Germanic Romance Essay

2503 words - 11 pages

Germanic Romance as a Getaway from Medieval Society
Erec and Enide, Parzival, and Tristran were all very popular Medieval Authurian Romances which have captivated many readers through the years. I too have found reading them to be very enjoyable experience. I particular liked the aspect of reading stories that were written centuries ago, which has given me some insight into the culture of medieval northern Europe. I have been able to realize the importance that medieval people placed on the ideas of being a knight, courtly love, and King Authur’s court. I believe I know why these works were so popular, it was because works like this allowed individuals of medieval societies to be taken away ...view middle of the document...

In our handout we were given details of who was fighting who during the year 1173 A.D which was only a couple years after the estimated time of the finishing of Erec and Enide. During this time the King Henry was leading an English invasion of Ireland which definitely was a gruesome affair that many English men were fighting in. Also during this time the Second Crusade was taking place. Now if we look at what was happening during the beginning of the 13th century when Wolfram von Eschenbach was writing his Parzival, and Strassburg was writing his “Tristan” we can see there was a lot going on. First, we see that the third crusade had just ended and the fourth crusade was about to start. Also, we see that the Philip of France had embarked on a fight against King Richard of England to take back French fiefs that Philip thought Richard had too many of. Knowing that all of this fighting was taken place it is logical to think that life during these times were very hard on the men of these countries because they were the ones who had to fight for their Kings who were power hungry.
These men did not have any choice in the matter they had to fight and fighting back in those days was gruesome. The book “Medieval Warfare” talks about the brutality of the war that these medieval men experienced. One passage from this book that resonated with me is when the author describes a battle at Agincout on St. Crispin’s day where it is estimated that 10,000 men were killed. Imagine that, in one day 10,000was soldiers lost their lives. The field of battle was littered with dying and dead men and it had to be a sight that none forgotten once they saw it. That kind of image must have been haunting for all the men who saw it and I believe that our three Romances might have helped ease the mind of those lucky enough to be able to read them. These Romances could of made the fortunate survivors feel like heroic knight who defeated the odds and survived. Imagine seeing 10,000 men slayed in one day, if I saw that and I was alive after the end of it I would think I was destined to survive and that I was a very skilled fighter. If I also red tales of Erec, Parzival, and Tristan I would probable believe that I was like them. Because those three men defeated great knights and dragons and I was able to survive a battle that 10,000 other men were not able to survive. These surviving men could relate to Erec, Parzival, and Tristan because they too had gone to a foreign land, defied the odds and defeated a powerful enemy.
Now, let us say that the male reader of one of these Arthurian Romances was from a country that was not currently in a war, what would this reader’s daily life be like? In the book “A Day in a Medieval City” there is a painting that alludes to what a medieval male’s life was like during this period of time. In this painting there are four men of different ages doing a variety of different work. The first man, the youngest who looks like a child, is harvesting...

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