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

Date: 2017-01-20
| Update History |


The original narrative geography
King Theuderic I = King Þiðrek of Bern
Some literary and historical environments
       Theuderic's disappearance after 507
       Some receptions
Lower Saxon Historiography and the 'Annals'
How reliable is Gregory of Tours ?
Theuderic I or Þiðrek of Bern: »King of Bonn«
Which are the dynasties of the eastern Franks of 5th century ?
King Sigebert of Cologne = King Sigurð the Nibelung ?
       Ermenrik and Samson
       Weland and Widga
       Atala of Susat and a perspective survey
       Some other identifying connection
Early activities in Baltic lands and Western Russia
        Remarks on 'Historicity' of 'Vilkinaland' and other Baltic lands
            Ostancia, queen of 'Vilkinaland', Baltic Sea Region
       General conformity of contemporary residential regions
       Common geostrategical ambitions
       Dénouements on literary genre
A1   Remarks on the evaluation of Þiðreks saga manuscripts
A2   Edward R. Haymes' translation: The Saga of Thidrek of Bern
A3   Appended documents

The revising 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 Þiðreks saga 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 5th6th- century period have been briefly regarded by Gregory of Tours, Fredegar’s Chronicle and the so-called 'Chronicle of Frankish Kings'.

'Svava' translation cover
Contradicting scholastic conviction, Ritter has evaluated the mediaeval Old Swedish texts he shortly called Svava, catalogued as Skokloster-Codex-I/115&116 quarto, E 9013 at the 'Riksarkivet' Stockholm, as more objective copy from an early but unknown archaic manuscript being prior to the more longwinded narrating Þiðreks saga which, however, is of surviving elder version and sometimes rendering more topographical information.(1) As the late expert was able to prove by means of his numerous German publications and lectures, these manuscripts cannot mean the 'Ostrogothic Theoderic' mainly for topographical 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-Eiffel outland.(2)
Heinz Ritter’s basic reference for his translation is SAGAN OM DIDRIK AF BERN efter svenska handskrifter by Gunnar Olof Hyltén-Cavallius, Stockholm 1850–1854. Publisher in German language: Otto Reichl Verlag, St. Goar, Germany. Regarding the literary style of these 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).

Regarding a circumspect re-evaluation of the aforementioned manuscripts and other records of occidental antiquity, we 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 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.

The original narrative geography
Heinz Ritter’s primal geographical terminology of Þiðreks saga and Old Swedish 'Didriks chronicle' represents an interesting result of his diligent verification of intertextual location and river names. With respect to the environment and localization of Bern, the 1st Century Roman Eiffel 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 adjacent Breinig was not handed down, its current spelling could be based on derivation from e.g. Varneniacum → Bareniacum → Bereniacum.
Some important locations of Didriks chronicle and Þiðreks saga
Some important locations of 'Didriks chronicle' and Þiðreks saga, cf. the Geographical and Ethnic Glossary of Thidrek Saga and the Old Swedish manuscripts. 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 Þiðrek aus dem Milieu des ostgotischen Theoderich – strategical claims and allegations for setting up a non-negligible 'Ostrogothic Theoderic milieu' for Þiðrek –, in particular created by elder German scholarship and vastly colported by modern philologists, there is, for example, no passage in the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts which connects their protagonists 'Þiðrek' and 'Ermenrik' with the 'gens Amalorum', as these texts do refer to this German Eiffel folk in nothing more than geographical context. As regards Dietrich’s follower 'Amlung', son of 'Hornboge', Ritter introduces Þiðrek’s follower 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 'Confluentes', 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; cf. 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 Þiðreks saga may refer to geographical names 'formerly known as' or, instead, 'recently known as'. Some geonyms of these 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, cf. William J. Pfaff 1959, pgs 38–39. The 'Örlunga' or 'Harlungen' region includes the former Roman BRISIACUM which is in current German spelling (Bad) Breisig.
Regarding 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'.

Since Heinz Ritter has thoroughly translated the Old Swedish Didriks chronicle into German language and reviewed the Þiðreks saga manuscripts, the regions of today’s North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Lower Saxony, Jutland and western Baltic territories appear as the authentic locations focused by antique and mediaeval historiographers who enticingly forwarded lifetime events related to a king of obvious Franco-Rhenish descent.
Ancient Seal of Trier - 'Roma secunda'
An ancient seal of Trier on the Moselle, 11th century.

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(5) through both historical and geostrategical contexts. However, we should not expect a detailed recitation of the Merovingian bloodline from Þiðrek’s 'biographers' who certainly were not crossing the Meuse westwards, 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 Þiðreks saga.
Porta Nigra, Trier on the Moselle - 'Roma secunda'
Porta Nigra, Trier on the Moselle - 'Roma secunda'
Imperial Bathes of Roman Empire and Frankish Kingdom, Trier on the Moselle - 'Roma secunda'
Imperial Bathes 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 Roman 'Imperial Bathes' 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.)

King Theuderic I = King Þiðrek of Bern
High Resolution Image
MS page of Old Swedish transmission
A colourized page of Þiðreks saga. Perg.fol.nr.4. Cf. Mb 150 & 170; 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 or the Svava and its derived epic novel Thidreks saga, as Ritter prefers this literary classification (cf. 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 '&' Þiðrek.

It has been considered that

 –  Þiðrek, 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 an original cycle of (Franco-)Rhenish tradition centered around Bonn = Verona (notably Franz Joseph Mone 1836) which, as these scholars do generally combine, thereafter was assimilated by receiving authors of southern Dietrich von Bern epics. (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 Theuderic of the Frankish kingdom as the prototype serving for Dietrich epics, estimating [transl.] 'Theuderic utterly dragged into the cycle of the Gothic Dietrich saga' (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 Þiðrek = 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 supporting their opinion.(6)

We must state deficient biographical information about that young Theuderic before 507 and, again, c. 523. 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 (seemingly?) 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 King 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 (primordially rather 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 must think of great possibility 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 part of eastern Frankish territory: Bern, apparently localized in the region covering German towns Aachen and Bonn, was an excellent geographical point of that area, good or the best place for Theuderic 'and' Þiðrek to start any 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. Bern was the eminent place for the young Theuderic to observe Franco-Rhenish residence of Cologne and same good location for King Þiðrek 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 most popular derivation of a more likely genuine Atala bearing the diminutive form of the (Proto-)Indo-European Ata = father. He is spelled 'Aktilius' or 'Atilius' in the Old Swedish manuscripts, and also 'Attala' in Icelandic MS B.
However, referring again to both questions above, we are leaving at this point Gregory’s Frankish horizon of recitation for real barbaric outland.

Some literary and historical environments


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

It seems not unproblematic to chronologize this campaign. The writers of the Old Norse + Swedish texts connect the age of Þiðrek’s brother Þetmar ('Thetmar'), aged '20 years' at that time, with the interim period of exile. However, it appears less believable that Þiðrek 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 Þiðrek’s expulsion, are making this span unbelievable (see farther below), the more or less questionable age of his alleged brother might have inspired the prime narrator to enlarge Þiðrek’s interim period of exile on a grand scale.

Map of Koblenz, 1806
The 'Gänsefü(h)rtchen', diminutive form of 'Gänse-furt', is 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) indicates the obvious real 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

                                          More literary items of interest:

Þiðrek’s ancestor Samson started his expansive politics from the same area as Childeric I: north-eastern Gaul. Samson’s region included also 'Appolij' (not Apulia!), nowadays the Dutch Peel north of the Hesbaye which is neither southern 'Hispania' nor Spain (!), as the authors of the Old Swedish and Norse texts certainly provide Hispania between the western foreland of the Eiffel and the northern fringe of the 'silva carbonaria', a woodland frequently mentioned in Roman and Frankish historiography. Samson was written down of 'Salerni', which seems to express corresponding relation to the Salian Franks and, historically, certain delicate affairs in their obvious 5th-century region being ascribed also to Childeric’s activities. As the writers of the Svava and Þiðreks saga relate in their early chapters, he seduced the daughter of a local ruler and went with her into an interim refuge for that reason. They 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, might 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-Eiffel lands. There he had impudently demanded 12 free-born virgins, daughter 'Odilia' of the Bern ruler, and some other tributes from him.
Samson, accompanied by his son and successor Ermenrik, died on his martial way to Roma II.

Considering the years 470 to 480 of Ritter’s timeline, Ermenrik was capturing Roma II at the same time when the Franks were conquering Trier on the Moselle (c. 480).

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 Roman governor of Gaul. Only a short time before and after this event Ermenrik called in his kinsmen, chieftains, 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, in greater detail Mb 123–124.
II: Sv 227, Mb 269.
Cf. HISTORIA WILKINENSIUM, THEODERICI VERONENSIS... provided by J. Peringskiöld, ch. 100 (cf. Mb 123):
Convivii magnum apparatum, regia pompa celebrandum, instituerat Ermenricus, convocatis ad eam solennitatem primariæ dignationis viris ex principum, Jarlorum, comitumque ...

The third writer of the Membrane remembers by Mb 246 an individual spelled Salumon as mighty chief of a Frankish realm that extended into today’s German Westerwald woodlands (cf. Ritter). Thus, at the end of 5th century, the scriptor seems to regard an early Frankish acquisition of a Mid-German region on the Rhine.(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 from Jutlandic-Danish area to East Anglia, see Ian N. Wood, The Merovingian North Sea.
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).

While Gregory mentions Theuderic’s service for King Clovis in 507, Þiðrek already supported King Ermenrik against an obvious south-eastern leader called 'Runsteinn' or (Lat.) Rimsteinius (cf. Mb 147). Ritter estimates the place and time of this conflict between Frankish and Alemannic territories at the end of 5th century. At this point we remember Gregory’s passages dealing with Alemannic-Frankish war, whose battles were apparently going on for several years on some more locations than around Zülpich where, as Gregory narrates, King Sigebert of Cologne was wounded and became lame.
A leader called 'Alperkus', who was ruling in 6th century a territory on the Danube, is mentioned as filium Rŏsteini in the manuscript De Origine Gentis Swevorum.

While King Clovis passes away after possibly A.D. 511, as the chroniclers do not mention any attempt on his life, King Ermenrik dies of severe abdominal disease. His letal symptoms described by the Old Norse + Swedish scribes, not unlikely provided posteriorly for dramatic increase at Sv 345, Mb 401–402, seem to indicate cancer.
Ian N. Wood, an author of the RGA, 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’s 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.

Þiðrek 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, Þiðrek moved to Bern and recruited an army that won the decisive battle against 'Sifka', advisor of the late Ermenrik, on location called Greken, Graach on the Moselle in the Palatinate of Rhineland.

After the conquest of Roma Þiðrek certainly rose to a mighty leader of Frankish kingdom. This is translated text from Old Swedish version, 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 … they crowned him and appointed him King of great realm that King Ermenrik has had …

According to the Old Norse + Swedish texts (Mb 426–428, Sv 367–369) Þiðrek took over a region which covers parts of the later North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower 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 that the Merovingian Franks were 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.

Heinz Ritter estimates the birth of Þiðrek about 470, whereas King Clovis is believed to be born a half decade before him. Since this circumstance might appear as predominant item contradicting Þiðrek’s literary reflection Theuderic I, revising research regards both Ritter and the Frankish chroniclers’ genealogy about early Frankish kings Meroveus, Clodio and Childeric as unsharp and insufficient: As Gregory provides with his Frankish history, he seems to have no solid pedigree information especially about both first named kings, and so he rather uses a meagre 'Some People say'-phrase for them – which indicates his dependence on oral tradition. Nonetheless, it seems not unimportant to annotate that Ritter chronologizes Þiðrek’s birth five years before the final conquest of Trier (Dietrich von Bern, Munich 1982, p. 282). Since circumspect source research detects this event finished sometime between 480 and 486, notably Hans Hubert Anton, Trier im Übergang von der römischen zur fränkischen Herrschaft Francia 12 (1984), pgs 1–52, Þiðrek’s approximate date of birth would comply well with that of Theuderic in this case.

Gregory, whose genealogical colportages about Frankish kings up to 2nd half of 5th century are uncritically accepted by some scholarship, remarks Theuderic’s son Theudebert being already sturdy at a time when King Clovis died, cf. libri historiarum (hist) III, 1. Regarding Þiðrek’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'. Apart from the facts that Gregory would not mention Theuderic’s date of birth, and the early Frankish kings habitually have not ascended the throne as son of any heathen concubine, we rather can effortlessly recognize corresponding 'Th…' name-giving in the bloodlines related by the Old Norse + Swedish scribes and Gregory’s Frankish history which might be based on obvious clear-cut ancestral tradition. Matthias Springer, an author of the RGA, places at the disposal that the maternal roots of the eminent Frankish Theuderic could be located at the Amals who have been ascribed to the gender of Ostrogothic king Theoderic the Great. However, it also 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'].

Theuderic’s disappearance after 507

His 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 Þiðrek was expelled according to Ritter’s estimation. (9) He dates this event 495 but, strangely enough, ignoring an important item he already pointed out in 1982 (see below). Regarding the ambitions of Ermenrik, revaling Frankish relative of Þiðrek 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 the Frankish Theoderic harshly in his new place. Ermenrik’s advisor 'Sifka' was contributing this significant speech before Þiðrek’s expulsion; cf. Mb 284, 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: 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.]

CAP. CCLIX (cf. Mb 284).
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 ...
[Latin manuscript of Þidreks saga, Johan Peringskiöld, 1715.]

The advisor of Ermenrik, mighty ruler at Roma II  from 2nd half of 5th century to 'c. 526' (as deduced by Ritter), could certainly fathom that Theuderic–Þiðrek would be vulnerable if his South Gaul campaign would be repelled.

Gregory placed the removal of Sigebert 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 Þiðrek as designated brother-in-law of the Niflunga rulers . The leaders of this folk between the Meuse and the Middle Rhine might have had good reason to accept and serve the expansion politics of either Clovis or – as we can postulate for intertextual consistency – a potential loyalist at the former Colonia Treverorum for the opportunity to administrate the northern Eiffel lands of a disempowered Þiðrek.
We may regard shortly in this connection the dialogue between Grimhild and an isolated shown Þiðrek (Mb 376, Sv 319). Not less interesting appears the Guðrúnarkviða III (þriðja), where Gudrun exaggerates into worst situation of 'Þioðrek' and his champions at Atli’s court. Of geographical importance appears the Guðrúnarkviða II (in önnur), 25, where Gudrun’s mother 'Grimhild' claims herself being authorized to dispose [a part of] Hlöðvés sali = Clovis’ kingdom. Furthermore, the Vǫlsunga saga allows Brynhild to title Gunnar’s brother-in-law as thrall of King Hjalprek whom literary research has been identifying 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 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 Þiðrek, cf. Mb 321. Likewise, the greivi and jarl Loðvigr–Hlodver, cf. Mb 107 + 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 the Niflunga.

                Roma Secunda on the Moselle – the dark decades in the reign of Clovis I

As far as we know Clovis never turned towards 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 (c. 460–); notably David Frye 1992, Guy Halsall 2001 + 2007, less determinedly Ian N. Wood 1994. Furthermore, 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 providing Samson Salernitana urbis imperium regiumque titulum adeptus est (ch VIII), as being chronologized between c. 460 (final Frankish conquest of Cologne and occupations of its surrounding regions) and 470, all sources allow to detect no other Franco-Rhenish leader mightier than Samson or Childeric at that time. If the latter had played actually a leading rôle for the conquest of the Treveri metropolis, his successor thereby had an adequate resource in prestige, population, economy and military crafts he certainly needed for his hefty campaigns.

Does the special value of this possibility correspond well with Trier’s blank sheet of history perfectly covering the reigning period of Clovis '&' Ermenrik, alternatively prolongated up to Theuderic’s '&' Þiðrek’s first appearance and reconstitution of this metropolis? Or asked in 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 Clovis’ seat on the Moselle at least at the end of 5th century. Beginning with De baptismo Chlodovechi [hist. II, 31], Gregory writes that the queen arcessire clam sanctum Remedium Remensis urbis episcopum iubet:
First, we therewith cannot make evident both Clovis’ residence and his baptism at Reims, albeit the 13th-century monks of Saint-Denis, compilers of the so-called Grandes Chroniques de France, claim this event at its cathedral. Second, however, some words later Gregory palpably 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 contextually disregard that Constantine I has been ascribed to 'first baptized Roman emperor'. Forwarding this parallel, as it 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 Gaul campaign. Ian N. Wood reasonably remarks that (op. cit. 1985, p. 264.)
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
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.
In consideration of Clovis’ inexorable ascent – he climbed up the ladder of success and 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 concern nothing more than renewed nickname identification of Dietrich’s close relative Ermenrik, appearing at least as the best 'placeholder' the historiographers could choose for their distinctive (!) exposition of 'parallelism' in history.

