I’m currently composing my bachlor’s thesis on giants in high middle german literature. I have been browsing some manuscripts tonight and thought I might as well share some artwork with you. This tale, written down roundabout the 13th century, is about Sigenot, a giant, and Dietrich of Bern, a legendary hero (norse and germanic respectively in the “Thidrekssaga” or in “Dietrichepik”). Dietrich wants to fight Sigenot in order to gain honor, but Sigenot wants revenge for his relatives, giants Hilde and Grim, who Dietrich killed in their sleep, acquiring (looting) his current armor.
Sigenot is victorious and imprisons Dietrich in his home (actually depicted not like a cave with dragons at all in this painting! ).
Hildebrand, Dietrichs mentor and best bud, ventures to rescue him but also has a hard time fighting Sigenot.
Finally, both heroes escape with the help of a dwarf.
Codex palatinus germanicus 67 (lat. basically meaning: “Heidelbergian German Volume”, the manuscript from the scriptorium of Ludwig Henfflin) is fully digitalized by the University of Heidelberg. The 15th century illustrations are not very crafty; but they sort of look like a flip-book when you browse through them.
I just thought I might give you some eye candy; the actual codices are not so fun to look at and look more like this:
This is a page of cod. pal. 397, Hartmann’s von Aue “Iwein”, an arthurian epic I am also going to consider in my work. But more of that when it is done; my thesis will examine different depictions of giants as villains or knights in both the epics of Dietrich and the arthurian romances. Stay tuned. 😉