A Modern Review of Thidrekssaga
Merovingians by the Svava
by Rolf Badenhausen

Date: 2023-03-18

| Update History |


  1. The original narrative geography: The Old Norse & Swedish texts
  2. King Theuderic I = King Thidrek of Bern
  3. Some literary and historical environments
     3.1 'Gransport'
     3.2 Some historical and literary analogues
     3.3 Theuderic's provenance and disappearance after 507
     3.4 'Fluchtsage'
     3.5 Some interliterary receptions
  4. Low Saxon Historiography and the 'Annals'
     4.1 The Quedlinburg Annals' (QA) 'Second Source'
     4.2 Historiographical validations: Frankish and Saxon history
     4.3 Guðrún's sons vs Ermanric by the 'Second Source'
     4.4 Second 'Attila' and Second 'Odoacer' by the 'Second Source'
  5. How reliable is Gregory of Tours east of the Rhine ?
  6. Interliterary recognitions: Chlodio and Hloðr in northern Húnaland
  7. Theuderic I or Thidrek of Bern: «King of Bonn»
  8. Which are the dynasties of the eastern Franks of 5th century ?
  9. King Sigibert of Cologne = King Sigurð the Nibelung ?
     9.1 Sigibert & Sigurð: How far can we follow Gregory and the saga?
10. Preliminary Filiations
     10.1 Ermenrik and Samson
     10.2 Weland and Widga
     10.3 Atala of Susat and a perspective survey
     10.4 Some literary-historical perspectives
11. Early activities in Baltic lands and Western Russia
     11.1 Remarks on 'Historicity' of 'Vilkinaland' and other Baltic lands
     11.2 Ostancia, queen of 'Vilkinaland', Baltic Sea Region
12. Résumé
     12.1 General conformity of contemporary residential regions
     Trier = Roma II on the Moselle and Cologne–Bonn–Verona–Zülpich

     12.2 Common geostrategical ambitions
     12.3 Dénouements on literary milieu
    A1   Remarks on the evaluation of Thidrekssaga manuscripts
    A2   Edward R. Haymes on oral tradition and Thidrekssaga
    A3   Supplementary articles by the author
    A4   External publications

The reviewing literary research into Old Norse and Swedish traditions, as initiated by Heinz Ritter-Schaumburg, PhD († 1994), might motivate not only experts in Late Antiquity and prae-mediaeval times to take note of some new interesting context: The Old Norse Thidrekssaga and Old Swedish ‘Didriks chronicle’, both appearing closely related to the sagas or legends about an «Ostrogothic Dietrich von Bern», seem to throw back certain narrative light from Frankish history, whose Merovingian origin and its 5th–6th-century period have been retold by Gregory of Tours, Fredegar’s Chronicle and the Liber Historiae Francorum, a further important chronicle of Frankish history.

Cover: Heinz Ritter, ‘Svava’ translation
Contradicting scholastic conviction, Ritter has evaluated the mediaeval Old Swedish texts he shortly called Svava, catalogued as E 9013, of Skokloster-Codex, formerly No. I/115 & 116 quarto, at the ‘Riksarkivet’ Stockholm, as more objective copy from an early but unknown archaic manuscript being prior to the more longwinded narrating Thidrekssaga which, however, is of surviving elder version and sometimes rendering more topographical information.(1) As the late philologist was able to prove by means of his numerous German publications and lectures, these manuscripts cannot mean the ‘Ostrogothic Theoderic’ mainly for both topographical and biographical reasons, but rather provide narration related to an equally named Frankish king, the Old Swedish Didrik, who started his rise at ‘Bern(e)’ in the northern Rhine-Eifel outland.(2)
Cover: Ian Cumpstey, DIDRIK OF BERN
Heinz Ritter’s translation of the Didriks-Chronik or ‘Svava’ (Publisher: Otto Reichl, St. Goar 1989) is based on Sagan om Didrik af Bern efter svenska handskrifter by Gunnar Olof Hyltén-Cavallius, Stockholm 1850–1854.

Regarding the literary style of the Old Swedish manuscripts, Hyltén-Cavallius classified at first the Old Swedish manuscripts as prosaic ‘krönikan’. Henrik Bertelsen and Bengt Henning also shared this evaluation (Bertelsen, ‘Didrikskroniken’ 1905–1911; Henning, ‘Didrikskrönikan’ 1970). Edward R. Haymes translated the supplemental chapters of the Old Swedish scribes under the headline
The End of Vidga and King Thidrek according to the Swedish Chronicle of Thidrek. The first complete translation of Hyltén-Cavallius' svenska handskrifter into English language has been provided by Ian Cumpstey: The Saga of Didrik of Bern. Although he follows a few questionable and inappropriate geonymic equations by elder scholarship (cf. for instance ‘Spain’ with Ispania/Yspania, ‘Greece’ with Greken in his Index of Place Names, he neither situates Didrik’s seat in an Ostrogothic milieu nor connects the leaders of Nyfflingaland with a Burgundian environment in his appended indexes. He briefly constates, p. vi, that it seems that the Swedish writers based their version of the saga on a translation from the Norwegian (Old Norse). But rather than merely translating, they produced an edition that was somewhat shorter, with some repeated passages omitted, and with some parts of the text reordered to give a more coherent reading order. It also seems that they may have added from other unknown sources.

Regarding a circumspect re-evaluation of the aforementioned manuscripts and other records of occidental antiquity, we obviously have to contemplate a sharp natural limit that was previously forming the big border between the Roman Empire and Germanic tribes, and, later again, the Franks and more eastern folks: The Rhine. Apparently, our first Frankish historiographers or ‘chroniclers’ would hardly cross that river to have a look at the outlandish tribes beyond; and almost all their foreign colleagues seem to have left an almost blank sheet about their history, particularly from the times after the downfall of the Roman Empire to Charlemagne.

1.  The original narrative geography: The Old Norse and Swedish texts
Heinz Ritter’s primal geographical terminology of Thidrekssaga and Old Swedish ‘Didriks chronicle’ represents an interesting result of his diligent verification of intertextual location and hydronymic names. With respect to the environment and localization of Bern, the 1st-century Roman Eifel Map, issued by Kurt Stade, provides a Roman based mining location nowadays called Breinig (‘Breinigerbg.’) at the exceptional Gallic-Roman temple site VARNE  (VARNVERNBERN).(3) Although the contemporary name of Breinig was not handed down, the name of this place has been suggested as a derivation based on Varneniacum → Bereniacum → Breniacum (Otto Klaus Schmich, Hünen, Viöl 1999, p. 306), as we have to come back later to the region of these and other related places on account of both geohistorical and the narrative geostrategical contexts.
Some important locations of ‘Didriks chronicle’ and Thidrekssaga
Some important locations of ‘Didriks chronicle’ and Thidrekssaga. The place being named VARNENUM has been excavated at Kornelimünster, suburban location of Aachen (the Roman AQUAE GRANNI ), a place of residence of Charlemagne.
With respect to
Vereinnahmungsstrategien für die Gestalt des Thidrek aus dem Milieu des ostgotischen Theoderich – strategical claims for setting up a non-negligible ‘Ostrogothic Theoderic milieu’ for Thidrek –, in particular created by elder German scholarship of 20th century and vastly colported by not a few philologists writing for the RGA and Wikipedia, there is, for example, no passage in the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts which connects their protagonists ‘Thidrek’ and ‘Ermenrik’ with the ‘gens Amalorum’, as these texts do refer to this German Eifel folk ‘Amlunga’ in nothing more than geographical context. As regards Dietrich’s follower ‘Amlung’, son of ‘Hornboge’, Ritter introduces the former clarifyingly in Dietrich von Bern, Munich 1982, p. 296, en. 77. Since the earlier and/or in Migration Period insufficiently recorded ancestors of Sayn-Wittgenstein dynasty have been estimated between Westfalia and the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers, Dietrich’s contemporary ‘Widga’ (this spelling form by the translators August Raszmann and Fine Erichsen) must not necessarily come from the other side of the Alps; see Mb 79 & 283.(4) Generally, the Old Swedish forms ‘Wideke’, ‘Wideki’ might potentially reflect the result of shortening derivation from Old German ‘Widechinstein’.
Ritter underlines well that the mediaeval scribes of the ‘Didriks chronicle’ and Thidrekssaga may refer to geographical names ‘formerly known as’ or, instead, ‘recently known as’. As concerns historical records with limitations to less comprehensive context, Ritter also subsumed that name giving to locations, their etymological history and early historical events could have taken place even before ‘first certified documentary mention’.
Central European Map of Thidreks saga
Some geonyms of the Old Norse + Swedish texts are not provided by other records of Migration Period and Middle Ages, whereas many other geographical expressions can be recognized in several sources. For example Bardengau (→ Berdengau) (‘understood as’) Bertanga, the former localized on the Lower Elbe in connection with Charlemagne’s Saxon War campaigns, the latter being used by the scribes of the Old Norse and, with some spelling derivation, Old Swedish texts. (The paco Badinc provided by the Annales Petaviani has been annotated as «pagi Bardengan caput Bardowik erat» by the MGH editor G. H. Pertz, see William J. Pfaff 1959.(5) The ‘Örlunga’ or ‘Harlungen’ region includes the former Roman BRISIACUM which is in current German spelling (Bad) Breisig.
European Map of Thidrekssaga.
(3840 x 2880 pix.)


Since Heinz Ritter has thoroughly translated the Old Swedish ‘Didriks chronicle’ into German language and reviewed the Thidrekssaga manuscripts, the regions of today’s North Rhine-Westphalia, the Rhineland and its Palatinate, Low Saxony, Jutland and western Baltic territories appear as authentic locations focused by ancient and mediaeval historiographers who enticingly forwarded lifetime events related to a king of an obvious Franco-Rhenish descent.
Ancient Seal of Trier - 'Roma secunda'
An ancient seal of Trier on the Moselle, 11th century.
Source: Ernst F. Jung,
Der Nibelungenzug
durchs Bergische Land
(1987), p. 97.

Nonetheless, we must carefully study their records to find some synchronous or completing passages about Franco-Rhenish politics of 5th and the first third of 6th century. Regarding the Rhine again as dominant natural and cultural border, they seem to have had nearly the same limited geographical horizon of recitation as their Frankish colleagues vice versa. Thus, besides primal geographical terminology, we have to interpret the Old Norse + Swedish writers' farthest known southern centre ROME as ‘Roma secunda’, whose spelling, localization and significance is unmistakably provable as the Roman Augusta Treverorum (today: Trier on the Moselle) through both historical and geostrategical contexts. However, we should not expect a detailed recitation of the Merovingian bloodline from Thidrek’s ‘biographers’ who certainly were not crossing the Meuse westward, therefore providing fragmentary views, and we also should keep an eye on the right sequence of more than 300 chapters written by the scribes of the ‘Didriks chronicle’ and Thidrekssaga.
Porta Nigra, Trier on the Moselle - 'Roma secunda'
Porta Nigra, Trier on the Moselle - 'Roma secunda'
Imperial Bath of Roman Empire and Frankish Kingdom, Trier on the Moselle - 'Roma secunda'
Imperial Bath of Roman Empire and Frankish Kingdom, Trier on the Moselle - 'Roma secunda'
The Emperor Hall ‘Basilika’, Trier on the Moselle - 'Roma secunda'
Trier on the Moselle with the Porta Nigra and the ruins of the Imperial Bath which the succeeding Franks had taken and extended for their ‘Kings Palace’. The Emperor Hall or ‘Basilica’, Throne Hall of Constantine I, is largest surviving single-room structure from Roman era. (All these buildings are declared World Heritage of the UNESCO.)

2.  King Theuderic I = King Thidrek of Bern
MS page of Old Swedish transmission
A colourized page of Thidrekssaga. (Perg. fol. nr. 4), cf. H. Bertelsen, ÞIÐRIKS SAGA, 1905-11, I, pgs 279–282.
A photocopy from Old Swedish manuscript, ch. 365 of the mediaeval Skokloster folio.

Since the ‘Didriks chronicle’ and its derived epic novel Thidreks saga, as Ritter prefers this literary classification (see Der Schmied Weland; posthumously published by Olms, Hildesheim 1999), like to put forward some coherent historical information and relations upon large territories of today’s Central and North Europe, we should estimate with him that these texts would basically not prefer depiction of any less important provincial antics against more reasonable reports on superior events. Evaluating Ritter’s conclusions by means of the momentous context of the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts on such level, we finally will be confronted with the impasse of not enough geographical, temporal and personal space for Theuderic ‘&’ Thidrek.

It has been considered that

 –  Thidrek, Franco-Rhenish king, died  c. 534–36  according to Ritter’s estimation;
 –  Theuderic, not only Franco-Rhenish king, died at the end of 533.

Kemp Malone (1959) and Karl Simrock, German translator of the Nibelungenlied, Old Norse Epics and the Old English Beowulf, identify Dietrich von Bern with Frankish king Theuderic I. Simrock, reviewing and basically following his colleague Prof. Laurenz Lersch, pleads for a primordial (Franco-)Rhenish tradition that centers on Bonn = Verona (notably already Franz Joseph Mone) which, as these scholars do generally combine, thereafter was assimilated and enriched by receiving authors of southern Dietrich von Bern epics. (F. J. Mone, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der teutschen Heldensage, 1836, p. 67; id. Anzeiger für Kunde der teutschen Vorzeit, 1836, p. 418. Laurenz Lersch, Verona., in: Jahrbücher des Vereins von Alterthumsfreunden im Rheinlande. Bonn 1842, I, pgs 1–34. Karl Simrock, Bonna Verona. In: Bonn. Beiträge zu seiner Geschichte und seinen Denkmälern. Festschrift Bonn 1868, III, pgs 1–20.)

Karl Müllenhoff, another 19th-century scholar, tried to discern Dietrich von Bern as an amalgamation of Frankish kings Theuderic and his son Theudebert with a poetical ‘Ostrogothic Theoderic’ (Die austrasische Dietrichsage, in: ZfdA 6 (1848), pgs 435–459). Thereafter Hermann Lorenz declared Frankish king Theuderic I as the prototype serving for the Dietrich epics, estimating [transl.] «Theuderic utterly drawn into the circle of the Gothic Dietrich saga, in it only faint echoes that denote him here as the historical Frankish king.» (Das Zeugniss für die deutsche Heldensage in den Annalen von Quedlinburg, in: GERMANIA 31 [19, 1886], pgs 137–150, p. 139.) Regarding newer publications, Helmut G. Vitt renders short but astute initial intercessions resulting in Thidrek = Theuderic I and Samson = Childeric I: Wieland der Schmied (ISBN 3 925498 00 1), pgs 127–138.

However, all these authors do not provide detailed studies which ought to substantiate more firmly their opinion.(6)

We must state deficient biographical information about that young Theuderic before 507 and, again, before c. 525. He is mentioned as most talented son of C(h)lodovocar I or ‘Clovis’ in the texts written by Bishop Gregory of Tours, principal Frankish ‘chronicler’ whom we obviously have to credit with truth telling and who might appear to some item more informative than the pseudonymous Fredegar.

Unfortunately, Gregory has not left a line to find the answers to these urgent questions about this Franco-Rhenish king:

May a clerical raconteur punish Theuderic with a certain portion of ignorance, since he has taken him for a son of any heathen concubine?
Has that skilled young man kept a respectable distance to his rude and bloodthirsty father?

Fact is that King Clovis could rely on Theuderic for daring missions, e.g. against the Visigoths. On the subject of this operation, the history reveals that only the powerful appearance of Theoderic the Great could stop the conquests made by Theuderic in 507/508. Nonetheless, we may wonder whether or how much Gregory did discriminate him against Clovis' sons Chlothar, Chlodomer and Childebert, whose mother was the honourable Saint Clotilde (Chrodechildis, Chrodigildis) of Burgundian dynasty; and we may also wonder whether Theuderic trained his skilfulness and sophistication by keeping out of Clovis' gory ways. Thus, we may consequently ask: Did that young-aged man rather turn to an adventurous eastern border area of the Franks? We may assume that he could have received a certain part of Rhenish territory as operation base and place of residence from his father and/or the local leader of this area – that large region which Theuderic actually inherited later as an important part of eastern Frankish kingdom. The territory between the German towns Aachen – Cologne – Bonn – Zülpich was an excellent geographical centre of an area that was called later Ripuaria, and a good place for Theuderic ‘and’ Thidrek to start an exiting exploration into the dangerous depth of miraculous woodlands beyond the Rhine, where all those Roman Eagles were driven back or torn into bits and pieces just a few centuries ago. A regnal seat in this Berner Reich was not too far from important economic locations on the Rhine, e.g. such as the Confluentes (Koblenz), and it was also a good place for King Thidrek to ride out to his good friend King Atala who was residing some dozen miles away at one of the most important settlements on a territory of today’s Westphalia: SusaSusat–Soest. The form ‘Attila’ appears as a popular derivation of a genuine Atala bearing the diminutive form of the (Proto-)Indo-European ā̆tos, atta = father. He is spelled ‘Aktilius’ or ‘Atilius’ in the Old Swedish manuscripts, and also ‘Attala’ in Icelandic MS B.
However, turning again to both questions above, we are leaving at this point Gregory’s Frankish horizon of recitation for real barbaric outland.

3.  Some literary and historical environments

3.1  Gransport

The manuscripts report that one day King Ermenrik expelled Thidrek from his Bern residence. He immediately fled to King Atala’s for that reason. After ‘20 years’ (cf. Ritter by counting up these ‘20 years’ to c. 515) Thidrek goes out to meet martially his kinsman Ermenrik. Thidrek’s messengers finally find him at Roma II (Trier on the Moselle) where Ermenrik, being informed likely earlier than expected, prepares the counter-attack (Sv 272–273, Mb 322–323). As all manuscripts unmistakably provide, Thidrek has to take big losses in the battle on that location on the Moselle location which the literati call ‘Gransport’, ‘Gränsport’ or ‘Gronsport’.

The location of this battle appears on the Moselle farther downstream from Trier, where the ancient TRAVENNE was understood as the Italian Ravenna by the southern Dietrich Epics poets, see August Wilhelm Krahmer, Die Urheimat der Russen in Europa und die wirkliche Localität und Bedeutung der Vorfällen in der Thidrekssaga. Eine frühe Auseinandersetzung über die realen Hintergründe der Thidrekssaga (Moscow 1862).

Traben (Traben-Trarbach) is certified in 11th and 12th century as Travena, Travana, Travina, Travene, Traven and Travenne, just in an area where the Moselle could swell into a huge lake (cf. Krahmer), where remains of Roman buildings and a Frankish burial ground were found, where the castle called Grevenburg is 5 km far from Bernkastel; cf. Wolfgang Jungandreas, Historisches Lexikon der Siedlungs- und Flurnamen des Mosellandes (Trier 1962–1963) pgs 1040–1043. Ritter, however, decided on Rauenthal at the mouth of the Moselle.

It seems not unproblematic to chronologize Thidrek’s campaign against Ermenrik without further contextual explorations (see farther below). The writers of the Old Norse + Swedish texts connect the age of Thidrek’s brother Þetmar/Detmar, aged ‘20 years’ at that time, with the interim period of exile. However, it appears less believable that Thidrek would have waited two decades for the first real opportunity to regain his kingdom. Since Sv 355 and Mb 413, both the last chapters numerically taking up Thidrek’s expulsion, allow to check again this span for a redating (see farther below), the more or less questionable age of his alleged brother might have inspired the primordial narrator to enlarge Thidrek’s interim period of exile.

Map of Koblenz, 1806
Although Ferdinand Holthausen (Studien zur Thidrekssaga, in: Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur, PBB, Band 9, Heft 3; pgs 451–503) quotes those Italian localizations which are out of both historical and historiographical probability, he proposes Gransdorf (see p. 482) on the Moselle. However, the ‘Gänsefü(h)rtchen’, diminutive form of ‘Gänse-furt’, is an evident historical nickname of a notable historical rapid localized nearly one mile before the Moselle’s mouth. Ritter underlines that this name cannot originally derive from ‘a ford that geese (Germ. ‘Gänse’) formerly used to cross the river at that very place’. He rather estimates the concave rock of the rapid filled or covered with stony ‘grant’ (cf. En. ‘gravel’, ‘granule’) for the original name based upon spelling like ‘Grantfurt’. Ritter also notes well that ‘Rauenthal’ (Raven → Raben -tal) may indicate rather the more believable historical location for detracting epics dealing with the battle known as the Rabenschlacht.
This cartographic detail is provided by the map of Tranchot & von Müffling, 1806. The rapid’s name and position was added by Ritter who refers to the research of Fritz Michel, eminent local historian of Koblenz.

CONFLUENTES: The panoramic copperplate engraving by Möbius (1820) provides a view from the east bank of the Rhine to the hills of traditional ‘Hunnenkopf’ (‘Huns Head’ field) on the left. The Moselle’s mouth on the right appears as a lake (Germ. ‘See’) in high-water times. See also the author’s comprehensive article catalogued at the National German Library DNB: Die Mosel im Licht von Thidrekssaga und Dietrich-Chronik.
Koblenz 1820

3.2  Some historical and literary analogues
Thidrek’s ancestor Samson started his expansive politics from the same area as Childeric I: northeastern Gaul. Samson’s region included ‘Appolij’ (not Apulia!), nowadays rather the Dutch Peel north of the Hesbaye which is neither southern ‘Hispania’ nor Spain (!), as the authors of the Old Norse + Swedish texts certainly provide Hispania between the western foreland of the Eifel and the northern fringe of the silva carbonaria, a woodland frequently mentioned in Roman and Frankish historiography. Furthermore, the scribes of these manuscripts have connected Samson with an obvious geonymic ‘Salerni’, which seems to express a corresponding relation to the region of the Salian Franks. According to Ritter’s timeline of events provided by these transmissions, this Samson appears as a contemporary of this Childeric whose grave was found east of the ‘charcoal wildwood’.
The writers of the Old Norse + Swedish texts relate in their early chapters that Samson seduced the daughter of an influential ruler and went with her into an interim refuge for that reason. We also remember well that Gregory of Tours has ascribed a quite similar delicate affair to Childeric in a northeastern 5th-century Gaulish region. The Old Norse and Swedish scribes also note well that Samson had remarkable black hair and an impressing beard.(7) He slew two noble brothers of ‘Salerni’, the literary Salvenerias by Ritter’s suggestion which, however, may represent nothing more than generally the Salian region. Mentioned as dux and king of ‘Salerni’, at that time already grey-bearded, he decided to move martially to the Rhine-Eifel lands, as this region appears contextually more plausible than any venue on an Italian territory. From there, as the texts further relate, he impudently demanded 12 free-born virgins, the daughter called ‘Odilia’ of the Bern ruler, and some other tributes from him.
Childeric’s place of burial has been assigned to his seat in that region of his likely early activities which extends from Tournai to Lys river. Thus, the distance between this region and the venues of Samson seems less significant with regard to the spatiotemporal movements in Gaulish Migration Period and the geographical understanding or knowledge of the Old Norse and Old Swedish writers.

Samson, accompanied by his son and successor Ermenrik, died on his martial way to Roma II, as this concourse of circumstances was expressively remarked by Ritter. Rather accordingly, Childeric died at that time when the Franks were capturing Trier on the Moselle.

In 486/487, for the first time, Clovis had good reason to call out ‘Great Kingdom of the Franks’ after the martial removal of Syagrius, last ‘post Roman governor’ of Gaul. Shortly before and after this event, as contextually deduced by Ritter, Ermenrik called in his kinsmen, tribal leaders and some mighty followers to his first and second ‘Imperial Diet’, a colloquium of obvious Frankish leaders and some jovial guests at the Roma ‘cisalpina’.
‘Imperial Diet’:
 I: Sv 124, more in detail: Mb 123–124.
II: Sv 227, Mb 269.
See HISTORIA WILKINENSIUM, THEODERICI VERONENSIS… provided by J. Peringskiöld, ch. 100 (Mb 123):
Convivii magnum apparatum, regia pompa celebrandum, instituerat Ermenricus, convocatis ad eam solennitatem primariæ dignationis viris ex principum, Jarlorum, comitumque…

The third redactor of the Membrane makes use of an individual spelled Salomon in order to show that the Frankish realm had already extended to the Rhineland.(8)

As Gregory of Tours narrates events between c. 488 and c. 492, King Clovis slew his cousin Ragnachar, king of Cambrai on the Schelde (‘Scheldt’). Apparently anticipating this action of eliminating awkward Frankish chiefs and their potential successors, Sv 231–233 and Mb 278–280 remark the insidious removals of Ermenrik’s sons Frederik, Regbald and Samson. As the texts provide, Ermenrik was induced to tolerate them no longer by counsel of his advisor ‘Sifka’. Regbald, ordered to a mission apparently to the Anglo-Saxons and thus needing a watercraft, had to choose between three ships for that passage. He sank on most ramshackle ship deceitfully offered to him as best of all. Was it Frankish kingdom of already believable force to demand tribute from a ruler who was obviously dwelling in ‘Ængland’ as an Anglo-Saxon territory? For potential or rather likely interest of the Merovings in tribal regions between Jutlandic-Danish area and East Anglia see Ian N. Wood, The Merovingian North Sea (1983); id., The Channel from the 4th to the 7th Centuries AD, in: Maritime Celts, Frisians and Saxons, ed. by Seán McGrail (1990), pgs 93–97.

James Campbell, The Anglo-Saxon State, London 2000, p. 75, states on Wood’s notions that he
  brings out some of the connections between Merovingian Gaul and Britain, including the possibility of Merovingian overlordship over parts of England.84 He suggests that a factor in these may have been Merovingian control over the Frisian coastline for a substantial period. This could, of course, have had important significance in relation to East Anglia and raises important questions about Frankish sea power.
84  Ian N. Wood, The Merovingian North Sea (Alingsås, 1983).

Wood’s arguments have been also reviewed by Irene Bavuso, Balance of power across the Channel: reassessing Frankish hegemony in southern England (sixth–early seventh century), in: Early Medieval Europe (2021) 29 (3) pgs 283–304.
It should be noted for further estimations also Wood’s article Frankish Hegemony in England, in: M.O.H. Carver (Ed.), The Age of Sutton Hoo: The Seventh Century in North-Western Europe (1992) pgs 235–242.

While Gregory mentions Theuderic’s service for King Clovis in 507, Thidrek supported King Ermenrik against an obvious southeastern leader called ‘Runsteinn’ or (Lat.) Rimsteinius, whom Ermenrik wanted to punish for outstanding tribute, see Sv 144 and Mb 147. Ritter chronologizes this border war between eastern Franks and Alemannians at the end of 5th century. At this point we may remember Gregory’s passages dealing with Alemannic-Frankish war, whose battles were apparently going on for several years on some more locations than the region of Zülpich, where King Sigibert of Cologne was wounded and became lame.
A leader called Alpkerus, ruler of a territory on the Danube in 6th century, is mentioned as filium Rŏsteini in the manuscript De Origine Gentis Swevorum, in: MGH SS rer. Germ. in us. schol. 60, p. 161.

While King Clovis passes away after possibly 511, as the chroniclers do not mention any attempt on his life, King Ermenrik dies of an abdominal disease apparently caused by obesity, cf. Sv 345 and Mb 401.
Ian N. Wood, an author of the RGA (Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde), does critically review scholarship’s estimation on Clovis' date of death in his paper Gregory of Tours and Clovis, in: Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire 63 (2) 1985, pgs 254–255:
  That Gregory himself was faced with an absence of trustworthy dates in his sources can be seen clearly in his attempts to compute the date of Clovis' death. Clovis, we are told, died five years after Vouillé, that is in 512; eleven years after Licinius became bishop of Tours, which apparently gives a date of 517 or later; and one hundred and twelve years after the death of Martin which comes to 509(35). Gregory’s later computations on the deaths of Theudebert and Chlothar(36), however, and the regnal dating for the fifth council of Orleans(37) seem to require an obit for Clovis of 511–2. Nevertheless before accepting this, it is worth recalling the fact that the king was clearly alive at the time of the first council of Orleans which consular and indictional dates place firmly in 511(38). Moreover the Liber Pontificalis records Clovis' gift of a votive crown to the shrine of St. Peter in the pontificate of Hormisdas, in other words between 514 and 523(39). Although the weight of the evidence does suggest that Clovis died in late 511 or 512 the chronological confusion in Gregory’s attempts to calculate this can only imply that the bishop did not have reliable evidence on which to base his computations. This coincides with the conclusions suggested above, that Gregory’s known sources would have provided him with no dates, and it means that even the most general chronological indications in the second half of Book Two of the Libri Historiarum, with the possible exceptions of the quinquennial dates for the defeat of Syagrius and the Thuringian war(40), are invalid as historical evidence.
(35) Gregory, Liber Historiarum, II, 43. Licinius' predecessor was still alive at the time of the council of Agde in 506, to which he sent a representative; see Concilia Galliae, A 314-A 506, ed. C. Munier, Corpus Chrislianorum Series Latinorum, 148 (Turnholt, 1963), pp. 214, 219. For further problems on Licinius's chronology see Weiss, Chlodwigs Taufe, p. 17.
(36) Gregory, Liber Historiarum, III, 37 ; IV, 21. W. Levison, Zur Geschichte des Frankenkönigs Chlodowech, in Aus rheinischer und fränkischer Frühzeit (Düsseldorf, 1948),  p. 208.
(37) Orleans, V (549), Concilia Galliae A 511-A 695, ed. C. de Clercq, Corpus Christianorum Series Latinorum, 148 A (Turnholt, 1963), p. 157. Levison, Zur Geschichte des Frankenkönigs Chlodowech, p. 208.
(38) Orleans, I, ed. de Clercq, pp. 13-5(?) ; Levison, Zur Geschichte des Frankenkönigs Chlodowech,  p. 208.
(39) Liber Pontificalis, ed. L. Duchesne (Paris, 1955), LIIII.
(40) Gregory, Liber Historiarum, II, 27. Two further quinquennial dates appear in some manuscripts only ; Liber Historiarum, II, 30, 37. The authenticity of these dates was defended by Levison, Zur Geschichte des Frankenkönigs Chlodowech, pp. 205-7 and denied by Weiss, Chlodwigs Taufe,  p. 16.

Thidrek goes martially out to take revenge for severe humiliation, his expulsion from Bern by his kinsman Ermenrik, just about that time when King Clovis seems no longer living or mighty.

Immediately after the Soest Battle, as the texts provide, Thidrek moved to Bern and recruited an army that won the decisive battle against ‘Sifka’, advisor of the apparent late Ermenrik, on location called Greken, Graach on the Moselle in the Palatinate of Rhineland.

After the conquest of Roma Thidrek certainly rose to a mighty leader of Frankish kingdom. This is the version from the Old Swedish manuscript, Sv 356:
  He rode into Roma, got off his horse, went to take the same seat on which kings are inured to sit and to be crowned … Hillebrand and Alebrand crowned him and appointed him King of the great realm that King Ermenrik had had before…

According to the Old Norse + Swedish texts (Mb 426–428, Sv 367–369), Thidrek took over a region which covers parts of the later North Rhine-Westphalia and Low Saxony after the death of Atala who had lost there many of his male subjects in the Soest Battle which Ritter has dated into 6th century.
This context does correspond with ethnographical and archaeological studies which provide the Merovingian Franks moving to the aforesaid regions and parts of the later Hesse, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt.

Clip CCCLXXX Latin script
Clip from Latin text provided by J. Peringskiöld: the beginning of ch. CCCLXXX, cf. 10th item above.

3.3  Theuderic’s provenance and disappearance after 507

It seems noteworthy that both Theuderic’s and Theoderic’s name is basically related to a composition of the Gothic þiuda (= grouping of peoples or tribes as a ‘nation’, cf.  Proto- Indo-European  teuta  plus  reiks [= ‘rich’ + ‘ruler’, cf. ‘reign’] ), while the form *þeudō, the generic root estimated for Ur-Germanic language, may encompass the prime form also for the etymology of the later term deutsch (cf. also the [Lat.] Teutones, a Germanic or Celtic? tribe presumably related with the Jutlandic Thy).

Ritter-Schaumburg estimated the birth of Thidrek about 470, whereas Frankish king Clovis is believed to be born a half decade before him. This constellation may appear as predominant item contradicting Thidrek’s literary reflection of Frankish king Theuderic I. Therefore, reviewing research regards both Ritter and the Frankish chroniclers' genealogy about the early Frankish kings Meroveus, Chlodio and Childeric as (at least) either less reliable or insufficient. As Gregory of Tours remarks in his Decem libri historiarum, he has no solid pedigree information especially about these Frankish-Merovingian kings, and so he had left a meagre ‘Some People say’-phrase in this records.

Widukind of Corvey calls in his Rerum gestarum Saxonicarum libri tres the Frankish Theodericus (= Theuderic I) a descendant of Huga, but neither ‘Clovis’ nor another ancestor or progenitor of the Franks. He thus follows an obviously different line of genealogical tradition than Gregory, who himself concedes to be referring to oral tradition for the early Merovingians. Although his genealogical suggestion of Theuderic’s father cannot be validated anywhere, a large part of the ‘communis opinio’ just converts unreliably Widukind’s genealogical statement to «Clovis' second name».

The chronicler of the Annals of Quedlinburg (see ch. 4 with source reference), less scolded than Widukind for ‘infidelity to history’, specifies Theuderic under a progenitor epilogue that appears based on Widukind’s transmission:
Hugo Theodericus iste dicitur, id est Francus, quia olim omnes Franci Hugones vocabuntur a suo quodam duce Hugone.
[Hugo Dietrich is called this one, who is a Frank, because once all Franks were called Hugones after their leader named Hugo(n).]

With Gregory’s Merovingian projection the Quedlinburg annalist, most likely female, intervenes in Widukind’s version of Theuderic’s ancestor by means of the Liber Historiae Francorum to which she obviously must have had an access, cf. Martina Giese who rejects the usage of the elder books of Gregory at Quedlinburg (Giese, op. cit. p. 140 note 366). Nevertheless, the annalist wanted to forward the quoted passage, (most) likely because she already knew that any Huga or Hugo(n) is neither convertible by means of Frankish chronicles nor at hand of Gallo-Roman sources about Theuderic’s ancestry.

Gregory remarks Theuderic’s son Theudebert being already sturdy at a time when Clovis died; see libri historiarum (hist) III,1. Regarding Thidrek’s as well as Theuderic’s bloodline over a band of three generations, all male names being recorded are strikingly beginning with ‘Th’ but not with any other letters. Theuderic’s line (Theuderic → Theudebert → Theudebald) is outstandingly unique with a view to all the other early Merovingian branches wherein we typically meet kingly names formed with capital ‘C’.

Regarding Gregory’s claim that a concubine of Clovis I should have been the mother of Theuderic, a significant parallel between the latter and his Ostrogothic namesake has long been pointed out. Matthias Becher reasonably constates:
Im Übrigen war auch Theoderich der Sohn einer concubina; seine Mutter Ereleuva war vermutlich eine katholische Römerin, weshalb eine Vollehe mit seinem Vater Thiudimir nicht möglich gewesen war. An diese Möglichkeit wäre also auch zu denken, wenn man über die Mutter Theuderichs nachdenkt.
(Matthias Becher, Chlodwig I. Der Aufstieg der Merowinger und das Ende der antiken Welt (2011) p. 169.)
[By the way, Theoderic was also the son of a concubina. His mother Ereleuva was presumably a Catholic Roman, and therefore a full marriage with his father Thiudimir had not been possible. So this possibility would also have to be considered when thinking about Theuderic’s mother.]

How credible sounds the coincidence that two contemporary kings with the same Latin name should come from both a ‘concubinate’? How convincing appears Gregory’s view on Theuderic’s origin, to which he does not even provide a resilient annotation to the age difference between him and Clovis? Why should Clovis, who obviously had no lack of legitimate sons, bequeath the largest part of his empire to a son of a concubinage that was apparently quite far back in time?

Regarding Gregory’s insufficient and questionable early Merovingian origin relations, apparently based on his conception of ‘work-fair’ genealogy of Clovis' line up at least to Childeric, it is by no means excluded that he borrowed from the Ostrogothic ancestry! Consequently, the Low German source provider and/or the Old West-Norse editors of the Thidrekssaga could have then concluded that Þetmar II was also Thidrek’s father.

However, it is not only the uncritical adoption of Gregory’s accounts by younger chroniclers that nourishes doubts about Theuderic’s true father. Matthias Becher raises this objection (op. cit. p. 273):
In diesem Zusammenhang verdient eine Quelle Beachtung, die von Gregors Darstellung abweicht. In der Vita sancti Chlodovaldi – der im 9. oder 10. Jahrhundert entstandenen Lebensbeschreibung eines Chlodwig-Enkels – heißt es, Chlodwig habe sein Reich seiner Gemahlin Chrodechilde mit den drei Söhnen Chlothar, Childebert und Chlodomer hinterlassen und unter diesen aufgeteilt. Eine Teilung durch den Vater ist indessen sonst nirgendwo bezeugt. Weshalb ist der Vitenschreiber, der sonst Gregor von Tours fast wörtlich folgte, ausgerechnet in diesem Punkt von ihm abgewichen? Die Frage muss unbeantwortet bleiben, doch auch wenn diese Quelle insgesamt als wertlos gilt, gibt ihr Bericht in der Einzelfrage, die für ihren Autor im Übrigen nicht weiter von Belang war – so dass er etwa um einer speziellen Argumentation willen hätte abweichen müssen – doch zu denken. In diesem Zusammenhang ist auch die Beobachtung der regionalen Verteilung der Bischöfe von Interesse, die am Konzil von Orléans teilgenommen haben: Der Osten, grosso modo Theuderichs Anteil, war nicht repräsentiert [...] Ging es also bei Chlodwigs Tod tatsächlich nur noch um die Frage der Aufteilung des verbliebenen Gebiets unter seine jüngeren Söhne?

[In this context, a source deviating from Gregory’s account deserves attention. In the Vita sancti Chlodovaldi – the biography of one of Clovis' grandsons, written in the 9th or 10th century – it is said that Clovis left his kingdom to his wife Clotild with the three sons Chlothar, Childebert and Chlodomer, and divided it among them. However, a division by the father is nowhere else attested. Why did the author of the vita, who otherwise followed Gregory of Tours almost literally, deviate from him in this point of all things? The question must remain unanswered, but even if this source as a whole is considered worthless: Its report on the individual question, which incidentally was of no further importance for its author – so that he would have had to deviate, for example, for the sake of a special argumentation – still gives food for thought. In this context, the observation of the regional allocation of the bishops who participated in the Council of Orléans is also of interest: The East, grosso modo Theuderic’s share, was not represented (...) So, at Clovis' death, was it really only a question of dividing the remaining territory among his younger sons?]

In fact, Theuderic is not mentioned anywhere in the Vita sancti Chlodovaldi, which was written in 9th or 10th century, and indeed it does give pause for thought why its hagiographically adroit author systematically passed him over. Clodo(v)ald is supposed to have been born around 520 and was thus still a contemporary of Theuderic. Fluduald, as the former is called as a saint also in later sources, appears as the third and youngest son of the Merovingian king Chlodomer, who is considered the second eldest son of Clovis and Clotild.

The knowledge of the vita writer about Clovis points to the facts that he must have had knowledge at least of Gregory’s historical works and thus deliberately ignored Theuderic. Implicitly, however, it cannot be excluded in this respect that Clovis could have desired the kingship of Theuderic – as here the postulated descendant of another Frankish dynasty – and, at a certain point in time, could have taken it over. It has been plead for an deliberate embezzlement of Theuderic by the writer of Clodoald’s biography, but the weak argument that he intentionally disregarded Theuderic because of his ‘less noble’ origin seems less convincing compared to the fact that not one dignitary from Theuderic’s (hereditary) kingdom appeared at the First Council of Orléans, which was convened by or for Clovis. Rather, this constitutional context speaks straight at least for a territorially isolated status of Theuderic at this time. Moreover, it is especially thought-provoking that neither Clovis' Baptist Remigius nor a deligated deputy from the former Belgica II (Church of Rheims) showed up at this constitutively highly significant synod. Thus Becher’s next important observation is (op. cit. p. 250):
Aber vor allem ein berühmter Bischof fehlte: Remigius von Reims – und nicht nur er, sondern überhaupt kein Bischof aus dem Osten des Reiches war nach Orléans gekommen. Man wertet dies als Hinweis auf eine zunehmende Entchristlichung dieser Gebiete. Die Bischofsstühle von Köln und Mainz etwa waren vakant. Dies reicht als Erklärung nicht aus, denn etwa auch der Bischof von Trier oder der von Sens und viele andere fehlten in Orléans. Es waren also auch Gebiete nicht repräsentiert, in denen die Kirche durchaus noch funktionsfähig war (...) Es fällt auf, dass die Gebiete, die in Orléans nicht durch ihre Bischöfe repräsentiert wurden, nach Chlodwigs Tod an dessen ältesten Sohn Theuderich fallen sollten. Hatte Chlodwig ihm diese Gebiete vielleicht bereits zu Lebzeiten als Herrschaftsbereich anvertraut? Oder hing die Absenz der Bischöfe aus dem Osten des Reiches mit den Wirren zusammen, die durch die Unterwerfung der kleineren fränkischen Königreiche – insbesondere der rheinischen Franken – unter Chlodwigs Herrschaft ausgelöst worden waren?

[But especially one famous bishop was missing: Remigius of Reims – and not only he, but no bishop at all from the east of the empire had come to Orléans. One interprets this as an indication of an increasing de-Christianization of these areas. The bishoprics of Cologne and Mainz, for example, were vacant. However, this is not sufficient as an explanation, because the bishops of Trier and Sens and many others were also missing in Orléans. Thus, areas were not represented in which the church was however still functional (...) It is noticeable that the territories which were not represented by their bishops in Orléans were to fall to Clovis' eldest son Theuderic after his death. Had Clovis already entrusted these territories to him as a domain during his lifetime? Or was the absence of the bishops from the east of the empire related to the turmoil caused by the subjugation of the smaller Frankish kingdoms – especially the Rhenish Franks – under Clovis' rule?]

But why did not come Clovis' Baptist Remigius of Reims? Already these questions point to the highly questionable political-constitutional condition that under Clovis the Auvergne (!) with bishop Eufrasius was represented on this confessionally reformist as well as long since socio-political summit on the one hand, but on the other, however, Theuderic brought this part of the Frankish kingdom under his rule after Clovis' death, to wit about Theoderic’s death (526 !), with considerable military force, cf. Gregory hist. III,12–13.

As Gregory states earlier in hist. II,37, Theuderic is said to have martially moved on behalf of Clovis against the Visigothic cities Albi and Rodez, then marching to the Auvergne, over which he apparently held sway until it was taken over by Clovis. Until the Council of Orleans (in the summer of 511), an Auvergne protectorate of the Ostrogothic Theoderic therefore seems unlikely. Nevertheless, Gregory’s later dating in hist. III,21 gives food for thought that the Visigoths after Clovis' death – since 511 Theoderic was de facto ruling over them after Gesalec’s expulsion (!) – made remarkable reconquests.

We may thus assume that the well-read author of the Vita sancti Chlodovaldi contradicts per ‘argumentum e silentio’ Gregory’s genealogical inclusion of Theuderic among Clovis' sons. Their closest relationship had gained its unimpeachable corona because Gregory was undoubtedly the dominant source for the Chronicle(s) of Fredegar and the Liber Historiae Francorum, which was then trusted by the Quedlinburg Annalist (QA) and copying chroniclers. Therefore, the question of the division of the Frankish kingdom among Clovis' sons, which Matthias Becher posed and which he tried to point out openly, will have to be queried against the background of a kingship claimed by Theuderic and insofar by his line of descendants.
Theuderic’s mission to the Visigoths to satisfy Clovis, a campaign in 507/508 with sizeable territorial gains which, however, were stopped and massively reverted by Theoderic the Great, is related to that very time-frame of approximately one decade where Thidrek was expelled according to Ritter’s rough estimation.

Regarding the ambitions of Ermenrik, rivaling Frankish relative of Thidrek and mighty ruler of Roma II – the metropolis that only a short time before was known as largest colonia on the north side of the Alps –, consequently might have had good reason to follow Theoderic’s standpoint and decision to put or see the Frankish Theoderic in an isolated position. Ermenrik’s advisor ‘Sifka’ was contributing this significant speech before Thidrek’s expulsion; see Mb 284 and Sv 238:
Mb 284:
One time King Erminrek called Sifka to counsel and Sifka spoke to the king:
"Sir, it seems to me you should be wary of your kinsman, King Thidrek of Bern. It seems to me that he is preparing some great deed against you, because he is an unfaithful man and a great fighter. I suspect that you will maintain or lose your royal power as a result of his desire to fight. You will have to prepare to defend yourself. Since he became king, he has expanded his kingdom in many places and has reduced your kingdom. Who has tribute from Amlungland, which he took with his sword, and which belonged to your father? It is none other than King Thidrek, and he will not share it with you, and you will never receive it as long as he rules in Bern."
The king answered:
"What you remind me of is true; that land belonged to my father, and I do not know whether it should belong less to me than to King Thidrek, but I shall certainly take it."…
[Translation by Edward R. Haymes]
Sv 238:
One day Seveke talked to King Ermenrik:
‘It seems to me that you soon have to be on the lookout for your relative, King Didrik of Bern. He is an unfaithful man and a mighty fighter. Watch out for him, see that he will not win your realm! He enlarges his realm every day, but thereby he is making yours smaller. I have come to know that it is your due to demand tribute from him. Your father won this land with his sword!’
The king answered:
‘My father was owner of this land as a whole and it is to be mine not less than to be his one.’…
[Translation: Ritter-Badenhausen. The Old Swedish scribe does not mention the ‘Amlung(a)land’ which has been localized as the important region between the Meuse and the Middle Rhine, thus not far from Ermenrik’s Roma secunda.]
Johan Peringskiöld’s Latin manuscript, cap. CCLIX:
Apud Ermenricum regem de rerum publicarum commodis in medium consulturus Sifka, multa de Theoderico rege sermocinari exorsus est. Huius inprimis potentiam formidandam maximopere Ermenrico; iam multa magna moliri ipsum viribus confisum suis atque bellicarum claritudine operum, de palma etiam regni cum Ermenrico haud dubio disputaturum. Proinde non aliud magis idoneum sibi videri consilium, quam istud præsens nunc suggerendum. Nimirum, a suscepto regiminis tempore primo regni sui fines majorem in modum augendo extendisse Theodericum, etaim cum decremento commodorum ad Ermenricum pertinentium. Amlungiæ quippe regno iustis Ermenrici genitoris armis acquisito, vectigalium proventum omnem sibi vindicavisse Theodericum, quasi iure quodam legitimo inposterum retinendum. Rex, probe Sifkam meminisse ait, paternæ quondam possessionis fuisse provincias istas. Quapropter etiam sibi, utpote qui legitimo prognatus est thoro, æquis rationibus competere ius easdem vindicandi terras…

It is obvious that these versions, substantiating the background of Thidrek’s Flight Legend, cannot be sufficiently based even on a ‘saga’ about the historical vita of Theoderic the Great.

With respect to the accounts by the Thidrek saga and the contextual probabilities or possibilities related to the period of Clovis and Theuderic I, the advisor of Ermenrik, mighty ruler at Roma II  from 2nd half of 5th century to ‘c. 526’ (by Ritter’s estimation), could certainly fathom that Theuderic–Thidrek would be vulnerable if his South Gaulish campaign would be repelled. Regarding this military expedition, Gregory dates the removal of Sigibert of Cologne at (nearly) the same time. He has been identified with King Sigmund’s son Sigurð(r), Old Swedish Sigord, the eminent champion who follows Thidrek as designated brother-in-law of the Niflunga rulers. The leaders of this folk between the Meuse and the Middle Rhine, as situated by the manuscripts, might have had good reason to accept and serve the expansion politics of either Clovis or – as we can postulate alternatively with intertextual consistency – a potential loyalist at the former Colonia Treverorum for the opportunity to administrate the northern Eifel lands of a disempowered Thidrek.(9)
3.4  Fluchtsage

Except for Deor’s Lament, the thirty to thirty-two years of exile are attested as Hildebrand’s period of banishment, but only weakly to that of Dietrich in the MHG epics; cf. esp. Hans Kuhn, Dietrichs dreißig Jahre, in: (Ed.) Hugo Kuhn and Kurt Schier, Märchen, Mythos, Dichtung. Commemorative publication for Friedrich von der Leyen, Munich 1963, pgs 117–120.

As Guðrún complains in the Guðrúnarkviða III (in þriðja), Þjóðrek had lost 30 warriors in the fights of her brothers against Atli. Regarding this numerical figure, however, it is challenging but uncertain whether the source of this tradition may subtly allude to rather the exile span of Dietrich and Hildebrand.

Regarding Old German counting of years, however, it seems apt to reassess Hildebrand’s remarkable exorbitant time of outlandish exile as quoted in Mb 396. Before this, however, we should regard at the outset the measure of time we will be confronted with. The manuscript versions published by J. Peringskiöld 1715 conveys quotations that Hildebrand died at an age of either 180 or 200 years. H. Bertelsen (op. cit. II. p. 359) transcribes the passage of the obvious eldest text as halft annad hunndrad wetra þa er hann anndaþist. enn þydersk kuæde seigia ath hann hefdi .cc. wetra. The German translator F. H. von der Hagen agrees with Peringskiöld’s transmission and supplements at hand of the Icelandic texts which are explicitly referring to German tradition. According to Hagen, these manuscripts specify Hildebrand’s age of death with 150 (MS A) or 170 (MS B) winters, see Mb 415–416.

Hans-Jürgen Hube follows Ritter’s explanation of this kind of number rendering on the subject of half-years counting related to the life of Hildebrand and, implicitly by the transmissions, Dietrich von Bern; see Ritter, Dietrich von Bern, Munich 1982, p. 205f., 267; see Hube, Thidreks Saga (Wiesbaden 2009) p. 354, ann. 1, accordingly Edo W. Oostebrink, Die Anfänge der Merowingerherrschaft am Niederrhein (2017) p. 88. See also Hans Friese, Thidrekssaga und Dietrichepos (1914), who points out that ‘reckoning by half-years is a natural Nordic custom’.

Thus, the corresponding passages of Mb 396 obviously admit to comprehend Hildebrand’s and Thidrek’s «32 winters» outside the country – Ek hæfi nu latit mitt riki .xxx. vætra oc ij vætr; (see Bertelsen op. cit. II, p. 331) – originally as the half of this sum (i.e. 16 years).

While the Latin redactor of Peringskiöld’s edition has modernly equated winters with years in this instance, the scribe of the ‘Didriks chronicle’ does not relay the length of their exile (Sv 340–341). The time span provided by these texts reiterates also the Jüngeres Hildebrandslied, first attested in 15th century. However, this special context related to the time of Dietrich’s and Hildebrand’s grief may not automatically legitimize recalculations or halvings of other times conveyed by the Old Norse manuscripts and Old German traditions. Incidentally, the poet of the 9th-century Hildebrandslied knows of summers and winters sixty – line 50: ih wallota sumaro enti wintro sehstic...

Did the oral provider and his listener or writer mean sixty or rather sixteen? The latter number seems plausible for an original period of ‘32 years’ based on 16 winters and 16 summers, as this appears more acceptable in view of fast-changing relationships of Migration Period. However, as quoted from Mb 415, there was evidently confusion, at least among mediaeval authorship, dealing with Hildebrand’s age. Furthermore, Ute Schwab (op. cit. below, see p. 576) notes well that the Low German Hildebrandlied was transferred by a linguistically less experienced Bavarian writer (!): Diese verniederdeutschte Fassung des ‘Hildebrandliedes’ war von einem Baiern durchgeführt worden, der nur die Faustregeln des Altsächsischen beherrschte, also z.B. die hochdeutschen frikativen Ʒ germ. t wieder mechanisch zurückverschob, auch dann, wo kein Grund dafür vorhanden war (suasat etc.).

Regarding the contextual interpretation of this apparent transcription, obviously made rushedly or at least extemporaneously at the monastery of Fulda (in the later German state Hesse), with the Old English Deor, Ute Schwab underlines that [transl.] «the historicizing details of the son’s speech remain (intentionally) vague – nothing points to the return of Dietrich’s army, to which Hildebrand is supposed to belong here according to modern philologists – except the 30 years in the later lament of the old man (...) This time does not agree with the saga exile of Theoderic at all as naturally as is always claimed: only the Old English ‘Deor’ (9th/10th century) knows the 30 years of exile: (18–19) Ðeodric ahte þritig wintra / Mæringa burg; þæt wæs monegum cuþ (also quoted below for further exploration). But the identity of this Ðeodric, as well as the place where he ruled for thirty winters, is not necessarily to be connected with Ostrogothic history: Kemp Malone identifies this Ðeodric with the Frankish Þeodric of ‘Widsith’ (v. 24 Hugdietrich, king of the Franks; v. 115 Wolfdietrich [?]). Thirty years – ‘sixty summers and winters’ – is, moreover, a period which elsewhere also means merely “long years”.»
Die historisierenden Details der Sohnesrede bleiben (gewollt) vage – auf die Rückkehr des Dietrichheeres, zu dem Hildebrand hier nach Auffassung der modernen Philologen gehören soll, deutet nichts hin – außer den 30 Jahren in der späteren Klagerede des Alten (...) Diese Zeit stimmt mit dem Sagenexil Theoderichs jedoch gar nicht so selbstverständlich überein, wie immer behauptet wird: nur der altenglische ‘Deor’ (9./10.Jh.) kennt die 30 Exil-Jahre: 18 Ðeodric ahte pritig wintra / Mæringa burg; þæt wæs monegum cuþ. Doch ist die Identität dieses Ðeodric und auch der Ort, wo er dreißig Winter lang herrschte, nicht unbedingt mit der ostgotischen Geschichte zu verbinden: Kemp Malone identifiziert diesen Ðeodric mit dem fränkischen Þeodric des ‘Widsith’ (v. 24 Hugdietrich, König der Franken; v. 115 Wolfdietrich [?]). Dreißig Jahre – ‘sechzig Sommer und Winter’ – sind überdies eine Zeitspanne, die auch anderswo lediglich “lange Jahre” bedeutet.
(Ute Schwab, Waffensport, Rauba und Dietrichs Schatten....
In: Neophilologus 84 (2000) pgs 575–607, see p. 581.)

Kemp Malone argues on Dietrich’s time span of exile (op. cit. 1959, pgs 119–120; highlighted passage by the quoting author):
There is no statement in the Wolfdietrich, it is true, that the hero possessed the burg of Meran for 30 years, but his stay there, as child and young man, seems to have lasted some such time, and 30 is, of course, only a conventional or “typical” number, used in Deor to indicate a considerable stretch of time, in Wolfdietrich to indicate a considerable sum of money, in Beowulf to indicate unusual strength (379) or prowess (123, 2361). Moreover, the important point to note is that the hero’s stay at the burg is looked upon, both in Deor and in the Wolfdietrich, as a period of misfortune, and this in spite of the fact that he is master there and well served (in the German story, it ought to be added, the hero’s legal overlordship begins only with Hugdietrich’s death). As regards the faithful retainer, Schneider and Schröder between them have shown that Berchtung of Meran belongs to Frankish, not to Ostrogothic tradition, and that he is to be identified, in name and function alike, with the Clarembaut of French story.10 In sum, the existence of an early and intimate connexion of Theoderic the Frank with Meran can hardly be disputed, while we have no evidence that Theoderic the Ostrogoth was ever thought of as living in exile either in Meran or in any other place of like name.
   10. H. Schneider, Die Gedichte und die Sage von Wolfdietrich (1913) and Germanische Heldensage I (1928); E. Schröder, ZfdA LIX (1922) 179f.

As concerns the Old Norse + Swedish texts, we furthermore can stumble upon Mb 413 and Sv 355 whose writers and heroes look apparently back to the time of Thidrek’s Gransport expedition: Relating now the death of Ermenrik’s advisor, he had survived his king certainly by some years, both chapters provide a period of two decades (vicennium, ch. CCCLXXIX Latin manuscript) after the battle of Gransport. The Icelandic redactions specify this time span, which ends by all texts just before Thidrek’s appearance in Roma II, remarkably shorter: MS A = ix , MS B = xi. This approximate halving seems to point to an attempt to convert the ‘elder mode of counting years’ likewise, albeit both numerical data are still specified – apparently shortened – into winters only. Regarding this context in so far, the second or last period of Thidrek’s exile, starting from his military endeavour to regain his kingdom at Gransport, was lasting not less than nine and not more than eleven years, as this seems plausible for even the entire exile period of rather 16 than 32 years. Besides, the Danish-born philologist Adolfine ‘Fine’ Erichsen translated only the period given by MS A (Thule. Altnordische Dichtung und Prosa, 22, Jena 1924). Thus, this battle on the Moselle can be dated between 510 and 515; cf. Ritter’s proposal about 515 by his rough approach. Although estimations on the historicity of the latest possible date of Clovis' death should not be attested, at most compared with a Nordic historia or ‘saga’, the Frankish Ermenrik seems to be still alive in this stretch of time.

Furthermore, it seems noteworthy to reconsider the numeric ascription of the Icelandic texts in Mb 429 where the scribe of MS B may have rounded down slightly the period of Dietrich’s and Hildebrand’s exile to xxx winters, see Mb 396. Regarding the difference of x winters left by the scribe of MS A at the same passage, however, he has seemingly lost one decade character; cf. F. Erichsen who consequently resigned her preference of this redactor for this item!

3.5  Some interliterary receptions

Regarding Upper German traditions of lesser connectedness for Dietrich contexts, the Waltharius comes with an obvious 10th-century account about two champions known later as followers of Dietrich. This work, most likely written by a Gaeraldus and presumably edited by Ekkehard I at Upper German St. Gall(en) Monastery, seems to reflect Hunnic invasions from earlier times up to 10th century. Interestingly, the author of this lay calls his protagonists Guntharius and Hagano heroes of the Franks. This appears to be a smart contemporary relocation based on 6th–10th-century Frankish politics with a territory that actually encompassed Worms. It may also seem noteworthy that the Franks annexed this and other location west of the Rhine to their territory after the Alemannic Wars, thus even in 5th century; cf. e.g. RGA 9 (1995) ‘Francia Rinensis’, p. 372; Eugen Ewig, Die Rheinlande in fränkischer Zeit, in: Franz Petri, Georg Droege (Ed.), Rheinische Geschichte 1,2, p. 16f.

The Waltharius is also known as the poem of Walter and Hildigund. The Old Norse + Swedish texts provide her as daughter of a Russian or Slavic ruler Ilias and, according to the texts, female hostage at the court of the northern Atala; see the coherent localization of Hildigund’s father Ilias af Gercekia by Hans-Jürgen Hube at ch. Early activities in Baltic lands and Western Russia. Hǫgni, trying to stop the fleeing two lovers, loses one eye in the fight against Walter who later falls at Gransport as Duke of Waskenstein – as this location appears also transferable to the papally mentioned Vosca on the Lower Moselle. It is obvious that the author of the Waltharius implanted thrilling elements in his much embellished adaptation that some reviewer would judge between ‘subtle’ and ‘oversubtle’. Ritter argues that the archaic version appears to be conveyed by the Scandinavian manuscripts of the Thidrekssaga, see Sv 222–225. The Latin text of the Upper German tradition, preserved at bibliotheca Augustana, is available at
http://www.fh-augsburg.de/~harsch/Chronologia/Lspost10/Waltharius/wal_txt0.html  (retrieved Aug. 2008).

As already mentioned above, the Lament of Deor (10th century, the Exeter Book) conveys Ðéodríc’s period at the ‘Mæringa burg’ as of thirty winters – the author or his source supposedly neglecting the original ‘summers’ apposition. Deor likes to substantiate this relation:

Ðéodríc áhte  þrítig wintra
Máeringa burg;  þæt wæs mongegum cúþ.
Þæs oferéode,  ðisses swá mæg .
Theodric had thirty winters
Mæringa burg; that was known to many.
As that passed away, so may this.
The author continues with these lines (21–22):
Wé geáscodan   Eormanríces
wylfenne geþóht;  áhte wíde folc

We learned of Eormanric’s
wolfish mind;  he ruled people far and wide

Does the strophe of lines 18–20 provide a more or less tendentious retrospective view to Þeodric’s location of exile? Westphalian regions between the Rhine and Soest, residence of King Atala by the Old Norse + Swedish texts, have been estimated historically under Mær(ov)ingian rulership or administration in and after the first half of 6th century. Taking scope within Kemp Malone’s approaches, however, there might be more interesting detections, e.g. of Þeodric’s outlandish location name which may be found in ‘old continental Saxony’ and, according to the Old Norse + Swedish texts, in King Atala’s large kingdom. Malone points out that those Myrgingas, the tribesmen to which the writer of The Widsith belonged, have been scholarly detected in continental Saxony, more narrowly in southern Jutland which partially belongs to modern Schleswig-Holstein. He furthermore remembers, besides, that the Geographer of Ravenna has already situated (roughly enough!) the Maurungavi on the Elbe – patria Albis Maurungavi certissime antiquitius dicebatur – and adds that there was once the frontier mark of the Franks (‘prima linea Francorum’). A Curtius Moranga in pago Morangano appears connected with the region around Hildesheim: The Vita Meinwerci episcopi Patherbrunnensis remarks on the life of the meritorious 11th-bishop of Low German Paderborn a Bernwardo Hildesheimensi (…) quandam regiam curtem Moranga dictam, in pago Morangano, ch. XXII. (Malone, Widsith, Copenhagen 1962, p. 183–186 quoting i.a. Karl Müllenhoff, 1859, p. 279–280.) Müllenhoff’s foregoing colleague Ludwig Ettmüller has been suggesting the form ‘Mar’ as common root of both ‘Mer’ and ‘Myr’ in this interlingual context (Scopes vidsith, p. 11), whilst Müllenhoff assesses ‘Maur’ and ‘Myr’ transposable, the latter even in spite of the following ‘binding consonant’. As noted farther below, he finally may be right on *myr in the (phonetical) meaning of mire – miry (adj.), ON. mýrr, OE. mór, German moor, Old Frisian mor. It may be worth mentioning that the meaning of Zoëga’s ‘mæringr (-s, -ar), m.: a noble man‘ is not related to a tribal region in so far (Geir T. Zoëga, A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic, 1910), while Jan de Vries (op. cit.) places a ‘boundary mark or line’ at the disposal for the preferential interpretation of ON. *mæri.

As regards the ruler called ‘Þiaurikr’ on the Rök Runestone, see endnote 6 i  quoting from the Studies (1959) of Malone, who might clarify the geographical context for the castle called Máeringa in Deor. Thus, we obviously have no reliable source context to identify the Mæringa with any forms which have been suggested, less convincingly, from North Italian and Istrian ‘Merania’ by means of mainly Upper German poetry.

Raymond W. Chambers rejects Ettmüller’s and Müllenhoff’s conceptual coincidence during his Widsith analysis, claiming rather that the derivation of Mauringa, Maurungani (cf. Lat. Maurus = moor) from a root connected with O.H.G. mios, English moss and mire ‹aredistinct from English moor (…) which is linguistically impossible (Widsith, 1912, p. 160 & 236). Nonetheless, Chambers presents a geographical version with overlapping Maurungani and Myrgingas (op. cit. p. 259).

Regarding another geographical approach, Alfred Anscombe prefers the remark made by Paulinus of Nola who knows of an obvious Gaulish terra Morinorum beside the English channel (Nola, Ep. 18.4). Thus, we may re-estimate a stronger relationship of these apparently concurring geonyms provided by the Widsith, Deor and the Rök Runestone.
Besides: If the translating scribes of the Thidrekssaga had mistaken an original form of Mæringar for their Væringiar (Waringi at chs 13 and 17 in Johan Peringskiöld’s Latin script), the annotations provided with Mb 13, 19, 69, 185 and 194 would make more sense for narrating tribesmen living between the Rhine and Jutland but not people originated in Scandinavia or Slavic regions; cf. ‘Värend’ location in Middle Ages. Bertelsen ascribes the ‘Varangians’ = Væringiar to ‘Nordic traveling merchants’. As regards the apparently typical ‘g’ consonant, these people should not have been mistaken as the Varini of Tacitus or the Varni of Procopius or the Varinnæ of Plinius. The War(i)ni have been frequently identified with the German ‘Warnen’ who, in common with the Thuringii and Heruli, were urged by Theoderic the Great upon an alliance against Clovis, king of the rapidly expanding Franks.
Between 507 and 510 the Italian Theoderic was warring against the equally named Gaulish general, at that time in service of the power-craving king of the Franks. Did this Clovis appear to some narrator as the second Gaulish–‘Gothic’ Eormenric?

The Wolfdietrich, an epic of different versions dated from 13th century to Late Middle Ages about a hero whom literary research has identified with the twinship of Theudebert and his father Theuderic I, contradicts genealogically Dietrichs Flucht provided by the Ambraser Heldenbuch.

The Wolfdietrich cycle provides at least two significant narrative references to the Thidrek saga: the dragon fight at Bergara/Brugara (cf. 2nd part of the Ortnit A) and Wolfdietrich’s exile and return. The obvious majority of elder and newer scholarship votes for a Frankish but not (Ostro-)Gothic origin of this epic, notably Joachim Heinzle (1999) who does not follow Roswitha Wisniewski and other analysts who are arguing unconvincingly in favour of an Ostrogothic Theoderic environment; see e.g. Lydia Miklautsch (2005). With a view to the basic interliterary reflections between the 5th–6th-century Frankish kings, apparently with an epically drawn Frankish Dietrich, and the Wolfdietrich cycle, one of the most characteristic epithets of ‘Hugdietrich sired by the devil’ (Wolfdietrich A quoting Sabene) seems reflected at least by Mb 435 and Sv 379.

Thus, as regards the obvious narrative prototype by means of an intertextual exploration, Joachim Heinzle reasonably argues for rather a Frankish than an Ostrogothic sphere of Dietrich [transl.]:
Wolfdietrich and Dietrich von Bern have much in common: both have a lion on the shield, fight dragons, possess the horse Valke and the sword Rose*; both are rumoured of an illegitimate (demonic) origin; both are driven out of their kingdom by close relatives at the instigation of an evil counsellor and win it back; both have their old tutor at their side; and in the above-mentioned Hertnit account of the ‘Thidrekssaga’, behind which the ‘Ortnit’ obviously stands, Dietrich even entered the rôle of Wolfdietrich. These commonalities can support the hypothesis repeatedly discussed since Wilhelm Grimm: the Wolfdietrich saga represents a doublet of the Dietrich saga, that Wolfdietrich too can be traced back to Theoderic the Great. However, the historical and philological reasons that speak against this hypothesis are overwhelming. The Wolfdietrich tradition must be regarded as an independent saga whose origins are to be sought not in the Gothic but Frankish history. The commonalities are first of all similarities in the typus, which may have intensified in the course of transmission in mutual exchange, perhaps favoured by the (partial) identity of the names. Such an approach could also explain the fact that Wolfdietrich appears on various occasions as Dietrich’s ancestor (see below p. 44f., 67f.).

[Wolfdietrich und Dietrich von Bern haben vieles gemeinsam: beide führen einen Löwen im Schild, kämpfen gegen Drachen, besitzen das Pferd Valke und das Schwert Rose*; beiden wird eine illegitime (dämonische) Herkunft nachgesagt; beide werden auf Anstiften eines bösen Ratgebers von nahen Verwandten aus ihrem Reich vertrieben und gewinnen es zurück; beiden steht ihr alter Erzieher zur Seite; und in der oben erwähnten Hertnit-Erzählung der ‚Thidrekssaga’, hinter der offensichtlich der ‚Ortnit’ steht, ist Dietrich sogar in die Rolle Wolfdietrichs eingetreten. Diese Gemeinsamkeiten können die seit Wilhelm Grimm immer wieder einmal diskutierte Hypothese unterstützen, in der Wolfdietrichsage liege eine Dublette der Dietrichsage vor, auch Wolfdietrich sei auf Theoderich den Großen zurückzuführen. Die historischen und philologischen Gründe, die gegen diese Hypothese sprechen, sind jedoch erdrückend. Die Überlieferung von Wolfdietrich muß als eigenständige Sage gelten, deren Ursprünge nicht in der gotischen, sondern in der fränkischen Geschichte zu suchen sind. Die Gemeinsamkeiten sind zunächst Gemeinsamkeiten im Typus, die sich im Lauf der Überlieferung in wechselseitigem Austausch, begünstigt vielleicht durch die (teilweise) Identität der Namen, verstärkt haben mögen. Aus solcher Annäherung könnte auch zu erklären sein, daß Wolfdietrich verschiedentlich als Vorfahr Dietrichs erscheint (s.u. S. 44f., 67f.).
(Joachim Heinzle, Einführung in die mittelhochdeutsche Dietrichepik, 1999, p. 42–43.) ]
*  In Thidrekssaga the swords Nag(e)lring and Ekkisax were also created by Alfrik, Alberich in the MHG epics.

