from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ulrich von Zatzikhoven and the first verses of the "Lanzelet" in Codex Palatinus Germanicus 371 from 1420.

The Lanzelet is a Middle High German Arthurian novel by Ulrich von Zatzikhoven from around 1200 . The novel comprises 9444 verses and tells the story of the knight Lanzelet and his aventiurs . Linguistically, the novel comes from the highly Alemannic language area.


The text begins with a prologue , which names the central elements of Lanzelet's rise ( manhood , name and künneschaft ) and seamlessly connects the narrative of the parent's previous story. King Pant, Lanzelet's father, reigns tyrannically because he is equalizing ( he wanted algelîche because of (v. 54)) and resistant to advice (v. 58/59) over Genewis. He dies in an uprising by his subjects, the fleeing mother's son is taken away to be brought up on an island inhabited by women. The desire to get to know the world grows in him, whereupon he prepares himself and sets off. This is followed by the stupid gate's encounter with the dwarf , who is reminiscent of Erec's Initial Aventure. After all, it is the lord of the castle, Johfrit de Liez, who instructs the young Lanzelet in the arts of knighthood.

Lanzelet meets the knights Kuraus and Orphilet, with whom he moves to the castle of the strict Galagandreiz. It comes to the night of love between Lanzelet and his daughter, then to a rude duel between Lanzelet and Galagandreiz, in which the host finds death. Lanzelet marries Galagandreiz's daughter and thus becomes the sovereign who lavishly uses his means (v. 1250).

Lanzelet secretly sets out to do new things. He is captured and imprisoned in the dungeon of the lord of the castle, Linier von Limors. In a combat test, Lanzelet defeats a giant , lion and Linier himself, whereupon he marries Ade, Liniers' niece and again becomes sovereign. The episode offers allusions to the description of Enite's horse from "Erec" (v. 1452ff.) And depicts the hero for the second time as a carefree fighter who strides carefree through his life (so already in Orphilets assessment v. 1341, then in v. 1686).

He sets off again to new deeds and fights with Walwein, an Arthurian knight. The fight ended in a draw, Lanzelet subsequently also won the tournament in Djofle over the knights of the Arthurian round, but declined an invitation from King Arthur to his court. Instead, he rides to Schatel-le-mort Castle, where he meets the magician Mabuz , the son of the water fairy who once kidnapped him from his mother. Mabuz turns Lanzelet's bravery into cowardice, good-bye leaves him, he stays with Mabuz as a coward, at whose behest he kills the neighbor Iweret, the declared enemy of the water fairy. Lanzelet marries his daughter Iblis.

A messenger from the water fairy appears and brings Lanzelet the news of his origin and his name. At the same time he receives a miracle tent that reminds of Gottfried's Minnegrotte. Lancelet the mild (v. 4759), now certain of his origin and therefore worthy of Arthur's court, visits the court of his uncle Arthur. There is a fight with King Valerin, which ends with his vow of submission. A festival is celebrated at the Artus Court. Lancelet falls into the hands of the Queen of Pluris, who forces him into a bigamistic marriage. Parallel to Lanzelet's Minnehaft, which makes him wîlent trûric, wîlent frô (v. 5645), a coat rehearsal takes place at Artus Court, which reveals the misconduct of all the ladies at court (in this the same as the Ambras coat fragment). Only Iblis passes the test and proves to be the ideal lady. After the messenger of the sea fairy announced Lanzelet's whereabouts at the end of the coat rehearsal, Walwein, Karjet, Erec and Tristant free him from the hands of the Queen of Pluris.

King Arthur's wife, Ginover, is kidnapped by King Valerin and taken to the impregnable castle Verwirrener Tann. The magician Malduc offers his services. However, he attaches the condition that Erec and Walwein be handed over to him, as they are guilty of the hitherto unpunished murder of Malduc's relatives. Valerin's castle is captured, he is killed and Ginover is freed. Erec and Walwein are in the dungeon at Malduc's castle and are threatened with death there. Lanzelet frees them there with the help of his hundred knights, who are lifted into Malduc's castle by a giant who appears ex machina (v. 7535). Malduc is killed when the Arthurian knights are relieved. A celebration of joy at the court of King Arthur follows. Appearance of the lady Elidia, who is enchanted into a dragon due to an offense of love, who is freed by a kiss of Lancelets and from now on is ministerial judge at Artus Court. Lanzelet returns to Genewis' throne and sees his mother again.

Lanzelet returns to Artus Court and takes control of the land of his wife Iblis. There are coronation celebrations in Dodone, where Lanzelet rules as the prudent and (unlike his father and counterpart Pant) king. After a long, happy life, the story of Lanzelet and Iblis ends on the day they died together. The text ends with a doubled epilogue in which the narrator lets a continuation follow the end of the story (v. 9350/9351) and its source, das welsche buoch (v. 9341) from the hand of Hucs de Morville, Geisel im Zug the imprisonment of Richard the Lionheart in Bavaria. The text pretends to be a detailed reproduction of a - lost - French original, which has made it a popular research topic for Romance medieval studies .