Regarding the Frankish campaign against the Visigoths, however, it seems less plausible that the crafty Clovis and some other vigilant Frankish chieftains had no idea of the risks and consequences of Theuderic’s military operation, particularly after the intervention of the undefeated Ostrogothic protector. We thus may impute to the mightiest Frankish leader that he was certainly right to stay away, to have calculated upon Theuderic’s failure, and to have reckoned with his potential follower/rival being finally deprived of his military power.

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

And in fact, after 16 summers and 16 winters Theuderic successfully reconquered Auvergne – at that time the fading vigour in the very last year(s) of Theoderic being in religious conflict with his Roman subjects and Justin I. This second Auvergnat expedition is Theuderic’s next known 'Frankish campaign' after 507/508(10) – with or after his stopovers at Cologne (with Gallus) and Roma II !

The absence of Theuderic, designated king at least of the eastern Franks only a short time before or after 511, obviously meant a challenging or, more likely, just pre-planned situation for Clovis: therewith he could take the chance to remove Sigebert, the leader of the Rhenish Franks, in order to enlarge his kingdom, obviously immediately after his unsuccessfully turning South Gaul campaign, in eastern direction now instead – and in so far without any involvement of Theuderic. Ian N. Wood, op. cit. 1985, p. 264, estimates that blocked in the south after 508, Clovis may have turned his mind towards enhancing his prestige in the Rhineland and perhaps across the English Channel.

Gregory, implying more indirectly this resulting point of view, makes Clovis responsible for the elimination of King Sigebert 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! Gregory also documents that Theuderic’s son Theudebert had to repulse a raid of a king called 'Chlochilaichus' who invaded Theuderic’s paygo Attoarios (cf. 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; cf. Richard A. Gerberding, A Critical Study of the Liber Historiae Francorum.Doctoral thesis, Oxford 1982, p. 84f.

Following both Ritter’s timeline related to the Old Norse + Swedish texts and historical upheavals on the other side of this river, it may be further considered that some years before Theuderic’s Thuringian invasion the Niflungen – or Frankish intruders – could have crossed the large stream for the conquest of the obvious wealthy region of SusatSoest.(11)

All these significant contexts are not corrupting historiographical interpretations of Þiðrek’s literary parallel Theuderic, cf. endnote 10 and, for instance,

Regarding Old German counting of time, it seems apt to reassess Hildebrand’s and Þiðrek’s 'time of absence' as quoted at Mb 396. Astonishingly, however, the manuscripts do recite soon after German men telling that Hildebrand died at an age of 150 (MS B: 170) years, whereas German lays recounting his age 200 years ['... winters'], cf. Mb 415. Hans-Jürgen Hube follows Ritter on the subject of half-years counting related to the life of Hildebrand, cf. Thidreks Saga, Wiesbaden 2009, p. 354, ann. 1.

Thus, these passages obviously admit to comprehend Hildebrand’s and Þiðrek’s »32 winters« outside the country (Mb 396, eldest manuscript – triginta duobus annis, ch. CCCLXIX of Latin manuscript provided by Peringskiöld) as

sixteen  summers  and  sixteen  winters.

The scribe of the Didriks chronicle does not relay the length of their 'exile', see corresponding context at Sv 340–341. However, this special context related to the time of Dietrich’s and Hildebrand’s grief may not automatically legitimize recalculations of other times provided by the Old Norse manuscripts. Incidentally, the poet of the 9th-century Hildebrandslied writes summers and winters sixty – line 50: ih wallota sumaro enti wintro sehstic. Did an oral provider of this tradition mean sixty or sixteen? We cannot make evident that this lay belonged to the sources of the Old Norse scribes.

As concerns the Old Norse + Swedish texts, we furthermore can stumble upon Mb 413 and Sv 355 whose special passage seems to regard more likely the date of Þiðrek’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), while the Icelandic redactions provide this time span – ending by all texts just before Þiðrek’s appearance in Roma II – remarkably shorter: MS A = ix , MS B = xi. Regarding the further context in so far, the second or last period of Þiðrek’s exile, starting from his attempt to regain his kingdom at Gransport, was lasting not less than nine and not more than eleven years. As concerns the numeric allegation of 'xx winters' at Mb 429, as forwarded by MS A, its scribe seems to have emended again into this much rounded-up-period of Þiðrek’s exile that was beginning with his expulsion from his seat. However, MS B renders 'xxx winters' at the same passage. Thus, its writer has slightly rounded down the period already presented at Mb 396.

Some receptions

Regarding Upper German traditions of lesser connection with a putative historical background for a real Dietrich von Bern, the Waltharius comes with an obvious 10th-century narration about two champions known as followers of Þiðrek. This work, likely or possibly edited by Ekkehard I at Upper German St Gall(en) Monastery (now Switzerland), seems to have taken patterns from an early historiographical source of Þiðreks saga and Didriks chronicle in order to transform interpretation, at least partially, to a legendary 'Ostrogothic environment' (cf. Hildebrandslied). Although either this Ekkehard or the real first author of this lay has (re-)localized the Nibelungen Eiffel residence 'Vermintza' at 'Wormatia' on the Rhine, supposing 'King Atala of Hunaland' apparently as Attila the great Hun, he nevertheless calls the Nibelungen Gunter and Hagen heroes of the Franks. This appears as a smart contemporary relocation basing on 10th-century Frankish territory which actually encompassed Worms on the one hand, but on the other this ascription does basically meet Ritter’s Franco-Rhenish identification of the rather northern 5th-century seat of the Niflungen.

The Waltharius is known also as the poem of Walter and Hildigund. The Old Norse + Swedish texts provide her as daughter of a Russian or Slavic ruler Ilias and female hostage at the court of Atala, cf. 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, as related by the Old Norse + Swedish texts, later falls as Duke of Waskenstein at Gransport – the former more likely the papally mentioned Vosca on the lower Moselle (by Ritter). 'Ekkehard' implanted thrilling elements in his much embellished adaptation that some reviewer would judge between 'subtle' and 'oversubtle'. However, the archaic version seems to reflect in so far the Old Swedish transmission by 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).

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’s lament 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 after the middle of 6th century. Taking scope within Kemp Malone’s approaches, however, there might be more interesting detections of Þeodric’s outlandish location name which may be found in 'Old Saxony' and 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 Maurungani on the Elbe – patria Albis Maurungani certissime antiquitius dicebatur, whereas 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 Lower 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, cf. correspondingly endnote 6 i  quoting from Malone’s Studies (1959). Thus, we obviously have no reliable source context to identify the Mæringa with e.g. an eponymic 'Marika' which has been suggested 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 Þiðreks saga 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 A.D. 507 and 510 this Theoderic was warring against the equally named Gaulish general (successor to the throne) in service of the power-craving king of the Franks, who might 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 identifies with both Theudebert and his father Theuderic I ('Hug-Dietrich'), contradicts genealogically Dietrichs Flucht provided by the Ambraser Heldenbuch. The Wolfdietrich cycle suggests at least two significant parallels with Þiðrek of Bern: the dragon fight at Bergara/Brugara (cf. 2nd part of the Ortnit) and Wolfdietrich’s exile and return. The majority of elder and newer scholarship votes for a Frankish but not (Ostro-)Gothic origin of this epic, notably Joachim Heinzle 1999 not following Roswitha Wisniewski and other analysts who argue in favour of Roman Theoderic environment, as to (t)his geographical and personal complex the mediaeval authorship might have transformed their obvious Frankish protagonists (cf. Lydia Miklautsch 2005). As regards basic interliterary reflections between the 5th6th-century Frankish kings and the Wolfdietrich cycle, one of the most characteristic epithets of Hugdietrich – sired by the devil – (Wolfdietrich A quoting Sabene) appears reconnected at Mb 435,438 (Sv 379,382).

It is self-evident that the Dietrich von Bern epics, his Heldendichtung apparently nascent in mediaeval Upper Germany and North Italy on one side, contradicting on the other some very basic contextual relationship endogenously in this literary cycle, are definitely of insufficient historical credibility.

The Lower 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, in parts at least. It seems remarkable that this tradition would hardly harmonize enough with more or less immediate source context of the Þiðreks saga or other extant material (notably Joachim Heinzle 1999). 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'.
Lower 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 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’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, hist. III, 8. After reciting Iring’s assassination of Thiadric, however, Widukind instantly signalizes doubt on this version: si qua fides his dictis adhibeatur, penes lectorem est. Interestingly, Gregory relates that the rumor on Theuderic’s death 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. I, 13). Since Lower Saxon historiography provides Iring as contemporary of Frankish king Theuderic I, however, 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 knows of an Iringus who accompanied Thuringian king Irminfridus, his spouse and sons on their escape from 'Schidinga'. Obviously not interdependently, a passage in the manuscript De Origine Gentis Swevorum, 9, completes that Irminfridus fled to an 'Hunnic Attila', see quotation farther below.

The 'Annals' of Quedlinburg recite the father and brothers of Theuderic I = Hugo Theodericus in accordance with a basic genealogy from Frankish historiography. As recorded at Quedlinburg, apparently after sending 'pro regni stabilitate' a message to King Irminfrid ad electionem suam Irminfridum regem Thuringorum honorifice invitavit, Theuderic appeared in Thuringiaon territory east of the Rhineas new authority and legitimate successor of Chlodoveus in A.D. 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, these 'Annals' connect the meeting of this Theodericus with a chieftain of the Saxones, who came ashore somewhere at the historic landscape Hadeln (Hadalaon – land of an HADALAon?) for alliance, aid and territorial reward, with twelve of Theoderic’s noblest companions testifying with him as witnesses of 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...

These texts date the death of a ruler known as 'Attila' into 6th century, recounting that 'a little girl, whom he had forcibly deported from her slain father, daggered him with a knife':
Attila, rex Hunorum et totius Europae terror, a puella quadam, quam a patre occiso vi rapuit, cultello perfossus, interiit.

The 'Annals' provide this text straight before Iustinus minor imperator annis XI regnavit, in so far with an apparently miscounted reigning period of Justin I, whilst Matthias Springer constates the writer at Quedlinburg 'errorneously placing Attila’s death into the imperial period of Justinian I', Die Sachsen, 2004, p. 92. The author(ess) of the 'Annals' dates the murder of this 'Attila' about A.D. 529...532, Primus Dionysii circulus inchoat anno dominicae incarnationis DXXXII. Did the first or final writer of these 'Annals' actually have no idea of the circumstances of death of that most impressing 5th-century ruler of the eastern Huns? The passages contextually quoted from Jordanes’ Getica (49, 254 cf. 'Ildico'), the Gesta Caroli III,  26–34, Poeta Saxo (see G. Caroli III, 17+29) appear less compelling for a solid receptive pattern 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 milieu of 'Attila' or, at least, might be indicating an unclarified problem of 'source and transmission'. Cf. Martina Giese, Die Annales Quedlinburgenses. Doctoral thesis, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, 1999. Reprint at Hanover 2004, see pgs 109–111.
Review (en.): http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/tmr/article/view/16073/22191 (retrieved July 2015).
However, the position of 'Attila' in the timeline of these 'Annals' does not contradict the 12th- or 13th-century account titled De Origine Gentis Swevorum (cf. farther below) whose author provides this ruler as an important contemporary of Thuringian king Irminfrid. Interestingly, Michael Godden and Michael Lapidge recognize in the Old English Waldere that the poet portrays Theodoric the Ostrogoth, Nithad, Weland and Widia as older than Attila (The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature, Cambridge 2013, p. 91).

Martina Giese reconfirms the conclusion of newer research that some 'Ostrogothic interpolation' in(to) the 'Annals' does not seem genuine in the sense of historical and/or editorial authenticity. Thus, this very passage ought to be regarded as a later insertion (op. cit. pgs 370–372):
Amulung Theoderic dicitur, proavus suus Amul vocabatur, qui Gothorum potissimus censebatur. Et iste fuit Thideric de Berne, de quo cantabant rustici olim.
Regarding the Frankish-Thuringian War, the 'Annals' localize three battles between the rivers Weser and Unstrut. The places modernly identified with e.g. 'Marstem at Hanover' and 'Ohrum on the Oker' are also mentioned in other transmissions about the Saxon campaigns of Charlemagne. The texts written at Quedlinburg do not relate a battle between Thiadric and Irminfrid on location called Runibergun by Widukind – either Ronnenberg at Hanover, region of Marstem [sic!] or, less likely, Ronneberge at Nebra. It should be annotated that Widukind’s urbe quae dicitur Scithingi does reappear in the 'Annals'. Its contextual fortification cannot be proved as a contemporary venue for archaeo-chronological reasons if equated with the ground area of the pre-Carolingian foundation of the castle at Burgscheidungen on the Unstrut; notably M. Springer (op. cit.) quoting Erika Schmidt-Thielbeer, Burgscheidungen in: Handbuch der historischen Stätten Deutschlands, Bd. II, Stuttgart 1987, p. 62. The author(ess) of the 'Annals' 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. These 'Annals' situate the third battle, now with Saxons aiding the Franks, somewhere on the Unstrut and provide an amalgamation of obvious divergent spatiotemporal traditions about figures representing or equated with 'Theodericus', 'Ermanricus', 'Attila' and 'Odoacrus':
(1.)  Eo tempore Ermanricus ... qui post mortem Friderici, unici filii sui, sua perpetrata voluntate patrueles suos, Embricam et Fritlam (= 'Herlungos') patibulo suspendit. Theodericum similiter, patruelum suum, instimulante Odoacro patruelo 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.

Note (2.) is situated between datings related to the end of 5th and first quarter of 6th century.

It seems worth mentioning that Gregory of Tours knows of an explicit Saxon chieftain called 'Adovacrius', 'Odovacario' at hist. II,18 in the Leiden MS, acting in Gaul on the Loire between A.D. 460 and 470. The scribe of the lines being quoted above, who has apparently mixed Ostrogothic with eastern Frankish or local history, does not relate that the northern 'Odoacer' was killed by 'Theoderic', since an obvious second 'Attila', ruler of a Lower German(ic) territory and greatly supporting contemporary of this 'Theoderic', assigned to the former property between the rivers Elbe and Saale. However, this second Attila must not necessarily be located anachronistically by the Ottonian scribe, nor this Theoderic be the Ostrogothic king. Rather, we can start from the premise that a second Attila-Theoderic account of history, at least of oral tradition, had caused confusion among this chronicler.

Not attaching relevance to the texts written at Quedlinburg, Ritter identifies King Atala’s mighty sister in the Harz mountains by means of the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts. Furthermore, acknowledged history does not provide the Ostrogothic but rather Frankish Theodericus as king of lands on the Lower Moselle (→ Gransport, 'Rauenthal') and, thereafter, temporary authority over Saxon or Thuringian territory where the Quedlinburg chronicler identifies an Odoacrus of Migration Period. Regarding the possibility of related names on German territories, Reinhard Wenskus quotes e.g. a 'Middle Rhenish' Otacarus in connection with an Irminfrid comes from the Traditiones et antiquitates Fuldenses (ed. by E.F.J. Dronke 1844) and, inter alia, an early 10th-century Odocar whom Ulrich Nonn (Rheinische Vierteljahrsblätter 42, 1978, pgs 52–62) suggests as father of Widricus, comes palatii of Charlemagne. (Reinhard Wenskus, Der ‘hunnische’ Siegfried. Fragen eines Historikers an den Germanisten, in: Heiko Uecker, Studien zum Altgermanischen. Festschrift für Heinrich Beck, Walter de Gruyter 1994, p. 715.)

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 narration knows even the author of De Origine Gentis Swevorum, but this tradition as well as the 'Annals' do not convey the death of the Frankish king. Regarding the Frankish-Thuringian War, Matthias Springer reviews the scribe, 'scribess' or scribes at Quedlinburg by 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.)
[Transl.: 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 narration as barely credible.]

Rudolf of Fulda, 9th-century historiographer 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 (Translatio Sancti Alexandri, auctoribus Ruodolfo et Meginharto). Adam of Bremen, another German chronicler 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 north-west 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 inferring »Rudolf zeugte die Fabel, Widukind zog sie mit Liebe groß«, in: Niedersächsisches Jahrbuch für Landesgeschichte 26  1954, see p. 197; id., Die „Sächsische Stammessage. Überlieferung, Benutzung und Entstehung, in: Stader Jahrbuch Ser. NF, Bd. 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) who knows of Anglo-Saxons (people of 'Brittia' = 'Angili, Frissones, Brittones') emigrating back to less populated territory of the Franks (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, 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 might resume convincingly the disparate scholarly opinions (Heldensage und Stammessage, 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.
[Transl.: 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.]

How reliable is Gregory of Tours ?