The RGA 9 (1995) gives this more extensive summary of Wolfdietrich under the lemma Franken (p. 384):
In der dt. Heldendichtung kommen 3 Personen mit dem Namen Hugdietrich vor. Erstens wird in den Fassungen B und D des → Wolfdietrich (21) das Kind eines Ritters erwähnt, das bei der Geburt den Namen Hugdietrich erhält, aber gleich darauf stirbt. Es mag in der Dichtung nach einem der beiden folgenden Hugdietriche genannt sein, ist aber selbst ohne Bedeutung. Ein zweiter Hugdietrich ist der Sohn Wolfdietrichs. Auch er tritt in verschiedenen Fassungen des ‚Wolfdietrich’ auf, außerdem aber auch in ‚Dietrichs Flucht’ (9), wo er Sigeminne von Francrîche heiratet und mit ihr Amelunc, den Großvater Dietrichs von Bern, zeugt. Auffällig ist hier die Verbindung der Genealogie des Goten Kg.s Dietrich von Bern mit einer frk. Dynastie. Der hist. Theoderich war verheiratet mit Audefleda, einer Schwester Chlodwigs. Der bedeutendste der 3 ist jedoch Hugdietrich, der Vater Wolfdietrichs. Dieser kommt sowohl in den verschiedenen Fassungen des ‚Wolfdietrich’ wie in denen des → Ortnit (21) vor. Gegen eine Verbindung Hugdietrichs mit dem Stamm der Frk. spricht allerdings, daß sich seine Residenz in diesen Dichtungen in Konstantinopel befindet und sein Reich Griechenland, Bulgarien und die hunnische Mark umfaßt. In ‚Wolfdietrich’ D wird zudem noch von einem Kampf gegen die Babylonier berichtet. Die mögliche Umlokalisierung einer frk. Heldensage nach Konstantinopel wird wohl erklärt, indem man darauf hinweist, daß Chlodwig der erste bedeutende christl. Herrscher im w-röm. Reich seit der Absetzung des letzten Ks.s im J. 476 war und daß er deshalb als Äquivalent zu Ks. Konstantin d. Gr. betrachtet wurde. Plausibler ist, daß die verschiedenen Fassungen des ‚Wolfdietrich’ unter frz. Einfluß entstanden sind. In dem afrz. Epos ‚Floovant’ (Chlodovinc, ‚Sohn des Chlodwig’) heißt der Vater des Protagonisten Constantine (24, 130). Auch Gregor von Tours nennt Chlodwig bei der Beschreibung seiner Taufe einen neuen Konstantin (II, 31). Daß dessen Residenz sodann in der Dichtung Konstantinopel genannt wird, ist verständlich, hat aber nichts mit der Stadt am Bosporus zu tun. In den inhaltlich zusammenhängenden Epen ‚Ortnit’ und ‚Wolfdietrich’ hat man reine frk. Stammessage zu erkennen geglaubt (19, 24): Hugdietrich sei Theuderich I., Wolfdietrich sei dessen Sohn Theudebert I. († 548). Die uneheliche Geburt Theuderichs habe einen Ausgangspunkt für die Entstehung der Sage geboten, sei aber auf den Sohn übertragen worden. Auch afrz. Helden mit den Namen Hugon/Huon können aus der frk. Heldensage stammen.
Der Poeta Saxo berichtet im 9. Jh. von der Existenz von Liedern (vulgaria carmina) über Pippin und Karl, Chlodwig und Theuderich, Karlmann und Chlothar (Grimm [13, 30]). Eine Stelle im ae. ‚Widsith’, (Theodric weold Froncum, v. 24) scheint ebenfalls auf die Existenz von frk. Heldenliedern hinzuweisen. Die Inhalte dieser Heldenlieder sind uns aber nicht bekannt, es sei denn, man nimmt an, daß viele der Einzelheiten, von denen Chronisten berichten, solchen Dichtungen entnommen sind. 

[There are 3 persons named Hugdietrich in German heroic epics. First, the redactions B and D of the → Wolfdietrich (21) mention a knight’s child that received the name Hugdietrich at its birth, but it died soon after. It might be named after one of the following Hugdietrichs, albeit this may be not of any importance in the poetry. A second Hugdietrich is the son of Wolfdietrich. He, too, appears in various redactions of the ‘Wolfdietrich’, further in ‘Dietrichs Flucht’ (9) where he marries Sigeminne of Francrîche and fathers with her Amelunc, grandfather of Dietrich von Bern. The connection of the genealogy of the Gothic king Dietrich of Bern with a Frankish dynasty is striking here. The historical Theoderic was married with Audefleda, a sister of Clovis. Yet, the most important of these 3 persons is Hugdietrich, father of Wolfdietrich. He appears both in the different redactions of the ‘Wolfdietrich’ as in those of the → Ortnit (21). However, Hugdietrich’s connection with the Frankish tribe does neither correspond with Constantinople as his residence, nor Greece, Bulgaria and the Hunnic region as his kingdom. ‘Wolfdietrich’ D reports on a fight against the Babylonians. The potential re-localization of a Frankish heroic tradition with Constantinople is probably explained by the fact that Clovis was the first important Christian ruler of the Western Roman Empire after the deposition of the last emperor in the year 476, and, therefore, was regarded as an equivalent of the emperor Constantine the Great. However, it seems more plausible that the different redactions of the ‘Wolfdietrich’ had been created under French influence. In the Old French epic ‘Floovant’ (Chlodovinc, son of Clovis) the father of the protagonist is called Constantine (24, 130). Gregory of Tours does also call Clovis a new Constantine (II, 31) in the description of his baptism. The fact that his residence was then called Constantinople in the poem appears reasonable, but has nothing to do with the city on the Bosporus. One believed to have recognized a pure French legend in the epics ‘Ortnit’ and ‘Wolfdietrich’, both with regard to their depending contents, as a pure Frankish tribal legend (19, 24): Hugdietrich as Theuderich I, Wolfdietrich as his son Theudebert I († 548). The illegitimate birth of Theuderich thus had offered a starting point for the origin of this legend, but was transferred to the son. The Old French heroes named Hugon/Huon may be also originated in Frankish heroic tradition.
In 9th century the Poeta Saxo reports on the existence of lays (vulgaria carmina) about Pepin and Charlemagne, Clovis and Theuderic, Carloman and Chlothar (Grimm [13, 30]). A passage in the Old English ‘Widsith’ (Theodric weold Froncum, v. 24) seems to point also to the existence of Frankish heroic lays. Yet, the contents of these heroic lays are unknown to us unless we presume that many details provided by chroniclers had been taken from these poetries.

 (9) Dietrichs Flucht, in: E. Martin (Hrsg.), Dt. Helden-B. 2, 1866, 57–215.
(13) Grimm, DHS.
(19) J. Nadler, Lit.-Gesch. der dt. Stämme und Landschaften 1, 31929.
(21) Ortnit und Wolfdietrich, in: A. Amelung u. a. (Hrsg.), Dt. Helden-B. 3–4, 1871–1873.
(24) Schneider, Dt. Heldensage, 1930.

Although the degree of the interrelated connectedness among these aforementioned traditions seems to point to rather a Frankish origin, it is self-evident that the mittelhochdeutsche Dietrichepik, a scholarly classified collection of basically Upper German poetry with very remarkable contradictions in the narrative environments of its apparently comparable protagonists and plots, is undoubtedly of insufficient historical credibility.

It may be noteworthy to annotate that the Low German tradition Koninc Ermenrîkes Dôt, published on a 16th-century leaflet under the title Van Dirick van dem Berne, clearly provides Dietrich’s most evil antagonist as ruler of Franckriken. This lay has been estimated as an episodic work, appearing as legendary as an âventiure. Furthermore, the leaflet’s text nowhere allows to cognize ‘Ostrogothic ambiance’. As regards Dietrich’s expeller, locally titled van Armentriken, Heinzle remarks also the proverb collection of Johannes Agricola, follower and, for a certain period, close friend of Martin Luther. As being noted in this ‘anthology’ of 1523, the ‘Franks under Ermentfrid had conquered the «Lombardy» whence they killed the Harlungen’.
4.  Low Saxon Historiography and the Annals

Widukind of Corvey, 10th-century historiographer of the continental Saxons (Res gestae Saxonicae – Rerum gestarum Saxonicarum libri tres), disagrees with some basic accounts and narrative items on Gregory of Tours' versions. Relating the protagonists in the war between the Franks and the Thuringians, for instance, the Saxon historiographer conveys Thiadricus as an illegitimate son of Huga, rex Francorum, and recounts Amal(a)berga as the daughter of the latter. Furthermore, the source of the Saxon monk provides her as scheming spouse of Thuringian king Irminfridus. Widukind neither provides Clodoveus nor any related spelling form pointing satisfyingly to this name of Theuderic’s father whom, however, the author(ess) of the Annals copied later from an obvious Frankish historiography.

Widukind’s version of this Frankish-Thuringian War, likely completed with a memorabilis fama, places emphasis on the nobleman Iring. He is serving the Thuringian couple as emissary in the escalating conflict with Thiadricus who finally makes Iring to kill the Thuringian king, cf. Gregory’s version hist. III,8. After reciting Iring’s assassination of Thiadric, however, Widukind instantly asks the truth of this version: si qua fides his dictis adhibeatur, penes lectorem est; cf. liber I,13. Interestingly, Gregory relates that the rumour on Theuderic’s misfortune by capture became known even in Clermont [hist. III,9].

Widukind remarks on the Frankish-Thuringian War that Theuderic regarded the Saxons socii quoque Francorum et amici (op. cit. ch. I, 13). Since Low Saxon historiography provides Iring as contemporary of Frankish king Theuderic I, it seems unlikely that northern traditions were in dire need of transferring their protagonists Þidrek and Irung from any receptive Ostrogothic milieu. The author(ess) of the Annales Quedlinburgenses (QA) knows of an emissary Iringus who accompanied Thuringian king Irminfridus (Gregory’s Hermenifredus), his spouse and sons on their escape from Schidinga. Obviously not interdependently, a passage in the manuscript De Origine Gentis Swevorum, 9 completes that Irminfrid fled to an ‘Hunish Attila’. The Thidrekssaga relates Irung at the Susat residence of ‘Attila’, while Irminfrid is lured to Theuderic’s seat Vernica (today: Zülpich-Vernich) by Gregory [hist. III,8], see quotations farther below.

The Quedlinburg Annals, remarkably supplemented with the Annales Hersfeldenses, Annales Hildesheimenses, Chronicon Wirziburgense, cf. MGH SS 3, ed. G. H. Pertz, Hanover 1839, pgs 22–90, recite the father and brothers of Theuderic I = Hugo Theodoricus in accordance with a basic genealogy from Frankish historiography. Nonetheless, as already mentioned above, the Quedlinburg chronicler would not reject Widukind’s short dynastical ranking of Frankish kings. The annalist rather uses this explication:
Hugo Theodoricus iste dicitur, id est Francus, quia olim omnes Franci Hugones vocabantur a suo quodam duce Hugone.
(loc. cit. p. 31).

As recorded at Quedlinburg, apparently after sending a message to King Irminfrid ‘pro regni stabilitate’ ad electionem suam Irminfridum regem Thuringorum honorifice invitavit, Theuderic appeared in Thuringiaon territory east of the Rhineas new authority and legitimate successor of Chlodoveus about 532. This dating, referring to rather an ‘invading new king of our land’, seems conceivable in so far. Interestingly, as regards the Frankish-Thuringian War breaking out about that time at hand of Gregory of Tours' accounts, the Annals connect the meeting of this Frankish Theodericus with a chieftain of the Saxones, who came ashore somewhere on the historic location Hadeln (Hadalaon – an area named after an individual called HADALA or Hadolaun in the meaning of fighting location?) for alliance, aid and territorial reward, with his twelve noblest companions testifying with him as witnesses of his oath:
Audiens autem Theodoricus, Saxones, quorum iam fortitudo per totum pene divulgabatur mundum, in loco Hadalaon dicto applicuisse, in suum eos convocavit auxilium, promittens eis cum suo suorumque XII nobilissimorum iuramento, si Thuringos sibi adversantes vincerent…
(loc. cit. p. 32).

The Quedlinburg editor dates the death of a ruler known as ‘Attila’ only a few lines below this passage, recounting that a little girl, whom he had forcibly deported from her slain father, daggered him to death with a knife:
Attila, rex Hunorum et totius Europae terror, a puella quadam, quam a patre occiso vi rapuit, cultello perfossus, interiit.

The Annals allocate this text to the period of Justinian I, whilst Matthias Springer, possibly taking the De Origine Gentis Swevorum 9 into consideration, prefers to conclude that the Quedlinburg writer had errorneously chronologized Attila’s death, Die Sachsen, 2004, p. 92. Did the editor of the Annals really have no idea about the circumstances of death of that most impressing 5th-century ruler of the eastern Huns?

Other passages, as contextually quoted from Jordanes' Getica (49, 254; ‘Ildico’), Poeta Saxo (G. Caroli III, 17, 26–34) appear less compelling for a solid receptive pattern which was serving for the note about Attila’s death written at Quedlinburg. Rather, this account provided by the Annals seems to be based on ‘confusion’ caused by a tradition on another ‘Attila milieu’. Hence, this context might be indicating at least an unclarified problem of source and transmission – albeit the version of Poeta Saxo seems preferable for analysts who think of the motif that the queen herself assassinated the king in order to revenge her father’s death.

Quedlinburg Abbey

Column relief in the crypt of the Abbey Church.
Photo by S. Weigelt.
Martina Giese argues onto the problem of the Quedlinburg reception of ‘Attila’s death’:
«Unter allen historiographisch für Attila bezeugten Todesvarianten272 stehen diesem Satz der Annalen der Bericht des illyrischen Chronisten Marcellinus Comes († c. 534)273 und das Gedicht des Poeta Saxo aus dem endenden 9. Jahrhundert am nächsten274, doch deckt keine der beiden Quellen alle Informationen der Quedlinburger Annalen ab275. Während durch Übernahmen im annalistischen Teil gesichert ist, daß die Annalistin die Gesta Caroli des Poeta Saxo gekannt hat276, liegen Berührungspunkte mit Marcellinus' Chronik in den Annalen sonst nicht vor. Gegen eine direkte Benutzung seines Werkes für die Schilderung von Attilas Ende spricht überdies die vergleichsweise geringe Verbreitung der Chronik um 1000277. Obwohl sich die Frage nicht zweifelsfrei entscheiden läßt, dürfte die Variante von Attilas Tod in den Annalen nach dem Vorbild der Gesta Caroli und auf Grund mündlicher Erzähltradition wiedergegeben sein278, auf die sich auch der Poeta Saxo explizit beruft279. Eine zusätzliche Benutzung von Marcellinus' Werk ist dagegen unwahrscheinlich.
272) Vgl. dazu DE BOOR, Attilabild S. 19–25.
273) Marcellinus Comes, Chronicon ad a. 454 (MGH Auct. ant. 11 S. 86 l. 2–5): Attila rex Hunnorum Europa orbator provinciae noctu mulieris manu cultroque confoditur. quidam vero sanguinis reiectione necatum perhibent. Von der hier als Todesursache angebotenen Blutsturz-Variante findet sich in den Quedlinburger Annalen keine Spur. Zu Marcellinus Comes und seinem Werk vgl. Brian CROKE, Count Marcellinus and his Chronicle (2001).
274) Poeta Saxo, Gesta Caroli III, 26–34 (MGH Poetae 4, 1, S. 31): … rex donec eorum / Attila, multorum totiens victor populorum, / Feminea periit dextra sub Tartara trusus. / Namque ferunt, quod cum vino somnoque gravatum, / Cum nox omnigenis animantibus alta quietem / Suggereret, coeptis crudelibus effera conjunx / Ducens insomnes odiis stimulantibus umbras, / Horrendo regem regina peremerit ausu; / Ultra necem proprii tamen est hoc crimine patris. Siehe zu dieser Quelle insgesamt unten S. 168. Die Ähnlichkeit der in den Annales Quedlinburgenses überlieferten Todesvariante mit derjenigen der Gesta Caroli zeigten auf:  HÜFFER, Studien S. 69;  SIMSON, Exkurs III, in: ABEL / SIMSON, Jahrbücher 5, 2  S. 592 mit Anm. 7. Vgl. auch DE BOOR, Attilabild S. 22. In Unkenntnis dieser Studie und ohne auf die Annales Quedlinburgenses einzugehen, analysierte die betreffenden Verse des Poeta Saxo BOHNE, Poeta S. 34–37. Diese Studien, mit Ausnahme derjenigen de Boors, ignorierte HAUBRICHS, Heldensage S. 185 f. Zu Attilas Tod in den Annalen vgl. auch WEDDIGE, Heldensage S. 100.
275) Von einem Messer als Mordwaffe weiß der Poeta Saxo nichts, er hält die Mörderin für Attilas Frau, während die Quedlinburgerin von puella quaedam spricht. Auch zur gewalttätigen Komponente (vi rapuit) der Annalen fehlt eine Parallele beim Poeta. Gemeinsam ist beiden das Wissen um den von Attila verschuldeten Tod des Vaters der Täterin. Bei Marcellinus fehlt eine Entsprechung zu den Angaben im Relativsatz der Annalen (S. 415 Z. 2: quam – rapuit).
276) Siehe unten S. 167 ff.
277) Vgl. die Auflistung der Handschriften von Brian CROKE, The Chronicle of Marcellinus. A Translation and Commentary (with a reproduction of Mommsen’s edition of the text) (Australian Association for Byzantine Studies. Byzantina Australiensia 7, 1995) S. XXVI, darunter als früheste Handschriften nur ein Codex des 6. und lediglich zwei Codices des 11. Jahrhunderts. HAUBRICHS, Heldensage S. 185 behauptet ohne Belege, die Chronik des Marcellinus sei „im Westen durchaus verbreitet” gewesen, S. 177 Anm. 31, S. 183, 185 und 198 nimmt er die Chronik des Marcellinus als Vorlage für den Satz über Attilas Tod in den Annalen in Anspruch.
278) Im Unterschied zu HAUBRICHS, Heldensage S. 186, halte ich die sprachlichen Unterschiede beider Versionen angesichts der aus der Versform der Gesta resultierenden Formulierungszwänge nicht für ein zugkräftiges Argument gegen eine Textabhängigkeit.
279) Poeta Saxo, Gesta Caroli III, 17 und 29 (S. 31): Sic veteres memorare solent… / Namque ferunt…

[Among all the variants of death being historiographically attested to Attila272, the closest to the Annals' account are the report of the Illyrian chronicler Marcellinus Comes († c. 534)273 and Poeta Saxo’s poem274 of the ending 9th century, but none of the two sources reveals all information given by the Quedlinburg Annals.275 Since it is ascertained by receptions in the annalistic part that the annalist knew the Gesta Caroli of the Poeta Saxo276, there are no meeting points with Marcellinus' chronicle in the Annals. The comparatively small circulation of the chronicle about 1000277 contradicts a direct use of his work for the presentation of Attila’s end. Although the question can not be decided without doubt, the variant of Attila’s death in the Annals might follow the pattern of the Gesta Caroli and oral tradition278 to which the Poeta Saxo explicitly refers279. An additional use of Marcellinus' work, on the other hand, is unlikely.
272) On this item see DE BOOR, Attilabild pgs 19–25.
273) Marcellinus Comes, Chronicon ad a. 454 (MGH Auct. ant. 11, S. 86 l. 2–5):
Attila rex Hunnorum Europa orbator provinciae noctu mulieris manu cultroque confoditur. quidam vero sanguinis reiectione necatum perhibent. There is no trace in the Quedlinburg Annals of the cortical variant offered here as cause of death. On Marcellinus Comes and his work see Brian CROKE, Count Marcellinus and his Chronicle (2001).
274) Poeta Saxo, Gesta Caroli III, 26–34 (MGH Poetae 4, 1, S. 31): … rex donec eorum / Attila, multorum totiens victor populorum, / Feminea periit dextra sub Tartara trusus. / Namque ferunt, quod cum vino somnoque gravatum, / Cum nox omnigenis animantibus alta quietem / Suggereret, coeptis crudelibus effera conjunx / Ducens insomnes odiis stimulantibus umbras, / Horrendo regem regina peremerit ausu; / Ultra necem proprii tamen est hoc crimine patris. See in all on this source p. 168 below. The similarity of the variant of death given by the Annales Quedlinburgenses with that of the Gesta Caroli show: HÜFFER, Studien, p. 69; SIMSON, Exkurs III, in: ABEL / SIMSON, Jahrbücher 5,2 p. 592 with note 7. See also DE BOOR, Attilabild p. 22. Ignoring this study and without referring to the Annales Quedlinburgenses, the relevant verses of Poeta Saxo were analyzed by BOHNE, Poeta, pp. 34–37. These studies, with the exception of those of de Boor, ignored HAUBRICHS, Heldensage, p. 185f. On Attila’s death in the Annals see also WEDDIGE, Heldensage, p. 100.
275) The Poeta Saxo does not know of a knife as the murder weapon, he regards the murderer to be Attila’s spouse, whereas the Quedlinburg nun speaks of puella quaedam. There is also a parallel at the Poeta to the violent component (vi rapuit) of the Annals. Both know that Attila caused the death of the father of the committer. Marcellinus lacks a correspondence with the statements in the relative clause of the Annals, p. 415  l. 2: quam – rapuit.
276) See below p. 167f.
277) See the list of manuscripts by Brian CROKE, The Chronicle of Marcellinus. A translation and commentary with a reproduction of Mommsen’s edition of the text, in: Australian Association for Byzantine Studies, Byzantina Australiensia 7, 1995, p. XXVI, including the earliest manuscripts which are only one code of the 6th and only two codices of the 11th century. HAUBRICH, Heldensage, p. 185, maintains without evidence that the Chronicle of Marcellinus was "widespread in the West", p. 177 note 31. On p. 183, 185 and 198 he claims the chronicle of Marcellinus as a model for the sentence on Attila’s death in the Annals.
278) In distinction to HAUBRICHS, Heldensage, p. 186, I do not estimate the linguistic differences between the two versions as a compelling argument against the dependence of the text in view of the forced formulation resulting from the verse form of the Gesta.
279) Poeta Saxo, Gesta Caroli III, 17 & 29 (p. 31): Sic veteres memorare solent… / Namque ferunt…]
(Martina Giese, Die Annales Quedlinburgenses. Doctoral thesis, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, 1999. Reprint at Hanover 2004. Quotation from pgs 109–111.)
http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/tmr/article/view/16073/22191 (retrieved on July 2015).

The approximate position of ‘Attila’ in the timeline of these Annals does not contradict the De Origine Gentis Swevorum (op. cit. p. 160).

Martina Giese reconfirms the conclusion of newer research that some ‘Ostrogothic interpolation’ in(to) the Annals does not seem genuine in a closer context of historical and/or editorial authenticity. Thus, this very passage seems to belong to the later edits:
Amulung Theoderic dicitur; proavus suus Amul vocabatur, qui Gothorum potissimus censebatur. Et iste fuit Thideric de Berne, de quo cantabant rustici olim.
(loc. cit. p. 31)

Quedlinburg by Merian, 1647.

Regarding the Frankish-Thuringian War, the Annals localize at least three battles between the rivers Weser and Unstrut. The places Maerstem and Arhen, modernly identified with e.g. ‘Marstem at Hanover’ and ‘Ohrum on the Oker’, are also mentioned in the accounts about the Saxon campaigns of Charlemagne. The texts written at Quedlinburg do not relate the battle between Thiadric and Irminfrid on location called Runibergun by Widukind – either Ronnenberg at Hanover, region of Marstem or, less likely, Ronneberge at Nebra. It should be further annotated that Widukind’s urbe quae dicitur Scithingi does re-appear in the Annals as the important place of siege and conquest (Schidinga). However, its contextual fortification cannot be proved as a contemporary venue for archaeo-chronological reasons if equated with the castle’s ground area of the pre-Carolingian foundation at Burgscheidungen on the Unstrut; notably M. Springer (op. cit.) quoting Erika Schmidt-Thielbeer, Burgscheidungen, in: Handbuch der historischen Stätten Deutschlands vol. II, Stuttgart 1987, p. 62. The Quedlinburg author connects this obvious place with
Irminfridus autem cum uxore et filiis, et uno milite Iringo nomine, capta a Saxonibus noctu civitate Schidinga qua se concluserat, vix evasit.
(loc. cit. p. 32)

Thus, the decisive battle, now with Saxons aiding the Franks, has been situated somewhere on the Unstrut.

4.1  The Annals' Second Source

The Quedlinburg chronicler seems to provide an amalgamation of obvious divergent spatiotemporal traditions about figures representing or equated with ‘Ermanricus’, ‘Attila’, ‘Theodericus’ and ‘Odoacrus’.
This author(ess) reports that
1. between 450 and 457 Ermanricus (...) let kill his only son Fridericus, and then let hang his relatives Embrica and Fritla who are mentioned as ‘Emerca’ and ‘Fritla’ by the Widsith . Likewise, at the instigation of his kinsman Odoacer, he expelled his kinsman Theoderic from Bern and forced him to go into exile to ‘Attila’,


whose regnal right of disposal obviously includes the northern Húnaland with eastern regions of the Harz, since

2. between 491 and 518, (...) ‘Theoderic’ was returned to the kingdom of the Goths by the support of ‘Attila’, overthrew his relative Odoacer at ‘Ravenna’, and after leaving him alive at the intercession of Attila – sent him into exile to a few estates he donated him at the confluence of the rivers Elbe and Saale;

3. also in this period (...) Ermanricus, king of the Goths, was chopped off his hands and feet and thus deservedly slain by the brothers Hemidus and Serila and Adaccarus, whose father he had killed.

These interrelated passages read as follows [cf. MGH SS 3, p. 31 ]
1. Eo tempore Ermanricus super omnes Gothos regnavit, astutior in dolo, largior in dono; qui post mortem Friderici unici filii sui, sua perpetrata voluntate, patrueles suos Embricam et Fritlam  (= ‘Herlungos’?)  patibulo suspendit. Theodericum similiter, patruelum suum, instimulante Odoacro patruele suo, de Verona pulsum apud Attilam exulare coegit.
2. (...) Theodoricus Attilae regis auxilio in regnum Gothorum reductus, suum patruelem Odoacrum in Ravenna civitate expugnatum interveniente Attila, ne occideretur, exilio deputatum, paucis villis iuxta confluentiam Albiae et Salae fluminum donavit.
3. Ermanrici regis Gothorum, а fratribus Hemido et Serila et Adaccaro, quorum patrem interfecerat, amputatis manibus et et pedibus turpiter, uti dignus erat, occisio. (...) Theodoricus Attilae regis auxilio in regnum... [→ 2.]

Excerpt (1.) on Ermanricus, right before the mention of Aëtius, who defeated Attila’s campaign of terror in Gaul amid 5th century, is partially identifiable with some contexts provided by the Thidrekssaga, cf. Mb 278, Mb 282. This excerpt refers to the reign of East Roman Emperor Marcianus, misspelled as Martianus (‘cum Valentiniano’) in the Annals. As regards excerpt (2.), the Quedlinburg chronicler assigned its contents to the period of Emperor Anastasius I Dicorus (491–518), in which the chronicler mentions also Ermanricus' death. However, both the date and cause of his violent death cannot refer to the end of the Greuthungian Gothic king who died in 375. The slaying of Ermanricus has obviously to do with the ‘Svanhild-story’ that was originally brought or made up by Jordanes. His pretty legend has been estimated less believable against the report by Ammianus Marcellinus on the cause of death of the Greutungian ruler. Thus, according to text critical research on both writers, Jordanes may have been confused with another individual called or nicknamed ‘Ermanaric’, who is said by the Annals to have murdered the father of the revengers. Furthermore, it might be interesting to read between the Annals' lines that Theoderic got back his kingdom after the removal of Ermanric by Guðrún’s sons (!), cf. ch. 4.3.

Theoderic’s ascription to an ‘exiled hostage’ in the period of Marcianus (450–457), as provided by the Annals, was apparently a further good argument for scholarly conclusion that Dietrich/Thidrek should be taken for the heroized Ostrogothic king. Historically, however, this Theoderic was never expelled from the Italian Verona, rather he attacked Odoacer who entrenched himself in Ravenna. Three decades earlier, based on negotiation and agreement, Theoderic had left the Pannonian seat of his father. This was certainly not an escape to the Byzantine Court of Marcianus' successor Leo I at Theoderic’s age of about eight in c. 459; cf. Jordanes who claims his stay there for ten years. It is obvious that this context appears less connectable to his escape myth 30/32. Both before Theoderic’s transfer and a few years after his return, usually dated 469/470, it was not he but his father who led the kingdom which, however, became his own not before 474/475. Thus, this Ostrogothic Theodoric cannot be considered for the re-enthronement in his ancestral realm under the period of Anastasius.

Moreover, due to the obvious massive support given by Thidrek’s mighty patron to reconquer his residence Bern, as accordingly chronologized by Ritter, only the Húnalandish but not the more southeastern Hun ‘Attila’ († 453) would match the period of Anastasius (491–518). Compared to the Italian Battle of Ravenna, Gransport (dated c. 515 by Ritter) appears not as a defeat for Dietrich/Thidrek, rather a considerable weakening both for himself and his most eminent foe. In the course of the Battle of Ravenna, the trapped Odoacer failed with two attempts to break out and he was therefore ultimately dependent on peace negotiations. The historical dating of Theoderic’s transfer to Byzantium deviates less than two years from the chronology of the Annals, which seem to offer an interpretable stay of at least 33 or 34 years outside his father’s kingdom for southern Dietrich poetry, as to calculate from the end of Marcianus' reign to the beginning of Anastasius' period.

In this context, besides, we can also refer not only to Ritter’s conclusion on summer and winter counting related to the life of Hildebrand. Ermanaric’s age of death, as retold by Jordanes, is possibly/likely based on this counting mode. In this respect, he and Clovis would have reached roughly the same age. According to Gregory’s half-decade time grid for dating almost all events, however, only an approximate lifetime can be assumed for the latter; notably e.g. Laurent Theis, Clovis: de l’histoire au mythe (1996), p. 52. It may seem worthy to remark that Frankish king Clovis died also in Anastasius' reign!

Futhermore, it is worth mentioning that Gregory of Tours knows of an explicit Saxon chieftain called Adovacrius, Adovagrius (hist. II,18), Odovacr(i)us (hist. II,19), who had to do with Childeric in Gaul and fought with him against the Alemanni in Gregory’s text. The Liber Historiae Francorum provides the form Adovagrius, cf. MGH SS rer. Merov. 2 (ed. Bruno Krusch, Hanover 1888) p. 23828, while the Annals know of an Odoacrus who was exiled by Theuderic (see above). As remarked farther below, the 9th- century historiographer Rudolf of Fulda wrote that the Saxon commander H(*)adugoto supported him against the Thuringians.

Thus, at hand of these accounts, the scribe at Quedlinburg has apparently mixed Ostrogothic with eastern Frankish and local history at first glance. However, (s)he points out that the northern ‘Odoacer’ was not killed by ‘Theoderic’ at ‘Ravenna’: ne occideretur. It is thus obvious that the chronicler knows of another version, namely about the murder of the Italian Odoacer by the Amalian Theoderic.

The Annals let us further know that an obvious second ‘Attila’ successfully supported the re-enthronement of this territorial Ostro-Gaulish’ Theoderic, as the latter then banished the former ‘Odoacer’ to an estate on the confluence of Elbe and Saale rivers (why? → ch. 4.4 with proposed solution). This second Attila, of an obvious other tradition, must not necessarily be forwarded anachronistically by the Ottonian scribe, nor this Theoderic have been the Ostrogothic king, nor that 5th-century ‘Ermanaric’ and the Saxon Odoacer have been uncontemporary. Intertextually, as already considered above, it is now obvious that the De Origine Gentis Swevorum, 9 (op. cit. p. 160) does not contradict the lifetime period of the second northern Attila rex Hunorum on whom the Annals have noted his date of death as a 6th-century contemporary of Theuderic I and Thuringian king Irminfrid (see on both Gregory of Tours at hist. III,7–8).

Apparently not attaching relevance to the chronicle written at Quedlinburg, Ritter recognized King Atala’s death in the period of Justin (527–564/565) and localized the seat of the mighty sister of that Húnalandish king in the region of the Harz mountains by means of the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts.

4.2  Historiographical validations: Frankish and Saxon history

Slashing Iring’s rôle colported by Widukind, the Annals are forwarding a more brief version of Widukind’s tradition on Amalberga’s and Irminfrid’s incitement leading to Theuderic’s military expedition. The core of this account knows even the author of the De Origine Gentis Swevorum. Regarding the Frankish-Thuringian War, Matthias Springer reviews the competence of the scribe or ‘scribess’ at Quedlinburg with this general assessment:
Die Arbeitsweise des Quedlinburger Verfassers ähnelt durchaus der eines neuzeitlichen Historikers. Da er aus dem „Buch der fränkischen Geschichte” wusste, wo Irminfrid den Tod gefunden hatte, wird er Widukind’s lange Erzählung von Iring für eine „Sage” gehalten haben, zumal der Corveyer Mönch selber die Schilderung als kaum glaubwürdig bezeichnet hatte. (Op. cit. p. 93.)
[The operating principle of the author at Quedlinburg might resemble well that of a modern historian. Since he knew from the ‘Book of Frankish History’ where Irminfrid met his death, he might have estimated the long story of Iring as a legend, the more so as the monk of Corvey himself had been qualifying this account as barely credible.]

Rudolf of Fulda (aforementioned), who most likely represents an important source of Widukind, writes on Frankish-Thuringian War that Thiotricus rex Francorum could only overthrow the Thuringians with aid by obvious ‘Anglo-Saxons’ under their leader Hadugoto (cf. Translatio Sancti Alexandri, auctoribus Ruodolfo et Meginharto). Adam of Bremen, another German historiographer of 11th century, basically conveys Rudolf’s version (Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, ch. III).

It seems not unproblematic to except definitely any involvement of Anglo-Saxon mercenaries and/or ‘true Saxons’ north or northwest of the Thuringians in this war. The participation of sailing forces Saxones ex gente Anglorum, provided at first by Rudolf and thereafter re-introduced by Widukind and the Annals, has been challenged to detect as fiction, notably Richard Drögereit who finally concludes: «Rudolf zeugte die Fabel, Widukind zog sie mit Liebe groß». (Die sächsische Stammessage, in: Niedersächsisches Jahrbuch für Landesgeschichte 26, 1954, see p. 197; id., Die „Sächsische Stammessage”. Überlieferung, Benutzung und Entstehung, in: Stader Jahrbuch Ser. NF, vol. 63, 1973, pgs 7–58.)

Possibly serving for narrative motif and solution in this apparently blurry context, Martin Lintzel remembers Procopius (History of the Wars, Gothic Wars, VIII, xx,6 [English edition]) who knows of Anglo-Saxons (people of ‘Brittia’ = ‘Angili, Frissones, Brittones’) emigrating back to ‘less populated’ territory of the Franks and to the Varni (M. Lintzel, Zur Enstehungsgeschichte des sächsischen Stammes, in: Sachsen und Anhalt 3, 1927, pgs 1–46, see fn. 132). With further connotation basically agreeing: Reinhard Wenskus, Sachsen – Angelsachsen – Thüringer, in: Walther Lammers (Ed.), Entstehung und Verfassung des Sachsenstammes, Darmstadt 1967, pgs 483–545, see p. 520f.

Richard Drögereit and Matthias Springer (op. cit. pgs 75–89) strongly reject a believable ‘migration-and-origin tradition’ of the Saxons which is somewhat echoed by the eldest trio of Rudolf of Fulda, Widukind of Corvey and the Annals. While Drögereit does basically follow Sigurd Graf von Pfeil, Die Sachsensage bei Widukind von Corvey, Göttingen 1968, p. 46, Hilkert Weddige seems to resume the disparate scholarly opinions with this compromise (Heldensage und Stammessage. Iring und der Untergang des Thüringerreiches in Historiographie und heroischer Dichtung [Tübingen 1989] p. 39):
Hathagat und die mit ihm verbundenen kultischen Elemente werden wohl autochthon-altsächsischer Überlieferung entstammen, während das Eingreifen der Sachsen in den Thüringerkrieg auf Grund eines fränkischen Hilfegesuchs sowohl auf einem realhistorischen Faktum als auch auf einem literarischem Schema beruhen kann.
[Hathagat and the cultic elements being connected with him might be derived from an autochthonous Old Saxon tradition, while the intervention of the Saxons into the Thuringian war on Frankish request of help can be based on an actual historical fact as well as a literary scheme.]

4.3  Guðrún’s sons vs Ermanric by the Second Source

Already proceeding from the Annals and Nordic traditions, we can follow close spatial relations between this Ermanric, the Franks, and their neighbouring peoples for both geostrategical and historical contexts, cf. i.a. William J. Pfaff on Ermenrik in the Thidrekssaga (ch. 10.1). This narrative environment can also be solidified with the Guðrúnarhvǫt, the Hamðismál, and the historical potential and interpretation of Clovis' takeover of King Sigibert’s realm (cf. Gregory of Tours, see ch. 9). This Rhenish king can be paralleled with that Sigurð whom Frankish king Clovis let slay on a hunting trip somewhere east of the Rhine – where Sigibert/Sigurð had a secret treasure hoard. Thus, interliterarily, Jǫrmunrekr (= Ermanric → ‘Clovis’) appears accessible to Sigurð’s and Guðrún’s daughter Svanhild. This approach seems plausible since the kingdom of her murdered father was obviously adjacent or pertaining to the Rhenish realm of Dietrich/Theuderic with their seats Verona–Bonn and Tolbiacum/ Tulbiacum–Zülpich by Thidrekssaga and Gregory of Tours.

Further, basically supplementing the Annals, we know from the Ragnars drápa loðbrókar, the eldest surviving Skaldic poetry of the 9th century, that Guðrún’s sons Sǫrli and Hamðir are said to have fought in Jǫrmunrekr’s hall. Since the revenge motif of Kriemhild has long been propagated by the Nibelungenlied, the Nordic Grímildr or Guðrún or both could have been aware also of the complicity of Jǫrmunrekr/Ermanric in Sigurð’s death and thus motivated Sǫrli and Hamðir for taking revenge on the real mighty ruler who hired and/or allowed the Niflungs to slay Sigurð (with involvement of his deceived son). This seems actually to be the most probable second motive which the authoress of the Annals might have submitted by omitting deliberately the name of the father of Serila, Hemidus, Addacarus, whom the Guðrúnarhvǫt claims as Guðrún’s third spouse Jónakr. However, in Germanic heroic legend he is nowhere connected with any heroic or other noteworthy account. Thus, if the Annals' chronicler had suspected him of being a narrative duplication of Guðrún’s first husband Sigurð, she may have done well not to give any further thought to the paternal side of Hemidus/Hamðir and Serila/Sǫrli for her account. Furthermore, considering Guðrún’s traditionally rooted desire for revenge, it is by no means excluded that – rather by primal tradition – her daughter Svanhild, (step)sister of Sǫrli and Hamðir, had already fallen victim to a failed plan of revenge against her spouse Jǫrmunrekr/Ermanric, who has been seen responsible for the slaying of her father Sigurð.

At hand of all these transmissions, however, neither their origin nor all their figures can be made probable in southeastern Europe, cf. the textual criticism on Jordanes' pretty legend of ‘Ermanaric’ already by high mediaeval chroniclers. So we may certainly estimate that the Annals are of special value for (historical) interpretations of chronicles, sagas and legends. Since we know that the latter genre of transmission does not necessarily have to be interested in the real political background of an event, its focus can rather be on figurative heroic rendering and effect, which may be thus subject to ‘transformation’ through the use of even external motif patterns.

4.4  Second ‘Attila’ and Second ‘Odoacer’ by the Second Source

It is obvious that both the Amalian Theoderic and the first Frankish Theuderic could never meet an Ermanaric as their most influential antagonist in an Ostrogothic sphere, but the first Frankish Theoderic be the historical contemporary and successor of that ‘Ermanaric’ whom the Quedlinburg Annals chronologize as a contemporary of an obvious Saxon Odoacrus between 491 and 518. Since we find him in this chronicle actually just ‘overthrown’ (expugnatum but not occideretur) at Ravenna, which is now to be localized, he did not necessarily have to have been killed there.

The Thidrekssaga may shed light on this context and, implicitly, the Saxon one of obviously two interwoven Odoacers:
Since the 9th-century version of the Hildebrandslied provides an ‘Odoacer’ as the individual who expelled Dietrich, it may be apt to hypothesize the parallel that Gregory’s Gallo-Saxon ‘Odovacarius’ (the Liber’s Adovagrius) banned the Frankish Theodericus on behalf of Clovis (counselled by Aurelian) or an ‘Ermenrik’ advised by Sifka: When appearing as Thidrek’s former enemy in the Rabenschlacht on the Moselle,(*) accordingly either TRAVENNE (see above ch. 3.1) or RAVENTHAL at GRANSPORT dated 515 by Ritter, the Saxon warlord would have been as an ambitious commander on Ermenrik’s side and – hence – deserved thereafter to be banned by Thidrek = Theuderic. Furthermore, according to the Old Norse + Swedish texts and Gallo-Roman sources, either Ermenrik or his historical placeholder was responsible for the political desolation and isolation of Roma II = Trier in 5th and 6th century, as this political status has been clearly connoted also by Late Antique clerics, e.g. Avitus of Vienne, and attentive historians, cf. e.g. Hans Hubert Anton, Eugen Ewig.
This area around the Confluentes up to the Pellenz (cf. Puli in the Old Norse manuscripts), derived from Latin Palatia, was of remarkable economic importance and thus densely populated in early times. For example, the General Directorate for Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate (formerly: Landesamt für Denkmalpflege Rheinland-Pfalz) uncovered a huge burial ground at Thür, western Pellenz, which encompassed more than 1100 graves. These were mainly Frankish graves of Migration and Carolingian Period, but there were also Roman and Celtic among them. Typical ground plans of Celtic houses built as early as in 5th century B.C. were also found there. This region may appear of same literary place value as Dietrich’s Bern, cf. Vernica at Zülpich near Verona = Bonn on the Rhine, cf. Bernkastel-Kues on the Moselle as a possible memorial of a Bern castle. The Chronica regia Coloniensis dates to the year 1197 that a Theodoricum Bernensem, ‘who appeared as a mirage on a black horse on the Moselle, is said to have announced that various misfortunes and miseries would befall the Roman Empire’. back to text

5.  How reliable is Gregory of Tours east of the Rhine ?

A page of a mediaeval transcription of a vellum
written by Gregory.
Gregory apparently put forward unsatisfactory information about Theuderic’s descent and vita. On the one hand, he considers him well as pre-eminent son of Clovis, but on the other, he would not satisfyingly recite a supporting scale of examples. The more we closely follow Gregory to Clovis and Theuderic, the more queries we get. Nonetheless, it seems plausible that the mightiest Frankish king kept an eye on the young designated king of an important eastern kingdom between the Meuse and the Rhine. Yet, Gregory actually appears credible in this case if he calls Clovis at least the political foster-father of Theuderic.

In general, there is sound criticism of Gregory’s attitude of rendering history by ignoring or misrepresenting history among scholars who have been contributing to the prevailing scholarly opinion; see, for instance, Ian N. Wood, Walter A. Goffart, Matthias Springer, Georg Scheibelreiter.

The historiographical dilemma of 5th to 6th century naturally encompasses the family of Chlodio, head of a Frankish dynasty in the very dark shadow of Gregory’s brightly shining early Merovingians. An old tradition, written as a chronicle to be titled as Geographia et Historia Montis, refers Chlodio’s most influential son ‘Alberon of Mons’. John Mack Gregory translated this account on him and his residential location:
This town was at first founded by Alberon, a Prince of France, son to Clodion the Hairy, King of France, and grandson to Pharamond the Great, first King thereof; who, in the year of our lord 449, being left, by his father’s death, to the guardianship of his kinsman Merovec, and his guardian having deprived him of his inheritance, and usurped his crown to himself, went thereupon into Germany, to sollicit assistance to recover his right, and was assisted by the Germans the Alemanni according to Jean-Baptiste Gramaye on François de Rosières so powerfully, as that, in progress of time, he recovered all the lower Austrasia, and a good part of Belgium, as far a Tournay and Cambray; and, in the year 481, he came hither into that country, where now Mons is...
(The Geography and History of Mons, in: THE HARLEIAN MISCELLANY XI, p. 90.)
http://books.google.de/books?id=Qh0wAAAAYAAJ (retrieved Oct. 2010).

According to Jacques de Guyse, Annales Historiae illustrium Principum Hannoniae, and the editions of Jean-Baptiste Gramaye on this region (see Antiqq. Brabantiae, ed. François de Rosières), Chlodio ruled together with Merovech during the period of Aegidius. Chlodio is said to have appointed Merovech as a guardian of his sons in case of his death, but, according to these sources, he had appropriated their royal heritage unlawfully. The authors of these texts convey three sons of Chlodio: Albero of Mons, Reginald (‘Chlodebald’), Ranicar (or Raginar). When Albero died in 491, he left at least two sons, Walbert I and Ragnachar (Ragnicar) of Cambrai, who was later slain by Clovis in Cambrai. Furthermore, these sources maintain that Chlodio’s son Albero, who certainly was not Childeric, was married with a sister of the Italian Theoderic.

Regarding the position of the Frankish Theuderic I in the Thidrekssaga and Merovingian history, the author remarks at endnote 22 of his article Wadhincúsan, monasterium Ludewici, catalogued at the National German Library DNB (urn:nbn:de: 0233-2009033115, updated version at
https://www.badenhausen.net/harz/svava/MonasteriumLudewici.pdf ):
Zumindest finden wir im Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde, vol. 30 (2005), unter Theuderich I.  (S. 459–463) die völlig zurecht formulierte Quellenkritik, dass Gregor von Tours behauptet, T.s Mutter sei nur eine Beischläferin (concubina) Chlodwigs I. gewesen (S. 460). Dort heißt es weiter über diesen Theuderich (S. 459), dass er vor 484 geboren sein soll und die erste Tat aus T.s. Leben, von der wir wissen sein nach 507 im Auftrag Chlodwigs I. unternommener südgallischer Feldzug war (S. 461). Nachdem Theuderichs Sohn Theudebert eine „Däneninvasion” im väterlichen Auftrag zurückgeworfen haben soll, spätestens 520 – nach Chlodwigs Tod –, dokumentiert Gregor von Tours erstmals die monarchische Autorität Theuderichs aus der Kölner aula regia. Für die Interpretation von Vertreibung, Exil und Rückeroberungsberichten der Thidrekssaga ist also keineswegs ausgeschlossen, dass deren Protagonist Theuderich in einem Machtkonflikt unterlag, welcher entweder Konsequenzen aus seinem südgallischen Zug von 507/508 nach sich zog oder einen paternalen/maternalen und damit auch rheinische Gebiete tangierenden Erbrecht-Streit betroffen haben konnte. So, wie im subjektiv-subtilen Vorstellungskomplex ein scheinbar verlässlicher fränkischer Historiograf die Mutter Theuderichs bewusst verkannt haben mag, durfte dessen Vater von einem nicht minder verzerrenden mediävalhistoriografischen Konzept – das aus niederdeutschem Traditionspatriotismus nicht weniger als die Tilgung des primus rex Francorum der Lex Salica ausmachen konnte – mit einer in der Thidrekssaga überlieferten Ersatzgestalt unkenntlich gemacht werden.
[The author of the article  Theuderich I.  in the  Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde, RGA 30 (2005), pgs 459–463, rightly issued: Gregory of Tours claims that the mother of T. was just a concubine of Clovis I (p. 460). Furthermore, the encyclopaedist states op. cit. p. 459 that Theuderic is supposed to have been born before 484 and the first deed of T. we know of was a campaign to South Gaul after 507 on behalf of Clovis I (p. 461). After Theuderic’s son Theodebert I repulsed a ‘Danish invasion’ by order of his father, not after 520 but certainly after the death of Clovis, Gregory of Tours begins to document the first appearance of Theuderic as royal authority at the aula regia of Cologne. Rem.: between 520 and 525 he was already aged at least between 36 and 41! Comparatively regarding the interpretation of humiliation, exile and reconquests related by the Thidrekssaga, it is certainly not out of the question that its protagonist Theuderic had to bear consequences of either his South Gaulish campaign (507/508) or an hereditary conflict with a kinsman of his paternal or maternal line about territory even on the Rhine. When an apparently reliable but nonetheless subjective and subtle Frankish historiographer seems to have intentionally misjudged Theuderic’s mother, the mediaeval historiographical concept of a patriotic Low German history could have faded out nothing less than the primus rex Francorum of the Lex Salica in order to make Theuderic’s father unidentifiable with a placeholder who could appear then in the Thidrekssaga.]

It may seem flashy that Thidrek’s father is named after Gregory’s ‘first known’ rex Francorum whom he provides as Theudomar (Theudomer), as Eugen Ewig remarks well this ranking by disregarding Theudomer’s father Richimer; see Gregory’s hist. II,9 and Ostrogothic genealogy, cf. e.g. Trojamythos und fränkische Frühgeschichte, RGA 19 (1998), p. 14. The Guðrúnarkviða III (in þriðja) calls Þioþrecr’s father Þioþmar, a correlation which has been so gushily regarded as an evidential reflection of only an Ostrogothic pattern. As already annotated, the name of Thidrek’s grandfather Samson does also appear in Merovingian genealogy, see Gregory’s hist. V,22.

The Thidrekssaga conveys in Mb 6 an obvious mighty ruler Þetmar whom the Icelandic MS A specifies as Thidrek’s great-grandfather, whereas the scribes of both the eldest vellum manuscript and MS B ascribe him to a great-uncle of Thidrek’s father; see recursively Mb 9. Since Thidrek’s father Þetmar II died apparently young, see chronologically Mb 12, Mb 131, we should not discard the possibility that another close and mighty kinsman of him was historiographically supposed to be the father of Thidrek. This alternative option, apart from nothing more than a potential interpolation with either the Ostrogothic Theodemir or, more likely, an early Frankish offspring named after Gregory’s ‘first known’ rex Francorum, may even appear as a rough literary approximation related to the descendance both Thidrek – Ermenrik and, finally ‘historically’, Theuderic – Clovis.

Regarding reliable genealogical information about Frankish kings of times until the second half of 5th century, we only can say that Gregory left nothing more than assumption.

6.  Interliterary recognitions: Chlodio and Hlǫðr in northern Húnaland

More noteworthy onto the likelihood of the northern geographical environment of Eormenric the ‘Gaulish’ Gotan, appearing as a candidate for the identification with Clovis I, might be the article by Reinhard Wenskus: Der ‘hunnische’ Siegfried, in: Heiko Uecker (Ed.) Studien zum Altgermanischen..., RGA Ergänzungsband 11 (1994), pgs 686–721

First, Wenskus reviews briefly Otto Höfler’s publication Siegfried, Arminius und die Symbolik (Heidelberg 1961, p. 13). The former argues that Sigurð’s geographic apposition hunskr, as provided by Sigurðarkviða hin skamma (The Short Lay of Sigurð) and the Atlamál hin groenlenzku (The Greenlandish Lay of Atli), would hardly ascribe the hero’s roots to Southeast Europe but rather North German(ic) Húnaland. Second, Wenskus recognizes an eye-catching frequentness of Middle Rhenish location names with forms related to ‘A(-)mal’, ‘-mal’, ‘-mael’, ‘-mall’. This observation was afterwards significantly substantiated by Otto K. Schmich (op. cit. 1999, p. 240), who gives credit i.a. to J. M. Watterich, Die Germanen des Rheins… Leipzig 1872, p. 230. Schmich supplements remarkably with related names of hydronyms. Both authors discern these outstandingly appearing names of locations and watercourses in the area between the Middle + Lower Rhine and the Meuse, as this perception will be combined later.

Between Visigoths and Ostrogoths: the ‘Central Goths’:
According to Wenskus' approach we should not disregard the potential literary confusion of this ‘Gaulish’ with ‘Gothic’ territory and, therefore, not disrespect that in the Migration Period (the narrative ‘horizon of event’) Nordic tradition could have associated the latter with rather the Gaulish kingdom of Clovis I and his predecessors than the Italian or southeastern region on the Tisza. Reinspecting under this fundamental aspect the Hlǫðskviða (The Battle of the Goths and Huns), Wenskus considers Árheimar as the Arnhem of the later Netherlands as one important location of the North Gaulish ‘Goths’.(10) Furthermore, Wenskus takes critically account of Helmut Humbach’s article on the geographical names in the Old Icelandic ‘Lay of the Battle of the Goths and Huns’: Die geografischen Namen des altisländischen Hunnenschlachtliedes, Germania 47, 1969, pgs 145–162. As insinuated by Wenskus, the message of this discourse is of altogether missing persuasiveness in so far as it proceeds from an original southeastern core around the Black Sea but not Húnaland around the later German Westphalia, as, for instance, explicitly determined by the Thidrekssaga and the Old Swedish manuscripts. Regarding a basic interfigural recognition in this more authenic appearing area – seemingly not far from an ‘Amal-Gothic’ land even for dynastic ancestral reasons, as apparently delineated by the Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks which includes the Hlǫðskviða – Wenskus advisably collocates its eminent Hlǫðr with C(h)lodio, one potential progenitor of the Salian Franks who lays an heritage based claim to a northeastern Gaulish region which appears closely related with Húnaland. Furthermore, it seems not inappropriate to remember at this juncture that Isidore of Seville has already combined this ethnic and etymologic relationship (Etymologiae IX, II, 66):
Hugnos antea Hunnos vocatos, postremo a rege suo Avares appellatos…
[The Hugni (apparently more likely: Hugas), previously called the Huns, thereafter called Avars according to the name of their king…]

The Hugas have been scholastically identified with the Chauci, since this tribe seems partially connectable not only with ‘northern Húnaland’ but also the ‘Origo gentis’ of the Franks, cf. on the latter RGA 22 (2003) p. 189f. [Translated version].

The Hlǫðskviða begins with this statement:
Hlǫðr var þar borinn í Húnalandi
[Hlǫðr was born there in Húnaland.]

The Thidrekssaga (Mb 39→), the Old Swedish version (Sv 33→) and Suffridus Petrus (op. cit.) seem to continue this heroic lay with Frisian counterattacks against an old weakening Húnalandish king called Melias by the Old Norse + Swedish texts which relate that he had no son for heir. He was possibly a relative of Humli or someone of his successors. Incidentally, Wenskus proposes the last Sugambric chief Maelo, who caused a heavy defeat to the Romans, as eponymist of the Húnalandish Melias who should be taken into consideration as predecessor of an Eadgils–Adgils–Athils; see farther below. Melias' obvious residence Susat was finally conquered by the Frisian prince Atala, as localized by the Old Norse + Swedish texts and dated between 450 and 470 by Ritter, while Suffridus mentions a Frisiorum dux Odilbaldus; see below Ferdinand Holthausen and Willi Eggers. His his potential short name ‘Odilo’ might comply with an etymological consideration by Wenskus who, in an independent context, regards closely related name forms ‘Otilo, Uatalo’ even by Upper German texts of 7th–8th century (op. cit. p. 708).

7.  Theuderic I or Thidrek of Bern: «King of Bonn»

Theuderic might have known parts of regions called later Ripuaria and Austrasia already before the death of King Clovis I. Although Gregory of Tours is remarkably focussing on Clovis' vita, the appearance of this king was reported hardly ever on territory between the Meuse and the Rhine. Thus, we further may imagine that Theuderic, not only in mission for Clovis, kept an eye on the largest metropolis on the Rhine: the former Roman Colonia with adjoining Bonn, the ecclesiastical based Low German Verona on the Rhine.

After the death of King Sigibert, ruler of eastern Franks with their obvious capital at Cologne, formerly the largest Roman colonia on the Rhine, Gregory remarks Theuderic c. 525 at the aula regia of this metropolis, cf. Liber vitae Patrum VI,2. Since there is a ‘rhyme-chronicler’s tradition’ of 13th century that strongly connects Bern with Bonn «by Bunna, dat heisz man dô Berne»,(11) we should not repudiate that a further but lost historical source could have mentioned Theuderic or Thidrek of Bern emphatically appearing there. As regards Gregory’s report in the Liber Vitae Patrum VI,2 and the ecclesiastical history of Low German Verona–Bern, it would not seem inconsistent that the region or city being called BABILONIA(12) was the most important location on the Rhine to launch formative conversion of the heathen. Following Gregory’s demonstrative and believable words in this connection, the first and very remarkable 6th-century Christian Mission was undertaken by Theuderic in a region which Ritter called Berner Reich, the territory extending to BABILONIA.


Museum Burg Frankenberg, Aachen. Cat. No. 27, formerly No. 188.
Photo by the author.

Interpretative supplements put in brackets by W. M. Koch.

TABULA ANSATA, found at archaeological explorations of VARNENUM between 1907 and 1924, connotes well the cultural and worshipping influence of this location on Roman Cologne (C.C.A.A.), while VERONA appears to be connected thereafter with adjacent Bonn in Christian times.

Inscription quoted from

Wilfried M. Koch,
Führer zur römischen Abteilung des Museums Burg Frankenberg, 1986, p. 16.

Erich Gose,
Der Tempelbezirk von Cornelimünster in:
Bonner Jahrbücher 155-156, 1955-1956, p. 170.

The special connectedness of ‘VARNE‘ with the C.C.A.A. has been estimated by Wilfried M. Koch who explains the text on the above shown tabula as follows:
Hier hat M. Fucissius Secundus aus dem Sechsmännerkolleg der Stadt Köln (Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium) sein Gelübde an Varneno mit Freude erfüllt.
Er gehört zu den Sevir Augustalis, die in der Stadt den Kaiserkult vertreten. Er zählt damit zu den hohen Würdenträgern der Stadt. Die Schenkung erhält damit eine größere Bedeutung, ohne daß sie genauer bestimmt werden kann. Die Tabula war früher zusammenklappbar, jetzt in der Mitte gebrochen.

(Op. cit. p. 16.)

[As shown here, M. Fucissius Secundus, of the Six-Men-League of the City of Cologne (Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium), has fulfilled his oath to Varneno with joy.
He belongs to the Sevir Augustalis who represent the imperial cult in the city. He is thus one of the city’s high dignitaries. Hence, the donation is of greater significance, albeit this cannot be determined more precisely. The tabula, now broken in the middle, was originally foldable.]


Furthermore, as regards an exemplary relationship between the eminent place of worshipping ‘VARNE‘ and the C.C.A.A. in Roman times, Wilfried M. Koch quotes i.a. recursively from the review of previous explorations written by the archaeologist Erich Gose (op. cit. p. 171). In context with the tabula ansata shown above, the aforesaid dignitary seems to re-appear on another bronze plate which was also found in the temple site of Varnenum. The inscription on this plate read by W. M. Koch is

[Interpretative supplements put in brackets by W. M. Koch.]
Von der hier angesprochenen Göttin Sunuxsal (oder Sunuxal) wird angenommen, daß sie die Stammgottheit der SUNUCI war, deren Hauptsitz daher im Aachener Gebiet vermutet wird. Von den SUNUCI ist bisher wenig bekannt, sie dürften als befriedeter gallischer Stamm im Gebiet zwischen Aachen und Tolbiacum/ Zülpich gewohnt haben. Die schwer verständliche Lesung kann ggf. dahin ergänzt werden, daß hier ein Familienmitglied der auf der Inschrift Kat. Nr. 27 genannten Familie Fucissius (= CISSONIS) aus Köln sein Gelübde an die Göttin Sunuxsal (= DEAE SUNUXSAL) mit Freude erfüllte (= VOTUM SOLVIT LIBENS MERITO).
(W. M. Koch, op. cit. p. 16.)
[The goddess Sunuxsal (or Sunuxal), as mentioned here, is assumed to be the main deity of the SUNUCI (Sunici), whose seat thus may be presumed in the Aachen region. So far as little is known about the SUNUCI, they may have lived as a pacified Gallic tribe in the area between Aachen and Tolbiacum/Tulbiacum/Zülpich. It seems possible to supplement the difficult reading with the meaning that a relative of the family Fucissius (= CISSONIS) of Cologne, mentioned on the inscription cat. No. 27, may have joyfully fulfilled his oath (= VOTUM SOLVIT LIBENS MERITO) to the goddess Sunuxsal (= DEAE SUNUXSAL).]

Seal of Bonn, 13th century.
Inventory pieces shown on the left & below:
Stadtarchiv und Wissenschaftliche Stadtbibliothek Bonn.
VERONA-BONN, 1575 VERONA, nunc Bonna, Communiter;
Bonn Oppidum Supra Coloniam Agrippinam, ad Rheni flumen…

Detail from copper engraving by Georg Braun & Frans Hogenberg: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, 1575.
VERONA cisalpina according to a mediaeval plan with the Roman base CASTRA BONNENSIS on the right.
Source: Stadtmuseum Bonn, published in DER BERNER 90, p. 57. Photo by Reinhard Haase.


Verona – Bern: contemporary popular and literary transmissions obviously outlasting the Roman Period:

Despite of the place and/or region that the Old Norse + Swedish scribes have forwarded as BABILONIA, the spatio-historical relationship of the C.C.A.A. with ‘VARNE’ is substantiated by the geostrategical mapping which is obtainable from the accounts by Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts. Other sources, in particular mediaeval local transmissions, may qualify the Franco-Rhenish but at least Old German profile of Dietrich von Bern in an interpretative connection with both locations. Although Ritter has only focused Verona nunc Bonna as the residential place of Thidrek af Bern instead of a ‘regional border term’, in so far not regarding the catchment and commuting area between Aachen and the Rhine with its eminent cultural and economic significance since Roman times, he was apparently not committing a real faux pas of interpretation. Thus, with respect to the narrative dimension of Thidrek’s or Theuderic’s large kingdom and action spaces, the literary difference or the scaled distance between this Verona and Varne(num) may appear rather infinitesimal.

With a view to the economic ranking of the Roman region of Aachen, Heinz Cüppers (op. cit. p. 12, fn. 46 ref. to H. Petrikovits) rates that the former existence of a remarkable sigillata pottery, district Schönforst, points to great economic importance as a significant manufacturing and trading place. He underlines his estimations also with large calamine deposits found at Breinig and Gressenich which suggest further processing and sales facilities.
Varnenum, partial view. A partial view of Varnenum.

Photo by the author.
A reconstruction model of a Varnenum main temple.
Museum Burg Frankenberg.
Photo by the author.

The graphic renders an ecological exploration of the temple site basing on phosphate analysis of its soil.
The archaeological research of this area has been not completed.


Thomas Krüger,
Im Labor sichtbar gemacht: Die Grundfläche des RömischenTempelbezirks Varnenum
in: Archäologie im Rheinland 1987,
Landschaftsverband Rheinland, Rheinisches Amt für Bodendenkmalpflege.
Image: VarnenumVicus.png
at https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varnenum

The Varnenum cult site close to Breinig was presumably supplemented or replaced with another place of worshipping in the very centre of Aachen. Such ‘central change’ has been suggested and chronologized between 2nd and 3rd century by archaeological indications which have been considered by Wilfried M. Koch, Heinz Cüppers and other authors referring to the research of German LVR organization and elder explorations. This cult site, between today’s Aachen cathedral and the Büchel or Imperial Baths, was built up at the beginning of the 3rd century and supplemented about a century later with porticoes, as the excavations brought to light this kind of an impressive arcaded colonnade architecture. Although the presence of the Sevir augustalis has been ascribed to also this location, the archaeologists found in its centre dedicatory inscriptions to only Mercurius Susurrion and Fortuna. Regarding settlement activities from 5th to 8th century, which are basing on present excavations, however, there was neither considerable nor continuous occupation after massive destructions by Gaulish insurgents in 3rd and presumably even in 4th century; see Heinz Cüppers, Beiträge zur Geschichte des römischen Kur- und Badeortes Aachen, in: Aquae Granni, Beiträge zur Archäologie von Aachen, of edition series Rheinische Ausgrabungen No. 22, Köln/Bonn 1982, see p. 14. Generally: RGA 1 (1973) pgs 1–3, see p. 1.
Roman Aquae Granni: Plan of centre. 
The Roman Aquae Granni: Archaeological plan of its centre with the position of the later build cathedral. (Translated version.)
Names of modern places put in brackets.

Buildings on temple site supplemented with
H. Cüppers (op. cit., see Tafel 1).

Source file retrieved 2017-07-15.

The Key of Varnenum, cat. No. 29, Museum Burg Frankenberg:
«Der Griff des Schlüssels ist in Form eines Löwen gearbeitet.»
(W. M. Koch, op. cit. p. 16.)
The lion corresponds with the heraldic animal of Dietrich von Bern.

Photo by the author.
The Key of Varne, cat. No. 29, Museum Burg Frankenberg.

The Old Norse manuscripts relate that the aged Thidrek took a bath on a location which is known as ‘Thidrek’s Bath’ (Mb 438), while the Old Swedish redactor additionally writes (Sv 382) that the king had to ride to this place which, however, has been never mentioned before as an urban or residential location. Thus, it seems less likely that this bath belongs to his last known seat at Roma II = Trier on the Moselle, cf. ch. General conformity of contemporary residential regions. As regards the authorship of an early source on Thidrek, we may rather think now of Aachen, i.a. known as AQUIS VILLA, to which the equestrian statue of the Italian king Theoderic was shipped on behalf of Charlemage. Andreas Agnellus of Ravenna, where this sculpture was confiscated, noted well its ‘deportation’ to Aquisgranis, cf. also Walafridus Strabo scathing this ‘nude imperator on horseback’ in front of Charlemagne’s residence, hence near or at his thermal bath. Concludingly it may appear now as the best narrative place where the primordial author of saga’s texts, inspired from a fantastical horse emerging in the garden of the bath and throwing a deep black shadow from the setting sun of the Frankish protagonist, could think out his allusively transformed epilogue with a hart whose precious crown represents the kingship uncatchable vanishing from the dying king.

Joachim Heinzle concludes on Dietrich’s Hellride [transl.]:
The tradition of the Hellride could be related to transmissions in which Dietrich apparently appears as a savage hunter or a leader of the Wild Hunt (of the Army of the Dead), but the evaluation of the manuscripts remains difficult. It is also unclear whether demonic traits, which Dietrich carries in many traditions – he is supposed to be a sprout of the devil and capable of spitting fire – belong to the complex of legends about Theoderic’s/Dietrich’s End.
    It must remain open whether the traditions about Theoderic’s/Dietrich’s End, serving for demonizing the king of the Goths, were developed in the first instance from an ecclesiastical point of view, or whether they were negatively affected by the deliberate perversion of an older Theoderic apotheosis.
[Mit der Höllenritt-Tradition könnten Überlieferungen zusammenhängen, in denen Dietrich anscheinend als Wilder Jäger oder als Führer der Wilden Jagd (des Totenheeres) auftritt, doch bleibt die Beurteilung der Zeugnisse schwierig. Unklar ist auch, ob dämonische Züge, die Dietrich in manchen Überlieferungen trägt – er soll ein Sproß des Teufels sein und ist in der Lage, Feuer zu speien – in den Sagenkomplex von Theoderichs/Dietrichs Ende gehören.
    Offenbleiben muß, ob die Überlieferungen von Theoderichs/ Dietrichs Ende zur Verteufelung des Gotenkönigs allererst aus kirchlich-katholischer Sicht entwickelt wurden oder ob es sich um die gezielte Verkehrung einer älteren Theoderich-Apotheose ins Negative handelt.

Op. cit. p. 9.]

Otto K. Schmich (op. cit. 1999), Hanswilhelm Haefs (2004) and the author (2005) have been voting for Varnenum as either Thidrek’s place of residence or the name donor of his kingdom, whereas the author has been considering recently the latter option with rather another localization being introduced farther below as an important temporal seat in the Berner Reich of Thidrek.

8.  Which are the dynasties of the eastern Franks of 5th century ?

The records about local Hannonian history cited by Emil Rückert interestingly allow to be seen that the Merovingian kings Meroveus and, subsequently, Childeric have tolerated Chlodio’s descendants to administrate obviously no other regions than partially those of today’s Netherlands and Belgium, and some Eifel land between the Meuse and the Rhine. Early in the 6th century, however, the political status of Franco-Rhenish territory was insidiously challenged by Merovingian King Clovis who once had the right time to look over the lands beyond the Meuse and to engage the murderer(s) of King Sigibert of Cologne. Thereafter, as Gregory of Tours narrates, this region of unquestionable strategic importance was forwarded to a son of ‘any heathen concubine’ but not to any of King Clovis' legal sons!

Could a splendid planning Theuderic or Thidrek, oath-breaker against Sigurð in a case of honour, take later revenge on his kinsman Ermenrik (see the 8th item above) without using an army of his own folk? Did one of them pretend beyond the Rhine to be still an expelled king, since one of them could not motivate Franks to fight against Franks? The Old Norse + Swedish scribes report on Thidrek’s attack against Ermenrik at a place called Gransport to which he came with an army from King Atala.

Samson, the grandfather of Thidrek as well as the German-Nordic spelled Salian location seem to be the key players. The records about the early Frankish history of Brabant and Hannonia let also raise the question whether Samson left ‘Salerni’ rather compulsorily as an important pioneer of a kingdom in an area that Gregory’s translator W. Giesebrecht and other historians have ascribed to ‘Ripuaria’.(13)

Fort Samson (1)
Fort Samson (2)

Visitor Info Samson
The Roman fort of Samson is an exceptional ancient building in Salian region. The text on the left is photographic quotation from the visitor information board at Samson village.

Some authors raise the objection that the narratives of the Thidrekssaga would not be related mainly to 5th century and first third of the next for the most part, rather taking dominating pattern from events of other periods. Regarding those Thetmars in Samson’s line to this item, we actually can find an earlier Frankish king who was spelled fairly identically with those Nordic Thetmars: King Theudomer de Thérouanne († between 414 and 428). Possibly semi-legendary, as some historian would judge him, he was noted as spouse of Blésinde de Cologne. Theudomer, titled magister militum in 383 and consul in 384, is mentioned by both Gregory and Fredegar as an early Frankish king, the predecessor of Chlodio by Gregory. The Chronicle of Fredegar mentions him as the son of Theudomer who supposedly was congenial with Jovinus, Roman counter-emperor from 411 till 413, when he was captured and executed. Theudomer is believed to have shared the same fate with this Jovinus.

8.1  A spatiotemporal interrelation with Burgundians?

Olympiodorus of Thebes recounts the Burgundian leader Guntiarius (‘Gundahar’, ‘Gundicar’) and the Alan ruler Goar proclaiming Jovinus counter-emperor on location
εν Мουνδιακω της ετερας Гερμανιας  =  in Mundiako in the other Germania,
thus Mundiacum in the Germania inferior (= secunda).

