Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Surnamed D ER P FAFFE (The Priest).

German poet of the twelfth century, of whom practically nothing personal is known but his name and the fact that he was a cleric. He is the author of the "Alexanderlied", the first German secular epic composed on a French model. According to the poet's own statement this model was a poem on Alexander the Great by Albéric de Besançon, of which only a portion of the beginning, 105 verses in all, is preserved (discovered and published by Paul Heyse, Berlin, 1856). The poem contained a fabulous account of the life and deeds of the great Macedonian conqueror as it was current in Greek and Latin versions of the early Middle Ages, such as the Greek romance of pseudo-Callisthenes, dating from the third century A.D., the Latin translation of Julius Valerius, the epitome thereof, and especially the free Latin version made by the Neapolitan archpresbyter Leo in the tenth century, known as the "Historia de preliis". A comparison of Lamprecht's opening lines with the fragment preserved of the French original shows that he followed his source with tolerable fidelity, adding, however, occasional moralizing comments or remarks of a learned nature. Altogether there are 7302 verses in short rhymed couplets, the rhyme being very imperfect. Besides Albéric's poem, which, as far as we know it, is based on Valerius, Lamprecht used also the "Historia de preliis" and an "Iter ad paradisum", especially in the narration of the marvels seen by Alexander in the Far East, and in the account of the hero's journey to Paradise. There admittance is refused him, and he is made to realize the emptiness of earthly glory. Thus the close of the poem is distinctly moralizing in tone; the career of the great conqueror is but an illustration of the dictum concerning the vanity of earthly things. The poem seems to have been written in Middle Rhenish territory about 1130, at a time, therefore, when the crusades had brought the East nearer to the Western world, and when stories of its marvels were sure to find an eager audience.

We possess three manuscripts of Lamprecht's poem, one from Vorau which is not quite complete, one from Strasburg dating from 1187, which is about five times as extensive as the preceding, and lastly a version interpolated in the manuscript of a Basle chronicle. The relationship of the manuscripts to one another is in doubt. The Vorau manuscript is generally re- garded as the oldest and most authentic ; that of Strasburg as an amplified recension. The Basle manuscript is certainly late and inferior in value to the other two. The "Alexanderlied" with German translation was first edited by Weismann (2 vols., Frankfurt, 1850); the best edition is by Kinzel in "Germanistische Handbibliothek", ed. Zacher, VI (Halle, 1884). The Vorau manuscript was edited by Diemer in "Deutsche Gedichte des 11. und 12. Jahrhunderts" (Vienna, 1849), the Strasburg manuscript by Massmann in "Deutsche Gedichte des 11. und 12. Jahrhunderts" (Quedlinburg, 1837), and the Basle manuscript by Werner (Stuttgart, 1882) in "Bibliothek des Literarischen Vereins in Stuttgart", CLIV. Selections were edited by Piper in "Die Spielmannsdichtung", II, 2; in "Kürschners Deutsche National Litteratur", II, pp. 116-82. A modern German translation by Ottmann appeared in "Hendels Bibliothek der Gesamtlitteratur" (Halle, I898).


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 1:17-19
17 'As for you, prepare yourself for action. Stand up ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
1 In you, Yahweh, I take refuge, I shall never be put ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:17-29
17 Now it was this same Herod who had sent to have ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 29th, 2014 Image

St. Sabina
August 29: St. Sabina's feast day is August 29th. We know St. Sabina only ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter