Constructing Sigfrid: History and Legend in the Making of a Hero

Edward Fichtner


Four hundred years ago, it was recognized by Marquart Freher that the figure of Sigfrid was the reflex of the Merovingian king Sigibert (535–575). This article identifies historical allusions in the Nibelungenlied to another source, the Danish viking Gotefrid, who was killed in the Netherlands in 885, but whose name was displaced by that of his comrade-in-arms, Sigifridus. The Sîvrit of the Nibelungenlied is thus a conflation of various features of the Merovingian Sigibert and the Carolingian Sigifred. Also addressed are references in the Nibelungenlied to certain place-names and geographical features that appear in association with these persons. (EF)

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