However, some attentive researchers would not equate this geonym with Mogontiacum (Mainz, in the region of legendary Burgundy with its ‘capital Worms’ by the Nibelungenlied, thus in Germania superior), rather identify the Mundiacum as a possible or more likely location in Germania inferior instead; cf. for instance:
Julius R. Dieterich, Siegehard von Lorsch Der Dichter des Nibelungenlieds, Frankfurt / Darmstadt 1923.
Reiner Müller, Die Burgunden am Niederrhein 410–443, Jülich 1924.
J. P. C. Kent, Roman Imperial Coinage (RIC) X, p. 152.
R. C. Blockley, The Fragmentary Classicising Historians of the Later Roman Empire. Eunapius, Olympiodorus, Priscus and Malchus. II: Text, Translation and Historiographical Notes (1983), p. 182, p. 216, ann. 46.
Harald von Petrikovits, Altertum. In: (Franz Petri, Georg Droege, ed.), Rheinische Geschichte 1,1, Schwann, Düsseldorf 1978, pgs 275f., 288f., 348.
Franz- Josef Schweitzer, Die ältesten literarischen Quellen zum rheinischen Burgunderreich und das MUNDIACUM-Problem. In: Annalen des Historischen Vereins für den Niederrhein (AnnHVNdrh) Nr. 203 (2000), pgs 7–22.
Sandra Seibel, Typologische Untersuchungen zu den Usurpationen der Spätantike. Doctoral thesis, University of Duisburg-Essen 2004, p. 165.

This chronical, literary and geographical relationship was reviewed by the historian and history didactician Hans Georg Kirchhoff (University of Dortmund, em., † 2021). Following Harald von Petrikovits (op. cit. above) he summarizes that [transl.:]
the Burgundians were indeed temporarily in the Jülich area has long been discussed and has been widely accepted in recent research16 [→Petrikovits]. The equation Mundiacum = Mündt provides a concrete place name for this.
Dass sich Burgunder tatsächlich vorübergehend im Jülicher Raum aufgehalten haben, wird seit langem diskutiert und hat sich in der jüngeren Forschung weitgehend durchgesetzt16. Die Gleichung Mundiacum = Mündt liefert dafür einen konkreten Ortsnamen.
H. G. Kirchhoff, Die Rätsel von Mündt. Mundiacum 411 und das niederrheinische Burgunderreich. In: Neue Beiträge zur Jülicher Geschichte, Band XIV, Jülich 2003, pgs 7–30.

The historian Reinhold Kaiser rejects a Burgundian settlement in the Germania inferior, but does confirm Guntiarius' participation at Mundiacum in this Roman province for proclaiming Jovinus counter-emperor; cf. Die Burgunder, Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2004, p. 27f. Kaiser makes this plea [transl. pgs 28–30]:
In the ‘Waltharius’ Worms is indeed mentioned as the royal seat of the however Frankish Gunthar, the son of Gibicha, while the Nibelungenlied situates the court of the Burgundian country at Worms, where the three sons of Dankrat (instead of Gibicha), Gunther, Gernot, Giselher, and their sister Kriemhild lived.  The Edda lays mention more often the Rhine as the place of action. Since the list of kings of the Lex Burgundionum mentions Gibica, Gundomar, Gislahar and Gundahar as predecessors of king Gundobad, which were taken up in the sagas, partly with other or modified names, such a localization seemed to be justified. Therefore, the imperial elevation of Jovinus was generally transferred to Mainz, into the domain of the Burgundians – vice versa, it was concluded from this place to the Middle Rhine as domain of the Burgundians.
This traditional interpretation was fundamentally questioned when Julius R. Dieterich in 1923 rightly returned to the original reading of the Olympiodoros text and thus claimed as the place of elevation of Jovinus Mundiacum in the Germania II. Because of the linkage of the two events, elevation of the usurper and settlement of the Burgundians, he also moved the realm of the Burgundians to the Lower Rhine. In 1928 Ernst Stein tried to support this thesis by referring to the list of troops of the dux Moguntiacensis in the Notitia dignitatum, which he dated to about 430. According to this list, the Roman limitant troops would have been stationed in the Upper Germanic places between Selz and Andernach, i.e. also in Mainz and Worms, still in the first third of the 5th century, which is why a simultaneous settlement of federates in this area can be excluded. The Belgian historian Henri Grégoire went one step further, he identified Mundiacum with the place Montzen (north of the Belgian Limburg, besides other Rhenish places come into consideration like Monzen, Mindt, Münz or Mündt). With this he linked different names of the Nibelungen saga with toponyms of the East Belgian area, the former civitas Tongeren, which belonged to the Germania II: Thus the Nibelungs were the people of Nivelles, thus the Pippins, Hagen of Tronje was Hagen of Tongeren. Contextually, only after a ‘saga shift’ the Nibelungen saga would have been connected with Worms. However, Grégoire‘s combinations have been massively contradicted from a linguistic and historical point of view.
The two events of 411 and 413 are to be separated absolutely: The elevation of Jovinus in the Germania II at Mundiacum does not prejudice the settlement of the Burgundians there, this is valid both for the Alans and the Burgundians. Burgundiones as well as Alani participated in the same year 411 in the campaign of Jovinus against the usurper Constantin III to southern Gaul. The Alans apparently remained there and operated in southwestern Gaul (Bazas) in 414. The Burgundians were then, after the fall of Jovinus (413), settled by general Constantius at the Middle Rhine or confirmed in their seats taken there after 406/7 (so Hoffmann), where the mediaeval legend tradition and archaeological findings locate them according to the thesis of Stroheker and Wackwitz. This plausible and contradiction-free explanation has been widely accepted in recent research, which would ultimately confirm the traditional view based on incorrect source interpretation in the result: The first Burgundian Empire on Roman soil was most probably located at the Middle Rhine (near Worms). [...]
A renewed examination of the Notitia dignitatum and its collation with the archaeological findings of the late antique stronghold of Alzey, located in the hinterland of the Rhine line, has been undertaken by the archaeologist Jürgen Oldenstein. He thereby comes to an important modification of the Middle Rhine thesis. Accordingly, the Mainz Ducat was not abolished in 406/7, but on the contrary was formed after 406/7, in connection with the reorganization of Gaul, especially of the Rhine defense under Constantine III or general Constantius: In this new defense system, the Burgundians, as federates, took over the tasks of the Comitatensian elite troops in the hinterland of the border. In the front line this was formed by the right Rhine ship lands and burgi, on the Rhine by the Rhine fleet and directly at the border line by the Limitan units (listed for the dux Moguntiacensis in the Notitia dignitatum between Selz and Andernach). The second phase of construction and use of the Alzey stronghold with characteristic organically roofed half-timbered buildings is that of the Burgundian federates. It ends with the defeat of the Burgundians in 436; the fort was rendered useless and only after the withdrawal of the Burgundians to the Sapaudia (443) was it restored to a defensible condition, until it was finally abandoned after the middle of the 5th century. Modified with regard to the interpretation of the Notitia dignitatum, the Middle Rhine thesis is not only adopted here, but supported by new insights into the organization of the border defense and the role of the Burgundian federates in it, as well as by the archaeological evidence.
Nothing more precise can be said about the nature and extent of the settlement of the Burgundians.
Im ‚Waltharius‘ wird in der Tat Worms als Königssitz des allerdings fränkischen Gunthar, des Sohnes Gibichas, genannt, während das Nibelungenlied in Worms den Hof des Burgunderlandes situiert, wo die drei Söhne Dankrats (statt Gibichas), Gunther, Gernot, Giselher, und deren Schwester Kriemhild lebten; die Edda-Lieder erwähnen öfter den Rhein als Ort des Geschehens. Da in der Königsliste der Lex Burgundionum als Vorgänger König Gundobads Gibica, Gundomar‚ Gislahar und Gundahar genannt werden, die in die Sagen (z.T. mit anderen bzw. abgewandelten Namen) aufgenommen worden waren, schien eine solche Lokalisierung gerechtfertigt, und deswegen wurde generell die Kaisererhebung des Jovinus nach Mainz, in den Herrschaftsbereich der Burgunder verlegt und umgekehrt von diesem Ort auf den Mittelrhein als Herrschaftsgebiet der Burgunder geschlossen.
Diese traditionelle Deutung wurde grundsätzlich in Frage gestellt, als Julius R. Dieterich 1923 mit Recht zu der ursprünglichen Lesart des Olympiodoros-Textes zurückkehrte und damit als Erhebungsort des Jovinus Mundiacum in der Germania II reklamierte. Wegen der Verknüpfung der beiden Vorgänge, Erhebung des Usurpators und Ansiedlung der Burgunder, verlegte er auch das Reich der Burgunder an den Niederrhein. Diese These suchte 1928 Ernst Stein mit dem Hinweis auf die Truppenliste des
dux Moguntiacensis in der Notitia dignitatum, die er auf ca. 430 datierte, zu stützen; danach wären in den obergermanischen Orten zwischen Selz und Andernach, also auch in Mainz und Worms noch im ersten Drittel des 5. Jhs. die römischen Limitantruppen stationiert gewesen, weshalb eine gleichzeitige Ansiedlung von Foederaten in diesem Raum auszuschließen sei. Der belgische Historiker Henri Grégoire ging noch einen Schritt weiter, er identifizierte Mundiacum mit dem Ort Montzen (nördlich des belgischen Limburg, daneben kommen noch andere rheinische Orte in Betracht wie Monzen, Mindt, Münz oder Mündt) und verknüpfte verschiedene Namen der Nibelungensage mit Toponymen des ostbelgischen Raumes, der ehemaligen civitas Tongern, die zur Germania II gehörte: so seien die Nibelungen die Leute von Nivelles, mithin die Pippiniden, Hagen von Tronje sei Hagen von Tongern erst nach einer „Sagenverschiebung“ wäre die Nibelungensage mit Worms verbunden werden. Doch ist den Kombinationen Grégoires aus sprachwissenschaftlicher und historischer Sicht massiv widersprechen worden.
Die beiden Ereignisse von 411 und 413 sind unbedingt zu trennen, die Erhebung des Jovinus in der Germania II bei Mundiacum präjudiziert nicht die Ansiedlung der Burgunder ebenda, das gilt für die Alanen wie für die Burgunder. Beide,Burgundiones wie Alani, nahmen im gleichen Jahr 411 am Zuge des Jovinus gegen den Usurpator Constantin III. nach Südgallien teil. Die Alanen blieben anscheinend dort und operierten 414 in Südwestgallien (Bazas). Die Burgunder seien dann nach dem Sturz des Jovinus (413) von dem Heermeister Constantius am Mittelrhein angesiedelt oder in ihren dort nach 406/7 eingenommenen Sitzen bestätigt worden (so Hoffmann), wo die mittelalterliche Sagenüberlieferung und archäologische Befunde sie lokalisieren, so die These von Stroheker und Wackwitz. Diese einleuchtende und widerspruchsfreie Erklärung ist in der neueren Forschung weitgehend akzeptiert worden, womit letztlich die auf falscher Quelleninterpretation beruhende traditionelle Sicht im Ergebnis bestätigt würde: Das erste burgundische Reich auf römischem Boden lag höchstwahrscheinlich am Mittelrhein (bei Worms). [...]
Eine erneute Untersuchung der Notitia dignitatum und ihre Konfrontation mit dem archäologischen Befund des im Hinterland der Rheinlinie gelegenen spätantiken Kastells Alzey hat der Archäologe Jürgen Oldenstein vorgenommen, und er kommt dadurch zu einer wichtigen Modifizierung der Mittelrhein-These. Danach ist der Mainzer Dukat 406/7 nicht aufgehoben, sondern ganz im Gegenteil erst nach 406/7 gebildet worden, und zwar im Zusammenhang mit der Reorganisation Galliens insbesondere der Rheinverteidigung unter Constantin III. oder dem Heermeister Constantius: Die Burgunder übernahmen in diesem neuen Verteidigungssystem als Foederaten die Aufgaben der comitatensischen Elitetruppen im Hinterland der Grenze. In vorderster Linie wurde diese durch die rechtsrheinischen Schiffsländen und
burgi, auf dem Rhein durch die Rheinflotte und direkt an der Grenzlinie durch die Limitaneinheiten (aufgelistet für den dux Moguntiacensis in der Notitia dignitatum zwischen Selz und Andernach) gebildet. Die zweite Bebauungs- und Benutzungsphase des Kastells Alzey mit charakteristischen organisch gedeckten Fachwerkbauten ist die der burgundischen Foederaten. Sie endet mit der Niederlage der Burgunder 436; das Kastell wurde unbrauchbar gemacht und erst nach dem Abzug der Burgunder in die Sapaudia (443) wieder in verteidigungsbereiten Zustand versetzt, bis es dann nach der Mitte des 5. Jhs. endgültig aufgegeben wurde. Modifiziert im Hinblick auf die Interpretation der Notitia dignitatum, wird hier die Mittelrhein-These nicht nur übernommen, sondern durch neue Einsichten über die Organisation der Grenzverteidigung und die Rolle der burgundischen Foederaten darin sowie durch den archäologischen Befund gestützt.
Über die Art und die Ausdehnung der Ansiedlung der Burgunder lässt sich nichts Genaueres sagen.

Franz-Josef Schweitzer (medievalist and linguist at the Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt) considers this estimation by Kaiser, who on the basis of the provincial Roman archaeologist Jürgen Oldenstein cites only a single 'reliable' Burgundian finding at the former Roman stronghold Alzey near Worms, apart from an obvious 5th-century Burgundian beltbuckle found in Worms-Abenheim, not convincing for the exclusion of the Germania inferior as [also the other] Roman province of a partial Burgundian settlement west of the Rhine.
(F.-J. Schweizer, Ist die Niederrheinthese noch zu halten? In: DER BERNER 51 (2012) pgs. 40–47. Besides, Oldenstein titled his study of 1995 with question marks: Les  Burgondes à Alzey? Une question ouverte?  In: Les Burgondes. Apports de l’archéologie, Dijon 1995, pgs 87–93. )

Kaiser himself writes (op. cit. p. 31) that the Greek church historian Socrates of Constantinople reports about Huns under their leader Octar ('Optar' or 'Uptar', an uncle of Attila), who massively threatened and plundered Burgundians beyond the Rhine. (Ecclesiastica Historia [II] 7,30: Gens est barbara, trans flumen Rhenum sedes habens, eorum qui Burgundiones vocantur. But Kaiser understands them to be those Burgundians on the right bank of the Rhine, i.e. on the east bank of the Rhine, who defeated the invading Huns after the death of Octar in 430.)

In any case, we may regard well that an obvious appearance of Burgundians in Germania I, presumably even on the eastern bank of the Rhine, is no proof that they could not have settled, at least partially, in Germania II. On this account Schweitzer further underlines in his review on Kaiser that Heinz Günter Horn (provincial Roman archaeologist, formerly vice director of the LVR Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn, director of the LVR-Office Bodendenkmalpflege im Rheinland) rather argues for the possibility drawn by Petrikovits. Thus, Horn does not exclude that a certain part of Guntiarius' Burgundian people could have settled in the area between ‘the Lower Rhine, the northern Middle Rhine and the Eifel’, cf. Die Römer in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Theiss, Stuttgart 1987, p. 107f.

The RGA 22 (2003) states on the ‘Origo gentis’ of the gens Burgundionum, p. 195:
Im Unterschied zu anderen gentes der VWZ sind die → Burgunden in den Qu. schon im 1. Jh. n. Chr. durch → Plinius bezeugt (44, 4,14; 171, 49. 231), wo sie zu den → Wandalen gerechnet werden. Ebenso werden sie von → Ptolemaeus (48, II, 11,8) erwähnt, der sie zw. Oder und Weichsel lokalisiert. Woher sie urspr. kamen, ist unklar. Eine skand. Herkunft der gens spielt erst in späteren Traditionen eine Rolle und konnte auch arch. nicht nachgewiesen werden (→ Bornholm S. 312).
    Aus schriftlichen Qu. sind uns weder eine frühe OG noch andere Herkunftsmythen überliefert, die als burg. Traditionen gesehen werden könnten. Wie in einigen anderen Punkten unterscheiden sich die Burg. auch hier vom Großteil der germ.
gentes der VWZ. Die einzige Überlieferung zur burg. Gesch., die uns aus dem burg. Kgr. selbst noch erhalten ist, ist eine Aufzählung burg. Kg. im Liber constitutionum (→ Lex Burgundionum) aus dem J. 517. In diesem Abschnitt (31, 3) verfolgt der Gesetzgeber, wohl Kg. → Gundobad, die Gesch. der manumissio bis zurück in die Zeiten Gibichas, Godomars, Gislahars und → Gundahars (→ Gibichungen § 2). Diese Liste der vier kgl. Vorfahren Gundobads kann durchaus als Kg.sliste betrachtet werden und läßt sich vielleicht mit der später verfaßten, umfangreicheren im Edictum Rothari (→ Leges Langobardorum) vergleichen. Doch im Unterschied zum langob. Kg. → Rothari verbindet Gundobad die burg. Kg.sliste nicht mit einer Herkunftsgesch.
    Der letzte Name der Liste, Gundahar, ist auch aus anderen schriftlichen Qu. bekannt. Olympiodor (38, fr. 17) zählt ihn zur Partei des Usurpators Jovinus. Prosper berichtet, daß unter seiner Herrschaft das Burgunderreich am Rhein durch die mit → Aetius → verbündeten → Hunnen vernichtet wurde (435). Diese dramatischen Ereignisse wurden bekanntlich der Kern späterer Erzählungen, v.a. des → Nibelungenliedes. Doch gibt es keinen Hinweis darauf, daß diese Geschichten burg. Traditionen widerspiegeln, die nach der Niederlage der Burg. 435 und nach ihrer Ansiedlung in der → Sapaudia in ihrem Kgr. an Rhône und Saône entstanden. Es ist allerdings möglich, daß die Tradierung dieser Geschichten auf Burg. zurückgeht, die sich nicht an Rhône und Saône ansiedelten. Auch gibt es keine Version dieser Erzählungen, die die weitere Gesch. der Burg. behandelt – weder das Weiterbestehen der
gens noch ihre Ansiedlung in der Sapaudia. Außerdem wird in karol. Qu. zur burg. Ethnogenese, in der Passio Sigismundi (42, c.1) und in der Vita Faronis des Hildegar von Meaux (23, c. 2), die Katastrophe von 435 überhaupt nicht erwähnt.

[In contrast to other gentes of the Migration Period, the → Burgunden are already attested in sources of 1st century A.D. by → Pliny (44, 4,14; 171, 49, 231), which ascribe them to the → Wandalen [Vandals]. Likewise, they are mentioned by → Ptolemaeus [Ptolemy] (48, II, 11.8), who localizes them between the rivers Oder and Vistula. It is unclear where they originally came from. A Scandinavian origin of the gens plays a rôle only in later traditions, but could not be proved archaeologically (→ Bornholm, p. 312).
    Written transmissions provide neither an early Origio gentis nor any other origin myth which could be seen as Burgundian tradition. As regards some other item, the Burgundians differ from the main stem of the Germanic gentes of the Migration Period. The only extant account about Burgundian history, preserved in the Burgundian kingdom itself, is a list of Burgundian kings in the Liber constitutionum (→ Lex Burgundionum) of 517. In this list, section (31, 3), the likely legislature → Gundobad traces the history of the manumissio back to the times of Gibica, Godomar, Gislahar and → Gundahar (→ Gibichungen § 2). This list of the four royal ancestors of Gundobad can be regarded at least as a line of kings and may perhaps be compared with the later written and more comprehensive Edictum Rothari (→ Leges Langobardorum). However, in contrast to the Langobardian king → Rothari, Gundobad does not connect the Burgundian list of kings with a history of origin.
    The last name of the list, Gundahar, appears also in other written transmissions. Olympiodorus (38, fr 17) ascribes him to the party of the usurper Jovinus. Prosper reports that, under his rule, the Burgundian kingdom on the Rhine was destroyed by the → Hunnen [Huns], allied with → Aetius in 435. As popularly known these dramatic events make the core of later narratives, especially the → Nibelungenlied Rem.: this claim is not provable to the Thidrekssaga . However, there is no indication that these stories reflect Burgundian traditions which were following after the defeat of the Burgundians in 435 and then in their settlement in the → Sapaudia in their kingdom on the Rhône and Saône. However, it is possible that the tradition of these stories goes back to Burgundians who did not settle on the Rhône and Saône. Futhermore, there is no version of these narratives which deals with a continuation of Burgundian history – neither with the continuation of the gens nor with their settlement in the Sapaudia. Moreover, neither Carolingian sources related to Burgundian ethnogenesis nor the Passio Sigismundi (42, c.1) and the Vita Faroni of Hildegar of Meaux (23, c.2) mention the catastrophe of 435.
(…) ]

(23) Hildegar von Meaux, Vita Faronis, hrsg. von J. Mabillon, Acta Sanctorum Ordinis sancti Benedicti, Nachdr. 1936, 606–625.
(31) Liber Constitutionum, hrsg. von L. R. de Salis, MGH LL 2/1, 1892, Nachhdr. 1973, 29–116.
(38) Olympiodorus, hrsg. von J. C. Blockley, The fragmentary classicising historians of the Later Roman Empire, 1981.
(42) Passio Sigismundi, hrsg. von B. Krusch, MGH SS rer. Mer. 2, 1888, Nachdr. 1984, 329–340.
(44) Plinius der Ältere, Historia naturalis libri XXXVII, hrsg. von H. Rackham, 9 Bde., 1949–1952, oder; hrsg. von G. Winkler, R. König, 1988.
(48) Ptol., Geographia, hrsg. von C. Müller, 1883, oder: hrsg. von C. F. A. Nobbe, 1843–45, Nachdr. 1966.
(171) Wenskus, Stammesbildung.

Cf. esp. Ian N. Wood, Gentes, Kings and Kingdoms — The Emerge of States: The Kingdom of the Gibichungs, in: Regna and Gentes, Brill NV, Leiden 2003, pgs 243–269.

The records on authentic history of Burgundian kingdoms do not provide contemporary leaders who are corresponding with Gunnar and Hǫgni. Hence, both the ‘Didriks chronicle’, apart form its fictitious younger supplements serving for the final but contradicting chapters (Sv 383–386), and the Thidrekssaga nowhere mention spelling forms somehow related to ‘Burgundia’ or ‘Burgundy’. Ingo Runde, an author of the RGA, resumes shortly [transl.] ‘a legendary destruction of the Wormsian kingdom of the Burgundians’ (op. cit. endnote 13; see p. 84).

The Genealogy of Piat-Herrero provides the bloodline of Theudomer, son of King Richimer de Thérouanne, to a remarkable extent. The former was also captured and executed with his spouse by the Romans. That data notes Theudomer’s son and successor ‘Clogio’ (‘Clodio’) as ‘Le Cheveulu’ (‘the Longhaired’). Since his lifetime is roughly estimated from 400 to 450, he appears as one of the contemporaries of Samson by Ritter’s timeline. C(h)lodio is chiefly known as conqueror of some western lands on the Somme and of Cambrai. However, there are no sources which disallow his further appearance in more (north)eastern Gaulish regions. Would Chlodio’s environment thus be of interest in order to detect Samson on the subject of Piat-Herrero’s and other sources comprehensiveness and reliability? Nonetheless, the political failure of both Jovinus and Theudomer of Thérouanne corresponds with the basic historical recognition that the Romans would not have tolerated those vast and manifested conquests up to that point of time when Aëtius, the great Roman Magister militum, could destroy Burgundy in Germania superior – more likely: overwhelmingly the inferior – finally with Hunnic warriors.

A view to the time ‘post Aëtius’ nevertheless allows to detect the Roman Eagle being bled white on the Upper and Middle Rhine. Thus, at the beginning of the second half of 5th century, the first Franks in the area of the later defined ‘Ripuaria’ could seize the opportunity to self-govern and enlarge their territory by expeditions we can easily encounter in some early chapters of the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts.

9.  King Sigibert of Cologne = King Sigurð the Nibelung ?

Gregory of Tours let us know that Clovis supported his cousin Sigibert of Cologne against an Alemannic raid which has been localized in the region of Zülpich, a seat of Theuderic I. The Old Norse + Swedish scribes inform us that Franco-Rhenish king (‘Sigurðr Sveinn’) was brother-in-law and, obviously, the new neighbour of King Gunnar, ruler of the Niflungs, at the same place and time.

Helmut de Boor rather shortly considers a possible historical connection of this Sigibert on the Lower Rhine with ‘Siegfried the Hero’; Hat Siegfried gelebt? PBB 63, p. 254, ISSN 1865-9373 (Walter de Gruyter). Alfred Carl Groeger, another contemporary German philologist, considers correspondingly in the epilogue of his booklet Nibelungensage:
Nicht ausgeschlossen ist es auch, dass historische Vorgänge um Chlodwig den Sagenstoff beeinflusst haben: Dieser ließ seinen Vetter, den niederrheinischen Frankenfürsten Sigibert (Siegfried?) im Jahre 508 auf der Jagd ermorden (…) Möglich, dass auch von hier aus Einflüsse zu suchen sind.
[Further, it is not to exclude that historical events around Clovis had influenced the legend, since he let murder his cousin, Sigibert (Siegfried?), ruler on the Lower Rhine, on the hunt in the year 508 (…) Possibly, influences must be sought by starting from this context.]
(Publisher: Hamburger Lesehefte Verlag, Heft Nr. 137; ISBN 3-87291-136-8.)

CCAA of 3rd century
 Painting by Ernst von Saalfeld

CCAA: Praetorium – a view to the inner courtyard.
Reconstruction model in the ‘Archäologische Zone’,
Cologne City Hall, Basement Floor.

This passage deals with King Sigibert of Cologne from Gregory’s hist. II,40:
When King Clovis was dwelling at Paris he sent secretly to the son of Sigibert saying: ‘Behold your father has become an old man and limps in his weak foot. If he should die,’ said he, ‘Of due right his kingdom would be yours together with our friendship.’ Led on by greed the son plotted to kill his father. And when his father went out from the city of Cologne and crossed the Rhine and was intending to journey through the wood Buchaw Buconiam silvam , as he slept at midday in his tent his son sent assassins in against him, and killed him there, in the idea that he would get his kingdom. But by God’s judgment he walked into the pit that he had cruelly dug for his father. He sent messengers to king Clovis to tell about his father’s death, and to say: ‘My father is dead, and I have his treasures in my possession, and also his kingdom. Send men to me, and I shall gladly transmit to you from his treasures whatever pleases you.’ And Clovis replied: ‘I thank you for your good will, and I ask that you show the treasures to my men who come, and after that you shall possess all yourself.’ When they came, he showed his father’s treasures. And when they were looking at the different things he said: ‘It was in this little chest that my father used to put his gold coins.’ ‘Thrust in your hand,’ said they, ‘to the bottom, and uncover the whole.’ When he did so, and was much bent over, one of them lifted his hand and dashed his battle­ax against his head, and so in a shameful manner he incurred the death which he had brought on his father. Clovis heard that Sigibert and his son had been slain, and came to the place and summoned all the people, saying: ‘Hear what has happened. When I,’ said he, ‘was sailing down the river Scheldt, Cloderic, son of my kinsman, was in pursuit of his own father asserting that I wished him killed. And when his father was fleeing through the forest of Buchaw, he set highwaymen upon him, and gave him over to death, and slew him. And when he was opening the treasures, he was slain himself by some one or other. Now I know nothing at all of these matters. For I cannot shed the blood of my own kinsmen, which it is a crime to do. But since this has happened, I give you my advice, if it seems acceptable; turn to me, that you may be under my protection.’ They listened to this, and giving applause with both shields and voices, they raised him on a shield, and made him king over them. He received Sigibert’s kingdom with his treasures, and placed the people, too, under his rule. For God was laying his enemies low every day under his hand, and was increasing his kingdom, because he walked with an upright heart before him, and did what was pleasing in his eyes. (English version by Earnest Brehaut.)

The Old Norse and Swedish transmissions seem to complete Gregory’s report on Clovis and Sigibert. These are the most important narrative items considering the view of the Old Norse + Swedish scribes:

Sigurð as well as Sigibert were contemporary kings of rather smallest area between Cologne and Zülpich.
Sigurð had also a treasure hidden somewhere in the woodlands.
Sigurð had also to cross the Rhine to go there.
Sigurð, victim of a family plot, was also slain while on a trip into the ‘Lyr(a)’ or ‘Lur(u)’ woodlands on eastern side of the Rhine. Buc(h)onia can be regarded as less specific Frankish expression being used rather for any hilly woodland beyond the Rhine, cf. Fr. bûcheron: woodcutter.

The Guðrúnarkviða II, 7 likes to confirm that Sigurð was slain somewhere on the other side of the river, as Guðrún (in Thidrekssaga ‘Grimhild’) remembers this detail:
Gunnar hung his head,
but Hǫgni told me
of Sigurð’s cruel death.
"Beyond the river
slaughtered lies
Guthorm’s murderer,
and to the wolves given…

Intertextual exploration of Thidrekssaga, Vǫlsunga saga and the Nibelungenlied allows to conclude that ‘Guthorm’, slaughterer of Sigurð, was replaced with ‘Gernoz’ (the Upper German ‘Gernot’) for epic insertion and amplification of Hǫgni. Regarding his performance toward Sigurð, however, we should contemplate the Nibelungenlied, Thidrekssaga and ‘Didriks chronicle’ taking pattern from manslaughter’s part of Gui and Bove in the poem of Daurel et Beton, obviously written in first half of 13th century. This literary work has been ascribed to the ‘Cycle of Charlemagne’. (The author of the Vǫlsunga saga could have taken the Sigurðarkviða II to transfer the place of murder to the hall of residence.)
Sigurð died also at the place of his treasure, as these circumstances seem to provide evidence:
Hǫgni must have known exactly its position because the mother of his son Aldrian could successfully forward the key and the route to that place to the boy. Hǫgni, who already had told Brynhild (‘Brynilda’) that Sigurð’s power would be stronger than his own, could only get the key to the lockable cave from Sigurð’s dead body by choosing that safest as well as lethal way.

Thus, the dead Cloderic seems to be Gregory’s and Clovis' subject, since the former retells us that the latter needs him for the folk to give them fallacious reasoning of the murderous plot, whereas the dead Sigurð appears as remaining subject to the assassins and the Old Norse + Swedish texts which relate that the murderers need his dead body to shock Grimhild with performed revenge.

Following Ritter’s comprehensive interpretations of the manuscripts, the source provider of the Old Norse + Swedish texts has connected Babilonia with the large region between Cologne and the Lower Rhine, as this geographical recognition seems to be closely related also to Sigurð and his realm on narrative occasion of the Niflungs' fatal march to their sister Grimhild: When their rearguard, commanded by King Gunnar and Hǫgni, was approaching the opposite bank of the Rhine at Duna Crossing, only a few miles north of Cologne, Hǫgni slew the ferryman on board and apologetically said to his protesting half-brother Gunnar:
He shall not tell where we are going to.

A short time later Hǫgni met a guardian on the eastern banks of the Rhine, and that man called ‘Eckivard’ warned him with these words:
I am wondering how you’ve come along here, because you are Hǫgni, King Aldrian’s son, who has killed my lord, Young-lord Sigurð. As long as you are in Húnaland (14): Look out! Many people are keeping here hostility against you.
(Mb 367 replacing missing chapter in the Old Swedish texts.)

Regarding the murderous plot on Sigurð and Sigibert, Gregory does not explicitly narrate the same circumstances of death as the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts, however.

9.1  Sigibert ‘and’ Sigurð: How far can we follow Gregory and the saga?

Following intertextually Clovis' control of power, he certainly would not have nominated the Niflungs for King Sigibert’s or Sigurð’s successor if they had been already rewarded with the administration of Thidrek’s realm after his expulsion from Bern. If Zülpich, that Gregory obviously calls ‘Tulbiacum’, had been remarkably destroyed in Alemannic-Frankish war, the Niflungs could have been forced to take a new place of residence nearby. Vernica or the younger spelling Verminza, as the manuscripts provide the name of this seat, is only a few miles far from Zülpich. The Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts note brightest full moon night when the Niflungs met the Rhine at Duna Crossing: Since important campaigns were usually planned to start at full moon in Late Antiquity as well as (prae-)mediaeval times, the Niflungs with polished armour underneath their garments could have moved only c. 30 mi. (c. 48 km) from their capital place.

Both kings Sigurð ‘and’ Sigibert were surely popular in large regions on both sides of the Rhine. The place of Sigurð’s hoard, his ‘treasure cave’ as mentioned in the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts, is geographically related to the Lurvald, largest woodland region of the later Westphalia. J. Baptiste Gramaye, chronicler of Antiquitates Brabantiae; Nivella, p. 3 n. 9, notes ‘Sigibertus et Moringus in vita S(anta) Wiberti’. Nevertheless, both Sigurð and Sigibert seem of Merovingian descent and thus kinsmen of Clovis who proclaimed the same to the folk in the region of Cologne. The Old Norse scribes correspondingly convey Sigurð’s mother as daughter of King ‘Nidung’ who ruled the Hesbaye (Mb 152–156, Sv 148–152), a former Salian area that nowadays belongs to Belgium. As the author remarks by means of Emil Rückert’s research into Frankish onomastics of the Merovings,(15) the position of King ‘Nidung’, Old Nordic name for ‘hater’, seems to be reserved for King Meroveus (‘Moroveus’, ‘Morung’, ‘Morvung’), the father of ‘ORTVANGERIS’, as this spelling can express a son of ‘(M)OR.VANGER. Emil Rückert points up his conviction that Childeric, son of Meroveus, appears also as Jutlandic Hjalprek in both Vǫlsunga saga and heroic lays of the Elder Edda. These traditions relate him as an obvious mighty leader who cares for Sigurð after the death of his father Sigmund. A ‘Cheldric’ does also appear as ‘Saxon’ chief in the Historia Regum Britanniae!

The Thidrekssaga provides an interesting geographical detail by chapter Mb 62:
A king named Nidung was ruling Jutland, that part which is called Thiodi…,

while the Old Swedish chronicler notes well on Weland/Velent in chapter 59:
He was finally washed ashore Jutland; a king named Nidung was there…

Has the first Merovingian already been ruling some territory outside of Salia, particularly Frisian coastland up to the northwestern cap of Jutland? Fredegar, protagonist of unbelievable Greek descent of the Franks, nevertheless can provide an interesting unvoluntary metonymy. The founder of the Merovingian dynasty, as he writes about the origo of the Franks, was a bizarre individual that came across the sea to have a son with the spouse of Frankish King Chlodio: the mythical Minotaur (‘Neptuni Quinotauri’) as the very best creature for the impressing horns on a furry alien helmet of a fierce or unfathomed Nordic chief, but not, as he suggests, that figure of Greek origin?(16) Thus, we should focus further interest also on that part of Jutland which the Old Norse scribes remarked as King Nidung’s territory, see attachment Merovingian Origin Location.

A concerted effort to synchronize some apparently analogous or completing pattern from Frankish historias or chronicles, Hannonian records of local history, and ‘Didriks chronicle’ plus Thidrekssaga, may result in the following chart of early Merovingian and Frankish genealogy. As already mentioned above, its predicate is endorsed i.a. by Mb 9:
King Samson further fathered with his concubine another son who was named Thetmar after his Samson’s father-brother…

The above remembered Theudomer, ascribed to Samson’s father by the scribe of MS A in Mb 6, seems to meet the demand on corresponding historical, chronological and genealogical environment in so far.

10.  Preliminary Filiations

Genealogical Synchronization of ‘Didriks chronicle’ with Merovings

The texts provide the first appearance of three sons of Ermenrik not soon (!) after the conquest of ROMA = Trier on the Moselle, as Ritter estimates their removals A.D. 493; see Dietrich von Bern, Munich 1982, p. 282.

The genealogical inspections of the Old Norse + Swedish texts and Gregory of Tours may not suggest to identify Thidrek as Theuderic I at the first go. Eugen Ewig and the RGA estimate his mother descended from a family of Cologne (Eugen Ewig, Francia 18/1 (1991) p. 49). The first named manuscripts provide a Jarl Elsung the Younger, obviously a close relative of Elsung the Elder who formerly was slain by Samson. ‘The Younger’ is known as ruler of Babilonia, ‘the Elder’ as father of Odilia who possibly was introduced as Franco-Rhenish ‘Evochildis’ at the court of Theuderic’s/Thidrek’s father.

The pseudonymous Fredegar notes that
the Franks were diligently seeking a long haired king from themselves as they had before … created Theudomer king, the son of Richemer, who was killed by the Romans in that battle which I mentioned above. His son Chlodio, the most suitable man in his tribe, took his place in the kingdom.

However, the ‘Chronicle of Frankish Kings’, known as the Liber historiae Francorum or the Gesta regnum Francorum of 726/727, ascribes Chlodio to son of Faramond, son of Marchomir to whom the liber’s writer(s) draw(s) on certain Trojan narrative from the Priam and Antenor Legend.

Christian Settipani, of Augustan Society Inc., genealogist of Charlemagne’s Ancestry (Les Ancestres de Charlemagne; Editions Christian, Paris 1989), orders these Frankish accounts in this way:
Nowadays, it is pointless, I hope, to say anything about the legend of the Trojan origins denounced by good scholars since 14th century as an absurd fable and which is only a literary creation […] It is self-evident that Fredegaire had interpolated Gregory at this place, but he could have done so with good evidence or according to the oral tradition. So, if we had absolutely to choose between Fredegaire’s and the Liber’s version, we would prefer that of Fredegaire…
(From Christian Settipani’s addenda of 1990 at http://www.rootsweb.com/~medieval/addcharlENG.pdf   retrieved Aug. 2005.)

As modern research has been trying to point out, there might be some circumstantial evidence that Frankish historiographers of second half of 6th to first half of 7th century were premeditatedly replacing basic facts about early Frankish history by an ‘absurd core of Trojan legends’, cf. Eugen Ewig, Trojamythos und fränkische Frühgeschichte 1996, 1998; Troja und die Franken 2009.

10.1  Ermenrik and Samson


The earliest known mention of an Ermanaric can be found in the so-called Getica written by Jordanes, who introduces him as the murder of a Sunilda, (step)sister of her revengers Ammius and Sarus, cf. correspondingly Svanhild, Hamðir and Sǫrli by heroic tradition of the Elder Edda. Regarding the apparent Ostrogothic episodic originality, Roswitha Wisniewski succinctly notes that [transl.]:
Jordanes includes the Swanhild saga in his History of the Goths without the slightest indication that he doubts the account’s truth.
[Original text:]
Jordanes nimmt die Swanhild-Sage in seine Geschichte der Goten auf, übrigens ohne den geringsten Hinweis darauf, daß er an der Wahrheit des Berichteten zweifelt.
(Roswitha Wisniewski, Die Darstellung des Niflungenunterganges in der Thidrekssaga, postdoctoral thesis, Tübingen 1961, p. 233.)

William J. Pfaff (op. cit. p. 85) proceeds from the battle of Gransport and conjects that such a localization is consistent with the ascription to Ermanaric of holdings north of the western Alps elsewhere in Þíðriks saga (see Trelinn-borg).

Pfaff refers to this ‘Trellinborg’ as the seat of the Harlungen on the Rhine, whose capture and geostrategic plausibility points to an Frankish but not Ostrogothic Ermanaric.

The Thidrekssaga ascribes Ermenrik’s death to a failed fat-lifting procedure, cf. Mb 401. So we cannot exclude that the saga’s scriptor knew of some detail in the HISTORIA CHRONIKE (ΙΣΤΟΡΙ ΧΡΟΝΙΚΗ) written by John of Antioch. Thus, that scriptor could have concluded from his account an obesity of Odoacer and transferred it to the northern Ermenrik. As the Byzantine chronicler relates, Theoderic the Great is said to have killed Odoacer with one sword stroke from collarbone to hip, and afterwards mockingly testified that ‘not a bone had been in that villain’. [John of Antioch cited by Hans-Ulrich Wiemer, Theoderich der Große: König der Goten (2018) p. 15.]

Hermann Schneider, incidentally most cited by William J. Pfaff, strongly warns against underestimating the Low German narrative milieu about Ermanaric and his death [transl.]:
The abuse committed with the term of Low German epic poetry, the fantastic systems that have been elaborated from it, must not be allowed to mislead us about the actual existence of an extensive and, in many respects, original Low German literature of lore in the field of heroic saga. In this we have to classify the poem on Ermanaric’s death.
[Original text:]
Der Missbrauch, der mit dem Begriff der niederdeutschen Epik getrieben worden ist, die phantastischen Systeme die man von ihr entworfen hat, dürfen nicht an der tatsächlich anzunehmenden Existenz einer umfangreichen und in vielem originalen niederdeutscher Liedliteratur aus dem Gebiet der Heldensage irremachen. In diese haben wir das Gedicht auf Ermanarichs Tod einzureihen.
(Hermann Schneider, Studien zur Heldensage in: Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum und deutsche Litteratur 54 (1913) pgs 339–369, cf. p. 352.)

Walter Benary argued for the originality of the Ermanaric saga in Frankish heroic poetry, cf. Die germanische Ermanarichsage und die französische Heldendichtung, vol. 40 in the series: Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie (De Gruyter Reprint 2020). Although Hermann Schneider is extremely reserved about the relationship between the Frankish tale of Aymon’s four Sons and the Harlungen in the Dietrich epics, as handled by Benary, he nevertheless follows him onto the plausible reception of Ermanaric with Sibich/Sifka from the Carolingian saga milieu: [transl.]:
Thus, there is much worth noting in Benary’s account of French elements in the Harlungen narrative. According to his explanations, I also believe that the revenging figure of Sibich is strongly interspersed with French influences. The typical activity of the evil council of the murders of the emperor’s son related as an envoy, the way of death of hanging for disliked vassals, the king’s lust for their treasures, all this looks very French after all.
[Original text:]
So ist doch vieles beachtenswert, was Benary an französischen Elementen in der Harlungenerzählung aufweist. Ich glaube nach seinen Darlegungen auch, dass die jetzt vorliegende Gestalt von Sibichs Rachetaten stark von französischen Einflüssen durchsetzt ist. Die typische Tätigkeit des bösen Rates der Morde an dem als Gesandten verwandten Kaisersohn, die Todesart des Erhängens für missliebige Vasallen, die Lüsternheit des Königs nach deren Schätzen, all das sieht doch sehr französisch aus.
(Hermann Schneider, Studien zur Heldensage in: Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum und deutsche Litteratur 54 (1913) pgs 339–369, cf. p. 348. See also the review on Benary by Wolfgang Golther in: Zeitschrift für französische Sprache und Literatur, vol. 41 (1913) pgs. 179–180.)

Thus, we may supplement Schneider with geonymic frequencies based on *Ermen‹ and *Armen‹. Searching place names with these prefixes in a continental area between the Atlantic coast, North Sea and the Rhine may provide following matches:
An Ermenonville is located about 40 km northeast of Paris, known to be the last seat of Clovis. Other places of the same former prefix can be found in other French départements, including the Auvergne. An Ermenonville-la-Grande and an Ermenonville-la-Petite belong to the Eure-et-Loir department which is located southwest of Paris. In Normandy, département Seine-Maritime, lies the commune Ermenouville. Finally, we can summarize that in the northern European area *Ermen(...) places are very conspicuous, especially in France. The same applies to the prefix *Armen‹, see there Armentières-en-Brie, Armentières-sur-Avre, Armentières-sur-Ourcq. Referring also to *Arment‹ with the Low German tradition of Koninc Ermenrîkes Dôt, the ballad of Dirick van dem Bërne dealing with his foe King of Armentriken, we can find in a Belgian region, just between Antwerp and Ghent, an Armentruijenbeek – the rivulet of Armentruijen.

The Beowulf, which/whom we can hardly ascribe to an Italian or Ostrogothic milieu of primal tradition, provides an important narrative pattern that already reflects the hostility between Heimir (‘Hama’, the Old Swedish Heẏm) and Erminrikr of the Thidrekssaga with this action of Thidrek’s loyal follower (lines 1198–1204):

hordmádmum hæleþa   syþðan Háma ætwæg
tó herebyrhtan byrig   Brósinga mene
sigle ond sincfæt·   searoníðas fealh
Eormenríces ·   gecéas écne raéd ·
þone hring hæfde   Higelác Géata
nefa Swertinges   nýhstan síðe

A hoard-gem of heroes, since Hama bore
to his bright-built burg the Brisings' necklace,
jewel and gem casket. — Jealousy fled he,
Eormenric’s hate: chose help eternal.
Hygelac Geat, grandson of Swerting,
on the last of his raids this ring bore with him
(English translation by Francis B. Gummere.)

Do these lines deal with an ‘Ermenrik’ as king of the Ostrogoths or rather the Gøtar, Gauts or Geats north of the Alps? The author of the Beowulf assigns him apparently younger, but at least not much older than Higelác Géata. Historians who critically review the Beowulf and compare cautiously other Nordic traditions with Frankish historiography equate the latter with the Nordic chieftain ‘Chlochilaichus’. Following historical estimation, he was killed on the retreat from his invasion into Theuderic’s paygo Attoarios roughly about 521; see Liber historiae Francorum, 19; Gregory’s hist. III,3 (without geographical information); → Hygelac in RGA 15 (2000), pgs 298–300.

Since the narrative intentions of the Beowulf are not turning to an Ostrogothic or Upper German milieu, it may be noteworthy to remark that Karl Simrock, Beowulf, 1859, p. 64, translated Brósinga into Breisach which, however, can be localized as rather the northern Brisiacum, the name of the Roman settlement or stronghold at (Bad) Breisig on the Rhine. Thus, Heimir’s place of action appears intertextually related to the Middle Rhine region of Amelunga and Ørlunga, where Ritter has independently identified both the battle of Gransport and Heimir’s raids of revenge thereafter against the undefeated Erminrikr.

Regarding his own historiographical and intertextual research, Ritter has compared ‘Gaulish Ermenrik’ with Frankish king Clovis I, and he correspondingly places at the disposal  [transl.]:
The figure to be historically allocated with preference, however, is King Ermenrik of Rom/Trier. He is constantly governing there more than 50 years by the Ths. This is also the period of Clovis about which we know hardly more than passably (…) One may also question the existence of rather another historical individual behind «Ermenrik»; and yet there is to encounter a similarity typified by the murder of male relatives committed by both Ermenrik and Clovis. Nonetheless, this may be based on imitation. The main source about this period, though not contemporarily written, is the work of Gregory of Tours. He is utterly affected by West Frankish topics. His sight onto the centre area stretching out to the Rhine, apart from some clear view, is apparently foggy.
[Original text:]
Die Gestalt aber, welche vor allem geschichtlich eingeordnet werden müßte, ist König Ermenrik in Rom/Trier. Er herrscht hier nach der Ths ohne Unterbrechung mehr als 50 Jahre. Dies ist aber auch die Zeit Chlodwigs, welche wir leidlich gut zu kennen meinen (…) Man kann auch fragen, ob sich unter dem Namen »Ermenrik« etwa eine andere geschichtliche Persönlichkeit verbirgt, und man wird die Ähnlichkeit bemerken, wie Ermenrik alle seine männlichen Verwandten umbringt und wie ganz entsprechend Chlodwig das gleiche tut. Aber hier kann auch einer den andern nachgeahmt haben. Die Hauptquelle über jene Zeit, von ihr aber zeitlich schon weit entfernt, ist Gregor von Tours. Er ist ganz westfränkisch eingestellt. Den mittleren Bereich bis an den Rhein heran scheint er nur wie durch einen Nebel zu sehen, mit einzelnen Erhellungen.
(Ritter, Dietrich von Bern, Munich 1982, pgs 285–286.)

Regarding this statement we may assume that Ritter was aware of the genealogical outline of the early Frankish kings drawn by Gregory of Tours and some Roman historiographer. Interpreting the Ermenrik of the Þidreks saga and the younger Old Swedish texts as the reflecting character of Clovis I, which implicates his king- and kinship related to his eminent successor Theuderic I in so far, Ritter seems to have emended his obvious opposite view being published previously in 1981, Die Nibelungen zogen nordwärts, see p. 247, en. 27. Thus, this important re-evaluation does not basically contradict the interliterary research on the determination of the real spatiotemporal prototype of Dietrich von Bern which has been made or reviewed already by L. Lersch, H. Lorenz, K. Malone, F. J. Mone, K. Müllenhoff, K. Simrock, H. Vitt and other scholars.

Clovis' advisor and treasurer:

It is obvious that the scribes of the Þidreks saga and Old Swedish manuscripts have connected almost all momentous decisions in the reigning period of King Ermenrik with his advisor who, however, might have been nicknamed in the lineage of both oral and clerical transmissions. Thus, it seems indicated to demand additionally that King Clovis must have had also an advisor whose nature ought to correspond generally with Ermenrik’s confident and, finally, whom even has been set at least one pictorial monument in the French history of arts.

Richard A. Gerberding’s critical study of the Liber Historiae Francorum might allow to conclude the cunning and loyalty of Clovis' influential advisor who played a very significant rôle in regnal affairs conveyed by the author(s) of this book of Frankish  history. Gerberding points out this appearance of the Frankish king’s counsellor (op. cit. p. 69):
Aurelian, Chancellor of Clovis I.
A stamp by an anonymous artist,
Bibliothèque nationale de France.
In  LHF-11, -12, and -13 the author gives us another royal counsellor whom Gregory does not mention. This is Clovis’ advisor, Aurelian, who is the hero in the LHF’s long story of Clovis’ courtship of Clothild. Gregory simply says that the Burgundian king, Gundobad, was afraid to refuse Clovis’ request for his niece and so he handed her over (Hist., 11-28). The LHF on the other hand dedicates the greater part of three chapters to laying out the cunning and loyalty of Aurelian in obtaining the Burgundian princess. Doubt has been expressed about Aurelian’s authenticity,1 but, since he is also mentioned by Fredegar in the same connection2 and since we know there to have been a number of men by that name3 who could have been an advisor to Clovis, there seems little reason to doubt that he did exist. (…) In  LHF-15 it is again Aurelian who suggests that Clovis turns to the Christian God in order to secure his victory over the Alamanni. In Gregory’s account (Hist., 11-30) of his conversion, the king turns to Christ on his own.
1.   "… wohl eine unhistorische Gestalt…" (Zöllner, Geschichte der Franken, p. 56).
2.   Fredegar, III-18, in:
SSRM, II, pp. 99-100.
3.   Karl Stroheker,
Der senatorische Adel im spätantiken Gallien, Tübingen, 1948, lists four men who were Clovis’ contemporaries. His number 46 on page 150 seems the most likely candidate.

Furthermore, Gerberding remarks this on the avaricious side of Clovis' advisor under the headline II. Emphasis on Treasure and Booty (see p. 71):
With the exception of its last sentence, the whole of  LHF-13 is an addition to Gregory’s Historia. The chapter is the story of the successful attempt of Aurelianus to claim Clothild’s treasure from her uncle, King Gundobad of Burgundy.

Martin Heinzelmann lists Aurelianus 4  as the legatarius ‘Aurilianus’ in service of King Clovis I, see Gallische Prosopographie 260–527. Francia 10 (1982), p. 564.

The Old Norse scribes relate that Sifka serves his king not only as counsellor but also ‘fiarhirdi’ (treasurer), see Mb 127, Johan Peringskiöld: ch. 103. Henrik Bertelsen (op. cit. p. 411) registered him likewise as Ermenriks skatmester.

Morphological connections and prospects:
Linguistically and semantically, the Latin names Chlodovechus (‘Chlodovocar’) of King Clovis may appear as an adjective+verb compound derived from claudus + vocare in the meaning of having an unsteady or defective mind or, physically, of lame, limping or crippled appearance. But this interpretation, which apparently does not refer to Clovis' original name, is uncertain. Thus, we may wonder if he had received his bibliographical Christian name at a certain point of time in his political career – presumably after his baptism? This momentous event could certainly draw attention to the milieu of clerics, mediaeval writers and narrators who apparently transformed his name for mentioning him in e.g. the Wǫlundarkviða and Guðrúnarkviða II. Hlǫðvér, the Nordic name of Clovis, appears to be based on *Hluda + *wīgaz, respectively Proto-Germanic *hlūdaz (loud, famous) + *wīgą (fighter). On the other hand, it seems unlikely that Clovis were named with either the Latin compound Chlodovechus/Chlodovocar or that Germanic remembrance ‘famous fighter’ immediately after his birth in an obvious syncretic or still unchristian environment. In any case, a transformation of his name for his typical character trait (‘nicknaming’) would not seem inconsistent in an intertextual literary context, regarding even spelling forms related with that ‘Ermenrik’ of the Thidrekssaga when consulting J. de Vries: OE. yrman, ME. (i)ermen: to grieve sb., cf. ON. erma.

It is worth mentioning here that there may be some Franco-Gothic (re)naming of an historical individual which finally might result in misinterpretation. A good example represents the alternation from Bruna, Visigothic king Athanagild’s daughter, to Brunichildis. This renaming has been serving for questionable scholarly interpretation as the narrative spouse of both Sigibert I and the literary Sigurð (Siegfried), and, in so far, the German-Nordic Brunhilda–Brynhild, who popularly stands for a female warrior for wearing a Brynne–Brünne = ring armour or byrnie. However, the retransformation of this interpretation back to a synonymic Visigothic origin, which is apparently based on nothing more than a female form of Franco-Gothic brun (‘bright’, ‘brown’, cf. ‘brunette’) can not be performed satisfyingly. For another example, as regards an apparently same contextual and figural identity with however different names, we may note well Gunnar’s sister provided by the Thidrekssaga and the Elder Edda, cf. Grímhildr = the Eddaic Guðrún. In the Guðrúnarkviða II (in ǫnnur) her mother appears as ‘a grim Hilde’ = Grímildr, resolutely asking her sons who would pay for her killed son-in-law. It seems conclusive that the author of the common source of the Thidrekssaga and Nibelungenlied transferred her name and the basic motif of revenge to her daughter.

Contemplating these and further aspects, we may alternatively reckon with an epithet as the idiosyncratic name of a figure appearing especially in ancient historiography. Thus, Ritter did not disregard the Húnalandish king ‘Ata-la’ (the Eddaic ‘At-li’), who is portrayed rather in a defensive rôle, especially by the author of the Nibelungenlied. It should be further annotated that even Gregory of Tours provides a name of a quite similarly spelled historical individual. Regarding Gregory’s 6th-century accounts, he knows of an Attalus, a nephew of bishop Gregory of Langres, as hostage at the court of Theuderic I. The article Who is King Atala? recalls some historical person of 6th–8th century being closely related to this name.

Eormenric’s geographic environment by the Old English Widsith

Alfred Anscombe made an interesting approach to reintroduce an obvious Gaulish Eormenric by means of the Widsith, the Venerable Bede and some other sources, i.a. the Origo Gentis Langobardorum. Although the route of the Lombards from Scandinavia to Vurgundáib (Burgundy) with stopovers in Anþáib (presumably at the tribal ‘Antes’ on the lower Danube) and Báináib (OE. ‘Bãning…’, likely Bohemia) under the 4th–5th-century Agilmund and his successor Laiamicho (see dating by the RGA 13 [1999] p. 181) has been scholastically suggested ‘legendary’, Anscombe combines the Gaulish Eormenric on territory somewhat close to the later German Westphalia, i.e. the region which Ritter has contextually specified.

Regarding Anscombe’s structural based geographical and ethnographical analyses of the Old English ‘Catalogue of Kings and Rulers’ by its obvious continental author and, among other material, the work of Bede and the Origo, it may seem redundant to remark that Anscombe reviews R. W. Chambers' work on the Widsith (1912) with this general statement:
Nevertheless, Mr. Chambers has treated the matter as a student of legend – and I for one feel that this method is apt to present princes and peoples in distorted attitudes and in dislocated and discrepant environment.
(The Historical Side of the old English Poem of ‘Widsith’. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society [III. Series] Vol. IX, pgs 123–165, see p. 125.)

Interestingly, in the matter of Ritter’s basic reinspections of the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts, it may seem not superfluous to note that Anscombe points out an ancient connection, based on either story or history, of tribesmen called ‘Greeks’ with the Treveri:
‘Igitur omnipotens Deus tres plagas maxime gladium venire permisit super regnum christianorum et super civitatem Trevirorum tribus vicibus: prima autem plaga Grecorum sub imperatore Constante filio Constantini [† 350] secunda Wandali et Alemanni [A.D. 406] tertia Hunorum [A.D. 451].’ Vide ‘Codices S. Mathiæ et S. Gisleni’ in Hillar’s Vindicatio Historiæ Treverorum, pp. 57, 159. Also cp. ‘Post quem [sc. post S. Paulinum Treverensem episcopum († 358)] Bonosius; deinde Brittonius (…) Horum temporibus Greci cum magna manu Treberim invasere et cædibus et rapinis et incendiis graviter attrivere’; Gesta Treverorum ed. G. Waitz, ‘M.G.H.’, ‘SS.’ tom. VIII. (1848), p. 154.
(Transactions… op. cit. p. 148, fn. 2)

As far as our context is concerned, it seems less relevant that such ‘Greek’ reflection, either the ‘Chroici’ of the Alemannian leader Chrocus based on the Epitome de Caesaribus or another elder Chrocus related by Gregory of Tours and the ‘Creacas’ by the Widsith, could have been potentially inspiring or misleading the Old Norse and Swedish scribes, cf. Anscombe (above) p. 145f.

Furthermore, Alfred Anscombe has localized the ‘northern neighbours of the Treveri as ‘Gōtas’ by geographical inspection of mainly the Widsith and Origo Gentis Langobardorum. This seems intertextually very interesting but, standing on its own without further circumstancial indications, not forming a solid historical evidence. Anscombe also combines that ‘Jarmeric’s uncle Budli recalls the Frankish name of Bodilo (Notes and Queries, s. 11, XI, pgs 143–145, cf. p. 145) who, moreover, may be identified with an original Frisian ruler BODIL (see farther below on ‘ODILbaldus’). Following Anscombe’s intertextual identifcations of related persons in so far, the kinship between ‘Eormenric’, Franco-Rhenish Theoderic and Ætla ( Atala) may project the mother of the latter as a daughter of Thidrek’s grandfather or Thidrek’s mother as a sister of Atala’s father. However, we must also take into consideration that Anscombe may win little favour by identifying Saxo Grammaticus' Danish ruler ‘Jarmeric’ with ‘Eormenric’ without further material. It seems noteworthy that the scribes of the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts do not convey any consanguinity between Thidrek and Atala, but do forward the common basic interests of both kings.

Who is Hermenricus mentioned by Fulk of Reims?

Ritter has expressively considered the libri Teutonici of certain connotation, see Dietrich von Bern, Munich 1982, pgs 304–305, en. 122. An author referring to this edition is Flodoard (894–966), historiographer and archivist at the cathedral of Reims for the most time of his life. He is known as creditable writer, especially by means of his ecclesiastical chronicle of Reims. Flodoard left a passage taken from a letter that archbishop Fulk of Reims wrote in 893 under political strain between Charles the ‘Simple-minded’, whom Fulk called out by unction for making him counter-king against Odo, king of Western Francia, and Arnulf of Carinthia, king of Eastern Francia. With this paper Fulk forwards some warning arguments to Arnulf, regarding this example about the history of – apparently more likely – the Frankish kingdom:
… subjicit etiam ex libris Teutonicis de rege quodam Hermenrico nomine, qui omnem progeniem suam morti destinaverit impiis consiliis cuiusqam consiliarii sui…
Source: Flodoardi Historia Remensis ecclesiae, IV, 5, in: MGH SS 36. Edition of 1998 by Martina Stratmann, Flodoard von Reims. Die Geschichte der Reimser Kirche, see p. 383.
… he (Fulk) subjects to further item from the Teutonic books a certain king named Hermenric, who destined all his progeny to die by impious counsel from one of his counsellors…

See also this survey on the historical and literary outlines of ‘Emanaric’ and Clovis by the author:
Rolf Badenhausen, Zur Historizität der Thidrekssaga – Teil III: Zur interliterarischen Identität von Ermanarich: III-1 in DER BERNER 83 (2020) pgs 34–50, III-2: vol. 85 (2021) pgs 41–60, III-3: vol. 86 (2021), pgs 36–52.


Friedrich Panzer has aptly encountered at least 50 ‘Samsons’ – Samsun, Sanses, Sanson – in the heroic Old French Chansons de geste, cf. Italische Normannen in deutscher Heldensage (1925) on the basis of Ernest Langlois, Table des noms propres de toute nature compris dans les chansons de geste imprimées (Paris 1904), cf. p. 599f.

The heroic figure Samson commemorates the Old Scandinavian bibliography with at least 38 manuscripts of the Samsons saga fagra. This court epic saga, written in 14th–15th century, calls its protagonist a son of King Arthur, who also ruled over England, and renders him acting as a bride deliverer mainly in ‘Britannia’, the French Brittany. Further, apart from the appearances of a Samson in the Karlamagnús saga, in the Blómstrvalla saga i.a. referring to Thidrek’s lineage, and in the Faroese lore of Ismal, his deeds are also spread in two Old Danish manuscripts. In these ballads, which also reached Old Sweden, Samson’s abduction of a king’s daughter and his flight and pursuit are at the centre – thus in accordance with the abduction and flight motif in the Thidrekssaga.

The Old Norse Thidrekssaga and the Old Swedish ‘Didrikskrönikan’, which can be traced back to a common Low German or Saxon main source, introduce Samson not only with a narrative scheme of abduction and escape, but also as a conqueror whose total vivid portrait points well to the Frankish 5th century. We may therefore consider that the eminent bibliography about Samson as an exceptionally perceived hero bases on an historical archetype which has been serving for all these reflector figures.

Nevertheless, Panzer and some 19th-century analysts have claimed historical and thus also figurative parallels to the Norman conquest of southern Italy in the Samson account of the Thidrekssaga, cf. e.g. Wilhelm Müller, Mythologie der deutschen Heldensage. (1886) p. 152f. Other analysts, e.g. Richard Heinzel, Otto L. Jiriczek and Waldemar Haupt, assume Samson from an archaic tradition with Saxon and French features, which is said to have been adopted in Danish heroic lore (Kämpeviser). However, Haupt also concedes a sufficient potential for identifications by means of the Italian-Norman history of Emperor Lothair III against Roger II of Sicily (Rodgeir af Salerni); cf. Zur niederdeutschen Dietrichsage (1914) p. 164f. Hermann Schneider accepts certain figural transfers from Roger to Samson, but rejects both a primal Saxon tradition and uncritical copying from events of the 12th-century emperorship [transl.]:
Apart from the similarity of names, there is hardly anything that captivates about this theory. Despite Müller and Haupt, Panzer found an almost uncultivated field when he set out to explore the Samson fable for Norman reminiscences with a thorough exploitation of the historical source material. (...) But the distance between the fable and history remains so great that it cannot be bridged by the catchword «poetic stylization». The equation has nothing compelling and so the proof is also not provided that the Norman history had supplied the building blocks for the prologue of the Thidrekssaga.
[Original text:]
Außer der Namensgleichheit besticht kaum etwas an dieser Theorie. Panzer fand trotz Müller und Haupt fast unbebautes Feld, als er sich daran machte, mit gründlicher Ausnützung des historischen Quellenmaterials die Samsonfabel auf normannische Geschichtsreminiszenzen zu durchforschen. (...) Aber der Abstand zwischen Fabel und Geschichte bleibt so groß, dass er mit dem Schlagwort „poetische Stilisierung“ längst nicht überbrückt werden kann. Die Gleichsetzung hat nichts Zwingendes und so ist auch der Beweis nicht erbracht, daß die Normannengeschichte die Bausteine zu dem Prolog der Ths. geliefert habe.
(Hermann Schneider, Germanische Heldensage. I. Vol., I. Book (1928–1934, 1962) pgs 285–286.)

Thus, we may follow Schneider even insofar as the warlord Samson – Rodger’s enemy – can only be religated to a miscast for the rôle of Lothair III.

The name Samson was given to an early died Samson of Merovingian dynasty. Another more or less significant buttress appears as ancestral name forwarding by an interesting nexus between Theudomer’s father RICHEMER and Samson’s son Ermenrik through simple half-word interchange: EMER-RICH (ch = k).

According to the manuscripts Samson met his kinsman King Thetmar, mentioned as his uncle in the Icelandic B-manuscript, after the slaying of the noblemen ‘Brunstein’ and ‘Rodger’. Both have been detected as noncontemporary placeholder by Karl Droege, Zur Geschichte der Nibelungendichtung und der Thidrekssaga, in: ZfdA 58 (1921), see p. 25f. on ‘Brunstein’. King Thetmar, bearing a golden lion on his red shield (Sv 4, Mb 6), had apparently come to aid his close relative on this account, presumably against the Romans. In any case, however, Samson would have had good reason to remember him with name forwarding to one of his sons.

The scribe of the A-manuscript provides King Thetmar as Samson’s father, as both writers may intend to point out his Frankish lineage with the mention of Theudomer (‘Theodemir’) de Thérouanne, † before 414.  It seems noteworthy to remark that Samson’s interliterary father does not correspond with that prototype of King Arthur whom the Samson saga fagra loves to expose to some light of Lancelot romance. Furthermore, it seems difficult to equate the famous King Arthur with a king provided as Arkimannus (Icelandic MS A, see Mb 245) whose surviving but expelled two sons received new properties from King Atala.

Summarizing Samson’s narrative outline presented by the Old Norse and Swedish manuscripts, his ethnical environment seems rather Frankish than Roman based. As regards Samson’s literary-historical epicentres, his conquests with his prominent sons are geostrategically plausible only between rather the Salian Hesbaye, the Eifel down to the Middle-Rhine, where the Germania inferior meets the superior at the Roman Brisiacum, and, as the texts provide, the previously Roman-ruled Moselle with its eminent metropolis, where his outstanding son Ermenrik was acting afterwards as its mighty and cruel ruler.

It seems less likely that Chilperic had named his son Samson after a Roman fort at Namêche on the southern banks of the Meuse. Rather, Ernst F. Jung (op. cit., see endnote 9, pgs 101–102) quotes the assessment by Helmut G. Vitt (op. cit. pgs 134–138) who underlined the corresponding basic profiles of Samson and Childeric for literary recognition. However, Jung rejects the equation of Clovis I with Thidrek’s father Þetmar. As already pointed out farther above, see Some historical and literary analogues, 1 with endnote 7, and so far, both Samson and Ermenrik seem worthy of synchronizing them with the Merovingian leaders Childeric and his son Clovis I.

Childeric’s campaigns according to Roman and Frankish sources.

See also these more comprehensive explorations of Samson’s literary identity by the author’s articles:
Rolf Badenhausen, Zur Historizität der Thidrekssaga – Teil I: Frühmerowingische Herrscher und „Samson“; in: DER BERNER 80 (2020), pgs 24–38.
Rolf Badenhauen, Gallorömische Warlords: ›Samson‹ – Childerich – Odoaker. Zur dynastischen Kontinuitätsfrage der Thidrekssaga; in: DER BERNER 87 (2021), pgs 29–53.

10.2  Weland and Widga


He is mentioned in the appendix or ‘addendum’ of the German Heldenbuch editions. Earlier remarks and renditions on Weland provide e.g. The Lament of Deor, an 8th-century elegy, the heroic poem Waldere, the Wǫlundarkviða of the Elder Edda. The Beowulf connects best armour with Weland’s work. The Old Norse scribes of the Thidrekssaga use the form Velent, while their younger colleagues of the Old Swedish transmissions spell him Weland, Velland(h), Wellandh.

Weland’s father Vaðe, a ‘risi a siolande’ as appositioned by the Old Norse manuscripts of the Thidrekssaga, is mentioned in The Widsith, a ‘poetry’ that has been generally regarded as a survey of European individuals, kings and heroes:
Witta weold Swæfum, Wada Hælsingum

The identical form Wada (or Wade) is preferred by the Old Swedish scribes. Kemp Malone (1962, p. 207) remarks on the quoted line (22) that
the thulaman thinks of Wada, not as a mythological figure of any kind but rather as a Germanic king, ruler of a tribe apparently historical. The theory that Wada "was originally a sea-giant, dreaded and honored by the coast tribes of the North Sea and the Baltic" (Chambers 95), seems therefore unlikely. On the later (largely mythological) versions of the tale of Wade, see Chambers 95 ff.

Referring to the Venerable Bede, Malone does not equate Weland’s son called Widgawith with the North-Suebian Witta who has been identified with Widning and Wihtgils, assumed to be the grandfather(s) of Hengist and Horsa. The Widsith introduces Weland’s son Wudga at line 124 and line 130 with Heimir = Hãma (see Beowulf line 1198). As already remarked above, Dietrich’s contemporary Widga must not necessarily come from the other side of the Alps.

H. Ritter and the author estimate the ‘historical horizon’ of the Weland parts of the ‘Didriks chronicle’ and Thidrekssaga between 440 and 470 (see Ritter’s timeline). After his apprenticeship Weland was in service of King Nidung who was ruling not only his Jutlandic kingdom but also the Salian territory called Hesbaye (‘Hesbania’). The manuscripts refer to his daughter called ‘Heren’ (see Icelandic MS A, intertextually to be identified with ‘Beaduhild’) and three of his sons. Weland, being cited also in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Vita Merlini as Pocula que sculpsit Guielandus in urbe Sigeni, fled across Weser river and the North Sea to Jutland with a specially prepared trunk that serves him well as a watercraft. In order to save his life, he had slain his outstandingly skilled masters for his father’s unwillingly broken oath at ‘Ballova Smithy’, which is about 30 mi. (c. 48 km) far from Siegen town. Geoffrey of Monmouth never mentions Ballova in his literary work, whereas the Thidrekssaga and the Old Swedish texts never Siegen. Although Geoffrey’s Sigeni has been alternatively surmised as Segontium or Sigontium as the Old Welsh Kaer Sigont, we nevertheless may wonder how Geoffrey had acquired the interesting information about Weland.

The Waltharius remarks Weland shortly with these words at the lines 965 & 966:
Et nisi duratis Wielandia fabrica giris
Obstaret, spisso penetraverit ilia ligno.