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. Gregory actually appears credible 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 Clodio, head of a Frankish dynasty in the very dark shadow of Gregory’s brightly shining early Merovings, and Albero of Mons (420–491), whom Emil Rückert, PhD, cites as Clodio’s most influential son and brother-in-law of Theoderic the Great – a fact that obviously forbids to underrate the historical position of that 'Auberon' or any of his close kinsmen, cf. The Geography and History of Mons translated by John Mack Gregory at THE HARLEIAN MISCELLANY Vol.XI http://books.google.de/books?id=Qh0wAAAAYAAJ (retrieved Oct. 2010). Rückert identifies Frankish King Clodio as grandfather of Audefleda by means of other local tradition, and he compares genealogical information about the early Merovings also with the records of Jordanes. He is known as less chronological writer of a Gothic historia that conveys Frankish King Lodoin (cf. 'cLodio') as her father who, however, cannot be verified easily as Childeric or Clovis for spelling derivation related to Lodoin’s sons Celdebert, Heldebert, Thiudebert as provided by the historian of the Goths. Thus, Jordanes forwarded apparently confusing context of Frankish kings offspring.

Following the research of Emil Rückert, Albero’s relative Theoderic was called out King of the East Goths at that very time when Þiðrek was born according to Ritter’s timeline – a correlation that seems to substantiate Theoderic as Þiðrek’s eponymist. Nonetheless, there seems to be a trail from Clodio’s son Albero to the ownership of Samson castle through old telling on Brabant and 'Hannonia', cf. Die Nibelungen – Dichtung und Wahrheit, Münster 2005, quoting from Rückert’s source research.

The author remarks at endnote 22 of his contribution Wadhincúsan, monasterium Ludewici, catalogued at the National German Library DNB:
Zumindest finden wir im Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde, Bd. 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.
[Transl.: The author of the article  Theuderich I.  in the  Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (RGA Vol. 30& (2005), pgs 459–463) rightly issued: Gregory of Tours claims that the mother of T. was just a concubine of Clovis I. Furthermore, the encyclopaedist states op. cit. that Theuderic was 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. 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. At that time, between 520 and 525, he was aged at least 36! Regarding the interpretation of humiliation, exile and reconquering related in Þiðreks saga, it is certainly not out of the question that its protagonist Theuderic had to bear consequences of either his South Gaul 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 subtle Frankish historiographer seems to have intentionally misjudged Theuderic’s mother, the concept of a patriotic Lower German history fading out the primus rex Francorum of the Lex Salica, as a result provided by the Þiðreks saga, could have made his father unidentifiable with a placeholder as well.]

It seems both subtle and flashy that Þiðrek’s father is named after Gregory’s 'first known' rex Francorum whom he has recognized as Theudemar/Theudomer, as Eugen Ewig remarks well this ranking by disregarding Theudemar’s father Richimer [hist. II, 9] and Ostrogothic genealogy, cf. Trojamythos und fränkische Frühgeschichte, RGA Vol. 19 (1998), p. 14. It seems also remarkable that the Guðrúnarkviða III (þriðja) consequently calls Þioþrecr’s father Þioþmar.

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

Theuderic I or Þiðrek 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 Lower German Verona on the Rhine.

After the death of King Sigebert of Cologne Gregory remarks Theuderic c. 523 at the aula regia of this metropolis. Since there is chronicler’s tradition of 13th century strongly connecting Bern with Bonn »by Bunna, dat heisz man dô Berne«,(12) we also should consider that another but lost historical source could have mentioned Theuderic or Þiðrek of Bern emphatically appearing there. With respect to Gregory’s report [Liber Vitae Patrum VI, 2] and the ecclesiastical history of Lower German Verona – Bern, it would not seem inconsistent that the Roman based nickname BABI–LONIA, (cf. below en. 14) to reason as second name of CO–LONIA, residence of Theuderic, was given up after formative Christian missions on this eminent location. Regarding Gregory’s demonstrative and believable words in this connection, the first and very remarkable 6th-century mission was undertaken by this Franco-Rhenish king in a region which Ritter called Berner Reich.

These items seem to qualify the historical Franco-Rhenish and Old German profile of Dietrich von Bern also by the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts, at first sight rather shortsightedly than farsightedly isolated and redrawn by Ritter, in so far not committing a real faux pas.

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 (CCAA), while VERONA appears to be connected thereafter with adjacent Bonn in Christian times.

Museum Burg Frankenberg, Aachen, Katalog Nr. 188.

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 an engraving of 1575.

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 Clodio’s descendants to administrate obviously no other regions than partially those of today’s Netherlands and Belgium, and some Eiffel 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 Sigebert 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 Þiðrek, oath-breaker against Sigurð in a case of honour, take later revenge on his kinsman Ermenrik (cf. 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 Þiðrek’s attack against Ermenrik at a place called Gransport to which he came with an army from King Atala.

Samson, the grandfather of Þiðrek 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 narration by Þiðreks saga 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 Theudemer de Thérouanne (374–414). Possibly semi-legendary, as some historian would judge him, he was noted as spouse of Blésinde de Cologne. Theudemer, titled magister militum in 383 and consul in 384, is mentioned by both Gregory and Fredegar as an early Frankish king, the predecessor of Clodio by Gregory. Theudemer was supposedly congenial with Jovinus, Roman anti-emperor from 411 till 413, when he was captured and executed. Clodio’s predecessor is believed to have shared the same fate with that Jovinus.

Olympiodorus of Thebes recounts the Burgundian leader Guntiarius ('Gundahar') and Alan king Goar proclaiming Jovinus anti-emperor on location provided as Mundiacum, Мουνδιακω της ετερας Гερμανιας. However, some attentive researchers would not equate this geonym with Mogontiacum (Mainz, in the region of legendary Burgundy by the Nibelungenlied in Germania superior), rather identify contextually 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 (Ed.), The Fragmentary Classicising Historians of the Later Roman Empire. Eunapius, Olympiodorus, Priscus and Malchus. II: Text, Translation and Historiographical Notes, p. 216, ann. 46.
H. von Petrikovits (Ed.: F. Petri, G. Droege), Rheinische Geschichte 1,1, pgs 275 & 288.
F. J. Schweitzer, Die ältesten literarischen Quellen zum rheinischen Burgunderreich und das MUNDIACUM-Problem. Annalen des Historischen Vereins für den Niederrhein (AnnHVNdrh) 203 (2000), pgs 7–22.
S. Seibel, Typologische Untersuchungen zu den Usurpationen der Spätantike. Doctoral thesis, University of Duisburg-Essen 2004, p. 165.

Ritter has shown in both geographical and plausible strategical context of the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts that the Mundia, which he localizes in Germania inferior and very northern superior, covers residence location of the Niflungen in the inferior. However, he does not connect the gens Burgundionum, situated at Worms by Upper German poetry, with that of Niflungicarum, a tribe to be localized rather on the 'Niederrhein'. This position has been generally reviewed and subsequently underlined by Hans Georg Kirchhoff (University of Dortmund, em.), cf. an article on his lecture titled Nibelungen und Burgunden am Niederrhein (2002).

The RGA Vol. 22 (2003) states on the 'Origo gentis' (= OG) of the Burgunden (= Burg.) p. 195:
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...

The records on authentic history of Burgundian kingdoms do not provide contemporary leaders 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 Þiðreks saga nowhere mention spelling forms somehow related to 'Burgundia' or 'Burgundy'. Ingo Runde, an author of the RGA, remarks [transl.] 'a legendary destruction of the Wormsian kingdom of the Burgundians',
Xanten im frühen und hohen Mittelalter. Doctoral thesis, Gerhard-Mercator-University of Duisburg 2001. Reprint 2003, see p. 84.

The Genealogy of Piat-Herrero provides the bloodline of Theudemer, 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 Theudemer’s son and successor Clogio (Clodio) as 'Le Cheveulu' ('the Longhaired'). Since his lifetime is roughly estimated from 400 to 450, he appears as contemporary of Samson by Ritter’s timeline. Clodio is chiefly known as conqueror of some western lands on the Somme and of Cambrai which he later forwarded to one of his sons, notably E. Rückert. Would Clodio’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 King Theudemer corresponds with the basic item 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.

King Sigebert of Cologne = King Sigurð the Nibelung ?

Gregory let us know that Clovis supported his cousin Sigebert of Cologne against an Alemannic raid on Zülpich location. 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 Niflungen, at the same place and time.

Helmut de Boor, 20th-century philologist and remarkable researcher across the Nibelungen and their Old Norse bibliography, rather shortly considers a possible historical connection of this Sigebert 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.
Publisher: Hamburger Lesehefte Verlag, Heft Nr. 137; ISBN 3-87291-136-8.

Cologne, 2nd to 3rd Century
Cologne at the beginning of 3rd century by a painting reprinted on an old postcard.
(Artist’s name illegible.)

This is a passage dealing with King Sigebert 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 Didriks chronicle and Þiðreks saga seem to complete Gregory’s report on Clovis and Sigebert. These are the most important items considering the view of the Old Norse + Swedish scribes:

Sigurð as well as Sigebert 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' woodlands on eastern side of the Rhine. Buc(h)onia has to 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 'Grimhild' (Old Norse: Guðrún) 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 Þiðreks saga, 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 towards Sigurð, however, we should contemplate the Nibelungenlied, Þiðreks saga 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:
Hagen 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. Hagen, he 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 recounting that the murderers need his dead body to shock Grimhild with revenge.

The source of these manuscripts connects both the identity of the assassins and Babilonia with the large region of Cologne(14) that seems to be closely related to Sigurð and his realm on occasion of the Nibelungen’ fatal march to their sister Grimhild: When their rearguard, commanded by King Gunnar and Hagen, was approaching the opposite bank of the Rhine at Duna Crossing just a few miles north of Cologne, Hagen 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 Hagen 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 Hagen, King Aldrian’s son, who has killed my lord, Young-lord Sigurð. As long as you are in Hunaland (15): 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 Sigebert, Gregory does not explicitly narrate the same circumstances of death as the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts, however.

How far can we follow Gregory beyond the Rhine?

Both kings Sigurð and Sigebert 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 Sigebert 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 (cf. 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,(16) 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 Þiðreks saga and Didriks chronicle provide 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 in chapter 59:
He [Weland/Velent] 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 north-western 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 Clodio: 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?(17) 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 chronicles, Hannonian records of local history, and Didriks chronicle plus Þiðreks saga, may result in the following chart of early Merovingian and Frankish genealogy. Its predicate is also endorsed by Mb 9 (restored by the Icel. MSS):
King Samson further fathered with his concubine another son who was named Thetmar after his [Samson’s] father-brother...

In so far the above remembered Theudemer seems to meet the demand on corresponding historical, chronological and genealogical environment.


Genealogical Synchronization of Didriks chronicle 'Svava' with Merovings

 a Gregory of Tours has no idea of his date of death. Some research makes a difference between Meroveus 'the Elder' (disappearing about 457 in Frankish Salia) for a son of him called 'the Younger'.
 b  As regards Samson’s vita, on almost every occasion the manuscripts (esp. the Old Norse redactions) like to reemphasize Ermenrik some years elder than his brother Thetmar whom Samson entrusted with ruling the eminent BERN after its conquest between 460 and 470. Furthermore, apart from this obvious compensation to Ermenrik, these texts nowhere remark that Samson’s son Thetmar died young. For contextual chronology on Thetmar’s death cf. Mb 131, Sv 131. By the way of contrast, the scribes 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, cf. Dietrich von Bern, Munich 1982, p. 282. If Ermenrik were already having an elder son at that time, this potential scion would have been appearing more significantly against the interest of 'Sifka' and, consequently, his own! Principally, an authorship can make use of eye-catching recurrences in order to contradict opposite information by other tradition.

The genealogical inspections of the Old Norse + Swedish texts and Gregory of Tours may not suggest to identify Þiðrek 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, 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 that Ritter identified as Colonia-Cologne, 'the Elder' as father of Odilia who seemingly/possibly was introduced as Franco-Rhenish 'Evochildis' at the court of Theuderic’s or Þiðrek’s father.

The pseudonymous Fredegar notes that
...the franks diligently seeking a long haired king from themselves as they had before … created Theudemer king, the son of Richemer, who was killed by the Romans in that battle which I mentioned above. His son Clodio, 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 Clodio 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 records in accordance with this rating:
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, notably Eugen Ewig, Trojamythos und fränkische Frühgeschichte 1996, 1998; Troja und die Franken 2009.

Ermenrik and Samson


The Beowulf provides at lines 1198–1204 a narrative pattern which seems to reflect the hostility between Heimir and Erminrikr of Þiðreks saga with this action of  Þiðrek’s loyal follower:

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 not much older than Higelác Géata. Historians who critically review the Beowulf and compare cautiously other Nordic traditions with Frankish historiography equate him with the Nordic chieftain 'Chlochilaichus' (cf. above). He was killed on the retreat from his invasion into Theuderic’s paygo Attoarios roughly about A.D. 521; cf. Liber historiae Francorum, 19; Gregory of Tours hist. III, 3 (without geographical information); → Hygelac in RGA Vol. 15  (2000), pgs 298–300.

It seems noteworthy to remark well that Karl Simrock, Beowulf, 1859, p. 64, translated Brósinga into Breisach that we can localize as (the northern) Brisiacum, the former name of (Bad) Breisig on the Rhine. Thus, the area of Heimir’s 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 Clovis I  from a conclusive point of view, 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 (Þiðreks saga). 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 one will 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.)

Ritter supplements pgs 59–65 and p. 261 of this edition with a chronological remark on Ermenrik and his shady counsellor 'Sifka' ('Sevekin') by Mb 411, Sv 354; cf. also p. 282 with a rough timeline estimation. Identifying this Ermenrik with Clovis I, which implicates his king- and kinship related to his most important successor Theuderic I, Ritter has thereby significantly emended his basic opposite view published previously in 1981, Die Nibelungen zogen nordwärts, cf. p. 247, en. 27.

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 also must have had an advisor whose nature ought to correspond generally with Ermenrik’s confident and, finally, whom 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 the 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 states the avaricious side of Clovis’ advisor under the headline II. Emphasis on Treasure and Booty, cf. 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, cf. Gallische Prosopographie 260–527. Francia 10 (1982), p. 564.

The Old Norse scribes remember that Sifca serves his king not only as counsellor but also as a 'fiarhirdi' (treasurer); cf. Mb 127, Johan Peringskiöld: ch. 103.
Morphological connections and prospects

Linguistically and semantically, the name of King Clovis does appear Latin based, since the adjective+verb compound CHLODO (Lat. 'c(h)lodus', 'c(h)loda', 'c(h)lodum') + VOCARE (En. call, name) computes as either having an unsteady or defective mind or, physically, of lame, limping or crippled appearance. King Clovis might have received his bibliographical Christian name at a certain point of time in his political career, likely after his baptism. This momentous event could draw certainly 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 ('Hlöðvés', see above). However, it seems less likely that Clovis were named with a Latin compound immediately after his birth in an obvious pagan environment. A former Germanic based name of him (and, consequently, of his father) would not seem inconsistent in intertextual literary context, regarding even those spelling forms related with 'Ermenrik' when consulting J. de Vries: OE. yrman, ME. (i)ermen: to grieve 'sb', cf. ON. erma.
Interestingly, there may be some Franco-Gothic renaming of an historical figure which finally might result in misinterpretation; e.g. the transforming of Visigothic king Athanagild’s daughter Bruna to Brunichildis (cf. Gregory’s passages serving for questionable interpretation) and, thereby, German–Nordic Brunhilda–Brynhild, the latter popularly (nick)naming a female warrior for wearing a Brynne–Brünne = ring armour or byrnie. However, the retransformation of this interpretation back to a synonymic Visigothic origin based on nothing more than a female form of Franco-Gothic brun ('bright', 'brown', cf. 'brunette') can not be performed satisfyingly. Considering Gunnar’s sister provided by the Þiðreks saga and the Elder Edda, cf. Grímhild = Guðrún.
Thus, we obviously may reckon with an epithet as the only idiosyncratic name of a figure appearing in ancient historiography, as, for example, we may not exclude the Hunalandish king 'Ata-la' being forwarded as 'Attila'. As regards 'astonishing names' of Franco-Roman persons, it should be further annotated that even Gregory of Tours provides a name of an historical individual quite similar to 'Attila'. Reading his 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?« regards some historical persons closely related to this name.

Alfred Anscombe has reintroduced 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, likely already on the Middle and/or Upper Rhine) with stopovers i.a. in Anþáib (this blurry tribal region likely of the 'Antes') and Báináib (OE. 'Bãning...', likely Bohemia) under the 4th-5th-century Agilmund and his successor Laiamicho (see dating by RGA) has been scholastically estimated 'legendary', Anscombe combines the Gaulish Eormenric on territory somewhat close to later German Westphalia, the region which Ritter has contextually specified.

