Thiðrekssaga (Thidrekssaga) Explained


Thiðrekssaga (Thidrekssaga) Explained

The Thiðrekssaga was written around 1205 which was about the same time as the Nibelungenlied (c. 1200). The “Saga of Thiðrek” was based on the adventure of the great German hero, Thiðrek, who was known in German legend as Dietrich of Verona (Bern).

There are a number of German epics about Dietrich, but the Norwegian Thiðrekssaga contained the most complete tale of the life of Thiðrek (Dietrich) and his companions, from his birth to his disappearance. Thiðrek was loosely based on the historical Theodoric the Great (AD 454-526), the Ostrogoth king, who ruled Italy after Odoacer (AD 433-493), in AD 493. Theodoric died in AD 526. Theodoric was hardly a hero from which German legend depicted him.

The interesting thing is that Thiðrekssaga also incorporated some part of the tale of the hero Sigurd and the Burgundian family known as the Niflungs. The episodes of Sigurd and the Niflungs contained a mixture of both Norse and German traditions. So some parts resembled the Icelandic Volsunga Saga and the Eddas with elements that followed the Norse tradition. While most of the other parts remained true to the Germanic legends, such as the Nibelungenlied.

The Thiðrekssaga is a fairly large narrative, with so many different exploits from various heroes that it would be impossible for me to tell it in full. For this reason, I left out a few episodes when it doesn’t relate to either Thidrek or the legend of the Niflungs (Nibelungs).

House of Amelungs
Rise of Attila
Early Adventures of Thiðrek
Childhood of Sigurd
Death of Osantrix
Wooings of Grimhild and Brynhild
Enmity of Thidrek and Eriminrek
Death of Sigurd
Fall of the Niflungs
Thidrek Returns Home
End of the Age


The Nibelungs

Related Pages:
Volsunga Saga



House of Amlungs

Before the Thiðrekssaga begins with Thiðrek’s adventure, we have a brief account about his grandfather, Samson.


The saga of Thidrek began with Samson, Thidrek’s grandfather. Samson was a young knight serving under Earl Rodgeir of Salerni (Salerno). At that time, Samson was the best and bravest knight in the world. Almost as tall as a giant.

Earl Rodgeir had a daughter named Hildisvid, whom Samson fell in love with. So while Rodgeir was absence, Hildisvid was easily persuaded by the powerful knight to elope with him. So Samson carried her off, Hildisvid bringing all her clothing and jewellery with her.

When Rodgeir returned home to find his daughter and knight missing, he grieved in shame, so he set out with his men to track down Samson. Samson attacked, killing the Rodgeir and 15 of his knights. The others fled with the death of their earl.

When King Brunstein heard of his brother’s death, he set out against Samson, thought he couldn’t find the knight. However, Samson had one night stormed Brunstein’s castle, killing and wounding many. Brunstein fled in panic with a few knights out of his castle and out into the forest.

Brunstein had come upon a small house in the forest, where he recognised and confronted his niece Hildisvid of betraying her father. He ordered Hildisvid to join him, which she refused, because he was a dead man anyway. When Brunstein heard this and saw Samson charging towards him. Samson delivered a mighty blow with his sword that cleaved Brunstein’s helmet in half, splitting the head right down to the shoulders. Samson killed Brunstein’s other five knights and severely wounding one.

Samson and his wife encountered a company of knights, led by Thetmar, Samson’s uncle. Thetmar had come to serve him. When Samson came before the cities of Brunstein and Earl Rodgeir, each city surrendered to him, without resistance. One city had heard of his deeds and decided to appoint Samson as their duke. Another city had him crown as their king. Samson became the King of Salerni. Samson now ruled the lands of Brunstein and Rodgeir.

Erminrek and Thetmar

Samson and Hildisvid had two sons. The eldest was Erminrek (Ermanaric), who grew to be a strong and handsome man. His other son was named after his uncle, as Thetmar. By this time, Samson had conquered many kingdoms and captured many cities, establishing a fairly large empire in the west.

For Erminrek, Samson gave twelve cities from Spain, which he had capture from his conquest. Samson insisted that if Erminrek wanted to rule more, he must conquer kingdoms himself without anymore help from him.

When Thetmar heard this, he insisted that he too should receive some lands from his father. However, Samson didn’t answer his son, because he was angry with Thetmar.

Samson gathered his army, sending his knights to demand tributes from Earl Elsung of Bern (Verona) in Elsungland. Since Elsung had refused previous demands, Samson insisted that Elsung’s daughter will be his tribute, along with sixty noble maidens and sixty knights. Elsung’s daughter was named Odila, and she was to be Thetmar’s concubine.

Elsung refused to give in to such outrageous tributes, so the king had the Samson’s envoy taken into custody. Four knights of Salerni were beheaded, and the last knight had his hand severed and returned to Samson with his refusal. Elsung then prepared for the defence of his city.

