Post-classical history

Albrecht von Johansdorf

A German poet, composer of five recruitment songs in Middle High German, probably for the Third Crusade (1189-1192), and ministerial knight in the service of bishops of Passau between 1180 and 1206.

Albrecht’s Song II borrows its form and melody from an Old French song by Conon de Béthune datable to 1189. References in Song V to the fall of Jerusalem, the capture of the Holy Sepulchre, and the loss of the True Cross (1187) also suggest that Albrecht was writing in 1189-1190, but possibly he went on crusade instead—or additionally—in 1197 with Wolfger von Erla, bishop of Passau. Albrecht belongs to the first generation of German lyric poets of the crusades. Like Hartmann von Aue, he voices, in Songs V and XIII, a profound commitment to crusading piety. Unlike Hartmann and Friedrich von Hausen, he insists that secular values and crusade are reconcilable. In Songs II, V, and XIII he lets the courtly lady speak her feelings and asserts that mutual fidelity between knight and lady earns the woman half of the crusader’s reward.

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