Weland, grandson of King Vilkinus, was recorded as superb working smith and artist of his time, certainly appearing as an early predecessor of Leonardo da Vinci. However, Weland became victim of intrigues from some man of King Nidung, and so he secretly took murderous revenge on his two youngest but innocent sons for laming him by order of that probably unsuspecting big ruler. Thereafter Weland made his daughter pregnant at his forge and finally left the king with an aircraft that corresponds well with a simple modern windsurfing glider, as Ritter has explanatorily interjected, see Der Schmied Weland, Hildesheim 1999, which includes also a nautical expert’s opinion of Weland’s passage. We naturally would remember at this point Daedalus of Greek mythology, the extraordinary inventor and master craftsman who devised the Cretan Labyrinth for the fierce Minotaur: King Mino, to whom Daedalus fled after he had committed murder, would not allow him to leave the Minotaur’s special dwelling from which he could escape by artificial wings nevertheless. We thus may wonder whether there were any better literary innuendo for Weland’s literary biographer to confirm and analogize Fredegar’s Minotaur with King Nidung. Maurus Servius Honoratus, late 4th-century grammarian, left the interesting commentary on Virgil that the crippled Vulcan, metal-smith of the gods, attempted to use violence on goddess Minerva when she met him for forging service. If the scribe of Weland’s vita had transformed this anecdote, the manuscripts certainly would be basing on scholarly mediaeval background!
The Franks Casket Lid Panel
The Franks Casket Front Panel
The whalebone made Franks Casket, Anglo-Saxon, first half of 8th century. Regarding the divided scenes on its front panel (smaller picture),’… the left is derived from the Germanic legend of Weland the Smith…’ as The British Museum points out briefly. Surprisingly, the front panel’s right half shows historical adoration of the Magi. Carved scenes of quite similar style from the Thidrekssaga and related Nordic narratives were also adorning the former church of Hyl(l)estad, Norway. The photo on the left, imaging the scene in the left half of the front panel, documents also Weland getting and feeding geese, as this action will clearly mark the most important first step for the
Creation of the Mimung (Sv 64, Mb 67).i The larger scene shown by this smaller photo refers to Weland working at his smithy. He might be depicted at that time when he had slain the two youngest sons of King Nidung, seemingly illustrated with one small human body laying on the ground behind Weland (Sv 73, Mb 74). This scene corresponds well with the appearance of King Nidung’s daughter and a supernatural maiden serving Weland with a bottle of liquid to make her obedient. Thus, the artist seems to consider mythological tradition. The first panoramic image of the casket’s lid ‘… shows another Germanic story about a hero named Ægili who is shown defending his home from armed raiders.’(Comment by The British Museum). Ritter regards this scene ‘The Return of Odysseus’, however.
The Smithy, carving at Hylestad church portal
Two carvings of Hylestad Stave Church.
Slaying the Smith, carving at Hylestad church portal
The redrawn scene above remembers well also Weland slaying Amelias, Master Smith of King Nidung.

i  A method of refining iron by digestion of birds is believed to be traditionally kept as a secret in China and Tibet. Ritter remarks that the usage of bird excretion for making nitriding steel of astonishing high quality was scientifically verified by
Dr Karl Daeves, Technical Engineer,
Rundschau deutscher Technik, Nr.26 20.Jg. Germany 1940;
Dr J. Heddaeus, Technical Engineer,
Das Werk, Heft 9, Jg. 1936, published by Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG, Germany.
See appended document
The Steel of Weland the Smith –
Summaries of Scientific Analyses.
Velad-Welad Solidus
The Velad or Welad Solidus.

Weland of Old Tradition 
Ritter provides on Weland another discovery being evaluated of 6th–7th century (!), thus of elder creation than the Franks Casket: the Gold Solidus of Frisian Schweindorf with its obverse estimated as a facsimile of a typical Late Antiquity solidus. The reverse shows the likeness of a person and runic symbols of enlarged Anglo-Saxon set of characters. 
Jantina H. Looijenga, authoress of the doctoral thesis
Runes around the North Sea and on the Continent A.D. 150–700, classifies this piece as:
«… a cast gold solidus, found in Schweindorf near Aurich in 1948. Now in the Ostfriesisches Landesmuseum, Emden. Date 575–625.
Runes run left: weladu or þeladu.

WELADU solidus

The initial rune has a large loop, from the top of the headstaff to the bottom, so either w or þ may be read. As þeladu does not render something meaningful, generally the reading wela[n]du is preferred. This is a personal name Wēla(n)du, cf. Old English Wēland, Old Norse-Icelandic Vølundr, New German Wieland
< *wēla-handuz, nominative singular maskuline: u-stem, ‘trickster’ (Düwel/Tempel 1968/70; Beck 1981:69ff. with references). The first part of the compound is *wēl-  ‘trick, ruse’ cf. Old Nordic vél  ‘artifice, craft, device’ followed by the suffix -and < Germanic *handuz.
The name might refer to the well-known legendary smith Weland...»

Tineke Looijenga, authoress of Texts and Contexts of the Oldest Runic Inscriptions, Leiden & Boston 2003, corrected this reading of the solidus to
Thus, we would adhere to consideration that coincident ‘Low Saxon minting’ referring to mythological persons might be unprecedented. The Ardre VIII image stone of Gotland (8th century) and the Cross-shafts of Leeds (c. 11th century) provide other pictorial traditions of Weland the Smith.

Weland of old tradition. Painting by E. Nowack.


The Waldere provides the eldest known father-son-connection of Wēland with Widia (Old Norse: Viðga) and represents the earliest tradition we have on the relationship of the latter to Ðēoderīc, whereas the Widsith does obviously disregard the father of Wudga. He appears remarkably as Widrick in Old Danish heroic epics(17) and became also a significant subject of receptive MHG poetry (Wittich, Witige). As concerns his original ancestry and homeland in particular, Gunnar Olof Hyltén-Cavallius and other philologists identify Weland’s son Widga (Widerich) with a ‘Widerick’ Widrik Willandsson or Werlandsson by sources related to the former ‘Willands’ härad, now Villands härad, as this region of Skåne seems to correspond with the name of Widga’s father (Hyltén-Cavallius, op. cit. pgs XXIIf.). Some local historians of this administrative district have suggested a naming from rather a pretty lake called Wætli thereabout which, however, seems to point to a derivation which does reflect an early or final property of Widga’s grandfather Vaðe, Vaði, Wadi (cf. the forms by Icel. MS A; see
https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villands_h%C3%A4rad#Namnet [retrieved March 2016]).

Coat of arms: Villands häredThe 19th-century copyist and reviewer of the Old Swedish manuscripts quotes i.a. from sources which situate the final resting place of Widrik in the same ‘härad’ of South Sweden, district of Bromölla-Valje-Sölvesborg. The current coat of arms of the superior administrative district has been designed with hues which are corresponding with Sweden’s national colours. The Royal Library of Denmark preserves at least one elder version of this coat of arms which is adorned with a centre-placed carbuncle-stone. Hyltén-Cavallius mentions that in the aforementioned region the grave of Widrik, in the south of today’s Vidriksberg farmstead by other sources,(18) was documented for the archives of Scandinavian king Christian IV by Rev. Jens Svendssøn in 1624. Referring to this localization, Nils H. Sjöborg’s Samlingar för nordens fornälskare, innehållende Inskryfter, Figurer… II (Stockholm 1824) ascribes Widrik’s grave to c. 500.

Combining this context with Viðga’s literary vita provided by the Old Norse manuscripts, he finally could have been returned from Gransport (or his northern German family and property) to the defining or last residential place of his father and/or grandfather which, however, may be less likely Fimber, Isle of Fehmarn in the Baltic Sea, but more likely another northern location as being placed above at the disposal. Considering the interliterary spelling variations of Widga the Hero (cf. e.g. Roswitha Wisniewski, Mittelalterliche Dietrichdichtung, Heidelberg 1986, p. 276), especially the Old Swedish name forms Wideke and Wideki can generally echo a result of shortening derivation from Old German Widechinstein, a former name related to the Sayn-Wittgenstein dynasty.

The Latin manuscript of Thidrekssaga, ch. CLVI published by Johan Peringskiöld, provides these insignias of Widga:
… Galeam gestabat candidi coloris, scutum, ephippium, axillaris tunica, vexillum, scutum rubro colore interstinctum malleum forcipemque exhibebant, quorum in medio tres elucebant carbunculi lapides, gentilitia paterni stemmatis insignia, quæ fabrilium operum magistrum eum prorsus excellentem præfigurabant; maternum genus per lapides ternos indigitabatur…

The English translator Edward R. Haymes reads the corresponding passage of Mb 175 as follows:
Vidga the strong had all of his equipment white in color, shield, saddle, surcoat, banner and helmet-cover. His shield was marked with red paint in the shape of a hammer and tongs. There are three carbuncle-stones in his shield. The mark is a sign of the origin of his father. He is a smith and the most skilled of all men in the world. The three gemstones signify his mother.

There is no proof of evidence that name-giving of this South Swedish region, apparently related to father and son Weland and Widga, is based on rather fictitious figural background.
10.3  Atala of Susat and a perspective survey

Ferdinand Holthausen, a 19th-century researcher of Thidrekssaga and Dietrich epics, wrote in 1884:
Ich denke mir, dass die Erzählung der friesischen Chronik im wesentlichen eine alte Soester Localsage widergibt, und zwar in der ursprünglichen Fassung, ehe sie mit der Attilasage verschmolzen war. Attila war schon früh in der niederdeutschen Heldensage in Soest localisiert, wie Heimi in Wedinghausen und die Rabenschlacht an der Mosel, allmählich flossen die Sagen von ihm und von den Friesen im Bewusstsein der Soester zusammen, und zu der Zeit, als die Männer von Soest, Bremen und Münster dem Sagaschreiber ihre Sagen und Lieder vortrugen, muss diese Verbindung schon eine ganz feste gewesen sein. Der Bericht der Th. S. gibt das Resultat dieser Sagenvermischung; so erscheint der grosse Hunnenkönig als friesischer Prinz und Gründer von Soest.
(F. Holthausen, Studien zur Thidrekssaga in: Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur, PBB, Band 9, Heft 3; pgs 451–503, see p. 456.)

[I think that the account of Suffrid’s Frisian chronicle principally reproduces an old local saga of Soest, which is the original version before it was amalgated with the saga of Attila. Attila has been early localized in Low German heroic saga, also Heimi at Wedinghausen and the Rabenschlacht on the Moselle; and so the sagas of the former and the Frisii were gradually fusing in the mind of the people of Soest; and at that time when the men of Soest, Bremen and Münster were reciting their sagas and lays to the saga writer, this compound must have been a very solid one. The report of Thidreks saga represents the result of this saga amalgamation, so the great king of the Huns appears as Frisian prince and founder of Soest.]

Why did Holthausen stumble upon the Frisian chronicle written by Suffridus Petrus in 1590? This is the very passage Holthausen encountered in Suffrid’s De Frisiorum antiquitate et origine libri tres  II, 15:
Vesvalii igitur ab eo tempore, quo terram istam occupassent, una cum confoederatis Angrivarijsii vicinam Frisiam diversis incursionibus infestarunt, & tandem anno Christi 344. qui Odilbaldi, Frisiorum ducis, nonus fuit, terram Gruninganamiii ex improviso invaserunt, & antequam Frisij in armis esse possent, omnia flammis ac rapinis vastaverunt usque ad fluvium Lavicamiv, qui eam terram ab Occidentali Frisia separat. Odilbaldus autem, contractis quantocius copijs, hostes fugientes non modo praeda exuit, set & domum usque insecutus, castris aliquot ac munitionibus occupatis privavit; nec porro destitit, donec Angrivariam totam, & maxima quoque ex parte Vesvaliam suae ditioni subjugasset, relicto illic praesidiario duce, cui nomen erat Yglo Lascon. Ille hisce populis in officio continendis praefuit annis integris sexaginta quinque, & ad securitatem domini sui aedificavit arces tres, primam in Angria, quae postea Vitekindi fuit; alteram Susati, quae postea in civitatem per Dagobertum Clotarii filium sublimata, & tandem S. Cuniberto Coloniensi Episcopo donata est, quod nostris scriptoribus referentibus, attestantur Chronica civitatis Lippiae & Coloniensis; tertiam Iburgi, quod nunc Driburgum dicitur, de quibus infra plura.
  i Westfalians
 ii Engern: name of a tribe on Weser river
iii Groningen (Netherlands)
 iv frequently mentioned in local histories but today difficult to prove as watercourse that possibly had some closer relation to Dutch ‘Lauwers zee’

Regarding the history of Soest’s formation, Holthausen additionally quotes from Johann S. Seibertz’ Urkundenbuch zur Landes- und Rechtsgeschichte des Herzogthums Westfalen (book of certifications on the country and legal history of the Duchy of Westphalia, vol. I), as certified on Soest in 1120:
Preterea iuris advocati est. hereditatem accipere frisonum et gallorum.
(Holthausen, op. cit. p. 455. Quotation: Seibertz op. cit. p. 50.)

Suffridus Petrus, of Christian name Sjoerd Pietersz, was Professor of Jurisprudence, Canon at St. Apostles Church of Cologne, and appointed ‘First Historiographer’ of West-Frisian corporative system in 1590. Although his obvious patriotic disposition has been indicated for some uncertain historical reprojection, we nonetheless should keep an eye on the following text from his Frisian chronicle:
Supradictus autem Frisiorum dux Odilbaldus filium habuit, cui nomen erat Udolphus Haron, quem Gymnasticis certaminibus egregie domi exercitatum anno Christi 357. in Angriam misit, ut eum Yglo Lascon veris praelijs cum hoste subeundis expoliret, apud quem paulo plus biennio uno fuit.
    Habitabat ea tempestate prope Hamburgum praecipuae nobilitatis satrapa Vergistus, qui filios duos Hengistum & Horsum, & filiam unam nomine Svanam habebat. Filij in Albis mortui sunt. Udolphus dum visendorum amicorum gratia Saxoniam ingressus, ad Vergistum divertit, amore Svanae correptus est, quam & cum parentum utrinque consensu uxorem duxit.
(Suffridus Petrus, op. cit.)

According to the Frisia, seu, de viris rebusque Frisiae illustribus libri duo, written by Martinus Hamconius, a king called Odilbaldus was succeeding his father in 435. The ‘hypothetical Frisian historiography’, as the writings by both Frisian scholars are recalled by some scholars, provides from its more or less fragmentary accounts at least seven reges, principes, duces, potestati with a name or second name based on *Adel. It seems more than likely that this form does basically correspond with *Odil. Both Suffridus and Martinus nowhere indicate to have any intertextual relation to the Thidrekssaga, but, according to their writings, we are apparently confrontated with Frisian leaders Adel, Adils, Aðils, Athils chronologized from 2nd to 5th century. As further maintained by these accounts, an Adgill(us) rules later in the 6th, another one in the 8th century. A Pre-Carolingian Frisian AUDWULF FRISIA stamped on coins, an AVDVLFVS FRISIA or VICTORIA AVDVLFO minted on other coins found in the Netherlands and, regarding the former one, in England, and the accounts on a Frisian leader called Aldgisl appear historically verifiable; cf. Herrius Halbertsma, Frieslands oudheid, Thesis, University of Groningen 1982; see p. 792 on the latter and p. 68 on the former in Halbertsma’s new edition of 2000. Although not a few details in the vitae of the early Frisian leaders seem apocryphally constructed, there is no proof of evidence that all representatives of this regnal clan, even those of Migration Period as listed by Suffridus Petrus, Martinus Hamconius and other authors, are purely fictitious.

Since we can not clearly distinguish between Frisian-born and Saxon rulers in this spatiotemporal matter of historical or historiographical recognition, and, against Suffrid’s and Martinus' accounts, neither verify nor disprove the political connectivity of Soest with the Frisian kingdom in Merovingian and even later times, we should not disregard that mediaeval historiography could have related a former 4th- or 6th-century ruler of a southern region to the Odil–Adel–Adgill dynasty and call or byname any of their successors likewise an Athil (see farther below). Besides, it may be worth to compare the obvious common stems of Adil–Odil with the forms of the Eddaic rulers Atli and Budli, where the initial consonant of Atli’s ancestor seems to emphasize *Udli / *Odli. The ending forms -li and -il appear certainly interchangeable for interliterary usage, see At-li – Att-il-a as most prominent example. Moreover, it should be recognized in an ethno-geographical context that the Icelandic and Swedish manuscripts introduce not only an Odilia – presumably indicating a daughter of an offspring or good-son Elsung of an Odil – as Thidrek’s mother, but also, as forwarded as well by the Old Norse texts, an equally named woman as spouse of Ermenrik’s advisor Sifka. All this cannot reflect a basic narrative milieu of the Ostrogothic Theoderic.

Holthausen’s perception, in view of considerable literary detraction of ‘Attila the Balkan Hun’, is based on an early passage in the Thidrekssaga that relates the Frisian invasion and conquest of King Melias' Húnaland. Johan Peringskiöld provides this text of the Latin script which appears closely related to the Stockholm folio of Thidrekssaga:
(Mb 39)
Inclaruit ea tempestate rex Osides, qui Frislandiæ regno potiebatur, opum atque regionum amplitudine præstans. Duo ipsi nati erant filii, Ortnitus atque Attila. Quorum minorennis alter a primis pueritiæ annis roboris & fortitudinis egregia dedit specimina. Equestria exercitia probe edoctus, liberalem habebat animum, sapientæ etiam donis instructum. Cætera alienarum etiam rerum appetens erat, in prosequendo proposito suo maximopere persistens. Hunc duodecimum ætatis annum cum ageret, præfectum prætorio constituit Osides. Attila crebas cum copiis suis in regnum Meliæ excursiones fecit. Quod vero annis iam gravis esset Melias, nec filium haberet, cui tutandam regni finium curam committere posset, multum detrimenti ab Attila ipsi allatum fuit, subjugatis urbibus eius plurimis. Circa idem tempus in morbum incidens Milias, militiæ duces atque præfectos ad se convocari iussit, ut rerum secreta cum ipsis communicaret. Doluit autem vehementer, nullum sibi esse filium hæredem cui regni gubernacula committere posset; quippe filiam in Vilkinalandiæ boreali regione marito nuptam, generumque suum Osantrigem moderando regno proprio intentum esse. Interea multo cum successu per Hunalandiam grassari Attilam Osidis filium; unde conjectura haud fallaci prævidere se, ex stirpis suæ progenie propediem ablatum iri Hunalandiæ regimen. Hanc ob causam regnum Osantrigi committendum voluit, ut adversus Attilam tutaretur. His agitatus curis, simulque morbi ægritudine labefactatus, tandem exspiravit Melias. Mortuum magno luctu prosequebantur Hunalandiæ cives, propter pacis quæ coluerat studia, opumque erogandarum liberalitatem, inque legibus servandis exactitudinem.
(Mb 40)
Huius morte cognita, Attila solennem populi conventum indixit, advocatisque familiaribus suis, prolixo verborum sermone exposuit, quanto hactenus successu res in Hunalandia prospere ab ipso gestæ, urbesque expugnatæ fuerant : Iuramento insuper se adstrinxit, non prius avitum regnum repetiturum se, donec universa Hunalandia sub suam potestatem redacta sit. Ipso hunc in modum loquuto, ingens adstantium in multum diem concitatus est clamor, collaudantibus aliis insignem regis virtutem atque fortitudinem, divitiarumque copiam, qua priores sua familia satos longe superavit.
(Mb 41)
Melias Vilkinaburgum primariam regni sui sedem habuit. Redacto autem in suam potestatem universo regno, sedem hanc Susatum promovit, quam & diutius deinde tenuit. Huius nimirum urbis ipse prima fundamenta posuerat, permanetque hodiernum in diem celebris eius gloria, & opulentiæ fama. Attila solenni pompa Hunalandiæ rex creatus est. Quam dignitatem sibi præreptam cum cognovit Osantrix, admodum id ægre tulit utpote iure hæreditario Odæ uxoris suæ Meliæ filiæ sibi debitam. Hinc dissidiorum origo inter utrosque reges, prælia cruenta cædesque. Occupatum nihilominus regnum Meliæ gladio sibi vindicavit Attila, addito prætextu illo, Osidis in Frislandia regnum exiguis limitibus circumscriptum, patri suo vix in vita suffecturum esse ; quin & ægre laturum fratrem Ortnitum, si defuncto patre, regnum cum ipso dividere velit. Quapropter regno multis cum molestiis occupato, se nequaquam cessurum, sed ultima potius experiri paratum. Interjecto tempore aliquo ê vivis excessit Osides Attilæ pater, post quem regnum Frislandiæ  occupavit filius eius maior natu Ortnides. Ipsi filius natus est Osides, optimæ atque præclaræ indolis, egregiisque corporis exercitiis imbutus. Ad adultam cum pervenisset ætatem, patruum suum Attilam Hunalandiæ regem adire gestiebat. Advenientem multo honore excepit Attila, præfectum legionis equitum eum constituens. Hoc in statu diuturno tempore res perstiterunt.
(Mb 42)
Attila vocato ad se nepote Oside, eum sui causa in Wilkinalandiam ad Osantrigem ablegandum dixit, pro sollicitandis filiæ regiæ nuptiis. Magno mox apparatu iter instructum, adjunctis ei in societatem viginti præstantissimis viris è nobilium cohorte…

Edward R. Haymes translated these accounts from Bertelsen’s transcriptions:
Mb 39 There was a king named Osid. He ruled a country called Frisia. He was a powerful chieftain and rich both in lands and in movable goods. He had two sons. The elder was named Ortnid and the younger Attila. Attila was large and strong very early in his life, a good knight on horseback, generous with money, wise and ambitious. He was the greatest fighter in all respects. When he was twelve years old, King Osid set him as chief over all of his chieftains. King Attila often rode out with his army into the domain of King Milias, who was feeble with age and who did not have a son to protect him. Attila did much damage in his kingdom and took many cities in his land.
      At this time King Milias fell seriously ill. He summoned his chieftains and conferred with them secretly. He greatly regretted that he had no son to rule after him and that his daughter was married off in the north in Vilkinaland, and that his son in law, King Osantrix, was too far away to take care of his kingdom. But Sir Attila, the son of King Osid, was often in his kingdom, and thus he thought that the kingdom might pass out of his family, even though he wished that King Osantrix would rule over it and protect it from Attila.
      Because of these concerns and because he was very sick, King Milias died. He was greatly mourned in Hunland, because he was peaceful and generous with money and because he had kept the law while he had ruled Hunland.
Mb 40 When Attila, the son of King Osid, heard that King Milias was dead, he summoned an assembly of the multitude and had his friends come. He gave a long speech about how well his harrying expeditions into Hunland had gone and how many cities he had taken in the domain of King Milias. He then swore that he would not return to the kingdom of his father until he had won all of Hunland. His speech produced great applause and for a long time everyone praised him for his generosity, his valor, and for the fact that he had become much more powerful than his kinsmen had been.
Mb 41 Attila was accepted as king over the army and the retainers gave him the title of king. He swore to them justice and law in return, and another time he promised them that he would never return to the kingdom of his father until he had won all of Hunland with his sword along with all of the territory King Milias had owned. King Milias had had his capital in Valterborg, but King Attila set up his city at Susa. It is now called Soest. He became the richest of kings. For a long time there was enmity with the Vilkinamen, because King Osantrix thought that King Attila had taken by force the kingdom that belonged to his queen Oda and had belonged earlier to her father, King Milias. But King Attila kept all of the kingdom that belonged to Hunland so that King Osantrix received no tribute from it.
      Now King Osid died, the father of King Attila, and his kingdom was taken by his elder son, Ortnid, and he was now king in Frisia. He had one son, named Osid. He sent him to King Attila to be raised. Osid was the bravest and most gallant of men. King Attila placed him as chieftain in his army over many of his knights. The kingdom remained thus a long time.
Mb 42 It happened onetime that King Attila called his kinsman Osid to him and said that he wished to send him north into Vilkinaland to meet King Osantrix. His task was to ask for the hand of Erka, his daughter, in marriage. King Attila also chose a second chieftain to go on this journey. His name was Rodolf and he was a duke over many knights in Attila’s army. He selected twenty knights on the basis of their courtesy and good manners to accompany them, and each had two well-accoutered squires. Thus was this journey splendidly planned in all details…

The Old Swedish manuscripts render this brief version (Ortnitus ↔ Herding):
In Frisia was a king called Osid. He had two sons; one was called Herding, the other Aktilia. He had in mind to make war anytime, and he gained some land and glorious victories. Once he was warring against Melias king. When Aktilia invaded Melia’s land, he said: ‘I will never return unless and until I have won this land!’ He won many battles against Melias king. Melias withdrew to an urban location called Wilcina. Aktilius won all his land and subjected it by his rules. And he settled at a place called Susat, and he let build it up preciously. Tribute was paid to Aktilius as king of allHúnaland that Melias had had before him. Osanttrix king heard of it, and it seemed to him ashamed that the father of his spouse had been expelled in such way. Now a big war began between Osanttrix and Aktilius king, and they had many battles against each other. However, Aktilius king did not lose anything of the realm that he had won. He said that nobody shall get anything of it as long as he was living: ‘My brother Herding shall have Frisia after the death of our father.’
Then Osid, king of Frisia, died. Herdink took over the realm. A son called Osid was born to him. He became a strong man. As he was grown up, he rode to his father-brother Aktilius king, and he was always the commander of his folk when they were warring. Aktilius sent out his nephew Osid and with him xx knights to Osanttrix king, submitting that Aktilius wants to have his daughter Ercha.

A comparison of these passages with Suffrid’s report results in these general relations, see Willi Eggers (op. cit. p. 84f.):
Thidreks saga & ‘Didriks chronicle’ Suffridus Petrus
The warriors of Osid, king of Frisia, invade Húnaland under Atala’s’s command. The warriors of Odilbald, king of Frisia, are acting in response of attacking southern and southeastern tribes ‘Vesfali’ and ‘Angrivari’ and invade regions of the later Westphalia under Yglo Lascon’s command.
Atala takes Susat as residence and builds it up. Yglo Lascon stays in conquered Westphalian land. He builds up three fortressed settlements. The most important one is Soest.
Osid, son of Herding and grandson of Osid the Elder, kings of Frisia, moves to Atala. Udolph Haron, son of Odilbald, moves to Yglo Lascon for education.
Osid the Younger goes to Osantrix (‘Osangtrix’), king of the Wilzians. As representative of Atala he makes a proposal for Osantrix’ daughter. Udolph Haron goes to the region of the later Hamburg for courting Svana, daughter of Vergist whom Suffrid quotes as an influential ruler on the Lower Elbe, territory of the later Hamburg.
Eggers quotes so far from Holthausen. The latter considers this synopsis as follows:
Die Übereinstimmungen zwischen der Mitteilung der friesischen Chronik und den Worten der Th. S. sind so schlagend, dass wir daraus getrost einen alten Zusammenhang erschliessen dürfen. Ein friesischer König erobert Westfalen-Húnaland, Soest-Súsat wird dort als Burg gegründet, resp. zur Landeshauptstadt erhoben und ummauert — dem Odilbald entspricht Osið, dem Yglo Lascon der Königssohn Attila, dem Udolph Haron der jüngere Osið, der zu seiner weiteren Ausbildung nach Soest geht. Anstelle der Heirat zwischen Udolph Haron und Svana in Hamburg — in der Nähe des Landes der Wilzen — hat die Th. S. entsprechend die Brautwerbung Osiðs im Wilzenlande für seinen Herrn und Oheim Attila. Svana und Erka, Vergistus und Osantrix stehen ganz und gar auf gleicher Linie. Die Menge der Übereinstimmungen schliesst trotz mancher Verschiedenheiten im einzelnen die Annahme von Zufall aus — dies müssen gemeinsamer Quelle entstammende, alte Überlieferungen sein.

(Holthausen, op. cit. pgs 455–456.)

[The correspondences between the narrative detail by the Frisian chronicle and the words of the Th.S. are so striking that we can confidently conjecture an old context. A Frisian king conquers Westfalen-Húnaland, Soest-Súsat is founded there as a castle, resp. raised to the capital of the country and walled – Odilbald corresponds with Osið, Yglo Lascon with Attila as the king’s son, Udolph Haron with Osið the Younger, who goes to his further education to Soest. Instead of the marriage between Udolph Haron and Svana in Hamburg – near the land of Wilzians –  the Th. S. accordingly relates Osið’s courtship at the Wilzians for his lord and uncle Attila. Svana and Erka, Vergistus and Osantrix are all in line. The set of correspondences excludes, despite of many differences in detail, the assumption of coincidence – these must be common source-derived, ancient traditions.]

Of course, there are some different narrative details in these courting stories. For instance, Suffridus or his source does not mention a kinship between Odilbald and Yglo Lascon, and there is no ‘rule keeping escort’ for Udolph’s special mission, whilst the Old Norse + Swedish texts relate that Margrave Rodingeir/Rodger, an accompanying but obviously interpolative nobelman based in Húnaland, finally takes the chance to court the Wilzian princess Berta.

Nevertheless, we may wonder whether this literary comparison can be based on an believable historical event. (The Helgakviða Hjǫrvarðssonar from the herioc lays of the Elder Edda offers an interesting allusion where King Hjǫrward sends out Atli to Svavaland for courting King Svafnir’s daughter.)

Comparing the geohistorical pattern of the Osantrix+Oda and Atala+Erka wooing stories with both Ritter’s timeline and Suffrid’s history of Frisia, these episodes seem to have occurred in 4th and/or 5th century. As regards Suffrid’s date tandem anno Christi 344, we have to reconsider historical incursions of ‘Northern Saxons’ into regions of today’s North Rhine-Westphalia and southern parts of Low Saxony by means of some independent ethno-archaeological research. For instance, Peter Berghaus contextually agrees with the archaeological and numismatical research by Jan W. de Boone:
Den nördlichen Teil dieses Schatzfundgebietes, den Raum zwischen Wiehengebirge und Teutoburger Wald, hat J. W. de Boone sehr überzeugend mit dem Vorstoß einer sächsischen Gruppe etwa um 370 in Verbindung gebracht.17) Diese Deutung wird durch die Fundumstände des Ellerbecker Fundes unterstrichen; er stammt aus einer Siedlung des 3. bis 5. Jahrhunderts, die bei dem sächsischen Vorstoß überrannt und verwüstet worden sein dürfte. Man möchte fast glauben, daß sich ein erneuter Vorstoß dann fünfzig Jahre später weiter nach Süden, bis in das Hellweggebiet gerichtet hat. Seine Spuren hat er in den dortigen Schätzen aus dem Anfang des 5. Jahrhunderts hinterlassen.

[J. W. de Boone has very convincingly connected the northern part of this treasure-finding-region, the area between the Wiehengebirge and the Teutoburger Wald, to a group of Saxons pushing forward about A.D. 370.17) This interpretation is underlined by the characteristic circumstances of the Ellerbecker finding. It belongs to a 3rd–5th-century settlement which must have been overrun and devastated by this Saxon advance. One would almost believe that a further advance was launched fifty years later farther to the south, just into the Hellweg area. This incursion has left its traces in the local treasures dated into the beginning of 5th century.]
17) J. W. de Boone: De Franken van hun eerste optreden tot de dood van Childerik, Diss. Groningen 1954, S. 109.

See also Peter Berghaus, Der römische Goldmünzenfund von Ellerbeck, Lkr. Osnabrück, in: Die Kunde. Neue Folge 7, 1956, Heft 1–2, pgs 30–40, cf. p. 37.

Wilhelm Winkelmann reassesses the conjected opinion of Berghaus as historical 4th–5th-century incursions of northern people into the Hellweg region which includes the urban district of Soest. Winkelmann, formerly archaeological director of German LWL organization, connects the treasure trove discoveries and other archaeological finds with these ethnographical conclusions:
Aber warum sind diese Schätze vergraben worden? Bei dem einen oder anderen Schatz, die mit großen Steinen abgedeckt waren, Ellerbeck und Letmathe-Oestrich, kann es sich um Opfergaben handeln. Aber ihre dichte Verbreitung im Norden und Osten des altfränkischen Gebietes weist auf wiederholte, vom Norden erfolgende kriegerische Vorstöße, die sich zwischen 365 und 450 ereigneten. Hier wird schon seit der ersten zusammenfassenden Veröffentlichung dieser Funde durch Sture Bolin im Jahre 1926 und später auch durch de Boone und P. Berghaus auf wiederholte sächsische Vorstöße verwiesen, die über den Hellweg bis zum Rhein führten. In diesen unsicheren Kriegsjahren sind zweifellos die Schätze vergraben worden, um sie vor dem Feind zu verbergen und später wieder zu heben. Aber dazu kam es nicht mehr. Denn schon begannen aus den nördlicher liegenden sächsischen Gebieten an der Weser erste Vorstöße nach Süden. Ein erster Zug der Jahre 365 bis 370 durchbrach das Wiehengebirge, das Weserbergland und gewann das Gebiet bis zur oberen Ems und oberen Lippe. Ein weiterer Zug der Jahre 425 bis 450 traf auch das Hellweggebiet bis zum Rhein.

[But why have these treasures been buried? Some of the treasures, covered with large stones at Ellerbeck and Letmathe-Oestrich, can be sacrificial offerings. But their dense spreading in the north and east of the old Frankish region points to warlike advances made repeatedly from the north between 365 and 450. The first summarizing publication on these findings by Sture Bolin in 1926, other later by de Boone and P. Berghaus, does already refer to repeated Saxon advances across the Hellweg to the Rhine. In these uncertain years of war the treasures have undoubtedly been buried in order to conceal them from the enemy, and to raise them again later. However, this did not happen, since new advances from northern Saxon regions on the Weser begun southward. A first movement between 365 and 370 broke through the Wiehengebirge, the Weserbergland and took the region up to the upper Ems and upper Lippe rivers. A further movement from 425 to 450 also affected the Hellweg area to the Rhine.]

Winkelmann remarks also opposite pushing migrations in the same period. Thus, these movements seem consistent with Suffridus' version about those eastern tribes (somewhere on the rivers Hunte and Weser) who invaded regions on the Lower Rhine, Drente, and other areas of Frisia:
In den gleichen Jahren sind aber aus den elbgermanisch-sächsischen Gebieten zwischen Weser und Hunte auch nach Westen gehende Vorstöße festzustellen. Sie erreichen die Drente, Friesland und weite Gebiete des Niederrheins, wie die zahlreichen einander verwandten sächsischen Gefäße des 5. Jahrhunderts erkennen lassen.

[In the same years, however, advances even to western regions can be determined from Saxon regions on the Elbe, between Weser and Hunte rivers. They reach Drente river, Frisia, and wide areas on the Lower Rhine, as this is shown by many corresponding Saxon vessels of 5th century.]
(Wilhelm Winkelmann, Frühgeschichte und Frühmittelalter, in: Wilhelm Kohl (Ed.), Westfälische Geschichte 1, Düsseldorf  1983, pgs 187–230. Both quotations p. 194; includingly referring to Sture Bolin, Fynden av Romerska mynt i det fria Germanien. Doctoral thesis, Lund 1926.)

Albert Genrich, Die Altsachsen, Hildesheim 1981, does also estimate these forcible movements of ‘Northern Saxons’ in 4th and 5th century  (pgs 25–27):
Im westlichen Randgebiet Niedersachsens, dem an Westfalen angrenzenden Osnabrücker Raum, läßt sich eine gewaltsame Ausdehnung der Sachsen durch einige Münzfunde deutlich machen. Innerhalb einer germanischen Siedlung bei Ellerbeck, Kr. Osnabrück, wurde eine anscheinend in Notzeiten vergrabene Bronzedose mit 25 römischen Goldmünzen, sogenannten Solidi, gefunden (…) Die jüngste Münze ist um 367 geprägt worden. Dieser Münzschatz steht nicht allein. Andere Funde gleicher Art und ähnlicher Datierung sowie eine Anzahl von einzeln gefundenen Goldmünzen derselben Zeit finden sich in demselben Gebiet und im benachbarten Westfalen. Der letzte Bearbeiter dieses Fundkomplexes, Peter Berghaus, vermutet, daß die Münzen den Sold germanischer Krieger in römischen Diensten darstellen. In die Erde gelangten sie, weil sie anläßlich eines sächsischen Vorstoßes nach Süden – am Ende des 4. Jahrhunderts – vergraben wurden, der das Wiehengebirge betraf. Gleichartige Funde aus dem Hellweggebiet in Westfalen sind an das Ende des 5. Jahrhunderts zu datieren. Sie kennzeichnen damit den Fortgang einer hier gewaltsamen Ausdehnung des sächsischen Machtbereiches.

[In a western fringe of Low Saxony, the area of Osnabrück adjoining Westphalia, a violent expansion of Saxons can be made clear by a few coins. In a Germanic settlement near Ellerbeck, district of Osnabrück, a box of bronze containing 25 Roman gold coins, the so-called Solidi, was found being buried in distress (…) The youngest of them was coined about 367. This coin treasure stands not alone. Other finds of the same kind and similar dating, as well as a number of individually found gold coins of the same period, are found in the same region and the neighbouring Westphalia. Peter Berghaus, the last editor of this fund complex, assumes that the coins represent the pay of Germanic warriors in Roman service. They were buried because of a Saxon advance to the south at the end of 4th century, which did affect the Wiehengebirge. Similar finds from the Hellweg area in Westphalia can be dated into the end of 5th century. They thus characterize the progress of a violent expansion of the Saxon sphere of power.]

Both Berghaus and Winkelmann date the 5th-century invasion of northern folk(s) into the region between of Osnabrück and the Hellweg rather not after 450.
Other sources of contextual research:
Werner Best, Ostwestfalen im 4. und 5. Jahrhundert nach Christus. Gedanken zur ethnischen Veränderung einer Landschaft während der Völkerwanderungszeit, in: Ravensberger Blätter Heft 1, 1996, pgs 29–38.
An ordinarily quoted collection of elder studies on the emergence, constitution, political and ethnosocial structures of the Saxons provides Walther Lammers (Ed.), Entstehung und Verfassung des Sachsenstammes, Darmstadt 1967.

Solidi Findspots 4th-5th century in Saxony, bordering Westphalia and NL Albert Genrich (op. cit.) quotes this mapped survey provided by Peter Berghaus, op. cit. p. 38.

Frisian, Saxon and Northern rulerships

Suffridus Petrus, who implicates the coastland between the rivers Ems and Elbe as Frisian territory, provides two Yglos ruling Soest in 4th and 7th century: Lascon in 2nd half of 4th century, Galama in in 7th century. Although there is no further reliable source for verifying, the elder Dutch bibliography comprehends one or both of these Yglos (Iglos) as historical person(s), apart from Suffridus Petrus and Martinus Hamconius notably Abrahm J. van der Aa, Daam Fockema, Christianus Schotanus, Waling Dykstra. Since Soest must have had its local ruler also in first third of 6th century, a contemporary of Theuderic I  in so far, the former could have been an agnate of the 7th-century Yglo. One the other hand, however, the dynastical names and bynames Adel, Adil, then Odil, appear strikingly in Frisian historiography. Furthermore, an Adil is conveyed by the Ynglinga saga, an Eadgils by the Old English/Anglo-Saxon Widsith and Beowulf, an Aðil by Old Norse Hrólfs saga kraka, an Athislus by Saxo’s Gesta Danorum, a northern 5th–6th-century Attila by both the Annales Quedlinburgenses and De Origine Gentis Swevorum, an Athisl by the Annales Lundenses which include the Chronicon Lethrense. These name forms may indicate at least the general possibility of a correspondingly named ruler even on a Migration Period location which nowadays borders or pertains to northern Germany.

Since we can tentatively combine the spelling forms Odil with Adil and Eadgils with both Agils and Athislus, the latter likely the form by a high mediaeval author, we should pay attention to Widsith who relates an Eadgils, ruler of the Saxon Myrgings (cf. Raymond W. Chambers and Kemp Malone ), at lines 93–96. We may assume that he overthrew or became successor of Meaca Myrgingum, line 23, who is possibly/likely King Melias of Thidrekssaga (see below). However, it seems conclusive that Kemp Malone does not agree with an evident Swedish identity of an Eadgils, who is depicted – likely detracted and distorted – by Saxo Grammaticus because (1962, p. 137)
(1) Saxo connects the story of Athislus with that of Offa, and since Offa certainly fought the Myrgings the sons of Frowinus presumably fought them too, and Athislus can be identified with the King Eadgils of the Myrgings who figures in Widsith;
(2) the Myrgings were a branch of the Swaefe, and tradition may have turned their king into a Swede through an easy confusion of Swaefe with the Swedish name,
(3) though Saxo makes Athislus a Swede, his slayers are from Sleswick and the episode may reflect prehistoric wars…

Kemp Malone on Swaefe = Suebi, (1962, p. 202):
The Saxons, not the Suebi, held the south bank of the Eider, and the Myrgings are best taken for a branch of the widespread Saxon confederacy of tribes, a branch later known as Nordalbings.

Although the name of this tribe suits very well the watery region between Elbe and Eider where the seats of the Myrgings were presumably to be found (Malone 1962, p. 186), their territory should be recognized not only on these rivers. Consulting Jan de Vries (op. cit.) on ON. mýrr, the characteristic toponymic environment of this tribe appears to be based on En. mire, myry (adj.), OE. mór, cf. also German moor and Old Frisian mor. Hence, we cannot exclude even adjacent Frisian regions.

The slayers in the vita of Athislus, as claimed by Saxo, may be not automatically transferred to the killers of Eadgils given by the Widsith. Besides, his lines 41–44 are without any participation of this protagonist. Raymond W. Chambers (Widsith, op. cit. p. 260) does also reject a Swedish identity of this Eadgils ‘remade by Saxo’ and understands him ON. Athils. Regarding his temporal appearance as king of the Myrgings, Chambers argues (p. 94, fn. 2):
But Widsith equally represents him as a contemporary of Alboin (died c. 573) and on his ground Eadgils used to be placed with equal confidence in the sixth century.

Neither the place of birth nor ancestral homeland of this Athils is known to the author of the Widsith. As regards the unknown real dimension of his kingdom enclosing or bordering the alleged river Elbe, Malone has already requoted the Vita Meinwerci episcopi Patherbrunnensis for the more or less critical consideration of a regiam curtem Moranga dictam  even more to the west; see above ch. Some interliterary_receptions. If combining this context with the transmissions by the Old Norse + Swedish scribes in connection with the ethno-archaeological history of Westphalia’s Migration Period, the appearance of a Frisian-born Atala, whom Ritter and other analysts assign to a 5th- and 6th-century Saxon or ‘Húnalandish’ contemporary of Thidrek–Theuderic beyond the Rhine, can be collocated or bynamed by the scribes with a conspicuous intertextual Athil.

Although historical research on late mediaeval transmissions about the earliest and early Frisian dynasties has relegated these traditions more or less to pure fiction, they stubbornly stick to the appearance of leaders called *Odil and *Adel/Adil. As already regarded farther above, it seems obvious however that we can not clearly distinguish between Frisian-born and Saxon rulers in this spatiotemporal matter of historical recognition and, against the regnal accounts by Suffridus Petrus and Martinus Hamconius, neither verify nor disprove the political connectivity of Soest with the Frisian kingdom in Migration Period and even later times. Thus, we may take into the basic consideration that a mediaeval historiographer could relate not only a former 4th or 6th-century ruler of a southern region to the Frisian Odil–Adil dynasty and call one of his successors likewise an Athil. Martinus Hamconius forwards with Suffridus Petrus a 6th-century Adgillus, ruler of a larger territory east of the Rhine – understood as Adgilla or Attila? – as a contemporary of a Frankish king Chlotar II. Martinus' elder colleague Suffridus recalls this Frankish king moving martially eastward with his son Dagobert who might be seen as a more or less decisive Frankish conqueror of Soest. But on the other hand, apart from the contextual northern ‘Attila’ environment noted by the Annales Quedlinburgenses and De Origine Gentis Swevorum, the line of all those Odils–Adils by Frisian tradition, the Athils recognized by Chambers plus the northern Atala finally identified by Ritter seem to solidify the existence of a likewise called Saxon ruler who, as an apparent contemporary of the Thuringian War in the early 6th century, could withstand an advance of Franks moving from a region west of the Rhine.

Drawing a preliminary conclusion from these observations, the accounts of the Thidrekssaga, which connect an early advance of the Niflungs with this location, can be regarded at least as an interpolated compilation based on the transmission by an earlier author who wrote mainly as an historiographer. Furthermore, as shown above for the narrative background, we must reckon with the very high probability of hostile incursion and political upheaval at the aforementioned geoethnographical timestamps being related to 4th, 5th and 6th century.

10.4  Some literary-historical perspectives

A maternal line in the synchronizing chart related to the early Merovings seems to indicate an important political relationship between the emerging Franks and their eastern neighbours, as their common Germanic ancestors were severely subjugated by the Romans not long ago. As the Old Norse + Swedish texts provide, such ‘association’ was hereditarily sealed in the Hesbaye in the middle of 5th century between King Nidung’s daughter and King Sigmund, see Mb 152 and Sv 148 as already mentioned above. After an epic insertion dealing with the birth and vanishing of their son Sigurð, seemingly based on a pattern of Franko-German Saint Genevieve Legend which has been enriched with motives of the birth of Moses and the saga of Romulus and Remus, the third writer of the eldest extant manuscript relates the hero’s youth at Mime the Smith. Within this period Sigurð fell in love with Queen Brynhild ‘the Virgin’ on location which has been connected with ‘Svava’: The Harz, certainly most attracting Low German region.(19) On recommendation of Brynhild, Sigurð moved to King Isung and his gorgeous sons which the Old Nordic scribes know as strongest fighters. It seems obvious that these Isungs were living in an important political and economic region, since the area between the Harz and the mouth of Elbe river, the latter nowadays pertaining to Hamburg, was bordering the lands of martial Baltic tribes (see the accounts on the ‘Wiltsians’ or Wilzians) on the one side. On the other, the position of this kingdom might have been guaranteeing enormous toll and tax profits for Scandinavian trade routes.

Thidrek’s ‘Grand Banquet’, convened for a trip to a big fighting event at King Isung (Sv 177–209, Mb 190–226), may appear inter alia as a tricky political campaign for making Sigurð submissive to think about his father’s connection with the family of an obvious Salian ruler: If the Niflungs were endeavouring to expand their territory toward the northern Meuse or a northern Rhine region, then Thidrek – a good or the best friend of King Atala by the texts – could have been compelled to install providently an extraordinary trustee for holding them in check.

Besides, Sigurð’s name can express his peculiar skin. Theophanis the Confessor, eminent Byzantine co-author of a world chronicle from 284 to 813, knew of a characteristic hereditary mark going with the Merovings: an obvious ichthyosis hystrix, a striking form of skin disease. Thus, Theophanis' exceptional remark allows to punchline ‘bristles of swine growing on Merovingian spine’; cf. the translation by C. Mango and R. Scott. Edward G. Fichtner quotes Theophanis' entry for the year(s) 723–724 with these words:
The descendants of that line the Merovingian line were called Kristatai, which means ‘hairy backs’ [trichorachatai]: for, like pigs, they had bristles sprouting from their back.
(Edward G. Fichtner, Sigfrid’s Merovingian Origins, 2004, p. 335.)

Jan de Vries, editor of Old Nordic etymological dictionary (Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, ed 2000), seems to enlighten us on Sigurð’s name and nature:
sigg = bacon rind (from primal Nordic ‘segja’)
sigg (Modern Norse) = rind
sigg (Shetlandic) = hard skin
segg (Modern English dialectical) = skin with gristles

Thus, the German affix -fried or -frid seems to accomplish best nicknaming, since it is old suffix for strong male nature or property, cf. ‘Burgfried’ for biggest tower of a castle or fortress.

11.  Early activities in Baltic lands and Western Russia

The history of the ‘Wiltsians’ is connected with Thidrek’s and Atala’s eastern operations and the political interests of the latter holding Hildigund (Hildigunnð) hostage, daughter of Ilias af Gercekia (Grec(i)a, Greka). Hans-Jürgen Hube (op. cit.) remarks Adam of Bremen (a. m.) who provides Graecus and Graecen as general expressions for a Slav, the Slavs resp. While the Old Norse + Swedish texts report on several campaigns of Thidrek and Atala in regions between Pomerania and some western part of Russia, Procopius of Caesarea transmits an interesting account related to the marriage of a sister of Theodibert and, in so far, most likely a daughter of Theuderic I. This episode, titled as the Story of Radigis by some reviewers, does not appear unbelievable as a whole, notably H. M. Chadwick who sees no ground for disputing that it has a historical basis, see The Heroic Age, Cambridge 1912, pgs 97–99.

Thus, it seems traceable that the eastern Franks under either Theuderic I or his son Theudebert could have been engaged in political relations with a region which J. Peringskiöld called ‘Vilkina’ land. This spelling form is also mentioned in H. Bertelsen’s ÞIÐRIKS SAGA AF BERN, p. XXIX.

Procopius relates that a daughter of Theuderic became spouse of Hermegis (‘Hermegisclus’), king of the Varni, and, afterwards, his son Radigis. The area of this tribe (cf. Germ. ‘Warnen’) has been narratively identified with a seashore-region north of Thuringia, in so far Mecklenburgian locations Warnemünde and Warnow, likewise Warnow river. After the death of Hermegis, as Procopius continues his narrative (History of the Wars, VIII, xx), his son Radigis cancelled intended marriage with a princess of ‘Brittia’ in order to marry the widow of his father due to the political intention of the late king. Procopius completes that the ‘Brittian’ princess thereupon confronted Radigis martially with her fleet and finally made him to keep his former promise. Following the descriptions of Procopius, the ‘island’ called ‘Brittia’ may be not necessarily identical with ‘Britannia’ (Great Britain). The former bewildering geonym has been scholastically interpreted as (a part of) the Jutlandic area; notably by Ernst Stein (Histoire du Bas-Empire, II, Paris 1949, p. 718 f.) and Procopius' translator H. B. Dewing who opts for a probable ‘Denmark’. However, these proposals apparently found insufficient support and have been replaced by Edward A. Thompson, Procopius on Brittia and Britannia, in: The Classical Quarterly 30, No. 2 (1980), pgs 498-507. He identifies Procopius' Britian as Brittany (= Armorica) and Brittia as Britain. Nonetheless, Thompson had also to concede that this localizations may be based on some significant ‘source emendation’. Hence, Irine Bavuso declares these conclusions questionable, at least insofar as in Procopius' Histories Βρεττανία is clearly the Roman island of Britannia (e.g. De Bellis III.2.31 Βρεττανία δὲ ἡ νῆσος ‘the island of Britannia’): note that in our passage (De Bellis VIII.20.6) the historian refers his reader back to his previous description of Thule and Britannia (De Bellis VI.15.4ff.); see Bavuso op. cit. p. 287.

As regards the geographical and political position of the Varni, Malone states (Widsith, 1962, p. 208) that
there is good evidence, ably summarized by Chambers 244 f. rem.: Widsith, 1912 , that in the sixth and succeeding centuries a settlement of Varni existed between Elbe and Saale, and the political relations between these Varni and the Saxons may have been such that Procopius was not without justification for putting both tribes under the one name Varni. That the Varni were politically powerful in the early years of the sixth century seems evident from the letter which Theodoric the Great wrote to their king (and to the kings of the Eruli and Thuringi), urging upon him an alliance against Clovis. This letter, which has come down to us in the Variae of Cassiodorus (iii. 3), was addressed to three monarchs of Middle Europe, kings too far from the Frankish border to be cowed by Clovis but too near to feel safe from attack, faced as they seemed to be by a new Alexander, whose armies had crossed frontier after frontier and whose ambition had known no limits.

11.1  Remarks on ‘Historicity’ of ‘Vilkinaland’ and other Baltic lands

The Venerable Bede mentions a Frisian Wiltaburg, a very obvious historical relict quoted as oppidum Wiltorum, in connection with other events related to 6th–7th century; see Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum V, XI. Thus, we cannot exclude the tribal existence of the Wilti, a form provided by Widukind of Corvey, on northern German territories in Roman Times and/or Migration Period. Einhard, 9th-century author of the Vita Karoli Magni, situates the Welataben, apparently identical with the ethnic group he calls Wilzi, as an historical tribe dwelling along a certain shore of the Baltic Sea. Otto K. Schmich (urn:nbn:de:1111-200602020 at http://d-nb.info/978424182/) has contemplated the Quielprannii, southern neighbours of the Chamavi by means of the Roman based TABULA PEUTINGERIANA, to identify with the Wilzians.

Although some scholarly state of research likes to situate the settling area of the 8th–9th-century Wilzians mainly in the northeast of today’s Mecklenburg, omitting or rejecting strictly compatible spatiotemporal perspectives of ‘less reliable’ or ‘legendary’ bibliography, we may not ignore the possibility that ancient and mediaeval scribes have been referring to a collective term which includes related spelling forms of tribes basing on different native understanding. Jordanes, the 6th-century Roman bureaucrat and later historiographer, provides this ethnic description of Scandinavia with an early tribe he calls ‘Vinovilith’, a form appearing closely related with Vino-Velethi–Veleti:
Now in the island of Scandza (…) there dwell many and diverse nations, though Ptolemaeus mentions the names of but seven of them. (…) In the northern part of the island the race of the Adogit live, who are said to have continual light in midsummer for forty days and nights, and who likewise have no clear light in the winter season for the same number of days and nights. (…) But still another race dwells there, the Suehans, who, like the Thuringians, have splendid horses. (…) Then comes a throng of various nations (…) All their habitations are in one level and fertile region. Wherefore they are disturbed there by the attacks of other tribes. (…) All these live like wild animals in rocks hewn out like castles. And there are beyond these the Ostrogoths, Raumarici, Aeragnaricii, and the most gentle Finns, milder than all the inhabitants of Scandza. Like them are the Vinovilith also. The Suetidi are of this stock and excel the rest in stature. However, the Dani, who trace their origin to the same stock, drove from their homes the Heruli, who lay claim to preëminence among all the nations of Scandza for their tallness.
Jordanes about the “Island Scandza” (= Scandinavia), partly referring back to Ptolemaeus. Getica (History of the Goths), ch. III. 551/552.
(S. Holst, L. Jørgensen, E. Wamers, Odin, Thor und Fryja. Scandinavian Cult Sites of the 1st Millennium AD and the Frankish Realm, Regensburg 2017, p. 23.)

However, the scribes of the Old Norse and, in particular, the Swedish texts have been charged with ascribing ‘Vilkinaland’ to ‘Swedish lands’, as this might be interpreted also as an historiographical attempt to render an origo gentes. The Latin script published by Johan Peringskiöld accomplishes correspondingly:

Wilkinus rex fama atque victoriis, adhæc etiam fortitudinis gloria celebris, alta fruebatur pace in regno suo. Armis sibi subegerat regionem, quæ tunc temporis Wilkinalandia nuncupabatur, hodierno die Sveonia & Gautalandia ; cuius ambitu complectebatur Scania, Sælandia, Jutlandia, Winlandia ; quæque his adjuntæ sunt provinciæ omnes, regis Wilkini parebant imperio, ex cuius etaim nomine vocari sveverunt. Et vero in tradenda historia is ordo observatus est, ut nimirum ex summi præfecti nomine nuncupata sit regio populusque. Itaque & regio hæc Wilkinalandia vocata, a regis Wilkini nomine: itidemque incolæ regionis cuncti Wilkinenses dicti, servato nomine hocce, donec novum ab illo sit impositum, in cuius potestatem gens illa postea transierat (…)
(Johan Peringskiöld, Latin script 1715, cap. XLV.)
Mb 21: Villcinus het konungr. hann var agetr af sigrsælld. oc rœysti. hann æignaz með rikinu oc hernaði þat land er kallað var villcina land. en þat heitir nu suiðioð oc gautland oc allt sviakonungs uelldi skanœy sealand ivtland vinland. oc oll þau riki er þar til hallda. sua viða stoð riki villcinus konungs sem land er við kentt oc þat er hattr fra sagnar iþessaRi sogu at af heiti ens fyrsta hofðingia tekr hans riki nafn. oc su þioð er hann stiornar. sua er þetta riki kallað villcinaland af nafni villcinus konungs. oc villcina menn su þioð er þar byGir. allt þar til er œnnur þioð kemr til rikiss ivir þetta land. oc skiptaz þa af nyiv nœfn (…) 
(H. Bertelsen op. cit. I, p. 44.)
There was king named Vilkinus. He was always victorious and valorous. He conquered by strength and harrying the country that was later called Vilkinaland and that is now called Sweden and Gautland, along with all the empire of the Swedish kings: Skaney, Sjaland, Jutland, Vindland, and all the territory that belongs to them. The power of King Vilkinus was so extensive that the country was known by his name, and as is the manner of telling in this saga that the land and the people take their name from the name of the first chieftain that ruled over them. So this country was called Vilkinaland after the name of King Vilkinus and the people who lived there were called Vilkinamen. This was the case until another people came to rule over the country and gave it their name (…)
[Translation by Edward R. Haymes]
Sv 17: A king was called Wilkinus. He was a gorgeous man. He won Wilcina land by fighting for this land that now is called Sweden and ‘Got(h)land’ Gøtaland , Scania and Zealand and Wendland and all the realms there. These were called Wilcina land, whose king was called Wilkinus. There was tradition to name a land after the name of its ruler (…)
Sv 297: Herding, king of Vilkinia land that is now called Sweden, was a wealthy man and a mighty fighter. He had a spouse who was called Ostancia; her father was Unne (‘wnne’), king of eastern realm (…)
Note: HerdingHernid → Old Norse Hertnið

Ritter recognizes Winland or Vinland as German Wendland that must be separated from all forms related with *Wil, *Vil and *Vel. The equation Vilkinaland that is now called Sweden has been consigned from the Old Norse to the Swedish manuscripts. However, their scribes have left that kind of chosen words which may not necessarily refer to only archaic tradition. Thus, in view of the ‘patriotical edits’ being quoted above, we are apparently allowed to distinguish between at least two spatiotemporal levels by different stages of knowledge and transmission. Since all manuscripts can hardly provide more detailed ethnological and geographical definitions of ‘Vilcina’, ‘Vilkina’, Wilzi, also equated with ‘Veleti’ and ‘Wiltsians’, we may understand these ethnonyms, in common with the eminent scholar of Charlemagne, at best as general tribal allocation.

Genealogical chart of Nordic kings
Genealogical chart of Nordic kings.
Some name appearing in Atala’s genealogy might be related to southern reception for the sake of just name harmonization; cf. e.g. ‘Erka’ whose vita cannot be transferred to the first known wife of Attila the Southeastern Hun.
As already noted above, the Old Norse + Swedish scribes may refer to geopolitical events in Migration Period by using geonyms currently known to high mediaeval readers and the audiences, as placed at the disposal by Ritter, Dietrich von Bern, Munich 1982, pgs 146–147. Contemplating this context, we cannot make evident that these records do represent ‘compositions of different temporal layers of historical events’, as this opinion has become a popular basic suggestion which, however, is devoid of any convincing substance against some conclusion provided already by elder scholarship; see, for instance, the approaches of E. Studer (op. cit., see below en. 28), W. Eggers (op. cit., see below en. 21 i). Since the dynastical lines and vitae of the 4th–6th-century Baltic & Slavic kings cannot be found satisfyingly in other surviving sources, Ritter regards the Wilzian and other Slavic chieftains preferably as potential Migration Period kings ruling Baltic territories which, as the high mediaeval texts postmodernly provide, include ‘Poland and Russia’. Ipso facto, he would not relegate their accounts just perforce to unhistorical, inconstistent or unauthentic traditions. Considering both the Frankish politics of Theuderic I, explicitly rather his daughter and son Theudebert as shortly remarked by Procopius, and the accounts provided by the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts, it seems inappropriate to relocalize the Baltic regions, as geographically recognized well by both elder and modern scholarship, to more or less anachronistic venues pertaining to pretty tribes situated in today’s southern Dutch and northern Belgian regions.

William J. Pfaff remarks i.a. the conquest of the obvious large Húnaland by the Frisian prince ‘Attila’ with regard to the ‘chronicled material’ released by Suffridus Petrus in 1590 (Pfaff op. cit 1959 p. 102 considering F. Holthausen’s reasonable suggestion), while Willi Eggers (op. cit.) has antecedently underlined the potential relationship between Osantrix and his eminent son-in-law by referring to Suffrid’s historiography. Regarding this interliterary context, his sources may be not disregarded for the identification of Osantrix with a southern Jutlandic ruler called Vergistus, qui filios duos Hengistum et Horsum et filiam unam nomine Svanam habebat. As noted above, Suffridus recites this genealogical connection, but claims that Udolphus Haron is the natural father of Hengist and Horsa.(20) Vergistus or Vetgistus, appositely ‘the Jute’, is Bede’s Victgilsus cuius pater Vitta by Nennius, or: cuius pater Vecta , while the so-called Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (on A.D. 449–488) and the Historia Brittonum spell him Wihtgils. A potential intertextual Anglo-Saxon relationship of these familial figures, albeit commonly judged at least ‘semi-legendary’, seems worth to explore by means of Mb 28, as its author regards Osantrix’ father-in-law residing or ruling in/over Skrottan, Brittan.

As already mentioned, we apparently have to reckon with some nicknamed or ‘renamed’ individual appearing in the Thidrekssaga and the Old Swedish manuscripts. The ‘Eastern lands ruler’ Osantrix may thus appear to some reader as shortened spelling form of Old German ‘Os(t l)ant rex’ who nonetheless seems to re-appear as Oserích in MHG poetry. Incidentally, as to be remarked shortly at this instance, there may be some examples for different names of an historical individual in mediaeval German and Russian dynasties, e.g. Adelaide or Eupraxia, daughter of Vsevolod I, Prince of Kiev. At least one example for the only usage of an obvious epithet has been given above, see Morphological connections and prospects.

It should be briefly complemented the Latin quotations above taken from the work of Suffridus Petrus. As he forwards, a general of the Frisian dynasty, who had invaded territory known later as Westphalia and taken over Soest for his residence in Migration Period, was wooing thereafter the daughter of an important ruler residing on the Lower Elbe, territory of the later northern German metropolis. Although there is no reliable source to prove or disprove Suffrid’s account, we may not disregard at this spatiotemporal juncture that a Wilzian tribe, or people historiographically equated with them under a collective term, could have been settling there. Furthermore, as regards Mb 55, the residence of Osantrix appears not far from the Falstrskógr, see its position provided by Mb 109 and, plausibly, H. Bertelsen (op. cit. II, p. 403).

11.2  Ostancia, queen of ‘Vilkinaland’, Baltic Sea Region

Flying Dragon, mediaeval painting 
A mediaeval motif.
Source: Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen.
Cf. Heinz Ritter-Schaumburg, Dietrich von Bern, Munich 1982, pgs 241–245, Abb. 26.
As Ritter disenchants the magic arts of Osta(n)cia the Sorceress, spouse of King Her(t)nid of ‘Vilkinaland’, she managed the installation of special kites to shock the warriors of King Isung, see HISTORIA WILKINENSIUM, THEODERICI VERONENSIS…, CCCXXVIII (Sv 299, Mb 352):
 … Isthæc vero secretas per artes convocavit in medium feras omnimodas, utpote leones, ursos atque dracones horrendæ magnitudinis, quos voci suæ obsequentes hostium agmini propulsando obmisit…

Gregory of Tours also considers this obvious 6th-century warfare method for confusing the enemy [hist. IV,29]:
Chuni vero iterum in Gallias venire conabantur (…) Cumque confligere deberent, isti magicis artibus instructi, diversas eis fantasias ostendunt et eos valde superant…
[The Huns were again endeavoring to make an entrance into the Gauls (…) And when they were about to fight, the Huns, who were versed in magic arts, caused false appearances of various sorts to come before them and defeated them decisively… (English version by E. Brehaut.)]

12.  Résumé

As regards Old Norse bibliography and mediaeval historiography, the Thidrekssaga appears as being based on a chronicle or historia rendering an eulogy of most important ‘Austrasian’ king Theuderic. Nevertheless, Thidrek’s biography has to be regarded fragmentary: Just at that time when he was celebrated King of Roma II, Sv 356 and Mb 414, his curriculum vitae provided by the Old Norse + Swedish texts is drawing to an end. The remaining last parts of the Old Norse manuscripts relate Aldrian’s Revenge and two epic implantations. The first deals with Bergara (Sv: Brugara) which could be an innuendo onto Bergen, place of translation by the Old Norse scribes who were editing or knowing of continental heroic epics and adding here their own geonymic imprint with a central motif of the Wolfdietrich-Ortnit. The second is Heimir’s episode at Wadhincusan monastery which Roswitha Wisniewski recognizes as the literary signature of the Low German author Ludewicus, a provable 13th-century scriptor and copyist of a precious bible at Wedinghausen monastery.(21)

Gregory relates Theuderic’s first appearance not before 507/508. Next, about 524/525 (see Edward James [1986:23 n.9] following Ian N. Wood [1983:38 n.8]), our Frankish scriptor mentions him on a campaign against the Auvergne – counselled there by his dux Hilpingus (= ‘Hildingus’ ?). At nearly the same time Theuderic appeared at the Moselle’s Roma for restoring this metropolis, then crossing the Rhineland for warring in Thuringia (c. 531/532). Thereafter he removed a challenging Gaulish chief called Mundericus (532/533) and his kinsman Sigivald who likely had served him as viceroy in Clermont. Considering Theuderic’s biographical gap between 507/508 and c. 524 plus his following actions, the vita of this Frankish king appears rather completed by the Old Norse and Swedish manuscripts.

Thus, to further substantiate these recognitions, we have to compare the basic accounts of the  Thidrekssaga with the western Frankish period from 5th to 6th century in the following and to draw further conclusions on the literary genre of the Old Norse and Swedish transmissions (→ ch. 12.3).

12.1  General conformity of contemporary residential regions

Trier = Roma II on the Moselle – the dark decades in the reign of Clovis I

Regarding the exposition of Thidrek’s exile, we obviously have to consider the ethical side of his humiliation that might have been lasting as long as he was unable to compensate his expulsion. Although he could not regain his kingship from his kinsman Ermenrik (dated 1st quarter of 6th century by Ritter), he could have been able to make or join a campaign somewhere else. This context might also comprehend Gregory’s suppression of contemporary history of Roma II, the metropolis of the Treveri, and some area between the Meuse and the Rhine – as he actually did for his very fragmentary reports on both Theuderic and, especially, the significant region of Belgica I. As to another item raising from this spatiotemporal context, now of further interest, Gregory’s readers may be made to believe that Theuderic was crowned in no time after Clovis' death, thereafter presumably residing also on locations called Remi and Mettae – though Gregory does not say a word about the date and place of Theuderic’s coronation. According to archaeological research, however, Roma II with its former imperial seat was the most significant urban location and base of river logistics for the southern Franks when Theuderic had reconquered (inter alia) the Auvergne and ascended the throne of the eastern Franks. Furthermore, as regards the basic regnal and political principles of Late Antiquity and Migration Period, it seems too problematic to substantiate rather Metz and/or Reims as the only or most important place(s) of Theuderic’s residence(s), notably e.g. Roger Collins (1983) referring to the early Merovingians and Theuderic’s son Theudebert.

It is obvious that Gregory of Tours provides Trier as Theuderic’s residence while reporting on a noble individual called Attalus, who was sent between 531 and 533 as an hostage to his court [hist. III,15], where his son Theudebert was educated by Nicetius, head of the Church of Trier and likely also the governor of this metropolis. Since the begin of Theuderic’s restoration and Christian reconsolidation of Trier has been dated between 525 and 527, cf. Gregory’s contextual remarks in his Liber vitae patrum VI,2–3, this metropolis appears as Theuderic’s eminent seat after the episcopal election of Nicetius.

As far as we know Clovis never turned toward the former Belgica I with its eminent metropolis for enlarging his kingdom. Why? First of all, H. G. Vitt (op. cit.) and other analysts reasonably suppose Childeric already acting ahead in the political interest of his son Clovis in the last two decades of his life; notably Eugen Ewig, Die Merowinger und das Frankenreich (2001) p. 20; Guy Halsall, Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West 376-568 (2007) p. 269f; Ulrich Nonn, Die Franken (2010) pgs 99–100. Thus, it seems hard to accept that Childeric – or his obvious interliterary parallel ‘Samson’ – were not appreciating or preparing to the Frankish conquest of that location known only a short time before as largest colonia on the north side of the Alps. Considering the Old Norse + Swedish texts and the Latin manuscript by Peringskiöld, the latter providing Samson Salernitana urbis imperium regiumque titulum adeptus est (ch. VIII), as chronologized between c. 460 and 470 (at this time also the final Frankish conquest of Cologne and occupations of its surrounding regions), all sources allow to detect no other contemporary Franco-Rhenish or Gaulish leader mightier than Childeric or Samson. If the former had played actually a leading rôle for the conquest of the Treveri metropolis, his successor thereby had an adequate resource even for his hefty campaigns.

Dimensions: The Aula Palatina of Trier (photo by Heinz L. Boerder) vs the Church of Reims, 5th century.
Cf. Élie Lambert,
La cathédrale de Reims et les ca­thédrales qui l’ont précédée sur le même emplacement
in: Comptes-rendus des séances de l’Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (1959) vol. 103, no. 2, p. 241f.

Imperial Trier compared to scale with Paris of 5th to 6th century,
the latter provided by the topographer Antoine Coquart (1668-1707).
Plangraph of Trier based on publications by Heinz Cüppers and Josef Niessen, e.g.
PUTZGER Historischer Weltatlas;
Leonardo Benevolo, Die Stadt in der europäischen Geschichte (1998), cf. p. 27 referring to the Enciclopedia dell’Arte Antica.