Three months later, two massive armies met. Though, there were high casualties on both sides, Samson was gaining the upper hand. Elsung seeing this bravery attacked the old king, managing to wound his enemy’s shoulder. However, Samson ended the combat and the battle, when he lopped off Elsung’s head. Elsung’s warriors immediately surrendered when they saw their earl had fallen.

Thetmar received Bern and all the land of Elsung from his father, which received the title as king. Thetmar had also married Odila, Elsung’s daughter. Thetmar had two sons, Thidrek (known to the Germans as Dietrich) and Thether; they also have a daughter named Isolde.

Samson had a third son who was named Aki and known as the Protector of the Amelungs (Aki Amlungatrausti), who received the city of Fritila (Fidsaela).


It should be noted that here, in the Thidrekssaga, the name Amelungs is referred to Erminrek and his family, who would later become enemies of Thidrek (Dietrich) of Bern. However in other German legends, the Amelungs usually referred to Dietrich (Thidrek) and his followers, who went into exile with the hero of Bern (Verona).

Related Information
Thiðrekssaga, Thidrekssaga, Thiðreks Saga, Thidreks Saga.
Amlungs, Amelungs.
Thiðrekssaga is a Norwegian saga, written in about 1200.
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Erminrek (Ermanaric), Thiðrek (Dietrich).
Genealogy: The Amelungs.


Rise of Attila

Vilkinaland and Rusland

In Vilkinaland (which is Sweden and Gautland), a king named Vilkinus ruled a mighty empire that included Sjaland and Jutland (Denmark). Such was his power that he demanded tribute from another empire ruled King Hertnid and his brother Hirdir that included Rusiland (the kingdom of Swedish Vikings in Russia), Greece, Hungary and Austria. Instead of tribute, Vilkinus was facing a war. Though, Vilkinus defeated Hertnid, he allowed his enemy to keep his kingdom, provided he received annual tribute from Hertnid.

One day, Vilkinus had slept with a woman, who was actually a mermaid. This mermaid followed him to his kingdom, where she gave birth to Vadi. The mermaid left shortly after her son was born. However, Vadi was no ordinary human, because he grew and grew, for he was a giant. Vadi was the father of Velent (Wayland). Vilkinus had another son named Nordian.

When Vilkinus died, Nordian succeeded his father. Hertnid decided to free his kingdom, and defeated the Vilkinmen. Now Nordian was forced to become Hertnid’s vassal and pay tribute to his father’s former enemy. Hertnid now ruled both Vilkinaland and Rusiland, and Nordian was only left with Zealand.

By his wife, he had two sons, Osantrix and Valdimar. Another son, Ilias, was by his mistress.

Hertnid allowed Osantrix to rule in his place in Vilkinaland, when he became old and infirm. While he gave Valdimar all of Rusiland and Poland, and Ilias received Greece.

When Juliana, wife of Osantrix, died, he decided to marry Oda, daughter of Milias, king of Hunland. When Osantrix sent six knights as an embassy to Milias, the Hunnish king threw them in the dungeon, because he thought the demand and threat from his daughter’s suitor was outrageous.

Osantrix decided to send another embassy with gifts and offer of friendship, but Milias also threw the new messengers in prison. So Osantrix decided to send a third embassy, with his cousin, Hertnid, son of Ilias, in charge.

Osantrix decided to go Milias, disguised as the chieftain Thidrek (not to be confused with the hero of Bern). Osantrix managed to free Hertnid and his men from dungeon, and abducted Oda. Oda was however willing to marry Osantrix. They had two daughters named Erka (Helche) and Berta.

Wooing of Erka

After the marriage, there was a reconciliation between the two kings. Milias ruled Hunland until he died. Osantrix should have inherited Milias’ kingdom, because of his marriage to his wife, but a powerful prince was eyeing Hunland.

In the land of Frisia, there was king named Osid, who had two sons, Ortnid and Attila. Attila had been raiding Hunland for a while, since Milias had become feeble with age. When Milias died, Attila took Hunland before Osantrix could. There was long enmity between Attila and Osantrix.

The people of Hunland had willingly submitted to Attila as their king. Milias’ capital was in Valterborg, but Attila moved it to Susa, which is now called Soest. When Osnid’s died, Attila’s brother, Ortnid, became king of Frisia. Ortnid had a son named Osid, after his grandfather, but Osid was brought up in his uncle court in Susa.

One day, Attila sent Osid and a chieftain/duke named Rodolf to ask for the hand of Erka (Helche), daughter of his archenemy, Osantrix. However the embassy failed to impress Osantrix, so they returned home with the news.