Regarding Anscombe’s structural-based geographical and ethnographical analyses of the Old English 'poem' 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, cf. p. 125.)
Interestingly, in the matter of Ritter’s basic reinspections the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts, it seems not superfluous to note that Anscombe points out an antique 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 significant that a Greek relict or former settlement on Ermenrik’s Moselle could have been 'potentially inspiring or misleading the Old Norse and Swedish scribes'. However, more noteworthy onto the likelihood of the northern geographical environment of Eormenric the 'Gaulish' Gotan might be the article Der ‘hunnische’ Siegfried ... (op. cit.) by Reinhard Wenskus, an author of the RGA
First, Wenskus reviews briefly Otto Höfler’s publication Siegfried, Arminius und die Symbolik (Heidelberg 1961, p. 13), and constates 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 South-East Europe but rather North-German(ic) Hunaland. Thereby 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, Hünen, Viöl 1999 (ISBN 3-932878-01-9), 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. Drawing a basic conclusion on the research by Wenskus, we should not disregard the potential literary confusion of this 'Gaulish' with 'Gothic' territory for all these names and, therefore, nor disrespect that in Migration Period (the 'horizon of event') Nordic tradition could have associated the latter rather with the Gaulish kingdom of Clovis I and his predecessors than the Italian or south-eastern region on the Tisza. Reinspecting under this fundamental aspect the Hlöðskviða (The Battle of the Goths and Huns), Wenskus ascribes Árheimar to Arnhem of the later Netherlands as one important location of the North Gaulish 'Goths'.▼a 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 south-eastern core around the Black Sea but not Hunaland around the later German Westphalia, as explicitly determined by the Þiðreks saga and the Old Swedish manuscripts. Regarding a basic interfigural recognition in this more authenic appearing area – seemingly not far from 'Amal-Gothic' land even for dynastic ancestral reasons, as delineated by the Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks which includes the Hlöðskviða – 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 north-eastern Gaulish region. Although differing against this intriguing approach with only a less convincing interpretation of very uncertain 6th-century rulership structures, the complex geography of the Hlöðskviða has been very remarkably reinspected by Edo Wilbert Oostebrink, De Hunenslag bij Groningen – Die Hunenschlacht bei Groningen, Delft 2012 (ISBN 978-90-818901-0-6), pgs 15–28 resp. 59–72. (German version reread by Kees van Eunen, Dieter Geuenich, Ingo Hansen.)
The Þiðreks saga (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 Hunalandish king called Melias by the Old Norse + Swedish texts which relate that he had no son for heir. He possibly was 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 Hunalandish 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 A.D. 450 and 470 by Ritter, while Suffridus mentions a Frisiorum dux Odilbaldus, see contextually 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' by Upper German texts of 7th–8th century (op. cit. p. 708).
▼a Reinhard Wenskus states on the geographical appearance of Hlǫðr in Nordic tradition (op. cit. 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 autan) 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.
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) 1 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)...]
[206: ...Widsith (1962)...]
back to text

Without any regard to the approach being made later by Reinhard Wenskus, Alfred Anscombe has localized the 'northern neighbours of the Treveri as the Gõtas' by geographical inspection of mainly the Widsith and Origo Gentis Langobardorum (see above). This seems intertextually 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, op. cit. pgs 144–145). 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 Þiðrek’s grandfather or Þiðrek’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' for such real relationship. The scribes of the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts do not convey any consanguinity between Þiðrek and Atala, but do forward the common basic interests of both kings.

Ritter has expressively considered the libri Teutonici of certain connotation, cf. 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 Fulco (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, Frankish kingdom:
... subjicit etiam ex libris Teutonicis de rege quodam Hermenrico nominee, qui omnem progenium suam morti destinaverit impiis consiliis cuiusdam consilarii sui ...
...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...

Here is cunning enough, but Ermanric has none of it ... (Kemp Malone, 1962, on the 4th-century Greuthungian Goth.) Whom is Fulk remembering? Does he actually look back to an individual of Ostrogothic history? Or does he mean that potent chief of 'Roma secunda' who killed some of his offspring on recommendation of an impious advisor, and whom the Old Norse + Swedish texts provide as a mighty ruler on that very territory belonging both formerly and now to Frankish kingdom? If the archbishop bears in mind the latter, he could have given enough personal attributes. Obviously disregarding the Þiðreks saga, Malone states on Ermanric’s short portray by the Quedlinburg annalist that it seems odd that we find him nowhere else.

Regarding Ermenrik’s ancestry, the synchronizing chart as shown above considers narration that Albero of Mons, persistently claiming some Salian land as dominant son of Clodio by Rückert’s research, was successively the right legal heir of Samson(’s) castle, as this detail completes his great-uncle’s emigration by means of the Old Swedish texts and Þiðreks saga.


This name 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 Theudemer’s father RICHEMER (related with Frankish spelling) and Samson’s son Ermenrik, as being related with Franco-German(ic) spelling, through simple half-word interchange: EMER-RICH (ch = k). Samson accidentally met 'Thetmar', the 'brother of this father', after the first had slain the noble brothers 'Brunstein' and 'Rodger'. This certainly kingly Thetmar, bearing a golden lion on his red shield (Mb 5 of A/B MSS), apparently came to aid his explicit nephew whose murderous coup had become known (Sv 4, Mb 5 of A/B MSS). Thus, Samson would have had good reason to remember him with name forwarding to one of his later born sons.

Samson’s 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, cf. Mb 245) whose surviving but expelled two sons received new duchies or some smaller land from King Atala, cf. endnote 20i, 2nd par.
The Samson saga fagra was published in 1953 by John Wilson who refers to the edition Samfund til udgivelse af Gammel Nordisk Litteratur Vol.LXV Copenhagen 1880. Henry Goddard Leach left its summary in his publication Angevin Britain and Scandinavia, p. 232.

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.

Weland’s father Vaðe, a 'risi a siolande' as appositioned by the Old Norse manuscripts of the Þiðreks saga, 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

Malone (1962, p. 207) remarks on this 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 Widgawith the (North-)Suebian Witta who has been identified with Widning and Wihtgils, assumed grandfather of Hengist and Horsa. The Widsith introduces Weland’s son Wudga at line 124 and line 130 with Heimir (Heime) = Hãma (cf. Beowulf line 1198). As already remarked, 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 Þiðreks saga 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' (cf. 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 serving 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', a location 30 miles far from Siegen town. Geoffrey of Monmouth never mentions Ballova in his literary work, whereas the Þiðreks saga 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, cf. Der Schmied Weland, Hildesheim 1999, which includes 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 if 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 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 Þiðreks saga 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 AD 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 Wela(n)du, cf. Old English Weland, Old Norse-Icelandic Volundr, New German Wieland
*wsla-handuz, nominative singular maskuline: u-stem, ‘trickster'. (Düwel/Tempel 1968/70; Beck 1981:69ff. with references). The first part of the compound is *wel – ‘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 'Lower 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 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▼b 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 rather from a pretty lake called Wætli thereabout which, however, seems to point to a derivation which reflects an early or final property of Widga’s grandfather Vaðe, Vaði, Wadi (cf. the forms by Icel. MS A; cf.
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 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,▼c 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 ... Vol. II (Stockholm 1824) ascribes Widrik’s grave to c. A.D. 500.

Combining this context with Widga’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 Þiðreks saga, 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 about allegements that the name-giving of Widga’s South-Swedish region is based rather on a fictitious hero.

▼b 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.  back to text
▼c 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

Atala of Susat and a perspective survey

Ferdinand Holthausen, a 19th-century researcher of Þiðreks saga and Dietrich epics, suggested in 1884 [transl.]:

I think that narration of Suffrid’s Frisian chronicle principally relates an old local saga of Soest, in fact the original version considering the later amalgamation with the Attila saga. Attila has been early localized in lower German heroic epics, also Heimi at Wedinghausen and the Rabenschlacht on the Moselle; and so the sagas of the former and the Frisii were gradually fusing in Soest’s mind; 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 provides the result of this saga amalgamation; so the great king of the Huns appears as Frisian prince and founder of Soest...

(Studien zur Thidrekssaga, Part II. PBB 9 [Paul u. Braunes Beiträge], p. 456.)
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 E n g e r n : 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'
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 further 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.
 (op. cit.)

Holthausen’s perception, in view of considerable literary detraction of 'Attila the Balkan Hun', is based on an early passage in Þiðreks saga that relates the Frisian invasion and conquest of King Melias’ Hunaland. Johan Peringskiöld provides this text of the Latin script which  appears closely related to the Stockholm folio of Þiðreks saga (cf. Mb 39–42):

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. 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.

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.

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.
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 all Hunaland 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 this tradition with Suffrid’s report results in these general relations, cf. Willi Eggers (op. cit. p. 84f.):
Thidreks saga & Didriks chronicle
Suffridus Petrus
The warriors of Osid, king of Frisia, invade Hunaland under Atala’s command. The warriors of Odilbald, king of Frisia, are acting in response of attacking southern and south-eastern 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, king of the Wiltsians. 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.
There are some different 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 Hunaland, finally takes the chance to court also the Wiltsian princess Berta.

Nevertheless we may wonder if this literary comparison can be based on an believable historical event. (The Helgakviða Hjǫrvarðssonar from the herioc lays of the Old Norse 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 Lower 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 gebracht17). 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.
17) J. W. de Boone: De Franken van hun eerste optreden tot de dood van Childerik, Diss. Groningen 1954, S. 109.
Cf. Peter Berghaus, Der römische Goldmünzenfund von Ellerbeck, Lkr. Osnabrück, in: Die Kunde. Neue Folge 7, 1956, Heft 1–2, pgs 30–40, 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.
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.
Cf. Wilhelm Winkelmann, Frühgeschichte und Frühmittelalter, in: Wilhelm Kohl (Ed.), Westfälische Geschichte 1, Düsseldorf  1983, pgs 187–230. Cf. p. 194 quoting i.a. 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.
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, 1996, Heft 1, pgs 29–38.
An ordinarily quoted collection of elder studies on the emergence, constitution, political and ethnosocial  structures of the Saxons: Walther Lammers (Ed.), Entstehung und Verfassung des Sachsenstammes, Darmstadt 1967.

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


Suffridus, who implicates the coastland between the rivers Ems and Elbe also Frisian, provides two Yglos ruling Soest in 4th, 5th and 7th century: Lascon in 4th and early 5th, Galama in first half of 7th century. The elder Dutch bibliography comprehends one or both of these Yglos (Iglos) as historical person(s), 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 e.g. Theuderic I  in so far, the former could have been an agnate of the 7th century Yglo. The dynastical name Adel appears in the texts about Frisian history written by Suffridus, Adil in the Ynglinga saga. An Eadgils is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf, Aðil in Old Norse Hrólfs saga kraka, Athislus in Saxo’s Gesta Danorum, Athisl in the Annales Lundenses which include the Chronicon Lethrense. These name forms may indicate the general possibility of a correspondingly named ruler even on a Migration Period location which nowadays pertains to Northern Germany.

Since we can tentatively combine the spelling form 'Eadgils' with 'Agils' and 'Athislus', the latter form(ed) by a high mediaeval author, we should pay attention to the context provided by the Widsith who relates an Eadgils, king of the Myrgings, at lines 93–96. He overthrew or became successor of Meaca Myrgingum, line 23, who is possibly/likely King Melias of Þiðreks saga. However, it seems conclusive that Kemp Malone does not agree with an evident Swedish identity of the Eadgils depicted by Saxo Grammaticus because (1962, p. 139)
(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 not be recognized 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. Thus, 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 conjects (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, cf. above ch. Some receptions.

If combining this context with the transmissions by the Old Norse + Swedish scribes in connection with also the ethno-archaeological history of Westphalia’s Migration period, the descent and vita of Atala of Susat, whom Ritter and other analysts ascribe to a 5th–6th-century Saxon or 'Hunalandish' contemporary of Þiðrek–Theuderic beyond the Rhine, appears to be confirmable with Suffridus’ fragmentary or incomplete knowledge of history on the one hand. On the other, seemingly more likely, the transmission provided by the mediaeval Scandinavian scribes can be regarded as an interpolated compilation made by an earlier author serving as historiographer and source provider of Þiðreks saga. However, we cannot exclude the possibility of hostile incursion and political upheaval at the aforementioned geoethnographical timestamps being related to 5th century.

Some other identifying connection

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, cf. Sv 148. After an epic insertion dealing with the birth and vanishing of their son Sigurð, obviously based on a pattern of Franko-German Saint Genevieve Legend 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 (hot) love with Queen Brynhild 'the Virgin' on location connected with 'Svava': The Harz, certainly most attracting Lower German region.(18) On recommendation of Brynhild, Sigurð moved to King Isung and his gorgeous sons the Old Norse scribes know as strongest fighters – actually a mighty ruler family of a very important political and economic territory: King Isung’s land between the Harz and the mouth of Elbe river, the latter nowadays pertaining to Hamburg, was bordering on the territories of martial Baltic tribes and guaranteeing enormous toll and tax profits for Scandinavian trade routes.

Þiðrek’s 'Grand Banquet Mission', a trip to big fighting event at King Isung (Sv 177–209, Mb 190–226), rather appears as tricky political campaign for making Sigurð submissive to think about his father’s connection with the family of an obvious Salian ruler: If the Niflungen were endeavouring to expand their territory towards the northern Meuse or a northern Rhine region, Þiðrek could have been compelled to install providently an extraordinary trustee for holding them in check.

The name of Sigurð, brother-in-law of the Niflungen, can express his special thick skin that even Theophanis the Confessor knew as characteristic hereditary mark going with the Merovings: an obvious ichthyosis hystrix, striking form of skin disease. Abbot Theophanis, most important Byzantine co-author of a world chronicle from 284 to 813, allows to conclude 'bristles of swine growing on Merovingian spine'. Referring to the translation of C. Mango and R. Scott, Edward G. Fichtner quotes Theophanis’ entry for the years 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, 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.

Early activities in Baltic lands and Western Russia

The history of the 'Wiltsians' is connected with Þiðrek’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 Þiðrek 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, cf. The Heroic Age, Cambridge 1912, pgs 97–99.

Thus, it seems less palpable that the eastern Franks under either Theuderic I or his son Theudebert could not 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 Varnii, and, afterwards, his son Radigis. The area of this tribe (cf. Germ. 'Warnen') has been identified with Mecklenburg locations Warnemünde and Warnow, likewise Warnow river. After the death of Hermegis, as Procopius continues his narration (History of the Wars, Gothic Wars, VIII, xx, 11), 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 identical with 'Britannia' (Great Britain), however. 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 were not accepted and rather replaced with the Brittany peninsula, (part of) the later French Bretagne, by Edward A. Thompson, Procopius on Brittia and Britannia, The Classical Quarterly Vol. 30, No. 2 (1980), pgs 498-507. Nonetheless, Thompson had to concede again that this localization is also based on some significant source emendation.
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, cf. Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum V, XI. Thus, we cannot exclude the tribal existence of the Wilti, this 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.

However, the scribes of the Old Swedish texts have been charged with ascribing 'Vilkinaland' to 'Swedish lands'. There are two quotations from the Old Swedish version providing geographical information about 'Vilkinaland', as translated for the following paragraph:

        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 Gotland, and Schonen and Sealand and Winland and all the realms there. These were called Wilcina land, as named after King Wilkinus. At that time there was tradition to name a land after the name of its ruler ... 
        Sv 297: Herding, king of Vilkinia land that is now called Great Sweden, was a rich man and a mighty fighter. He had a spouse called Ostancia; her father was Unne ('wnne'), king of eastern realm... (Herding → 'Hernid ' → Old Norse Hertnið)
Ritter recognizes Winland or Vinland as German Wendland. The equation Vilkinaland that is now called Great Sweden has been consigned to the Old Swedish manuscripts. However, its prime scribe left that kind of chosen words which cannot refer to archaic tradition. Thus, we obviously are able to distinguish between the geographical levels of early report and the later 'patriotical edition'. Since all manuscripts can hardly provide more detailed ethnological and geographical definitions of 'Vilcina', 'Vilkina', Wilzi or Wiltsians, we have to understand these ethnonyms, in common with the eminent scholar of Charlemagne, just as a 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 South-Eastern 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 listeners; 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 with, for example, the analyzing works of E. Studer (op. cit., see below en. 25), W. Eggers (op. cit., see below en. 20i). 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 Wiltsian 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 ascribe their accounts just perforce to unhistorical, inconstistent or unauthentic traditions. Considering both the Frankish politics of Theuderic I or his daughter and son Theudebert, as shortly remarked by Procopius (see above), and the accounts provided by the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts, it seems inappropriate to ascribe the Baltic regions, geographically recognized well by both elder and modern scholarship (e.g. William J. Pfaff, 1959), to more or less anachronistic venues pertaining to pretty tribes situated in today’s southern Dutch and northern Belgian regions.