We may wonder whether this assumption matches with Trier’s blank sheet of history perfectly covering the reigning period of Clovis ‘&’ Ermenrik, alternatively prolongated up to Theuderic’s ‘&’ Thidrek’s first appearance and reconstitution of this metropolis. Or asked another way: For what reason should Clovis have renounced a geopolitical status symbol not less than a former imperial Roman seat? There may be a sublime circumstantial evidence for his seat on the Moselle at least at the end of 5th century, although Gregory writes about De baptismo Chlodovechi that the queen arcessire clam sanctum Remedium Remensis urbis episcopum iubet [hist. II, 31]:
First, however, we therewith cannot make evident both Clovis' residence and his baptism at Reims, albeit Fredegar – but not the Liber Historiae Francorum – claims Clodwigs seat at Reims. The 13th-century monks of Saint-Denis, compilers of the so-called Grandes Chroniques de France, follow Fredegar’s localization. Gregory claims later an important place of Clovis even at Tours, place of the king’s and scribe’s ‘so beloved Basilica of St. Martin’, which – if we can believe this at all apart from the well documented Martin’s cult – may point to nothing more than another place amongst possible places of secondary residence.
Second, as regards a likely concealed historical parallel at the baptism of Clovis, only some words later Gregory apparently makes a flashy local allusion with the phrase that Clovis procedit novos Constantinus ad lavacrum. Thus, by means of Gregory’s and our sources, we should not disregard that Constantine I has been affiliated to ‘first baptized Roman emperor’. If forwarding this parallel, as this seems more than likely, Gregory might have provided a covert local indication related to Constantine’s western seat, making in this way the locality’s name expressis verbis superfluous. Since Remidius (‘Remigius’) sometime congratulates Clovis on taking over Belgica II [Epistolae Austrasiacae 2], we neither have material nor any plausible reason contradicting the authority of Childeric’s successor over the superior adjacent province. As Gregory remarks twice later [hist. II,38 & 40], Clovis chose Paris for his new seat during or shortly after his more than hazardous South Gaulish campaign. Ian N. Wood reasonably remarks that
Clovis ceases to appear in the Italian records at this time; it may be significant that it is the period to which Gregory assigned the extermination of his hero’s northern rivals.117 (op. cit. 1985, p.264)
117  Gregory, Liber Historiarum II, 40-2. For arguments in favour of the late dating of these events, Wood, Kings, kingdom and consent, p. 28.

The ‘event quarter’ of the Imperial Roma II: Circus Maximus and Amphitheatre.
Reconstruction model at the Landesmuseum Trier. Photo by Stefan Kühn.

In consideration of Clovis' inexorable ascent – he climbed up the ladder of military success and regnal power when the Franks took Trier – and Dietrich’s dynastical plus geopolitical background by the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts, the consequences of such potential context taken as authentic would preliminarily concern nothing more than a renewed nickname identification of Dietrich’s close relative Ermenrik, appearing at least as the best ‘placeholder’ whom the Old Norse writers could interpret for their distinctive exposition of ‘parallelism’ in history. However, as regards the fragmentary Frankish history about Clovis and Theuderic that emerges now from this context, there are at least three burning questions we are left with:
Which Frankish ruler was responsible for the exceptionally recorded politico-religio-cultural ‘irregularities’ in the metropolis Roma II of the former Belgica prima, «historically and interpretatively appearing as an isolation based on politically troubled times», as these were contemporarily known since the mid of 2nd half of 5th century and lasting even for more than one decade after Clovis' uncertain death in 511? (See more details and quotations farther below.)
Thus, we may further ask in this context: Why did Gregory of Tours not say a word about the cause or background of the very striking clustering of Episcopalian dismissals in the city of the Treveri?
Why has Theuderic restored this eminent urban location not earlier than c. 524/525?
Why could Theuderic not appear in person in available Frankish history between 508 and c. 524?
The military break-in of a Nordic leader called ‘Chlochilaichus’ within this period, apparently along some northern Rhine territory, was beaten back by Theuderic’s son Theudebert. Gregory’s previous memo about Theuderic, who allegedly «followed Clovis to his new seat at Paris« more or less immediately after the South Gaulish campaign, which had caused the forceful intervention of the Italian Theoderic, does not seem convincing with regard to the implicit long lasting passivity of the Frankish namesake.
Did Theuderic have at that time more urgent matters to deal with than to beat off the Nordic break-in? Or was he staying rather in a foreign sphere, thereby out of sight of Frankish and Roman writers?

Regarding the Frankish campaign against the Visigoths of 507/508, it seems less plausible that the Clovis had no idea of the risks and consequences of Theuderic’s military operation, particularly after the intervention of the undefeated Ostrogothic protector.

According to Gregory’s version [hist. II,37], Clovis moved to Bordeaux, gave the order to bring him Alaric’s treasure from Toulouse and then retreated to Angoulême. Rather, Theuderic moved southward to Albi and Rodez, then northward to the Auvergne. However, as the military-political effects were soon to show, Clovis was well advised not to stand in front of the Ostrogothic lion’s den for long. But, in case of this mission being blocked, he then could exert his influence on the inheritance part of the most powerful Frankish prince who could have been ruling it almost independently.

Theuderic had – apparently impudently – violated the ‘Pax Gothica’ of Theoderic the Great.

And in fact, after 16 summers and 16 winters Theuderic successfully reconquered the Auvergne – at that time the fading vigour in the very last year(s) of the Ostrogothic Theoderic being in religious conflict with his Roman subjects and Emperor Justin I; cf. e.g. Ian N. Wood, The Ecclesiastical Politics of Merovingian Clermont, in: P. Wormald (Ed.), Ideal and Reality in Frankish and Anglo-Saxon Society, 1983:38; Wood op. cit. 1994:51–54; Edward James, Gregory of Tours: Life of the Fathers, 1985/1991:23–24, fn. 9; RGA 30 (2005) Theuderich I, p. 462 with further sources; https://www.badenhausen.net/rolf-badenhausen/Theuderich_I.pdf. This major military operation appears certainly in close spatiotemporal connection with Theuderic’s constitutive consolidation of Trier. Since he did not appear in the aforementioned repulse of Chlochilaichus' troops, presumably a large-scale offensive of northern forces, this second Auvergnat expedition is Theuderic’s next known ‘Frankish campaign’ after 507/508(22) – with or after his stopovers at Cologne (with Gallus) and Roma II !

The preceding absence or isolation of Theuderic, designated king at least of the eastern Franks, might have meant a challenging situation for Clovis' campaign against the Visigoths and, finally, Theoderic the Great. Thereby Clovis could take the chance to remove Sigibert, the leader of the Rhenish Franks, in order to expand his empire immediately to the northeast instead after his rather failing campaign in southern Gaul – and in so far without any involvement of Theuderic if we confer to Gregory’s reports. Ian N. Wood, op. cit. 1985, p. 264, estimates that blocked in the south after 508, Clovis may have turned his mind toward enhancing his prestige in the Rhineland and perhaps across the English Channel.

Gregory, implying more indirectly this point of view, if at all, makes Clovis responsible for the elimination of King Sigibert of Cologne between 507 and 509 [hist. II,40]. Although Gregory does not really indicate any conflict between Clovis and Theuderic, it seems not certain that Clovis ever intended to protect Theuderic. Presumably, either immediately or a short time after the death of Clovis, Theuderic’s son Theudebert could have conducted the kingdom of his father for a certain period, as the military extent of Chlochilaichus' invasion seems to point to this reasonable case. Besides, this Nordic chief invaded the paygo Attoarios by the account of the Liber historiae Francorum, 19, a former ‘Chattuari’ region which has been scholastically estimated at that time (c.515–c.523) on the Lower Rhine, but not in an obvious identical region of Burgundy called terram Chatuariorum by Carolingian historiographers; see Richard A. Gerberding, A Critical Study of the Liber Historiae Francorum. Doctoral thesis, Oxford 1982, p. 84f. As regards the moment of this northern attack, we may wonder whether the death of Clovis, possibly rather some years after 511 (!), and an absence of his eastern successor Theuderic had caused the impression of a weak and vulnerable phase of (a part of) the Frankish kingdom.

Following both Ritter’s timeline related to the Old Norse and Swedish texts and historical upheavals on the other side of this river, it may be further contemplated his estimation that, between Clovis' campaign to South Gaul and the Thuringian invasion by Theuderic’s forces, the Niflungs – or Frankish intruders – could have crossed the large stream for the conquest of the obvious wealthy region of SusatSoest.(23)

All these significant contexts are not corrupting historiographical interpretations of Thidrek’s interliterary parallel Theuderic. Rather, we must state again an incredibly shrinking area for two different Theoderics when turning once more toward the vitae of Thidrek and Theuderic. This is encyclopaedic quotation referring to Clovis' eastern successor Theuderic I who in the third decade of 6th century restored and Christianly reconsolidated Trier = Roma II after its period of obvious destructive arbitrary rule:
It was while abbot that King Theoderic I (511–534) learned to know and esteem him, Nicetius often remonstrating with him on account of his wrong-doing without, however, any loss of favour. After the death of Aprunculus of Trier, an embassy of the clergy and citizens of Trier came to the kingly court to elect a new bishop. They desired Gallus, but the King refused his consent. They then selected Abbot Nicetius set out as the new bishop for Trier, accompanied by an escort sent by the king, and while on the journey had opportunity to make known his firmness in the administration of his office. Trier had suffered terribly during the disorders of the Migrations.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicetius  (retrieved March 2009)

Hans Hubert Anton, an author of the RGA and expert in ecclesiastical Gallo-Roman and Frankish history, constates [transl.]:
The accumulation of names in the Episcopal Registry of Trier at the end of 5th and beginning of 6th century (Emerus, Marus, Volusianus, Miletus, Modestus, Maximianus, Fibicius, Abrunculus, Rusticus) suggests a period of politically troubled times, the weak testimonies of the aforenamed allow to conclude an (undoubtedly politically based) isolation.
[Die Häufung der Namen in der Trierer Bischofsliste am Ende des 5. und zu Beginn des 6. Jahrhunderts (Emerus, Marus, Volusianus, Miletus, Modestus, Maximianus, Fibicius, Abrunculus, Rusticus) deutet auf politisch unruhige Zeiten, die schwache Bezeugung der Aufgeführten läßt dabei auf eine (zweifellos politisch bedingte) Isolierung schließen.]
(Hans Hubert Anton, Die Trierer Kirche und das nördliche Gallien in spätrömischer und fränkischer Zeit, in: Beihefte der Francia 16,2 [1989], p. 61.)
See also Nancy Gauthier, L’évangélisation des pays de la Moselle. La province romaine de Première Belgique entre Antiquité et Moyen-Age (IIIe-VIIIe siècles), Paris 1980, p. 135.

Eugen Ewig counts up six episcopal dignitaries being affected by supersessions between 479 and 502/3 (op. cit. 1954, p. 88; i.e. Emerus, … , Maximianus), and he contextually quotes from a letter of recommendation written by Avitus of Vienne on request of bishop Maximianus of Trier (op. cit. p. 60):
Quamquam nec illa vobis regionis suae subversio tamquam incognita exaggerari debeat, cum pietatem vestram quaerentem ubique misericordiae aditus, non lateat, ubi est misericordiae locus.

Starting from the 470ies, the episcopal records related to Trier itemize ten predecessors of Nicetius, episcopal dignitary until c. 525: Jamlychus, Emerus, Marus, Volusianus, Miletus, Modestus, Maximianus, Fibicius, Abrunculus or Aprunculus, Rusticus, the latter ignored by Gregory of Tours, see Vitae Patrum VI,3.

It seems too hard to accept that Gregory had no idea of the causality of this matter whose basic historical background should have been perceptible to him. So we are obviously urged to constate:

After the reigning period of Clovis I, plus a portion of time after his more uncertain than certain date of death (notably Ian N. Wood, see above), the amassing of names in the Episcopal Registry of this Roma cisalpina ended with Theuderic’s appearance – in the period of his reconquering Auvergne campaign – on this eminent metropolis of the Treveri, which he tremendously remodeled. Regarding King Thidrek’s arrival on this location, within a difference of only c. 2 years by means of Ritter’s spatiotemporal identification of Roma II as Trier, Thidrek liberated this metropolis from Ermenrik’s successor ‘Sevekin’, the nicknamed Old Nordic ‘Sifka’(24).

Since Ritter localized the Harlungen seat Fritila some miles south of Bonn, which may be slightly emended with the Roman stronghold Brisiacum (Breisig on the Rhine, in the region of the Ahrgau), the manuscripts already specify in Mb 281 its northeastern position from Roma II which hence complies with Trier:

nu er vestan veðr oc sunan oc fagrt skin oc heitt. oc stundvm smatt regn oc fagrt austan oc norðan huat kemr þaðan nema enn ungi egarð oc hans brodir aki?
(Henrik Bertelsen, ÞIÐRIKS SAGA AF BERN II p. 165.)
We now have wind from the west and the south and warm weather and sometimes a little rain and it is fair from the north and the east. What comes from there but the young Egard and his brother Aki?
[Translation by Edward R. Haymes]

This is nothing less than a further compelling parallel that points out another very important political event in the vita of Thidrek–Theuderic. The Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts annotate King Thidrek’s conversion into Christianity, undoubtedly in narrative context and spatiotemporal coherence with Roma II = Trier, in accordance with that moment when Bishop Nicetius talked seriously with Theuderic I at the metropolis of the Treveri.

Cologne – Bonn – Verona – Zülpich:

Since the prime author of the manuscripts has already determined the seat of Thidrek’s follower Heimir in the region of the (northern) Suebi, Fasold’s homeland in the Osning (a part of Teutoburg Forest, cf. ‘Osnabrück’), Widga’s on Zealand, Þettleifr’s in Scania and Vildifer’s in the Eifel region on the Amel, the geographical allocations in Mb 225–226 and Sv 209 point to rather a small common area of the seats of both Thidrek and the Niflungs. Relating the return of Thidrek’s champions from King Isung’s Bertanga, these chapters supplement the mappings of the remaining heroes as follows:
Mb 225:
Now that King Thidrek and all of his men had proven themselves so that no man in the world would dare to bear a shield against them in battle, they wished to set their lands in order and put great chieftains over castles to rule them. Earl Hornbogi went home to Vindland along with his son Amlung and his wife Fallborg, and they ruled over their land for a long time with honor and respect. Sistram went east to Fenidi and became duke there and the most famous of men, just as his kinsmen had been before. Herbrand went home to his country where he was the most powerful duke.
Mb 226:
Then Thidrek rode home with King Gunnar to Niflungaland along with all those [as the heroes are Hildebrand, Sigurð and Hǫgni] who were later to be his knights…
[Translation by Edward R. Haymes]

Sv 209:
King Didrik and his men had then tested themselves in so many battles that no-one dared to offer his shield against them. Then each one went home to his realm. Hornboge Jarl went home to Winland, and Almung with him, and his wife. Sintram went to Venedi and became the hertig there. Brand Widfarling also went home to his realm and also became a mighty hertig. King Didrik and the warriors who were left rode to Nyfflingaland with King Gunnar. To Sigurd Sven they gave King Gunnar and Hǫgni’s sister Crimilla, and half of Nyfflingaland with her, and they celebrated the wedding for 5 days with much praise.
[Translation by Ian Cumpstey]

Paying attention to the chronology of events provided by the Thidrekssaga, the Old Swedish texts and Gregory of Tours, inasmuch as these sources are relating important historical or historiographical accounts in Low and Central Germany, Thidrek was crossing the Rhine homeward to the Eifel region at that time when Theuderic
indeed had returned to his property and sent for Herminfrid…
(Idem vero regressus ad propria, Hermenefredum ad se data fidem securum praecipit venire, quem et honorificis ditavit muneribus. Factum est autem, dum quadam die per murum civitatis Tulbiacensis confabularentur, a nescio quo inpulsus, de altitudine muri ad terram corruit ibique spiritum exalavit. Sed qui eum exinde deiecerit, ignoramus; multi tamen adserunt, Theudorici in hoc dolum manifestissime patuisse.)
and (…) one day, as they were standing on the walls of Tulbiacum (Zülpich, in common Roman spelling Tolbiacum
and talking… [hist. III,8]

– a fatally shrinking space for the homeland of two different Frankish individuals within this spatiotemporal span to be dated after c. 524 and before 534.

At this contextual instance we should further recall the eldest ‘Stockholm manuscript’ which determines the residence of the Niflungs on a location called Vernica or Verniza, see H. Bertelsen’s transcriptions (op. cit. II, p. 414). Johan Peringskiöld’s Latin script conclusively conveys ‘Vernicam, Vernicum, Vernixia’, as this place has been identified with Virnich at Zülpich, Schwerfen district. Comparing these spellings by both transmissions in particular, it is obvious that these geonymic forms are directly corresponding with each other: VERNICA—BERN.ICA, even though this may or could be a literal coincidence that disallows any further interpretation. Since the texts obviously distinguish between the residences of Thidrek and the Niflungs, however, we rather should suggest the seat of the former at another position nearby. Thus, we may assume him, at least temporarily, in the centre of Zülpich. Fragments of a thermal bath at a Late Roman fortification, whose stone walls are connecting i.a. a round stone tower (c. 8 meters in diameter) with a rectangular stone tower at a length of 30 m (meters), thus supporting well Gregory’s localization, have been excavated and published by Ursula Heimberg, Michael Gechter, Peter Pahlen: Grabungen in Zülpich. Das Rheinische Landesmuseum, in: Rheinische Ausgrabungen ’78, Köln/Bonn 1979, pgs 85–90.
Roman Castra Zuelpich. Wall with Towers.
Fortified wall with two towers of the Roman castra Zülpich.
(Partial view of excavation plan; op. cit. 1979, p. 88, see Fig. 74.)

Zülpich’s geostrategical importance from Roman to Merovingian times has been persuasively underlined by Eugen Ewig, Rheinische Geschichte vol. 1,2, p. 15. This Tolbiacum was junction place of important Roman short and long-distance routes to the following locations:
•   Bonn, Castra Bonnensia, via Euskirchen-Billig, Belgica Vicus
•   Cologne, Oppidum Ubiorum - Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium
•   Jülich, Iuliacum Vicus
•   Reims, Durocortorum Remorum
•   Trier, Augusta Treverorum = Roma II
•   Xanten, Colonia Ulpia Traiana, via Neuss, Novaesium

In his accounts on the revolt of the Batavi, the Roman historian Tacitus mentions this Tolbiacum in finibus Agrippinensium. The Frankish castle of Zülpich, which was erected later close to the Roman fortification, has been ascribed to a ‘Königspfalz’, i.e. a royal palace serving as temporal or secondary seat for Frankish authorities. We may state therefore the excellent position of this location in a territory which is known in Frankish history as Ripuaria. It mainly extended from a northern region west of the Rhine, at least from the southern border area of the former (C)HATTUARIA (identified with the source region of Niers river), to the Lower Moselle.

The solid built stronghold of Zülpich was erected in Roman times with a thermal bath. Thus, according to the manuscripts, this reputable place meets the requirements for the location of Dietrich’s Bath, cf. Mb 438 and Sv 382. The scribe of the Icelandic B-manuscript, but neither his colleagues of the elder Stockholm folio nor of the Icelandic A-version (nor of the Old Swedish transmission), imagines Bern in Mb 414 as Thidrek’s other place of residence – embellished with a copper-made likeness of him on a tower – on an unnamed river crossed by a bridge ‘north of Rome’. Per contra, the scribe of the A-version localizes only an unnamed northern borginne with this stone bridge and memorial. But his Old Swedish colleague knows of no other location except rom which, as all texts provide, was for a long time in possession of a memorial of him and his horse Falka, both made in copper, so apparently created as an equestrian statue (cf. Sv 356). Regarding the passage in Mb 414, the scribe of the B-manuscript seems to have thought of Verona on the Etsch as Thidrek’s northern place of residence. However, if all these writers had meant Theoderic’s statue in ‘Ravenna’, whose naming has been equated with Gransport and/or Ran(a), the confusion of the latter place with the Italian Rome would be unlikely.

Regarding Ritter’s basic identifications at least for the contemporary dimension of Thidrek’s ‘and’ Theuderic’s realm, we may assume supporting cultural and name-giving indications which are far-reaching into the past. Thus, the regnal conception of the region of Cologne since Roman times, in its city obviously the aula regia of Theuderic I according to a report of Gregory, seems to have left historical imprints not only on its suburban location Bonn–Verona in Old German bibliography (see ch. Theuderic I or Thidrek of Bern «King of Bonn»), but also, as we may further supplement with even Gregory’s and Tacitus' accounts, on an important because very conveniently located Tolbiacum in finibus Agrippinensium.

Although the Old Norse and Swedish transmissions distinguish contextually between the rulers of Babilonia and Bern, both terms appear geographically closely related. With regard to the problem of identifying a sole residence of even an early Merovingian ruler, it seems obvious that the basic ruling structure with exercise of power of both Theuderic ‘and’ Thidrek belongs to rather itinerant kingship. As concerns an objection related to the basic attitude by the texts onto the latter, we may then contemplate the opinion of the mediaeval clerical scholars of Cologne who equate Thidrek’s residence Bern with either Bonn–Verona or/(‘and’) its closer surrounding region with the area of Cologne. Since these places on the Rhine are located only a few dozen miles or 32 to 36 km (north)east of Zülpich, this Tolbiacum might represent the other most likely option. Furthermore, the Old Norse + Swedish texts leave no doubt that Thidrek slew the ruler of Babiblonia and thus could have taken over his residence at approximately that time when Theuderic appeared at the aula regia of Cologne.

Conclusively, there seems to be little doubt by means of these sources that the place of Theuderic’s ‘and’ Thidrek’s Rhinelandish seat must have been somewhere in finibus Agrippinensium.

SYNOPSIS VITAE :  Theodericus Veronensis vs. Theuderic I.

Theodericus Veronensis
Thidreks saga
by Heinz Ritter-Schaumburg(1)
and Quedlinburg Annals
Theuderic I
by Gregory of Tours,
Gallo-Roman sources
Quedlinburg  Annals

470 Birth of Theoderic.

Hildebrand moves to Bern and becomes tutor of Theoderic.


Theoderic appointed ruler of Bern. Heime and other first followers join him. Widga, son of Velant the Smith, comes to Bern and pits his strength against Theoderic who accepts him as a follower. Theoderic’s adventurous trip to the Osning woodlands. Heime banished. Thetleif joins Theoderic. The ‘Danish’ fighter meets him at his stopover Fritila, the Harlungen residence on the Rhine with its ruler Ake the Elder, step-brother of Ermenrik.
  Theoderic attends ‘First Imperial Diet’, a colloquium of many chiefs at King Ermenrik’s Roma (= Roma secunda: Trier on the Moselle). ↔ {Clovis I has just taken over rulership of the Franks from Childeric I († 481/2).}
  Wildewer joins Theoderic.
Theoderic and King Atala warring against Vilkinaland.(2)
  Theoderic aids successfully his kinsman Ermenrik against Rimstein (‘Runsten’) on obvious Alemannian territory Germersheim [Mb 147]. ↔ {Ritter: First invasion of Alemannians?}
  Grand Banquet of Theoderic with his twelve noble followers at Bern where they decide to go out to King Isung. ↔ {Preponed parabola on Theuderic’s campaign to Thuringia with his twelve noblest followers → Quedlinburg Annals.}(3)
490 Theoderic attends ‘Second Imperial Diet’ at King Ermenrik’s Roma.
Sigurd is ruling Rhine-Frankish territory between the Eiffel and the Rhine by appointment of Theoderic. Widga quits Theoderic and becomes follower of Ermenrik.


[Ritter: 495 → Note 4]: Ermenrik eliminates the Harlungen and sends an army to Bern in order to demand subjugation from Theoderic who goes into exile granted by King Atala.
Theuderic, in service for Clovis I, invades the southern Gaul and Visigothic territories of the Albigeois, Rouergue and Auvergne. From 508 to about 510 successful counteractions against the Franks and their Burgundian allies in adjacent Mediterranean Septimania and the Provence by general Ibba serving Theoderic the Great.

515 With King Atala’s military support Theoderic goes out to meet martially King Ermenrik. Theoderic’s messengers finally find him at Roma (= Trier on the Moselle) where Ermenrik prepares the counter-attack. Theoderic takes high losses at Gransport on the Moselle’s mouth for the fall of two sons of King Atala, good friends of Theoderic. Wildewer kills Walter of Waskenstein, banner-bearer of King Ermenrik.
{Theoderic’s re-enthronement with Attila’s support → Quedlinburg Annals.}
Theuderic’s son Theudebert repels a raid of ‘Danish’ King Chlochilaich who in the retreat is killed by Theudebert.
According to Gregory of Tours, Theuderic is said to have aided victoriously Thuringian king Hermanfrid against his brother Baderic. But Theuderic was prevented from taking the half of Baderic’s realm as promised for reward by Hermanfrid.


525 [Ritter c. 526]:
The Niflungs start an expedition to Susat (Soest). All Niflungs fall but the king of Susat has to take heavy losses. Ermenrik remarked ‘already dead’. Theoderic kills the ruler of Babylonia (territory of Cologne) on his way back to Bern.
Theuderich at the aula regia of Cologne, where he calms down a crowd of angry protesters: His companion Gallus, the later bishop of the Auvergne, burnt down a popular Pagan temple of them → Gregory Liber vitae Patrum,VI,2.
Theuderic conquers the Auvergne.

Thereafter Theoderic prepares in the Eiffel a campaign to overthrew Sifka (‘Sibich’, ‘Sevekin’) at Roma II, formerly advisor of the late Ermenrik. Theoderic defeats him at the Graechenborg on the Moselle.(5) During this time he cares for comprehensive restoration of Trier. Theuderic’s dux Hilpingus (the form Hildingus in Carolingian texts) mentioned as his important intimate advisor during the Auvergnat conquests.

Theoderic now king of Roma II = Trier.
Theuderic thereafter allocated as ruler of the aera of Trier → Gregory hist. III,15.
Hildebrand dies.
{Hermanfrid = Irminfridus flees to ‘Attila’.
De Origine Gentis Swevorum, 9.}(6)
{If Hermanfrid’s emissary Iring had come as Irung to Atala’s seat Susat, where he was slain by Hǫgni [Mb 387], then the Niflungs-Battle could have ended c. 531. → Note 6.1}

Theuderic invades and takes possession of Thuringia, where he failed with an attempt on Chlotar’s life. Then Theuderic lures Hermanfrid to his residence Tulbiacum (Zülpich with Vernica nearby) and succeeded in an attempt to assassinate him. Theuderic overthrows Munderic, claimaint to the Frankish throne. Theuderic delegates his son Theudebert to reconquer regions which the Franks invaded in 507–508, but were then expelled by the Visigoths and Romans under Theoderic the Great with his general Ibba. Theuderic kills his relative (parens) Sigivald.

Between 534 and 536 Theoderic passes away at his residence with a thermal bath.(7)
Theuderic dies end of 533; both Gregory and Cassiodorus annotate his death without violence.
Aldiran’s revenge, death of ‘Attila’ c. 539.
{Death of ‘Attila’ between 527 and 565.
→ Quedlinburg Annals.}

Notes Synopsis Vitae

1  Dietrich von Bern (1982) p. 282 (op. cit.); Der Schmied Weland, p. 163, 165, 169. back to text

2  The historicity of Didrik’s/Thidrek’s and At(t)ala’s campaigns against Vilkinaland and ‘Russia’ must remain open at present. back to text

3  Cf. Ulrich Steffens, Hugo Theodoricus und Thideric de Berne. In: DER BERNER 67, p. 21f., cf. p. 31. back to text

4  The beginning of Dietrich’s and Hildebrand’s exile has been recalculated according to ‘Hildebrand’s calendar’, i.e. the enumeration of his years; cf.
Ritter, Dietrich von Bern (1982) p. 205f., 267;
Hans Jürgen Hube, Thidreks Saga (2009) p. 354, ann. 1 (op. cit.);
Edo W. Oostebrink, Die Anfänge der Merowingerherrschaft am Niederrhein (2017) p. 88 (op. cit.);
Hans Friese, Thidrekssaga und Dietrichepos (1914) p. 33 (op. cit.).
    Thus, the exile’s begin can be postponed from the year 495 to c. 510. Cf. on Dietrich’s Flight the proven vacuum of transmission about Theuderich, who on the basis of all available sources did not appear on Frankish territory from 508 to c. 525, i.e. after the South Gaul campaign of Clovis I:
Rolf Badenhausen, Der gallisch-fränkische  Wiedereroberungszug von Theuderich I. als „Thidrek von Bern“ In: DER BERNER 82 (2020), pgs 42-51;
id.:Theuderich I. – der historische Thidrek! In: DER BERNER 81 (2020), pgs 3–29.
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5  Presumably the Gallo-Roman temple site at Graach on the Moselle:

          (Caption by the author.) 
Sources: Trierer Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Kunst des Trierer Landes und seiner Nachbargebiete. Jahresbericht 1978-1980, p. 370. Artur Weber, Suche nach den Ursprüngen des Weinortes Graach. In: Heimatjahrbuch Bernkastel-Wittlich (1993) p. 172.
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6  At illi confederationes regum metuentes, ne vel Theoderici sponsionum fraudarentur vel regum conspiratione ex provintia propellerentur, decreverunt noctu vadum per Gozholdum monstratum transire ao Thuringiorum castra ex inproviso irrumpere. Quo peracto tantam stragem de hostibus dederunt, ut vix quingenti cum Irminfrido evaderent, qui etiam commigravere ad Hunorum regem Attilam.
(MGH SS rer. Germ. 60, p. 160.)
 [Transl.]: But they ‹ the Swevi, people of North Suavia supporting Theuderic got so worried because of the pact between the kings ‹ Theuderic and Irminfrid that they feared either to be cheated of Theuderic’s promise, or else be chased out of the country by the allied kings. And so they decided to cross the ford shown by Gozhold during the night and to break rapidly into the fortress of the Thuringians. So it happened and they made such a bloodbath among their enemies that not even 500 escaped with Irminfrid, and they moved to Attila, king of the Huns.
6.1  According to the Origine Gentis Swevorum Irminfrid’s intermediate stay in Attila’s Susat cannot be excluded, cf. Hilkert Weddige (op. cit. p. 66) at least on Iring/Irung. Ritter assumes him as a kinsman of King Irian, cf. Die Nibelungen zogen nordwärts (1981) pgs 163–164. back to text

7  The later Old Swedish supplement Sv 383–385 of MS E 9013 disregarded. See rather Mb 414, Mb 438 of the elder manuscripts referring to Thidrek’s bath. The Roman built thermae of Zülpich belong to a residential place of Frankish king Theuderic I (see above). back to text

Parallels with Wolfdietrich

The emphasized rôle of the faithful and wise Ber(c)htung in comparison with Thidrek’s loyal companion Hildebrand does not need to be pointed out further.

As for Theuderic’s royal residence mentioned just before, there is an obvious significant parallel with the Wolfdietrich epics, whose protagonist reconquered his father’s seat ‘Constantinople’ after he had been cheated out of his inheritance and expelled from his father’s kingdom. Annotating to Theuderic’s and Dietrich’s vita, the Frankish but not Greek residential location in these epics (written after c. 1230) can be interpreted now more contextually as an allusion to rather ‘Emperor Constantine’s seat’ known as Augusta Treverorum = Trier on the Moselle:

Under the lemma Franken→Wolfdietrich the RGA 9 (1995, p. 384f.) states about an even further Old French epic that (as already translated above)
in the ‘Floovant’ (Chlodovinc, son of Clovis) the father of the protagonist is called Constantine. Gregory of Tours does also call Clovis a new Constantine (II, 31) in the description of his baptism. The fact that his residence was then called Constantinople in the poem appears reasonable, but has nothing to do with the city on the Bosporus.

As quoted above, Gregory of Tours referred to Clovis as the new Constantine, sparing the name of the eminent location where Bishop Remigius of Reims had blessed him.

Regarding further narrative details in the Wolfdietrich epics, it is irrelevant whether he was born as an older or younger kingly son, because we do not know which of all his brothers ultimately survived for the division of the father’s kingdom. But we know from Frankish history that no representative of Theuderic’s later territories in the Frankish kingdom was present at the First Council of Orléans in the widely accepted year 511 of King Clovis' death.

Wolfdietrich’s expulsion according to the A-B-versions results from the dispute with his brothers about the inheritance share of the paternal kingdom, in version A Sabene represents the driving force. Both Wolfdietrich and Theuderic are maligned as ‘Kebsenkind’ (a concubine’s child). According to Widukind of Corvey, 10th century, and the Origine gentis Swevorum, dated between 1100 and 1210, Theuderic’s ‘sister’ harps on his illegitimate descent that should disallow him to take over his father’s realm.

Gregory of Tours, who makes Clovis I the father of Theuderic still in chronological context with oral tradition, also connects the latter’s origin from a concubine relationship which he could have already taken from Theoderic’s Ostrogothic biography, see above ch. 3.3.

The comparison of Wolfdietrich with the Thidrekssaga provides a surprising amount of identifications which may underline their extraordinary intertextual relationship. Thus, it is not necessary to mention that both feature a lion in the shield and fight against dragons. Further, in Wolfdietrich A the protagonist inherits the steed Valke from his father, while Thidrek takes over the stallion Falka from Heimir, see citation Heinzle ch. 3.5. Moreover, Thidrek takes also the sword Eckisax together with the highly praised armour from Ecke (cf. adventurous Osning trip and also the Eckenlied centered on territory belonging to Cologne), which Wolfdietrich once appropriated from Ortnit who had been killed by a dragon. According to the younger Dietrich epics his enemy Ecke is said to have received sword and armour from Queen Seeburg of Jochgrimm, which she had acquired from Tischcâl monastery, see Miklautsch op. cit. p. 85.

According to the Thidrekssaga, cf. Mb 157 on a war campaign of Sigurð’s father Sigmund, his advisor Hartwin (‘Artwin’, ‘Arthur’) desires the queen, who, however, refuses him. Analogously the parallel in the A-version of Wolfdietrich: Before his birth, the king also embarks on a military expedition, leaving the queen to administer the realm under the unfaithful Duke Saben. He, too, desires the queen, who likewise vigorously rejects him. This common motif, ostentatiously connected to the birth of these eminent heroic figures, cannot be mere coincidence. More likely is an extraordinarily close spatiotemporal relationship between the history of transmission and authorship that may be solidified with further exploring.

Wolfdietrich B, in striking parallel to the Samson account of the Thidrekssaga, relates Hugdietrich’s adventurous courtship of Hiltburg, the daughter of a king Walgunt of Salneke. After he forbade their marriage and therefore locked her in a tower, Hugdietrich appears as ‘Hildegunt’ in female disguise and thus is admitted to Walgunt’s court – just compare the courtship of Apollonius for King Samson’s daughter. According to the B-version Wolfdietrich defeats the greedy Ortnit in a duel, but together with him he frees his bride Sigeminne on a castle Altenfelse (version D) from the giant Drasian. So here we have two cross-textual synonyms being related with Thidrek’s Osning trip.

In consideration with the dating relations to the younger Dietrich epics these overwhelming parallels can be explained hardly with an Ostrogothic, but rather original Frankish provenance of the source material.

Roswitha Wisniewski, who nonetheless shares with an obvious minority of analysts (cf. Miklautsch op. cit. p. 84) a rather shortsighted identification of Wolfdietrich with the Italian Theoderic, unrebuttedly concludes (op. cit. p. 162; highlighted passage by the quoting author)
that in the saga of Wolfdietrich a very old version of the Dietrichsage seems present, which had to give way to the younger saga versions of the Middle High German epics, and that for their preservation the transposition of the saga on another hero took place, perhaps at the same time with new designation as Wolf her Dietrich and a new genealogy, according to which Wolfdietrich is an ancestor of Dietrich.
[Original text:]
Es hat den Anschein, daß in der Wolfdietrichsage eine sehr alte Version der Dietrichsage vorliegt, die den jüngeren Sagenversionen der mittelhochdeutschen Epen weichen mußte, und daß zu ihrer Bewahrung die Transponierung der Sage auf einen anderen Helden erfolgte, vielleicht zugleich mit neuer Benennung als Wolf her Dietrich und einer neuen Genealogie, nach der Wolfdietrich ein Vorfahre Dietrichs ist.

12.2  Common geostrategical ambitions

The narrative return of Theuderic–Thidrek is typified by corresponding pattern. Both Gregory of Tours (c. 524/525) and the Old Norse + Swedish texts (Mb 413, Sv 355) provide the king’s re-appearance with reconquering Gaulish territories west of the Rhine and the Lower Moselle.

According to predominant scholarly datings, Gregory of Tours relates King Theuderic I at the aula regia of Cologne about 525 (see table above). Regarding Ritter’s basic spatiotemporal identification of the historical Dietrich von Bern in so far, it seems absurd to place and interpret another king Thidrek on the side of the Frankish Theuderic, who, in the same period being involved, became authority over a territory even southeast of Húnaland, exempli gratia  a North Thuringian area after c. 531.

Furthermore, as regards the Old Norse and Swedish transmissions, we may proceed from an attempt of an eastern Frankish tribe to take over the wealthy region of Soest within a period between Clovis' campaign to South Gaul and Theuderic’s one to Thuringia. Such further 6th-century campaign of Franks to that remarkable location in the area of the later Westphalia, undertaken likely in the first half of 6th century, may or can be the historical defeat and downfall of the Niflungs in rather the Second Northern Húnaland, which actually might have caused big losses in warriors on both sides. In any case, this campaign does not contradict the Merovingian expansionism related to eastern regions beyond the Rhine already in the 6th century! An account about this military expedition, dealing with unquestionable historiographical testifying, is expressed in both Mb 393–394 and these distinguished words by Peringskiöld’s Latin manuscript, ch. CCCLXVII:
Enimvero Thiotiscis carminibus  (ON. ‘Thydeskir menn’) memoriæ  prodita est, celebris gloria pugnæ istius, etiam apud antiquos memorandæ. Magnam utique cladem illam summorumque virorum jacturam, superstitis Attilæ Regis temporibus in Hunalandia neutiquam resarciri potuisse (…) Et sane lectu digna sunt Thiotisca carmina (‘Thydeskra manna’) illa, quibus exponuntur Susatensium civium effata, eorum præcipue qui urbe adhuc incolumi vitam vixerant (…) Quin & alii apud Bremensis atque Monasterienses præclara in existimatione viri, antedictarum luculentam notitiam nobis dederunt, nulla tamen cum prioribus habita communicatione rerum, mito consensu iisdem ferme circumstantiis descriptarum. Visa nimirum his popularium traditionum indubia veritas, quam carminibus Thiotisco idiomate in illustrium virorum factis describendis solenni studio proponere moris erat.
Indeed, there is memorial confirmed by German lays, celebrating such glory of the battle which also remember the old ones. This defeat caused such highest loss in men that it could not be compensated with survivors in the time of Attila’s reign (…) And, indeed, German lays have been lectured dignifyingly, exposing the fate of the citizenship of Susat, of those who were living previously at this undisturbed urban place (…) Other men of even Bremen and Münster confirmed this by means of the aforesaid illustrious notice; though they had no knowledge about this from the first said inhabitants, there was consensus regarding almost all circumstantial descriptions. And this is certainly to be seen in accordance with the indubitable truth rendered by popular traditions, described in German lays made by reputable men, as these have been meanwhile performed.

This passage then completed with the Icelandic manuscripts, see Bertelsen ch. 429a (Mb 428):
Epter davþa Attila kongs tok Þidrek af Bern allt Hunalannd [ad rade margra vina sinna er vered høfdu med Attala konge þa er Þidrek kongur var j Húnalande. Þidrek kongur ried sijnu rijke til elle, og ecke er nu fra þvi ad seigia, ad hofdingiar hafe barest i móte honum, so eru nu aller hrædder fyrer honum, ad eingenn þorer ad hefnast a honum, þott eirnsaman rijde hann med sijnumm vopnumm.
[Transl. Mb 428:] After the death of King ‘Attila’, Þidrek of Bern took over all of Húnaland, supported by many of his friends who were at King Attila’s court when he was in Húnaland. From now on King Þidrek was reigning his whole realm until old age, and there is nothing to say about chieftains rebelling or anybody daring an attack against him, even when he was lonely riding with his weapons.

These accounts relate that Thidrek became authority over a certain part of Saxony (= Húnaland) which included the eastern region of the later Westphalia with its obvious centre Susat, as the Old Norse + Swedish texts seem to credit this moderately to the tragical disappearance of its ruler.

After the takeover of the kingdom of Cologne by Clovis I, the eastern advance of the Franks was significantly expedited by Theuderic I, who moved martially to North Thuringia with its Harz region and who presumably tolerated or appointed local individuals as loyal chieftains also in Saxon regions beyond the Rhine. An impactive Merovingian movement to the lands of the later Westphalia, a retaliatory military action against the Saxons, who attacked eastern Franks in 623, has been ascribed to Chlotar II and his son Dagobert, therewith forcefully occupying or gaining some regions at least west on Weser river about 625/626. Later on, this Frankish invasion of Saxony, as provided by the Liber historiae Francorum, 41, was massively reinforced by Charlemagne.

According to the letter of Theuderic’s son Theudebert, who informed Emperor Justinian I about territorial heritage of Austrasian kingdom only a few month after the death of his father, its status quo is … cum saxonibus (,)? Euciis, qui se nobis voluntate propria tradiderunt [MGH: Epistolae Merowingici et Karolini aevi I, p. 133 (III. Epistolae Austrasiacae 20)]; cf. in chronological and interpretative contexts Franz Beyerle, Süddeutschland in der politischen Konzeption Theoderichs d. Gr., Grundfragen der alemannischen Geschichte, Vorträge und Forschungen, 1, 1955, p. 77f.

On the one hand, Beyerle apparently concludes that the geographical placement of ‘Saxon Jutes’ (saxonibus Euciis) would cover perforce all southern Saxon people. Thus, he transcribes ‘cum saxonibus et Euciis’. On the other hand, however, ‘Saxon Jutes’ could have been chosen by Theudebert or his scribe in order to distinguish them clearly from the Anglo-Saxons. Notably disagreeing with Beyerle is Richard Drögereit who ambiguously localizes (a part of) saxonibus Euciis rather in Pannonia: Fragen der Sachsenforschung in historischer Sicht, in: Niedersächsisches Jahrbuch für Landesgeschichte 31, 1959, pgs 38–76, see p. 50f.

Theudebert’s letter to Justinian does not contradict the political relationship between the ‘Húnalandish’ or ‘Saxon’ Atala and Thidrek. As regards the timeline of events provided by the Thidrekssaga (cf. Ritter and the author), both had overthrown a tribe equated with the Wilzians in the early 6th century.

Saxon Findspots 5th C. Westphalia (Winkelmann) This map, originally titled ‘Sächsische Fundstellen im 5. Jahrhundert’ by Wilhelm Winkelmann (op. cit. p. 195), navigates with ancient tribal (re-)localizations. The ‘demarcation of Saxon and Frankish territory’ is primarily basing on archaeological research.

The ‘Liber historiae Francorum’, XIX, seems to equate the ‘(C)hattuarii’ with the ‘Attoarii’ of 6th–8th (!) century. Gregory of Tours does only refer to some ethnonyms provided by Tacitus for narrative related to the end of 4th century, while Bede and other authors still use them for their descriptions of later events up to 7th–8th century. However, neither Widukind of Corvey nor the Annales Quedlinburgenses mention the specified Roman based tribal names in their 5th–7th -century accounts, albeit Widukind remarks once ‘Angarios’ in his ‘Res gestae Saxonicae’ I, 14, just before his introduction of Charlemagne. Both Gregory and the Annals refer to ‘Sicambria’, perhaps the tribal region of the ‘Gambrivii’, in their 5th -century reports.

More realistically, the region between Lippe river and the former ‘Chatti’ should be regarded as a more or less occupied area. Thus, this ethnographical outline does not allow an inference on the stability of the
6th–9th-century Franco-Westphalian territory.
Frankish Graves in northern Rhineland and Westphalia 6<small><sup>th</sup></small>-7<small><sup>th</sup></small> C. (Winkelmann)
Furthermore, W. Winkelmann provides these findspots for estimating the peripheral Frankish borderline crossing the Westphalian region in 6th/7th century (op. cit. pgs 198–199).

The kiln was excavated at Geseke, c. 17 km southwest of Paderborn. Winkelmann further remarks that some revealing finds of Westick, location of Kamen, have been dated to 5th century; for instance a small Francisca of lead, elaborately profiled needles, pots of glass and goblets. He also estimates some of these finds burned in kilns on the Rhine.

Referring to the map above, Winkelmann additionally ascribes ‘Hamaland’ , a small region east to northeast of the ‘Chamav’, to Frankish territory of 6th–7th century.
Frisian, Saxon & Thuringian regions, A.D. 526 (Tackenberg). An elder scholarship’s version of borderlines related to 6th century, cf. the ‘Saxon notion’ not only by Gregory of Tours. This partial view is an excerpt from a map of Europe designed by German prehistorian Kurt Tackenberg; cf. e.g. Putzger, 88th ed. 1965, p. 39.

Gregory’s contemporary Venantius Fortunatus knows of Saxons, Danes and Jutes warring against Chlotar I and his son Chilperic (carmina IX, 1, 73f.). He further relates a dux Lupus successfully fighting against Saxons and Danes (carmina VII, 7, 50f.), as contexually annotated by Walther Lammers, Die Stammesbildung bei den Sachsen, in: Westfälische Forschungen X, Münster 1957, pgs 25–57.
Id. (Ed.), Die Eingliederung der Sachsen in das Frankenreich, Darmstadt 1970; the latter mainly focussing on 7th–9th century.

Albert Genrich (op. cit. p. 6f.) attempts to project the view of ‘Saxon(y)’ as a likely collective tribal body already before the Merovingian period by means of ethno-archaeological studies whose related cartography (i.a. by Hans Jürgen Eggers) points to «a homogeneous economic area with a typical burial cult extending from the Lower Elbe to the Middle Weser and the Teutoburg Forest after A.D. 200.» Therewith he infers [transl.]: ‘It is not improbable that the borders of this archaeological sphere are coextensive with those of a political group.’
[‘Es ist nicht unwahrscheinlich, daß die Grenzen dieses archäologischen Kreises mit denen einer politischen Gruppierung zusammenfallen.’]

In 2005 Christoph Grünewald, archaeologist at German LWL organization, resumed the archaeo-ethnological research on Westphalian 6th century with this statement:
Im 6. Jahrhundert müssen wir uns voll und ganz auf die Analyse von Gräberfeldern stützen, denn eindeutig und gut interpretierbare Siedlungen dieser Zeit mit Befunden sind selten. Ein Blick auf die Karte (…) weist insgesamt 15 Gräberfelder auf. Fast alle liegen ganz eng in der Lippe-Hellweg-Zone. Alle peripheren Regionen wie das nördliche Münsterland, Südwestfalen und auch die Zone, in der wir im 5. Jahrhundert noch an der Weser viele Fundpunkte hatten, bleiben ausgeklammert. Dies kann als ein weiterer Beleg dafür gesehen werden, dass die „sächsische Südausbreitung” des 5. Jahrhunderts keinen Bestand hatte und jetzt eher westliche Einflüsse dominieren.
    Etwas differenziert gesehen werden müssen die Grab- und Beigabensitten. Sie variieren sowohl von Friedhof zu Friedhof wie innerhalb eines Gräberfeldes stark (…)
    Fasst man zusammen, so zeigen die Grabfunde ein eindeutig linksrheinisches, also fränkisches Gepräge, während die Grab-Befunde dies nur teilweise bestätigen, sich in anderen Teilen aber deutlich hiervon absetzen. Versuchen wir hier jetzt den Abgleich mit Schriftquellen, sind die Grenzen schnell erreicht. Zwar sind für das 5. und 6. Jahrhundert vielfach Kriegszüge der Sachsen – allein oder mit anderen Stämmen zusammen – erwähnt und dass 557 ein fränkisches Kastell in Deutz von Sachsen gestürmt wurde, über Territorien, Machtgebiete oder dauerhaft besiedelte Länder sagt dies aber nichts aus.
    [Ab 7. Jahrundert:]
    In den Jahrzehnten um und nach 600 ist kurzfristig eine besondere Entwicklung zu spüren: An mehreren Stellen sind gut bis sehr gut ausgestattete Gräber zu finden, die teilweise sogar als „Adelsgräber” – den Begriff mit aller Vorsicht genutzt – bezeichnet werden können. Am bekanntesten ist sicher der Fürst von Beckum (…) mit seiner kompletten Bewaffnung, Geschirr und goldenen Taschenbeschlägen (Winkelmann 1974). Ihm zur Seite gestellt werden können Kriegergräber aus Fürstenberg (… Melzer 1991) oder Warburg-Ossendorf (Siegmund 1999a), die schon als fränkische Statthalter im eroberten Westfalen gehandelt wurden. Sozusagen ihr weibliches Pendant – als Adelige, nicht als Statthalterinnen – bilden Gräber aus Soest mit reichem Goldschmuck (Melzer 1999). Auch hier ist wieder die Herkunft der Gegenstände sicher im linksrheinischen Gebiet zu suchen.

(C. Grünewald, Archäologie des frühen Mittelalters vom 5. bis zum 9. Jahrhundert in Westfalen – ein Überblick –  in: Archäologie in Ostwestfalen  9 [ISBN 3-89534-569-5], Saerbeck 2005, pgs 71–86, see pgs 73–75.)
[Regarding 6th century, we must entirely draw upon the analysis of burial grounds, because settlements with findings for clear and good interpretation are infrequent. The map (…) shows altogether 15 burial grounds, almost all their positions very close to the Lippe-Hellweg zone. All peripheral regions such as the northern region of Münster, South Westphalia and also the area of many 5th-century findspots on the Weser are excluded. This can be taken for evidential conclusion that the ‘southern expansion of the Saxons‘ is no more relevant in 5th century, whilst western influences are now dominating.
    The burial and piece adding customs must be regarded more differentiated. They vary much both from cemetery to cemetery and also within a burial ground (…)
    Summarizing, the finds of these graves show unequivocal dispositions from the left side of the Rhine, thus being Frankish. Nonetheless, the findings about these graves are proving this only partially, although significantly diverging even in parts. Now trying to weigh this against bibliographical sources, we will be soon stretched to the limits. There are frequently mentioned martial campaigns of Saxons – or in common with other tribes – in 5th and 6th century, e.g. a Frankish fort at Deutz raided by Saxons in 557. However, these expeditions are not relevant for an inference on territories, orbits of power or permanently settled lands.
Up to this point in Grünewald’s summary, which contextually includes the burial grounds of Soest on the Hellweg, he does not differentiate between first and second half of 6th century. Now around and after 7th century:
    A special short-time-development must be noted for the centuries about and after 600: There are several locations of well and very well endowed graves which partially can be called – with utmost care – ‘Noble Graves‘. The best known of them is certainly the grave of the ‘Ruler of Beckum‘ (…) with his complete armament, equipment (harness) and golden bag fittings (Winkelmann 1974). We can put on his side the warrior graves of Fürstenberg (… Melzer 1991) or Warburg-Ossendorf (Siegmund 1999a) which have been already discussed as graves of Frankish governors in conquered Westphalia. So to say that the graves of Soest represent their female pendants – as noblewomen but not governors – with wealthy gold jewellery (Melzer 1999). Right here the origin of the found pieces has to be researched certainly in the area left of the Rhine.]
Regarding again the Frankish-Thuringian War, the above-mentioned manuscript De Origine Gentis Swevorum, 9, relates that Irminfridus, overthrown opponent and, finally, tributary armistice partner of Frankish king Theodericus, moved with ‘merely five hundred’ to an ‘Attila’ after a lost battle:
At illi confederationes regum metuentes, ne vel Theoderici sponsionum fraudarentur vel regum conspiratione ex provintia propellerentur, decreverunt noctu vadum per Gozholdum monstratum transire ac Thuringiorum castra ex inproviso irrumpere. Quo peracto tantam stragem de hostibus dederunt, ut vix quingenti cum Irminfrido evaderent, qui etiam commigravere ad Hunorum regem Attilam.
(Codex Palatinus No. 1357, fol. 152v–153v, Vatican Library. Codex No. 4895 A, fol. 123–124, Bibliothèque nationale de France. M. H. Goldast, Scriptores rerum Suevicarum (Franco f. 1605, 8°), pgs 15–20.
MGH Latin text: cf. MGH SS rer. Germ. 60 (Ed. Waitz/Hirsch, Hanover 1935), see p. 160 for c. 9.)

In common with the Annals of Quedlinburg this message seems to substantiate a Low Germanic Atala of 5th/6th century whose date of death estimates Ritter only a short time before that one of Thidrek. Furthermore, as contextually indicated, the notice quoted above from the De Origine Gentis Swevorum does not contradict the Saxon-Thuringian ‘notions of history’, from wherever adapted by ‘homeland historiographers’. Hilkert Weddige (op. cit. p. 88f.) points out that the author of De Origine Gentis Swevorum must have known the Chronica written by Frutolf von Michelsberg, i.e. esp. its part De Origine Saxonum.
When Thidrek returned home from a disastrous Susat to his residence in the outer Eifel, he knew that some region of the later Westphalia and Low Saxony was too weak to repulse any further attack coming from the other side of the Rhine. When Theuderic was back on home location in the outer Eifel, as Gregory remarks events after 531/532, he apparently gaver order to remove the deprived last king of Thuringia. This is conceivable political strategy of Frankish expansion appearing in first half of 6th century.

12.3  Dénouements on literary milieu

As already recognized by attentive elder scholarship (notably e.g. Gunnar O. Hyltén-Cavallius, Henrik Bertelsen, Bengt Henning), the scribes of the Old Swedish texts left the literary form of a chronicle or historia at least; neither one of those fornaldarsögur, sagas written before Iceland’s ethnological starting point, nor one of those riddarasögur, chivalric tales written thereafter by Old Norse ‘fabulatores’ apparently for amusement at mediaeval courts. Roswitha Wisniewski, whose postdoctoral work about the downfall of the Nibelungen by Thidrekssaga has been either attacked unconvincingly or ignored enormously by her colleagues, does not follow inappropriate methodological principles of elder and some newer scholarship for classifying the predominant literary gender of the Thidrekssaga. Although Wisniewski unpersuasively regards e.g. ‘the Italian conqueror Samson’ as a brainchild (‘Erfindung’) of Thidrekssaga, she justifiably points out (op. cit. 1961, op. cit. 1986) that its obvious comprehensive Low German source is based on dominating narrational identities which are unquestionably belonging to the genre of the mediaeval chronicle and historiography [transl.]:
The literary design of Thidrekssaga is characterized by natures known from chronicles, historiographies and gestae (Droege, Wisniewski). The title ‹Dietrichschronik› for the Swedish version thus might be chosen not by chance. In contrast to heroic lays and epics, as they are personalizing and depolitizising sagas, politicizing is especially typical for chronicles and related literary forms.
[Für die Gestaltungsweise der Thidrekssaga sind Eigenheiten kennzeichnend, die aus Chroniken, Historien und Gesten bekannt sind (Droege, Wisniewski). Die Bezeichnung ›Dietrichschronik‹ für die schwedische Fassung dürfte nicht von ungefähr kommen. Im Gegensatz zu Heldenliedern und Heldenepen, die Sagen personalisieren und entpolitisieren, ist für Chroniken und verwandte Formen gerade die Politisierung typisch.]
(Roswitha Wisniewski, op. cit. 1986, p. 79; cf. also p. 35 on ‘Samson’.)

Hans-Jürgen Hube (Humboldt Universität Berlin, Nordeuropa-Institut, em.) correspondingly estimates the manuscripts being based on a historia or chronicle written in 12th–13th century, and he reasonably detects some basic point of view provided by Susanne Kramarz-Bein, who has been not convincingly focussing on nothing else than riddarasögur and fornaldarsögur as the obvious possibilities or mixture for the literary gender of the Thidrekssaga, as spitzfindig.(25)

As regards the life of Theoderic the Great, his vita is more in detail than the biographical material we have on the Frankish Theuderic and his intimate advisor dux Hilpingus, as shortly annnotated in Gregory’s wartime records, cf. the name form Hilprant as the best companion of Dietrich von Bern in the keenly compiled ‘World Chronicle’ by Heinrich von München. Astonishingly, however, the Ostrogothic Theoderic had no confident or follower roughly named alike for an eminent relationship that has been already compared with King David and Jonathan by the ecclesiastical scribe of Mb 15 – as we urgently have to expect this for the incontrovertible literary connection. However, Widukind of Corvey does already know of this Frankish king’s reliable and familiar advisor who, albeit his name put aside and equated with an obvious ‘highest-ranked servant’, was appearing in Thuringian War:
Erat autem Thiadrico servus satis ingeniosus, cuis consilium expertus est saepius probum, eique propterea quadam familiaritate coniunctus.
(Res gestae Saxonicae I, 9.)

Furthermore, the Annales Quedlinburgenses do already provide the twelve noblest companions of the Frankish Theoderic; and there is no solid literary evidence imaginable that the Old Norse scribes had endeavoured to create all those stories about their twelve heroes for the sake of the Annales' mention of the number of the Frankish king’s followers.

Roswitha Wisniewski quite rightly queries the missing scholarly consistency onto the cardinal questions and answers on the historical starting point of Dietrich von Bern saga tradition and the mental process for/of converting an historical Italian conqueror so emphatically into an Italian refugee! Referring to the prevailing scholarly opinion, she cognizes the conquest of Italy by Theoderic the Great and the assassination of Odoacer, but she cannot provide a good reason why Dietrichdichtung, categorized ‘of southern origin’, transforms such basic biographical context into extensive fabulous exile tradition (op. cit. pgs 44–45). Joachim Heinzle cluelessly wonders [transl.]:
Nonetheless puzzling is what matters most: how did come the conversion of Italy’s historical conquest by Theoderic into Dietrich’s expulsion from Italy into being?
[Rätselhaft bleibt indes die Hauptsache: wie es zur Verwandlung der historischen Eroberung Italiens durch Theoderich in die Vertreibung Dietrichs aus Italien kommen konnte.
Op. cit. p. 6.]

The Ambraser Heldenbuch already includes the eminent verse form poetry Dietrichs Flucht and Rabenschlacht, its literary gender misleadingly established as HISTORISCHE  DIETRICHEPIK by elder scholarship. Comparing the basic source context of the prose version known as ‘Anhang zum Heldenbuch’ (AHB), provided as either prologue or, more commonly, addendum in the ‘Books of Heroes’ released by Diebolt von Hanowe and some other editors, Joachim Heinzle concludes [transl.]:
It is out of the question that the author of the ‘Heldenbuch prose’ had an access to the ‘Thidreks saga’: saga and prose must, independently of each other, have selected eclectically from the same old narrative tradition.
[Es ist ausgeschlossen, dass der Verfasser der ‘Heldenbuch-Prosa’ Zugang zur ‘Thidrekssaga’ hatte: Saga und Prosa müssen unabhängig voneinander aus der gleichen, alten Erzähltradition geschöpft haben.
Op. cit. pgs 79–80.]

This statement implies significant divergences for intermediate and/or final edits basing on ‘the same old narrative tradition’.

Alpharts Tod, seemingly the ‘trilogical’ or at least further outstanding rhyme epic dealing with Dietrich’s explusion and his attempt to regain his kingship, conveys a Franco-Rhenish paper manuscript of 15th century, while the text itself seems to be generated in 13th/14th century. Joachim Heinzle does not follow estimations pleading for an author based in Upper Germany [transl.]:
It seems hopeless to determine the native location of the text. The circumstantial evidences brought forward for the Bavarian and, lately, Alemannic space as linguistic area are all through unusable.
[Hoffnungslos scheint es, die Heimat des Textes bestimmen zu wollen. Die Indizien, die man für den bairischen und – zuletzt – für den alemannischen Sprachraum beigebracht hat, sind durchweg unbrauchbar.
Op. cit. p. 90.]

However, accordingly to the majority of scholarly validations of the Middle High German Dietrich epics, with venues obviously keyed to Italy and Upper Germany, endemic authors and their recipients are said to have deemed a necessity for heroizing the pragmatic appearance and political success story of the correspondingly named Ostrogothic politician – thus glorifying and mystifying him by (e.g.) replacing his grandfather with nothing more than an alluding surrogate Amelunc generated from an 550 years living HugeDietrîch who, noteworthy enough, is mentioned at first in Saxon transmissions written in 9th/10th century. Taking this and other approaches into consideration, scholarly authorities as Kemp Malone and other researchers in mediaeval Dietrich transmissions inclusively regard the literary North-South mainstream, Malone at least for Dietrich von Bern transmissions, notably already Simrock et al. even for Heldenbuch contexts. However, both do prefer the Frankish king and/or his best companion as the prototype(s) serving for some southern based heroic lay or epic work on the Italian Theoderic, cf. also Joachim Heinzle and the RGA on Wolfdietrich.

Since the vita and death of Thidrek’s foe Ermenrik do widely differ from the historical accounts on Odoacer and Ermanaric (d. 376), we may contemplate Heinzle’s axiomatic conclusion related to the poetical and spatiotemporal bandwidth of particular Upper German Dietrich von Bern traditions [transl.]:
The synchronisation of events and persons of different times is aiming at the construction of an exclusive world of heroes, where everthing is connected with all and everyone has to do with everybody.
[Die Synchronisierung von Ereignissen und Personen, die verschiedenen Zeiten angehören, zielt auf die Konstruktion einer geschlossenen Heldenwelt, in der alles mit allem zusammenhängt und jeder mit jedem zu tun hat.
Op. cit. p. 5.]

However, we may wonder whether this easily seen good conjecture meets final illation in the light of further distinctive explorations. For instance, it is obvious that some non-negligible contexts related to the epic vitae of not only Dietrich von Bern but also his most eminent foe are significantly at variance. In view of the complexity of mediaeval Dietrich epics, the conclusive disposition brought by Heinzle may point to hardly more than an allocation of heroic and/or historical names to the variables of poetical or unbelievable narration. Consequently, if we have to explore some narrative interrelation with obvious equally named figures provided by different environments of transmission and, implicitly in so far, unequal literary milieus (!), we rather have to care warily for some further interpretative step of dénouement and exposition.

It is obvious that the twinship of Dietrich’s Flight and Exile represents the very core of the most trenchant traditions about him. However, Joachim Heinzle does concede with regard to the basic narrative identification and connection of Dietrich’s Fluchtsage with an heroically but unreliably suggested Theoderic the Great [transl.]:
In the end, however, all attempts at explanation remain non-committal, and one can only basically state that the reformulation of the historical event to the Flight Legend was oriented to a ‘situation schema’ that – fitted out with a more or less solid stock of motifs – was commonly known from elder narrative tradition.
[Letztlich bleiben aber alle Erklärungsversuche unverbindlich, und man kann nur grundsätzlich feststellen, daß sich die Umformulierung des historischen Geschehens zur Fluchtsage an einem ‚Situationsschema’ orientierte, das – mit einem mehr oder weniger festen Motivinventar ausgestattet – aus älterer Erzähltradition geläufig war.
Op. cit. p. 6.]

The identification of Theoderic the Great as the heroic representative of Dietrich von Bern, for instance by means of nothing more than an unclear surrogate called ‘situation schema’ by Heinzle, lacks of convincing reasoning even for that non-referenced elder narrative tradition. In his publication of 1999, predominantly surveying southern based mittelhochdeutsche Dietrichepik, we are missing reliable estimations about the connective degrees of dependencies between these Upper German epics and the Thidrekssaga; see e.g. pgs 58–83 with his approach basing on an obvious ‘elder tradition’ as the common source of the latter and ,Dietrichs Flucht’ und ,Rabenschlacht’ (pgs 79–80), which he estimates in the light of unclear literary-historical relationship.

Following unbiasedly Ritter’s interpretation of the Old Norse and Swedish manuscripts, these texts cannot provide the conditional framework to relegate them convincingly to any Ostrogothic saga on the life of Theoderic the Great. Since there is actually no evidence to the contrary, it now seems clear that acknowledged historical plus historiographical contexts of Migration Period in eastern Frankish, North German and Baltic regions cannot disprove both the basic political contents of these manuscripts and Ritter’s basic conclusions. According to his estimations, advanced explorations of these texts do not necessitate polemic argumentation by de facto obsolete research which, for instance, has been suggesting an oral based ‘process operative’ called ‘localization’ for ‘transmitted events’, therewith arguing in favour of a special kind of ‘pseudo-localization’ for ‘pseudo-history’. However, such dubious hermeneutical approach and solidification pays no attention to any further provision of evidence, but implying rather smartly an overestimation of the exactness of history as preserved in oral traditions instead — pretty statements of reviewers emending themselves to another, more believable scholarly level of mediaeval German-Norse transmission of historiography.(26)

Title Peringskiold Edition, Stockholm 1715
Johan Peringskiöld clearly distinguished in 1715 between Old Norse literary category SAGA and the script he provided under the title
Ritter has indicated the fundamental literary problem of the ThidreksSAGA by questioning the relevance of its title, arguing finally that we have no sufficient evidence to ascribe its manuscripts to current oral transmission about any Ostrogothic milieu. Rather, it seems more likely that the immediate source of all extant manuscripts was referring to a German based ‘Großwerk’, notably Roswitha Wisniewski (op. cit.)(27) and Hermann Reichert (see the author’s review of Heldensage und Rekonstruktion; Vienna, 1992: Zur Transmission der Thidrekssaga und altschwedischen ‘Didrikskrönikan’) who points out an unlikely relationship for immediate oral transmission.

< td> 
Other scholars basically agree with a ‘Großwerk’ whose translation was written in Bergen, as these are e.g. Dietrich von Kralik [Deutsche Heldendichtung, in: Das Mittelalter in Einzeldarstellungen Leipzig 1930, pgs 168–193], Karl Droege [Zur Thidrekssaga, in: ZfdA 66, (1929), pgs 33–46], Heinrich Hempel [Sächsische Nibelungendichtung und sächsischer Ursprung der Thidrikssaga, in: Edda, Skalden, Saga; Festschrift für Felix Genzmer, Ed. Hermann Schneider, Heidelberg 1952, pgs 138–156; see p. 140ff.], Heinrich Matthias Heinrichs [Sivrit – Gernot – Kriemhilt, in: ZfdA 86 (1955/56), pgs 279–290; see p. 289], Helmut Voigt [Zur Rechtssymbolik der Schuhprobe in der Þidriks saga (Viltina Þáttr), in: PBB 87 (1965), pgs 93–149], Theodore M. Andersson [An interpretation of Thidrekssaga, in: Structure and Meaning in Old Norse Literature, Ed. John Lindow & other, Odense 1986, pgs 347–377; see p. 349ff.].

William J. Pfaff consents with a Latin chronicle, serving as significant source of the Old Norse and Icelandic writers, under these premises:
I should agree that a Latin chronicle played a role in the transmission of much of the material in the Thidreks saga. In support of this thesis one might add that some names from sequences unrelated to the fall of the Nibelungs exhibit the peculiarities and variation which were attributed to faulty use of Latin orthographic symbols: for instance, Ruzcia-land and Villcina-land, although in the latter the variants with c, t, z and k are further confused by the possibility that two Slavic words, one with a t, one with a k phoneme, are involved. If these errors are traceable to the same Latin chronicle, a compilation embracing more than the fall of the Nibelungen was assembled in northern Germany in chronicle form.(28)
(The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 61, 1962, pgs 948–952, see p. 951.)

Striking a balance between Ritter, who did not disregard narrational postmodernisms in the high mediaeval manuscripts, and his antagonists, we have to concede that he plausibly left a rational philological reconstruction of some very basic account provided by Thidrekssaga. In contrast to him, however, elder scholarship and some of its following modern representatives have not been ready to follow the distinctions drawn by Ritter. Characteristically, the corresponding modus operandis of these analysts amount to calling Upper German poetry plus noncontemporary Ostrogothic contexts as reliable witnesses against more realistic accounts of rather remarkable historiographical transmissions indicating ‘at least’ basic congruences related to history of the 5th–6th-century eastern Franks.

The apparently contradicting ‘two momentous passages’ on Ermenrik’s conquests and mightiness in Mb 13 and 276 may be estimated as a pretty reception of Jordanes' Getica, who claims the Gothic Ermanaric ruling all the publics of Scythia and Germania as these spheres were his own. However, the postulated Low German source provider and/or the Old Norse scribes could have also identified the geonyms of both passages as legitimate southeastern markers in a monumental Franco-German architecture. It is obvious that its pillars were founded by Thidrek’s dynasty, then climaxing at Charlemagne, and finalized as high mediaeval Sacrum Romanum Imperium or the Heiliges Römisches Reich deutscher Nation by elder German scholarship.(29)

With respect to the historical identification of Dietrich von Bern with Thidrek of Bern, there are overwhelmingly more reliable moments being geared for his synchronization with Frankish king Theuderic I. Hence, regarding the most important details in the vita of Thidrek of Bern, Ritter consequently asks in the epilogue of his book Dietrich von Bern, Munich 1982, p. 279 [transl.]:
What is in agreement with the life of Theoderic the Great?
Not the ancestors,
not the youth with the fights against the giants,
not the twelve loyal fellows,
not the decision-making fight against Sigurð,
not the life-long quarrel with his uncle,
not the long exile,
not the combats against the Northeast-peoples,
not the futile attempt to regain his homeland,
not the loss of the brother and the sons of the king Atala ›,
not the participation in the bloody downfall of the Niflungs,
not the lonely homecoming, the joyful reception in the homeland,
not the conquest of the empire of «Rome»/Trier in old age,
not the revenge on Wideke later on.
Nothing of this all belongs to the life of Theoderic the Great.
[Was stimmt überein mit dem Leben Theoderichs des Großen?
Nicht die Vorfahren,
nicht die Jugend mit ihren Riesenkämpfen,
nicht die 12 vertrauten Gesellen,
nicht der Entscheidungskampf mit Sigfrid um den Vorrang,
nicht der lebenslange Streit mit seinem Oheim,
nicht die lange Exilzeit,
nicht die Kämpfe gegen die Nordost-Völker,
nicht der vergebliche Versuch, die Heimat zurückzugewinnen,
nicht der Verlust des Bruders und der Königssöhne,
nicht die Teilnahme am blutigen Untergang der Niflungen,
nicht die einsame Heimkehr, der freudige Empfang in der Heimat,
nicht die Eroberung des »Rom«/Trierer Reiches im Alter,
nicht die späte Rache an Wideke.
Gar nichts von diesem allen gehört zum Leben Theoderichs des Großen.]