So Attila sent Rodingeir, duke of Bakalar, whom the Germans know him as Rudiger. The second embassy ended in failure, so Attila’s troops raided Vilkinaland, before defeating the Vilkin army.

Later Rudolf returned to Vilkinaland, this time disguised as Sigurd, (not to be confuse with the hero), and managed to secretly persuade Erka to marry Attila instead of King Nordung of Svava, whom Osantrix favoured. Rodolf spirited Erka and her sister Berta away to Hunland. Though Osantrix pursued because of Rodolf’s treachery (as Sigurd), he was forced to end the pursuit, when Attila brought a larger army to aid Rodolf.

Erka married Attila, and had two sons, Erp and Ortvin.

Related Information
Attila (historical, German).
Atila (Norse, Icelandic).
Etzel (German).
Thiðrekssaga is a Norwegian saga, written in about 1200.
Related Articles
Attila, Erka (Helche), Rodingeir (Rudiger).
Genealogy: House of the Vilkins, House of Attila.


Early Adventures of Thiðrek

With Thetmar as king of Bern and married to Odila, he became the father of the great hero Thiðrek (Dietrich). Thiðrek grew larger and stronger than most boy of the same age.

In a way, Thiðrek was sort of like King Arthur, who has the knights of the Round Table as his companions; so Thiðrek gathered powerful allies and companions, who were in their rights, as heroes.

Of Thidrek’s companions, three of them played important roles in Thidrek’s life as well as in the saga. They were Hildibrand (Hildebrand), Heimir and Vidga. There are many companions but I will only briefly mention them.


Hildebrand was the first to become Thiðrek’s companion. Hildebrand was the son of Reginbald and grandson of the Duke of Fenidi (Venice). Hildebrand was not only a strong and excellent knight; he was also wise and loyal.

When he was thirty, Hildebrand decided to leave his father’s court, since he couldn’t become famous by staying at home. So he informed his father that he decided to serve King Thetmar in Bern. Hildebrand only took fifteen knights with him.

Thetmar welcomed Hildebrand to his court, and was delighted to have such a great knight to serve as his vassal. Thiðrek, who was only five of the time, was placed under Hildebrand’s tutelage. Hildebrand became Thiðrek’s foster father and mentor. He taught and trained the boy everything he knew about knighthood, so when Thiðrek reached the age of twelve, no one could surpass him in the skills of arms. Thetmar dubbed his son into knighthood at this age.

Hildebrand accompanied Thiðrek in the hero’s first adventure. When Thiðrek was out hunting in the woods, he encountered a dwarf, named Alfrek, whom he captured. In return for his release Alfrek revealed to Thiðrek of a magnificent sword, called Naglhring, as well as other treasure. However it was possessed by two powerful beings, Hild and her husband Grim. Hild was actually stronger than her husband.

Thiðrek sent the dwarf to steal Naglhring, which Alfrek did as ordered before he vanished. Armed with this mighty sword, Thiðrek and Hildebrand sought out the treasure of Hild and Grim.

Grim was distressed when he found that someone had stolen Naglhring. Nevertheless, he was undaunted by the intruders. Grim picked up the large log and attacked Thiðrek and Hildebrand.

Hildebrand had a hard time, because Hild wrestled with him, almost crushing him to death. To save his foster father, Thiðrek beheaded Grim with his new sword, before he attacked Grim’s wife. Though, Thiðrek cut Hild into two pieces, but she was like a troll, the two pieces would magically rejoin, and her body was restored and healed.

Hildebrand seeing this, advised his foster son of how to kill Hild. When Thiðrek struck Hild a third time with his sword, he stepped on the two pieces, so they couldn’t rejoin. This was how Hild died.

Thiðrek and Hildebrand helped themselves to the treasure of Hild and Grim. Among the treasure was wondrous helmet, which Thiðrek called Hildigrim, named after Hild and Grim.

Thiðrek won great glory and fame in killing Hild and Grim, that he became known throughout the world.


However, fame can bring more trouble than it is sometimes worth. With fame as a warrior, other warriors were likely to challenge and test their strength.

In the land of Svava, there was a city called Saegard, which was ruled by Brynhild. Outside of this city, in the forest was a farm, which Studas took care of. Studas has only one son, who was also named Studas. The younger Studas however didn’t want to become a farmer like his father. Though, the younger Studas was short, he was strongest of men, even though he was twelve at that time. Studas the Younger preferred hunting and fighting, so he wished to become a warrior or a knight.

Studas the Younger decided to call himself Heimir, which was the name of the most fearsome dragon in the world. Heimir had heard of young Thiðrek’s fame, so he wished to challenge the prince of Bern to a duel. Since Studas the Elder could not dissuade his son from this foolhardy adventure, he gave his best horse, named Rispa, to Heimir, and a mighty sword called Blodgang.