William J. Pfaff considers i.a. the conquest of the obvious large Húna-land by the Frisian prince 'Attila' with regard to the chronicled material released by Suffridus Petrus in 1590 (Pfaff 1959:102 contributing F. Holthausen’s reasonable suggestion), while Willi Eggers has antecedently underlined the very potential relationship between Osantrix and his eminent son-in-law by referring to Suffridus’ historiography (op. cit.). Regarding this interliterary context, his sources may be considered 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.(19) Vergistus or Vetgistus, appositely 'the Jute', is Bede’s Victgilsus [cuius pater Vitta (by Nennius!), 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.

Since we obviously have to reckon with some nicknamed or 'renamed' individual appearing in the Þiðreks saga and the Old Swedish manuscripts, the Eastern lands ruler Osantrix may appear to some reader as shortened spelling form of Old German Os(t l)ant rex who also reappears as Oserích in MHG poetry. Incidentally, 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, cf. Morphological connections and prospects.

It should be briefly complemented the Latin quotation above taken from the work of the Frisian chronicler Suffridus Petrus. As he forwards, a dependant of a Frisian dynasty, which had invaded territory known later as Westphalia and taken over Soest for 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. At this juncture the 'Wiltsians' could have been settling there. Furthermore, as regards Mb 55, the residence of Osantrix appears not far from the Falstrskogr, cf. its position provided by Mb 109 and, plausibly, H. Bertelsen (op. cit. II, p. 403).

Ostancia, queen of 'Vilkinaland', Baltic Sea Region

Flying Dragon, mediaeval painting
A mediaeval motif.
Source: Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen.
H. Ritter, 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, cf.   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.)]


As regards Old Norse bibliography and mediaeval historiography, the Þiðreks saga appears as being based on a chronicle or historia rendering an eulogy of most important 'Austrasian' king Theuderic. Nevertheless, Þiðrek’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 these manuscripts relate Aldrian’s Revenge and two epic implantations. The first deals with Bergara (Sv: Brugare) which the author identifies with Bergen, place of translation by the Old Norse scribes who were editing or knowing of continental heroic epics and adding here their own imprint with the 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 Lower German chronicler Ludewicus, a provable 13th-century scriptor and copyist of a precious bible at Wedinghausen monastery.(20)

Gregory relates Theuderic acting not before 507. Thereafter our Frankish chronicler mentions him on campaigns against the Auvergne (523/524) – counselled by his dux Hilpingus or Hildingus, then against Thuringia (c. 530). Thereafter he removed a challenging Gaulish chief called Mundericus (532/533) and his kinsman Sigivald who likely had served him as viceroy in Clermont. The Thuringian War, however, might stand in strategical connection with the downfall of the Niflungen at Soest dated between 527 and 530 for some archaeological item. Considering Theuderic’s biographical gap between 507/508 and 523/524 plus his following actions, the vita of this Frankish king rather appears completed by the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts.

Regarding the exposition of Þiðrek’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 all his former land from his kinsman 'Ermenrik' (1st quarter of 6th century), he could have been able to make a campaign somewhere else. This context might also comprehend Gregory’s suppression of contemporary history of Roma II 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 residing on locations called Mettae and Remi – though Gregory does not say a word about the date and place of Theuderic’s coronation. According to archaeological research, however, Roma II was definitely larger and more precious colonia of the eastern Frankish regions by far when Theuderic ascended the throne. Thus, the elder scholarly conclusion does not correspond with basic political principles of Late Antiquity and Migration Period. More to this basic point, we cannot substantiate neither Metz nor Reims as Theuderic’s residence (notably Roger Collins 1983).

As already noted above, Gregory indubitably provides Trier as Theuderic’s residence while reporting on an individual called Attalus who was sent c. 530 as an hostage to his court [hist. III, 15].

Listening to the Didriks chronicle, Þiðreks saga, and Gregory for an important historical occurrence in Lower and Central Germany, however, Þiðrek was crossing the Eiffel at that very time when Theuderic
indeed had returned to his property and sent for Hermanfrid ...
(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) and talking ...
[hist. III, 8]

A fatally shrinking space for homeland of two different Frankish individuals at this certainly significant political event!

A fragment of a Roman wall, supporting Gregory’s localization, has been archaeologically proved at Zülpich by Ursula Heimberg (Publisher: Landesmuseum Bonn, Sonderheft Rheinische Ausgrabungen ’78 Köln/Bonn 1979, p. 90). Furthermore, it is worth noting that the geostrategical importance of Zülpich from Roman Times to 5th century has been persuasively underlined by Eugen Ewig, Rheinische Geschichte Bd. 1,2, p. 15.

Cologne – Bonn – Verona:

Regarding Ritter’s basic identifications at least for the contemporary dimension of Þiðrek’s 'and' Theuderic’s realm, there are intertextual indications which allow to connect Cologne, place of the aula regia of Theuderic I with both Bonn Verona and Aachen Varnenum as next important locations in the kingdom of the latter, cf. Theuderic or Þiðrek of Bern: »King of Bonn«.

Gregory of Tours relates King Theuderic I at the aula regia of Cologne about A.D. 525. Regarding Ritter’s basic spatiotemporal identification of the historical Dietrich von Bern in so far, it seems absurd to place and interpret another king Þiðrek on the side of the Frankish Theuderic, who, in the same period being involved, became authority over territory even east of Hunaland, exempli gratia a western Harz area. The most important and emphatically presented account dealing with unquestionable historiographical testifying is reproduced also by ch. CCCLXVII of Peringskiöld’s Latin manuscript (cf. Mb 393–394):
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.
– Completed with the Icelandic manuscripts (cf. 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 Hunaland, supported by many of his friends who were at King Attila’s court when he was in Hunaland. From now on King Þidrek was reigning his whole realm, 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 Þiðrek became authority over the later Westphalia – part of Hunaland with its capital Susat – after the tragical disappearance of its ruler. This is, consistently or at least uncontradictorily, the narrative point of view of the historical eastward expansion of the Franks in and after 6th century. After the takeover of the kingdom of Cologne by Clovis I, this development was significantly expedited by Theuderic I, who possibly tolerated or appointed local individuals as chieftains in regions beyond the Rhine, and resulted in some Frankish occupied or administered region west of Weser river in and after the 6th and 7th centuries. 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 [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, vol. 1, 1955, p.77f.
On the one hand, Beyerle obviously concludes that the placement 'Saxon Jutes' (saxonibus Euciis) would cover perforce all southern Saxon people. Thus, he transcribes "cum saxonibus et Euciis". On the other hand, 'Saxon Jutes' could have been chosen by Theudebert’s scribe in order to distinguish them clearly from the Anglo-Saxons.
Notably disagreeing with Beyerle is Richard Drögereit who detects 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 'Hunalandish' or 'Saxon' Atala and Þiðrek. As regards the timeline of events provided by the Þiðreks saga (cf. Ritter and the author), both had overthrown a tribe equated with the 'Wiltsians' 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 antique (or antiquated) tribal (re-)localizations by its original author. The 'demarcation of Saxon and Frankish territory' is primarily basing on archaeological research.

The 'Liber historiae Francorum' XIX might equate the '(C)hattuarii' with the 'Attoarii' of 6th–8th(!) century. Gregory of Tours does only refer to some ethnonyms provided by Tacitus for narration 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 Reich'.
Frankish Graves in Northern Rhineland and Westphalia 6th-7th 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 south-west 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 north-east of the "Chamavi", 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 (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: »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.)
[Transl.: (…) 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 fortress 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, Grünewald does not differentiate between first and second half of 6th century. Now about 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.
Cf. 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 (Francof. 1605, 8°), pgs 15–20. Latin text at MGH C 30b - 60.

In common with the 'Annals' of Quedlinburg this message seems to substantiate a Lower Germanic Atala of 5th/6th century whose date of death estimates Ritter only a short time before that of Þiðrek. Furthermore, as indicated above, 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 by Frutolf of Michelsberg, i.e. esp. its part De Origine Saxonum.
When Þiðrek returned home from a disastrous Susat to his residence in the outer Eiffel, he knew that some region of the later Westphalia and Lower 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 Eiffel, as Gregory remembers the years about A.D. 531, he removed the deprived last king of Thuringia. This is conceivable political strategy of Frankish expansion appearing in first half of 6th century.

Roma Secunda – the dark decades in the reign of Clovis I

We must state again an incredibly shrinking area for two different Theoderics when turning once more towards the vitae of Þiðrek and Theuderic. This is encyclopaedic quotation referring to Clovis’ eastern successor Theuderic I who in third decade of 6th century 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.]
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, dignitary since c. 525: Jamlychus, Emerus, Marus, Volusianus, Miletus, Modestus, Maximianus, Fibicius, Abrunculus, Rusticus, the latter obviously ignored by Gregory of Tours, cf. 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.

After the reigning period of Clovis I, plus a portion of time after his more uncertain than certain date of death (notably Wood, see above), the amassing of names in the Episcopal Registry of this Roma cisalpina ended with Theuderic’s appearance on this location. Regarding King Þiðrek’s arrival on this location, within a difference of c. 2 years by means of Ritter’s timeline, he (had) liberated this metropolis from Ermenrik’s successor 'Sevekin', the Old Nordic 'Sifka'(21).

This is nothing less than a further compelling parallel pointing out another very important political event in the vita of Þiðrek–Theuderic. The Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts annotate King Þiðrek’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.

Dénouements on literary genre

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 had left a chronicle, neither one of those 'fornaldarsögur', sagas written before Iceland’s ethnological starting point, nor one of those 'riddarasögur', chivalrous tales written thereafter by Old Norse 'fabulatores' for amusement at mediaeval courts. Roswitha Wisniewski, whose postdoctoral work about the downfall of the Nibelungen by Þiðreks saga has been either attacked unconvincingly or ignored enormously by her colleagues, does not follow inappropriate methodological principles of elder and newer scholarship for classifying the predominant literary gender of the Þiðreks saga. Although Wisniewski unpersuasively regards e.g. 'the Italian conqueror Samson' as a brainchild ('Erfindung') of Þiðreks saga, she points out that its obvious comprehensive Lower German source is based on narrational identities 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, p. 35 on 'Samson'.]

Hans-Jürgen Hube, expert in Nordic literature (Humboldt Universität Berlin, Nordeuropa-Institut, em), correspondingly estimates the manuscripts being based on a chronicle written in 12th–13th century, and he reasonably detects some basic conviction provided by Susanne Kramarz-Bein, a pupil of Heinrich Beck, as spitzfindig.(22)

As regards the life of Theoderic the Great, his vita being more in detail than the biographical material we have on the Frankish Theuderic and his intimate advisor dux Hilpingus/Hildingus, 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 being 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 twelve of Theoderic’s noblest companions, and there is no solid literary evidence 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.
Joachim Heinzle, Einführung in die mittelhochdeutsche Dietrichepik, 1999, 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.]

As regards mediaeval Dietrich epics apparently placed into Upper Germany and/or North Italy, endemic authors might have seen rather a poetical necessity not least for compensating the pragmatic appearance of the equally named Ostrogothic politician, thus glorifying and mystifying him e.g. by replacing his grandfather with nothing more than an alluding surrogate Amelunc generated from an 550 years living HugeDietrîch who, interestingly, might have been taken rather from Frankish tradition. Taking this and other approaches into consideration, scholarly authorities as Kemp Malone and other researchers in mediaeval literature inclusively regard the literary North-South mainstream (Malone at least for Dietrich von Bern transmissions, notably already Simrock for Heldenbuch contexts) and place at the disposal the Frankish king and/or his best companion as the prototype(s) serving for some southern-based heroic lay or epic work.

Since the vita and death of Þiðrek’s foe Ermenrik do widely differ from the historical accounts on Odoacer and Ermanaric († 356), 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 everybody has to do with everyone.
[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.]

On the other hand, however, some non-negligible major items related to the epic vitae of not only Dietrich von Bern but also his most eminent foe are significantly at variance. Regarding the complexity of mediaeval Dietrich epics, this may result in 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, at least potentially, unequal literary milieus (!), we warily have to care at least for some further interpretative step of dénouement and exposition.

Addressing undiscerning and intentionally ignoring communis opinio, Ritter’s general research inter alia provides convincing arguments that the Old Norse + Swedish texts cannot meet the conditional framework to ascribe them to any Ostrogothic saga on '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. Following his estimations, advanced explorations of these texts do not necessitate polemic protection by de facto obsolete research 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 deducing smartly an overestimation of the exactness of history as preserved in oral traditions instead — pretty statements emending themselves significantly to another, more believable scholarly level of mediaeval German-Norse transmission of historiography (cf. in contrast Wikipedia’s Legends about Theoderic the Great; retrieved 2011-05-17 and 2013-03-24). Besides, as regards Wikipedia’s unbalanced source citations and preferences aiming against Ritter, The German Quarterly review by Henry Kratz versus Ritter (Vol. 56/4, 1983, pgs 636–638 on: Die Nibelungen zogen nordwärts, Munich 1981) does play no 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.(23) See, for example, Ritter’s ripost in Sigfrid ohne Tarnkappe, Munich 1990, chs Irrwege bei der Deutung der Thidrekssaga, pgs 189–197, Die neue Sicht und ihr Echo,pgs 199–206; id. Soester Zeitschrift, 1985, Nr. 97, pgs 26–28; ibid. 1986, Nr. 98, pgs 150–154. Cf. also the reviews by the linguist 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, and Fritz Droste, Der Nibelungen Not in Westfalen, in: Sauerland, 1982, Nr. 1, pgs 4–8; id. Sauerland, 1984, Nr. 1, pgs 13–15.

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 demonstrated that the fundamental literary problem of Þiðreks SAGA has been carried by its title, and he conclusively states that we cannot ascribe the texts obviously translated from a German 'Großwerk' (notably Roswitha Wisniewski, cf. e.g. Hermann Reichert 1992 for problematic source context of oral transmission connected with the eldest manuscript)(24) to neither a 'noteworthy unbelievable epic tradition' on Migration Period – extant renditions about its history are characteristically depending on biased manners of narrational performance – nor Legends about Theoderic the Great.

Striking a balance between Ritter, who did not disregard narrational postmoderisms 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 Þiðreks saga. In contrast to him, however, elder scholarship and its following modern representatives have not been ready to make the distinctions drawn by Ritter. Characteristically, the corresponding modi operandi of these analysts amount to calling Upper German poetry plus noncontemporary Ostrogothic contexts as reliable witnesses against rather more realistic accounts, interpretative indications and basic congruences related to history of the 5th–6th-century eastern Franks and, overwhelmingly, their north-eastern neighbours.

Reassessing again the geonyms at Mb 13 and Mb 276, however, we are allowed to identify them as legitimate south-eastern markers in a monumental Franco-German architecture: It is obvious that its pillars were founded by Þiðrek’s dynasty, climaxing at Charlemagne, and ending in the eyes of the postulated German source provider as high mediaeval Sacrum Romanum Imperium or the Heiliges Römisches Reich deutscher Nation by elder German scholarship.(25)

In all this respect, veritable modern research in Þiðreks saga and the Old Swedish texts would not longer ascribe neither unwritten content nor any clearly different context to Ostrogothic saga environment of 'Theoderic the Great' (notably e.g. Walter Böckmann 1981, Helmut G. Vitt 1985, Ernst F. Jung 1986/87, Hanswilhelm Haefs 2004, Hans-Jürgen Hube 2009). Considering circumspectly the literary categories of Old Norse bibliography, the Þiðreks 'saga' rather has to be regarded as an imported historical 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 German edition of Þiðreks saga, mentions in his foreword a Latin manuscript whose missing direct speech can be detected in the prosaic text, cf. Johan Peringskiöld 1715. Its source, not unlikely post-edited by a Norse Latin writer, is exposed to further discussion in the author’s contribution Wadhincúsan, monasterium Ludewici. Regarding this cleric as the prime author and provider of the Old Norse + Swedish renditions, he certainly could have either compared or reconfirmed his manuscript with eminent German lays: seigia þyðersk kvæði.(26)

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. Although marked as 'translation', this script hardly seems retranslated from any extant redaction of Þiðreks saga; cf. an example for circumstantial evidence in the article Die Mosel im Licht von Thidrekssaga und Dietrich-Chronik [see 'Bild 4' at http://www.badenhausen.net/harz/svava/Thidrekssaga-Mosel.pdf].
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, estimated as settlement of 6th century.
Even so we may ask: If Gregory and the pseudonymous Fredegar, both of them rather moralistic than conscientious raconteurs, had a solid idea of a large extant record relating the contents of Þiðreks saga and Didriks chronicle: Which accounts could they omit at first for saving renditions by own local sources?