Although it may seem less relevant to connect the life of any Theoderic with a fight against a ‘gigantic creature’, an animal of the kind called an elephant (cf. Haymes), this list may be supplemented with more very distinctive items which, however, finally do not meet reliable herioc interpretation of the life of an Italian king. For example, Ritter did not expressively state against phlegmatic or prejudicing scholarship that Thidrek’s dynasty is nowhere connected with the ‘gens Amalorum’ in the Old Norse and Swedish manuscripts. As regards the political side of Thidrek’s accounts, we have to concede that the Italian Theoderic supported no Hunnic ruler warring against more northern or northeastern tribes. Indeed, we also have to state that Thidrek led a campaign of revenge against a mighty kinsman, who had exiled him already as a sovereign king; but in contrast, the Italian Theoderic was transferred at the age of four or five years for a maximum of about ten years as a hostage to Byzantium. In the first time after his return, aged between 14 and 16 years, substantially deviating from Thidrek’s return, Theoderic only practiced some ruler functions still at the side of his father. Opposed to the politically arranged return of the Italian Theoderic, however, Thidrek returns to Bern with a dramatic fight between his companion Hildebrand and his son Alebrand. Moreover, with respect to one of the most contradicting facts, the Italian Theoderic personally killed his most eminent rival Odoacer at the Imperial Palace ad Lauretum. But Thidrek’s expeller and archenemy died of obesity. His successor – who was not killed by Thidrek – fell in the area of ‘Rome’, where Thidrek is crowned again.

Thus, Ritter could further refer to the comprehensive study by H. J. Zimmerman who explored heroic lore – saga and poetry – of Dietrich von Bern in juxtaposition with the historical Theoderic the Great. Zimmermann concludes that [transl.]:
however, the tradition in heroic saga and heroic poetry moves so far away from the historical reality that only outlines are recognizable (...) For all strands of transmission it is common that they result in a Theoderic depiction that does not correspond to the historical reality.
[Original text:]
Dagegen entfernt sich die Überlieferung in Heldensage und Heldendichtung so weit von der historischen Wirklichkeit, daß nur noch Umrisse zu erkennen sind (...) Für alle Überlieferungsstränge ist gemeinsam, daß sie ein Theoderich-Bild ergeben, das der historischen Wirklichkeit nicht entspricht.
(Heinrich Joachim Zimmermann, Theoderich der Große – Dietrich von Bern. Die geschichtlichen und sagenhaften Quellen des Mittelalters. Doctoral Thesis, University of Bonn 1972, see p. 178. )

Ritter explains Zimmermann with this statement, cf. Dietrich von Bern (1982) p. 14 [transl.]:
The first sentence says that in the heroic legend and heroic poetry only outlines of the historical reality are recognizable; in the second sentence also the recognizable outlines are renounced and, therefore, stated: The depiction of Dietrich von Bern of the heroic legend and poetry does not correspond to the historical reality of Theoderic the Great. In spite of this clear statement the possibility is not considered that in history and legend of two different personalities is spoken. How strong must be the general prejudice, which hindered the decisive question in such an excellent study!
[Original text:]
Der erste Satz sagt, daß in der Heldensage und -dichtung nur noch Umrisse der historischen Wirklichkeit zu erkennen seien; im zweiten Satz wird auch auf die erkennbaren Umrisse Verzicht getan und festgestellt: Das Bild Dietrichs von Bern der Heldensage und -dichtung entspricht der historischen Wirklichkeit Theoderichs des Großen nicht. Trotz dieser klaren Aussage wird die Möglichkeit nicht erwogen, daß in Geschichte und Sage von zwei verschiedenen Persönlichkeiten die Rede sei. Wie stark mußte das allgemeine Vorurteil sein, welches in einer so vorzüglichen Untersuchung die entscheidende Fragestellung verhinderte!

These striking contexts point out the main unbridgeable differences between Theoderic the Great and Dietrich von Bern provided by the Thidrekssaga:
As early as 375, the East Gothic king Ermanaric lost the battle against the Huns. Moreover, Theoderic the Great, born between 451 and 455, could not have met the Hunnic king Attila, who died in 453. That Italian Theoderic was not born in Verona on the Etsch, nor he spent his youth on this location, but in Constantinople at the court of the Eastern Roman Emperor Leo I the Thracian. The historic Theoderic did not return to Italy as an expelled king; rather, he conquered it with the initial consent from the Eastern Roman Emperor. This Theoderic murdered Odoacer after he had defeated him in the Rabenschlacht. The ‘Raven’, the questionable geonymic interpretation of the battle’s name, has been unreliably equated with the residential city of Ravenna which was conquered by the Italian Theoderic. In contrast to this campaign, however, Thidrek returned to the king of ‘Húnaland’ after the battle rather on the Moselle’s Gransport at the Rauenthal, which had caused big losses to both.

Thus, besides other unreliable observations, extrapolations and conclusions pleading for an Amalian king as the heroic representative of the Nordic Dietrich, non-existing climaxes in the historical biographies of those Ostrogothic and Italian rulers have been serving for itemizing the identification of Thidrek with Theoderic the Great by both elder and some current research. Regarding the select circle of the latter individual, for instance, the essential genealogy and vita of the Italian ruler Vitege cannot underline an herioc environment of Thidrek’s companion and later foe Widga. As the Old Norse + Swedish texts provide further, the genealogical and geographical root of Amlung, another follower of Thidrek, cannot be taken for an eponymic hero who somewhat reflects the Ostrogothic Amali dynasty. Furthermore, neither an Italian Odoacer nor a Saxon commander Odovacrius, known as a contemporary of Childeric I by Gregory of Tours, appears in the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts of Thidrek of Bern.

Nonetheless, with regard to the basic contradictory contexts in the lives of the Italian Theoderic, ‘Ermanaric’ and Thidrek/Dietrich, Joachim Heinzle likes to invoke the modus operandi as of making synchronous out of asynchronous by the authors of at least the MHG Dietrich epics (see above). However, this option basically presupposes only one Dietrich, only one Odoacer/Ermanaric, only one Attila. However, it should be noted in principle that, to cite just one example, the Quedlinburg Annals already hint at the ‘historical existence’ of different ruler figures with the same or similar names, which therefore do not necessarily have to be localized, combined and compiled in an Ostrogothic-Italian milieu.

Moreover, it seems obvious that Theoderic the Great cannot be raised easily as the epicized reflector figure of Dietrich von Bern even by earlier traditions:
The source contexts of the Elder Edda’s heroic transmissions, referring to rather a non-Italian sphere, are estimated considerably elder than the Middle High German Dietrich epics: In the Guðrúnarkviða II Guðrún’s mother offers (a part of) Hlǫðvér’s sali = Clovis' kingdom to the brave one who avenges the death of her son-in-law, the Guðrúnarkviða III then mentions Þioðrek = Dietrich von Bern at Atli’s court. This may point to rather a Frankish-Saxon but not an Ostrogothic milieu — it seems superfluous to underline again that the Guðrúnarkviða I (fyrsta) and Oddrúnargrátr allow to detect the territory of ‘Húnaland’ not far from Denmark. Besides, there is no evidence that the Eddaic writers had transformed an Italian Theoderic milieu to narrative domains between the North Sea and Central Germany.

«Already Saxo Grammaticus speaks of a Saxon poet (cantor de genere Saxonum) who is said to have warned Knut Laward in 1131 by a speciosissimum carmen which dealt with the notissimam Grimildae erga fratres perfidiam»,
as Jan de Vries constates on the fate of the Niflunga/Nibelungen in Altnordische Literaturgeschichte II (1999) p. 129f.:
Schon Saxo Grammaticus spricht von einem sächsischen Dichter (cantor de genere Saxonum), der 1131 Knut Laward gewarnt haben soll durch ein speciosissimum carmen, das die notissimam Grimildae erga fratres perfidiam behandelte.

There is absolutely no evidence that the Saxon cantor had been receiving from original Upper German poetry. Thus Dietrich von Kralik had to refer to nothing more than ‘a German minstrel transmission’ (cf. de Vries op. cit. 129f.).

Further, it seems obvious that the 13th-century authors of the Dietrich epics do not introduce Thidrek’s loyal companion Hildebrand for the first time, whom Saxo calls Hildiger. He transferred him from the source of the Ásmundar saga kappabana, which provides his sphere of action and his ‘Hunnic realm’ between Denmark, Saxony and the Rhine, where this saga locates his death.

Elisabeth Lienert notes that
Heldenlieder, wie sie in oralen oder semioralen Gesellschaften der Bewahrung der Memoria großer Könige und Krieger dienen, sind prinzipiell durch Jordanes' ‹Getica› (wohl 550/551) auch für die Goten bezeugt, aber nicht für Theoderich.
(Die ‹historische› Dietrichepik, Berlin/New York 2010, p. 27.)
[Heroic lore, serving in oral or semioral societies to preserve the memoria of great kings and warriors, are in principle attested by Jordanes' ‹Getica› (probably 550/551) also for the Goths, but not for Theoderic.]

This observation seems irrefutable. However, she generally claims (op. cit.) that the inconsistencies between Middle High German Dietrich epics and Theoderic allow an equation of ‘transformation’ – to be based on ‘cognitive features’ from ‘collective memory’ – from the latter to the former figure. But this ‘transformation’ still represents an asynchronous modulating with rather contradictory and/or inconsistent characteristic features in the lives of the historical Theoderic and his dominating poetry with not only an anachronistic ‘Ermanaric’.

She states nevertheless:
Insgesamt ist trotz kategorialer Unterschiede zwischen heroisch- kollektiver Memoria und klerikal-lateinischer Historiographie auffällig, wie wenig die Fluchtepen (insbesondere die Vorgeschichte von ‹Dietrichs Flucht› und ‹Alpharts Tod›) die «geschichtliche Rückendeckung» der Theoderich-Historie suchen. (Op. cit. p. 243.)
[Summarizing, despite categorical differences between heroic-‘collective memoria’ and clerical-Latin historiography, it is striking, how little the Flight epics (especially the prehistory of ‹Dietrichs Flucht› and ‹Alphart’s Death›) seek the «historical backing» of Theoderic’s history.]

She further predicates on the ‘transformation’ from Theoderic to Dietrich, ‘that of the successful conqueror and ruler into Dietrich’s humiliating exile’, not as a problem of the Middle High German Dietrich traditions (op. cit. 231–232):
Die diametrale Umkehrung der historischen Tatsachen freilich, die Transformation des erfolgreichen Eroberers und Herrschers Theoderich in den glücklosen Exilanten (vgl. S. 29f.), ist auch in diesem Kontext ein Extremfall. Die mittelhochdeutschen Texte allerdings betrifft dieses Problem nicht mehr: Dietrich ist in seiner festen Rolle etabliert; den Bezug zum Gotenkönig Theoderich belegen die Chroniken; für die Dichtungen spielt er keine Rolle. Dem kollektiven Gedächtnis geht es nicht um exakte politische Konstellationen, sondern um eine Vergangenheit, die nicht Faktengeschichte, sondern Vorgeschichte der
eigenen Gegenwart und Lebensform ist. (...)
Eine «formative» oder «normative» Funktion «identitätssichernden» kollektiven Wissens ist in diesem Fall nicht konkret festzumachen.
[The diametrical reversal of the historical facts, admittedly, the transformation of the successful conqueror and ruler Theoderic into the hapless exile (cf. p. 29f.), is also an extreme case in this context. The Middle High German texts, however, are no longer concerned with this problem: Dietrich is established in his fixed rôle; the reference to the Gothic king Theoderic is attested by the chronicles; for poetry he plays no rôle. Collective memory is not concerned with exact political constellations, but with a past that is not history of facts, but prehistory of one’s own present and way of life. (...) A «formative» or «normative» function of «identity-securing» collective knowledge cannot be concretely anchored in this case.]

With these incongruous or contradictory presuppositions about the historical and poetic lives of Theoderic and Dietrich, Lienert’s definition of ‘transformation’, as being connected with an historical individual, appears rather unreliable due to insufficient identifying features for both. As she previously stated on historical truth and credibility of heroic tradition, ‘believed historicity’ – if someone really wanted to defend this with a ‘collective memoria’ to be shaped by the Middle High German authorial and recipient milieu – is not a reliable allocating criterion for past facticity (op. cit. pgs 3–7, cf. p. 247). However, the answer to Lienert’s criterion as a question whether the Italian Theoderic as a diametrically projected and ‘plausible Dietrich of heroic lore’ had rather to serve basically as a contradictory inspirational figure would not evidently do justice to their identification via ‘transformation’. Or to put it in another way: All literary representations of Dietrich of Bern and his heroic milieus are already so different and contradicting among themselves that factual conclusion on Theoderic the Great as his prototype is rather impossible than possible. Since Lienert concedes at any case that the reference to the Gothic king Theoderic does not play a rôle for the poetries, but that a collective knowledge – which is obviously to be called neither ‘formative’ nor ‘normative’ – is concerned with a past that is rather the prehistory of one’s own present and way of life, she contradicts herself on the admissibility of the starting figure for her pseudological ‘identification by transformation’.

Latin chroniclers of 13th century actually recognized the glaring disproportions between the climaxes in the lives of Theoderic and Dietrich von Bern and, therefore, implicitly reacted with textcritical rejections of the currently suggested ‘collective memoria’ that ‘implicitly is satisfying contemporary demands’ (cf. Lienert op. cit. p. 247). Already from such reception milieu Theoderic the Great emerges neither untransformed nor transformed as a historically credible heroized Dietrich figure. Anyway, evidence that the ‘collective memoria’ does refer to this Theoderic – and no one else – has not been credibly provided anywhere; cf. Joachim Heinzle and esp. the RGA on the transmission and Frankish figurative character of the Wolfdietrich; cf. Kemp Malone arguing against an original southern historical Dietrich von Bern, cf. Eddaic tradition, whose Þioðrek can be of another than Ostrogothic origin.

Nonetheless, Professor Laurenz Lersch provided already in 19th century this bibliographical estimation:
Es scheint zwei Sagen gegeben zu haben, eine vom rex Theodoricus in Italien, die andre vom deutschen Dietrich von Bern, die im Laufe der Jahrhunderte, namentlich um die Zeit, als die Blicke der deutschen Kaiser nach Italien gerichtet waren, zu einer einzigen zusammenwuchsen und so in ewigem Doppelschatten das Auge des Forschers necken.
(Verona. In: Jahrbücher des Vereins von Alterthumsfreunden im Rheinlande. Bonn 1842, I, p. 34.)
[There seem to have been two legends, one about the rex Theodoricus in Italy, the other on the German Dietrich von Bern, which in the course of the centuries, definitely at the time when the German Emperors focused their attention on Italy, conflated into one, thus teasing the explorer’s eye with its everlasting double shadow.]

Karl Müllenhoff agrees basically with Lersch and puts spatiotemporal weight on both the Frankish protagonists Theuderic and Theudebert of the Wolfdietrich epics and Ecke’s Quest, considering on the latter:
Denn wer wird wohl den Kampf des ostgotischen Dietrich von Bern, der durch das Verona-Bonn an den Unterrhein gelangte, mit Ecke und Fasolt historisch deuten wollen? Auch für die Vermutung, dass er hier an die Stelle des austrasischen Dietrich getreten sei wird kein rechter Grund aufzubringen sein. Jedoch bei einem solchen Zusammentreffen zweier gleichnamiger Helden auf einem und demselben Local wird man allerdings berechtigt sein, der Sage des einen später wenigstens Berühmteren manches abzuziehen und dem anderen wieder zuzuwenden. Gleich in Eckes Ausfahrt sind mehrere Helden mit Dietrich von Bern in Verbindung gesetzt, die nicht nur der rheinfränkischen Sage, sondern auch zum Teil selbst der alten merowingischen beizuzählen sind.
(Die austrasische Dietrichsage, in: ZfdA 6 [1848], p. 459.
Original text in common German.)
[For whom actually wants to interpret historically the fight of the Ostrogothic Dietrich of Bern, who came through Verona-Bonn to the Lower Rhine, with Ecke and Fasolt? There will be no plausible reason to provide for the assumption that he has taken the place of the Austrasian Dietrich here. At such coincidence of two heroes of the same name on one and the same location, however, one will be justified to move some narrative items from the legend of the one – later at least more famous – to the other. Yet, just in Ecke’s Quest several heroes are put in connection with Dietrich of Bern, which are to be reckoned to not only the Rhine-Frankish legend, but also partly even to the old Merovingian.]
Hermann Lorenz, proceeding from the Quedlinburg Annals with his doctoral thesis Die Annalen von Hersfeld (University of Leipzig 1885) and further chronistic and heroic transmissions, concurs essentially with both scholars cited previously. He sums up:
Wir müssen aus den zuverlässigsten Zeugnissen schließen, daß bereits im neunten Jahrhundert sowohl Theoderich d. Gr. als auch der Frankenkönig Theoderich in den Liedern des Volkes verherrlicht wurden. Den Franken finden wir in der späteren Heldensage des dreizehnten Jahrhunderts wieder, ganz und gar hineingezogen in den Kreis der gotischen Dietrichsage, darin nur noch schwache Anklänge, die ihn hier als den historischen Frankenkönig kennzeichnen. Die Sage selbst wird schon früh der Verwechselung des gotischen mit dem austrasischen Dietrich vorgebeugt haben, indem sie den letzteren durch den Beinamen Hugo als Franken kennzeichnete.
(Das Zeugniss für die deutsche Heldensage in den Annalen von Quedlinburg, in: GERMANIA 31 [19, 1886], p. 139.)
[We must conclude from the most reliable attestations that already in the ninth century both Theoderic the Great and Frankish king Theoderic were glorified in the people’s lores. We find the Frank again in the later heroic saga of the thirteenth century, completely drawn into the circle of the Gothic Dietrich saga, in it only faint echoes that denote him here as the historical Frankish king. The legend itself will have prevented already early the confusion of the Gothic with the Austrasian Dietrich, by marking the latter by the epithet Hugo as a Frank.]
The 20th-century historian Josef Niessen has already reviewed these basic statements with the non-contradictory conclusions of Karl Simrock on the emergence of the Upper German Dietrich traditions, see endnote 11 ii, followed by its translation.

However, Middle High German scholars have much earlier contradicted a believable inclusion of Ostrogothic history – and insofar Theoderic the Great – for the historical and literary prototype of Dietrich von Bern:
  • The chronicler and librarian Frutolf von Michelsberg († 1103) rejects the transferability of Jordanes' Ostrogothic history to popular Dietrich tradition and implies the possibility of different identities of Dietrich.
  • The chronicler Otto von Freising († 1158) concludes the relations between the Greutungian ruler Ermanarich, the Southeast European Attila and an obvious (Amalian) Theoderic, as to be conceived as contemporaries by heroic lore, as lying tales.
  • The author of the KAISERCHRONIK, written about 1140/1150, calls oral tradition about Dietrich a lie and demands a liber for the allegation that Etzel (Attila) should have been a contemporary of Dietrich: «Swer nû welle bewaeren, das Dieterîch Ezzelen saehe, der haize daz buoch vur tragen.» Nevertheless, the author of this rhyming chronicle tried to bring this Dietrich into a historical context and thought up therefore his grandfather as the ‘elder Dieterîch’, who should have been the contemporary of the Hunnic king Ezzelen.
  • Regarding northern authors, the sexton of the Middle Low German Benedictine Abbey of Deutz, (aedituus) Theodericus, lists traditions  plural!  about his namesake, Attila and Ermanricus in his Chronicon universale brevissimum (c. 1162) under historical events, but does not insert the Flight Legend.
  • In his Pantheon (1187–1190), the historian and poet Godfrey of Viterbo transfers Theoderic the Great to Verona, thereby ignoring the fact that, according to credited chroniclers, this Theoderic never had his seat in Verona, Italy. He writes: Leo imperator cum Ostrogothis pacem componens, Teodericum, filium Teodemari, scilicet Veronensis, de quo Teotonici sepissime miram narrant audatiam, obsidem recepit, cum octo esset annorum. (Pantheon nr. 18, in: MGH SS 22, p. 188.)
Compared to Otto of Freising’s chronistic competence, Godfrey obviously comes off worse from today’s point of view, as already summarized by Hans Werner Seiffert:
Zwar hatten beide ein endzeitliches Bewusstsein, aber Gottfried würde nie die strenge Wissenschaftlichkeit Ottos von Freising erreichen.
(Seiffert, Otto von Freising und Gotfried von Viterbo, in: Philologus vol. 115 [1971] pgs 292–301.)
[Although both had an eschatological consciousness, Godfrey would never achieve Otto of Freising’s strict scientificity.]

The ‘collective memoria’ of a Gothic Theoderic milieu that apparently serves without exception for Dietrich von Bern epics, as claimed by Elisabeth Lienert et al., is certainly in conflict with satisfying concurrence with an archaic figure, who has been already distinguished from the great Italian-Gothic king by these 12th-century scholars. Their textual criticism implicitly encompasses heroic lore and/or pure poetry. Hence, it is obvious that the Thidrekssaga allows deduction and inference on a distinguishable narrative figure who rather may be identifiable with a non-Italian ruler.(30)

The Old Norse and Swedish manuscripts can be estimated as an imported historiographical source. A material of literary gender that King Hákon’s scribes might have translated with same trustworthiness as, for instance, the Trójumanna saga, Alexanders saga, Rómverja saga, Gyðlinga saga, Veraldar saga. Friedrich Heinrich von der Hagen, translator of an early German edition of Thidrekssaga, mentions in his foreword a Latin manuscript whose missing direct speech can be detected in the prosaic text; see Johan Peringskiöld’s edition of 1715. Its source, not unlikely post-edited by a Scandinavian Latin writer, is exposed to further discussion in the author’s contribution Wadhincúsan, monasterium Ludewici. Regarding this cleric as the provider of the Old Norse + Swedish renditions, he certainly could have either compared or reconfirmed his manuscript with eminent German lays: seigia þyðersk kvæði.(31)

Clip CCXXXI Latin script

Clip CCXCVIII Latin script

Clip CCCXXVIII Latin script

Clip CCCLXVII Latin script

Clip CCCLXXXII Latin script
Clips from the Latin version provided with the Peringskiöld edition of 1715: passages referring to German sources. Interestingly, the writers of the Old Norse redactions notice Mænstrborg or Mynstrborg for Westphalian Münster, recorded as one location of contemporary witnesses, whereas the Latin scribe places at that very passage (2nd clip from below) Monasterienses. This spelling appears in mediaeval German records on the civitates of Münster. Its locality is based on the former Mimigernaford, archaeologically estimated as a 6th-century settlement.

1  See Appendix A1: Remarks on the evaluation of Thidrekssaga manuscripts. The contents of fragmentary Old Swedish K45,4° manuscript is closely affiliated to the Skokloster version.  back to text

2  H. Ritter detected the real topographical and geographical accuracy (up to nearly 99% of all key-words) of the Thidrekssaga manuscripts that subsequently seemed to have changed from a legend to a historia or chronicle. Thereupon, finally aged 92, he recommended to draw conclusions from the entire context of these texts.  back to text

Map of Roman Eiffel
The small cutting from Kurt Stade’s comprehensive Roman map of Germanic territory has been published in various editions of educational German history maps. Today’s current names of former Roman locations are printed in blue, Roman routes in red.   
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4 All source references ‘Mb’ are based on the Thidrekssaga’s partition by Carl R. Unger. His re-organized chapter system includes the Icelandic manuscripts and has been preferred by several modern philologists and text translators. See a corresponding allocation table for H. Bertelsen’s transcriptions (1905–11) at A3.11 (redirected to the document).
    Typical ‘r’-endings of names of persons, as provided by the Old Norse manuscripts, may be frequently suspended by the author.
    Regarding quotations from the manuscripts or their transcriptions, the author equates ‘Old Norwegian + Old Icelandic’ with ‘Old Norse’.
    All distances given in miles and kilometers are related to the linear distance.   back to text

5    William J. Pfaff, The Geographical and Ethnic Names in the Þíðriks Saga, ’S-Gravenhage 1959, pgs 35–39.
    Pfaff concludes on Bertanga land that
    the form in Þíðriks saga is probably influenced by both Old French Bretaingne (Bertange) and Bardengau (the name of an area along the lower Elbe). The problems presented by this name can be adequately discussed only in reference to the specific contexts in which it appears.
    See generally the Geographical and Ethnic Glossary of the Thidrek Saga and the Old Swedish manuscripts at https://www.badenhausen.net/harz/svava/ThsGlossary.pdf for other territorial identifications and subsequent emendations.  back to text

6   i. Nevertheless, we should not ignore the Studies in Heroic Legend and in Current Speech (1959) by Kemp Malone who argues decisively against modern scholarship’s rash inscription of Theoderic the Ostrogoth onto the Rök Runestone. Malone’s discourse, first published in Acta Philologica Scandinavica, ix (1934), pgs 76–84, casts also new light on northern high mediaeval Dietrich von Bern notions and their scholarly fixations. Malone quotes the inscription and a translation based on Otto v. Friesen (Rökstenen, 1920) and Hugo Pipping (Rökstensinskriften, en rättsurkund, 1932) as follows:
þat sakum ąnart, huaR fur niu altum ąn
urþi fiaru miR Hraiþkutum auk tumi iR ąn ub
raiþ Þiaurikr hin þurmuþi, stiliR flutna, strąntu
HraiþmaraR; sitiR nu karuR ą kuta sinum,
skialti ub fatlaþR, skati Marika.
That I say second, who nine generations ago
landed on the shore among the Hreiðgoths and he is spoken of
in a poem:
Þiaurikr the bold, the sea-king, rode (or ruled) on the strand
of the Hreiðmarr; now he sits ready on his horse,
his shield slung about him, the chieftain of the M
Malone combines by means of acknowledged history that
   in or about A.D. 520, the Gautish king Chochilaicus (Gregory of Tours) or Hygelac (Beowulf) made a piratical inroad upon the Frankish kingdom, then ruled by Theoderic, eldest son of Clovis. The forces of Theoderic, however (led by the king’s son), inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Gauts, Hygelac himself losing his life in the battle. The fall of King Hygelac was still remembered in thirteenth-century Scandinavia, and the story of his death is told by Snorri in the Ynglingasaga, where he appears (cap. 22) as King of Sweden, while Saxo in Book IV of the Gesta Danorum gives him a Danish kingdom, in Book VI an Irish one. The difficulty about his proper kingdom was occasioned, of course, by the disappearance of the Gauts as a separate nation. But at the time when the Rök inscription was made the old Gautish kingdom was doubtless still remembered (among the Gauts at any rate), and we may with confidence presume that the ninth-century Gautish runemaster of Rök knew Hygelac (Hugleikr) as an ancient king of Gautland. If now we look at Snorri’s account, we find that Hugleikr’s death is localized not abroad but at home: the king is said to have fallen in battle with Haki, a sea-king who invaded the country and usurped the throne.(…) One may conjecture that the Rök inscription gives us a stage intermediate between the historical course of events (related by Gregory and the Beowulf poet) and the late tradition recorded by Snorri: the opponent of Hugleikr still bears his historical name, but he has been changed into a sea-king (i.e. an exile) and his victory over Hugleikr has in consequence been transferred from Frankish to Gaulish soil. (Op. cit. 1959, pgs 117–118.)
   William J. Pfaff remarks on Hraiþkutum = Reiðgotaland in his book The Geographical and Ethnic Names in the Þíðriks Saga, 1959, p. 99:
Húna-land and Sax-land (as in the Þetleifr sequence in Þíðriks saga […] ) are both placed in northern Germany by implication: ‘Er þat sagt, at Reiðgotaland ok Húnaland sé nú Þýðskaland kallat’, the redactor comments ( […] cf. Schneider, III, 96f; de Vries, I, 36-38, 47f.)
(Hermann Schneider, Germanische Heldensage III, Berlin 1934; Jan de Vries, Altnordische Literaturgeschichte I, Berlin 1941.)
Contemplating the potential geohistoriographical side of this context, the ‘raid-gauts’ of Hugleikr seem to have had tribesmen already settling as Reiðgoths on a certain part of Frisian coastland stretching out to the region of Groningen.
   As regards the hero’s horse remembered by the Rök inscription, allusively the equestrian statue of the Italian Theoderic, then at the court (more precisely by Walafridus Strabo: apparently the court’s bath area) of Charlemagne, Malone detects rather a Frankish but not decisive Ostrogothic environment of cognition and transmission:
   Presumably the poet whom the runemaster is quoting had visited Aachen and, naturally enough, had taken for a statue of Theoderic the Frank the Theodoric statue which he saw in the Frankish capital. Moreover, if we accept A.D. 835 as the approximate date of the inscription (cf. Pipping, p. 109), and reckon back for nine generations as the runemaster bids us, allotting to each generation 35 years (i.e. half the traditional life-span), we arrive at A.D. 520 as the date of Þiaurikr’s attack upon the Gauts. Now it was about the year 520, as we have seen, that the army of Theodoric the Frank attacked and destroyed the forces of the Gauts.(…) It is noteworthy, besides, that the historical records tell us of no other Theodoric who had dealings with the Gauts. The obvious connexion for Þiaurikr, then, would seem to be Theodoric the Frank, not Theodoric the Ostrogoth nor yet the hypothetical Samlandish Theodoric of  (Rem: the 20th-century author Otto) v. Friesen. (Op. cit. 1959, pgs 118–119.)
   Now turning to ‘Theoderic’s time and place of misfortune’, Malone regards receptions of the Mærings = Marika (the former mentioned in the OE. poem Deor) as being transferred to the North Italian or the Istrian Meran by Upper German poetry (cf. Dietrichs Flucht, König Rother, Kaiserchronik). He collocates these epics aside the twelfth- or thirteen-century Regensburgian gloss ‘Gothi Meranare’ plus the notoriously quoted and widely uncritically interpreted prologue provided with Notker’s Boethius:
   Odoagrum Turcilingorum et Rugorum regem, qui et Herulos et Scyros secum habuit, Romans et Italiam sibi subiugasse. Theodericum vero, regem Mergothorum et Ostrogothorum, Pannoniam et Macedoniam occupasse.
   As a matter of more historical priority, however, Malone contextually discerns rather Theuderic’s campaign against the Visigoths in 507–508, arguing (op. cit. 1959, p. 122)
   that when Theodoric became an exile-and-return hero, the scene [sic! – for further studies: reason]  of his exile was laid in Visigothic territory. When in due course the Oberdeutschen learned the tale, they made it their own by connecting the name Mæring with the geographical term Meran, which occurs (1) as a place-name: the Meran of the Tyrol, and (2) as a regional name, in the sense ‘Illyria’, or, more narrowly, ‘Istria’. In other words, the traditional name succumbed to a popular etymology. Since the Tyrolese Meran, in the early Middle Ages, was a place out-of-the-way and unimportant enough to serve admirably as a place of exile, it is not unreasonable to conjecture that here we have the spot to which Theodoric’s burg was shifted from the equally humble situation which it had to start with. (Affixed footnote 14: The term Mæringas, as the Deor poet uses it, must obviously be taken in a disparaging sense, while the burg which Ðeodric is represented as owning (and occupying) was just as obviously thought of as an out-of-the-way place of no importance. For the contemptuous attitude of the Franks toward the Visigoths, see F. Jostes, Sonnenwende I (1926) 32.)
   Malone seems to emend this special approach with an etymological explanation which, if replaced with an area somewhat east of early Frankish kingdom or the contents of the Thidrekssaga, complies well with modern research by Ritter and other analysts who have been connecting Dietrich’s place of exile with a bordering folk right next to the early 6th-century kingdom of the Franks.
   Malone resumes on Mærings or Mæringas (op. cit. 1959, p. 123):
   I connect this name with NE mearing ‘boundary’ (cf. R. E. Zachrisson, Studia Neophilologica VI 30), and take it to mean ‘borderers’ (…) The vocalism of the base agrees beautifully with my etymology: the original ai is reflected in the High German e (a Frankish loan), the English æ, (i- umlaut of a) and the a of the Rök poet (taken from the Frisians).
   Malone did not mainly consider the Thidrekssaga for his discourse which, however, does not appear disadvantageous to our context. He suggests that the ‘sea-battle’, if at all most relevant for the Frankish retaliation, fought by Theuderic’s son, is in conjunction with the king’s exile, and, as regards its ‘southern conception’, he rather pleads for a basic literary motif taken from the original Frankish Dietrich von Bern (op. cit. 1959, p. 123):
   The conception of him as a sea-king reflects, of course, the legendary exile, tidings of which had evidently made their way to Scandinavia, and this motif would be equally applicable to Wolfdietrich and to Dietrich von Bern. The lordship of the Mærings, however, belongs properly to Wolfdietrich and, in spite of the Boethius prologuist, has no place in the story of Dietrich von Bern. Þiaurikr, therefore, is to be identified with Theodoric the Frank. His fame in Gautland rested solidly on his great victory over the Gauts, and it is this victory which the Gautish runemaster had in mind. He put the reference, however, in terms of the new conception of Theodoric as an exile, a conception imported from the south.

   6   ii.  Simrock, Malone an other analysts naturally could proceed on the assumption that either Gregory or the Thidrekssaga or both sources combine different genealogical perception with the Franco-Rhenish protagonist. In contrast to the Thidrekssaga that allows to detect its definite geographical limitation, the Wolfdietrich represents an example that fades over its obvious Frankish based characters to the large area being connected with the appearances of ‘Theoderic the Great’.  back to text

7 Cf. Old Nordic ‘sámr’ = blackish, dark, dark grey. Although it may seem not uncomplicated to identify Samson with Childeric I a prima vista, a real named ‘Samson’ was son of Chilperic I, king of Soissons, and Fredegund. Thus, we may wonder if their early died son should remember a merited nicknamed ancestor of the early Merovings.
    Scholarly research into source material about Childeric I has been producing controversial or at least divergent redrawings of his remarkable fragmentary vita. The sources about Childerich report only the last 18 or 19 years of his life. Thus, we cannot exclude his important influence on the former Germania inferior – on anti-Roman consolidations and final Franco-Rhenish conquests.
    Referring to Childeric’s sexual profligacy, Gregory of Tours colports a king called Bisinus as contemporary Thuringian king. As noted well in scholarly discussions, this constellation appears less authentic. Did Gregory rather mean the king of Tongres? A corresponding emendation was already provided by a scribe (copyist) of Gregory’s work, cf. Ian N. Wood 1994. Not less interesting: Eugippius who equates the Thuringians with Toringi [Commemoratorium 27,2 & 31,4], cf. G. Scheibelreiter 2009. Gregory’s uncertain genealogical horizon of 5th century does also question the real dynastical identity of Clovis' mother!
    Besides, the Blómstrvalla saga remembers some chapter of Thidrekssaga when forwarding accounts related to the heroes from the bloodline of Samson’s first son Duke Aki. The Samson saga fagra, especially its first part, is based on chivalrous French epics on Samson by Lancelot patterns, while the Karlamagnús saga as well as Vilhjalms saga mention ‘Samson’ rather shortly. Although Henry Goddard Leach regards the Samson saga fagra originated in 13th century, its compilation seems to meet rather 14th-century sagas, as Rudolf Simek estimates. Nonetheless, this saga should not be left out for a glance at Samson’s action space. Its last chapter tries to give an historiographical outlook peculiarly dominated by events in Westphalian and other Low German lands (cf. ‘Vestfal’) exaggeratedly ascribed to Samson’s conquests: Valltari, recited as a son of Samson, received from his father a Westphalian realm, married ‘Gertrud’, daughter of a Duke of Brunswick ‘Brunsuik’, and finally became Duke of Holstein ‘Hollzsetu landi’.
    There is a Salian ‘Salernian’ location called Samson, as this Wallonian village can be found approximately 6 mi. (c. 10 km) east of Namur, Belgium. Its ruined Roman fort, partially restored to a castle with a surviving impressing limestone wall on the rocks ‘Les rochers de plus de 80 mètres avec une formidable muraille de calcaire’, is surrounded by Germanic war graves of 2nd half of 4th century.
    The scribe of the Icelandic redaction MS A provides in Mb 3 a Salernis borg, apparently conceived and forwarded as an urban location in translatory contexts.
    Sauvenière is today’s name of a location in a region that covers the Wallonian place Samson. Considering a potential relevance of contemporary Sauvenière, a former Roman estate of 2nd century has been proved on its Plateau d’Arlansart at the highest spring of Orneau river. This place is mentioned as «Salvenerias villa» in a copied deed certification of Emperor Otto the Great, issued on September 20, 946. The Salernitana urbis, as mentioned in the Latin script provided by Peringskiöld, might represent nothing more or less than a temporary place of residence on Salian territory.
Map of Sauveniere
Ernst F. Jung, German historian of Roman Era and Late Antiquity, additionally remarks a sword-class with chape ferrules specified as „Samson-Typ” which classifies weapon foundlings of Childeric’s time in that region of Namur, where Sambre river meets the Meuse. As regards this sword type, Jung refers in his book Der Nibelungen Zug durchs Bergische Land, Haider-Verlag, Bergisch Gladbach 1987, to Wilfried Menghin who notes in his book Kelten, Römer und Germanen, Prestel-Verlag, Munich 1980, the corresponding catalogue No. 16/17 of Time Group A, ‘the same to which the Nordic Snartemo sword has been classified’.
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back to ‘Samson’ (Preliminary Filiations) [back to ‘Samson’ (Preliminary Filiations)]

8 The scribe of Mb 246 locates the Valslǫngu skógr at a certain western border of Franka riki, cf. German Thidrekssaga translation by F. H. von der Hagen. Ritter identifies this forest as or in the Westerwald, a woodland which, as the MSS imply, belongs to the claim or property of this Salomon. This localization seems plausible if the Franks had already taken their first new lands on the Lower Lahn and Main river (‘Frank-furt’).
    From second quarter to the middle of 6th century, the Franks invaded Thuringia on a Mid-German territory extending from the upper Main to the upper Weser and the Elbe. Following Ritter’s localization, the mediaeval writer refers to an area known today as ‘(Unter-)Franken’ with regional inhabitants who are still called ‘Mainfranken’. The scribe of Mb 250 incidentally remarks that King Salomon attended a colloquium of tribal leaders at King Ermenrik’s Roma secunda. Ritter dated this event at the end of 5th century. In so far this Salomon, a palpable nickname for a mighty Frankish chief seemingly related by a sophisticated clerical author, appears connected with the first (or an early) Frankish conqueror and new ruler of lower and mid Main regions. The ford (‘furt’) of Main river on an obvious outstanding former location related to the Franks – today the metropolis of a large area – was an important strategic passage presumably after the withdrawal of the Romans and certainly after Migration Period.
    Thus, according to Ritter’s geographical interpretation, the position of the Valslǫngu skógr – on this account in the northwest of Salomon’s realm extenting to the lower Lahn and the Rhine – appears south of the adjacent Ungara skógr, conclusively the region of Engers (the former Engersgau) on the Middle Rhine.
    Therefore, we should not ignore the geopolitical message of the expanding Franks provided with the story of Apollonius and King Salomon’s daughter Herborg. With respect to the primary receptional motifs of this episode, elder scholarship made some interesting proposals. For instance, Fine Erichsen (op. cit. p. 36) regards the MHG strophic epics Salman und Morolf as a possible source. Accordingly, she imagines the original love potion of the Celtic Isold transformed into a ring of the same strong appeal, although the afore named tradition may offer the motif of disguise performance to get an access to the king’s court. Nonetheless, Notker Labeo ‘Teutonicus’, eminent scholar at St. Gall monastery, made known a grotesque part of Salomon dialogue tradition in 10th/11th century. The different Old English versions dealing with Solomon and Saturn are estimated of nearly the same age.
    Regarding the prototype of Salomon in the Old Norse + Swedish texts, Richard Huß recognizes Duke Salomon of Brittany, who ruled this land from 857 to 874 and was venerated there after his death even as a saint and martyr; cf. Das Landschaftliche und Ungarn in der Thidrekssaga und die Entstehungsfrage von Nibelungenlied und Klage, ZfdPh 57 (1932) pgs 105–140. Ritter remarks that the whole story of Apollonius and King Salomon’s daughter Herborg is rather later minstrel poetry with a geography that, generally, doesn’t seem to be clearly clarified: Die ganze Erzählung ist aber spätere Spielmannsdichtung und wohl überhaupt geografisch nicht klar einzuordnen; see Die Thidrekssaga. (Reprint of its translation by F. H. von der Hagen, O. Reichl, St. Goar 1989, p. 765.) Thus, we may infer that the author of this episode was apparently familiar with history and traditions between Low Germany and the English Channel. Regarding the narrative localizations in obvious Rhinelandish regions, it seems worth mentioning that Pfaff (op. cit. 1959 pgs 202–203) has already considered the equation of Hungary with a German Engern and suggested Apollonius' seat Tira somewhere between the Moselle and the Rhine:
    If Holthausen’s suggestion (478) that Valsloengu-skógr refers to the Vosges is correct, then, using Huss’s equation Hun = Engern = Ungarn again, the wooded area south of the Moselle known as Hunsrück might come in question (for the common second element, meaning ‘forest’, see WFON, 146 under Reke). The narrative context suggests that these forests are nearer to Tira (‘near the Rhine’) than to Iron’s home (II, 125-126, 134, 141). Perhaps pertinent in reference to the north-south directional terms used when Þíðriks saga speaks of the forests is the ON formula ‘south of the Rhine’ where we would say “west of the Rhine” (cf. Völsunga saga, chapter XXV; Eddaic Brot. 5b).
    Still to be noted is Thier, which is located only two miles (c. 3 km) south of the Dhünn’s spring, the river that the Þíðriks saga calls Duna. This village was mentioned as Tyre in the 15th century. Farther north of this location flows the Anger (Angerbach), mentioned as Angero in 875. Place names especially along its lower course are based on its name. Admittedly, it seems extremely unlikely that an Old Norse author could have associated this Lower Rhenish region with the Engersgau on the Middle Rhine, cf. Thür on the opposite bank in the Rhineland-Palatinate.
    Furthermore, considering interliterary reception, we should not disregard that Geoffrey Ashe and Léon Fleuriot identified King Arthur as the Britannic-Breton rex Riothamus, who, according to Jordanes' Getica (XLV,237-238), was defeated by Euric about 470 and fled to the Burgundians. According to this escape motive, the scribe of the Thidrekssaga might have presupposed two sons of Arthur who still migrated to the Rhine (West Saxony). Thus, Isung in Mb 245 would be the personified allusion to the Wisigoths (‘Wisung’ → ‘Isung’), and the above mentioned Salomon of Brittany, as provided by the Annales Bertiniani, might appear as further narrative placeholder.
    The Old Swedish manuscripts do not provide the story of Apollonius, Iron, Salomon and his daughter Herborg.  back to text

9   We may regard shortly in this connection the dialogue between Grimhild and an isolated shown Thidrek (Mb 376, Sv 319). Not less interesting appears the Guðrúnarkviða III (in þriðja), where Guðrún exaggerates into worst situation of ‘Þioðrek’ and his champions at Atli’s court. The previous Guðrúnarkviða II (in ǫnnur), 25, appears of geographical importance, since Guðrún’s mother ‘Grimhild’ claims herself being authorized to dispose (a part of) Hlǫðvér’s sali = Clovis' kingdom. Both the Guðrúnarkviða I (fyrsta) and Oddrúnargrátr allow to detect the territory of ‘Húnaland’ not far from Denmark.
    The Vǫlsunga saga recounts that Brynhild titles Gunnar’s brother-in-law as thrall of King Hjalprek whom literary research has been identifying or partially comparing with Clovis' father Childeric. Furthermore, as brought out by this Nordic cycle of tradition, an obvious mighty ruler called Hjalprek put Regin, intertextually corresponding with Mime the Smith to a certain extent, in charge of raising up Sigurðr sveinn. It seems less important to annotate that the aforementioned interfigural ruler may not be confused with a riddari Hialprek known as a good kinsman of Thidrek, see Mb 321. Likewise, the greive or jarl Loðvigur (–Hlodver), see Mb 107 and Mb 403, may not be confused with an equally named ruler of a kingdom.
These examples, basically belonging to an Elder Edda source content, seem to reflect rather the original Frankish than the late 5th- or early 6th-century Burgundian milieu of Þioðrek and the Niflungs.  back to text

10  i. Reinhard Wenskus provides these arguments on the geographical appearance of Hlǫðr in Nordic tradition (Der ‘hunnische’ Siegfried… pgs 717–719):
c) Hliþe: in der Hervararsaga Hlǫðr. Auch hier führt die Gleichsetzung zu lautlichen Schwierigkeiten. Dennoch wird sie nicht im Ernst in Frage gestellt.209 Seit einem Jahrhundert wird Hliþe auch mit Lotherus, dem Sohn des Humblus, des Saxo Grammaticus identifiziert. Es ist merkwürdig, daß man nicht auf die näher liegende Vermutung kam, daß hier der mythische Ahn der Frankenkönige, Chlodio, dem auch ein historischer König des 5. Jahrhunderts nachbenannt wurde, vorzuziehen wäre. Das würde jedoch bedeuten, daß das Húnaland, über das Humli, wie der Großvater des Hlǫðr im Hunnenschlachtlied heißt, die Herrschaft ausübt, schon lange vor der Thidrekssaga als "Hunnenland" verstanden worden wäre und dieses Mißverständnis bereits in Gregors Vorstellung von der Herkunft der Franken aus Pannonien vorausgesetzt werden sollte.
Das würde für die Entstehungsgeschichte des Hunnenschlachtliedes bedeuten, daß über die bereits bekannten Verlagerungen der Schauplätze hinaus, wie sie von H. Humbach dargestellt wurden,210 noch ein Ereignishorizont im altfränkischen Bereich eingeschoben werden müßte. Dies wird auch durch weitere Hinweise gestützt. Schon Humbach ist es aufgefallen, daß im Hunnenschlachtlied die Himmelsrichtung, in der das Land der Hunnen liegen soll, wechselt.211 Beim Angriff auf die gotische Grenzburg kommen die Hunnen von Süden – wie dies beim Kampf der Attila-Erben gegen die Goten in Pannonien ja auch angenommen wird. Aber
Hlǫðr reitet von Osten her (Hlǫðr  reið austan) gegen Arheim, den Königssitz des Angantyr. Dieses Árheimar bereitet schon lange Kopfzerbrechen. Ch. Tolkien sieht es als Ableitung aus ár-dagar ‘days of old’ = "the ancient abode" für einen gotischen Königshof in Südosteuropa, dessen eigentlicher Name vergessen war,212 während Humbach es in den nordischen Ereignishorizont verlagert und an das dänische Aarhus denkt.213 Es bietet sich aus unserer Sicht aber eher das niederländische Arnheim an, dessen Name in den Dialekten, die -n-lose Formen für die Bezeichnung des Adlers kennen (ahd. aro, got. ara, anord. ari), gerade im Norden eben Árheimar heißen konnte. Wenn man an das westfälische Húnaland im Osten bzw. im Südosten davon denkt, ist die erwähnte neue Richtungsangabe eher verständlich. Vielleicht bildete aber auch das in einem Überlieferungsstrang als größere Raumeinheit gedachte Árheimar/Arnheim eine wichtige Station beim Vordringen der Franken in das linksrheinische Gebiet. Schließlich ist sowohl der Name Humlis wie der seiner Tochter Sifka genau wie Hlǫðr als hunnischer Name nur verständlich, wenn man eine an sich sehr gut mögliche volksetymologische Umdeutung annimmt. Im Gegensatz zur Darstellung des Hunnenschlachtliedes wird der Name Humli mit dem in der Amalerstammtafel bei Jordanes Getica 79 genannten Hulmul verglichen,214 der aber eben auch kein Hunne, sondern ein Sohn des Heros eponymos Gapt/Gaut und damit Gote ist. K. Malone, der mit anderen die Lesart ‘Humal’ vorzieht, hat erwogen, ob Humli nur "by virtue of the phonetic pattern of his name" zum Hunnen geworden ist,215 was allein schon deshalb eine gewisse Wahrscheinlichkeit hat, weil die Hun-Namen unserer Traditionsgemeinschaft vielfach Nebenformen mit -m- aufweisen (so neben Hunfrid auch Humfrid). Zieht man es jedoch vor, den Namen Humli mit der Bezeichnung der Hummel (anord. Humla), die auch für andere Bienenarten gebraucht wird, zu verbinden,216 dann fällt einem sofort die Bienensymbolik des Childerichgrabes ein, ohne daß wir dies hier weiter ausspinnen wollen. Es kann ja auch die Bezeichnung für den Hopfen (anord. humla) dahinter stehen, was jedoch weniger wahrscheinlich ist.217
209 K. MALONE (wie Anm. 206), S. 170 ff.
[206: … Widsith (1962)…]
210 H. HUMBACH, Die geografischen Namen des altisländischen Hunnenschlachtliedes, in: Germania 47 (1969) S. 145–162.
211 H. HUMBACH (wie Anm. 210) S. 151.
212 Ch. TOLKIEN, The Battle of the Goths and the Huns, in: Saga-Book of the Viking Society 14 (1953/54) S. 158.
213 H. HUMBACH, (wie Anm. 210) S. 150 Anm. 20.
214 H. HUMBACH, (wie Anm. 210) S. 146 Anm. 7; vgl. auch H. WOLFRAM, Die Goten (3. Aufl. 1990) S. 370:
Hulmul-Humli (sic!) ("Vater der Dänen") – wohl nach Saxos Konstruktion.
215 K. MALONE (wie Anm. 206), S. 171.
216 Vgl. etwa H. WOLFRAM, Geschichte der Goten (1. Aufl. 1979) Stammtafel a, Ende:
Hulmul-Humli "Hummelsommer".
217 Vgl. aber M. GYSSELING (wie Anm. 15) I S. 524 zu
Humluncamp (Gem. St. George, arr. Arras), der es als "Hopfenkamp" versteht.
[15: … Toponymisch Woordenboek von Belgie, Nederland, Luxemburg, Noord-Frankrijk en West-Duitsland (vóór 1226) (1960)…]
[Transl.: c) Hliþe but in the Hervarar saga Hloðr. Here, too, the equation results in phonetic difficulties. Nevertheless, this is not seriously questioned.209 Hliþe has also been identified with Lotherus, the son of Humblus by Saxo Grammaticus, since a century. It is out of the ordinary that we did not come to the more obvious assumption that the mythical ancestor of the Frankish kings, Chlodio, serving for the naming of an historical 5th-century king, seems preferable. This would mean, however, that the Húnaland, ruled by Humli, grandfather of Hloðr in the Old Nordic Battle of the Goths and Huns, could have been known as "Hun-land" long before the existence of the Thidrekssaga and hence this misunderstanding should be premised already for Gregory’s conception of the origin of the Franks in Pannonia.
Regarding the historical origin of the Battle of the Goths and Huns in so far, an horizon of event has to be inserted in the Old Frankish area which goes beyond the known translocations of the battlefields, see the presentation by H. Humbach.210 This is also supported by further clues. Humbach has already encountered that the cardinal point, at which the land of the Huns is positioned, changes in the Battle of the Goths and Huns.211 When the Huns attack the Gothic border fortification, they come from the south – as this is also assumed in the battle of the Attila’s heirs against the Goths in Pannonia. But Hloðr rides from the east (Hloðr reið austan) against Arheim, the seat of King Angantyr. This Árheimar causes quite a headache for a long time. Ch. Tolkien sees it as a derivation from ár-dagar ‘days of old’ = "the ancient abode" for a Gothic court in Southeast Europe, whose real name was forgotten,212 whereas Humbach shifts this kingly seat into the northern horizon of event and thinks of the Danish Aarhus.213 From our point of view, though, the Dutch Arnhem could be called Árheimar, whose name is known from the dialects as the name of the eagle (Old High German aro, Gothic Ara, Old Nordic ari). If we think of the Westphalian Húnaland in the east or southeast, the new direction as being mentioned is fairly understandable. The Árheimar/Arnheim, conceived as a larger unit of space in certain narrative context, presumably formed an important stage in the advance of the Franks into the region left of the Rhine. After all, the name Humli as well as that of his daughter Sifka, just like that one of Hloðr, can be clearly understood as a Hunnic name if we assume an ethnic based etymological re-interpretation. In contrast to the introduction by the Battle of the Goths and Huns, the name Humli is compared with the Hulmul who is mentioned in the tribal chart of the Amals in Jordanes' Getica (79),214 who, however, is not a Hun but a son of the hero eponymic Gapt/Gaut and thus a Goth. Kemp Malone, who prefers ‘Humal‘ with others, has contemplated whether Humli became a Hun by "virtue of the phonetic pattern of his name",215 which has a certain unique probability because the ‘Hun’ based names in the community of traditions often have secondary forms with -m- (such as Hunfrid, also Humfrid). But if we prefer to combine the name of Humli with the name of the ‘Hummel‘ bumble bee (Old Nordic Humla),216 also used for other species of bees, the ‘Beekeeper’s Symbolism’ [(quot. rem.:) one of various interpretations] of Childeric’s grave will be immediately apparent to us. We can also think of hop (Old Nordic Humla) which, however, seems less likely.217 ]
209 K. MALONE (op. cit. ann. 206), p. 170ff.
[206: … Widsith (1962)…]
210 H. HUMBACH, Die geografischen Namen des altisländischen Hunnenschlachtliedes, in: Germania 47 (1969) pgs 145–162.
211 H. HUMBACH (op. cit. ann. 210) p. 151.
212 Ch. TOLKIEN, The Battle of the Goths and the Huns, in: Saga-Book of the Viking Society 14 (1953/54) p. 158.
213 H. HUMBACH, (op. cit. ann. 210) p. 150 ann. 20.
214 H. HUMBACH, (op. cit. ann. 210) p. 146 ann. 7; see also H. WOLFRAM, Die Goten (3. ed. 1990) p. 370:
Hulmul-Humli (sic!) ("Vater der Dänen") – likely following Saxo’s construction.
215 K. MALONE (op. cit. ann. 206) p. 171.
216 Cf. e.g. H. WOLFRAM, Geschichte der Goten (1. ed. 1979) chart a (see end):
Hulmul-Humli "Hummelsommer".
217 But cf. M. GYSSELING (op. cit. ann. 15) I p. 524 as
Humluncamp (Municipality of Saint-Georges, L’arrondissement d’Arras), who understands it as "Hopfenkamp".
[15: … Toponymisch Woordenboek von Belgie, Nederland, Luxemburg, Noord-Frankrijk en West-Duitsland (vóór 1226) (1960)…]

10  ii. Reinhard Wenskus has centered the cultural and geographical side of early Merovingian history on its literary protogonist Chlodio with these arguments:
E. Zöllner hat auf die Tatsache hingewiesen, daß die aus einer Reihe von Inschriften in Niedergermanien (Birten bei Xanten, Holtedorn bei Nymwegen, Monterberg bei Kalkar, Iversheim bei Münstereifel) und Friesland (Beetgum bei Leeuwarden) bekannte Göttin Hludana in ihrem Namen, der von Jan de Vries als ‚die Ruhmvolle’ gedeutet wird 35, die gleiche Stammsilbe aufweist wie Chlodio. Doch hält er es für „unsicher, ob daraus Schlüsse auf einen Hludanakult der Franken gezogen werden dürfen” 36. Es gibt jedoch einige Tatsachen, die diese Vermutung stützen.
In Süd-Limburg, d. h. in einem Raum, der zu dem Bereich gehört, in dem die merowingische Reihengräberkultur entstand
 37, liegt Lanaken (Lodenaken 1106/11, Luthenachen 1141/57, das bis 1106/11 Krongut war38 ), dessen Name als *Hludiniacas verstanden wird 39, wobei die Endung auf eine frühmerowingische Namenschicht weist. Der Name läßt freilich nicht erkennen, ob hier die mythische Gestalt – also Hludana – oder ein Frankenkönig gemeint ist, da seine Bedeutung („toebehorend aan Hludo”) beides zuläßt.
35 JAN DE VRIES Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte: II, S. 322. Schon hier sei darauf hingewiesen, daß auch der Name der Pasiphae, der Gemahlin des Minos, die mit dem von Poseidon gesandten Meeresstier den Minotaurus zeugt, als Tochter des Helios ‚die Allscheinende’ gedeutet wird.
36 ERICH ZÖLLNER, Geschichte der Franken bis zur Mitte des 6. Jahrhunderts, München 1970, S. 180. Zum Sprachlichen vgl. PIERGUISEPPE SCARDIGLI, Sprache im Umkreis der Matroneninschriften, in: Germanische Rest- und Trümmersprachen, hg. von HEINRICH BECK (Ergänzungsbände zum Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde, hg. von HEINRICH BECK u.a. 3) Berlin – New York 1989, S. 146f.
37 HORST WOLFGANG BÖHME, Die Eingliederung des spätrömischen Nordgalliens ins Frankenreich, in: 9. Kongreß der Union internationale des Sciences Pré- et Protohistoriques, Nice 1976, S. 71–87.
38 GUIDO ROTTHOFF, Studien zur Geschichte des Reichsguts in Niederlothringen und Friesland während der sächsisch-salischen Kaiserzeit (Rheinisches Archiv 44) Bonn 1953, S. 97f.
39 MAURITS GYSSELING, Typonymisch woordenboek van België, Nederland, Luxemburg, Noord-Frankrijk en West-Duitsland (voor 1226) I (Bouwstoffen en Studiën voor de geschiedenis en de lexicografie van het Nederlands 6) Brussel 1960, S. 590. – Die Möglichkeit, den Namen in zweifacher Weise zu deuten, ergibt sich auch aus der Tatsache, daß in der Gemarkung von Lanaken ein Doesberg (in monte Dusenberg 1145; in monte Dulceberg – lies Dusceberg – 1146) zu finden ist; vgl. ebd. S. 275; dies erlaubt uns die Annahme, daß es sich um das Dispargum castrum des Gregor von Tours (Hist. II,9) handelt, in dem Chlogio/Chlodio habitabat. Diese Annahme ist jedenfalls wesentlich begründeter als die Gleichsetzung mit Duisburg südöstlich Brüssel, die noch ZÖLLNER (wie Anm. 36) S. 27f., mit Schmidt, Gilissen, Roosens u.a. als die wahrscheinlichste gilt (weitere Lit. bei HEINRICH TIEFENBACH, in: Reallex. d. germ. Altertumsk. 21984, S. 497f.). Jenes liegt in einem Ausbaugebiet und bereits im Bistum Cambrai, d.h. nicht im Raum der Civitas Tungrorum, als das man das in terminum Thoringorum Gregors doch wohl ansehen muß, und von wo aus erst Chlogio seinen Vormarsch auf das Gebiet von Cambrai plante. Dazu war Lanaken an der Römerstraße von Nijmegen –Tongern der viel bessere Ausgangspunkt.
Andererseits hat GYSSELING den Namen des Ortes als
dūsanda burg bzw. dutsanda burg d.h. ‚duizelige, duttende, d.i. sluimerende burg’ (?) gedeutet. Diese Deutung könnte auf eine ,Entrückung’ weisen, die mit gewissen Heilsvorstellungen verbunden war. Das legen einige sprachliche ‚Überlebsel’ nahe: mnd. dösich, ae. dysig ‚betäubt’ (vgl. engl. dizzy ‚schwindlig, verwirrt’; dt. dösig, dösen) und die mit dt. Dusel (aus nd. dusel ,Betäubung’) zusammenhängenden Wendungen; wenn einem trotz seines Rausches in schwieriger Lage nichts passierte, sagte man: „er hat Dusel gehabt”. Dem müßte weiter nachgegangen werden.
Bemerkenswert ist die Verbreitung der damit gebildeten Ortsnamen. Außer den schon erwähnten können folgende herangezogen werden:
1) Doesburg an der Jjssel im Hamaland (d.h. im Gebiet der Chamaven); dort befand sich noch in ottonisch-frühsalischer Zeit – wenn auch nur geringes – Königsgut; vgl. GUIDO ROTTHOFF, Studien zur Geschichte des Reichsguts in Niederlothringen während der sächsisch-salischen Kaiserzeit. Das Reichsgut in den heutigen Niederlanden, Belgien, Luxemburg und Nordfrankreich, Bonn 1953, S. 83.
2) Duisburg a. Rh. ursprünglich wohl im Gebiet der Chattuarier; der Ort war ein wichtiges Reichsgutzentrum.
3) Duisenburg Kr. Lingen/Ems im Gebiet der Amsivarier.

4) Duisdorf (zu Bonn) war Dingstuhl für eine ganze Reihe umliegender Orte; auch Lanaken war mit Petersheim ein Untergericht des Vroenhofs Maastricht; vgl. MATTHIAS WERNER, Der Lütticher Raum in frühkarolingischer Zeit, Göttingen 1980, S. 381, Anm. 64.
Der Befund ist deshalb bemerkenswert, weil alle im 4. Jahrhundert als Franken bezeichneten Stämme mit je einem solchen Ort versehen sind; aber eben auch nur diese und keine anderen. Auch hier müssen eingehendere Untersuchungen feststellen, wieweit wir einem Zufall zum Opfer fielen oder ob sich dahinter mehr verbirgt. Schon die Lesart Dulceberg (s.o.) legt den Verdacht nahe, daß eine romanische Volksetymologie auch andernorts zu einer Umdeutung der Namen ehemaliger Duisberge geführt hat. Das könnte bei einzelnen der nicht ganz seltenen Orte im nordfranzösischen Sprachgebiet, die Douchy-, Douzy- u.ä. Bestandteile haben und gewöhnlich als Dulciacum, d.h. eine gallorömische Ableitung vom lat. Personennamen Dulcius angesehen wurden, immerhin erwogen werden. Ähnliche Vorstellungen mögen auch hinter dem Ortsnamen Dutse (Geraardsbergen, Ostflandern, 866 Dulcia, 1213 Duche) verborgen sein. Möglicherweise ist auch Ucimont in den Ardennen von Belgisch Luxemburg mit einer spätrömischen Befestigung so zu verstehen, da sich 1 ½ km südwestlich davon ein ‚Mont de Justice’, also ein Malberg, befindet; vgl. J. E. BOGAERS – C. B. RÜGER (Hgg.), Der niedergermanische Limes. Materialien zu seiner Geschichte, Köln 1974, S. 247. Romanische Umformung des Namens kann auch bei Dusemond (seit 1925 Brauneberg) bei Veldenz an der Mosel vorliegen, das 575/88 von Childbert II. an Verdun geschenkt wurde (vgl. EUGEN EWIG, Trier im Merowingerreich. Civitas, Stadt, Bistum, Trier 1954, S. 174 und 244). Sollte jedoch das zweite Namensglied (-mond) keinen Berg meinen, sondern die Mündung eines Gewässers, ergeben sich vielfache Beziehungen zu entsprechenden Parallelen. So hat TIEFENBACH z.B. den religiösen Zentralort von Toxandrien Deuso (= Diessen 20 km westlich Eindhoven), dessen Hercules Deusoniensis selbst auf römischen Kaisermünzen erscheint, mit dem Namen Dispargum verbunden, während die bisherige Forschung ebenfalls an eine Ableitung von einem Flußnamen dachte. Dieser Anregung sollte genauer nachgegangen werden, da sich folgende – vorerst vage – Hypothese anbietet. Sollte der kultische Bezug des ersten Namensgliedes sich generell auf Hercules/Donar beziehen? Die Möglichkeit scheint sich für Dispargum dadurch zu ergeben, daß Lanaken mit Petershe(i)m (s.o.) eine Einheit bildet und St. Peter häufig Kultstätten Donars fortführt, wie beim Namenspaar Godesberg (in Guodenes monte 801/14; Wodenesberch 1140)/Petersberg – wie Duisdorf im Umkreis von Bonn – vermutet wird. Diesem Petershem bei Lanaken entspricht in ähnlicher topographischer Anordnung Goudsberg östlich Maastricht an der Römerstraße nach Köln mit einer spätrömischen Befestigung; vgl. BOGAERS – RÜGER S. 177 Nr. 52. Wie es sich auch verhalten möge, daß bereits in Toxandrien diese Vorstellungen bei den Salfranken vorauszusetzen sind, dürfte u.a. der Ortsname Duizel (bei Eersel 13 km südwestlich Eindhoven; 1219 Dusele) nahelegen, der einen Ort bezeichnet, der nur 4–5 km südöstlich Hoogeloon liegt, wo eine der in Toxandrien sehr seltenen römischen villae festgestellt wurde. Da das -l des Namens wohl nicht – wie beim dt. Wort Dusel – Suffixcharakter hat, sondern wohl ein Kompositum mit dem Bestandteil -sali (,Einraumhaus') darstellt, hat der Ort wohl nur lokale Bedeutung.
(Reinhard Wenskus, Religion arbâtardi. Materialien zum Synkretismus in der vorchristlichen politischen Theologie der Franken in: Iconologia Sacra, ed. Hagen Keller, Nikolaus Staubach, vol. 23, pgs 179–248, quot. pgs 184–186.)
[Transl.: E. Zöllner pointed out the fact that the goddess Hludana, known from a series of inscriptions in Low Germany (Birten near Xanten, Holtedoorn near Nijmegen, Monterberg near Kalkar, Iversheim near Münstereifel) and Frisia (Beetgum near Leeuwarden), who has been explicated by Jan de Vries as ‘the glorious‘35, has in her name the same root syllable as Chlodio. But he considers it to be "uncertain whether conclusions can be drawn from Hludana-worshipping of the Franks." 36 However, there are some facts supporting this assumption.
In southern Limburg, pertaining to an area in which the Merovingian culture of row grave cemeteries is originated37, is to be found Lanaken (Lodenaken 1106/11, Luthenachen 1141/57 which was regnal domain until 1106/1138). Its name is known as *Hludiniacas39 with the ending pointing to an early Merovingian name layer. This name, however, does not reveal whether the mythical figure – i.e. Hludana – or a Frankish king is meant here, since its meaning (’belonging to Hludo’) admits both.
35 JAN DE VRIES Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte: II, p. 322. It should be already remarked here that Pasiphae’s name, the spouse of Minos who fathers the Minotaur with the sea animal sent by Poseidon, is interpreted as the daughter of Helios, the ‘All-Shining‘.
36 ERICH ZÖLLNER, Geschichte der Franken bis zur Mitte des 6. Jahrhunderts, München 1970, p. 180. On linguistic matters see PIERGUISEPPE SCARDIGLI, Sprache im Umkreis der Matroneninschriften, in: Germanische Rest- und Trümmersprachen, Ed. HEINRICH BECK (Ergänzungsbände zum Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde, Ed. HEINRICH BECK u.a. 3) Berlin – New York 1989, p. 146f.
37 HORST WOLFGANG BÖHME, Die Eingliederung des spätrömischen Nordgalliens ins Frankenreich, in: 9. Kongreß der Union internationale des Sciences Pré- et Protohistoriques, Nice 1976, pp. 71–87.
38 GUIDO ROTTHOFF, Studien zur Geschichte des Reichsguts in Niederlothringen und Friesland während der sächsisch-salischen Kaiserzeit (Rheinisches Archiv 44) Bonn 1953, p. 97f.
39 MAURITS GYSSELING, Typonymisch woordenboek van België, Nederland, Luxemburg, Noord-Frankrijk en West-Duitsland (voor 1226) I (Bouwstoffen en Studiën voor de geschiedenis en de lexicografie van het Nederlands 6) Brussels 1960, p. 590. – The possibility of explaining the name in a twofold manner also arises from the fact that a Doesberg is to be found in the landmark of Lanaken (in monte Dusenberg 1145; in monte Dulceberg – read ‘Dusceberg‘ – 1146); see op. cit. p. 275. This allows us to assume the dispargum castrum, Gregory of Tours (Hist. II,9), as the habitat of Chlogio / Chlodio. At any rate, this assumption appears much more reasonable than the equation with Duisburg to the southeast of Brussels, which has been ascribed to the most likely location by ZÖLLNER (see note 36) pp. 27f., Schmidt, Gilissen, Roosens et al. (See further literature by HEINRICH TIEFENBACH, in: Reallex. d. germ. Altertumsk.21984, p. 497f.) The former is located in a development region, nothing less than in the Diocese of Cambrai, but not in the region of the Civitas Tungrorum, which should be regarded well as Gregory’s in terminum Thoringorum where Chlogio planned his advance to the region of Cambrai. Lanaken, on the Roman road from Nijmegen – Tongern, was the much better starting point.
On the other hand, GYSSELING explicated the name of this location as dūsanda burg or dutsanda burg, i.e. ‘duizelige, duttende’, i.e. ‘sluimerende burg’ (?).
This interpretation could point to a ‘rapture’ connected with certain redemptive imaginations, as this suggest some linguistic remains: Middle Low German ‘dösich’, Old English ‘dysig’ (dazed, dizzy)
The spread of the place names derived from this is remarkable. Except the afore-mentioned the following names can be additionally regarded:
1) Doesburg on the Jjssel, Hamaland (region of the Chamavi) with some minor regnal domain in from early Salian–Ottonic times; cf. GUIDO ROTTHOFF, Studien zur Geschichte des Reichsguts in Niederlothringen während der sächsisch-salischen Kaiserzeit. Das Reichsgut in den heutigen Niederlanden, Belgien, Luxemburg und Nordfrankreich, Bonn 1953, p. 83.
2) Duisburg on the Rhine, likely in the former region of the Chatti. This location was an important regnal domain centre.
3) Duisenburg, district of Lingen on the Ems, region of the Ampsivarii.
4) Duisdorf (pertaining to Bonn) was seat of justice for many surrounding locations. Furthermore, Lanaken and Petersheim belonged to the subsidiary seat of justice of the socage estate at Maastricht; cf. MATTHIAS WERNER, Der Lütticher Raum in frühkarolingischer Zeit, Göttingen 1980, p. 381, note 64.
The result is remarkable because one certain of these places belonged to each of all tribes designated as Franks in the 4th century, but only these and no others. Here, too, more detailed investigations must explore the extent to which we are fallen victim to a coincidence, or whether there is anything more concealed behind it. Even the reading of Dulceberg (see above) suggests that a Roman people’s etymology has also led elsewhere to a reinterpretation of the names of former Duisbergs. This could be taken into consideration by means of some of the not very rare places in the French speaking part of the country, which have douchy-, douzy-, and similar components; and which are usually regarded as Dulciacum, i.e. a Gallic-Roman derivation from the Latin person name Dulcius. Similar notions might also be hidden behind the place name Dutse (Geraardsbergen, East Flanders, 866 Dulcia, 1213 Duche). Ucimont, in the Ardennes of Belgian Luxembourg, could be understood likewise, since a ’Mont de Justice’ is located 1½ km southwest of its late Roman fortification; cf. J. E. BOGAERS – C. B. RÜGER (Eds.), Der niedergermanische Limes. Materialien zu seiner Geschichte, Köln 1974, p. 247. A Romanesque transformation of the name could also be the case for Dusemond (since 1925 Brauneberg) near Veldenz on the Moselle, which was donated to Verdun by Childbert II in 575/88 (cf. EUGEN EWIG, Trier im Merowingerreich. Civitas, Stadt, Bistum, Trier 1954, pp. 174 and 244). If, however, the second name element (-mond) would not mean a mountain but rather the mouth of a body of water, many relations with corresponding parallels then arise. For example, TIEFENBACH has connected Deuso, the religious centre of Toxandria (now Diessen, 20 km west of Eindhoven) whose Hercules Deusoniensis appears on Roman imperial coins, with Dispargum, whereas current research has also suggested the derivation of a river name. This suggestion should be investigated more closely, since the following – preliminary vague – hypothesis will be offered. Should the cultic relationship of the first name element refer generally to Hercules / Donar? Such possibility seems to arise for Dispargum by the fact that Lanaken forms a unit with Petershe(i)m (see above) and St. Peter often carries on worshipping places of Donar, as suspected in the name pair Godesberg (in Guodenes monte 801/14; Wodenesberch 1140) / Petersberg – like Duisdorf in the vicinity of Bonn. In a similar topographical context Petershem near Lanaken corresponds with Goudsberg, east of Maastricht on the Roman road to Cologne, which has a late Roman fortification; cf. BOGAERS – RÜGER, p. 177, no. 52. Nonetheless, these ideas are to be presupposed in the case of the Salian Franks in Toxandria, as this may show the location name Duizel (near Eersel, 13 km southwest of Eindhoven, Dusele 1219) which refers to a place being located only 4 to 5 km southeast of Hoogeloon, where a found villa supplements the rare Roman villae of Toxandria. Since the -l of the name might not be related with a suffix form, as to be compared with the German word Dusel, it seems to be a composite with the component -sali (‘one room building’, ‘hall’). Thus, this place may be only of local significance.]