So Heimir set out for Bern, seeking out Thiðrek. Heimir insolently challenged Thiðrek to a duel. Like the medieval tournament, the two knights jousted. The first two jousts, neither warrior could unhorse the other, but on the third pass, Thiðrek wounded and unhorsed Heimir.

When Thiðrek dismounted they fought one another with swords and shields. They fought until Heimir swung his sword overhead and struck Thiðrek’s helmet (Hildigrim), but the blade (Blodgang) broke in two. Since Heimir was now weaponless, he surrendered to Prince Thiðrek. Thiðrek who marvelled at Heimir’s strength, decided to make Heimir as his vassal and a friend.


The hero Vidga (Witege) was the son of the great smith Velent (Wayland). Actually a whole chapter was devoted to Velent in the Thidrekssaga, which is very similar to the Icelandic poem Volundarkvida (Poetic Edda) – the “Lay of Volund”. Volund is a Norse or Icelandic name for Wayland. I will only briefly go over the life of Wayland, here, but if you wish to read more, then I would suggest that you see Wayland, in German Heroes page.

Velent (Volund or Wayland) was a son of the giant Vadi, who was descendant of the Vilkinus, king of Sjoland (Zealand, an island in Denmark). Vadi had sent his son Mimir, to learn the trade of a smith when Velent was still a boy. Mimir was a great master smith, but Velent was soon to outdo his master. Velent would later find himself serving King Nidung, but the king was treacherous when Velent fell out of favour with him. Rather than banish Velent, Nidung did not want the smith to leave, so he cut off the sinews from Velent, so the smith could not escape. Velent had forged the best sword in the world, known as Mimung. Velent had used Mimung to kill Nidung’s two sons. Velent had also seduced the king’s daughter, who fell pregnant. Velent escaped by creating mechanical wings that allowed him to fly away. When Nidung died from shame and sorrow, Velent reconciled with the king’s surviving son, and Velent married the princess. The princess gave birth to a son, which Velent named him as Vidga (Witege in German legend).

When Vidga was twelve he grew strong and skilled in combat. Vidga decided to become a great warrior, like Thiðrek. Before his son set out the journey, Velent equipped Vidga with armour and weapon that he made himself. Most important was his own sword, Mimung, which he gave to his son. Velent also gave to his son, helmet, byrnie (mail shirt) and shield. Velent had also given his horse Skemming to his son.

Vidga set out to find Thiðrek, when he encountered Hildebrand and his two companions, Heimir and the Earl Hornbogi. At first, Hildebrand had mistaken Vigda to be a dwarf. Hildebrand befriended Vigda and they became foster-brothers. Hildebrand escorted the young hero to Thiðrek. Hildebrand was very impressed with the way Vigda had defeated twelve robbers of Briktan castle. During the encounter Hildebrand had secretly switch Vidga’s sword with an ordinary blade.

The moment Vidga met Thiðrek, he challenged the prince of Bern. Hildebrand failed to make peace between the two young heroes. First, they fought like knights, charging at each other with long lance. Vidga’s lance shattered upon Thiðrek’s shield. Vidga however hacked off Thiðrek’s lance when the prince charged at Vidga again. So they dismounted and fought on foot with their swords.

Though, Vidga fought boldly with the bogus Mimung (sword), but this sword broke when Vidga struck the helm of Thiðrek. Hildebrand tried to stop the fight, now that Vidga was weaponless, but Thiðrek refused to spare his opponent. So Hildebrand returned Mimung to Vidga.

With this sword in hand, Vidga gained the upper hand in the duel. Vidga hacked to piece Thiðrek’s shield, and Thiðrek’s helmet no longer offer any more protection.

Thetmar, Thiðrek’s father, who had watched the combat, tried to end it, but Vidga refused to spare Thiðrek, because Thiðrek was refused to him when he was losing. Hildebrand finally became concern when Thiðrek’s helmet (Hildigrim) split from the might sword stroke. Only then did Hildebrand intervene; Vidga was by far more magnanimous than Thiðrek, because he agreed to end the duel, because of his friendship to Hildebrand.

Vidga became Thiðrek’s latest companion.

Other Comrades

There are many other companions who joined Thidrek’s inner circle. Each one was a great warrior.

Shortly, after his confrontation with Vidga, he encountered Ekka, whom the hero killed in the forest of Osning, despite Thidrek was still recovering from the wounds he received from Vidga. Thidrek won his single combat, because Falka crippled Ekka, when the horse saw his master was in danger. From Ekka, he got himself a new sword, Ekkisax, which was forged by the same dwarf Alfrek, as the Naglhring. Thidrek also took Ekka’s fine armour.

Ekka had a brother named Fasold, whom Thidrek defeated. Thidrek accepted Fasold’s surrender and they became comrade-in-arms. Together they killed an elephant in the forest of Rimslo.

