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The Deeds of Wiprecht

Legendary Origins

Emelric, king of Teutonia, had two brothers: Dietmar of Verden and Herlibo of Brandenburg. Herlibo fathered three sons, namely Emelric, Fridelo, and Herlibo, who were called 'the Harlongi'. Of these sons, Herlibo married a daughter of the king of Norway and extended his lineage with two sons, one of whom was named Svatobor and the other Wolf. Svatobor’s sons were Scambor and his brothers. Wolf acquired primacy over the Pomeranians but then was expelled from the province and fled to the king of the Danes. The king eagerly received this man of powerful youth, known to him beforehand by his already circulating reputation. Having frequently tested the strength of this man's body and the steadfastness of his spirit thereafter, the king called him forth more familiarly among those especially familiar to him and gave him his daughter in marriage. But a short time later, the girl’s brothers became consumed by the taint of envy because of the illustrious man’s reputation for strength and prosperous success. They fell upon him to drive him away from their borders and themselves, fearing that Wolf would do the same to them in the future, after the death of their father. Indeed, gnawing envy, which denies all things to happy people, provides them, and frequently their authors, the opportunity to lose everything. Therefore, while his father-in-law still lived, Wolf deemed it appropriate to yield to the envy of his sons. A short time later, when he learned that their father had died, he attacked them with a military force and killed them. Since everyone supported him, insofar as he was the son-in-law of the king, he alone obtained the kingdom. Thereafter, these events followed next for him: from his aforesaid wife he received three sons, namely Otto, Herman, and Wiprecht, the father of Margrave Wiprecht. Afterwards, the region of the Balsami surrendered to his rule by a warlike fate. Finally, old age and frequent battles weakened Wolf. He had earned so much goodwill from the common people, on account of his good fortune, that they thought prosperity could not follow them, either in war or in any other danger, except with him present (even doing nothing). Accordingly, they believed that, with him present, they were always about to attain victory. Having greater confidence in good fortune than, as previously, in his strength, they hoped that—through he was a man situated in the final stage of life—no adversity would be able to prevail against them. Therefore, since from the weakness of old age he was not strong enough to sit, they tied him on his horse—so that thus he preceded them in battle. When he submitted to nature, his body was taken away to the temple of the gods by barbarian custom. His familiars ran around the bier by rank, with swords drawn as if in readiness for battle, and performed the funeral rites while making mournful sounds. With Wolf dead, the uncle of those whom Wolf had killed in the province of the Danes turned his hatred of the father against the sons. Because they despaired of withstanding his invasion, they withdrew from their father’s territory. Otto, the eldest of them, departed for Greece and Herman for Russia.