Jozef van Loon recently zoomed this topic more detailed and brought out this summary:
A new etymology of the Limburg place-name Lanaken leads to far-reaching conclusions with respect to the descent of the Merovingian dynasty and their Frankish origins. Traditionally, the name Lanaken, like many French place-names in -y, -ies etc., has been seen as containing the Gallo-Roman suffix -iniaca(s). However, this reconstruction runs into problems with the historical sound laws of Dutch and French. A finer distinction of the different variants which developed from the Celtic suffix -ākos, enables us to attribute these names to different eras more accurately, ranging from Late Prehistory to Early Carolingian times. The name Lanaken itself must be reconstructed as *Hluþenakōm, a name-form that presumably dates from the second century A.D. The first component contains the name of the Germanic goddess Hluthena, who was worshipped in the territory of the Sugambri, the Frankish tribe from which the Merovingian dynasty descended. The oldest known member of the dynasty, Chlodio, can be shown to be identical with Chlodebaudes, whose name is mentioned in some genealogies which had been considered unreliable until now. The article also discusses the etymology of the names Liedekerke, Luik, Montenaken, Salii, Sinnich, Thüringen and Vicus Helena.
(Jozef van Loon, Lanaken en de vroegste geschiedenis van Franken en Merovingen, in: Verslagen & Mededelingen van de KANTL, vol. 126, nr. 1–2 (2016) pgs 11–75, quot. pgs 11–12.)
http://www.verslagenenmededelingen.be/index.php/VM/article/download/111/114   (retrieved February 2017).
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11 i. This equation is provided by the ‘rhyme chronicle of Cologne’ which has been ascribed to the authorship of Gottfried Hagen, clericus coloniensis, municipal clerk and clergyman of Cologne in 13th century. The author of this work mentions the appearance of Dederich van Berne, Dederige van Berne, Dederich der Wise in some reparteeing contexts. The newer transcription of line 61 is by Bunna, dat heis man do Berne. Note well that the Old German by, in current Germ. ‘bei’, does correspond with the English meaning of nearby.
    One of the first ecclesiastical testimonies equating Bonn on the Rhine with Verona, which other local mediaeval transmission also connects with Bern, is provided on an altar memorial plate that archbishop Folkmar (965–969) dedicated to St. Pantaleon Church of Cologne; cf. Ingo Runde, Xanten im frühen und hohen Mittelalter. Doctoral thesis. Gerhard-Mercator-University of Duisburg 2001. Böhlau, Köln 2003, p. 197, fn. 593.
    Wilhelm Levison, ‘BONN–VERONA’ in: Rheinische Vierteljahrsblätter I, pgs 351–357, quotes the inscription of this memorial plate from a mediaeval copy of 12th century, that also remembers Folkmar’s predecessor Bruno of Cologne, a son of Emperor Otto I, as follows:
Praesul Volcmarus,   nulli pietate secundus
magni Brunonis   et commendatio dulcis,
Veronae tabulam   radienati scemate claram
fecit, ut esset honor,   cui tellus servit et aequor
[Transl.: ‹ Bishop › Folkmar, in Piety inferior to no one, the great Bruno's dear Advisor, made in Verona this Plate, its Rays shining brightly, so that it serves in Honour of the Earth and the Sea]
Levison claims that this inscription may not represent a solid historical evidence for Verona = Bonn (see p. 352f.), albeit he later mentions a coinage on the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II (1002–1024), found at Bonn in 1890, that ‘most likely’ supports an interpretation of this equation; see Rheinische Vierteljahrsblätter II, 1932, p. 79. Reprint of Levison’s article with his supplement of 1932: Aus rheinischer und fränkischer Frühzeit. Ausgewählte Aufsätze von Wilhelm Levison, Verlag L. Schwann, Düsseldorf 1948, pgs 164–171.
    Regarding the historical background of this memorial plate, Josef Niessen rejects the speculations of Levison (op. cit.) and Th. J. Lacomblet (Die römische Basilica von Bonn, in: Archiv für die Geschichte des Niederrheins, II, p. 65f.) on a clerical or ecclesiastical influence of the Italian Verona, cf. Niessen, Geschichte der Stadt Bonn (I), Ferd. Dümmlers Verlag, Düsseldorf 1956, pgs 71–72.
    The Passio sanctorum Gereonis, Victoris, Cassi et Florentii Thebaeorum martyrum, written in the 2nd half of 10th-century Ottonic period, provides in its 13th chapter the martyrs' death of the latter named two campaigners in the region of Verona on the Rhine:
Haec primum apud Agauni oppidum, ubi maxima multitudo sancti residit exercitus, agebantur. Inde praecedentium secuti vestigia repererunt primarios milites Cassium et Florentium cum septem aliis similibus constantiae viris, juxta Veronam civitatem in ripa Rheni fluminis consedentes…
[Transl.: This happened at first on Agaunum location most likely: Saint-Maurice d’Agaune, Switzerland ›, where the largest part of the manifold sanctified army was residing. From there they followed in the footsteps of the preceding men and caught the prime soldiers Cassius and Florentius with seven men of the same firm convictions, who were staying near Verona on the Rhine River…]
The 23rd chapter of this Passio specifies the distance from Xanten, place of the St. Victor Basilica, to Verona:
Verona, supremus memorati martyrii locus, non minus viginti sex milibus ab elegantissima sancti Victoris basilica distans…
[Transl.: Verona, the latter mentioned memorial place of martyrdom, not less than 26 (Old French/Old German) miles from the marvellous basilica of Saint Victor…]
Josef Niessen (op. cit. p. 66) quotes from a passage of the Anselmi gesta episc. Leodiensem II, ad annum 959, April 20, that Everacus
cisalpinae Veronae praepositus, quae vulgo Bunna dicitur
was ordained Bishop of Liege. Niessen annotates other texts written by Anselm who repeatedly used ‘Verona’ instead of Bonn, see Gesta episc. Leod. II, 24.37 (MGSS VII, p. 201, 209). Furthermore, Niessen refers to other documents, written later in 12th century, which equate Verona with Bonn, op. cit. chapter 2: Das Namenspiel Bonna-Verona, p. 71 with footnotes 30–33. Besides, he does not contradict Karl Simrock’s point of view on the Dietrichsage with its Bern as rather the cisalpina Verona, pgs 74–75. See also p. 75 on numismatic references related to Verona–Bonn.
    Wilhelm Levison (op. cit.) estimates the Passio sanctorum Gereonis, Victoris, Cassi et Florentii Thebaeorum martyrum as the ‘eldest sure piece of evidence’ of the antiquarian etymology of Verona–Bonn.
    The Golden Saints at Cologne, connected with the region of Xanten with its suburban location Berten–Birten, mentions Gregory of Tours in his liber in gloria Martyrum, 61–62. Raymond Van Dam, Gregory of Tours, Glory of the Martyrs, Liverpool 1988 (2004), translates these chapters as follows (pgs 59–60):
61. The Golden Saints at Cologne
      At Cologne there is a church in which the fifty men from the holy Theban Legion are said to have consummated their martyrdom for the name of Christ. And because the church, with its wonderful construction and mosaics, shines as if somehow gilded, the inhabitants prefer to call it the ‘Church of the Golden Saints’. Once Eberigisilus, who was at the time bishop of Cologne, was racked with severe pains in half of his head. He was then in a villa near a village. Severely weakened by this pain, as I said, he sent his deacon to the church of the saints. Since there was said to be in the middle of this church a pit into which the saints were thrown together after their martyrdom, the deacon collected some dust there and brought it to the bishop. As soon as the dust touched Eberigisilus' head, immediately all pain was gone.73
62. The martyr Mallosus
      Bishop Eberigisilus discovered the body of the martyr St. Mallosus in this way. Although it was reported that Mallosus had consummated his martyrdom in the village of Birten, men were uncertain where he had been buried. There was, however, an oratory there, in which his name was invoked. The aforementioned bishop Eberigisilus built a church in honor of Mallosus so that whenever he received some revelation about the martyr he might, with the Lord’s approval, transfer his holy body to the church. Finally, in the side of the church, that is, in the wall which was next to the oratory, he built an arch and included the oratory in an apse.74 He beseeched the pity of the Lord that he reveal whatever he might order concerning the martyr. Later a deacon at Metz was guided by a vision and learned where the martyr was buried. A short time later he came to bishop Eberigisilus. Although he had never been there before, it was as if he were reciting familiar landmarks that he had seen in his vision. He said to the bishop: ‘Dig here, and you will find the body of the saint,’ that is, in the middle of the apse. When the bishop had dug about seven feet down, the scent of an overpowering perfume reached his nose and he said: ‘Since this sweet fragrance surrounds me, I believe in Christ, because he has revealed his martyr to me.’ Digging further, he found that the holy body was intact. In a loud voice he cried out, ‘Glory to God in the highest,’ and he had the entire clergy chant psalms with him. After singing a hymn he transferred the holy body to the church, and with the conventional laudations he buried it. Some say that the martyr Victor is also buried there, but we still do not know any revelation about his tomb.75
    73  Legends about the Theban Legion claimed that Christians from Thebes in Upper Egypt were recruited into the Roman army and then stationed in the Alps. When this legion refused to support the pagan emperor Maximian at the end of the third century, its members were finally all executed. Already in the fifth century the cult of the Theban Legion had spread into Gaul: see Eucher of Lyon, Passio Acaunensium martyrum, ed. C. Wotke, CSEL 31 (1894), 165–72. One of the legion’s leaders was St. Mauricius (Maurice) [GM 74–75]: see van Berchem (1956) and Dupraz (1961). Bishop Eberigisilus (or Eberegiselus) was a contemporary of Gregory [HF X.15] and also discovered a martyr cult [GM 62].
    74  See Bonnet (1890), 749 n. 1, who suggested a lacuna in the text, and Krusch (1920), 733, for a better text: ‘denique in latere basilicae, id est in pariete qui a parte erat oratorii arcum volvit ipsumque oratorium in absida collegit.’
    75  Mallosus and Victor are otherwise unknown; for their oratory and church, see Vieillard-Troiekouroff (1976), 343–4.
Although Gregory does not know of a martyr Gereon but of a Mallosius, Victor and Cassianus (ch. 42), there is quite a possibility that the writer of the Passio could have used the source of Gregory.

11   ii. With regard to comparatively early Frankish Dietrich traditions centered on Verona cisalpina, i.e. Bonn = Bern, Josef Niessen reviews Karl Simrock’s opinion on the more likely common geographic environment of the Eckenlied origin and, implicitly, the Thidrekssaga with this statement (op. cit. pgs 73–74, cf. Simrock, Bonna Verona. In: Bonn. Beiträge zu seiner Geschichte und seinen Denkmälern. Festschrift Bonn 1868, III, pgs 1–20.):
Simrock nimmt an, daß das Lied von Eckes Ausfahrt, das mit der Dietrichsage verflochten ist, am Rhein „im Grippigenland” beheimatet sei und ursprünglich zum fränkischen Sagenkreis gehört habe. Wenn auch heute die Wissenschaft wieder dazu neigt, die Heimat des Eckenliedes in Tirol zu suchen, so ist es doch auch in Niederdeutschland bekannt gewesen und hier lokalisiert worden. In der Vorrede eines alten deutschen Heldenbuches heißt es nämlich:
„das lant zu Köln und Aache hieß etwen Grippigen lant, in dem wonten vil helden … auch Ortwein von Bunn und ander kiene held.”
An anderer Stelle wird ein Ritter „Helfferich von Bunn” erwähnt, in dem man unschwer den König Chilperich oder einen Namensvetter erkennt.
In einer nordischen Prosabearbeitung deutscher Heldenlieder, der Wiltingasage oder Thidrekssaga, finden sich ebenfalls rheinische Ortsangaben, der Drachenfels und der Wald Osning, der alte Name für die Eifel. Hier wird nun erzählt, daß Frau Segburg, nachdem sie Herrn Eck gegen Dietrich von Bern mit Harnisch, Schwert und Schild bewehrt hat, diesem auch ein Roß anbietet, das er aber ausschlägt, weil es ihn wegen seines riesenhaften Leibes nicht zu tragen vermöge. Er tritt also die Fahrt zu Fuß an und gelangt schon am folgenden Tage nach Bern. Hiermit kann nach Simrocks Meinung nur das rheinische Bern gemeint sein; denn Dietrich [...] gelangt erst nach sieben Tagen zum Osning. Hier trifft Eck auf einen von Dietrich verwundeten Ritter namens Helferich, der selbst bekennt, daß er vom Rheine stamme.
Die Annahme eines rheinischen Schauplatzes der Dietrichsage wird entscheidend gestützt durch das Auftreten eines „fränkischen Dietrich, der einst in der Sage unseres Landes hochberühmt war und von dem auch noch anderes in den Kreis des ostgotischen Dietrich hinübergezogen worden ist”. Diese Sagengestalt geht zurück auf Theoderich, den Sohn Chlodowechs, der bei den Angelsachsen als der berühmteste König der Franken galt. Im angelsächsischen Gedicht Vidsith „waltete Theodrik der Franken” („Theodric veold Francom”), während als Gotenkönig Ermanrich bekannt war.
Aus der naheliegenden Verwechslung der beiden Dietriche, des gotischen und des fränkischen, die schon bei dem Geschichtsschreiber des Sachsenstammes Widukind vorkommt, ist es zu erklären, daß, in den Heldenepen von Hugdietrich und König Rother der Dietrich, den der Quedlinburger Annalist noch ausdrücklich einen Franken nennt, mit seinem Sagenkreis dem ostgotischen verschmolzen wurde. „Als der Ruhm des merowingischen Theoderich verblich und der Kampf mit den drei Brüdern Ecke, Fasold und Ebenrot in den Sagenkreis der Amelungen überging, den jetzt das Heldenlied noch allein kannte, empfing Bonn den Namen Verona, weil der fränkische Theoderich, dem diese Länder vor Zeiten gehört hatten, in Bonn oder doch in seiner Nähe gewohnt und gestritten hatte”. Simrock läßt die Zeitbestimmung der Übernahme des Namens offen, möchte aber wahrscheinlich machen, daß die Erinnerung an den fränkischen Dietrich in der Bonner Gegend so lebendig blieb, daß unter der breiten Wirkung der Sage von Dietrich von Bern bestimmte Kreise den Versuch machen konnten, Bonn als das Verona Dietrichs zu bezeichnen („cisalpina Verona”).
Ein einleuchtender Grund für die Umbenennung, die offenbar bewußt erfolgte und auf Kreise zurückgeht, die mit der geschichtlichen und mythischen Überlieferung vertraut waren, ist damit noch nicht gegeben. Es ist aber darauf hinzuweisen, daß die erste Gleichsetzung von Verona = Bonna in jene Zeit fällt, in der nach langer Bedrängnis die kirchlichen Stiftungen am Rhein zu neuem Glanz, zu Ansehen und Reichtum gelangten. Wir möchten deshalb als sicher annehmen, daß nicht siedlungsgeschichtliche Vorgänge oder lokale Gegensätze eine Rolle gespielt haben, sondern daß der Vorrangstreit zwischen den drei ältesten Kollegiatsstiften innerhalb des Kölner Sprengels den Anstoß zur Namensänderung gegeben hat. St. Gereon in Köln, St. Victor in Xanten und St. Cassius und Florentius in Bonn waren die einzigen kirchlichen Gründungen, die neben der Kölner Domkirche aus römischer Zeit stammten, die in gleicher Weise die Gebeine von Märtyrern der Thebäischen Legion bargen und es einander an Alter und glanzvoller Überlieferung zuvortun wollten. Kölns alter römischer Name Agrippina war nie ganz untergegangen und wurde vor allem im kirchlichen Schrifttum der Zeit als zweiter Name häufig verwendet; Xanten (ad Sanctos), das als römische Stadt den Namen Colonia Ulpia Trajana geführt hatte, wurde, als man den Namen des Gründers Trajan nicht mehr erkannte, für eine Gründung der Trojaner gehalten und Troja oder auch Tronje genannt. Mithin verlangte es das Ansehen des Bonner Stifts, das als das vornehmste nach dem Domstift galt, daß es seinen Anspruch auf alte Abstammung wie die anderen auch mit einem alten Namen äußerlich kenntlich machen konnte. Ob man dabei altes Sagengut, was nicht unwahrscheinlich klingt, oder die Fehlschreibung in alten Heiligenlegenden als willkommene Quelle ansah, ist nicht auszumachen. Jedenfalls bildete sich damals die Überzeugung, daß Bonn vor Zeiten („antiqua”) Verona genannt worden war. So wurde der harmonische Dreiklang möglich, den ein lateinischer Hymnus des Mittelalters einprägsam kurz überliefert hat:
„In Verona, Agrippina
Et in Troja, loca trina
consecrant martyria.”
Für die drei vornehmsten Kollegiatsstifte am Niederrhein stand damit, für jedermann sichtbar, der römische Ursprung fest.
[Transl.: Simrock assumes that Ecke’s Quest [Eckenlied], which is intertwined with the Dietrichsage, has its roots ‘in the Grippigenland’ and originally belongs to the Frankish cycle of legends. Even if scholarschip today tends again to seek the original location of the Eckenlied in Tyrol, it nonetheless has been known also in Low Germany and localized here. The preface of the Old German Heldenbuch accordingly renders:
‘das lant zu Köln und Aache hieß etwen Grippigen lant, in dem wonten vil helden … auch Ortwein von Bunn und ander kiene held.’
Another passage mentions a knight named ‘Helfferich von Bunn’, whom one may easily recognize as King Chilperich or a namesake
In a Nordic prose adaptation of German heroic lore, the Vilkinasaga or Thidrekssaga, there are also Rhenish place names, the Drachenfels and the forest Osning, the old name for the Eifel. Here we are told that Lady Segburg, after arming Lord Eck against Dietrich of Bern with armour, sword and shield, also offers him a steed, which he refuses because it cannot carry him due to his huge body. So he sets off on foot and arrives in Bern the following day. In Simrock’s opinion, this can only mean Bern in the Rhineland, since Dietrich [...] reaches the Osning after seven days. Here Eck meets a knight named Helferich who has been wounded by Dietrich and who himself confesses that he comes from the Rhine.
The assumption of a Rhenish venue of the Dietrichsage is decisively supported by the appearance of a ‘Frankish Dietrich, who was once well-known in the legend of our country and of whom also other heroic lore has been drawn into the cycle of the Ostrogothic Dietrich’. This legendary figure is based on Theoderic, son of Clodovocar, who was considered by the Anglo-Saxons as the most famous king of the Franks. In the Anglo-Saxon poem Widsith ‘prevailed Theodrik of the Franks’ (‘Theodric veold Francom’), while as king of the Goths Ermanrich was known.
It can be explained from the apparent confusion between both Dietriche, the Gothic and the Frankish, which already occurs at Widukind, historian of the Saxon tribe, that the cycle of traditions about Dietrich, whom the annalist of Quedlinburg expressly calls a Frank, was merged with his mythological Eastern Gothic cycle in the epic poems of Hugdietrich and King Rother. ‘When the fame of the Merovingian Theoderic faded and the fight with the three brothers Ecke, Fasold and Ebenrot passed into the narrative cycle of the Amelungen, which heroic tradition knew as the only one at that time, Bonn received the name Verona because the Frankish Theoderic, who formerly owned the lands nearby, was residing and disputing at Bonn, or at least in the surrounding region.’ Simrock leaves the dating of the name’s transition open, but likes to make probable that the remembrance of the Frankish Dietrich in the region of Bonn remained so vivid that, under the broad effect of the tellings about Dietrich of Bern, certain circles could make the attempt to name Bonn as Dietrich’s Verona (‘cisalpina Verona’).
A plausible reason for the renaming, which apparently took place consciously and originates in circles that were familiar with the historical and mythical tradition, is not yet given therewith. It should be pointed out, however, that the first equation of Verona = Bonna falls into the period in which, after much ado, the ecclesiastical foundations on the Rhine reached new splendour, prestige and wealth. Therefore, we would like to assume for sure that settlement-historical processes or local contrasts were not playing a rôle, rather the dispute on priority between the three oldest collegiate foundations in the Diocese of Cologne has given rise to the change of the name. St. Gereon of Cologne, St. Victor of Xanten, St. Cassius and Florentius of Bonn were the only ecclesiastical foundations coming next to the Cathedral of Cologne since Roman times. These sites, striving for ancient reputation and glamorous tradition, correspondingly harboured the relics of the martyrs of the Theban Legion. Cologne’s ancient Roman name Agrippina never completely disappeared and was frequently used as a second name, contemporarily in ecclesiastical writings in particular; Xanten (ad Sanctos), known as the Roman city Colonia Ulpia Trajana (CUT), was, when the name of the founder Trajan had disappeared, held for a founding of the Trojans and called Troy or Tronje. Thus, the reputation of the Bonn Foundation, regarded to be the most distinguished next to the Cathedral Foundation, demanded to mark expressly its claim on ancient descent, as well as the others, by an old name. But on this it is impossible to determine whether old legends, which do not sound improbable, or miswriting in old Acts of the Saints were regarded as a welcome source. At any rate, the conviction was formed that Bonn had formerly been called (‘antiqua’) Verona, thus making possible the harmonic triad which a Latin hymn of the Middle Ages has memorably forwarded:
‘In Verona, Agrippina
Et in Troy, loca trina
consecrant martyria.’
The Roman origin of the three most distinguished collegiate foundations on the Lower Rhine was therewith visible to everyone.]

Josef Niessen’s scholarly qualification was honoured by Edith Ennen, eminent historian at the University of Bonn, Institut für geschichtliche Landeskunde der Rheinlande, with an obit in Bonner Gechichtsblätter, 18 (1964) pgs 7–10, see Summary: Obit on Josef Niessen (1891–1962).
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12   The equation Babilonia = Colonia for Cologne was interpretatively introduced at first by Ritter.
    Babilonia, appearing as a comparing apposition for this city on the Rhine, can be found in an official clerical document of 11th- German century; cf. Carl Erdmann, Norbert Fickermann, Briefsammlungen der Zeit Heinrichs IV. MGH reprint 2003 [ISBN 978-3-921575-05-5], pgs 192–194. This Babilonia, that Roman history about Germania inferior reveals in figurative sense as the Babylon of luxury and vice, may be identified with a region north of Cologne which most likely includes the city. For example, Duna Crossing pertains to Jarl Elsung the Younger who is mentioned as ruler of Babilonia. It seems interesting that Elsung the Elder was known as the former ruler of Bern.
    Furthermore, it may be worth mentioning that Otto K. Schmich (urn:nbn:de:1111-200602040) has taken into consideration a potential geonymic relict Babyloniënbroek, c. 14 mi. (c. 23 km) east of the confluence of the rivers Rhine–Waal (exactly: Nieuwe Merwede) and Meuse (exactly: Amer). Schmich supports his suggestion with two places Elzen and Elshout in the immediate vicinity, which, as the late private scholar further connotes, could have a reference back to the narrative individual Elsung the Younger. Although there would be little prospect to estimate the territorial relevance of Babyloniënbroek in Migration Period by means of our fragmentary knowledge of ancient geography, we may not disregard the possibilty that the regnal area of Babilonia was formerly stretching out significantly northward from Cologne. Since the Chattuarian region was ascribed to the kingdom of Theuderic by Frankish historiography, see LHF 19, there seems little doubt that in the late 5th and early 6th century northeastern Merovingians were ruling a territory up to the Rhine-Meuse delta. At the beginning of the second half of the 7th century, in the period of Bishop Cunibert (who is mentioned also by Suffridus Petrus, op. cit.), the Diocese of Cologne lost the fort at Utrecht to the pagan Frisians; cf. Ingo Runde (op. cit. p. 96) who quotes i.a. from a letter of the St. Bonifatian Correspondence, dated 753, that Utrecht was formerly subordinated to Cologne.
    Moreover, it is obvious that the texts distinguish between this Babilonia and Bern on the one hand. On the other, the territory from Cologne up to the confluence of the Waal and the Meuse, mainly the region known as the former Roman Chattuarian, could have been ruled by a 6th-century chieftain called Elsung the Younger, who possibly was a witness even of the raid under the Nordic leader ‘Chlochilaichus’. (Note that Mb 365, Mb 399–402 and Sv 309, Sv 343–348 are referring to the ruler of Babilonia.)
    Schmich estimates the North Brabantian place ‘Bern’, located c. 6 mi. or 10 km east of Babyloniënbroek, apparently not superior to his prior localization of Varnenum. He rather implies that this special cluster on the Rhine-Meuse delta could have been named after the southern historical paragon.  back to text

13 The first chronological appearance related to ‘Ripuaria’, the terra Riboariense, provides the Liber historiae Francorum in the context of the final quarrel between Theuderic II and his brother Theudebert II, as this event has been dated 612 by an author writing in 726/727. Neither an equivalent nor any roughly related form of an ethnological or geographical Ripuaria comes up in the texts written by Gregory of Tours. Thus, some elder scholars obviously applied this term incorrectly in ethnological and chronological contexts, e.g. Wilhelm Giesebrecht, German translator of Gregory of Tours. Other authors might just geographically regard ‘Ripuaria’ or ‘Ribuaria’ as nothing more than a region of unknown exact borders around the former Roman based ‘civitas’ of Cologne. Regarding Migration Period with its early Merovingian times, this region has been traditionally suggested from the Middle and Lower Moselle to the Middle and Lower Rhine, see RGA 24 (2003) or the more comprehensive analysis by Matthias Springer: Riparii – Ribuarier – Rheinfranken… in RGA 19 (1998).
   Nonetheless, Eugen Ewig remembers that Jordanes mentions Ripari or Riparoli under the command of Aëtius in the Battle of Troyes in  451, cf. Trier im Merowingerreich – Civitas, Stadt, Bistum; Trier 1954, p. 62. back to text

14   i. William J. Pfaff identifies Húna land as follows (op. cit. 1959 p. 91f):
    In Þíðriks saga, a kingdom in northern Germany, conquered by Attila, second son of the king of Frísia, who established his court at Susat (Soest), and ruled by him until his death, whereupon Þíðrikr incorporated it into his realm (...) All of the clearly identifiable localities in northern Germany except Brandina-borg (Brandenburg on the Havel) lie between the Weser and the Rhineland, north of the mountainous area known as the Sauerland in the west and the Harz in the east and exclusive of the coastal area, which belonged to the independent Frisian state.
   14   ii. Húnaland or Humaland, Hymaland, appear related to Low German hûne, Middle High German Huine = large human. The historical Hünengräber are known as impressing burial places, characteristically in Low Germany and northern countries. The afore-quoted geonyms, used by the mediaeval Scandinavian scribes, determine an obvious large territory centered between Lower Rhine and Lower Elbe. As already annotated above, the Guðrúnarkviða II indicates solid geographical relationship, as Guðrún’s mother ‘Grimhild’ feels strong enough to dispose (a part of) Hlǫðvér’s sali = Clovis' kingdom. Furthermore, both the Guðrúnarkviða I and Oddrúnargrátr situate (the later) Denmark in the neighbourhood of Húnaland. Regarding Icelandic poetry outside the Eddaic works, verse 8 of the Icelandic Kormáks saga points to the twinship of Húnaland and Denmark:
Alls metk auðar þellu
Íslands, þás mér grandar,
Húnalands ok handan
hugstarkr sem Danmarkar;
verð es Engla jarðar
Eir háþyrnis geira
(sól-Gunni metk svinna
sunds) ok Íra grundar.
[In all I boldly appraise the woman (”pine-tree of riches”), who causes me harm, as equal to Iceland and — across the sea — the land of the Huns, as well as Denmark. She (”the goddess of the spears of the thorn-bush of the skin,” i.e., ”the goddess of the comb/hairpins”) is worth the land of the English — I appraise the shrewd woman (”valkyrie of the sun of the sound,” i.e., ”valkyrie of gold”) — and the territory of the Irish.]
Quotation and modern translation of this verse by Russell Poole, Composition Transmission Performance: The First Ten lausavísur in Kormáks saga,  in: Alvíssmál 7 (1997) pgs 37–60, see p. 40.
https://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~alvismal/7kormak.pdf  (retrieved Feb. 2017).

Karl Simrock argues that the Ostrogothic Theoderic, instead of the Frankish, cannot be deduced from all the lines of the Old English Widsith, cf. Simrock op. cit. p. 13f. However, its author distincts between at least two hun(n)ic terms of domination, firstly with line 18
Ætla weóld Hûnum, Eormanríc Gotum
and secondly, as already regarded well by Karl Simrock (op. cit. p. 18f.), with line 33
Hún Hætwerum and Holen Wròsnum
(Quotations mainly following Kemp Malone’s transcription.)
    The ‘Hætweri’ of Hún designate the Chatti, who were settling in Low Germany in Migration Period, while, again in the northern area, the designation Holen Wròsnum refers to a Danish tribe that resided on the island of Vresen, southeast of Funen; see Kemp Malone, Widsith (1962), p. 212. Furthermore, line 23 and 81 recall the domain of an Hundingus whom the Gesta Danorum mention as a Saxon ruler; cf. Malone’s localization op. cit. p. 176. Hence, it is certainly not out of the question, but now rather more probable, that a northern Hun, enlarging his influence on adjacent regions of the later Westphalia and Low Saxony, was equated light-mindedly with the leader of the southeastern Huns on the Tisza. See correspondingly Reinhard Wenskus (Der ‘hunnische’ Siegfried… p. 693) who notes well the geographical ‘hunskr’ apposition of Sigurð in two Eddaic traditions which, however, do not contextually allow to identify Attila’s prominent southern area for believable geostrategical reasons; cf. also ‘Halfdan’ for a personal geonym of Sigurð’s father Sigmunð, as apparently chosen at first by Saxo Grammaticus.
    Wenskus remarks further that the Beowulf claims Sigemund a son of the Wælsinges, the German Wälsungen, the Old Norse Vǫlsungar, as this seems to point to a region on Waal river not far from Xanten, Siegfried’s place of birth maintained by the Nibelungenlied. Thus, the Old Norse scribes could have meant the oppidum Bertunense of Xanten-Birten (cf. Gregory of Tours' Bertuna) instead of the more eastern Bardengau as the kingdom of Sigmund on the one hand. But on the other, the Vǫlsunga saga depicts him as a migrating king who disguises himself as a wolf which, however, could point alternatively to German Wolfsburg in the former or bordering region of the Bardengau.

Reinhard Wenskus seems to complete the RGA 22 (2003), p. 189f., with this conjecture on the determination of Húnaland (Der ‘hunnische’ Siegfried… pgs 687–689):
Immerhin wäre es denkbar, daß wir im Namen Húnaland einen Ländernamen des Typs Frýsland/Rugiland vor uns haben.11 Wie dem auch sei, man hat das um Soest im Helwegraum angesetzte, im Norden als Húnaland bezeichnete Reich Atlis/Attilas im Mittelalter (Thidrekssaga) darunter verstanden, wenn auch ”sagengeschichtlich … keine Verbindung von Sigurd zu den Hunnen” führt.12
Dieser Sachverhalt hätte nun eine auffällige Parallele, wenn wir den Versuch Norbert Wagners akzeptieren, der die von Gregor von Tours (Hist. Franc. II,9) überlieferte Nachricht, die Franken seien aus Pannonien13 gekommen, aus einem Lautanklang erklären möchte, indem er für den mehrfach überlieferten Namen der salischen Franken (ae. Hugas, latinisiert Hugones) durch Synkope zu *Hūgno werden läßt, von dem aus der Ländername Hūgno land (Land der Hugen/Franken) gebildet werden kann, der einem *Hūnjo land (Land der Hunnen = Pannonien) so nahe stehen würde, daß eine Verwechslung leicht zu erklären wäre.14 Nun glaubt Wagner wohl zurecht, daß der Volksname der Hugen im Namen der Landschaft Hugmerki westlich von Groningen enthalten sei, wobei der Volksname wie bei Frysland/Rugiland in der Stammform erscheint.15 Danach wäre zu schließen, daß die Vorstellung, das fränkische Húnaland sei ein ”Hunnenland” gewesen, durch die Verwechslung des letzteren mit einem Land an der südlichen Nordseeküste zustande gekommen ist.
Diese Vorstellung ließe sich gut mit der Hypothese in Einklang bringen, bei der Überlieferung von der pannonischen Herkunft der Franken hätte der Name des von Plinius für diesen Raum überlieferten Ländernamens Baunonia mit eine Rolle gespielt.16 Dies würde selbst dann möglich sein, wenn Baunonia keinen größeren Landstrich meinte, sondern nur die – damals ohnehin viel größere – Insel Borkum (Burcana/Fabaria).17
Leider hat Wagner nicht eine weitere Möglichkeit ausdiskutiert: Unmittelbar nordöstlich von Hugmerki ist ein Hunzego bezeugt, dessen Name von M. Gysseling18 an sich einleuchtend mit dem Namen des Flusses Hunze (Hunse, Drenthsche Diep) verbunden wird. Doch lassen die Lesarten aufmerken: in pago Hunergeuue (2. Hälfte 8. Jahrh./Kop. 12. Jahrh. Fulda), Hunusga (1. Hälfte 9. Jahrh./Kop. 1. Hälfte 11. Jahrh. vita S. Liudgeri). Mangels ausreichender Kompetenz soll dieser Faden hier jedoch nicht weiter verfolgt werden.

11 Dazu N. WAGNER, Zur Herkunft der Franken aus Pannonien, in: Frühmittelalterliche Studien II (1977) S. 222f. Anm. 36.
12 So H. BECK (wie Anm. 1) S. 99.

[1 H. BECK, Zu Otto Höflers Siegfried-Arminius-Untersuchungen, in: Beitr. z. Gesch. d. deutschen Sprache und Literatur 107.1 (1985) S. 92–107.]
13 Daß ”das richtige Pannonien in der tatsächlichen Geschichte der Franken keinen Platz finden kann”, wie N. WAGNER (wie Anm. 11) S. 219 voraussetzt, ist heute angesichts der starken danubischen Einflüsse bei der Entstehung der Merowingischen Reihengräberkultur doch wohl zu relativieren und neu zu bedenken.
14 N. WAGNER (wie Anm. 11) S. 226 f.; H. BECK (wie Anm. 1) S. 100 erwähnt eine Variante, die von E. BRATE und J. DE VRIES vertreten wurde, nach der ein lautgesetzlicher Wandel von
Hunar, Hunir < *Hūgwnōz anzusetzen sei.
15 N. WAGNER (wie Anm. 11) S. 222. M. GYSSELING, Toponymisch Woordenboek von Belgie, Nederland, Luxemburg, Noord-Frankrijk en West-Duitsland (vóór 1226) (1960) S. 524 f. gibt für das später
Humsterland genannte Gebiet folgende Lesarten an: in pago Hugumarchi (786/787), Hugmerthi (1.H. 9.Jh./Kop. 1.H. 11.Jh.), in pago Humerki (zu 855/Kop. A. 10.Jh.). Er rekonstruiert germ. *Hūgamarkja, gebildet aus dem Volksnamen Hugas und *markō.
16 Vgl. R. WENSKUS (wie Anm. 6) S. 530.
[6 … R.WENSKUS, Stammesbildung und Verfassung. Das Werden der frühmittelalterlichen Gentes (1961). S. 24.]
17 Der Zweifel von N. WAGNER (wie Anm. 1) S. 219 ”wie dieser kleinen Insel die Rolle einer Wiege des Frankenvolkes zugekommen sein sollte”, beruht auf einem unausrottbaren, in der Ethnologie längst aufgegebenen Denkmodell. Zahlreiche Beispiele einer weiten Ausbreitung eines ethnischen Namens von sehr kleinen Ausgangsräumen finden sich immer wieder. Das extreme Beispiel der Romani, anfangs als Bezeichnung für die Bewohner einer Ackerbürgerstadt im allen Italien, später als Großteil der Bevölkerung eines Weltreichs, ist nur eines aus einer langen Reihe. Vgl. R. Wenskus (wie Anm. 6) S. 72 ff. mit zahlreichen Parallelen aus dem germanischen Gebiet.
18 M. Gysseling (wie Anm. 15) I S. 527.
[Transl.: Nevertheless, it might be conceivable that we are apparently faced with Húnaland as a form type corresponding with the geonyms Frýsland/Rugiland.11 In any case, the former was understood as the kingdom of Atli/Attila in the Middle Ages, established around Soest in the Helweg region, designated indeed in the north as Húnaland, albeit there is no “legendary … connection from Sigurd to the [quot. rem.: southeastern] Huns”.12
This circumstantial fact then may have a striking parallel if we accept the attempt of Norbert Wagner, who would like to explain the account by Gregory of Tours (Hist. Franc. II,9): The Franks rather came from ‘Pannonia’13 by means of a phonetic approach related to the repeatedly recorded name of the Salian Franks (= Old English Hugas, latinized Hugones) – in particular by a syncope –, so that *Hūgno appears as both phonetic and geonymic source. Thus, this derivation would be so closely related with *Hūnjo land (land of the Huns = Pannonia) as be easy to explain as a confusion.14 Wagner probably thinks to be right in so far as the popular name of the Hugi might reflect the name of the landscape Hugmerki, west of Groningen, so that the popular name [quot. rem.: i.e. Hūgno- or  Hūnjoland] appears in the original form according to the composition type Frysland/Rugiland.15 Then one may deduce reasonably on the assumption that the Frankish Húnaland was a “Huns-land”, in so far caused by the confusion of the latter with a land on the southern coast of the North Sea.
This supposition could be reconciled well with the hypothesis that the form of Pliny’s native  geonym Baunonia had played a part in the tradition of the Pannonian origin of the Franks.16 This would be an acceptable possibility even if Baunonia would not mean a larger landscape but only the island Borkum (Burcana/Fabaria) which was at that time much larger.17
Unfortunately, Wagner did not discuss sufficiently another possibility: Directly northeast of Hugmerki an Hunzego has been attested, whose name connects Gysseling18 plausibly with the name of the river Hunze. But the readings draw attention: in pago Hunergeuue (2nd half 8th century / cop. 12th century, Fulda), Hunusga (1st half 9th century / cop. 1st half 11th century, vita S. Liudgeri). For lack of sufficient competence, this thread is not pursued any further here.

11 On this N. WAGNER, Zur Herkunft der Franken aus Pannonien, in: Frühmittelalterliche Studien II (1977) p. 222f. Ann. 36.
12 So H. BECK (op. cit. ann. 1) p. 99.
[1 H. BECK, Zu Otto Höflers Siegfried-Arminius-Untersuchungen, in: Beitr. z. Gesch. d. deutschen Sprache und Literatur 107.1 (1985) pgs 92–107.]
13 That “the right Pannonia can not find its place in the real history of the Franks,” as N. WAGNER (op. cit. ann. 11) presupposes on p. 219, ought to be relatively reconsidered in view of the strong Danubian influence on the emerge of the Merovingian row grave cemeteries.
14 N. WAGNER (op. cit. ann. 11) p. 226f.; H. Beck (op. cit. ann. 1) p. 100 mentions a variant presented by E. BRATE and J. DE VRIES, according to which a change in the phonetic regularity from Hunar, Hunir < *Hūgwnōz should be considered.
15 N. WAGNER (op. cit. ann. 11) p. 222. M. GYSSELING, Toponymisch Woordenboek von Belgie, Nederland, Luxemburg, Noord-Frankrijk en West-Duitsland (vóór 1226) (1960) S. 524 f. quotes these reading forms for the later Humsterland: in pago Hugumarchi (786/787), Hugmerthi (1st half 9th century / cop. 1st half 11th century), in pago Humerki (to 855 / cop. early 10th century). He reconstructs germ. *Hūgamarkja, as formed from both the people’s name Hugas and *markō.
16 Cf. R. WENSKUS (op. cit. ann. 6) p. 530.
[6 … R.WENSKUS, Stammesbildung und Verfassung. Das Werden der frühmittelalterlichen Gentes (1961); p. 24.]
17 The doubt of N. WAGNER (op. cit. ann. 1) p. 219, “how this small island should be casted for the rôle of the Frankish people’s cradle" is based on an ineradicable model of thinking that has long been abandoned in ethnology. Numerous examples of wide spread ethnic names from very small spatial initials are found again and again. The eminent example of the Romani, at first a designation for the inhabitants of a farming location ‘town, village, hamlet’ in all Italy, later for the bulk of the population of a world empire, is only one of a long series. Cf. Reinhard Wenskus (op. cit. ann. 6) pgs 72f. with numerous parallels from the German(ic) region.
18 M.Gysseling (op. cit. ann. 15) I p. 527. ]

The Venerable Bede apparently ascribes a folk called Hunni to Low German(ic) tribes (highlighted terms by the quoting author):
      … quarum in Germania plurimas noverat esse nationes, a quibus Angli vel Saxones, qui nunc Britanniam incolunt, genus et originem duxisse noscuntur; unde hactenus a vicina gente Britonum corrupte Garmani nuncupantur. Sunt autem Fresones, Rugini, Danai, Hunni, Antiqui Saxones, Boructuarii; sunt alii perplures iisdem in partibus populi, paganis adhuc ritibus servientes, ad quos venire præfatus Christi miles, circumnavigata Britannia… [Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum V, 9]
Translation by J. A. Giles:
     … many of which nations he knew there were in Germany, from whom the Angles or Saxons, who now inhabit Britain, are known to have derived their origin; for which reason they are still corruptly called Garmans by the neighbouring nation of the Britons. Such are the Fresons, the Rugins, the Danes, the Huns, the Ancient Saxons, and the Boructuars (or ‘Bructers’). There are also in the same parts many other nations still following pagan rites, to whom the aforesaid soldier of Christ designed to repair, sailing round Britain…
    Regarding the coherence of this geographical order, the Rugini might be the islanders of Rügen, Baltic Sea, whereas M. Springer rejects generally the equation of Boructuarii with Bructeri(i); op. cit. pgs 116–118, 121.
    Altfrid, bishop of Münster in 9th century, annotates in the vita of his uncle, the eminent Saint Ludger, that Charlemagne constituted him doctorem in gente Fresonum ab orientali parte fluminis Labeki super pagos quinque, quorum haec sunt vocabula Hugmerthi, Hunusga, Fivilga, Emisga, Fediritga et unam insulam… (Vitae Sancti Liudgeri, I, lib. I, 22; ed. by Wilhelm Diekamp, Münster 1881; see pgs 25–26 with geonymic annotations. Diekamp quotes also Hunesga from the manuscripts. Besides, fluminis Labeci may be the Lavica in Suffrid’s De Frisiorum antiquitate et origine libri tres II, 15; see above.) Regarding geographical recitations by mediaeval scholarship, however, not all German historiographers and chroniclers allow a clear deduction of a second northern land of ‘Hunes’ in a German-Dutch area between the North Sea and the approximate centre of the later Westphalia. See, for instance, Magistri Adam Bremensis gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificium, lib. I, 3, whose German translator Carsten Miesegaes seems to have reasons enough to plead for the prominent eastern Huns, cf. M. Adam’s Geschichte der Ausbreitung der christlichen Religion… Bremen 1825, pgs 9–13.
    Some different but related spelling structures of the highlighted geonyms above do correspond with the contexts by the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts. These texts as well as the source of Suffridus Petrus (op. cit.) provide the conquest of Soest in Migration Period by a Frisian invader. Thus, the apparently large kingdom of Soest could have been named at least temporarily after his homeland, that region which has been geohistorically estimated e.g. somewhere between the Frisavones (or Frisii) and Chattuarii, and also between the rivers Hunte (mapped in this article) and Hunse (Hunze), district of Groningen.

   14  iii. Young-lord (Germ. ‘Jungherr’, ‘Junker’) was Sigurð’s previous noble title corresponding with a squire, as he was rightly known for his service at King Isung.   back to text

15 Emil Rückert, Oberon von Mons und die Pipine von Nivella; Weidmann’sche Buchhandlung, Leipzig 1836.  back to text

16 Fertur, super litore maris aestatis tempore Chlodeo cum uxore resedens, meridiae uxor ad mare labandum vadens,* bistea Neptuni Quinotauri similis eam adpetisset. Cumque in continuo aut a bistea aut a viro fuisset concepta, peperit filium nomen Meroveum, per co regis Francorum post vocantur Merohingii.
[It is said that in the summertime Chlodeo sat with his wife on the shore of the churning sea, and at noon she went to take a bath in the Labadian Sea* where a beast of Neptune, which resembled a Quinotaur, took possession of her. Whether he may have been begotten by the beast or by the man, in any case, she bore a son named Meroveus, and after him the kings of the Franks were later called Merovingians.]
    Does Fredegar’s version enable us to transfer this Greek scene to a shore of Chlodeo’s real domain somewhere on the North Sea? Regarding this passage from Fredegar’s book III, 9, the Old Norse + Swedish texts seem to have a corresponding motif in the history of Weland’s ancestry. King Vilkinus, his grandfather, is said to have made pregnant a ‘mermaid’ or ‘sea-goddess’ at a compulsory stopover somewhere in a coast forest of the Baltic Sea. However, the Old Swedish version does contribute less mystified accounts, since its story allows easier to deduce that Vade’s mother was an attractive ‘sailor woman’ who, after the intercourse, could follow and stop King Vilkinus with her possibly better fitted or trimmed vessel (Sv 18).
* Fredegar most likely means  Labadus  or Lebedus (Lebedos), one of
the twelve cities of the Ionian League located on the Aegean Sea as the
     urbs Ioniæ in Asia minori, maritima in parte Australi Isthmi
æ Ioniæ; quæ etiam Labadus dicta est…,
as explained by the author of the Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti…,
Jacobi Usserii Annales, Genev
æ MDCCXXII, Index Geographicus ‘L’.

back to text

17  Wilhelm C. Grimm’s less exact translation of Altdänische Heldenlieder, Balladen… (Heidelberg 1811) was critically reviewed by F. D. Graeter in Heidelbergische Jahrbücher der Litteratur 11–13, 1813. These Old Danish heroic epics and ballads are usually quoted with the so-called DgF assignment which has been generated to re-ordering the contents of this large collection. Those traditions, which are dealing with some protagonists, creatures and venues of the Thidrekssaga, are dated into and after the 16th century; see Danmarks gamle Folkeviser, ed. by Svend Grundtvig, Axel Olrik, Hakon Grüner-Nielsen, Karl-Ivar Hildeman, Erik Dal, Iørn Piø, Copenhagen 1853-1976.  back to text

18  See for instance Skånska fornlämningar och deras äldre beskrivningar.
A collection by Sven Rosborn,
http://www.pilemedia.se/pdf/Forskning/Fornminnen%20i%20Skane.pdf   (retrieved March 2016).  back to text

19 The original texts have apparently connected a large lake or ‘sea’ with the residence of Queen Brynhild whose castle is named Sägard, Seaguard. Its most likely position, east of the Harz mountains, could have been in the district of Seeburg castle on lake ‘Süßer und Salziger See’, as suggested to the author by the American philologist August Hunt. Incidentally, a Virgin in the Sea, being crowned in the rendition by the Wappenbuch von Waldeck 1987 and in the textual description of Hermann Knodt’s Das Hessische Wappenbuch, is pointed out in the heraldic banner of BADENAUSEN Ancestry that has its roots in the Harz. Walter Böckmann, re-reader of Ritter’s manuscript Die Nibelungen zogen nordwärts, identified the ‘Seaguard’ with the Ilsenstein castle in the northern Harz. Gregory of Tours recites Berthar’s daughter Radegund (518–587) as niece of King BADERIC.She became second spouse of Chlothar I and devoted her life to self-sacrificing clerical service. A rather contrarily depicted RADEGUND von BADDENHAUSEN is appearing as female warrior in the monumental German epic DREIZEHNLINDEN written by Friedrich Wilhelm Weber who implanted historical elements in this work, for instance Frankish invasions into continental Saxon regions.
The Badenhausen banner by Hessen-Waldeck
Regarding Sigurð’s literary genealogy, a noteworthy remark seems to come from the author of the Vǫlsunga saga who calls Aslaug a daughter of Sigurð and Brynhild, and he mentions Svanhild and Sigmund II as children of Sigurð and Guðrúnback to text

20 Suffridus (op. cit.) has knowledge of different genealogical lines of Hengist and Horsa. After correcting Geoffrey of Monmouth, he requotes Bede (see Liber II ch. 15):
    Quare & Beda maternam stirpem Hengisti & Horsi referens cap. 15. lib. 1. Erant (inquit) filij Vergisti, cuius pater Vitta, cuius pater Vecta, cuius pater Voden, de cuius stirpe multarum provinciarum regium genus originem duxit.
    Suffridus then emends:
    Huic autem duci Udolpho nati sunt filij duo, quorum majorem Hengistum, minorem Horsum appellari voluit, ad solatium uxoris in memoriam eius defunctorum fratrum. Hos igitur nepotes suos avus maternus Vergistus in filiorum locum adoptavit (…) Hengistus enim patris naturalis familia per fortis acerbitatem privatus, familiam patris adoptivi secutus est.
    Ubbo Emmius, most noteworthy contemporary critic of Suffridus, prefers Bede on Hengist’s descent, but comprehends him Frisian; Rerum Frisiearum Historia III.
   The sources of Suffridus and other authors on the literary subject of Hengist the Hero regards Nellie Slayton Aurner, Hengest, A Study in Early English Hero Legend, University of Iowa Studies, Humanistic Studies, II  No. 1, p. 44f.  back to text

21 i. See Roswitha Wisniewski, Die Darstellung des Niflungenunterganges in der Thidrekssaga, Tübingen 1961. See further the author’s study on the most likely Low German clerical authorship of the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts: Wadhincúsan, monasterium Ludewici, National German Library DNB,
urn:nbn:de: 0233-2009033115, updated version at https://www.badenhausen.net/harz/svava/MonasteriumLudewici.pdf.
See here en. 27 ii with further explorations of the Old Norse texts.
Some re-evaluations of heroic epic accounts
Regarding apparently less believable episodes in the Old Norse + Swedish texts, there are to constate receptive elements apparently serving for Sigurð’s fabulous birth (see above). Furthermore, the Iron and Isollde story (Mb 245–274) has been scholastically compared and equated with motifs of mediaeval Solomon tradition, see en. 8 regarding the historical background of the Apollonius and Herborg story. While some analyst likes to connect this account also with a receptive pattern of Apollonius of Tyre, the ‘wry episode’ of Young Thidrek, Herburt and Hilldr seems to allude ironically to the work of the Greek artist Apelles of Kos, as he made a painting of the young Alexander the Great. Furthermore, either the 35th book of Plinius the Elder or a tale of Tristan milieu providing the ‘Hall of Statutes’ (cf. the translation based on Tristams saga ok Ísöndar) was palpably known also to the author of Weland’s biography who left the creation of a statue of Rygger or Reginn (Sv 63, Mb 66). As suggested by Hans den Besten (op. cit. p. 122) and other philologists, the narrative milieu of King Arthur in the manuscripts seems to be based on motif-borrowing which implicitly guides the reader to the venue of the Britannia minor; cf. e.g. Edward R. Haymes, King Arthur in the Thidrekssaga, in: Quondam et Futurus 8, No. 3 (Spring 1988), pgs 6–10.
    With respect to some other pattern apparently taken from mediaeval tradition dealing with the historiae of Alexander the Great, Roswitha Wisniewski has already remarked some correspondence with the conception, physical appearance and adolescence of Hǫgni, the Old Swedish Hagen (Wisniewski op. cit. 1961 pgs 242–244). However, she annotates well that a narrative pattern taken from an(y) extant account may be taken also for the exposition of similarity!
    In the beginning of the story of Herburt and Hilldr, William J. Pfaff recognizes two more or less substantial pattern which appear in the much elder Beowulf (relating a dilemma of Hréðel) and the MHG Biterolf, since
[compared with the Beowulf ] one son (Tistram) kills another and flees to Iron in Brandina-borg; the eldest (Herburt) is held responsible and, exiled, goes to the court of Þíðrikr. Nothing more is said of the father’s dilemma; of Herburt is told a story similar to the Celtic story of Tristram and Isolde: Þíðrikr sends Herburt to sue for Hilldr, daughter of Artus (...), but the emissary and Hilldr elope, are pursued, escape. In the MHG Biterolf, King Herbort of Denmark abducts Hildburg, daughter of Ludwig of Normandy; they are pursued and escape to the Burgundian court, where they speak of Þíðrikr’s anger, though no motive for it is given (op. cit. 1959 pgs 109).
and he concludes that
perhaps the version in Þíðriks saga represents an early stage of the original incorporation of the story into German legend.
    We cannot make reliable estimations on the historicity of the stories dealing with King Arthur ‘Arkimannus’, his two sons Iron and Apollonius, King Salomon, Tristam, Herburt and Hilldr, but it seems obvious that the author of these episodes followed his own interliterary rules of connecting them with the vita of the Old Norse Dietrich. Completing the contents of the parentheses in the former quotation, Pfaff does not forget to remark a chronological error in the Old Norse texts, cf. Mb 231 and Mb 245, which is related to the kingship of their ‘Arthur’ and, illogically in advance, Iron’s new seat at Brandin(g)aborg (op. cit. p. 109 quoting Dietrich von Kralik).
Wooing episodes
Exploring the bridal-quest story of the Frisian prince Atala’ and the Wilzian princess Erka, Willi Eggers has suggested a Low German wooing tradition whose historical roots and basic motifs might have been serving also for the composition of the Helgakviða Hjǫrvarðssonar. (W. Eggers, Die niederdeutschen Grundlagen der Wilzensage in der Thidrekssaga. Doctoral thesis. Reprint: Niederdeutsches Jahrbuch LXII 1936, Hamburg 1937.) The wooing episode Osantrix & Oda obviously complies with the same basic construction, even though this story has some pattern in common with the first part of the verse epic King Rother; in particular the ‘Shoe Trying’ passage which is shortly remarked at en. 6 in the author’s article Zwölf um Dietrich von Bern – Heldenphysiognomie aus der Retorte?
    Winder McConnell, reviewer of Thomas Kerth’s intertextual study on King Rother and His Bride, Quest and Counter-Quests, Camden House 2010, nevertheless takes basically into account:
Kerth avoids the methodologically suspect temptation to suggest direct borrowing, although he does view Ósantrix’s courtship of Oda in the ›Thidrekssaga‹ as being «[m]ore clearly related to [the first part of] ›König Rother‹» (p. 23). Motifs, and even structural elements, shared by individual works are unreliable evidence for direct borrowing, even though they are worth noting; the potential for another (third, and now unknown) source for such shared motifs, structures, or archetypal patterns should always be accorded appropriate consideration, a point that Kerth himself astutely makes at the conclusion of this particular comparison (p. 25). The same argument holds true for the comparison of ›König Rother‹ with ›Salman und Morolf‹ (about 1160), and Kerth concedes that «it is impossible to know if one of these texts borrowed from the other» (p. 27). Curschmann’s allusion almost half a century ago to «a canon of motifs (…) employed in the minstrel epics, as well as in international folklore» (p. 27) has lost none of its validity in the interim, and Kerth is inclined to concur with it…
    Furthermore, McConnell addresses those mediaevalists who inattentively tend to indicate intertextual borrowing from different mediaeval genres:
However, the Middle Ages have left us no clues in the form of epistolary allusions, chronicle entries, to say nothing of authorial revelations, that might allow the scholar to derive some near-definitive, if not definitive, conclusions on the direct connection between a protagonist and a historical, or fictional, predecessor.
(McConell in pbb 2013; 135(2): 283–289; quot. p. 285.)
The high mediaeval Dutch poetry Van Bere Wisselauwe, an epic pertaining to the romance cycle of Charlemagne, appears interrelated with a death story of King Osantrix: While Isung calls his special bear performed by Vildifer ‘Vizleo’, the Old Swedish scribes know this masqueraded being, the murderer of Osantrix, as wisa leon. (A wise lion does also appear in Ívens saga Artúskappa based on translation of imported source material.) The Dutch tradition relates that Gernout’s bear shocks the giants of Esprian’s castle to save Charlemagne and his followers, where this Esprian corresponds somewhat with Asprian the Giant of King Rother; cf. in contrast the rôle of Aspilian, a large noble fighter in service of King Osantrix.
    Willi Eggers notes intertextual source divergences onto the wooing episodes, the Wilzian wars and, as a narrative faux pas, the deaths of Osantrix in the Old Norse manuscripts, op. cit. pgs 98–108. Regarding in these texts the participation of Þettleifr, son of the ‘Skånska’ Biturúlfr, there is a further interliterary predicament of genre and chronology for the proto-tradition serving for the southern verse epic Biterolf and Dietleib. With respect to all these traditions, however, there is no evidence based conclusion on the amount of untrustworthy depictions of history in the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts.
Nordic Giants
Since the author of the Wadhincusan episode has either rejected or no idea of an existing version of Aspilian’s death, he could use him to caricature the end of King Nordian’s most important son at the Westphalian monastery, as this story might have received its predicate seigia þydersk kuæði (Mb 433) in Iceland and/or Norway. Because the protector of the Westphalian monastery became the undefeated hero of a ‘gigantic episode’, he had to face his end afterwards in a duly tale which, however, can be also interpreted less fictitiously, see en. 12 in the aforementioned online article Zwölf um Dietrich von Bern – Heldenphysiognomie aus der Retorte.
    Nonetheless, we may wonder from where the obvious Westphalian author could have – must have – received the name and basic narrative profile of the Zealandish individual. Regarding the transmission context of Thidrekssaga, it seems absolutely plausible that he knew Aspilian already from the Wilzian tradition. Besides, Mb 139 may represent a further but certainly not the last circumstantial evidence for a more complex rôle of Westphalian authorship: As related by this chapter, the fur of Vildifer’s beary dress originates in the Lyravald/Luruvalld – where there is Wedinghausen/Wadhincúsan Monastery – which, incidentally, was not transformed to -holt, -mǫrk, -skógr, -viðr.
    Young-Thidrek’s fight against Hild and Grim can be regarded as lesser realistic passages whose writers might have embedded their most important protagonist into an environment of epic heroism. This account (Mb 16–17, Sv 13), likely misunderstood by the Old Norse + Swedish translators, seems to relate rather the destruction of an anthropomorphized machine belonging to an ore mine and forge (Badenhausen, Sage und Wirklichkeit, Münster 2007, pgs 427–428). Generally, as to annotate also in this context, mediaeval historiographers may equate large or very large individuals with giants; the small, Lilliputians and, potentially, individuals of lower social class with dwarves, notably Peringskiöld 1715.
Thidrek’s trip to the Osning
Route of Thidrek’s Osning Trip
Dietrich’s trip to the Osning by the Thidrekssaga and the Old Swedish texts.
Ekka the Hero counter to the Eckenlied
The Old Norse + Swedish texts provide Mb 96–103 and Sv 96–104 with an appearance of Ekka, future son-in-law of the late king Drusian (Sv: Drocian) who, however, is not depicted as a giant in contrast to the southern Eckenlied. Friedrich H. von der Hagen, translator of the Old Norse manuscripts, proposes Drusian’s seat on the Drakenburg on the river Weser, whereas Ritter supposes this place at the Externsteine (elder form: Ecksternsteine). Since the Old German spelling forms egge and ekke, ecke are interchangeable, the source provider of the Old Norse + Swedish texts could have also ascribed Ekka’s region to the covering Eggegebirge. Besides, an Extern valley, called nowadays Externtal, can be found c. 30 km to NNE.
    The E2 or L manuscript of the Eckenlied expressively underlines the land Gripiân, hence with Cologne on the Rhine, as the northern central region already in its first strophe; cf. Roswitha Wisniewski, Mittelalterliche Dietrich-Dichtung, p. 219. This may to point to rather a northern based template of an Ekka tradition which the southern or Italian author has so illustriously magnified. However, its seems less likely that the very first Ekka tradition was brought from an Italian location to a northern German(ic) area and afterwards re-imported from there for the Tyrolian creation of the extant eldest Eckenlied (c. 1230). Regarding the chronology and history of Ekka’s transmission, Joachim Heinzle rejects a sense making connection of an archaic local legend about three hoary witches on this mountain, who could cause thunderstorm which had to be driven away by a ffasolltt, with the three queens appearing in the Eckenlied; see Heinzle, Einführung in die mittelhochdeutsche Dietrich-Epik, pgs 121–122. Besides, he does only compare the contents of the Eckenlied with the motif reflecting or spending passages which are forwarded by the Thidrekssaga. In so far, in particular for undetectable source context, he would not draw any speculative conclusion.
    It seems obvious that the primordial author of Mb 96–103 and Sv 96–104, identifying a Drusian in the Teutoburg Forest, apparently at the Externsteine, knew of Tacitus' annales II,7 that relate in its region a mound and an altar in memory of the Roman commander Drusus, as this spatial interpretation was assumed by Gudmund Schütte, Gotthiod und Utgard (1936,II, p. 198). However, we have to concede that the reception of the Roman politician and eminent commander Drusus – by the Old Swedish texts originally Drocian (geonymically Drakian?) – for the hero’s adequately ranked father-in-law is nowhere serving for any political or consequent important effect in the accounts of the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts. Admittedly, in the MHG Wolfdietrich (B&D) the protagonist rescues Sigeminne from the giant Drasian (B) on a castle called Altenfelse (only D), but it seems unlikely that the author of Thidrek’s Osning adventure took pattern from this part of the MHG epics; cf. Pfaff op. cit. 1959 pgs 15–16.
Aldinsæla — Rimslo — Aldensele
The historical background of the Rimslo episode is based on the authentic appearances of large prehistoric animals a few miles north of Riemsloh, see Mb 104–106 and Sv 105–110. The impressing tracks of such reptiles, officially found in 1921 (!) near Barkhausen village and classified at that time as ‘Elephantopoides barkhausensis and Megalosauripus barkhausensis’, inspired the primordial author to enrich the story of Thidrek and Fasold with a ‘horrifying fil and a flying dragon’, the former likely an animal of the kind called an elephant (Haymes). Ritter adverts that Thidrek and his follower Fasold (cf. Sage und Wirklichkeit, pgs 424–426 onto ancestral items of the latter) could have originated this story when encountering these traces on their Osning expedition, as in this case they were ready to show an ‘everlasting evidence’.
   Interestingly, the Karlamagnús saga forwards that Roland wins a horn called ‘Olifant’ from the Saxons.
Prehistoric Animal Tracks Barkhausen Prehistoric Animal Tracks Barkhausen
The dinosaurus' footprints at heir original place of appearance, 52.278333°N 8.413889°E.
Godelinda and/or Gothelinde?
Since we can detect related name forms of the spouses of Thidrek & Theuderic, the author remarks at https://www.badenhausen.net/harz/svava/ZwoelfumDietrichvonBern.htm (retrieved Oct. 2015):
Auch die Gattin des Markgrafen von Bakalar führt den Namen Gudelinda oder Godelinda. Nach Mb 240 wird also eine weitere und hier in Svava erkannte oder platzierte Gothelinde vorgelegt, der anspielende Name für Dietrichs Braut als Tochter eines ihm ebenbürtig darzustellenden historischen Schwiegervaters. Mit diesem lässt sich ein offensichtlich anachronistisches Erzählmotiv festmachen, das sich der Historiograf wegen damit nicht verknüpfter politischer oder anderer Entwicklung jedoch leisten konnte (…) Zu Dietrichs Vermählungen dankt der Verfasser dem Lektorat für einen nachträglichen Korrekturhinweis zu Bild 7 auf S. 179 in „Sage und Wirklichkeit”: Nach Mb 240 heiratet der junge Dietrich zuerst eine Tochter Gudilind (Gudelinda Got(h)elinde) des verstorbenen Königs Drusian, siehe Osning-Berichte der Thidrekssaga. Diese Partie erscheint manchem Leser als pointierte Anspielung auf die Gemahlin Suavegotta Suavegotho von Theuderich I., deren Name und definitive eheliche Beziehung mit diesem Frankenherrscher bei Flodoard von Reims auftaucht. Die Forschung möchte sie als Tochter aus der Verbindung des Sigismund von Burgund mit Theoderichs Tochter Ostrogotho-Ariagne identifizieren, was jedoch zu einem erheblichen chronologischen Problem mit Suavegotho (* um 504) als Mutter der regina Theudechildis führt. Siehe dazu die Vita von Theuderich I.
     Die geografische Interpretation des Eigennamens der Gemahlin Theuderichs würde auf deren blutsverwandtschaftliche Herkunft außerhalb von Burgund hindeuten.
Siehe zum Zeitstellungsproblem z. B. Eugen Ewig 1991:50–52.
[Transl.: The wife of the margrave of Bakalar is also called Gudelinda or Godelinda. Mb 240 thus introduces a further Gothelinde, recognized or intentionally situated in the geographical Svava, to be Dietrich’s (= Thidrek’s) bride as daughter of a very worthily introduced historical father-in-law. Thus, we can apparently fix this as an anachronistic narrative motif which the historiographer nonetheless could bring in the narrative milieu of an unrelated political or other development (…) Regarding Dietrich’s marriages, the author thanks the publisher’s lecturer for a corrective reference to fig. 7 on page 179 in "Sage und Wirklichkeit": According to Mb 240 the young Dietrich marries at first a daughter called Gudelind (GudelindaGot(h)elinde) of the late king Drusian, see the Osning reports of the Thidrekssaga. This part may appear to some readers as a pointed allusion to Theuderic’s the wife SuavegottaSuavegotho whose name and definite marital relationship with this Frankish ruler provides Flodoard of Reims. Researchers like to identify her with a daughter from the matrimony of Sigismund of Burgundy with Theoderic’s daughter Ostrogotho-Ariagne which, however, leads to a significant chronological problem with Suavegotho (* c. 504) as the mother of regina Theudechildis, see the vita of Theuderic I.
The geographic interpretation of the name of Theuderic’s wife would point to their blood-related origin outside of Burgundy.
For more information about the deadline problem, see e.g. Eugen Ewig 1991:50–52.]
All Thidrekssaga redactions neither mention forms of ‘Burgundy’ nor provide the revenge based epic depiction of Didrik’s death. (Note that the chapters Sv 383–386 have been ascribed to a later edit!)
    As concerns the Brictan episode on the river Lippá (Mb 84–89, cf. Sv 83–89 quoting a forest called lyrowoll instead), the author of this part might have magnified his story with some pattern taken from a continental narrative or just a scheme which had already inspired Chrétien de Troyes for his Erec and Enide. William J. Pfaff (op. cit. 1959 pgs 46, 124–125) tried to show that the author of this episode has borrowed from Solomon and Marcolf.
Sigurð’s dragon
Regarding Mb 166 and Sv 158, dealing with Sigurð killing the ‘dragon-worm’, Ritter agrees and interprets with Paul Hermann’s German translation of the Vǫlsunga saga, see Ritter, Sigfrid ohne Tarnkappe, p. 235, en. 14. Lethally wounded, the brother of the sly smith finally made this confession, see Fáfnismál:
Hattest du nicht gehört, wie alles Volk sich fürchtete vor mir und meinem Schreckenshelm? (…) Den Schreckenshelm trug ich zum Schutz gegen alles Volk, seit dem ich auf dem Erbe meines Bruders lag (…) dass niemand noch mir zu nahen wagte; kein Schwert schreckte mich, und nie fand ich so viele Männer mir gegenüber, dass ich mich nicht weit stärker dünkte, alle aber hatten Angst vor mir…
[Transl.: Haven’t you heard how that all folk was afraid of me and my shocking helmet? (…) I had on the shocking helmet to protecting myself against all folk for all the time I was keeping my brother’s heritage (…) so that nobody else dared to approach me; no sword was frightening me, and I never found so many men against me, methought being much stronger than them, so all were afraid of me…]