They rescued Sistram, son of Reginbald and cousin of Hildebrand, from a dragon. Sistram also became Thidrek’s companion, and together the three heroes returned to Bern, where Thidrek recounts his exploit.

A slight different account in Middle High German, in a verse titled Eckenlied, about Ecke (Ekka) and Fasolt (Fasold).


Joining Thidrek later was Thetleif the Dane. In Scania, a Danish king named Biterulf became the husband of Oda, daughter of the earl of Saxland, and the father of Thetleif.

His parents and the people in the court had no respect for Thetleif, because he spent most of his young life in the kitchen, instead of receiving military training or learning how to rule, as a noble prince should learn. Thetleif however won their respect when he and his father defeated a gang of bandits led by Ingram, in the forest of Falstrskog.

A German poem existed, titled Biterolf und Dietleib. Here Biterulf is called Biterolf, king of Toledo, and Thetleif is Dietleib.

A tall, strong man came to Thidrek’s court. His clothes were not of good quality and he possessed no armour or weapons, asked Thidrek to accept him as a vassal. He was named Vildifer from Amlungland. Despite, having never heard of Vildifer’s prowess as a warrior, Thidrek accepted the stranger, providing Vildifer with new clothing, armour, weapon and a horse. He appointed as his standard bearer – a high honour. Vidga and Vildifer became good friends.

Related Information
Thiðrek (Norwegian).
Dietrich (German).
Thiðrekssaga is a Norwegian saga, written in about 1200.
Eckenlied is a German verse tale, written in the 14th century.
Biterolf und Dietleib was written in second half of the 13th century in Middle High German.
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Thiðrek (Dietrich), Hildebrand, Velent (Wayland), Viðga (Witege), Heimir.


Death of Osantrix

Bitter war raged between Attila and Osantrix. Osantrix was angry that not only he lost his daughter to his enemy, but also the loss of Hunland to Attila. They fought many battles and raided each other’s land.

Finally Attila called upon Thidrek to aid him in the war. Though, Thidrek and Attila managed to defeat Osantrix, a giant named Vidolf mittumstangi wounded Vidga. When Osantrix fled back to Vilkinaland, Duke Hertnid had taken Vidga as prisoner. Osantrix threw Vidga in dungeon.

Vildifer decided to rescue Vidga. Since a minstrel could travel anywhere without being arrested, Isung decided to help Vildifer. Vildifer had recently killed a large brown bear, and used its hide to disguise himself as a bear. Isung would pretend that the bear is tame and well-trained, when they reach Osantrix’s court.

Though, Osantrix warmly welcomed Attila’s minstrel, he wanted a little sport with Isung’s bear, to turn his dogs upon the bear.

Vidga hearing Isung’s voice, decided to break free from his chains and prison.

When Osantrix turned his hounds loose upon the bear (Vildifer), the hero killed quite a number of Osantrix’s dogs, the Vilkin king became angry, and attacked the bear with his sword. But the byrnie that Vildifer worn underneath the bear’s hide, which protected him. Vildifer turned upon Osantrix, disarming and killed the king.

Isung helped Vildifer and they killed some of Osantrix’s knights.

Related Information
Thiðrekssaga is a Norwegian saga, written in about 1200.
Related Articles
Attila, Thiðrek (Dietrich).


Childhood of Sigurd

Sigmund and Sisibe

In the land of Tarlungaland, there was a king named Sigmund, son of Sifjan, who married Sisibe, daughter of King Nidung of Hispania (Spain). It was long before Sisibe became pregnant.

Her beauty, however, attracted unwanted attention from Artvin, count of Svava. When Sigmund went to help his sister and brother-in-law, Drasolf, in a war against a neighbour, he left Artvin and Hermann in charge of his kingdom during his absence.

Artvin saw this as opportunity to seduce the pregnant queen, but she rebuked him for betraying his king. Fearing that Sisibe would tell her husband, he decided to lie to the king about her unfaithfulness.

Hearing this, Sigmund was angry with his wife and told the two treacherous counts to take her into the forest and kill her.

Artvin and Hermann lured her into the woods, on the pretension that she was to meet her husband. Sisibe innocently follow them, only to discover they were here to kill her. Artvin wanted to rape her before he murder the unfortunate queen. She cried and pleaded with the two counts.

Finally Hermann felt pity for the queen, and two friends became enemies. They fought each other with swords. In the fight, Sisibe went into labour, and gave birth to a son, near the stream. She placed the baby in a crystal basket, as she watched the two counts fight to the death.

At this time, the fight was coming to a close. When Artvin fell, near the queen, one foot kicked out, and the glass basket fell into the stream. Hermann took advantage of Artvin’s fall, and cut off the count’s head.

