saga is one of the greatest
sagas written in German language...
Here you can hear about those occurrences by narration of German men, even by a lot born in Soest where those actions took place, who have seen unbroken the places where those occurrences happened, where Hagen fell and Irung was slain, and the Snake Tower wherein Gunter had to face his death, and the garden that is still called Niblungs Garden. And all's standing in the same place as in former times when the Nibelungen were slain; even the gates: the eastern gate where the battle began at first, and the western gate called Hagen's Gate which the Nibelungen broke down into the garden; all that is called similarly as it happened formerly. Even those men told us about it who were born in Bremen and Münster Castle. They did not know of each other for sure, but all of them told about it in the same way. Most of it does even correspond with old German ballads by wise men who rhymed about the big events that happened in this country.
|Multiple medieval manuscripts are providing stories about
An army of merited and self-appointed experts has been attempting to
out the historical core of such literary renditions. However, all these
specialists soon must state that they have to do with uneasy
'adaptation on adaptation'.
Nonetheless, two professionals have been contributing outstanding results to disentangle this most popular German saga:
In 1931 Prof Aloys Schröfl submitted that the second part of
the Nibelungenlied called 'Der
Nôt' (Grimhilde's revenge and the Nibelungen Downfall) cannot
be the right sequel of the first (Sigfrid's life and death), because
second one appears initiated by Pil(i)grim
von Aribon, Bishop
Passau on the Danube in 10th century. [Aloys Schröfl: Und
die Nibelungenfrage gelöst (1931); Der Urdichter
des Liedes von
der Nibelunge Nôt und die Lösung der Nibelungenfrage (1927).]
The lay actually refers to some topical cultural and political item of 10th century, which, however, had become less significant or obsolete already in 12th/13th century. Furthermore, considering connotative cultural and historical environment of Ottonian German Empire, Schröfl found conclusive circumstantial evidence in the Nibelungenlied that Pilgrim intended to use his version as 'the carrot' for the court of Hungary. With it, as Schröfl conclusively points out, Pilgrim intended to enlarge his influence on this country that was about to be christianised. According to this certainly interesting research, the later formed and most discussed lay, necessarily drawn up to glorify the ancestors of the Hungarians, might be evaluated today as an early political flyer.
The lay's available manuscripts ('redactions'), apparently
written in the time of Passau Bishop Wolfger
von Erla, do reveal also that this poetry came into fashion in
century. Thus, regarding characteristic plagiarism, assimilation
and assemblage of compiled medieval
heroic epics, the postulated prime version must have been
transformed to 'updates' due to the spirit of high medieval times.
Schröfl's special research into the politico-religious
10th century relations of German Empire with
Hungary is mainly focussing on connective approach
to motive and authorship of the archetype source, which,
however, has been either scholarly suppressed or apodictically
negated through non-convincing Germanistic evaluation.
Schröfl fairly underlined that the original
creators of the Nibelungenlied are explicitly quoted in its Lament work
'Bischof Pilgrin von Pazzowe' and his 'Master(-writer) Kuonrat'.
Karl J. Simrock, well-known German translator of the Nibelungenlied,
already connected both names with heyday of Upper German Clerical
Poetry of 10th/11th century.
The lay's first part, however, was principally not subject to Schröfl's research. He rather distilled out a distinctive archetypal Upper German version from the lay's second part serving as its source (as a missing Latin Nibelungias has been already postulated).
Heinz Ritter († 1994), philologist and scientist from German Schaumburg on the Weser, seems to have got the historical core of the real Nibelungen by his impressive publications and lectures. His long and meticulous work, done over many decades, led him to various Nordic texts, especially to the manuscript known as Old Norse 'Membrane' [perg. fol. 4 ] at the royal library of Stockholm (usually completed with Icelandic versions A to C) and two Old Swedish manuscripts at Stockholm Riksarkivet he shortly called 'Svava'. According to his research, these texts cannot refer to Theodoric the Great of Ravenna, but rather an equally named Franco-Rhenish king of Germanic Migration Era who had his first residence in Frankish lands.