After the text had long been underestimated as inferior Arthurian literature, more recent research since Ruh has increasingly taken up the 'Lanzelet'; Zellmann's thesis of the didactic novel contrasts with MacLelland's assessment, who understands poetry as a pure work of entertainment and does not accord it any didactic function.

Structure and motifs

The verse is divided by the moment Lanzelet learns his name. This caesura occurs roughly in the middle of the text (verse 4706). The first part consists of three major episodes depicting Lanzelet's childhood, adolescence and becoming a man. Individual sections of text are identified in the manuscript by initial letters , which roughly correspond to the episodes ( aventiures ).

The first adventure (Galagandreiz episode) is preceded by the previous story with Lanzelet's father, but without making it equal in content and scope to the other episodes. In each of the following three episodes, several aspects are clearly dealt with: a ruler to be defeated, a young woman, a fighting situation, a development of Lanzelet. The episodes depict prototypically the honest becoming a man as stages of life that build on each other.

The same theme is varied three times here [in Lanzelet]: Lanzelet fights for a girl or for a girl with her uncle or father. The battles become more difficult and the dangers greater. The encounter with the knife thrower Galagandreiz is followed by a threefold fight on Limors and in the end there is a complex situation with Mabuz and Iweret. [...] The reverse side, so to speak, of the increasing acts of strength is an increasing danger and helplessness. In Moreiz he lets himself be seduced harmlessly and gets into a precarious situation. On Limors he is overwhelmed and imprisoned, on Schatel le mort he is completely helpless due to a spell.

The role of women changes:

  • Galagandreiz 'nameless daughter does not fall in love with Lanzelet, she only chooses him as a love partner after the other two knights rejected their request for love as too risky. Physical love for its own sake. (Lustfulness)
  • Ade falls chaste in love with Lanzelet when she sees him fighting in front of the castle; she helps, but gives it up too quickly. Physical love as a sign of a love relationship. (pragmatic wife)
  • Iblis is the perfect partner. She also falls in love with him at the first sight of Lanzelet; however, he is not even physically present because she sees him for the first time in a dream. The relationship with Iblis begins completely disembodied in a dream, and a physical love is no longer formulated. ( high love )

There are multiple increases of this kind in levels of three. The third station usually represents the ideal to be achieved.

  • Invitation to come to Arthur's court :
    • The first knocks out Lancelet after being killed by Galagandreiz '; Orphilet had recommended it to him .
    • The next invitation brings Walwein after Lanzelet's victory over Linier.
    • Finally Arthur himself invites Djofle Lanzelet after the tournament ; this is only prevented by his unknown name.
  • Linier's combat rehearsal consists of three fights, although the increase is not so clear here:
    • giant
    • Lions
    • Linier himself.
  • The overall fights are also increased:
    • against galagand stimulus: is challenged to fight; Victory by cunning
    • against Linier: goes into battle to get out of the dungeon; Lanzelet makes a pathetic impression (Linier didn't really want to fight, but has to be persuaded to do so); Fight without cunning
    • against Iweret: Lanzelet openly demands the fight according to a ritual and consists in it like a man.
  • The tournament at Djofle lasts three days:
    • on the first day Lanzelet fights alone
    • on the second in the group of Count Ritschart and
    • on the third, the knights of the count and an unnamed prince unite, and he fights for this large group.

The knightly ideal can only be fulfilled in the fight with Iweret and the subsequent relationship with Iblis.

In the second part Lanzelet becomes part of the Artus Court. After a while, however, he leaves to avenge a disgrace suffered in verse 421ff. The place (Plûrîs) was mentioned several times during the first part. Lancelet must now “go through the level of humiliation and imprisonment before he can reach the highest level”. The scourging of the dwarf, who through this action first sets off an action between Lanzelet and the Plûrîs mistress, and Lanzelet's earlier non-revenge corresponds to the humiliation that is reflected in the capture on Limors and the lethargy in Schatel le mort . This time, however, there is no “fatherly” protector to be defeated, as was still customary in the first part. Instead, Lancelet defeats a hundred warriors. The mistress likes him so much that she doesn't want to let him go again (she takes him into "Minnehaft", Kurt Ruh). After a year Lanzelet managed to escape with the help of a ruse and the help of his friend Arthur.

While the nameless daughter simply disappeared from the text, Ade's disappearance from the text was emphasized when she left it. When Lanzelet left Iblis, it was meant to be temporary. The once abandoned and now temporary abandoner is arrested by the mistress of Plûrîs. A regular exit is impossible here, Lanzelet only has to flee. In the tradition of the Arthurian novel , affect regulation and drive conditioning is always outsourced by the Arthurian court . At Artushof there can only be a relationship like that with Iblis, to which Lanzelet longs to return, which confirms his perfection.