1  See Appendix A1: Remarks on the evaluation of Þiðreks saga 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 Þiðreks saga 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.) The historical localization of Þiðrek’s BERN by means of some first introduced probatory pictorial material is discussed at the largest appendix chapter of the author’s publication Die Nibelungen – Dichtung und Wahrheit, Münster 2005. Apart from own research based on the finds of Varne, the author mainly refers to publications by Wilfried M. Koch, archaeological director of German state office LVR (Landschaftsverband Rheinland).   back to text

4 All source references 'Mb' are based on the Þiðreks saga’s subchapter 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. Some 'r'-endings of names of persons, as provided by the Old Norse manuscripts, may be suspended by the author.
    Regarding quotations from the manuscripts, the author equates 'Old Norwegian + Old Icelandic' with 'Old Norse'.   back to text

5   Today: Trier on the Moselle.  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, pgs 76–84, casts also new light on high mediaeval Dietrich von Bern notions and its scholarly fixations.
    He 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 Theodoric, eldest son of Clovis. The forces of Theodoric, 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.)
   Contemplating latest geo-ethnological analysis of the Hlöðskviða (part of Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks) by E. W. Oostebrink (op. cit., see ch. Ermenrik), Hugleikr’s 'raid-gauts' 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: bath) 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 Theodoric 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  (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 North Italian or Istrian Meran by Upper German poetry (cf. Dietrichs Flucht, König Rother, Kaiserchronik). He collocates these epics aside the twelfth-century Regensburg 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 A.D. 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 Þiðreks saga, 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. Thus, Malone resumes on Mærings or Mæringas (op. cit. 1959, p. 123):
   I connect this name with NE meaning '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 Þiðreks saga 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. The author stated in 2007:
   Die Geschichtsforschung hat die Hauptfigur der Thidrekssaga wiederholt mit Theuderich I. in Übereinstimmung bringen wollen. So kein Geringerer als Karl Simrock, der sich allerdings nicht detailliert mit einer fundierten Gestaltensynopse befasst hat. Ihm folgte, wiederum ohne ausführliche Behandlung, Kemp Malone. Somit äußerten beide Forscher einen impliziten Vorbehalt gegenüber Gregors Herkunftsangabe von Theuderich. (Sage und Wirklichkeit, 2007, p. 352.)
    Simrock, Malone an other analysts naturally could proceed on the assumption that either Gregory or the Þiðreks saga or both sources combine different genealogical perception with the Franco-Rhenish protagonist. In contrast to the Þiðreks saga 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'.
    The author points out this example of historical identification at http://www.badenhausen.net/harz/svava/Wadhincusan.htm (en 10):
   Unter Berücksichtigung erkennbar korrespondierender Überschneidungen, darunter die ostfränkische Expansion in den mittel- und niederdeutschen Raum sowie später die Konsolidierung der Treverermetropole mit hervorgehobener Hinwendung des Königs auf christliche Wertvorstellungen, konzentrieren sich fränkische Historiografie und die altnord./altschw. Überlieferungen auf zwei unterschiedliche Altersabschnitte von Theuderich I. (Midlife–Alter) und Dietrich (Jugend–Midlife).
    Mit deutlicheren Worten aus dem Blog eines Historikerforums (Auszug):
    Es war Theuderich I, unter dem die fränkische Übernahme des vordem niedergermanisch-sächsischen Soest angegangen wurde und die er, neben seinen mitteldeutsch-thüringischen Ambitionen, sicher ebenso geschickt eingefädelt und z. T. miterlebt hat. Der Vorlagenautor der Thidrekssaga führt uns diesen Vorgang mit keinem anderen als dem von süddeutscher Heldendichtung aufgeschnappten Nibelungenschicksal vor Augen – welch schockierende Metaphrase! Zwar verlieren nach beiden Varianten die angerückten Gaste nur knapp gegen die Streitmacht des Gastgebers, jedoch weisen die altnordischen und altschwedischen Handschriften zu den Susater Darstellungen absolut zutreffend darauf hin, dass Thidrek das fortan ausgeblutete Reich des "Attila" übernimmt.
    Es war Theuderich I, der noch während der Osterweiterung seines Frankenreiches mit einer weiteren Großtat die Moselmetropole Trier = Roma secunda von despotischer Gewaltherrschaft befreit hat. Und es sind wiederum die altnordischen und altschwedischen Textzeugnisse, die nicht nur dieses Ereignis grundsätzlich bestätigen, sondern dazu auch Vorgeschichte und Hintergründe vermitteln wollen.
    Zwei Höhepunkte aus der Herrschervita dieses Theuderich. Zwei unverkennbare Höhepunkte aus der Thidrekssaga. Wie unverfroren überliefern deren Verfasser oder der von einer Germanistin in einem Atemzug als Bibelscriptor und Geschichtsfälscher gebranntmarkte Epos-Urheber wirklich? ...
    Nach verfügbaren fränkischen Quellen wissen zwar nicht, warum Theuderich den Ort Trier erst um 525 – als er noch einige hundert Kilometer südwestlich der Treverermetropole mit massivem militärischen Einsatz einen Reichsanspruch durchsetzen wollte – christlich rekonstituieren und somit auch grundlegend konsolidieren konnte. Anhand zuverlässiger Quellen ist jedoch weitestgehend unbestritten, dass sich dieser Moselort über mehrere Jahrzehnte – zumindest von ca. Ende des 5. bis Anfang des 6. Jhs. – in einer auf offensichtlich erheblich unruhige innenpolitische Zustände zurückzuführenden klerikalen Instabilität befunden hat.
    So sehr zu Thidreks Exil das Hildebrandslied und die Rabenschlacht als Rezeptionsgrundlage der altnordischen Handschriften bemüht werden, so wenig überzeugende Parallelen lassen sich dabei aus der historischen Vita des ostgotischen Theoderich aufzeigen. Oder mit Wikipedias Worten zu dessen Rezeption: Die Sagenbildung stellt dabei die historischen Tatsachen geradezu auf den Kopf ...(Wikipedia am 02.07.2010 unterTheoderich der Große) – forschungsbibliografische Anmaßung über den altnordischen Vermittlungsstoff par excellence!  back to text

7 Cf. Old Nordic 'samr' = black. Although it seems not uncomplicated to identify Samson with Childeric I, 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 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 and hazy vitae. Since we know about Childeric’s activities especially in north-eastern Gaul, insufficiently, some of them obviously pro-Roman against invading tribes, source contexts seem to reveal him playing nonetheless a pro-Frankish rôle, too. In so far 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 equating the Thuringians with Toringi [Commemoratorium 27,2 & 31,4], cf. G. Scheibelreiter 2009. Gregory’s dubious genealogical horizon of 5th century does also question the real dynastical identity of Clovis’ mother!
    Besides, the Blómstrvalla saga remembers some chapter of Þiðreks saga when forwarding narration 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 Lower German and Westphalian lands ('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'.
    Actually, there is a Salian resp. 'Salernian' location called Samson, as this Wallonian village can be found approximately 6 miles 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. Sauvenière is today’s name of a location that also pertains to its district. Considering obligatory historical 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 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 Samson sword type that classifies weapon foundlings of definitely 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 (published by Haider-Verlag company, Bergisch Gladbach 1987) to the expert Wilfried Menghin who notes in his book Kelten, Römer und Germanen (published by Prestel-Verlag Company, Munich 1980) the corresponding catalogue no 16/17 of Time Group A, 'the same to which the Nordic Snartemo sword has been classified'.  back to text

8 The scribe of Mb 246 locates Valslongu at certain 'western border' of Franka riki, cf. German Þiðreks saga translation by F. H. von der Hagen. Ritter identified Walslongu ('Valsløngva') as German Westerwald, a woodland which, as the MSS provide, partially belonged to the realm of that Salumon. A western or north-western border of his land actually seems plausible if the Franks had already taken their first new regions 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. In so far the mediaeval writer certainly means an area known today as '(Unter-)Franken' with regional inhabitants still called 'Mainfranken'. The author of Mb 250 remarks that King 'Salumon' attended a colloquium of apparently 'Ripuarian Franks' (see en. 13) at King Ermenrik’s Roma [secunda]. Ritter has placed this event at the end of 5th century. Thus Salumon, 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 –, from the MS to be roughly determined in eastern position of the former Walslongu centre, was an important strategic passage presumably after the withdrawal of the Romans and certainly after Migration Period.
    Furthermore, regarding historical interpretation, the Valslongu episode might correspond with another good reason for Clovis to remove Franco-Rhenish king Sigibert of Cologne whose territory seemingly was ranging to confluentes region.
    Considering basic historical relations at this juncture, we should not subordinate the geopolitical message to the embedded story of Salumon and Apollonius, cf. en. 27.1 at Wadhincúsan, monasterium Ludewici [German]. The primary literary motifs of this episode were remarkably explored by elder scholarship. For instance, Fine Erichsen regards the MHG strophic epics Salmon und Morolf as nothing more than a 'possible source' (Thule 1924). Accordingly, she imagines the love potion of the Celtic Isold now being transformed into a ring of the same strong appeal, although disguise performance to access to the court of Salumon may also appear somewhat connected with the afore-titled tradition. 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 same age.  back to text

9 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.  back to text

10  i. Thus, 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 death of Clovis (510/511). With Gregory’s words accordingly: Gothi vero cum post Chlodovechi mortem multa de id quae ille adquesierat pervasissent, Theudoricus ... cf. e.g. Jonathan J. Arnold, Theoderic, the Goths, and the Restoration of the Roman Empire. Doctoral thesis, p. 241, fn. 170.
        Gregory involves Theuderic in very dubious context with the Auvergnat episcopates of Quintianus and Apollinaris (c. 515), notably I. N. Wood 1983 and E. James 1985. Frankish authority over the Auvergne at that time appears less believable considering Theuderic’s extensive military action of 523/524 by Gregory’s reports. He might have either misdated Theuderic who became by this impressing expedition sovereign of that territory or mistaken him for a more plausible protectorate of Theoderic the Great up to that point of time. Moreover, it is strikingly evident that Gregory has suppressed the name of the enemy whom the Frankish king defeated with this obvious forceful military campaign – against the Gothi protected once by a great leader whom Gregory tries to mention as less as possible? Interestingly, Gregory remarks a dux Hilpingus (an 'Hildingus' in Carolingian bibliography) as Theuderic’s intimate advisor to this conquest (Liber Vitae Patrum IV, 2)!
        As Gregory inserts at hist. III, 4, Theuderic had preliminarily finished his first unsuccessful Thuringian operation – its historical reality remarkably doubted by the RGA – before his second Auvergnat campaign. Gregory’s hist. III, 3–5 apparently date from c. 515 to c. 523. Within this span Theuderic is supposed to have not been able to take possession of the half of Baderic’s Thuringian realm which his brother Hermanfrid had promised him. Nevertheless, in case of creditibility considering also Þiðrek’s Gransport campaign (c. 510), it would not seem inconceivable that Theuderic therewith was depending on limited armed forces possibly strengthened insufficiently by an ally.
        Following Gregory’s Liber Vitae Patrum VI, 2, reporting on Theuderic and the cleric Gallus from Cologne (c. 523), there was serious menace to their obvious short Christian mission to most important lower Rhineland area in the first half of 6th century. This item does not question the 'Return of Þiðrek' dangerously crossing the region of Babilonia and defeating its ruler Elsung the Younger (Sv 341–346, Mb 399–406).
        Furthermore, critical research in Gregory’s texts neither suggests nor conclusively propagates Theuderic’s participation in Burgundian War, hist. III, 6; cf. Theuderich I. in RGA Vol. 30  (2005), p. 462 for dubious hist. III, 4. While this latest edition of the RGA does not confirm Theuderic’s active involvement in this war, moreover Wood 1994 constates Theuderic ostentatiously avoiding the Burgundian campaign.
        Regarding the basic understanding of the protagonists’ 'exile', the sources just allow to conclude that Theuderic was driven out of Auvergne (since 507/508) and thereafter could not rule over this most attracting Gaulish region (seemingly suggested by Gregory) until 523/524. Not contradicting this item, the other north-eastern sources of stronger limited geographical horizon relate that Þiðrek was coincidentally chased away from his Bern location by a kinsman ruling Roma II.
   10  ii. As regards measure of time related to Old German Dietrich von Bern tradition, see Ritter’s explanation of counting the years of Hildebrand: Dietrich von Bern, Munich 1982, pgs 205–207. Notably also H.-J. Hube 2009.
     10  iii. Considering Frankish territories at the death of Clovis I, E. Ewig, I. N. Wood and other analysts do not follow some dubious mapping by Vidal de la Blache as redrawn or published by English, French and German Wikipedia, e.g. 'Theuderic I', 'Clovis Ier ', 'Thierry Ier ', 'Chlodwig I.' – retrieved 2012-08-17.
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   11 The Old Norse + Swedish texts do not provide that Þiðrek 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 finally conquered by Frankish king Dagobert I. Suffrid’s De Frisiorum antiquitate et origine libri tres  II, 15, provides that Dagobert confronted the local commander Yglo Galama, apparently of 'Frisian descent', with invading forces. Following Suffridus, Dagobert’s large Austrasian campaign against Saxon tribes, most likely between 623 and 625, was significantly supported by his father Chlothar II († 629 or 630). Regarding these large Frankish campaign against the Saxons, there are some parallels between Suffridus and narration by the Liber historiae Francorum.  back to text
12 This equation is provided by the rhyme chronicle of Cologne being ascribed to Gottfried Hagen, clericus coloniensis, municipal clerk and clergyman of Cologne in 13th century. The author of this chronicle 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 (Neo Germ bei) does correspond with English nearby!
    One of the first ecclesiastical testimonies equating Bonn on the Rhine with Verona, which 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. This donation apparently indicates a special historical relationship between both locations. Cf. Heinz Ritter-Schaumburg, Dietrich von Bern, Munich 1982, pgs 52–56. Rolf Badenhausen, Sage und Wirklichkeit, Münster 2007, pgs 346–348.  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 a 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 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 Vol. 24, 2003, or the more comprehensive analysis by Matthias Springer: Riparii - Ribuarier - Rheinfranken ... in RGA Vol. 19, 1998.)
   Nonetheless, Eugen Ewig remembers that Jordanes mentions Ripari or Riparoli under the command of Aëtius in the Battle of Troyes in A.D. 451, cf. Trier im Merowingerreich – Civitas, Stadt, Bistum; Trier 1954, p. 62. back to text

14  Babilonia as an apposition for Cologne, apparently related to a retrospective view, can be found in an official clerical document of 11th-German century, see for more details en. 27 in the author’s article Wadhincúsan, monasterium Ludewici.
    This Babilonia, that Roman history about Germania inferior reveals in figurative sense as the Babylon of luxury and vice, is provable as Cologne even in geographical context. For example, Duna Crossing pertains to Jarl Elsung the Younger who is mentioned as ruler of Babilonia. Note well, interestingly, that Elsung the Elder was the former ruler of Bern!
    Following Clovis’ control of power, he certainly would not have nominated the Niflungen for King Sigebert’s or Sigurð’s successor if they had been already rewarded with the administration of Þiðrek’s realm after his expulsion from Bern.
    If Zülpich that Gregory obviously calls Tulbiacum, s. hist. II, 37 + III, 8, had been remarkably destroyed in Alemannic-Frankish war, the Niflungen could have been forced to take a new place of residence nearby. 'Vernica' or 'Verminza', as the original texts mention, is only a few miles far from Zülpich = Tulbiacum which has been equated with Tolbiacum. The manuscripts note brightest full moon night when the Niflungen 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 Niflungen with polished armour underneath their garments could have covered only c. 30 miles from their capital place.  back to text

15   i. Hunaland or Humaland, Hymaland, appear related to Lower German hûne, Middle High German Huine (= large human, cf. historical Hünengräber as impressing burial places characteristically in Lower Germany), are names used by the mediaeval Scandinavian scribes for an obvious  large territory centered between lower Rhine and lower Elbe.
       Karl Simrock (op. cit. p. 13 f.) refers to the Widsith, 33:
      Hún Hætwerum ond Holen Wrosnum  (cf. transcription at georgetown.edu/labyrinth)
     and he connects this Hun with the ruler of the Hattuarii or Chattuarii, a folk situated on the lower Rhine in Migration period. Thus, it is certainly not out of the question that this Hun, enlarging his influence on adjacent regions of the later Westphalia and Lower Saxony, was equated light-mindedly with the leader of the south-eastern Huns on the Tisza. Correspondingly Reinhard Wenskus (1994, op cit. p. 693) who notes well the geographical 'hunskr' apposition of Sigurð in two Eddic 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 apparently chosen by Saxo Grammaticus. However, Wenskus remarks further that the Beowulf claims Sigemund a son of the Wælsinges, as this points well 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 instead of the Bardengau as Sigmund’s kingdom on the one hand, but on the other the Vǫlsunga saga depicts him as a migrating king who disguises himself as a wolf – cf. German Wolfsburg in the former Bardengau.
      Reinhard Wenskus makes this interesting conjecture on the determination of Húnaland (op. cit. pgs 687–688); cf. RGA Vol. 22 (2003) p. 190 :
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 *Hũgno werden läßt, von dem aus der Ländername Hũgno land (Land der Hugen/Franken) gebildet werden kann, der einem *Hũnjo 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

11 Dazu N. WAGNER, Zur Herkunft der Franken aus Pannonien, in: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 11 (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 Reihengräber 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 < *Hũgwnõz 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. *Hũgamarkja, gebildet aus dem Volksnamen Hugas und *markõ.
16 Vgl. R. WENSKUS (wie Anm. 6) S. 530.
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.
     The Venerable Bede apparently ascribes a folk called Hunni to Lower German(ic) tribes:
      ...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.) 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 settle 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 emphasized geonyms above 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 region of Soest could have been named temporarily after his homeland, that region which has been geohistorically estimated e.g. somewhere between the Frisavones (or Frisii) and Chattuarii, and, more likely with an inclusion of the region around Soest, also between the rivers Hunte (mapped in this article) and Hunse (Hunze), district of Groningen.

