Kamel – E.4 – III.2 Tierepos

Heinrich’s Reinhart Fuchs includes a fascinating variant on the presentation of the camel as a pompous papal legate in its French source. His (female) »olbente von Tuschulan« (Tusculum) essentially saves Reinhart from condemnation by arguing successfully that he must be summoned to defend himself (ll. 1433–57). Later, however, as a reward, the king, at Reinhart’s instigation, invites this camel to become Abbess of Erstein. She accepts this with perhaps undue alacrity; her initial attempts to impose her authority are rejected by the other nuns; and eventually they chase her into the Rhine and beat her almost to death – a circumstance the narrator uses to warn us against accepting gifts from untrustworthy people (ll. 2117–56). Many scholars see in this episode an allusion to the disputed and eventually unsuccessful attempt by Emperor Henry VI to place the real convent of Erstein in the hands of the Bishop of Strasbourg in 1191.

Lit.: U. SCHWAB: Zur Datierung und Interpretation des RF, 1967.

Nigel Harris

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