The principle of the triuwe , the lack of which dominated the first part (e.g. Pants ended tyranny, Iweret's theft of the sea fairy, Ades quickly turned away from Lanzelet), also determines the second part (e.g. Lanzelet remains loyal in Plûrîs, when he always strives back to Iblis, Iblis is the only one that fits the coat, Lanzelet is loyal to Arthur and his fellow knights and stands by them) and finally culminates in the episode with the dragon. The story of the girl who was turned into a dragon out of faithlessness once again sums up the core problems, Haug notes.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Walter Haug: "The country from which nobody returns". Myth, fiction and truth in Chrétien's 'Chevalier de la Charrete', in Ulrichs von Zatzikhoven's 'Lanzelet' and in the 'Lancelot' prose novel, Tübingen 1978 (investigations into German literary history, vol. 21), page 55
  2. Dagmar ó Riain-Raedel, "Investigations into the mythical structure of the Middle High German Arthurian epics", Philological Studies and Sources, volume 91, Berlin 1978, page 85
  3. Kurt Ruh: Courtly Epic of the German Middle Ages II: 'Reinhart Fuchs', 'Lanzelet', Wolfram von Eschenbach, Gottfried von Strasbourg, Berlin 1980 (Basics of German Studies 25) page 42
  4. Walter Haug: "The country from which nobody returns". Myth, fiction and truth in Chrétien's 'Chevalier de la Charrete', in Ulrichs von Zatzikhoven's 'Lanzelet' and in the 'Lancelot' prose novel, Tübingen 1978 (Investigations on German literary history, vol. 21), page 58


  • Friedrich Michael Dimpel: Freedom to narrate differently in the 'Lanzelet'. Heidelberg 2013 (= supplement to Euphorion 73)
  • Walter Haug: "The country from which nobody returns". Myth, fiction and truth in Chrétien's 'Chevalier de la Charrete', in Ulrichs von Zatzikhoven's 'Lanzelet' and in the 'Lancelot' prose novel, Tübingen 1978 (investigations on German literary history, vol. 21)
  • Thomas Kerth (translator into English): Ulrich von Zatzikhoven , with additional notes from Kenneth GT Webster and Roger Sherman Loomis. Columbia University Press, New York City, USA 2005, ISBN 0-231-12869-X .
  • Florian Kragl (eds.): Lanzelet / Ulrich von Zatzikhoven , Volume 1: Text and translation, Volume 2: Research report and commentary, (Zugl .: Wien, Univ., Diss., F. Kragl, 2005), Berlin 2006
  • Nicola MacLelland: Ulrich von Zatzikhoven's Lanzelet: narrative style and entertainment, Cambridge 2000 (Arthurian studies 46), ISBN 0-85991-602-2
  • Almut Münch: The secondary characters in Ulrichs von Zatzikhoven “Lanzelet”: “iu enwirt mê niht geseit - von ir dewederem ein word” (v. 3674f.) , (= European university publications : series 1, German language and literature; 1917), ( Zugl .: Freiburg (Breisgau), Univ., Diss., 2005), Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 3-631-53838-3
  • Thomas Poser: Space in Motion. Mythical logic and spatial order in the 'Erec' and in the 'Lanzelet' , (= Bibliotheca Germanica; Volume 70), (Zugl .: Zürich, Univ., Diss., 2016) Tübingen 2018, ISBN 978-3-7720-8645- 8th
  • Kurt Ruh: Courtly epic of the German Middle Ages II: 'Reinhart Fuchs', 'Lanzelet', Wolfram von Eschenbach, Gottfried von Strasbourg, Berlin 1980 (Basics of German Studies 25)
  • Klaus M. Schmidt (edit): Glossary of terms and index to Ulrichs von Zatzikhoven Lanzelet , (= indices to German literature; Volume 25), Tübingen 1993, ISBN 3-484-38025-X
  • Markus Wennerhold: Late Middle High German Arthurian novels: 'Lanzelet', 'Wigalois', 'Daniel von dem Blühenden Tal', 'Diu Crône'; Balance of Research 1960-2000 , (= Würzburg contributions to German philology; Volume 27), (Zugl .: Würzburg, Univ., Diss., 2002), Würzburg 2005, ISBN 3-8260-2865-1
  • Ulrike Zellmann: Lanzelet. The biographical Arthurian novel as an interpretation scheme for dynastic knowledge formation , (= Studia humaniora; Volume 28), (Zugl .: Düsseldorf, Univ., Diss., 1994), Düsseldorf 1996, ISBN 3-7700-0832-4
  • Georg Deutscher: The Viennese handwriting of Lantzelet Ulrichs von Zatzikhoven. (Ulrich von Zatzikhoven, Lanzelet) , (= Philologica Germanica; Volume 24), Vienna, Fassbaender, 2002. ISBN 3-900538-75-1

Web links