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Cod. Pal. germ. 67 , sheet 1r: Sigenot - narrator and listener

Dietrichepik is a collective term for Middle High German heroic epics in which Dietrich von Bern is the main character. The Dietrichepik was popular and widespread in the German-speaking area from the 13th to the 17th century.

The memory of the Ostrogoth king Theodoric the Great († 526) probably lives on in Dietrich . A distinction must be made between two thematic complexes: stories by Dietrich and Ermanarich and stories from Dietrich's adventures. These complexes are also clearly differentiated from one another in tradition and representation; the first is therefore also called historical Dietrichepik , the second aventiuric Dietrichepik (time of origin according to Sabine Seelbach).

The historical Dietrichepik counts:

The aventiuric Dietrichepik includes:

The heroic novel by Biterolf and Dietleib (around 1260) as well as two late medieval ballads , the Younger Hildebrand's song from the 13th century (handed down from the 15th century) and the Low German song of Ermenrich's death from the middle of the 16th century, belong to the Middle High German Dietrichepik .

The song of the Nibelungs , in which Dietrich von Bern appears, is not counted as Dietrichepik in the narrower sense.

Older, not Middle High German, evidence of the poetry of Dietrich von Bern are:

  • The Old High German Hildebrand song from the 4th decade of the 9th century
  • The rune stone by Rök from the Swedish East Gotland, also 9th century
  • Verses from the Old English poem 'Deor's Lament' from the Exeter Book from the 2nd half of the 10th century
  • Verses in 'Waldere' , the old English version of the legend of Walther and Hildegund from around 1000 , which has only been preserved as a fragment .

Many of the epics listed above have been preserved as part of the hero books that appeared as manuscripts or prints between the first half of the 14th century and 1590. They usually contain several Dietrich epics as well as other heroic poems, e.g. B. very often the Ortnit / Wolfdietrich cycle. From 1480 onwards, these heroes' books also contain an overview of the hero's age as a preface or final text ( hero's book prose ).

The Thidrek saga with manuscripts in Old Norwegian and Swedish is, in contrast to the texts mentioned, prose, but not only deals with episodes, but also brings the sagas narrative into a biographical overall context.


  • Christa Habiger-Tuczay (ed.): The aventiuric Dietrichepik: Laurin and Walberan, the younger Sigenot, the corner song, the miracle worker . Middle High German text and New High German translation by Christa Tuczay, Kümmerle, Göppingen 1999, ISBN 3-87452-841-3
  • Joachim Heinzle: Introduction to Middle High German Dietrichepik . de Gruyter, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-11-015094-8
  • Elisabeth Lienert and Viola Meyer (eds.): Alphart's death. Dietrich and Wenezlan. Text history edition . Hardcover, Niemeyer, Tübingen, 1st edition 2007, ISBN 3-484-64503-2

Web links to legends