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Etymology[ edit ] The names Sigurd and Siegfried do not share the same etymology. The second elements of the two names are different, however: This form of the name had been common even outside of heroic poetry since the ninth century, though the form Sigevrit is also attested, along with the Middle Dutch Zegevrijt.
Names equivalent to Siegfried are first attested in Anglo-Saxon Kent in the seventh century and become frequent in Anglo-Saxon England in the ninth century. The most popular theory is that Sigurd has his origins in one or several figures of the Merovingian dynasty of the Franks: In particular, the murder of Sigebert Iwho was married to Brunhilda of Austrasiais often cited as a likely inspiration for the figure,   a theory that was first proposed in If this theory is correct, then in the legend, Fredegunda and Brunhilda appear to have switched roles,  while Chilperic has been replaced with Gunther.
A connection between Siegfried and Arminius was first proposed by Franz-Joseph Mone inwho believed Sigurd to be an amalgamation of several historical figures. InAdolf Griesebrecht proposed that Sigurd is a mythologized version of Arminius, while the Romans represent the dragon.
Continental Germanic traditions about Siegfried enter writing with the Nibelungelied around The German tradition strongly associates Siegfried with a kingdom called "Niederland" Middle High German Niderlantwhich, despite its name, is not the same as the modern Netherlandsbut describes Siegfried's kingdom around the city of Xanten.
The Nibelungenlied gives two contradictory descriptions of Siegfried's youth. On the level of the main story, Siegfried is given a courtly upbringing in Xanten by his father king Siegmund and mother Sieglind. When he is seen coming to Wormscapital of the Burgundian kingdom to woo the princess Kriemhild, however, the Burgundian vassal Hagen von Tronje narrates a different story of Siegfried's youth: He also tells an unrelated tale about how Siegfried killed a dragon, bathed in its blood, and thereby received a skin as hard as horn that makes him invulnerable.
Of the features of young Siegfried's adventures, only those that are directly relevant to the rest of the story are mentioned. Siegfried, using his cloak of invisibility, aids Gunther in each task. Finally, in front of the door of the cathedral in Worms, the two queens argue who should enter first. Hagen tricks Kriemhild into telling him where Siegfried's skin is vulnerable, and Gunther invites Siegfried to take part in a hunt in the Waskenwald the Vosges. Siegfried is mortally wounded, but still attacks Hagen, before cursing the Burgundians and dying.
Hagen arranges to have Siegfried's corpse thrown outside the door to Kriemhild's bedroom. Kriemhild mourns Siegfried greatly and he is buried in Worms. It is also mentioned that he was buried in a marble sarcophagus—this may be connected to actual marble sarcophagi that were displayed in the abbey, having been dug up following a fire in Kriemhild decides that she would like to test Siegfried's mettle against the hero Dietrich von Bernand so she invites him and twelve of his warriors to fight her twelve champions.
When the fight is finally meant to begin, Dietrich initially refuses to fight Siegfried on the grounds that the dragon's blood has made Siegfried's skin invulnerable. Dietrich is convinced to fight Siegfried by the false news that his mentor Hildebrand is dead and becomes so enraged that he begins to breathe fire, melting Siegfried's protective layer of horn on his skin.
He is thus able to penetrate Siegfried's skin with his sword, and Siegfried becomes so afraid that he flees to Kriemhild's lap. Only the reappearance of Hildebrand prevents Dietrich from killing Siegfried. Some of the details agree with the Thidrekssaga.
When Sigmund returns from a campaign one day, he discovers his wife is pregnant, and believing her to be unfaithful to him, he exiles her to the "Swabian Forest" the Black Forest?
She dies after some time, and Sigurd is suckled by a hind before being found by the smith Mimir. Mimir tries to raise the boy, but Sigurd is so unruly that Mimir sends him to his brother Regin, who has transformed into a dragon, in the hopes that he will kill the boy. Sigurd, however, slays the dragon and tastes its flesh, whereby he learns the language of the birds and of Mimir's treachery.