The Svava (or the Didrikskrönikan) and the Membrane, popular name of the oldest manuscript of Þiðreks saga, provide narration about the historical Nibelungen, as classified by progressive German research following Ritter ('Ritter-Schaumburg'). The Svava reports less pompous than the more longwinded Membrane, but both relate quite more objective than the so-called MHG (Middle High German) sources. The archaic version of both manuscripts was certainly known before or in the era of Charlemagne who had initiated the recording of historical traditions to great extent, as Ritter argues in his book Sigfrid ohne Tarnkappe, 1992.
This book reveals a very imposing correlation between action
related to the Nibelungen, Sigfrid's life and death.
The Evaluation of the Nordic Manuscripts
Ritter's method of dealing with Thidreks saga is principally based on his answer to the cardinal question whether a tradition assumed being remarkably pregnant with historical facts may be dissected in twilight mixture of mythological narratives. As Ritter expressively underlined at his lectures, rather less significant as well as detectable non-contemporary implementations by an evident group of Norse editors might have induced scholarly evaluation to consider Thidreks saga for the most part as less authentic or fabulous pool of mostly unrelated single tales. Beside other indication, Ritter regards the source the Old Swedish manuscripts principally 'guiding' Thidreks saga, and he considers all 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 comprehensive supplement edited by Susanne Kramarz-Bein for Walter de Gruyter's encyclopaedia of Germanic antiquity, comments the current contradicting scholarly cataloguing of Thidreks saga. Andersson, incidentally seeing a clear literary difference between 'Norse' and 'of Norway', was obviously remembering Ritter's publications by 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 , follows Heinrich Beck's position by means of his paper Þiðreks saga als Gegenwartsdichtung? who, stringently against Ritter's postulation and reasoning, also exposes Thidreks saga to the light of Nordic poetry and heroic narrative somehow inspired by history. Andersson recites: »... 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.« (Translated quotation from Zur Thidrekssaga-Diskussion; Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie, 112, 1993; pp 441-448.)
The Germanistic and other scholastic strategies against the research of Ritter obviously ignore the fact that the Old Norse scribes evidently used to translate, catalogue and title historiographies as 'saga'. Thus, the author's publication Sage und Wirklichkeit. Dietrich von Bern und die Nibelungen (2007) repudiates subtle exploration of Thidreks saga by Heinrich Beck and other experts in literature agreeing with his basic questionable position.
Ritter's translation of the Old Swedish Didriks chronicle was not called in uestion on literary subject. For elaborating research he therein left his comparing analysis of both chronological and historiographical structures of the Svava and Thidreks saga manuscripts. In the addenda provided with his translation (pp 399-455) he exemplarily scrutinises and refutes the Svava's dependency from the Membrane and Icelandic manuscripts against scholastic evaluation of Scandinavian and German researchers. Ritter also implemented into his posthumous publication Der Schmied Weland, published by his son Hans Martin Ritter at Olms, Germany (1999), a supplementary analysis that points out the different literary style of these texts anything but less insignificant through exemplary synoptic studies providing Thidreks saga's 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, a work of noteworthy terminological consistency considering 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 the actual terminology of such important places originally spelled 'Bern' or 'Drekanfils'. Ritter rather found out that the right geographical operation area related to the Didriks chronicle does extend diagonally from South-Sweden and Jutland to German Moselle river and, west-to-east, from Belgium to Baltic countries.
Thus, the revising research would hardly believe that the
had done more than a mere translation of an imported tradition, mainly
a Lower German Historia Dietrich von Bern; especially
the item that the translators evidently never attempted to change any
name there. To boot, it seems implausible that the Norse scribes of
Haakon IV would have had any good reason to implant any own narration
compilation on such unfamiliar small locations as Vernica, Thorta
or Brictan, such strange rivulets as Duna, Wisara
or Eydissa, such elsewhere never mentioned but nonetheless real
mountain forests as the Osning or Valslanga.
The Nibelungen Origin Place
However, Ritter recognizes the Nibelungen castle just 80 miles farther to the east, since an eye-catching number of location names in the region of German Zülpich must be seriously taken into consideration for verifying those Norse-Nordic texts related to King Gunter's family. For example, there is an old place called Juntersdorf, formerly spelled 'Guntirsdorp' (dorp = village). The name of Hagen's grandfather King Yrian ('Irian'), provided by an Old Swedish manuscript on Didrik af Bern, seems to correspond well with a former location Iriniacum. Heribert van der Broeck, author of 2000 Jahre Zülpich (Publisher: Kölnische Verlagsdruckerei, 1968) ascribes this name to a Celtic individual Irinus. The manuscripts remark also that Hagen's father was originally spelled Elf, Elff(e) or Albe, as this name appears closely related to Elvenich. In former times, this place was testified as Albinacum or Albihenae. Van der Broeck reckons this location to a Celtic place of worshipping, since those ‘nich’ or ‘ich’ endings are very typical for Roman-Celtic influence on contemporary spelling.
