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Ivanhoe is a novel by Sir Walter Scott published in 1820 and is also the name of the main character of the novel, the crusader Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe.

The story thematizes the rivalries in England between Anglo-Saxons and Normans after the victory of Wilhelm the Conqueror as well as the late effects of the Crusades with the hostage-taking of the English king Richard the Lionheart in Austria . The prejudices against Jews that existed at the time of the act are also shown. Robin Hood appears under the name "Locksley". The Norman opponents Ivanhoes have French names because the nobility of England still spoke French at that time (Brian de Bois-Guilbert, Maurice de Bracy, Philippe de Malvoisin, Ralph de Vipont, Reginald Front-de-Boeuf Lord of Torquilstone). In the absence of King Richard, his younger brother Johann Ohneland relies on the power of these Norman knights and barons. Opposites to the gloomy figure of the Norman Knights Templar Bois-Guilbert are the hero Ivanhoe and the tragic role of Rebekah.

In the various adaptations of the material, the figure of the knight Ivanhoe invented by Sir Walter Scott is increasingly interwoven with the much older myth about Robin Hood.


The Anglo-Saxon knight Ivanhoe returns to England from the Holy Land. Since he has been expelled from his court because of his allegiance to Richard the Lionheart and his love for Rowena, the ward of his father Cedric the Saxon , he creeps in disguised as a pilgrim. Here he sees Rowena again and meets the Norman Knight Templar Brian de Bois-Guilbert, who recently returned from the crusade from Palestine. He is accompanied by a Cistercian monk, the prior Aymer von Jorvaulx. On the stormy night, a Jewish moneylender named Isaac of York also finds refuge in the property.

Cedric then, like all his guests, goes to Ashby-de-la-Zouch , where de Bois-Guilbert wants to take part in a tournament. Ivanhoe accompanies the moneylender Isaac and protects him from robberies. In gratitude, the Jew gives him armor and a horse, with which Ivanhoe - initially incognito as a “disinherited knight” - can attend the tournament in order to prevent the Templar from winning. After defeating several Norman opponents such as Grantmesnil, the Norman Counts Philippe de Malvoisin and Reginald Front-de-Bœuf and Ralph de Vipont, he finally succeeds in defeating de Bois-Guilbert. However, he is badly wounded.

The moneylender Isaac and his daughter Rebekka take in Ivanhoe. However, they are captured by Norman knights along with Ivanhoe's father and Rowena and detained at the Torquilstone castle of the Norman Count Front-de-Bœuf. There the knight Maurice de Bracy confesses his love to Lady Rowena and his desire to marry her, but is rejected. Likewise, the Knight Templar Bois-Guilbert Rebekka declares that he desires her and plans to force her to be physically close. She also rejects him, although in his power, by threatening him with suicide. The castle is attacked and captured by outlaws led by Robin von Locksley (Robin Hood). De Bois-Guilbert manages to escape to his order, taking Rebekka with him as a prisoner. But there the Grand Master of the Templars (Lucas de Beaumanoir) appears surprisingly. Rebekah is now accusing Rebekah of witchcraft because she learned the art of healing from Miriam von Menassis, a witch sentenced to death at the stake. However, Rebekah manages to get a divine judgment: a duel between two knights.

De Bois-Guilbert took over as representative of the Templars. Despite his love for Rebekah, he cannot avoid the grandmaster's invitation. In a duel for life and death, he meets Ivanhoe. He has now reconciled with his father, is allowed to marry Rowena and takes on as Rebekka's champion in order to save her life.

The knights fight only one gang. Bois-Gilbert's lance thrusts Ivanhoe and his war horse to the ground, but then Bois-Gilberts falls from his horse, although he has hardly been pierced by Ivanhoe's lance, and dies a few moments later. “ His enemy's lance had not harmed him - he had died a victim of his own indomitable passions. "

King Richard appears with enough knights to restore his rule. He starts cleaning up his kingdom. Ivanhoe and Lady Rowena get married and Rebekah leaves England.

As mentioned at the beginning, the reign of Prince Johann Ohneland and the return of the rightful King Richard the Lionheart from Austrian captivity are described in parallel storylines . On the basis of the circumstances at that time, such as knight tournaments , courtly intrigues, serfdom and persecution of Jews as well as the suppression of the Anglo-Saxons by the Normans since the Battle of Hastings , an impressive picture of that time is drawn.

Adaptations and continuation

The Pasticcio Ivanhoé with music by Rossini, which the music publisher Antonio Pacini had compiled with his permission, was published in Paris as early as 1826 . Even Heinrich Marschner 1829, first performed opera The Templar and the Jewess and Otto Nicolai's opera Il templario (premiered in 1840) are based on Scott's novel, as is the 1891 first performed at London's Royal English Opera House (now the Palace Theater) Opera Ivanhoe by Arthur Sullivan .

Kurt Vethake produced a radio play based on the novel with Eberhard Krug in the role of Ivanhoe.

In 1850, the writer William Makepeace Thackeray continued the story with his work Rebecca and Rowena .


There are numerous recent successors, including the 1958 television series Ivanhoe, with Roger Moore in the title role, and a 1997 BBC miniseries directed by Stuart Orme starring Steven Waddington as Wilfred von Ivanhoe.

The most recent film adaptation of the material is Ivanhoe, the young knight by Ralph L. Thomas from 1995.


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