Poor Sisibe saw the stream carried her child away, fainted and died. Hermann buried the queen and returned fearfully to the king. Sigmund banished Hermann when he learned how Artvin and Sisibe died, and how he lost his son through their lies.

Mimir and Regin

The glass vessel drifted until it landed on an island. A hind hearing the baby’s cry, allowed the boy to suckle from her teat.

The boy grew fairly quickly after twelve months with the hind and its young. The boy was extremely strong and tall for its age; he was the same size as boy of four years of age.

A famous smith, named Mimir, had a brother named Regin, who turned into the greatest of all dragons. Mimir was the same smith who taught Velent (Wayland) an even more famous smith; Velent was the father of Viðga (Witege).

Mimir was looking for charcoal on the island, when he came across the boy with the hind. He marvelled that the boy was under the hind’s care, so the smith decided to foster the child, since Mimir and his wife failed to have a child of their own. Mimir named the boy, Sigurd.

Sigurd continued to grow faster and stronger than other boy of the same age. By the time he was nine, he was even stronger than the mightiest of men. Sigurd, however, was lazy and constantly bullying the apprentices of Mimir, including Ekkihard.

Finally fed up with Sigurd harassing his apprentices, Mimir instructed Sigurd to strike the hammer on a hot iron. Sigurd struck the iron, which destroyed the iron, but also the hammer, tongs and anvil. Mimir realised that his foster son was useless in the forge and certainly not fit to become smith, decided to have Sigurd killed.

Mimir secretly went to his brother’s lair, and told the dragon (Regin) to kill his foster son. Giving an axe to Sigurd, as well as some food and wine, he sends his foster son into the forest to fetch him some woods.

On the first day, Sigurd ate and drank his entire supply that she should have lasted for nine days, but the young hero was still hungry. It was at this point that the dragon (Regin) came to Sigurd’s campfire.

Seeing this dragon, Sigurd sprang to his feet, pick up the largest log in the fire and struck down Regin with one mighty blow. With the dragon down, he rained blow after blow, until Regin died. Then picking up the wood axe, the young hero severed Regin’s head.

Still feeling hungry, he decided to eat some of the dragon meat, so he pot pieces into his cooking pot. As his stew boiled, he burned his fingers. He placed one of his fingers into his mouth to cool it down, and immediately he could understand the speeches of the birds.

Sigurd heard two birds speaking how Sigurd should kill his foster father because Mimir had send him to the woods, so that his brother the dragon would kill him.

Sigurd became wise, like the Irish hero, Finn MacCumaill, who cooked burned his thumb on the salmon of wisdom. Sigurd now knew of the special properties of Regin’s blood. So Sigurd rubbed dragon blood on his body, so he would become invulnerable. His only vulnerable spot was the middle of his back, which he couldn’t reach.

Sigurd returned home with intention of killing his treacherous foster father. Seeing this, Mimir tried to placate the boy with offer of excellent armour and weapon. Mimir equipped Sigurd with the finest byrnie (mail shirt), helmet and shield. When Sigurd received the best sword in the world, Gram, Sigurd used the sword to kill Mimir.

Mimir had told Sigurd that the finest horse in the world was Grani, a horse that belonged to a Valkyrie queen named Brynhild. So Sigurd went to Brynhild’s castle.

After killing seven of Brynhid’s guards, the Valkyrie welcomed the hero, revealing that his name is Sigurd Sigmundsson, and that he was the son of Sigmund and Sisibe. Brynhild freely gave hospitality to Sigurd, as well as her horse, Grani.

Before they left, Sigurd had promised to marry no other woman except her, while Brynhild made the same promise of not marrying any other man except him. Oaths that they couldn’t keep.

In Bertangaland

Sigurd then went to Bertangaland, where he became the staff bearer of King Isung. Isung had eleven sons. Sigurd proved to be the best warrior of the land.

Around this time, Thidrek and his companions went to Bertangaland, to test their prowesses against Isung and his sons.

On Thidrek’s side, apart from Thidrek’s usual companions, Gunnar (Gunther) and Hogni (Hagen) had joined him at Bertangaland.

Gunnar was king of Niflungaland, after the death of his father, Aldrian or Irung. Aldrian had other children with his wife, Oda (Uote in the German legend) – Gernoz and Gisler, and a daughter named Grimhild (Kriemhild or Gudrun). According to another passage of Thidrekssaga, Aldrian and Oda had another son named Guthorm.

Oda had another son named Hogni, when she was seduced by an elf when she fell asleep in the garden, while her husband was drunk. Unlike his half-brothers, Hogni was ugly, almost like a troll, but he was very powerful.