Old settlements called Irnich (today: Burg Irnich), Vernich (etymologically based on a Roman fundator called Varinius), Virnich (at Zülpich-Schwerfen) and Virmenich (now Firmenich) can be found there. These names correspond well with the Nibelungen residence originally spelled Vernica, Verniza, Vermintza.
Ritter also detects correlating significant indication proving Zülpich region as the right home location of the historical Nibelungen: The manuscripts note brightest full moon night when these folk met the Rhine at Duna Crossing on their fateful march to Grimhilde and her spouse Attala ('Attila', Old Swedish Aktilius, Atilius, Icelandic MS B: 'Attala' as preferred by Ritter), king of that part of Saxony the Old Swedish scribes call Hunaland: Since important campaigns were usually planned to start at full moon in Late Antiquity as well as medieval times, the Nibelungen with polished armour underneath their garments could have covered only c. 30 miles from their capital place!
The Nibelungen region of Zülpich and Nivisium,
recognized by Ritter,
Mone and other researchers, formerly pertained to eastern Frankish
Regarding space and time, a
ruler called King Sigebert – Gregory of Tours remarked him 'the
Lame' – was residing at Cologne before he was eliminated by Frankish
Clodovocar I. The Waltharius, a poetry definitely elder than
Nibelungenlied, titles the Nibelungen as leaders of a Frankish tribe.
we should make an effort to encounter Merovingians
by the Svava in an early history of the Franks.
The Svava quotes about the last Nibelungen Ride – the undercover campaign to their downfall – with this text:
...so they rode to the Rhine, where Duna meets the Rhine...
The Duna may not be taken for the Danube in this connection, rather for Dhünn river (recorded as Duone in 1117) that was falling till 1830/1840 into the Rhine at Leverkusen, the town to the north of Cologne. Incidentally, Ritter proved this location as an important crossing point of former times.
Other researchers generally agree with Ritter: Walter Böckmann, book author and documentary film maker, and Ernst F. Jung, historian and philologist, largely share Ritter's revision of the Nibelungen factual history. Roswitha Wisniewski, Prof PhD, found strong indication that in first half of 13th century a comprehensive manuscript dealing with the vita and epoch of Dietrich von Bern was transferred as a chronicle from Wedinghausen monastery at Arnsberg, Westphalia, to Scandinavia where it was seemingly translated into the Thidreks saga, as the authoress notes well in her postdoctoral thesis.
The Svava: Sigfrid and the Nibelungen
A short summary
Note: 'Svava' or ' Swana' means the region of the Harz by evaluation of contemporary chronicles and old cartographic material.
A rather objective initial interpretation that unmasks the Neffel dwarf legend follows ore processing being proved there at an early date, in this region already applied in Roman times. Thus, it seems consistent that small people simply called dwarves did their jobs in underground mining or 'in the caves'. And they might have been commanded by those potential, smart and skilled individuals of same body size who were masterly engaged in profitable iron and Art Deco smith craft.
Compared to Ritter's localization of Sigord-Sigfrid's childhood, forging episode and treasure capture (see annotations 1 to 3), the Neffel region as well as locations named Rheinbach (early certified as Reginsbach) and Wormersdorf, both nearby, seem to gain in archaic background.
(His birth and fate as a baby appears as an adaptation of Frankish Genoveva legend enriched with motives of the birth of Moses and the saga of Romulus and Remus.)
Some old maps of northern Harz show a deserted settlement Siewershausen
(see X- mark on the linked Nordharz map) that was named originally Sigefrideshuson
according to elder archive maps (Ritter).
Mime takes an armour he has just made for a king, puts it on
and it does fit. Moreover, it obviously fits so well that he can move
it to Brynhilde's castle. If he were aged as a boy, he could certainly
not slay seven guardians and go at loggerheads with some knights and
on the queen's castle. What are the mathematical probabilities that
the king and Sigfrid may have same size of just about a giant's? There
is much impressing description of Sigfrid's size, as Lord Brand recites
at the Grand Banquet for King Didrik's followers and friends (Sv 177&178).
