Sängerkrieg - Story of The Sängerkrieg

Story of The Sängerkrieg

The oldest poetic accounts, dating from the 13th century, describe specific episodes of the contest such as the Fürstenlob and the Rätselspiel.

The Fürstenlob ("princely praise") was a contest among six minstrels: Heinrich von Ofterdingen, Walther von der Vogelweide, Biterolf, Reinmar von Zweter, Wolfram von Eschenbach and Heinrich Schreiber. The six singers were placed before the Count and Countess of Thuringia, in order to determine which best understood how to sing praises of a prince. Heinrich von Ofterdingen was the most eloquent, but earned the envy of the other minstrels, who tricked him into earning a death sentence. Heinrich gained the protection of Countess Sophia and a one-year reprieve, during which he went to Hungary and sought the assistance of the sorcerer Klingsor. Heinrich and Klingsor returned to Thuringia to resume the contest.

The Rätselspiel ("mystery game") was the subsequent poetic duel between Wolfram von Eschenbach and the Hungarian sorcerer Klingsor. Wolfram proved himself capable and eloquent, and when Klingsor grew weary he summoned a demon to continue the duel. When Wolfram began to sing of the Christian mysteries, the demon was unable to respond.

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