Each of Thidrek’s warriors would fight one of Isung’s sons in a duel. On the first day, Heimir, Herbrand, Vildifer, Sistram, Fasold, Hornbogi and Hogni were defeated and made prisoners of Isung. Thetlief drew with Isung’s ninth son, because of failing light, and only Amlung, son of Earl Hornbogi, was victor in the duel on Thidrek’s side.

On the second day, Hildebrand was defeated by Isung’s tenth son, and Gunnar fell to King Isung himself. Vidga was more successful against the king’s eleventh son and managed to free all those held as prisoners.

The last duel was between Thidrek and Sigurd, but neither of them could gain the advantage over the other. They fought until evening fell. The two warriors decided to continue the duel the next morning, but they fought all day without deciding who was a better warrior.

So that night, Thidrek asked Vidga if he could borrow his sword Mimung. However, Sigurd refused to fight with Thidrek if the king promised that he was not wielding Mimung. Thidrek swore an oath that he was not holding Mimung (he planted the Vidga’s sword on the ground behind him so that he was not holding the sword while swearing this oath).

They fought, but Sigurd soon realised that Thidrek tricked him, so Sigurd surrendered to Thidrek and became Thidrek’s vassal. There was peace between Thidrek and Isung and became friends. They celebrated the wedding between Amlung and Isung’s daughter Fallborg.

Related Information
Thiðrekssaga is a Norwegian saga, written in about 1200.
Nibelungenlied was a German epic written in about 1200.
Volsunga Saga is an Icelandic Saga, written about 1250.
Biterolf und Dietleib was written in second half of the 13th century in Middle High German.
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Sigmund, Sisibe (Hjordis), Sigurd, Viðga (Witege), Velent (Wayland).


Wooings of Grimhild and Brynhild

After the duels in Bertangaland, Thidrek joined Gunnar, king of Niflungaland, as all of Thidrek’s dispersed to their homes. Sigurd travelled with the two kings, and in their journey, Gunnar decided to marry his sister off to the young hero.

Grimhild (known as Gudrun in Icelandic texts or Kriemhild in German legends) was the sister of Gunnar and half-sister of Hogni.

Thidrek attended the wedding of Sigurd and Grimhild. Gunnar gave half of the kingdom to his new brother-in-law. Unlike, the Icelandic legend, it was Sigurd himself who suggested that Gunnar should take Brynhild as a wife.

But Brynhild didn’t want to marry any man except Sigurd. When they first met, Sigurd and Brynhild had promised each other they would marry one another. Sigurd, however, broke his promise to Brynhild when he married Gunnar’s sister instead. Sigurd favoured being married into the Niflung family because Brynhild has no brothers, so being Gunnar’s brother-in-law, he would have powerful allies.

Brynhild reluctantly married Gunnar. There was great celebration when Gunnar married Brynhild, but that night when the king wanted to sleep, his new wife, they wrestled until Brynhild bound his hands and feet, and hanged suspended on the peg, till morning. Despite, Gunnar being a powerful knight, Brynhild was stronger of the two. Brynhild refused to lose her virginity to the husband she loathed.

The Lord of Niflungs suffered the same humiliation on the second and then the third night. Gunnar would only dejectedly reveal to Sigurd his secret humiliation at the hand of his wife.

Sigurd was wise since he had tasted the dragon’s blood, knew the source of Brynhild’s superhuman strength come from her virginity; take away her virginity, and she will have no more strength than average woman. Realising that he had no hope of sleeping with Brynhild, he asked Sigurd to secretly sleep with his wife, because he knew that Sigurd was the strongest man alive.

So that night, Sigurd secretly entered the Gunnar’s chamber, and raped Brynhild. Before he left her bed, he took the gold ring from Brynhild’s finger, and replaced with his own.

No one knew what Gunnar and Sigurd had secretly done. After that night, Gunnar had no problem, sleeping with his wife.

Seven day after the feast of Gunnar’s marriage to Brynhild, his royal and honoured guests returned home.

Related Information
Thiðrekssaga is a Norwegian saga, written in about 1200.
Nibelungenlied was a German epic written in about 1200.
Volsunga Saga is an Icelandic Saga, written about 1250.
Related Articles
Sigurd, Brynhild, Grimhild (Gudrun), Gunnar, Hogni, Gernoz (Gernot), Gislher (Giselher).


Enmity of Thidrek and Eriminrek

The war between Thidrek and Eriminrek was only briefly alluded in the Nibelungenied.

Thidrek’s expulsion from his kingdom was also found in poem, titled Dietrichs Flucht – “Dietrich’s Flight”, while the Battle of Gronsport was known in another German epic poem Die Rabenschlacht or “The Battle of Ravenna”. These two poems formed the core of Dietrich’s legend, and set a time before the Nibelungenlied.