Does that speech might rather spring from boating yobbos who are much
themselves? Only a short time later these guys have go home with a
man-to-man result of a trial of strength at King Isung: They had lost
less than nine of twelve fights! Besides, Hagen and King Gunter were
Didrik's fight may be left aside here for his wilful deceit by broken
Mime seems not to be any old smith who has to do his every day's job for the villagers. Rulers of far regions obviously know about his excellent works.
Mime seems to coddle Sigfrid who certainly has not to work at his forge. His adoptive son, obviously frustrated, thanks his foster-father's questionable tenderness by hanging around, poking his nose into the smithy now and then, where he does nothing else than vastly enervate and beat Mime's workers. Just at that point, as Sigfrid was hardly to control for his enormous puberty, Mime is going to teach him working at the anvil.
According to early documented testimonies, a village called Minsleben – just a few miles far from Siewershausen – does belong not only to the eldest settlements of that region, but is also closely related to iron works of early times. Ritter was witness of scientific diggings and analysis of ferrous slag found at Minsleben, whose suffix leben is a derivation from Thuringian leva or leven. Furthermore, Ritter noted that Mime was written down as Mymmer or Mynner in the Old swedish manuscripts.
An intriguing localization of Mime's smithy has been pointed
Referring to the Reginsmál and Fáfnismál
of the Elder Edda (Codex Regius), a ruler named
Hjalprek put Regin (intertextual
character corresponding to Mime) in charge of raising up Sigord
Regarding Ritter's schedule of Thidreks saga, this Hjalprek
be considered as early Salian King Childeric I. Both historiographical
and poetical texts localize his activities also in Saxony and
Following Gregory of Tours, Childeric's territory or influence might
have included the Eiffel. Regarding that passage provided by
the Elder Edda's lays, we could identify an
Eiffel location called Rheinbach – actually recorded in former
times as Regin(s)bach
(= 'Regin's rivulet') – as place of Sigfrid's foster father. This
assumption might also implicate an important area of narration provided by
some heroic lay of the Edda.
On the subject of the slaughter of Sigfrid, Patzwaldt also
intertextual etymological details provided by the Nibelungenlied and
saga. Subsequently, he points out the Eiffel as more believable origin
location of some of the lay’s most dramatic parts.
Seven miles to the southeast from Minsleben, the Regenstein rises up as a small woodland mountain with steeply ascending rocks.
Imposing caves are crossing the Regenstein foot area that is
nicknamed Feuerland ('Fireland').
They could have been serving for places of Germanic worshipping, eg Thing
Today, just a mile far from the Regenstein, ponds and marshy
fill the little valley of Goldbach rivulet. Old land registry
specify its parcels as Drachenkopf (Dragonhead) and Drachenloch.
latter, 'Dragon Valley', rolls approximately a third mile.
rangers of this district still use these names! Today, this area is
run and restricted.
Was Regen a solitary protozoon or rather the Count of Regenstein?
There might have been an ideal habitat for the first named possibility. Although the manuscripts report on Regen as a brother of Mime, this context could mean spiritual brotherhood: Had Mime some slyness and cunning of a reptile?
On the other hand, Hartebold alias the first Count of Regenstein (s. below), a homeless parvenu who recently had received that location probably without remarkable means, could easily and specially protect his area by making good use of the ghastly natural scenery surrounding his castle: As most important performer, he just needed the completing 'dragon' to horrify (and rob?) unexpected visitors – certainly by masquerade. There are some tortuous items supporting such theory of an unreal dragon, cf original quotations in Sv 158 and Sv 304.
The German translation of the Völsunga saga, ch 18, quotes this speech by the 'dragon':
'Haven't you heard how that all folk are afraid of me and
A robber masqueraded as a dragon, as some authors conjecture, would never dare to chose his hidey-hole on the foot of a feudal lord's castle or somewhere nearby; and a wary Mime, heaping up an enormous mass of profit by his High Tec smithworks company, would never entrust neither a robbing kinsman nor any unfamiliar person with that means in order to keep it far away from his questionable or curious workers and, generally, any kind of temptation. Nonetheless, Mime would certainly do accordingly with his brother who ought to meet contemporary VIP class as well: Regen – Count of Regenstein.
