'Empöprer' and the Grip on Power. On the Literary Negotiation of Usurpation in Late Medieval Narrative

Betrayal is a popular narrative motif in Middle High German literature. With the Genelun figure in the Song of Roland by the Pfaffe Konrad, the verraetere made its first appearance in German-language literature. There are different types of traitors and betrayals. The project outlined here is concerned with a very prominent motif of betrayal, especially in late medieval narrative, namely 'indignation against rule' and the accompanying efforts at usurpation, often connected with a supposed or actual vacancy of the throne and the (re)installation of a worthy successor by birthright or marriage.

The texts at the centre of the project will be examined to see how they narratively unfold the betrayal/outrage. Narrative strategies of characterisation, plot motivation and legitimation strategies of just or rightful rule will be scrutinised.

Project Manager

Avatar Zacke

Dr. Birgit Zacke

German Medieval Studies


Rabinstraße 8

53111 Bonn


Study Region

13th-16th Century

Study Period

Wird geladen