   21  ii. In contrast with Peringskiöld’s short consideration of sources that render interpretations of dwarves and giants (1715, ‘fōretal’), the Addendum Writer of the Heldenbücher editions (‘Books of Heroes’, prose part) inter alia establishes nothing less than a special kind of biblical genesis. In this way providing ‘proof of origin’, he institutes this figment of the poetry’s suggestive imagination:
   There is further to know why God created the small dwarves and the large giants and, after that, the heroes. First, he created the dwarves because the lands and mountains were wild and unexplored1, and there was plenty of good ore, silver, gold and pearls in the mountains. Therefore, God made the dwarves even witty and wise, so that they could distinguish evil from good and know about the right use of all things. They also knew about the use of gemstones. Many of them gave huge strengths, while quite a few made the bearer invisible. This does also a so-called fog cap2. Therefore, God gave the dwarves artisanship and wisdom. Thus, they made fine hollow caves, and nobly given to them kingship and upper class the heroes alike, and given to them great wealth.
   And then God created the giants because they had to slay the wild beasts and big worms3, so that the dwarves were more safe for exploring the land. Then, after a few years, the giants caused the dwarves much suffering, as they even became evil-minded and unfaithful.
   After that God created the strong heroes, of middle rank within these three folks. And there is to know that the heroes were faithful and befitting4 for many years. And so they were helping the dwarves against the unfaithful giants, the wild beasts and worms. In those times the land was totally unexplored5. For this reason God created strong heroes, and gave them such nature that their boldness and sense were based upon honourable manfulness for quarrels and wars. There were many kings under the dwarves who had to serve the giants in some waste world, rough land and mountains near their dwellings. Furthermore, the heroes saw women of discipline and honour all around, and were obliged to the rightfulness to protect widows and orphans. They did not harm the women unless becoming destitute themselves, and came always to help the women in distress. On insult and severity, the heroes performed many deeds for the women’s sake. There is further to know that the giants were in all positions, emperors, kings, dukes, counts, and lords, vassals, knights und servants. They all were noblemen, and a hero never was a peasant. Therefrom came all lords and noblemen.
Quotation from chapter Wō den gezwergē, cf. ‘Dresden edition’ printed with added prose text at Hagenau, 1509.
1    Neo-Germ.  unbebaut  (cf. ‘unbuilt’).
2    See annotation Neffel in the author’s online article
     The Nibelungen Saga: The True Core by the Svava?
3    Commonly equated with dragons.
4    Neo-Germ.  bieder.
5    See above.
The so-called ‘Historische Dietrichepik’, keenly fabulating epics which are included in (e.g.) the Ambraser Heldenbuch, significantly contradict some important relation in acknowledged vitae of ‘apparently comparable individuals’ who were participating in or forming real historical events.
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22  The Franks and Burgundian allies invading southern Gaulish territories of the Visigoths were afterwards repelled at first from Septimania and the Provence by Theoderic’s general Ibba, 508–c.510. Gregory’s  ‘summary’  for the Franks: hist. III,21.
    Furthermore, however, the Frankish historiographer claims that Clovis placed himself a diadem on his head after an appointment to the ‘honorary consulship’ from the emperor Anastasius in 508, hist. II,38. This seems to indicate nothing more or less than a concordance or an intended alliance between them, likely based on preceding development which made the Eastern Roman emperor and Theoderic the Great in opposition at that time. Since the former was sending a fleet to ravage the Italian coast in the year of Clovis' pretty appointment, modern research presumes a ‘foedus’ between the Byzantine sovereign and the Gaulish king, notably Patrick J. Geary, Guy Halsall. However, there are no reliable sources which allow to substantiate that the Italian Theoderic was definitely coerced into terminating his campaign against the Franks and Burgundians henceforth, and it seems less likely that Theoderic the Great, guarantor of the Pax Gothica, had accepted the Franks as sovereigns of Auvergne and, consequently, Aquitaine with the Albigeois and the Rouergue after the deposition of Visigothic king Gesalec by Theoderic in 511. With Gregory’s words accordingly: Gothi vero cum post Chlodovechi mortem multa de id quae ille adquesierat pervasissent...; confirmably Herwig Wolfram, History of the Goths (1988) p. 245–246; cf. also Jonathan J. Arnold, Theoderic, the Goths, and the Restoration of the Roman Empire. Doctoral thesis, p. 241, fn. 170.
    Gregory involves Theuderic in dubious relationship with the Auvergnat episcopates of Quintianus and Apollinaris, notably e.g. Ian. N. Wood (op. cit. 1983, 1994) and Edward James (op. cit. 1985/1991) with revised dating. Thus, a persistent Frankish authority over the Auvergne in the 1st quarter of the 6th century appears less believable when considering Theuderic’s extensive reconquest of this territory in c. 525, as this dating seems most acceptable from Gregory’s less reliable chronological background contexts. However, the obvious intention of Clovis and Theuderic to gain access to the Mediterranean Sea, contextually since 508, was doomed to failure: Under the command of Theoderic’s general Ibba, as Roman sources provide, more than 30,000 Franks were killed; Narbonne and Arles, conquered by Burgundians allied with the Franks, were released. An Eastern Gothic army under its leader ‘dux’ Mammo plundered Gaul and returned in 509 with rich prey to Italy. The Ostrogothic Theoderic himself was able to free Carcassonne, where he found and released the treasure of the Visigothic king, his grandson Amalaric, from the booty of Frankish besiegers. As regards Theuderic’s reconquest of the Auvergne, it is strikingly evident that Gregory has suppressed the name of the enemy whom the Frankish king defeated with this obvious forceful military campaign. Since fratricidal Frankish war at this time as well as up to Theuderic’s Thuringian campaign would be not probable, cf. Gregory’s hist. III,11 and 21, Theuderic recaptured the Auvergne from an obvious Ostrogothic occupation. Interestingly, as mentioned above, Gregory remarks a dux Hilpingus as Theuderic’s intimate advisor to this conquest (Liber Vitae Patrum IV,2).
    hist. III,3–5 apparently date from c. 515 to c. 524. As he reports at hist. III,4, Theuderic rendered successfully military support to Herminfrid in Thuringia who had promised him on their common victory the half of Baderic’s realm, albeit Matthias Springer claims this account as Gregory’s untrue construction in order to justify Theuderic’s later military campaign against the Thuringian king (Theuderich I. in RGA 30, pgs 459–463).
    Following Gregory’s Liber Vitae Patrum VI,2, reporting on Theuderic and the cleric Gallus from Cologne (apparently between 524–525), there was serious menace to their obvious short Christian mission to most important Lower Rhineland area in the first half of 6th century. Incidentally, this item does not question the ‘Return of Thidrek’, who dangerously crossed the region of Babilonia and defeated on his route its ruler Elsung the Younger (Sv 341–346, Mb 399–406).
    Furthermore, critical research in Gregory’s text at hist. III,6 neither strongly suggests nor conclusively recognizes Theuderic’s participation in Burgundian War of 523/524, see again RGA 30 (2005) p. 462. While Matthias Springer, editor of this article, would not confirm Theuderic’s active involvement in this war, Ian N. Wood (1994) moreover constates Theuderic ostentatiously avoiding the Burgundian campaign. Besides, according to Gregory’s hist. III,21, the first or second recapture of the Auvergne under Theuderic’s command seems not believable after the Thuringian campaign of c. 531, whose beginning has been dated already in 528 by Herwig Wolfram. Rather, Gregory has already mentioned him as authority over the clerics at Clermont in his report on the inauguration of Bishop Nicetius, who needed further support at the metropolis of the Treveri, see Liber Vitae Patrum VI,2. Since Gregory contextually remarks in the following chapter that the episcopal clerics Aprunculus (of Trier) and Quintianus died soon after, we have to chronologize these three points in time between 524 and 526.
    Regarding the basic understanding of the protagonist’s ‘exile’, the sources just allow to conclude that Theuderic was driven out of Auvergne (since 508) and thereafter could not rule over this most attracting Gaulish region (seemingly suggested by Gregory) until c. 525. Not contradicting this item, the other northeastern sources of apparently stronger limited geographical horizon relate that Thidrek was coincidentally chased away from his Bern location by a kinsman ruling Roma II.
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23 The Old Norse + Swedish texts do not provide that Thidrek himself had initiated this military expedition against the kingdom or territory of Soest, his place of exile. This Frankish campaign, although unsuccessful in the end, seems to continue soon the expansionism of Clovis who already had taken over Sigibert’s kingdom of Cologne.
    The Frisian ‘chronicler’ Suffridus Petrus, certainly not exempt from justifiable criticism particularly for some patriotic distortion, relates that Soest was sieged and conquered by Frankish king Dagobert I, although this city was apparently lost again to the Saxons later on; cf. e.g. Eugen Ewig & Knut Schäferdiek, Christliche Expansion im Merowingerreich, in: Kirchengeschichte als Missionsgeschichte, Band II: Die Kirche des früheren Mittelalters, pgs 116–145, see p. 132.
    Suffrid’s De Frisiorum antiquitate et origine libri tres  II, 15, further provides that Dagobert confronted the local commander Yglo Galama, apparently of ‘Frisian descent’, with invading forces. Following the Frisian author, Dagobert’s large Austrasian campaign against Saxon tribes, most likely or at least between 623 and 625, was significantly supported by his father Chlothar II († 629 or 630). Regarding this Frankish campaign against the Saxons, there are some obvious parallels between Suffridus and accounts by the Liber historiae Francorum, 41 (MGH SS rer. Merov. II, ed. B. Krusch 1888, pgs 311–314).
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24    As noted farther above, he is also serving as treasurer for his king, titled ‘fiarhirdi’ (Mb 127, cf. Latin manuscript, ch. CIII: quæstore ex ærario pecuniam). His name forms by all texts – but none of his contextual actions being connected with ‘Ermenrik’ and Thidrek – seem to remember ‘Seafolan’ by the Widsith and/ or/ ‘who is’ the Byzantine commander (‘consul’) Sabinianus Magnus. The latter finally attacked successfully the rear part of Theoderic’s army in 479, but he was nowhere recorded as plotting advisor of Odoacer or any other historical foe of Theoderic the Great! Marcellinus Comes, chronicler of the Eastern Roman Empire, regards Sabinianus as a severe military disciplinarian of the old school, see PLRE.
   Interestingly, both Sabinianus and Clovis (cf. the South Gaulish campaign and the Alemannic conflicts of the latter) can be interpreted as geostrategical antagonists of Theoderic the Great by means of historical sources.
   The Widsith (115–116):
   Seccan sohte ic ond Beccan, Seafolan ond Þeodric,
   Heaþoric ond Sifecan, Hliþe ond Incgenþeow.
There are at least two different ‘Sifkas’. Who is the right one? The apparent hero or very important individual at the beginning of 116 has been not satisfyingly identified by R. W. Chambers (1912). Explicitly contradicting him, Kemp Malone (1962) recognizes this figure as protagonist of the Hervarar saga, and with him agrees R. Wenskus (1994, op. cit.) who also allocates Hliþe ond Incgenþeow to the select circle of this tradition. The father of these half-brothers Hlǫðr and Angantyr is King Heiðrek, the capturer of a Húnalandish Sifka, King Humli’s daughter (!) who became mother of the illegitimate Hlǫðr. Heiðrek seems responsible for the death of either her or, by confusing later edit, ‘another female Sifka’, as she was not willing to keep a fateful secret she had received from him. Called Sváfa in redaction U, her vita has consequently nothing to do with all those plots provided by Thidrekssaga and ‘Didriks chronicle’. Nonetheless, Ritter remembers the rôle of Sifka’s wife in the Old Norse + Swedish transmissions, submitting that Ermenrik had used violence on her (Dietrich von Bern, München 1982, p. 299, en. 96).
    As noted by A. Raszmann 1858, J. de Vries 1957, and H. Ritter 1982, ‘Sifka’ seems to reflect the meaning of the Nordic Bikkja, cf. the English bitch. Regarding the bandwidth of historiographical forwarding, ‘Sifka’ appears in our context as Nordic originated curse word for an advisor, hence serving as literary supplement.1 The hard sounding that forms the beginning of its second syllable does contradict a derivation based on the Roman ‘Sabinianus’, however. Regarding more corresponding forms like this, Karl Müllenhof (op. cit.) already placed at the disposal an ethnographical and geonymic origin of Ermenrik’s advisor, as taking into consideration a Jutlandic Sabalingi and an Upper German Savalinheim, the latter mentioned in the CODEX LAURESHAMENSIS, likely meaning Savelheim as provided by the Topographia Alsatiae. However, Malone reasonably constates that Seafola and High German Sabene should not be equated uncritically in order to make Þeodric the great Ostrogothic king (1962, p. 195; 1959, p. 53, fn. 90).
    Malone presents an attention calling interpretation of Frankish individuals (!) with Theuderic I, his son Theudebert, and the Sigiwalds (father and son, the former put to death by Theuderic) by means of Gregory of Tours (hist. III,13,16,23,24), the Wolfdietrich cycle and the knowledge of the Deor poet. After considering scholarship who has rashly equated this þeodric with the Theoderic the Great, Malone does not see him in a convincing historical or plausible literary connection with the other line-115-individual(s):
But according to Guest 1838, 77 "the conqueror of Italy is not once alluded to" in the poem; so also Müllenhoff 1848, 458 and others. As is generally recognized, the identification of Þeodric 115 depends on that of Seafola , the name it is paired with in the off-verse of the line. Since Jiriczek’s paper of 1920 (in Englische Studien liv. 15ff.) this question may be looked upon as settled: Seafola is the English equivalent of the villainous Sabene of the Wolfdietrich saga. In other words, the þeodric of Widsith 115 is þeodric the Frank (1962, p. 195 & pgs 204–205; cf. 1959, pgs 164–167).
1  A mediaeval historiographer may augment in rhetorically sophisticated manner, to a certain extent even speculatively or untrustworthily, as we may regard this as an either subjective emendation or just an endeavour to achieve ‘comprehensiveness’ of his work. However, these kinds of ‘amalgamation’ must not necessarily corrupt the basic narrative consistency of a historical exposition.
back to text

25   «… So, wie die Einzelsagen nunmehr erscheinen, fügen sie sich doch eher zu einer Chronik aus dem 12. und 13. Jahrhundert zusammen.» (op. cit. p. 406). After the translations by F. H. von der Hagen 1814, A. Raszmann 1852 and F. Erichsen 1924, Hube provides the fourth German publication of the saga’s contents (‘Nacherzählung’) with geographical annotations generally complying with Ritter’s localizations.  back to text

26   i. See from a similar perspective the review of Ritter by Henry Kratz, The German Quarterly 56/4, pgs 636–638, which, however, does not play a reliable rôle for progressive circumspect studies, as Ritter has already responded to inappropriate analytic approaches of scholars who either base their arguments on genuine but unproven pseudo-historical intention of the manuscripts or oversimplify history by focussing on monocausal ambit and explanation.
Compare, for example, Ritter’s riposts in
Sigfrid ohne Tarnkappe, Munich 1990, pgs 189–197: Irrwege bei der Deutung der Thidrekssaga.
Die neue Sicht und ihr Echo, pgs 199–206. In Soester Zeitschrift, 1985, Nr. 97, pgs 26–28; ibid. 1986, Nr. 98, pgs 150–154.
See also the reviews pro Ritter by
Hans den Besten, Bemerkungen zu einer Kritik. Johannes Jonata u.a. zu Ritter-Schaumburgs ‘Die Nibelungen zogen nordwärts’, in: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur Älteren Germanistik, 33, 1991, pgs 117–130.  Fritz Droste, Der Nibelungen Not in Westfalen, in: Sauerland, 1982, Nr. 1, pgs 4–8; id. Sauerland, 1984, Nr. 1, pgs 13–15.
Werner Hoffmann’s criticism of Ritter’s book Sigfrid ohne Tarnkappe may be partly justified because Ritter has not delineated clearly enough some of his conjectures based on ‘possible facticity and less believable speculation’ to the heroised and mystified Sigurð image in all transmissions – as scholarly research on Siegfried in the Nibelungenlied has been tending to divergent interpretations. If Hoffmann had been less concerned with polemical sophisms against Ritter, he could have pointed to e.g. the Legend of Genevieve of Brabant (see above) as a subtle adaption for Sigurð’s birth, which has been left unnoticed by Ritter. But Hoffmann does neither refer to a historical prototype of Dietrich in the Thidrekssaga nor to its general historiographical trustworthiness; cf. Werner Hoffmann: Siegfried 1993 (...) in: Mediaevistik 6 (1993), pgs 121–151.
In contrast to Heinrich Beck’s less convincing approach against Ritter, another example of an inexpedient perspective for a Thidrekssaga-Diskussion, being based to a certain extent rather on the imperative twinship of monocausality and Migration Period historiography written in High Middle Ages, as to be connected nonetheless with ‘literary transformation’ (cf. Beck op. cit. 1993), some scholarly reviewers seem more amenable to reason. Therefore, especially contradicting also Kratz and Müller, Ritter does not proceed from Upper German poetry as the decisive standard of evaluation for the postulated history in the core content of the Thidrekssaga. Rather, according to Ritter, the historiographical disposition of the Old Norse and Old Swedish texts must be compared with the significant contradictions to the fragmentarily provided history/historiography of North European 5th and 6th century.
Focussing on Ritter’s general conclusion on the eminent campaign and route of the Niflungs, Dietrich Hofmann, formerly Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, German and Scandinavian Studies, argues onto the main pretensions that, first, «the people of Westphalian Soest had taken outlandish legends for own historical accounts» and, second, «they had little or no knowledge of their own history»:
Die beiden Aussagen sind nun aber doch noch etwas zu modifizieren. Zum einen wird man annehmen dürfen, daß manche Menschen in Soest und anderswo über die wahre Geschichte der Stadt besser Bescheid wußten als der Erzähler der Niflungengeschichte. Schon wegen der Besitzverhältnisse müßte man wohl nicht nur beim Erzbischof in Köln, sondern auch in der Soester Geistlichkeit über den "Schlangenturm" richtiger informiert gewesen sein. Es ist aber damit zu rechnen, daß der Glaube an die Historizität der Niflungengeschichte als Soester Lokalgeschichte in der Bevölkerung weit verbreitet und stark verwurzelt war. Sonst hätte der Erzähler sich nicht so überzeugt äußern können, und diese Version hatte sich ja offenbar auch weit über Soest hinaus verbreitet. Einzelne "Intellektuelle" kamen dagegen nicht an. Die mündliche Tradition war im Mittelalter eine große Macht, weil man sie für historisch hielt und weitgehend halten mußte. Jahrhunderte –, ja jahrtausendelang hatte es überhaupt keine andere Art der Geschichtsüberlieferung gegeben, und die sich erst allmählich entwickelnde schriftliche Überlieferung war den meisten Menschen nicht zugänglich, so daß sie kaum Möglichkeiten hatten, die zur Sage gewordene mündliche Überlieferung an den historischen Fakten zu überprüfen und zu korrigieren. Deshalb treffen die oben gemachten Aussagen zur Geschichtsauffassung der Soester Bürger im 12./13. Jahrhundert nicht diese allein, sondern dürften für die Geschichtsauffassung breiter Bevölkerungsschichten im Mittelalter allgemein typisch sein.
   Durch eine weitere notwendige Modifikation der beiden Aussagen bekommt Ritter bis zu einem gewissen Grade doch noch Recht. Man muß nämlich auch die Frage stellen, wie es überhaupt dazu hatte kommen können, daß die Soester fremdes Sagengut als eigene Geschichte rezipierten. Die Existenz alter Mauerreste und eines verlassenen Turms, in dem Schlangen hausten, reicht allein sicher nicht aus, um das zu erklären. Man kommt hier nur weiter, wenn man annimmt, daß es in Soest schon vor der Rezeption der Nibelungensage alte Erzähltraditionen gegeben hatte, die man für historisch hielt, Geschichten etwa über einen mächtigen König in vorchristlicher Zeit, über schwere Kämpfe an der Westmauer der alten Stadtkernbefestigung usw. Ähnlichkeiten im Handlungsverlauf und in der Personenkonstellation könnten dazu geführt haben, daß man die Nibelungensage, die vor allem von fahrenden Sängern in der Form von Liedern in ganz Deutschland und darüber hinaus verbreitet wurde, in Soest mit Geschichten der eigenen Tradition – auch sie wohl in Liedform – identifizierte. Gleiche oder ähnliche Namen handelnder Personen konnten die Identifikation und somit die Rezeption der Nibelungensage natürlich wesentlich fördern.
   Von daher gesehen ist es keineswegs abwegig – wenn auch rein hypothetisch  –, auch den Namen
At(t)ano auf der Soester Scheibenfibel (Ende des 6. Jhs․) in die Diskussion einzubringen, wie Ritter es getan hat (S. 207ff.). In mittelniederdeutscher Zeit wäre *Attene daraus geworden, eine Namensform, die sehr wohl Anlaß zu einer Identifikation mit Attila hätte geben können  – dies übrigens eine literarisch beeinflußte Namensform, die zeigt, daß bei der Darstellung der Þidreks saga ein bißchen Gelehrsamkeit im Spiel war, die aber den Glauben an die Richtigkeit der mündlichen Tradition offenbar nicht beeinträchtigte (…) Entsprechendes wie für den Soester Teil der Niflungengeschichte gilt natürlich auch für deren in anderen Orten und Gebieten Westfalens und des Rheinlandes lokalisierte Bestandteile, über die Ritters Buch – wie schon seine vorausgegangenen Aufsätze – wichtige Erkenntnisse bringt. Natürlich konnten auch die Geschichten in den Bannkreis der Nibelungensage geraten, zu denen es keine Entsprechungen in ihr gegeben hatte, so möglicherweise eine Lokaltradition über den eingemauerten Toten im Hoh(l)en Stein von Kallenhardt im Sauerland, die auf Attila übertragen worden sein könnte.
[Transl.: However, the two statements are still to be modified a tad. On the one hand, one may assume that some people in Soest and elsewhere knew better about the true history of the city than the narrator of the Niflungs history. Because of the conditions of ownership, not only the archbishop of Cologne but also the Soest clergy ought to have been more accurately informed about the ‘snake tower’ than anybody else. It is rather to be expected that the belief in the historicity of the Niflungs history as a local history of Soest should have been widespread and strongly rooted in the people’s mind. Otherwise the narrator would not have been able to express himself so convincingly, as this version had apparently spread even far beyond Soest. Some ‘intellectuals’, on the other hand, could not argue to the contrary. The oral tradition was a great power in the Middle Ages because it was thought to be historical and largely supported. There was no other form of historical tradition since centuries – even millenniums. The gradually developed written tradition was not accessible to most of the people. Thus, they had scarcely any means of examining and correcting the oral tradition in the matter of historical facts. For this reason, the statements made above on the conception of history might not only concern the citizens of Soest in 12th/13th century, but generally the perceptive opinion of history in the broad population of the Middle Ages.
    Ritter is, to a certain extent, still right by further necessary modification of the two statements. One must also query how it could have happened at all that the Soesters had a reception of a foreign legend as their own story. The existence of remains of old walls and an abandoned tower in which snakes were living is by no means sufficient to explain this. We can only proceed on the assumption that old traditions were extant in Soest and esteemed there as historical before the reception of the Nibelungensage; for instance, stories about a mighty king in the pre-Christian era, about heavy fighting on the western wall at the old fortifications of the inner city, etc. Similarities in the course of action and the constellation of persons could have led to the fact that the Nibelungensage, spread mainly by minstrels all over Germany and beyond, was identified in Soest with stories of own tradition, presumably with ballads. Of course, identical or similar names of acting persons could significantly induce the identification and therewith the reception of the Nibelungensage.
    From this point of view it is by no means absurd, albeit purely hypothetical, to argue with the name At(t)ano on the disk fibula, dated into the end of 6th century, as Ritter has done it, see pp. 207f. In the Middle-Low-German period, the name would have developed to the form *Attene which might well have given an inducement to an identification with Attila. This, incidentally, is a literary influenced form which shows that in Þidreks saga’s presentation a portion of scholarship was involved who, however, obviously did not affect the believe in the correctness of the oral tradition (…) Of course, as regards the Soest part of the Niflungs history, comparably the same influenced constituents being localized in other places and regions of Westphalia and the Rhineland, on which Ritter’s book as well as his previous treatises provide important awarenesses. It seems clear that the stories could also have gotten into the influential circle of the Nibelungensage which, however, had no inherent correspondences such as, potentially, a local tradition about the walled-up dead in the Kallenhardt cave ‘Hohler Stein’ in the Sauerland, and which could have been transferred to Attila.]
(Dietrich Hofmann, "Attilas Schlangenturm" und der "Niflungengarten" in Soest, in: Jahrbuch des Vereins für niederdeutsche Sprachforschung, 104, 1981, pgs 31–46, see pgs 44–45..)
   Hofmann concedes that a pallatium sive turris (residence building or tower), ‘occupied by reptiles and other creatures‘, is provable to high mediaeval Soest. Regarding also its homgarðr, William J. Pfaff does reasonably argue (op. cit. 1959 p. 175) by means of Henrik Bertelsen’s source transcriptions and Ferdinand Holthausen’s Studien zur Thidrekssaga:
    A document on the authority of the archbishop of Cologne (c. 1178) relates that a ‘palace or tower‘ next to the old church of St. Peter had been full of reptiles, etc., and was then being used for charitable purposes, probably a reference to the Hohe Spital southwest of the church. There is no trace of the Nibelung name; perhaps Högnagarðr (B) and Niflungagardr were added when Hom appeared (for bom) and the obscurity had led to confusion with Holm- (II,310) for Norwegian scribes. There is, however, ample evidence that the Norwegian was not inventing these details; Holthausen (464) suggests that the Eddaic author may have taken the snake-pit motif from northern Germany.
    Challenging Ritter, Dietrich Hofmann attempted to indicate alternatively the possibility that the Soest localities, as specified by the manuscripts, had inspired a high mediaeval narrator for a pseudo-historical relocation. However, Hofmann apparently disregards that this ‘reteller’ – more likely – might have had only very little or no knowledge of the exact townscape in much former times and, therefore, had to refer to contemporary structural development for an impressing imagination of a former 6th-century ‘Franco-Saxon’ battle which, however, cannot be excluded. Furthermore, it seems less probable that the composer(s) of the Atlakviða, one of the eldest Eddaic lays of 9th/10th-century tradition, had taken its ormar garðr motif from an apparently later erected episcopal site, a pallatium sive turris, which was reported unkempt and, thereafter, noted on its restoration in 1178.
Old Centre of Soest
A plan with contour lines of the old centre by municipal registry of 1830. Hofmann refers to a corresponding reconstruction drawing by F. W. Landwehr, see p. 40. See Ritter 1981:193 who does not estimate the large building at the episcopal place of residence ‘Pfalz’ as Gunnar’s ‘snake tower’, see also pgs 199–203.

According to the manuscripts, Hǫgni had left in Soest the obvious most impressive actions, as these are his bursting through the western wall, fighting ferociously against Irung and then Thidrek, and, finally, generating a son for revenge on the patron, ‘father’ or ‘Ata’ of Soest. Since the place of Hǫgni’s ancestors has been suggested at Troyes, see
https://www.badenhausen.net/harz/ svava/svava_en.htm#Annotation_07,
we should think more complexly about the reasons why Archbishop Bruno of Cologne had the mortal remains of St. Patroclus transferred from Frankish Troyes via Cologne to Soest as its new Christian patron. This ‘installation’extended from 962 to 964.
The Old Norse scribes could have provided Iring (cf. notably Widukind of Corvey, Frutolf von Michelsberg, Annales Quedlinburgenses, De Origine Gentis Swevorum) as Irung at the court of Susat, where he appears on Grimhild’s side. Hilkert Weddige considers the possibility that ‘Iring’s Way’ or ‘Iring’s Wall’ of Soest could be geometrically derived from a circulus, a ring-formed passage or wall. Supporting his proposal, Weddige (op. cit. p. 66, 101–102) quotes an example from the Royal Frankish Annals whose user Regino has converted a fort hringum gentis Avarorum into a chieftain Avarum principe Yringo.
   Dr Heinrich ten Doornkaat Koolman, a former mayor of Soest, wrote on the obvious relicts of an elder or, relatively, the eldest known wall:
Wie in der Zeitschrift des Soester Geschichtsvereins Nr. 14 Seite 22 ff. berichtet wird, kamen 1884 bei den Ausschachtungsarbeiten für ein neues Pfarrhaus an der Ecke des Petrikirchhofes und der Hospitalgasse alte Mauerreste zum Vorschein. Gücklicherweise hat man den Fund sorgfältig aufgemessen, und eine von dem Baumeister Lange am 16.7.84 angefertigte maßstäbliche Zeichnung ist in dem Heft 14 S. 24/25 wiedergegeben.
    Danach hat eine von Norden nach Süden verlaufende, 1,80 m in die Tiefe reichende Mauer den Petrikirchhof von dem zum Hohen Hospital gehörenden Gebiet geschieden. In einer anschließenden von Osten  nach Westen verlaufenden, aus großen behauenden Quadern aufgeführten Mauer von reichlich 1 m Dicke befanden sich unter der Erdoberfläche zwei etwa 2,20 m hohe und etwa 1,80 m weite rundbogige Torbogen. Weiter befand sich ein Haufen Bauschutt untermischt mit Resten verkohlten Gebälks.
     In dem Bericht ist weiter vermerkt, diese Mauer müsse zum Hohen Hospital in Beziehung gestanden haben, wenn sie auch keineswegs einen Teil des Gebäudes gebildet habe. Dafür, daß dies nicht der Fall gewesen, spreche die völlige Verschiedenheit des Mauerwerks.
    Dies Alles deutet auf eine ältere Burganlage hin, die vor der Errichtung der merowingischen Pfalz bestanden hat.
(Heinrich ten Doornkaat Koolman, Soest die Stätte des Nibelungenunterganges?  Rochol, Soest 1937, see pgs 10–11.)

Drawings on the right are taken from the article quoted by H. ten Doornkaat Koolman.
Elder Wall of Soest
[Transl.: As reported in the magazine of the Soester Geschichtsverein, No. 14, page 22f., 1884, old fragments of the wall came to light during the excavation work for a new vicarage at the corner of the Petrikirchhof and the Hospitalgasse. Fortunately, this find was carefully measured, and a scaled plan drawn on 16 July 1884 by Mr. Lange, master builder, is reproduced in issue 14, pgs 24–25.
   According to that a wall extending from north to south, reaching a depth of 1.80 m, separated the Petrikirchhof from the area belonging to the Hohen Hospital. In an adjoining wall extending from east to west, not less than 1 m in thickness and consisting of large chiselled cuboids, two bows of arched gates, c. 2.20 m high and c. 1.80 m wide, were found under the ground. There was also a heap of building rubble mixed with the remains of charred timberwork.
   The report also notes that this wall must have been related to the Hohen Hospital, even though it was by no means a part of the building, as this might be supported well enough by the complete difference of the stonework.
     All this points to an older fortification which existed before the erection of the Merovingian Palatinate.]
Ritter supplements on this article an obvious later excavation, ‘commissioned by the Historischer Verein of Soest in 1951/1952’ as he writes, whose experts had uncovered a wall (c. 2.5 m thick) even under the foundation level of the Pfalz. Ritter summarizes that the archaeologists of this excavation found under this wall strata with remains of carbonized material and scattershot skeleton fragments and, thereupon, drew the assumptive conclusion that on this location ‘heavy combats had taken place in the early Middle Ages’. Omitting bibliographical reference to this excavation, Ritter quotes as follows from its report (1981:198):
Unter den Fundamenten (…) fanden sich unter einer gleichmäßig waagrechten, tiefschwarzen Holzkohlenschicht von 2 cm Dicke in 1,30–2,30 m Tiefe (…)
»in ihrer ganzen Stärke, besonders aber nach unten hin, wahllos zerstreut, menschliche Knochenreste, die zumeist, auch die Schädel, zertrümmert und zum Teil auch angebrannt waren. In 2,20 m Tiefe konnte noch eine 1–2 cm starke, scharf abgesetzte Holzkohlenschicht festgestellt werden, unter welcher unmittelbar wieder menschliche Schädel- und Knochenfragmente lagen. Da diese Schichten nur an der Südseite der sogenannten ›Wittekindsmauer‹ auftreten und noch weiter in die Tiefe gehen, liegen sie im Innern im Keller eines alten Bauwerks, das als Vorläufer des ›Hohen Hospitals‹ (= Veste) angesehen werden muß.«
(…) »Das ganze Auftreten dieser Schichten mit ihrem auffallenden Inhalt in den Kellern eines Bauwerks, dessen Mauern 8 Fuß = rund 2,50 m breit waren, läßt an dieser hervorragenden Stelle des alten Burgbezirks schwere Kampfhandlungen im frühen Mittelalter vermuten.«
[Transl.: Downward the foundations (…) under a deep black charcoal stratum of 2 cm thickness, running undisturbed horizontally at a depth of 1.30 to 2.30 m were found (…)
«in all of its dimension, increasingly downward, randomly scattered human bone remains and skulls which were smashed and partly burned. Further, then at a depth of 2.20 m, a sharply stepped 1 to 2 cm thick charcoal stratum was localized again with fragments of human skulls and bones. Since these strata were found only under the south side of the so-called ‹Wittekindsmauer› and lie farther in the depths, they meet the inner domain of the basement of an old structure which must be regarded as the previous building of the ‹ fortification =)› ‹Hohen Hospital›.»
 (…) «The whole appearance of these strata, with their striking contents in the basement of a building, whose walls were 8 feet or 2.50 m wide, admits to presume heavy fighting in the early Middle Ages at this eminent place related to the old fortification.»]

   26  ii. Further narrative and archaeological remarks
If the ancient morticians of Soest had intended to leave remembrances of the most impressive occurrences on this location, a narrative exploration of the reports by the Old Norse + Swedish texts would provide these complying deductions:
1. No male kingly burial chamber since Atala died in Sigurð’s treasure cave.
2. For that reason not less than two noble female burial chambers to be found side by side, because Atala married the mother of Hagen’s son Aldrian after the death of Grimhild.
3. Since Aldrian, the obvious son of Atala and Grimhild, died early by Hagen’s sword, his grave must be found close to one female burial chamber – the ‘royal’ one.
4. Regarding an important symbol for King Atala’s death, one female burial chamber, that of the concubine who shared with Hagen his deathbed, ought to contain a piece that either shows or is a key.
5. The female burial chamber of previous item should contain otherwise, or in addition, a symbol that expresses an intimate ratio for the generation of Aldrian, designated avenger whose father’s coat of arms features an uncrowned eagle.
In springtime of 1930, about a mile to the south of the old town centre of Soest, a burying place was found at an excavation work for a prospective building. The archaeological diggings and examinations of this discovery were directed by August Stieren.
    The most preciously equipped grave chambers are reckoned to Frankish burying, at least partially, and they might comply well with the aforesaid five conditions. For instance, there is a small male but distinguished burial chamber, archaeologically catalogued as a boy’s grave No. 17, between two noble female chambers (No. 106 and 105).
Plan of the Soest chamber graves Soest Chamber Graves: 1, 13, 18, 165, 170, 180 are female. Male chamber 179 is less precious for minor weapon parts of iron.
According to conclusive indication based on strontium isotope analysis, the female chamber No. 106 belonged to woman who grew up in the area of Soest. Thus, this chamber seems not to be Grimhild’s final resting place. Nonetheless, this item does correspond with two Old Norse traditions, the Atlakviða and the Atlamál, which relate that Grimhild = Guðrún survived the battle of their brothers against the Hunas at the seat of her husband Atli. According to the Atlakviða and also the later written Vǫlsunga saga, she got married a third time. However, the scribes of the Nibelungenlied maintain that Grimhild was killed by Hildebrand, but according to the Thidrekssaga and the Old Swedisch transmission she said to be slain by Dietrich himself. It therefore seems obvious that her death was made up by the authors of these traditions.
    Prof. August Stieren estimates that some of these wooden burial chambers must have belonged to a burial mound. Furthermore, prints of a wooden bench were incontestably found in the female chamber No. 105. Hence, this chamber could have been accessible for a certain period after the time of burial. As regards numismatic dating, a coin or some other burial gift could have been deposed later. Some German criticism against Ritter, levelled at the key or other grave goods of chamber No. 105 (cf. items 4–5, a picture of its amulet below), appears inconsistent, however: The key could be either a symbolic replica or the death and burial of the involved person took place after Aldrian’s revenge.

   26  iii. The Golden Almandine Fibula
This so-called garnet or Cloisonné fibula of burial chamber No. 106, a picture below, appears as the most attracting piece. The younger solidus of this chamber, found close to this fibula, is a mint of East Roman Emperor Justinian I (527–565). It displays almost no evidence of usage. The elder solidus is a worn coin of Roman Emperor Valentinian I.
    As regards the history and dating contexts of the Cloisonné fibula and its chamber No. 106, it seems less likely at the first glance that either this brooch or its youngest rune engraving should have been created in the Christian reigning periods of the Austrasian kings succeeding Theudebert I (533–547/548). Gregory of Tours remembers that (c. 525) his father Theuderic himself was already on a Christianizing mission to Cologne. As noted above, however, Suffridus Petrus relates the Frankish conquest of Soest under Dagobert I who obviously made this campaign in the last years of his father Chlotar II, whilst the Liber historiae Francorum, 41, situates at that time a course of Weser river as Franco-Saxon demarcation line. Since Theuderic consolidated Trier sustainably about 525, Cologne could have been already under the reign of a Christian governor when Theuderic’s son took over Austrasian kingdom at least one decade later. Thus, it seems less probable that the rune inscriptions on this piece were made on the left side of the Rhine after these time stamps.
    With respect to chronological specifics related to this brooch, the archaeological expert Daniel Peters, formerly at German LWL organization, deduces:
Hier sprechen Abnutzungsspuren und mehrphasige Beschriftung mit Runen für eine spätere Deponierung eines benutzten persönlichen Besitzes. (2011:151)
[Transl.: Here, wear marks and multi-phased rune engravings indicate a deposition of a used personal possession.]
Referring to the cross-type monogram on the fibula, he constates:
Dieses Runenkreuz, als eine Art Verschlüsselung oder Geheimzeichen, ist zeitnah nur in einem weiteren Fall, dem Schretzheimer Männergrab 79 der zweiten Hälfte des 6. Jhs., bekannt geworden und wurde dort anhand der Kenntnisse der Soester Inschrift entziffert. (2011:57)
[Transl.: This rune-cross-type, as a sort of encryption or secret code, is only known in another case closer to the time, that one the Schretzheim male grave No. 79 of the second half of the 6th century, which has been deciphered there by means of the knowledge about the inscription on the fibula of Soest.]
–  since:
Eine wenige Funde umfassende frühe Gruppe begegnet im nordgermanischen Gebiet bis etwa 500 n. Chr., die Soester Fibel ist dagegen einem schwerpunktmäßig in Südwestdeutschland verbreiteten Horizont von etwa 60–80 Inschriften zuzuordnen, die auf Gegenständen der relativ kurzen Zeitspanne von 530/40 bis 600/20 n. Chr. vorliegen (2011:55).
[Transl.: A small group of early finds encompasses the North German region until c. A.D. 500, while the fibula of Soest has to be assigned to a broadly circumscribed South German horizon of c. 60 to 80 inscriptions on objects of the relatively short period from A.D. c. 530/540 to 600/620.]

Max E. Martin connects the rune inscriptions on fibulas of an early Christian horizon of the Franks with the ‘beginning of Merovingian rune writing of c. 530/40’, as Theuderic’s conquests of Thuringian territories seem to indicate the geocultural context of rune usages also in more northern regions. Regarding bow fibulas with rune inscriptions, which have been found commonly in southern areas of Germany, Martin estimates that its former upper class leadership, eventually related with northern dynasties, might have played a transferring rôle. Furthermore, it seems noteworthy to remark that Volker Bierbrauer, another modern archeologist, describes a fibula of Dunningen, Black Forest, whose basic structure on its obverse is formed by five concentric circles. Thus, this piece of the Dunningen parish grave No. 17 does correspond well with the very noticeable pattern of the Soest version, albeit the inner circular area of the former is domed shaped and, therefore, may point to a younger creation of c. 600.
   As far as presently known, apart from speculative estimations based on relative visual dating, absolute physicochemical dating methodologies have not been applied to skeleton fragments and inorganic material of the aforementioned chamber graves. Regarding numismatic aspects, the youngest coin of grave 106, of Justinian I period (527–565), could have been already available for Frankish acquisition in the early 2nd half of 6th century.
Related bibliography:
Volker Bierbrauer, Alamannischer Adelsfriedhof und frühmittelalterliche Kirchenbauten von St. Martin in Dunningen, in: Heimat an der Eschach, 1986, pgs 19–40.
Max Martin, Die Runenfibenn aus Bülach Grab 249 () in: K. Stüber, A. Zürcher (Hrsg.), Festschrift f. Walter Drack (…) Zürich 1977, pgs 120–128; ibid.: Kontinentalgermanische Runeninschriften und „alamannische Runenprovinz” aus archäologischer Sicht, in: Alemannen und der Norden (…) RGA Eränzungsband (‘supplemental edition’) 43 (2004), pgs 165–212.
Daniel Peters, Das frühmittelalterliche Gräberfeld von Soest. Aschendorff 2011.
Heinz Ritter-Schaumburg, Die Nibelungen zogen nordwärts, Munich 1981, pgs 203–216.
August Stieren, Ein neuer Friedhof fränkischer Zeit aus Soest. Germania, Korrespondenzblatt der Römisch-Germanischen Kommission des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, XIV 1930. Heft 3. (Pgs 166–175.)
Medallion of grave 105
Filigree disc fibula of grave 165
Top picture on the left: The medallion (c. 10 cm in diameter) of burial chamber No. 105 which also contained an iron made key. Top picture on the right: The filigree disc fibula of grave No. 165 (c. 3.5 cm in diameter).
Both photos by the author.
Pictures below: Golden Cloisonné rune fibula of chamber No. 106 and its contour sketch from the reverse (c. 5 cm or c. 2 inches in diameter). Several rune-reading analysts read the cross-type engraving A-T-A-N-O  or  A-T-A-L-O. See also: Further information to read the fibula.
Rune fibula of grave 106 (Obverse) Rune fibula of grave 106 (reverse)
back to text

27 i.  The so-called Prologue of Thidrekssaga, evaluated by elder and newer scholarship for suggesting its transmission or content rather ‘Ostrogothic’, is not provided by its eldest manuscript. This text, an obvious assumption of an unknown author, has been critically reviewed by Frantzen (Neophilologus 1916), notably also Ritter (Reprint of German translation by F. H. von der Hagen, pgs 743–744) and Hube (op. cit. p. 410).
    Roswitha Wisniewski provides this hierarchical diagram on an interrelated connectivity of traditions related to Dietrich von Bern and the Nibelungen:
Literary stemma of Dietrich von Bern
The Upper German stem on the left represents epic tradition that detracts the Burgundian fall to the homeland of a fictive ‘Hungarian king’ called ‘Etzel’. Roswitha Wisniewski notes well that her so-called ‘Zweite Quelle’ has to be regarded as principal source of Thidrekssaga, while she regards the ‘Ältere Not’ rendering epic influences of ‘Duna crossing’, recovery at Margrave Rodingeir’s ‘Bakalar’ (MHG: ‘Markgraf Rüdiger’s Bechelaren’) and the arrival of the Niflungs at the residence of King Atala. We may also consider the ‘Ältere Not’ which may have originally introduced the Nibelungen character ‘Giselher’. He seems to be taken as ‘Gislahar(ius)’ from the ‘Lex Burgundionum’, apparently an interfigural character in order to boost the Old Norse Gunnar with an ‘accompanying actor’; notably Léon Polak and Roswitha Wisniewski. As the texts relate, he defeated Rodingeir who may also represent an interpolative figure. His German noble title ‘Markgraf’ has been ascribed to the era of Charlemagne.
Hilkert Weddige (Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Institut f. Deutsche Philologie, em.) notes generally on Roswitha Wisniewski’s narrative stemma:
Angesichts dieser Symbiose von mündlichen und schriftlichen, von ober- und niederdeutschen, von altnordischen und lateinischen Quellen in ungebundener und gebundener Rede wird man mehr noch als beim Nibelungenlied dazu übergehen müssen, die Thidrekssaga in ihrem »Sosein« synchronisch zu erfassen. Gleichwohl ist es Roswitha Wisniewski zu einem guten Teil gelungen, die Kontaminationen in der Darstellung des Niflungenunterganges zu entwirren:
    Sie erschließt für die Saga im genauen Vergleich mit dem Nibelungenlied konkrete Züge eines »zweiten« Quellenbereichs neben der Älteren Not. In jenem scheinen niederdeutsche Dietrich-Dichtung und eine Historia Dietrichs von Bern, die womöglich im Kloster Wedinghausen aufgeschrieben und mit Soester und westfälischen Lokalisationen versetzt wurde, zusammenfließen. Die Methode, nach Dopplungen zu suchen, deren Ergiebigkeit Bumke für die Vorlagen-Rekonstruktion der Brünhildfabel demonstriert hat, wird hier allerdings gelegentlich überstrapaziert, weil jede Dopplung systematisch auf zwei Vorlagen, nämlich auf die Ältere Not und jene zweite Quelle zurückgeführt wird
Hilkert Weddige, Heldensage und Stammessage (op. cit.) p. 112f.
[Transl.: In view of this symbiosis of oral and written sources, from Upper and Low German, Old Norse and Latin sources in prose and verse, one will have to go beyond the Nibelungenlied to synchronizing the Thidrekssaga for its «being so». Nevertheless, Roswitha Wisniewski succeeded to a great extent in unravelling the contamination in the presentation of the Niflungenuntergang:
     In close comparison with the Nibelungenlied, alongside the ‘Ältere Not’, she extrapolates concrete features of a «second» source account. In the latter seem to conflate a Low German Dietrich poetry and a Historia of Dietrich von Bern which may have been written down in Wedinghausen monastery and set up in a transferring manner with locations of Soest and Westphalia. The method of searching for duplicates, the yielding that Bumke has demonstrated for the original reconstruction of the Brünhildfabel’s source is, however, occasionally overstretched here, because each doubling is systematically recurring to two source based templates, namely the ‘Ältere Not’ and that second source.]
Clearing the authoress of the latter argument, there is however no sufficient literary indication that, first, we must actually refer to more than the two basic sources, conceivable rather as two complex source cycles she has been dealing with, and, second, the so-called Zweite Quelle (= second source) of the Thidrekssaga would not predominantly reflect basic historical accounts of Migration Period.
    Regarding the generic ‘process operative’ of compiling and interpolating by different sources of apparently different gender, as a result seemingly provided by the Thidrekssaga, Roswitha Wisniewski (op. cit. 1961, pgs 1–22) introductorily summarizes the suggestions made by B. Döring (1870), Hermann Paul (1900), Waldemar Haupt (1914), Andreas Heusler (1914, 1920, 1955), Friedrich Panzer (1945, 1948, 1950, 1953, 1955), Dietrich von Kralik (1941) as essentially inadequate, apart from more critical but still doubtful reappraisals by August Raßmann (1877 against Haupt), Karl Droege (1909, 1921–1934 against Heusler), Heinrich Hempel (1926, 1952), Gerhart Lohse (1955), Gustav Neckel (1927), and the developable, but amongst themselves still more or less contradicting approaches made by Adolf Holtzmann (1854), Hugo Busch (1882), Wilhelm Wilmanns (1903, in common with the review by Joseph Seemüller in A.f.d.A.30), Richard Constant Boer (1906, 1907, 1909), Léon Polak (1913, 1917).
    Roswitha Wisniewski reminds us on the subject of literary composition of heroic transmissions by chronicles and historiae which James Westfall has reworded as fundamental characteristics of both narrative forms:
The medieval Chronicle was neither a mere table of dates nor the representation of a time; it was a detailed arrangement of events in the order of time. The medieval History was neither a generic term encluding all classes of materials nor the simple narration of a spectator. Whether according to its earliest use, it may have been an exposition of the results of research, or of the process of research itself, it was now understood to mean an exhibition of events in their deeper relations of cause and effect, in their moral and political bearings, and in an approach to a dramatic or pictorial form. The history was a work of art, the chronicle a faithful narration of acts and an orderly arrangement of dates. 

Dietrich von Bern: Survey 'Nordic manuscripts'
Progressive survey of Old Norse ‘Membrane’ (A), Swedish (B ), and Icelandic (C) manuscripts; cf. Rolf Badenhausen 2007 referring to Kay Busch, Grossmachtstatus & Sagainterpretation. Doctoral thesis, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg 2002. As regards Peringskiöld’s own bibliography, however, he did not consider B- and/or C-branch to  complete the A-manuscript for his edition of 1715.

Hermann Reichert (op. cit.) convincingly underlines that the immediate prior source serving for the A-B-C manuscript branches cannot be oral tradition. Regarding the results and conclusions by Reichert’s diligent analysis of the A-B-C manuscript family, we are certainly allowed to replace the hierarchical placeholder Narrative Account «Dietrich von Bern» with a paper manuscript called ‘Großwerk’ or ‘*Th’ by Reichert. His analysis generally deals with substance and philological place value of phrasemes, theoretical aspects of phraseological research and, consequently, practical application. Regarding some outstanding passage in the MSS, Reichert has been able to show mainly by comprehensive synoptical recognitions of the A-B-C texts that the Icelandic + Swedish MSS are more related to each other than the elder Membrane (Perg. fol. nr 4) to both younger texts of the C-branch.
  27 ii.  The author’s article Wadhincúsan, monasterium Ludewici introduces special referential phrases in the manuscripts of the Thidrekssaga that apparently point to a predecessive Low German author of rather a ‘Großwerk’. For example, just compare the severe humiliations of the queens Erka and Brynhild: Completely disappointed by the refusal and departure of her beloved cousin Thidrek, Erka tears her dress (Mb 302), as does Brynhild (Mb 344) in utter despair at the disgrace which Sigurð and Grimhild have caused her. See also these items:
‘ex turris’ – From the Tower
This peculiar characteristic setup, emphasizing scenically the appearances of kings and heroes on a tower, does widely recur in the texts of the Thidrekssaga:
    Regarding the Gransport campaign, King Atala turns from a Susat tower to his people (Mb 321, Sv 271), while King Ermenrik was standing in one of the highest towers of his Romaburg to encourage his subjects against the threat of Thidrek (Mb 324, Sv 274 without comparative form). We may also consider Samson at Mb 2 who appears on the highest tower of a fort to woo for a jarl’s daughter (cf. Sv 1 without comparative form). In Mb 78 and Sv 74 Weland lands with his flying machine on the highest tower of King Nidung’s castle. According to Mb 265 King Salomon goes to a tower to meet the imprisoned Jarl Iron. In an account of the Niflungs fighting at Susat, see Mb 380 and Sv 324, Atala stands on a towered building (‘kastala’) to spur his subjects against the warriors of Gunnar, Hǫgni and their younger brothers, while Grimhild was expecting their arrival also on a tower of Susat castle (Mb 372). The author of Atala’s campaign against the eastern ruler Valldemar exposes Thidrek of Bern in the highest tower in the residence of his host, see Mb 293 and Sv 248. According to the Old Icelandic texts, he appears as a statue on a tower of his Bern residence (Mb 414).
    Furthermore, already in addition to Grimhild’s appearance on the arrival of her brothers in Susat, we may also come across female expectations of heroes on a tower. In Mb 101 and Sv 102 Drusian’s widow went to a tower of her castle in order to see the arrival of her fiancée. In a passage dealing with the eastern war between Atala and Valldemar, see Mb 303 and Sv 257, a jarl’s daughter was also in the tower of a Wilzian castle where she recognized Valldemar’s son and then Thidrek of Bern. In Mb 420 Queen Isollde waits in vain for the arrival of her husband Hertnit in the highest tower of the royal castle, cf. Sv 362 without comparative form.
Gold ring donations
There are obviously more textsymptomatic turns of narrational emphases that suggest a monographic work – written by one author – as the source of the Thidrekssaga. For example, we apparently have to consider gold ring gifts serving for scenical accentuation:
    At Mb 51 Erka, daughter of King Osantrix, hands over a gold ring to Margrave Rodinger, bride wooer on behalf of King Atala, in support of her commitment (cf. Sv 46). At Mb 81 and Sv 78 Widga receives a gold ring when saying goodbye to his parents, which he gives away to Hildebrand in Mb 91 and Sv 92. Likewise, Þettleifr receives a gold ring from his mother in Mb 117 and Sv 118. Mb 122 relates that he gave away a gold ring to a helpful stranger on his route to King Thidrek; then Mb 125–126 and Sv 125 recall that he gave the gold ring he had received from his mother to Isung the master minstrel. Already in Mb 107 (cf. Sv 111 without the name of the castle owner) Thidrek received a gold ring from the nobleman Loðvigr, lord of Burg Altenfels. Apollonius receives from his sister-in-law a magical gold ring that he devotes to King Salomon’s daughter Herborg, see Mb 246–247. At Mb 251 Apollonius' brother Iron exchanges his garment for the dress and headscarf of a woman who gains a gold ring for this deal. Only a little time later, in Mb 269, he gives the gold ring, that his brother had put on a finger of Herborg, to Duke Ake’s wife Bolfriana. At Mb 340 and Sv 290 Hildebrand receives from the dying Queen Erka her most beautiful gold ring. At Duna Crossing, on the route of the Niflungen to Susat, Hǫgni rewards the ferryman with a gold ring (Mb 365, Sv 309). Thereafter Hǫgni donates either this or another gold ring to a sentinel of Margrave Rodinger (Mb 367, Sv 311). In Mb 387 and Sv 332 Grimhild decorates the helmet of her devoted fighter Irung with two gold rings. At Mb 404 and Sv 348 Hildebrand rewards a servant of Duke Lodvigur (‘Lodvik’) with a gold ring. A short time later, in Mb 411 and Sv 354, King Thidrek receives a gold ring from Hildebrand’s son Alebrand. And, understandably, it was the finest gold ring that King Nidung’s daughter had broken and was to be repaired by Velent, see Mb 74 and Sv 73. It seems superfluous to mention the ‘corpus delicti’ of Sigurð’s and Brynhild’s common night on the castle of the Niflungen, cf. Mb 229, Mb 343, Sv 292.
    We can further supplement that Widga notes in Mb 132 and Sv 131 a valuable thick gold ring around Vildifer’s arm in the accounts on the unification of Thidrek’s heroic circle. It may seem noteworthy that the reports on the eastern wars, as waged by King Atala and Thidrek, do not mention a gold ring or a similar piece of jewellery. However, there are certain recursive narrative references in these reports on the eastern wars, for instance from Mb 303 to Mb 278 (Sv 257 to Sv 231) on the death of Ermenrik’s son Fridrek. As another example, cf. Atala’s campaign against Osantrix, the origin of Vildifer’s beary dress has been allocated to the woodland Lyravald/Luruvalld, the region which encompasses the Westphalian monastery Wedinghausen.
‘conversio in pretium – Goldmark’
Text-critical explorations of the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts have already noticed currency units pointing to German tradition.
    The pedantic listings of costs and pawn sums of marka gulls and peninga (Old German Pfenninge) in Mb 125 and Sv 124 speaks against oral tradition as the source of the Old Norwegian texts. See also this Old German Goldmark currency already in Mb 58–59 (cf. Sv 57–58), dealing with Vaði and Velent at Balve; Mb 81 and Sv 78, where Widga leaves for Thidrek; Mb 117, 121 and Sv 118, where Þettleifr receives spending money for his trip to Thidrek; Mb/Sv 127, where he doubles his total pawn debt of 30 Goldmarks in the hearing before King Ermenrik; Mb 340 and Sv 290, where Thidrek receives 15 Goldmarks from the dying Queen Erka.
    In common with other textsymptomatic conspicuousnesses, this narrational feature may also indicate the re-classification of the Thidrekssaga into the Old Norse translation literature based on a ‘Großwerk’. Thus, with respect to its coherency, it seems unlikely that all accounts with this Old German based currency were based on own creativity of the diverse redactors of the eldest extant manuscript. Much more speculative, on the other hand, could be a subtle-ironic allusion of the most likely primordial German author by equating those ‘twelve Pfennigs’ in Mb 125 with the number of Thidrek’s heroes.
Heimir at Wadhincúsan monastery
The Old Norse + Swedish texts, see Mb 434 and Sv 378, leave no doubt that the author of this episode, whom Roswitha Wisniewski recognizes rather at this Westphalian monastery on Ruhr river, nonetheless already knows of some other accounts across the Thidrek saga because of this dialogue between Heimir and Thidrek at the monastery:
Mb 434
…King Thidrek turned toward the man and thought he recognized Heimir, his good comrade, and he spoke: "Brother, we have seen many great snows since we parted good friends, and so we shall meet again. You are Heimir, my good friend."
    The monk answered: "The Heimir you seek, I never knew him, and I never saw him, and I never became your vassal as long as I have lived."
    The king replied: "Brother, do you remember how our horses drank so much in Frisia that they lowered the water level?"
    Heimir answered: "I cannot remember that I have ever watered horses with you because I have never seen you before that I can remember."
    King Thidrek spoke: "If you do not wish to recognize me, then you will still remember the day I was driven out of my kingdom and you accompanied me, and then when you returned to King Erminrek, he drove you away as an outlaw. You will certainly remember that, even though you claim that you have never seen me."
    Heimir answered: "I cannot remember what you have said now. I have heard King Thidrek of Bern mentioned as well as King Erminrek of Rome, but I know nothing more of them."
"Brother," said King Thidrek, "many snows have fallen since we saw each other. You should be able to remember about when we rode to a feast in Rome, when we found Earl Iron before the gates with his great wound, and remember his hawks, how they cried out over him when he was dead; and his dogs, how they whined over him, and his horse neighed and how all of his men loved him so much that they did not want to part from him."
    Heimir said: "I do not remember that I was at the place where Earl Iron fell."
    King Thidrek replied: "Since then have fallen many snows, and now you should remember how we came to Rome to King Erminrek and how our horses neighed and stood in the noblest fashion. We had then hair colored like gold and curled fairly. We are both now gray as doves, both you and I. All of your clothing is colored like mine. Do you remember now, friend, what I am reminding you of, and do not make me stand any longer before you.“
   Heimir laughed and spoke: "Good Sir, King Thidrek, now I remember everything you have been reminding me of

[Translation by Edward R. Haymes]
On the one hand, of course, one may claim the possibility that this dialogue could have been created in either Norway or Iceland, or even by a redactor from the workgroup of the fragmentary ‘Stockholm manuscript’ (= Membrane). But on the other, a Low German author could have intended to leave this passage as his signature of rather a Großwerk author. But why should a Norwegian or an Icelandic scribe recall some accounts previously given by his colleagues? Moreover, if the former case were right, we then may also wonder where he found all the other structural and local details for not only the Wadhincúsan Episode but also Thidrek’s fight against an huge animal in the Osning. Nonetheless, it seems obvious that the supplemental creation of the dialogue between Heimir and his king could be chosen as the only smart way for the monastic scribe to present himself humbly and obscurely as the author of the complete work. Besides, as already annotated above at endnote 23 i (Nordic Giants, 2nd para.), it is noticeable that even the narrative mountain forest called (e.g.) Lur(n)valld, which surrounds the Westphalian monastery, was not translated to an ending form with -holt, -mǫrk, -skógr, -viðr.
    The MHG Wolfdietrich versions seem not to contribute to the reception motives of the Wadhincúsan Episode. Although Wolfdietrich does also retire to a monastery, where he finds a redemptive death after repeated visits by the devil (A), his campaign aided by the monks against the pagan ruler Tarias, who had threatened the monastery (D only), contradicts Mb 435 (Icel. MS A) according to which Thidrek is said to have robbed and burnt down the monastery of Wadhincúsan.
A further estimation of Low German authorship
On the route from the Osning back to Bern Thidrek meets a greive Loðvigr on Aldinfils castle, cf. the map of Thidrek’s Osning route. Together with the monastic installment of Heimir/Heym as Lodvigur at Wadhincúsan/Wedinghusan, the stopover episode in Mb 107 and Sv 111 seems to point again to the authorship of the Wedinghusian scribe. By means of Johann S. Seibertz’ Urkundenbuch zur Landes- und Rechtsgeschichte des Herzogthums Westfalen (op. cit. pgs 193–194), the Aldinfils castle towers well over the home region of the clerical scribe’s close relatives: As certified in 1217, the brothers Ludewici ‘fratris nostri sacerdotis’, Henricus and Lambertus de stenhus (Steinhausen) were owners a farmstead with a piece of land in Thidericheshusen, a location called later Wermarsegen, and transferred this estate to the Cistercian monastery of Bredelar. Incidentally, their brother Hartmodus (‘Hartmud’) von Steinhausen was at that time recorded  provost at Wedinghausen. Seibertz comments this certification, as being placed ahead of the account he quotes from the copied records of this monastery:
1217. bekunden Graf  Gottfried II. v. Arnsberg und  Hartmodus Probst zu Wedinghausen, wie die Brüder des Letzten,  Ludwig Priester  Heinrich und  Lambert von  Stenhus eine Hofstelle mit 15 Morgen Land in  Thidericheshusen, dem Kloster  Bredelar geschenkt haben, welches ihnen dafür in einer Gefahr Leibes und der Seele, Fraternität und ein Klosterbegräbnis bewilligt hatte.
Nach einem Copiarium des Klosters Bredelar.
Godefridus dei gratia Comes Arnesburgensis vniuersis fidei cultoribus ad quos presens scriptum peruenerit salutem et veritatem diligere. Notum esse volumus tam presentibus quam futuris quod dominus Heinricus et frater suus Lambertus de Stenhus diuina admonicione inspirati, pro remedio animarum suarum Quindecim iugera cum area de proprietatibus suis in Thidericheshusen que vocantur Wermarsegen contulerunt ecclesie in Breidlar, et dominus Thetmarus Abbas Totusque Conuentus iam dicte ecclesie, eis conpacientes, cum vita et anima periclitarent, pro multa dilectione et deuotione fraternitatem et sepulturam eis concesserunt. Nos vero beniuole hiis consencientes quicquid iure dominii nostri inde cedit totaliter iam dicte ecclesie libenti animo conferrimus Et ut hec rata maneant et inconuulsa, hoc scriptum sigillo nostro signauimus. Hartmodus dei gratia prepositus in Wedinghusen. Omnibus hoc scriptum inspicientibus salutem et orationes in domino vniuersitati vestre significamus et secundum meram veritatem testamur sicut ex relatione fratris nostri Ludewici sacerdotis audiuimus quod ipse cum fratribus suis Heinrico et Lamberto Quindecim iugera in Thiderikeshusen que vocantur Wermarsegen et proprie possederunt, ecclesie in Breidelar libere contulerunt verum quoque hanc collationem eidem ecclesie dominus Godefridus Comes Arnesbergensis priuilegio suo roborauit. Rogamus obnixe ut iam dictam ecclesiam in percipiendis illis agris omnimodis promouere curetis Acta sunt hec Anno gratie M° CC° XVII° Indictione quinta.
In Service of the Crown.
Heraldic crest of the ministerial seat Diederikeshausen or Thiderikeshusen
at Büren. Source:
Max von Spießen, Wappenbuch des Westfälischen Adels.Publisher: C.A. Starke, 1901–1903.
Thiderikeshusen on the foot of the Muchtsberg. Photo by the author.
CAM GPS 51.5795, 8.5446
The supplementary colourization of the heraldic crest on the left was
guided by the predominant colours of Ludowicus'  biblical drawings.
It could be argued that the identity of the ‘fratris nostri Ludewici sacerdotis’ with the equally named clergyman and scribe of Wedinghausen Monastery seems not clearly proven therewith. But the context in question points to a very significant blood-brotherly and monastic relationship with the provost of Wedinghausen.
    The Aldinfils (Altenfels, a mediaeval ‘twincastle’, Icel. MS B: Alldinfils) belonged to the property of Siegfried of Boyneburg IV († 1144). According to allodial registries and other mediaeval certifications, he was feudal lord of estates i.a. in Thiderikeshusen. As concerns the family circumstances and the literary context related to Ludewicus, there is little doubt that Aldenfils castle appears as a regional witness of personal matters between Thiderikeshusen and Bredelar Monastery. Or in other words: The writer of Mb 107 and Sv 111 did not have to think twice about the place where he, as a castle owner in this stopover story, could get over the transfer of the estate of his brothers.
    May we expect a further meeting of a ‘Lodver’ or ‘Lodvigur’ with Thidrek again at a stopover site if the king of Bern would return once more from the Lur(u)vald (Lurnvald) to his residence on the other side of the Rhine? Indeed, we have to forecast this for Thidrek’s and Hildebrand’s return to Bern from Susat, their place of exile for many years. Thus, the participation of a correspondingly spelled duke (hertugi(nn)/jarl) Lodovigur in Mb 405 (see contextually Mb 403–411, see Bertelsen op. cit. pgs II, 3464,9,16, 3471, 3541) and Sv 347–354 may underline now a further ‘authorgraph’ left by the monastic scribe Ludewicus of Wedinghausen. It seems worth to remark here that the noble titles greive/greife and hertugi are based not on Old Norse/Icelandic but German language (Graf, Herzog). The Old Swedish texts claim Lodowik’s castle in Humlungaland (that has been equated with Amlungaland), while the scribes of the Icelandic manuscripts determine his castle at or in the Mundia, as preferred also by the translator Fine Erichsen. Ritter proposes Lodvigur’s seat in its southern part which may include the Middle Rhenish region of both Siegburg and the property related to the ancestry of Hildebrand, see Dietrich von Bern, p. 254.
    Another subtle allusion by the author of this episode seems to be connected with the name of Lodvigur’s son Konrádur: According to the Upper German transmission Nibelungenklage, a scribe called ‘Master Konrad’ wrote the text of an obvious potential but still missing archaic Latin version of the Nibelungenlied on behalf of the Passauian Bishop Pil(i)grim. The involvement of this Lodvigur and his son in Hildebrand’s genealogy may thus be ‘purely fictitious’ at the first glance. However, it must remain open whether the scribe Ludewicus of Wedinghausen could have had an ancestral line at Wenden but not Venice and, furthermore, could have named a potential son after a South German writer.
    27   iii.  Apart from the accounts on Thidrek’s trip to Bergara, and the deaths of Heimir and those of the last fights of Widga and Thidrek (Sv 384–385), which all seem less historical, the monastic installment dealing with Heimir at Wedinghausen is missing in Johan Peringskiöld’s trilingual manuscript edition as being released in 1715 – after all, he was the leading bibliographer of the Swedish kingdom at this time. However, it may be surprising that the Wedinghausen narrative provide the elder Icelandic manuscripts of the Arnamagnæan collection, which are AM 177 fol. (= manuscript B, late 17th century, in the Codex Austfjarðabók or Eiðagás) and AM 178 fol. (= manuscript A, mid 17th century, in the Codex Broeðratungubók).
    Since the Old Swedish manuscripts, dated from the end of 15th till the beginning of 16th century, already deliver the monastic installment of Lodwik at Wadhinkusan (with a lacuna from Sv 372 to 374), there must have been at least one unknown and missing transmission serving as the source for the editors who presumably were working at Vadstena Abbey ‘of Our Lady and of St. Bridget’. Furthermore, as regards the intertextual research by Hermann Reichert (op. cit.), this source must have had more in common with both Icelandic MSS than the Stockholm MS.
    Susanne Kramarz-Bein points out synoptically the basic differences between the redactions written by the Membrane scribes Mb2 and Mb3 (who re-edited the former) and the writers of the Icelandic manuscripts A and B of the C-branch in her postdoctoral thesis Die Thidrekssaga im Kontext der altnordischen Literatur. As she annotates, she follows the analysis by Thomas Klein who graphically provides this special narrative relationship in his article Zur Thidrekssaga, in: Heinrich Beck (Hrsg.), Arbeiten zur Skandinavistik. 6. Arbeitstagung der Skandinavisten des Deutschen Sprachgebietes, 26.9.–1.10.1983 in Bonn. Frankfurt a.M./Bern/New York (= Texte und Untersuchungen zur Germanistik und Skandinavistik, vol. 11); pgs 487–565, see pgs 516–517.

   27  iv.  Some general remarks with respect to the Old Swedish manuscripts

The treatise which Ritter has appended as epilogue to his translation of the Old Swedish manuscripts provides strong indication that the ‘chronicle Didrik af Bern’ cannot be a mere translation from Thidrekssaga. As Ritter points out in his book Die Nibelungen zogen nordwärts, the Old Swedish ‘Haghen’ cannot be taken directly from a Old Norse source that spells ‘Hǫgni’, while ‘Goroholth’ may not represent a translated ‘Gernoz’, ‘Gislher’ not result in ‘Gyntar’ (!). Regarding the original source context of/for the Old Swedish scribes, the lingual pattern shining through their work shows rather more Danish than Norwegian influence, as Ritter cites Bengt Henning who underlines that the so-called ‘Norvagism’ are playing almost no rôle against the ‘Danism’ of remarkable frequentness. Henning nonetheless votes for the Old Norse-Norwegian manuscripts as the source of the Old Swedish scribes, whereas Ritter would not follow this estimation.
    Regarding both a Thidrekssaga manuscript, brought early enough to the Östergotlandish Monasterium sanctarum Mariæ Virgìnis et Brigidæ at Vadstena, and, apparently, a further important source of the Old Swedish redactions which are so consequently dealing with both ‘Gyntar’ and ‘Gunnar’ through all chapters, it seems less likely that this special bifigural configuration could be based on an unintentional permutational action by the Old Swedish scribes; cf. Ritter who contradicts some arbitrary assumption on this subject. As already placed at the disposal, the Old Swedish scribes might have been either actively reorganizing or fairly reproducing an historiographical (con)text that does not deal with any factual appearance of the two younger Nibelungenlied brothers of Burgundia. Interestingly, however, Ritter has not sufficiently discussed this item which might appear to some philologists as subtle emendation by the Old Swedish scribes.
    Thus, we may be obliged to postulate a significant source reference which the Old Swedish scribes have been forwarding besides the texts written by the Old Norse redactors. Not without reason, Roswitha Wisniewski starts her postdoctoral thesis with the approach that the basic source of the Old Norse manuscripts came rather as a comprehensive work from Low Germany, as she reasonably suggests a ‘chronicler’ at Wedinghausen monastery near Soest; cf. the author’s supplementary article Wadhincúsan, monasterium Ludewici.
    Regarding missing and unequal narrative elements in the Old Norse texts, apart from the aforementioned interfigural divergence related to the Niflungs, it seems evident in case of some synoptical item that the Old Swedish scribes added some minor but not major detail which, incidentally, could be found also in the Nibelungenlied with its significant anachronistic composition of history. For instance, they knew of a lønnaløff (maple leaf) that has been causing the vulnerability of the hero (Sv 158), while the Nibelungenlied rhymes with a linden leaf. However, neither the former nor the latter was regarded as an important narrative detail by the editors of the Old Norse and Icelandic manuscripts.
    Since these and the Swedish texts a