A German translation of the Völsunga saga enlightens us on the incentive related to the smith and his brother. The latter or the 'dragon-worm', basing on narration by Fáfnismál of the Elder Edda, makes this confession towards Sigfrid who has wounded him lethally:
'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.)
The Völsunga saga, however, provides a divergent background of the 'brothers’ heritage.
There is historical narration about name giving to Regenstein:
There seems to be at least one interesting parallelism to the Siebengebirge
on the Rhine which is believed Dragon Place by Upper German
is an old German(ic) word for regnen or Regen, while gebirge
means 'mountains'. The Old Norse name for Regen is Fafnir
Regarding the legendary incredible qualities of Sigfrid's skin, the Svava itself qualifies all those quotations to a reasonable degree when retelling the tournament fight against Didrik, where Sigfrid, even protected by an armour, must give up for his wounds!
Incidentally, by retelling his fable of the 'Dragon Killer' who had taken that special bath from the beast's bloody brew, Sigfrid could certainly make some people believe to have become invulnerable superman just by this thrilling 'excuse': As historians have noted, the Merovingians, most important dynasty of early Frankish rulers, were tainted with hereditary skin disease called 'ichthyosis hystrix'. Its most striking form will make human skin as thick as a swine's rind.
This is translated text from the entry Drache=Dragon
by German DUDEN, Edition 1969:
Sigfrid obviously ventured without horse but in heavy armour from Mime's smithy straight to Brynhilde's residence the Svava nicknames Seaguard – so this place must be in reach by walking! The nearest castle to this condition will be either the Heimburg or Ilsenstein; the latter on a mountain in the neighbourhood of the highest of the Harz: the Brocken with its marvellous sight-seeing place. Incidentally, the Nibelungenlied provides Isenstein as Brynhilde's residence.
The manuscripts specify her castle's location 'at the North Mountains' (Sv 14); and she had also 'a stud estate in the forest nearby' whose horses were much praised for their extraordinary qualities.
Queen Brynhilde is known as orphan. Her uncle – who rather might be her brother-in-law – is Heim (the) Studder or Heimir. He runs her stud estate, as provided by the Völsunga saga that nicknames Brynhilde's castle Shielded Castle or Castle of Shields. Actually, its rocks photographed from the distance do resemble simple shields of Late Antiquity being heaped up irregularly. The position of Heimir's castle, the Heimburg that became related with German rulers Henry IV and Henry the Lion later on, can be verified by a large lake – 'sea' (See) in German language – recently found subterranean only some miles to the north, as the proprietors of Dragon Valley land parcel informed the author.
Nonetheless, Queen Brynhilde might have had no reason to give
The traditional but 'peculiar horse breeding in woodlands
as Tacitus quotes in his Germania, ch 27, is also shown by the Horse
Capital at the crypt of Drübeck Cloister Church
founded c. 2 miles far from the Ilsenstein. Incidentally, the distance
from this place to the Heimburg is approximately 9 miles.
Ritter estimates Didrik's birth date about 470, his age of being proclaimed 'King of Bern' about 20. In his mid-twenties, Didrik has to flee to King Attala who grants him exile for a big threat coming from his kinsman King Ermenrik and his advisor Sevekin. During this time of deprivation (lasting between two and three decades) Didrik seizes the opportunity to aid Saxon King Attala who was warring against Baltic tribes. Thereafter he leaves the court of King Attala for conquering 'Rome' or 'Roma seconda', the ancient name for Trier on the Moselle, residence of Ermenrik and Sevekin. However, this campaign brings Didrik high personal losses in the battle of Gransport on the Moselle's mouth, and so he goes back to King Attala and renounces his restoration to the throne for the loss of a kinsman and two sons of Attala, his good friends. Some years later, after the Niflunga downfall at Soest, he leaves King Attala's country for 'Bern' where he goes out with his new army. He meets the troops of Sevekin at Graach on the Moselle and overthrows them. The Norse-Nordic scriptors relate that he immediately was crowned 'King of Rome' and thereafter was even ruling a greater realm.
Ritter believes in Bonn on the Rhine as place of residence of
young King Didrik. He argues that 'Bern' is based on derivation from
Latin Verona - Berona as handed down actually in the
for Bonn on the Rhine. Nonetheless, we seriously have to consider
quite more precious ancient place for 'Bern': 'Varne', provable short
of the Roman VARNENVM.
location appearing between Attala's residence and Didrik's Bern is Babilonia.
It can be identified as Cologne on the Rhine by clerical messaging of 11th
German century. Thus, the basic
related to the vita of Franco-Rhenish king Didrik cannot be confused
those of Theodoric the Great.
Hagen's father can enter the garden of certainly well guarded
castle without any problems for a lovers' tryst! Therefore, he
was introduced to the court, coming across with self-confidence and
as a druid (Sv 161). The appearance of a Celtic priest in the Eiffel
of the Niflunga might correspond with those typical
relicts in today’s location names there. The former location of Hagen's
family, as provided by his name apposition he certainly had received
his father, is occasionally forwarded as 'of Tröya' (Sv 340) or 'of
Troja' (Thidreks saga, Mb 395). However, it seems less credible that
ancestors were of Trojan origin or came from the Colonia Ulpia Traiana
of Xanten. We rather should consider Frankish Troyes,
outstanding Celtic location of the Tricassi.
... They were riding across large woodlands and heaths ...
The Svava's description perfectly corresponds with the heath lands of German Lüneburg. Ritter estimates the kingly castle on the Kalkberg of Lüneburg town.
Incidentally, Sigfrid reports to King Isung that on the shield
arrival is 'also a lion of gold with a crown' (Sv 185).
there was no other subject mentioned afore being in connection with
symbol, it must be King Isung's, too. Actually, we know dynasties with
a lion on their heraldic crests that have been ruling this region
Brunswick and Lüneburg.
The Svava does not report on any affections for a love match between Sigfrid and Grimhilde!
Due to Ritter's schedule of the Didriks chronicle, Grimhilde was aged over 40 when she married King Attala. Considering a health-conscious way of life as well as corresponding genes, she could have given birth to a child, the meaningful son of King Attala, just in time. Nonetheless, we may wonder if the couple were willing to sacrifice him, probably their only heir apparent, for the apparently planned provocation for slaying the Niflunga. If they would not, any suitably aged son of King Attala's concubine could have been publicly introduced as Grimhilde's son.
As a heroic lay of the Elder Edda provides, Atli let punish a talkative court-maid who alleged that Gudrun (= Grimhilde) was sleeping with Thiodrek at Atli's residence.
Regarding the Niflunga pedigree extracted from the Svava and
saga manuscripts, however, Grimhilde's youngest brother Gislher cannot
be the natural son of Queen Oda, spouse of early died King Aldrian, as
Ritter rightly stated.
The hoard, most probably a cave, should meet these requirements:
A cave meeting these conditions found in a rocky hill at Kallenhardt, Warstein, in 1926:
In the tunnel of that Hohler Stein ('Hollow Rock'), mortal remains of a man were found in an undisrupted stratum. Nonetheless, a burial had been impossible for that position. The age of the dead was determined to nearly 50. The jewellery found at his skeleton, a rune fibula, an arm ring, a finger ring and knobs, as preserved today at North-Rhine-Westphalian museums of Lippstadt and Münster, do correspond with the period of Attala's lifetime and appropriate status of a nobleman on the hunt. Prof Stieren and Dr Julius Andree, his scientific assistant, directed this exploration. On the next official excursion (made in 1933) relicts of a forgery of 30-Years War were found at the western inlet of the cave that still has an unspecified number of tunnels. As Ritter notes in his book on the Nibelungen history, Dr Adree informed him that Prof Stieren 'certainly had suppressed much' onto the Kallenhardt discovery.
If survivors of the Soest Battle had wanted to leave a solid message about those dramatic events to the far posterity by the techniques of that era, they surely would have resigned themselves to do so by gravely limited choices.
At that time, in other epochs as well, characteristic features of dead persons were often expressed by precious burial objects, nonetheless – fortunately.
Which would be the least significant arrangements if to proceed to the kingly family of Soest in this way?
The solidus of the 'queen's grave' (no 106) is a mint of East-Roman Emperor Justinian I. It displays almost no evidence of usage. Thus, this fact does meet the additional condition.
Some German criticism against Ritter levelled at the key or other grave goods in the female burial chamber no 105 (see items 4 - 5) appears inconsistent, however: The key could be either a symbolic replica or the death and burial of the involved person occurred after Aldrian's revenge.
