Monday, April 23, 2007

1150 to 1199

Volsunga Saga. Anonymous. Scandinavia. 1150(?) Saga. Main source of Wagner's opera cycle. Volsunga is grandson of god Odin. He is the father of Sigmund who is the father of Siegfried. Love interests are Siegfried, Brunhild, Gudrin and Sigurd. Brunhild loves Siegfried. Magic potion makes Siegfried forget Brunhild. Magic ring of fire. Suitor must cross. Sigurd does and Brunhild marries him. Siegfried marries Gudrun. Deception is revealed. Battle and everyone dies, leaving undiscovered the treasure, sunk in the Rhine.

The Russian Primary Chronicle. Nestor (?) Russian. 1150 (?) Historical annals of medieval Russia with Kiev the center of the Russian nation.

1151. Geoffrey of Anjou dies; called "Plantagenet" for habit of wearing a sprig of broom (genet) in his cap.

Roman de Brut. Wace. French. 1155. Poetry. In french. Introduces the Round Table motif.

1162. England's Henry II has Thomas a Becket elected Archbishop of Canterbury. Becket immediately becomes ardent champion of Church rights; quarrels incessantly with the king over these rights.

1170. Overzealous knights murder Becket in the cathedral at Canterbury December 29.

1174. England's Henry II does penance at Canterbury for the murder of Thomas a Becket.

1176. Egyptian sultan Saladin mounts campaign to drive the Christians from the kingdom of Jerusalem.

Heimskringel. Anonymous. Norse. 1177 (?) Sagas. Sixteen sagas of Norwegian history through 1177. Combination of biography, mythology and poetry.

1180. Glass windows appear in private English homes.

1188. "Saladin Tithe" imposed by Philip III to raise money for a Third Crusade is first tax in France.

1189. England's Henry II dies. Succeeded by his son Richard I, the Lion Heart.

1189. Third Crusade begins in May as Frederick Barbarossa leaves at the head of a splendid army.

1189. The first paper mill in Christian Europe is established in France.

The Nibelungenlied. Anonymous. German. 1190. Epic Poetry. Based on Scandinavian legends. Adventures of Siegfried, Kriemhild, Brunhild, Hagen, and Hildebrand.

The Song of Igor's Campaign. Anonymous. Russian. 1190 (?) Poetry. Mixture of epic, lyric, and oratorical styles; ill-fated campaign of a Russian prince against Polovsty tribes in 1185. One of the greatest literary masterpieces in Russian until Pushkin.

1191. Richard the Lion Heart embarks on the Third Crusade; gains brilliant victory over Saladin.

1192. The third Crusade follows treacherous guide into the desert beyond Antioch where famine, plague and desertion reduce its number from 100,000 to 5000.

1192. Richard the Lion Heart makes a truce with Saladin, leaves for home, is captured at Vienna where Leopold of Austria imprisons him.

1193. Richard the Lion Heart is surrendered to the Holy Roman Emperor who demands a ransom.

1194. Richard the Lion Heart returns to England following payment of the first installment of the ransom.

1199. Richard the Lion Heart is wounded by a crossbow bolt while directing a siege of a castle in France. He dies and is succeeded by his brother John Lackland.

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