The Song of Nibelungen
the Song of the Nibelungen ( German Nibelungenlied in ) is a medieval epopee German. She was born at the 13th century, written in the vulgar language of the time: the Average high-German. The title under which it is known since its redécouverte in the middle of the 18th century derives from the last lines of the one of the two principal versions of the text: “ tamper hât daz mære ein ende: daz STI der Nibelunge liet ” (“the history is now finished: it is the liet of Nibelungen”). It should be noted that liet in means high German is not synonymous with current the Lied (“song”), but rather means “stanzas” or “epopee”.
The Chanson of Nibelungen tells the exploits of Siegfried, Master of the treasure of the Nibelungen, to help Gunther to conquer the hand of Brünhild, its marriage with Kriemhild, sister of Gunther, her assassination by the traitor Hagen and the bloody revenge on Kriemhild.
The historical core
The Nibelungenlied is the German formulation with the Early middle ages of the Légende of Nibelungen, of which the roots go back to heroic times of the migrations of the Germanic people.
One of the historical cores of the Légende is the collapse of the kingdom of the Burgondes, in the area of Worms, during the late Antiquité (towards 436) under the blows of the Roman Magister militum Aetius with the assistance of hunnic troops . Other historical events, which probably play a part here, are the conflict mérovingien between Brunehilde and Frédégonde as well as the marriage between Attila and the princess burgonde Ildikó in 453.
Writer and creation
In accordance with the rules of the account epic, which proposes the historical core of the account rather than the author, the author of Nibelungenlied is not quoted in the text. It is still not known if there exists an “original” text, and beyond an author, or if the text consists of several fragments coming from several récitateurs. Meanwhile, it is obviously that the song of Nibelungen was written by only one author referring to contemporary works.
The creation date of this text coincides with the full rise of the literature of means-high-German (1180-1210). The historians of the literature suppose that the place of origin of this work is in the area between Passau and Vienna. The reasons of this localization are multiple. The song testifies not only to one precise knowledge of the places by the author but also of a good knowledge of the life of Wolfger von Erla, pontiff of Passau whose person is highlighted open of way. Moreover, the former traditions concentrated on the Austrian south-eastern German area. Nowadays one leaves owing to the fact that the poet had received a literary formation like clerical and that it found his public among the circles of the episcopal court. The appendix of the song of Nibelungen, named the Felt sorry for of Nibelungen, milked inter alia the question of the genesis of this poetry. In accordance with the character of the account epic, these contextual indications want to give the impression that the action actually occurred. For this reason, the first notes are transposed at the time of the protagonist. The Complaint highlights at it Maître Konrad which was charged by the bishop Pilgrim de Passau, eyewitness of the scene, to lay down the written events.
It is admitted that this reference corresponds to a homage towards the bishop Pilgrim de Passau, predecessor and supposed guard of Wolfger. As the song reflects the political situation of Xe century in particular the Guerres of Hungary and it role-key of Passau with regard to the Christianisation of this country under Pilgrim, the author probably made use of the literary sources of this time.
Form and language
- Mario Bauch: Wer waren die Nibelungen wirklich? Die historischen Hintergründe DER germanischen Heldensagen. Berlin 2006. ISBN 3-938807-09-1 -
Knowledge of Nibelungen in medieval Germany
History of Nibelungen to the late Middle Ages
Reception of work
Adaptations to the cinema
the Song of Nibelungen was adapted in 1924 and 1967 for the cinema, and in 2004 for television. The version which knew the most success and more marked the history of the cinema is the silent film in two parts realized in 1924 by Fritz Lang.
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