Post-classical history

Friedrich von Hausen (d. 1190)

The first German lyric poet of crusade, and the only one whose death on crusade is documented.

Friedrich is named in charters of the imperial chancellor Christian, archbishop of Mainz (1171, 1175), and King (later Emperor) Henry VI (1186-1187), and he is recorded by the chronicler Gislebert of Mons as Frederick Bar- barossa’s counselor and judge (1187-1188). Five chronicles of the Third Crusade (1189-1192) record his death while repelling a Turkish attack against the rearguard of the German army near Philomelion (mod. Akflehir, Turkey) on 6 May 1190.

Hausen’s courtly love lyrics foreground the lover’s mordant critique of unrequited hohiu minne (high love). Having taken the cross, presumably in 1188, he exploited Min- nesang (German love lyric) as propaganda for crusade. The crusader must choose between the irreconcilable claims of secular love and divine love. In the song Si darf mich des zîhen niet (“She has no cause to reproach me”), the lover abandons the habitually indifferent lady in order to serve God, “who knows how to reward,” and regrets having “forgotten God so long” [Des Minnesangs Frühling, V, 4]. Now his priority is to serve him, and “only after that shall my heart serve all women” (V, 5).

Mîn herze und mîn lîp diu wellentscheiden (VI, “My heart and my body will go separate ways”) takes its central motif of the divided self from the song Ahi! amours, com dure departie (“Alas, love, what painful parting”) by the trouvère Conon de Béthune. The inner conflict of the knight, torn between “God’s honor” and worldly pleasure, and unable to persuade his heart to crusade with him (VI, 1-3), is resolved only by repudiating secular love: “No one can accuse me of inconstancy if I come to hate the one I loved. However much I begged and beseeched her, she behaves as if she understood not a word. [...] I’d be a fool to put up with her stupidity— it will never happen again” (VI, 4). Mîn herze den gelouben hât (VII, “My heart believes”) commends those the crusader leaves behind to God’s mercy, trusting “good ladies” to spurn lovers too cowardly to go on “God’s journey” (VII, 2). Si waenentdem tôde entrunnen sîn (XVI, “They imagine they have escaped death”) castigates those who go back on their vow: “Whoever takes the cross and never sets off will see God at the last—when the gate is shut in his face which He opens wide for His own people” (XVI, 5-8).

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