   15  ii. 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

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

17 Fertur, super litore maris aestatis tempore Chlodeo cum uxore resedens, meridiae uxor ad mare labandum1 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 at noon Chlodeo sat with his wife on the seashore, and she went to take a bath in the Labadian1 sea where a beast of Neptune which resembled a Quinotaur took possession of her. From this beast, as from her husband, she bore a son named Merovech, of whom the Frankish kings are called Merovings.]
    Does Fredegar’s version enable us to transfer this Greek scene to a shore of Clodeo’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 narration, 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).
1  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'.

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18 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, is pointed out in the heraldic banner of BADENAUSEN Ancestry that has its roots in the Harz.) Walter Böckmann and the author localize the 'Seaguard' as Ilsenstein castle seemingly mentioned as Burg Isenstein in ownership of King Hermanfrid’s brother Berthar (cf. German Wikipedia at http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radegundis  (retrieved Feb. 2006). 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 F. W. Weber who certainly implanted historical elements in his work.
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

19 Suffridus (op. cit., see en. 11) has knowledge of different genealogical lines of Hengist and Horsa. After correcting Geoffrey of Monmouth, he quotes Bede:
    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:
    Hengistus enim patris naturalis familia per fortis acerbitatem privatus, familiam patris adoptivi secutus est ... Huic autem duci Udolpho nati sunt filij duo, quorum majorem Hengistum, minorem Horsum appellari voluit, as solatium uxoris in memoriam eius defunctorum fratrum. Hos igitur nepotes suos avus maternus Vergistus in filiorum locum adoptavit.
    and enormously supplements:
    Ex qua sola ducum Saxonicorum genealogiam hodie plerique deducunt, cum familiam patris naturalis ignorent: Alioqui enim Hengistus in naturalis patris stirpe recta linea in Frisionem gentis nostræ conditorem reducitur, uno tantum gradu interclusus regia successione, hoc modo: Hengisti & Horsi pater erat Udolphus Haron, septimus & ultimus Frisiorum dux: Frisij enim ab initio ad Carolum Magnum usque septem principes, totidemque duces, & novem reges haberunt: Udolphi pater erat Odilbaldus, illius Haron, illius Ubbo, illius Richoldus, (sed non dux Frisiæ; nam duo patrueles eius post avum vicissim imperarant, Titus & Adelboldus:) Richoldi pater erat Asconius dux Frisiæ, idem qui Titi pater, & Adelboldi erat: Asconij pater erat Tabbo septimus & ultimus Frisiorum princeps; cuius pater Dibbaldus Segon, cuius pater Diocarus Segon, cuius pater Asinga Ascon, cuius pater Adel, cuius pater Friso, frater Saxonis.
    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, vol. II  No. 1, p. 44f.  back to text

20    i.   Roswitha Wisniewski, Die Darstellung des Niflungenunterganges in der Thidrekssaga, Tübingen 1961. See further the author’s study on the most likely Lower German clerical authorship of the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts: Wadhincúsan, monasterium Ludewici, National German Library DNB, urn:nbn:de: 0233-2009033115, at   http://www.badenhausen.net/harz/svava/MonasteriumLudewici.pdf.
    Regarding afore-going 'less believable epic 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, cf. en. 8 regarding the historical background of the Apollonius and Herborg story. While some analyst likes to connect this narration also with a receptive pattern of Apollonius of Tyre, the 'wry episode' of Young Þiðrek, Herburt and Hilld 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 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 (mis)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 Vol. 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 (Roswitha Wisniewski, 1961, op. cit. 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!
    Exploring the bridal-quest story of the Frisian prince Atala and the Wiltsian princess Erka, Willi Eggers has suggested a Lower 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? 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(r) calls his special bear performed by Vildiver '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 Middle 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.

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 ›þiðreks saga‹ 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‹ (ca. 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. (...)
    McConnell addressing 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.
(pbb 2013; 135(2): 283–289; quot p. 285.)
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, cf. 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 transmission context of Þiðreks saga, it seems absolutely plausible that he knew Aspilian already from the Wiltsian tradition! Sv 136 and Mb 139 may represent a further but certainly not the last circumstantial evidence for a more complex rôle of Westphalian authorship: As these passages relate, the fur of Vildiver’s beary dress originates in the Lurvald, the woodland around Wadhincusan monastery which, incidentally, was not transformed to -holt, -mǫrk, -skógr, -viðr.
    Willi Eggers notes intertextual source divergences onto the wooing episodes, the Wiltsian 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.
    All Þiðreks saga redactions neither mention forms of 'Burgundy' nor provide the revenge-based epic depiction of Didrik’s death. (Note that Sv 383–386 have been ascribed to a later edit!)
    Young-Þiðrek’s fight against Hild and Grim ( Mb 16–17, Sv 13) and the Fasold story at the Osning can be classified as lesser realistic passages whose author apparently has embedded their most important protagonist into an environment of epic heroism. The former narration, 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.)
   The 'historical background' of latter episode at Rimslo is based on the authentic appearance of large prehistoric animals a few miles north of Riemsloh, cf. Mb 104, Sv 105. The impressing tracks of such reptiles, officially found in 1921 (!) near Barkhausen village and classified as 'Elephantopoides barkhausensis and Megalosauripus barkhausensis', inspired the prime author to enrich the story of Þiðrek 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 Þiðrek and his follower Fasold (onto ancestral items of the latter: Sage und Wirklichkeit, Münster 2007, pgs 424–426) 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 The preserved wall of the prehistoric tracks at their original place, 52.278333°N 8.413889°E.
   There are at least two interesting historical allusions in the passages about Dietrich’s Osning trip: First, the reception of the Roman politician and eminent commander Drusus (Mb 96, Mb 240, Sv 96 'Drusian, Drasian, Drocian') for the hero’s adequately ranked father-in-law who, howewer, is nowhere serving for any political or consequent important effect in the transmission by the historiographer serving for the Old Norse + Swedish manuscripts. Second, we may state related name forms of the spouses of Þiðrek & Theuderic. Thus, the author remarks at
http://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 SuavegottaSuavegotho 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. unter http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/BURGUNDY_KINGS.htm   sowie ausführlicher Eugen Ewig 1991:50–52.
Allerdings hat zum figürlichen Identifizierungskontext bereits Gudmund Schütte [1936(II):192f.] für die räumliche Interpretation des Drusian eine Rezeption des römischen Feldherrn Drusus (bzw. von dessen Altar) im Osning erwogen.
   As concerns the Brictan episode on the river Lippá (Mb 84–89), the author of this part might have magnified his story with some pattern taken from a continental narration or just a scheme which had already inspired Chrétien de Troyes for his Erec and Enide. William J. Pfaff (1959:46,124–125 ) tried to show that the author of this episode has borrowed from Solomon and Marcolf.
   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, cf. Ritter, Sigfrid ohne Tarnkappe, p. 235, en. 14. Lethally wounded, the brother of the sly smith finally made this confession, cf. 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...
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... [Translation by the author.]

   20  ii. In contrast with Peringskiöld’s short consideration of sources that render interpretations of dwarves and giants (1715, 'fŏretal'), 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.
Chapter Wŏ den gezwergĕ, cf. 'Dresden edition' printed with added prose text at Hagenau, 1509. [Translation by the author.]
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 included e.g. in 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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21    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 Þiðrek – 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, cf. PLRE.
   Interestingly, both Sabinianus and Clovis (cf. the South Gaul 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). Explicitely contradicting him, Kemp Malone (1962) recognizes this figure as protagonist of the Hervarar saga, and with him R. Wenskus (1994, op. cit.) also allocating 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 Hunalandish 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 Þiðreks saga 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 beginning of its second syllable does contradict a derivation basing 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.
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22 ... 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

23    i.  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 monokausality and Migration Period historiography, as to be connected with 'literary transformation' (Beck op. cit. 1993), some scholarly reviewers seem more amenable to reason. As concerns Ritter’s general position on the eminent campaign and route of the Niflungen, Dietrich Hofmann concludes 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. (Dietrich Hofmann, "Attilas Schlangenturm" und der "Niflungengarten" in Soest, in: Jahrbuch des Vereins für niederdeutsche Sprachforschung, 1981, vol. 104, pgs 31–46, cf. pgs 44–45.)
   Dietrich 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 reasonably agrues (op. cit. p. 175) by means of Henrik Bertelsen’s source text transcription 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 Edda may have taken the snake-pit motif from Northern Germany.
   Challenging Ritter, Dietrich Hofmann attempted to indicate 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 Eddic lays of apparently c. A.D. 900, had taken its ormar garðr motif from an apparently later erected episcopal site 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, cf. p. 40. See Ritter 1981:193 who does not take the large building at the Episcopal place of residence ('Pfalz') for Gunnar’s 'snake tower', cf. 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 Þiðrek, 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, cf.
http://www.badenhausen.net/harz/ svava/svava_en.htm#Annotation_07,
it would be worth to think more complexly about all the reasons why Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne in A.D. 962, decided to transfer the relics of the holy Patroklus from Troyes to Soest as its new Christian patron.
   The Old Norse scribes have apparently distorted the original spelling form Iring (notably Widukind of Corvey, Frutolf of Michelsberg, Annales Quedlinburgenses, De Origine Gentis Swevorum) to Irung. Hilkert Weddige considers the possibility that 'Iring’s Way' or 'Iring’s Wall' 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 fortress 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, cf. pgs 10–11.)

Drawings on the right are taken from the article quoted by H. ten Doornkaat Koolman.

Elder Wall of Soest
   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 layers with relicts 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.«
   23  ii. Further narrative and archaeological remarks
If the antique 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 Attala died in Sigfrid’s treasure cave.
2. For that reason not less than two noble female burial chambers to be found side by side, because Attala married the mother of Hagen’s son Aldrian after the death of Grimhild.
3. Since Aldrian, the obvious son of Attala 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 Attala’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 expressing 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.
   A. 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.
   23  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. A.D. 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).
   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)
  –  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).
   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. A.D. 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. A.D. 600.
   As far as presently known, apart from speculative estimations based on relative 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 Supplement Vol. 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)
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24   The so-called Prologue of Þiðreks saga 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), Hube (op. cit. p. 410).
    The author deduces at http://www.badenhausen.net/harz/svava/ZwoelfumDietrichvonBern.htm (retrieved 2012-03-31):
   Die rund sieben Jahrhunderte betragende Spannweite zwischen Ritter-Schaumburg und jener unkritisch akzeptierten Vorstellung eines mittelalterlichen Prologverfassers über „Sagengenese“, Stoffgeschichte und Berichtgebung (nur im Sammlungsbestand der jüngeren A/B-Handschriften) ist ein anschauliches Beispiel für kaum zu überbrückende Forschungsgegensätze.(...) Hierzu mag ein Kausalzusammenhang insoweit bestehen, als dieser mittelalterliche Kommentator die (von Ritter-Schaumburg auch zu deren Ursachen begründend aufgezeigten) toponymischen und buchstäblich literalen Übertragungsfehler aus dem mutmaßlich niederdeutschen Quellenmaterial dieser Handschriften nicht hinlänglich verifizieren konnte. Nach der für uns und ihn verfügbaren altnordischen Bibliografie muss insofern jedoch auch mit den zweifellos berechtigten Möglichkeiten gerechnet werden, dass einerseits zu den chronikalisch und detailliert überlieferten niederdeutschen Ortsangaben, andererseits zur eigennamentlichen Unterscheidung, genügenden Identifizierung und Lokalisierung der Hauptfigur der Thidrekssaga weder frühmerowingische oder rheinfränkische Überlieferungen noch eine zeitadäquate ostrheinisch-niederdeutsche Geografie und Historiografie greifbar waren. (Siehe dazu die hauptsächlich von H. Ritter-Schaumburg neu determinierte Geografie der altnordischen und altschwedischen Handschriften.)
   Insoweit scheint also durchaus nachvollziehbar, dass der nordische Scriptor zu seiner stoffgeschichtlichen, wegen für ihn uneindeutiger historischer Ausgangslage jedoch nur spekulativen „Thi(o)drek“-Exkursion unter Hinweis auf diverse orale Traditionen die von Theoderich d. Großen geprägte Ära fokussierte, sich wegen dieser sardonischen Überlieferungslage viel zu breitbandig und somit längst verzerrend um historische Muster und Analogien bemühte. Je mehr die gegenwärtige Lehrauffassung diesen vormals und hier offenbar nicht zu Unrecht von manchem Analysten als „Sagamann“ eingestuften Literaten auch weiterhin mit nicht überzeugenden Vorstellungen zu interpretieren versucht, desto weniger wird sie nach den Beiträgen von Ritter-Schaumburg fähig sein, sich im Interesse dringend erforderlicher Emendationen von ihrem dogmatischen Forschungskollegialismus und -protektionismus zu lösen. Eine Grundsatzproblematik, deren Wurzeln, Dimensionen, Exempel sich bis in die mittelalterliche Scholastik zurückverfolgen lassen.
    Der Verfasser vermerkt in seinem Netzbeitrag Zur Schuldfrage von „Attila“ und Grimhild, Atli und Gudrun:
    Trotz einiger irriger inhaltlicher Interpretationen heißt es im altnordischen Prolog zur Thidrekssaga (Sammlungsbestand jüngere A/B-Handschriften), dass sie  in der Zeit entstanden ist, als Kaiser Constantinus der Große gestorben war, welcher beinahe die ganze Welt zum Christentum bekehrt hatte; aber nach seinem Hintritte verfiel das Christentum wieder und erhoben sich allerlei Irrtümer, so dass in dem ersten Teil dieser Saga niemand war, der den rechten Glauben hatte ...
    Flavius Valerius Constantinus starb in der ersten Hälfte des 4. Jahrhunderts. Vergleicht man mit dieser Zeitangabe die inhaltlichen Darstellungen der ersten Berichte der Thidrekssaga und Dietrich-Chronik, so fallen nach Ritter-Schaumburgs Zeitmarken sowohl die Geburtszeiten von Samsons Vaterbruder Thetmar als auch Hildebrands Großvater Ragbald in die zweite Hälfte bzw. in den Endbereich des 4. Jahrhunderts.
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25 The ephemeral as well as fallacious Ostrogothic conflation at Mb 13, i.e. the appearance of the 'Sea with the Isles of Greece' (Gricklandz hafui ... eyia), has been serving for the Old Norse writer’s erroneous reception of the Aðrimar and basic Byzantine relations, cf. Mb 276. As a result, his Gothic imagination of this era appears roughly mapped with a central 'Adriatic Sea' and, regarding a later geographical development related to the expansion of Frankish kingdom, the territorial importance of Bulgaria in 9th and 10th century (Mb 276); cf. its eminent alliance with Charlemagne and bounding to the west on the great Frankish empire stretching out its influence to the Tisza after A.D. 796. It seems unnecessary to annotate that also the Balkan Peninsula has not been connected with any scene of action in the manuscripts. Contextually regarding 'Greece', its special meaning is subject of bibliographical sightings by Hans-Jürgen Hube who reminds us that an eminent Northern German chronicler of High Middle Ages evidently preferred to write down 'Graecen' instead of 'Slavs' (see above).
   However, the Old Swedish chronicle does not provide these paralogisms and distracting statements; cf. Sv 10, Sv 230.
   Thus, Hans-Jürgen Hube correspondingly compares and evaluates the southern geonyms at Mb 13 and Mb 276 based on misunderstanding/misleading later edits by the Old Norse redactors ('compilers'):
   Die späteren nordischen Kompilatoren dachten aber eher an italienische Gebiete und das Reich der früheren ostgotischen Könige. Auch Greken, eigentlich Graach, wurde in diesem Zusammenhang als „Griechenland” gedeutet, und damit hatte man eine „europäische Dimension” und Thidrek von Bern/Bonn gleichsam mit Theoderich gleichgesetzt (op. cit. p. 24, fn. 2).
   Bolgernland: Bulgarien. Der norwegische Kompilator denkt hier an die Reichsdimensionen nach Theoderich und an oströmische Kaiser (op. cit. p. 233, fn. 2).
   Since the Ostrogothic Ermanaric († 356) was not a contemporary of both Theoderic the Great and Þiðrek, that former ruler, scholastically and uncritically equated with 'Odoacer', can not be identical with the most significant antagonist of the latter. Furthermore, as both the Old Norse + Swedish texts provide, neither a Roman Odoacer nor any Ermanaric was ever killed by Þiðrek. Thus, as an example for wrong literary approaches based on inappropriate methodological premises finally brought forward against different genres of bibliography and Ritter plus following research, this interfigural fact can not be 'correctively converted into the contrary' for the purpose of demonstrating these manuscripts as an epic material of inacceptable historiographical coherence and rationality.
  As regards the country just north of the afore-quoted 'Bolgernland', some modern scholar attempted to point out the 'obvious anachronistic appearance of high mediaeval Hungary' by means of contemporary Teutonic/German Order, cf. Kronstadt built by Germans as the 'City of the Crown'. However, the prominence of this nation, as well not connected with any place of action thereabout, on the subject of – 'consequently' – nothing more than the authorship’s intention of his own great national identification would be more likely ascribable to a German manuscript provider than translating Old Norse redactors. Not less interesting, likewise for interpretation of the national identity of the predecessive 'Großwerk' author, some Baltic report appears connected with a 13th-century point of presence of German Order. Nonetheless, regarding also an 'Hungarian area' formerly reckoned to a great kingdom of a Slavic ruler (cf. Mb 21), the eastern wartime accounts provided by the texts, as far as not being disproved by consistent research, can relate historical events in this large area of Migration Period; cf. Ella Studer, Russisches in der Thidrekssaga. Doctoral thesis, University of Bern, Switzerland 1929. Reprint 1931.
   With respect to high mediaeval currency in the texts, remarkably appearing in the Þettleif parts of all manuscripts, we have to consider not only a translated German source for those 'marka gulls' and 'penninga', cf. Old Norse MSS, but also the intention of the source provider to leave a further German mark of origin by implementing these currency units in his narrative material.  back to text