He smears himself with dragon's blood, making his skin invulnerable, and returns to Mimir. Mimir gives him weapons to placate him, but Sigurd kills him anyway. Thidrek is unable to wound Sigurd because of his invulnerable skin, but on the third day Thidrek receives the sword Mimung, which can cut through Sigurd's skin, and defeats him. Sigurd recommends to Gunnar that he marry Brynhild, and the two ride to woo for her.
Brynhild now claims that Sigurd had earlier said he would marry her unmentioned before in the textbut eventually she agrees to marry Gunnar. She will not, however, allow Gunnar to consummate the marriage, and so with Gunnar's agreement, Sigurd takes Gunnar's shape and deflowers Brynhild, taking away her strength. Brynhild claims that Sigurd is not of noble birth, after which Grimhild announces that Sigurd and not Gunnar deflowered Brynhild.
The brothers then place his corpse in Grimhild's bed, and she mourns. In this context, it also features a fight between Siegfried and Dietrich in which Dietrich defeats Siegfried after initially appearing cowardly. The text also features a fight between Siegfried and the hero Heimein which Siegfried knocks Heime's famous sword Nagelring out of his hand, after which both armies fight for control over the sword. Unattested in any other source, however, is that Kriemhild orchestrated the disaster at Etzel's court in order to avenge Siegfried being killed by Dietrich von Bern.
According to the Heldenbuch-Prosa, Dietrich killed Siegfried fighting in the rose garden at Worms see the Rosengarten zu Worms section above. This may have been another version of Siegfried's death that was in oral circulation. It agrees in many details with the Thidrekssaga and other Old Norse accounts over the Nibelungenlied, suggesting that these details existed in an oral tradition about Siegfried in Germany.
He was so unruly, however, that the smith arranged for him to be killed by a dragon. Siegfried was able to kill the dragon, however, and eventually kills many more by trapping them under logs and setting them on fire. The dragon's skin, described as hard as horn, melts, and Siegfried sticks his finger into it, discovering that his finger is now hard as horn as well.
He smears himself with the melted dragon skin everywhere except for one spot. Later, he stumbles upon the trail of another dragon that has kidnapped princess Kriemhild of Worms.
With the help of the dwarf Eugel, Siegfried fights the giant Kuperan, who has the key to the mountain Kriemhild has been taken to.
He rescues the princess and slays the dragon, finding the treasure of the Nibelungen inside the mountain. Eugel prophesies, however, the Siegfried only has eight years to live. Realizing he will not be able to use the treasure, Siegfried dumps the treasure into the Rhine on his way to Worms. He marries Kriemhild and rules there together with her brothers Gunther, Hagen, and Giselher, but they resent him and have him killed after eight years.
Runkelstein Castle, near Bozen, South Tyrol, c. The Icelandic Abbot Nicholaus of Thvera records that while traveling through Westphaliahe was shown the place where Sigurd slew the dragon called Gnita-Heath in the Norse tradition between two villages south of Paderborn. Frederick ordered the graveyard dug up—according to one Latin source, he found nothing, but a German chronicle reports that he found a skull and some bones that were larger than normal.
While older scholarship took this to represent the original form of the Sigurd story, newer scholarship is more inclined to see it as a development of the tradition that is unique to Scandinavia. The so-called Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson is the earliest non-pictorial attestation of the Scandinavian version of Sigurd's life, dating to around Sigurd tastes the dragon's blood and understands the birds when they say that Regin will kill him in order to acquire the dragon's gold.
He then kills Regin and takes the hoard of the Nibelungen for himself. He rides away with the hoard and then awakens the valkyrie Brynhild by cutting the armor from her, before coming to king Gjuki 's kingdom. There he marries Gjuki's daughter, Gudrun, and helps her brother, Gunnar, to acquire Brynhild's hand from her brother Atli.
Sigurd deceives Brynhild by taking Gunnar's shape when Gunnar cannot fulfill the condition that he ride through a wall of flames to wed her; Sigurd rides through the flames and weds Brynhild, but does not sleep with her, placing his sword between them in the marriage bed.
Sigurd and Gunnar then return to their own shapes. Sigurd and Gudrun have two children, Svanhild and young Sigmund.
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Later, Brynhild and Gudrun quarrel and Gudrun reveals that Sigurd was the one who rode through the fire, and shows a ring that Sigurd took from Brynhild as proof.
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