Crusade poetry

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As crusade poetry is called a special form of poetry that deals with the Crusades concerned and also reflects historical events poetic. In principle, however, one cannot call the crusade poetry a separate genre of poetry, as it is determined by the content.

Through the participation of Friedrich Barbarossa in the third crusade and his death during his stay in Asia Minor and the participation of Friedrich II in the fifth "vart", these two trains gave the greatest cause for poetry. It was precisely at this time, around 1200, that court poetry was at its peak, so that all great German medieval poets dealt with this topic in some way.

When we think of crusade poetry, we don't need to think of songs that were composed to be sung by the cruisers during the cruises. It is difficult to say whether such songs even existed and, if so, whether the pilgrims sang them on the way. Many historians (including A.Hübner) do not believe in it. At most there would have been lead singers who would then have tried to have the crowd singing the chorus after them. In German literature only a few verses have been preserved that could be counted among the travel songs; But a lot is hypothetical here.

If we want to speak of crusade songs, then they are not songs that were intended for pilgrims. To this lyrical genre we include the songs, which with the minnesong have a personal individualistic character; Sometimes they are also propagandistic in nature. This "kriuzliet" was composed according to the French or, more precisely, the Provencal model. But more than with Minnesang in general, the Germans go their own way here.

The German crusade poetry can, as u. a. Wentzlaff-Eggebert divided into:

a) spiritual propaganda songs

b) political crusade poetry

c) Farewell songs

sequel follows

Chronological order

The first German-language cross songs were written before the Second Crusade (1147–1149). From the time of the Fourth Crusade , no poems of crusade poetry have survived. Poems are only known again from the Fifth Crusade (1217–1229).

Crusade poet

Important crusade poets were Friedrich von Hausen , Walther von der Vogelweide , Albrecht von Johansdorf , Hartmann von Aue and Reinmar the Old .


The themes and motifs of the crusade poetry are varied. For the most part, the poetry consists of the hero's thoughts about the crusade. The cross songs are marked by hope and sadness. While the hero hopes for God's reward, he worries at the same time for those who stayed at home.

The poetry of the Kreuzlieder is similar to that of Minnesang , uniform. Often a typical circle of thoughts is introduced, such as God's sufferings for people, after which people have to reciprocate and the forgiveness of sins and bliss as a reward from God.


  • Maria Böhmer: Studies on Middle High German crusade poetry. Bulzoni, Rome 1968, DNB 456149066 .
  • Ingrid Hartl: The enemy of crusade poetry. The encounter between Christians and Muslims. (= Viennese works on Germanic antiquity and philology. Volume 40). Peter Lang Verlag, Bern u. a. 2009, ISBN 978-3-03910-956-2 .
  • Volker Ladenthin: Walthers Kreuzlied 76, 22 against the background of medieval sermons on the cross. In: Euphorion 77 (1983), pp. 40-71
  • Ulrich Müller (Hrsg.): Kreuzzugsdichtung. 2nd Edition. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1979, ISBN 3-484-19007-8 .
  • Meinolf Schumacher : The constitution of the "Holy Land" through literature. Walther's “Palestinian Song” and the function of the European crusade poetry. In: Klaus-Michael Bogdal (Hrsg.): Orient discourses in German literature. Aisthesis, Bielefeld 2007, ISBN 978-3-89528-555-4 , pp. 11-30. ( Digitized version)
  • Friedrich W. Wentzlaff-Eggebert: Crusade poetry of the Middle Ages. de Gruyter, Berlin 1960, DNB 455463751 .