ Heinrich’s von Veldeke. I. Teil. Quellenkritischer Vergleich mit dem Roman d’Eneas und Vergils Aeneis. Ed. Marie-Luise Dittrich. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1966. Fisher, Rodney W. Heinrich von Veldeke: ‘Eneas.’ A comparison with the ‘Roman d’Eneas,’ and a Translation into English. Bern: Peter Lang, 1992. Die epischen Werke des Henric van Veldeken, I: Sente Servas—Sanctus Servatius. Ed. Theodor Frings and Gabriele Schieb. Halle (Saale): Niemeyer, 1955. Heinrich von Veldeke. Eneasroman. Mittelhochdeutsch-Neuhochdeutsch. Ed. and Trans. Dieter Kartschoke. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1986. Henric van Veldeken. Eneide. Ed. Gabriele Schieb and Theodor Frings. 3 Vols. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1964–70. Le Roman d’Eneas. Trans. Monica Schöler-Beinhauer. Munich: Fink, 1972. Aeneas: A Twelfth Century French Romance. Trans. John A. Yunk. New York: Columbia, 1974. Secondary Works Bastert, Bernd. 1994. Dô si der lantgrâve nam. Zur ‘Klever Hochzeit’ und der Genese des Eneas-Romans. In Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum 123: 253–73. Fisher, Rodney W. 1991. Didos êre unde gemach. Zu Veldekes Eneas 66,4ff. In Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen 228: 11–25. Kartschoke, Dieter. 1983. Didos Minne—Didos Schuld. In Liebe als Literatur, ed. Rüdiger Krohn: 99–116. Munich: Beck. Kasten, Ingrid. 1988. Herrschaft und Liebe. Zur Rolle und Darstellung des ‘Helden’ im Roman d’Eneas und in Veldekes Eneasroman. In Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 62: 227–45. Kistler, Renate. 1993. Heinrich von Veldeke und Ovid. Tübingen. Miklautsch, Lydia. 1991. Studien zur Mutterrolle in den Großepen des 12. und 13. Jahrhunderts. Erlangen: Palm & Enke. Sacker, Hugh. 1956/57. Heinrich von Veldeke’s Conception of the Aeneid. In German Life and Letters 10: 210–218.

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Schnell, Rüdiger. 1985. Causa amoris. Liebeskonzeption und Liebesdarstellung in der ma. Literatur: 187–212. Bern. Schröder Werner. 1969. Veldeke–Studien. Berlin: Erich Schmidt. Wolff, Ludwig and Werner Schröder. 1981. Heinrich von Veldeke. In Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, ed. K