Final Remarks and Reactions
In comparison with MHG works such as the Nibelungenlied, the Old Norse and Swedish manuscripts appear as objective as a police report. We also must state that historiographical and bibliographical characteristics of medieval literature allow to conclude that stylistically drier traditions were rather serving for embellished adaptations of sophisticated epic poetry. Furthermore, the long-established scholastic opinion that the historical core of the Nibelungen downfall were the defeat of Burgundian King Gundahari by West-Roman and following Hunnish troops in 435/436 appears as de facto less homogenous identification referring to transfigured erroneous appropriation being based upon recognizable deceptive instrumentation and destination of the Nibelungenlied (notably Aloys Schröfl and Bálint Hóman, allusively Ritter and other authors). Moreover, the literary research has come to realize that the writing artists concerned with 'courtier’s poetry' would have thought hardly of any atavism back to literary style of Thidreks saga. Ernst F. Jung, expert in Roman and early Merovingian history, has evaluated the research of both Wisniewski and Ritter. He points out the most significant difference between the Thidreks saga and the Nibelungenlied with this statement: 'Their historical panorama of space and time is absolutely unlike. The Thidreks saga relates chronicled events being connected with North-Rhine Westphalia while the Nibelungenlied is basing on poetical fantasy playing at the Danube ...' („das Gesamtpanorama raumzeithistorischer Art ist ganz und gar verschieden. Die Ths. spielt auf Chronik-Basis in NRW, das Nl. als Spiel dichterischer Phantasie im Donauland ...“)
Peter Arens, historian at German TV-channel ZDF, remarks upon the fall of the historical Burgundians in his book Sturm über Europa (2001): 'It is interesting that this ferocious attempt of people-murdering was ascribed to Attila afterwards, although the battle took place before his regency.' („Interessant ist, daß dieser ruchlose Völkermordversuch im Nachhinein Attila zugeschrieben wurde, obwohl die Schlacht vor seiner Regentschaft lag.“) The Bibliotheca of Photios, Byzantine historian of 9th century and Patriarch of Constantinople who fragmentarily provided the records of Olympiodorus the Elder, allow to conclude that the historical Burgundians were (also) settling in the region of Moyndiakon - Mundiacum, cf "Müntz" between the Eiffel and the lower Rhine. As Ritter has shown, the Mundia of Thidrekssaga covers residence location of the Niflunga!
Regarding discussions and interpretations of Nibelungen traditions, however, the experts go at it hammer and tongues to maintain or defend their position: Aloys Schröfl had his own publisher company to make known his findings. In the end, his contemporary critics paid tribute to his work.
The notable research of Heinz Ritter has been subsequently calling for reliability and reviewing the doctrinal foundation of Germanistic profession that, however, has not been ready to receive him for some obvious consequences. Thus, an institute of Siegen University, Germany, put a sharp defamatory flyer in circulation to bawl out Ritter's analysis of Thidreks saga that certainly seems poisonous to Germanistic research. (The authors of that leaflet were not only students.) The German version of this contribution also includes a reader's response to a less forceful but more subtle argumentation written by Heiko Droste as an another detractor. An entry in the German Wikipedia even tries to shake Ritter's name-giving 'Svava' to his translation of the Didriks chronicle. (»"Svava" ist allerdings ein Geisterwort ...« at http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svava [April 2005]).
Heinz Ritter posthumously instigated many German reactions published by private research. One of most interesting contributions, besides attempting to emendate him for some more or less controversial attitude, was written by Rudolf Patzwaldt (see above). He also provides a captivating intertextual analysis of some geographical items related to the Nibelungenlied and Thidreks saga.
Heinz Ritter was honoured with German Bundesverdienstkreuz
Service Cross of Germany) and the Verdienstorden des Landes
(Order of Service of North-Rhine Westphalia) for his meritorious
|Excerpt from the
The Niflunga Saga (Verbatim Translation)
Merovingians by the Svava?
Dynasties: Sigfrid & Nibelungen
Nordic Map of Bern
Geographic Glossary of Thidrek saga – Svava
The Ritter Schedule of Thidrek saga – Svava
Map of northern part of the Harz
German contributions by the author:
von Bern – Chronicle or Poetry?