26 As already mentioned, both the Þiðreks saga and the Old Swedish manuscripts do not connect the Niflungen to any Burgundian geonym. Conclusively, source research has been rightly considering an archaic material for the works written by the postulated Lower German and the Old Norse + Swedish scribes and, definitely, those Upper German authors, because the Nordic ones do augment with some receptive detail provided by the Nibelungenlied resp. its suggested earlier version Ältere Notback to text

  A1   Remarks on the evaluation of Þiðreks saga manuscripts (Extract from The Nibelungen – The True Core by the Svava?, cf. A3.4)     

Ritter’s method of dealing with Þiðreks saga is principally based on his answer to the cardinal question whether a tradition being assumed remarkably pregnant with historical facts may be dissected in twilight mixture of mythological narratives. As Ritter has expressively underlined at his lectures, rather less significant as well as detectable noncontemporary adapting implementation by an evident group of Old Norse editors might have induced scholarly evaluation especially of the Membrane texts to evaluate Þiðreks saga basically as less authentic or fabulous pool of originally unrelated single tales. Beside other indication, Ritter regards the source of the Old Swedish manuscripts principally 'guiding' Þiðreks saga, and he considers these texts of such recognizable literary selectivity that subsequently will allow efforts to estimate them as historiographical sources.
    Theodore M. Andersson, reviewer of a symposium-based supplement edited by Susanne Kramarz-Bein for Walter de Gruyter’s encyclopaedia of Germanic antiquity, comments the contradicting cataloguing of Þiðreks saga. Andersson, obviously seeing a clear literary difference between 'Old Norse' and 'of Norway', was obviously remembering Ritter’s publications with this introductory remark of 1996:
  »... Þiðreks saga, which had not received much scholarly attention for several decades, came back into fashion about ten years ago ...«

   This English review, available at http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~alvismal/7susanne.pdf  (retrieved May 2005), follows Heinrich Beck’s position by means of his paper Þiðreks saga als Gegenwartsdichtung? who, stringently against Ritter’s postulation and reasoning, notoriously exposes Þiðreks saga to the light of poetry somewhat and somehow inspired by history. Andersson writes:
 ... Heinrich Beck’s "Þiðreks saga als Gegenwartsdichtung?" ... points out that Þiðreks saga ... synchronizes events from legendary prehistory with near-contemporary events in the twelfth century (campaigns against the Slavs on the eastern frontier of Germany). Time in Þiðreks saga is thus a variable quantity ...«
   Moreover, Heinrich Beck classifies the message of Þiðreks saga expressively more subtle than its naïve reader would imagine. Addressing Ritter, he will underpin Germanism’s fundamental attitude towards the general understanding of SAGA with this manifesto:
    »Germanistic saga research has recognized long since (...) that saga tradition is not an ancient forwarding but derives from topic adoption.« (Transl. from  Zur Thidrekssaga-Diskussion, in: Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie. 112, 1993, pgs 441–448.)
    The Germanistic and other scholastic strategies launched against the research of Ritter seem to ignore the fact that the Old Norse scribes evidently processed to title translated historiographical and chronicled material as 'saga'. Thus, critical research is not willing to disregard the Þiðreks saga as a more credible historical source and, in so far, would not follow subtle explorations of the Old Norse texts as provided by Heinrich Beck and other scholars in literature agreeing with his questionable basic position.
    Ritter’s translation of the Old Swedish Didriks chronicle was not called in question on literary subject. For elaborating research he therein left his comparing analysis of both chronological and historiographical structures of the Svava and Þiðreks saga manuscripts. In the addenda provided with his translation (pgs 399–455) he exemplarily scrutinises and finally refutes the Svava’s dependency from the Membrane and Icelandic manuscripts against scholastic evaluation of Scandinavian researchers. Ritter also implemented into his posthumous publication Der Schmied Weland a supplementary analysis that points out the different literary style of these texts anything but less insignificant through exemplary synoptic studies providing Þiðreks saga’s special predilection for certain subjective notional forwarding and, as a result, also for mythologizing, cf. Quotations from Der Schmied Weland (German).
    Seasoned practitioners have not rejected Ritter's methodical deciphering of  'the geographical and ethnic names in the Didriks Saga', an analysis of noteworthy consistency that considers rational contemporary circumstances of time and location. In 1959 William J. Pfaff had already introduced an equally titled book with 'a study in Germanic heroic Legend', who, however, failed in geostrategical plausibilities for the unbelievable Ostrogothic milieu attributed by means of Upper German poetry. Thus, the revising research would hardly believe that the Old Norse editors had done more than a mere translation of an imported tradition, mainly a Lower German Historia Dietrich von Bern; especially considering that, apart from only a very few cases of Ostrogothic misunderstanding and misinterpreting, the translators obviously never attempted to change any location name there.
    To boot, it seems implausible that the Old Norse scribes of King Hákon IV would have had any good reason to implant any own narration or compilation on such unfamiliar small locations as Vernica, Thorta or Brictan, such rivulets as Duna, Wisara or Eydissa, such mountain forests as the Osning or Valslanga.

Literary stemma of Dietrich von Bern
The Upper German stem on the left represents epic tradition detracting 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 Þiðreks saga, while she regards the 'Ältere Not' only rendering epic influences of 'Duna crossing', recovery at Margrave Rodingeir’s 'Bakalar' (MHG: 'Markgraf Rüdigers Bechelaren') and the arrival of the 'Niflungen' at the residence of King Atala. We may also consider the 'Ältere Not' providing the Nibelungen character 'Giselher' (notably Leon Polak, Roswitha Wisniewski). He seems to be taken from the 'Lex Burgundionum' as an interfigural character in order to boost the Old Norse Gunnar with an 'accompanying actor' originally spelled 'Gislahar(ius)'. He defeated Rodingeir who might also represent an interpolative figure. His German 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, Tübingen 1989, p. 112f.)
   Clearing the authoress of the latter critical argument, however, the so-called zweite Quelle may include various chronicled accounts.
   Roswitha Wisniewski reminds us on the subject of literary composition of heroic transmissions by chronicles and 'historiae' that James Westfall has reworded the 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.

General remarks on the Old Swedish manuscripts

The treatise Ritter added 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 Þiðreks saga. 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 rather shows Danish than Norwegian influence, as Ritter cites Bengt Henning who found out that the so-called 'Norvagism' are playing almost no role against the 'Danism' of remarkable quantity. While Henning nonetheless votes for the Old Norse-Norwegian manuscripts as the source of the Old Swedish scribes, Ritter judges this opinion of Henning and other analysts not convincing.
    Regarding both a Þiðreks saga manuscript evidently brought early enough to an Old Swedish monastery (convent) and, obviously, a further important source of the Old Swedish redactions, which are so consequently dealing with both 'Gyntar' and 'Gunnar' in all chapters, it seems less likely that this special figural configuration could be based on an unintentional permutational action by the Old Swedish scribes providing their source-based manuscripts, cf. Wisniewski 1961 and Ritter contradicting with different points of views such and other arbitrary assumption on this subject. As already placed at the disposal, the Old Swedish chroniclers 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 appearing as subtle emendation by the Old Swedish scribes to some modern philologists.
    Thus, we are obviously obliged to postulate a significant source content which the Old Swedish scribes have been forwarding besides the Þiðreks saga texts. Therefore, Roswitha Wisniewski starts her postdoctoral thesis with the approach that the basic source of the Old Norse manuscripts came as a comprehensive work from Lower Germany, as she reasonably votes for a chronicler at Wedinghausen monastery near Soest (Wadhincúsan, see the author’s contribution Wadhincúsan, monasterium Ludewici). Regarding missing and unequal narrative elements in the Old Norse texts, e. g. apart from the aforementioned interfigural divergence related to the Niflungen, it seems evident in case of some synoptical item that the Old Swedish scribes added some minor but not major detail provided also by the Nibelungenlied with its vast anachronistic source complex; e.g. a lønnaløff (maple leaf) for underlining the vulnerability of the hero as conveyed at Sv 158. Since both the Old Norse + Swedish texts are significantly based on closely related source material, however, we thereby can not generalize Ritter having committed a fundamental anachronism for his differentiated intertextual analyses, i.a. considering that the manuscripts may provide territorial ascriptions referring to geographical relations in High Middle Ages. For example, we have to understand Polarnaland as region of the later Poland 'Pulina'. However, the Icelandic texts do occasionally replace 'Vilkinaland' by noncontemporary 'Pulina land' (cf. Mb 294; Bertelsen: ch. 3484). Almost correspondingly, the Old Swedish scribe just discards the former geonym. Historically, the Veleti ('Wiltsians') were apparently moving from Migration Period to Middle Ages at least to western parts of the later Pomerania.
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. However, Peringskiöld did not consider B- and/or C-branch to complete the A-manuscript for his edition of 1715.

Hermann Reichert convincingly points out that the prior source serving for the A-B-C manuscript branches cannot be based on 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 work Heldensage und Rekonstruktion Vienna 1992, 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 comparisons of the A-B-C texts that the Icelandic + Swedish MSS are evidently more related to each other than the elder Membrane (Perg. fol. nr 4) to both younger text branches, cf. Zur Transmission der Thidrekssaga und altschwedischen Didrikskrönikan.

A2   Edward R. Haymes’ translation The Saga of Thidrek of Bern

Apart from joining William J. Pfaff’s implausible geographical and geostratecigal interpretation of the manuscripts (apart from some congruousness with Ritter’s identifications), as being based on an Ostrogothic milieu inappropriately chosen for Thidrek by means of Upper German poetry, Haymes tries to provide a verbatim translation of Þiðreks saga. Thus, regarding any considerable difference between the Membrane, the younger Icelandic redactions and Old Swedish Didriks krönikan, it would not concern Haymes’ excellent translation.
    His introduction to the translation nonetheless considers scholars who apparently want to promulgate any mediaeval manuscript including narration of hunting a deer or winning a bride as unbelievable historical source. Haymes writes that the Þiðreks saga in particular seems to propagate an image of kingship based on the support of the nobility and turns to suspect Artistic Achievement which, however, would basically lose rational ground of reality when ascribing a numeral quantity of a dozen to poetic dimension (notably Andersson). He is certainly right in case of some evident incongruity the saga bears in its texts, but he would not specify the major contradictions in the story apart from at least two different deaths in Osantrix’s vita. Incidentally, the Old Swedish texts do not refer to the second death of Osantrix provided by Mb 292. Regarding Sv 247 instead, relating the battle at Brandeborg, the Old Swedish scribe does only convey this notice on Osantrix:
    'Osantrix king had a brother’s son in Wilcinaland called Hernid. He became king of Wilcinaland.'
    Of course, there is also some literary influence mainly of Greek antiquity (notably Roswitha Wisniewski) that 'contaminates' the original purport of both the 'saga' and the Old Swedish texts – just as the bulk of chronicles from or referring to Late Antiquity and Migration Period. Such amalgamation, however, can be recognized in the Þiðreks saga, e.g. the birds advising Sigurð to slay his foster father (cf. Greek Augur and Melampus).
   Haymes furthermore notes conservative scholars who obviously have no idea of neither Germanic Hunas nor linguistic origin of 'Ata-la', who would not allow the historical roots and appearance of these ancient people in that time Haymes rightly calls 'Period of Migration', who turn a blind eye to Frankish actions of 6th century in that large area he already specifies as part of today’s Lower Saxony.
  The history of scholarly editing Þiðreks saga as provided by Haymes follows current scholastic research. Nonetheless, we have to agree with Theodore M. Andersson who justly understands the manuscripts essentially representing a translation of written transmission, as he judges this work brought to Norway as an obvious heterogeneous collection of heroic epics.
   One of the most incredible points Haymes conveys is scholarship’s opinion that the Swedish texts have to be regarded as translation of the Old Norse texts, though he states that the Old Swedish version
                provides useful information when the other sources disagree.
   If he had explored the source he lists as Roswitha Wisniewski’s postdoctoral thesis under his Select Bibliography even in this connection, he would have been able to conceive the significance of her so-called 'Second Source' and draw his conclusions more exactly against the work of Horst Pütz and other authors supporting the fundamental position of Heinrich Beck, Susanne Kramarz-Bein and other scholars. William J. Pfaff, another protector of some obsolete Germanistic bibliography about Þiðreks saga through Ritter’s research, does not agree with Westphalia as location of clerical recording of historical events related to the vita of Dietrich von Bern which, however, Roswitha Wisniewski tried to query as 'pseudo-chronicle'. Thus, the very difference between Ritter and the encyclopaedists is that he indicates a fairly homogenous rendition of history basically fitting in a Frankish and Lower German(ic) lacuna of 5th to 6th century, whilst other scholars ascribe the Þiðreks saga to either fundamental poetry or unbelievable or at least very suspect depiction of history.

A3   Appended documents

       A3.1 Who is King Atala?
       A3.2 Summaries of Scientific Analyses: Weland’s Steel
       A3.3 Merovingian Origin Location(s)
       A3.4 The Nibelungen – The True Core by the Svava?
       A3.5 Synopsis Vitae Thidrek of Bern vs Theuderic I
       A3.7 Geographical and Ethnic Glossary of Thidrek Saga – Svava
       A3.8 Ritter’s Timeline of Thidrek Saga – Svava
       A3.9 Translation: Niflungen Parts of Didriks chronicle

German articles by the author:

Dietrich von Bern – Chronicle or Poetry?
Ritter about his Principle and Position of Researching the Thidreks saga
Ritter’s Priority of the Old Norse and Swedish texts – An extract from  Der Schmied Weland
Zur Schuldfrage von „Attila“ und Grimhild, Atli und Gudrun
Swanhilds Spuren in der Thidrekssaga?
Zwölf um Dietrich von Bern – Heldenphysiognomie aus der Retorte?
Zur Transmission der Thidrekssaga und altschwedischen Didrikskrönikan
Die Mosel im Licht von Thidrekssaga und Dietrich-Chronik
Wadhincúsan, monasterium Ludewici
Theuderich I, Vita Rex Francorum

Books by the author:
Hardcover Edition, 2005
301 pages [ISBN 978-3-86582-044-1]
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Hardcover Edition, 2007
574 pages [ISBN 978-3-86582-589-6]
€ 24,90 
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