Eriminrek’s New Vassal

Around this time, one of Attila’s vassals, named Earl Iron of Brandunaborg, attempted to have an affair with Bolfriana of Drekanfil, wife of Aki Amlunggatrausti. Earl Iron was the son of King Artus and brother of Apollonius.

Previously, Iron helped Apollonius in a long running feud with King Salomon over his daughter Herborg. Iron, himself was married to Isolde, but she died shortly after Attila forced Apollonius and Iron to make peace with Salomon.

Earl Iron would later meet Bolfriana, whom he had fallen in love with. But Aki was a powerful duke of Lagobardland, because he was the half-brother of Erminrek and uncle of Thidrek. By his wife, Aki was the father of Egard and Aki. Aki discovered the letter that Earl Iron had sent to his unfaithful wife, to meet during his absence. Aki and his knights attacked and killed Earl Iron.

However, Aki Amlunggatrausti died, not long after Earl Iron’s death (the cause of death was not given). Thidrek suggested to his uncle that Bolfriana should marry his friend, Viðga (Witege). So Viðga became the vassal of Thidrek, which both men would soon regret.

Revenge of Sifka

Erminrek had a trusted adviser named Sifka, duke of Sarkastein. Sifka was the husband of the beautiful Odila, whom the king lust for.

One night, while Sifka was out fighting a war for Erminrek, the king raped his counselor’s wife. When Sifka returned home and found that the king had disgraced his helpless Odila, he promised his wife take revenge upon Erminrek.

Sifka advised the king to send his son Fridrek to Vilkinaland to demand tribute from Osantrix. On his journey to Vilkinaland, Fridrek was ambushed by a cousin of Sifka.

Then, Sifka set about to bring about death of Erminrek’s second son, Reginbald. Sifka convinced Erminrek to send his son to demand tribute from the king of England. Sifka had convinced Reginbald to sail on terrible ship, which broke up in the sea, where Reginbald and his men drowned.

Sifka then lied to the king about Erminrek’s youngest son, Samson, wanting to force Sifka’s daughter. In a rage, Erminrek killed his youngest son, who was still only a boy. It was only then that Erminrek had killed his last son, because he learned that Reginbald had drowned.

Sifka was not satisfied with the death of Erminrek’s three sons. Sifka now turned his attention to the sons of Aki Amlunggatrausti – Egard and Aki. Odila, wife of Sifka slandered about Erminrek’s two nephews trying to seduce her. Erminrek sent his army to Fritila and capture Egard and Aki. Erminrek had his nephews hanged from the highest tree. Fritila was razed to the ground.

Viðga, as the stepfather of Egard and Aki, feared that he was also under suspicion, but Thidrek managed that to established Viðga’s innocence. Erminrek gave Viðga a city of Rana (Ravenna) to rule.

Now, Sifka plotted to rid of Erminrek’s other nephew, Thidrek. Sifka suggested to his king that Thidrek has too much independence, so Erminrek should demand tribute from Thidrek.

Thidrek refused to pay tribute to his uncle, so Erminrek gathered a large army against his nephew.

Viðga realising that his friend was in danger, rode out to warn Thidrek. Though, Viðga was now Erminrek’s vassal, and not Thidrek’s, he still had loyalty Thidrek, because of their friendship and they were comrade in many adventures and wars.

Thidrek realising that he was outnumbered, was forced to flee from his kingdom in Bern, with loyal friends and knights. They went northeast, first to Bakalar, the castle of Rodingeir, then to Susa, the capital of Hunland.

Attila and his wife, Queen Erka (Helche), warmly welcomed Thidrek. Because Thidrek had previously helped Attila in the war against Osantrix, Attila promised to aid Thidrek to regain his kingdom (Bern).

Gathering of Thidrek’s Forces

Before Thidrek could move against his uncle, he helped Attila again against King Osantrix of Vilkinaland. In the battle against the Vilkinsmen, a kinsman of Thidrek, named Ulfrad, killed Osantrix.

Even though Thidrek and Attila defeated the Vilkinamen, they were faced with a new threat from King Valdimar of Holmgard (Novgorod), from Rusiland. Valdimar had a son named Thidrek Valdimarsson, who had seriously wounded Thidrek of Bern, in a duel. A month later, they fought again, but this time, Thidrek killed Thidrek Valdimarsson. Thidrek helped Attila to defeat Valdimar’s army and killed the king of Rusiland. Another man named Earl Iron, who was brother of Valdimar, surrendered Rusiland to Attila. Earl Iron became Attila’s vassal, ruling Rusiland as chieftain.

With the campaign in Rusiland ended, Attila turned his attention to helping Thidrek regain his kingdom in Bern and confront the army of Erminrek.

When Thidrek had fled to Hunland, he brought with him his baby brother, Thether. Thether was brought up in Susa with two sons of Attila and Erka (Helche), Erp and Ortvin. Thether was very close companion and foster brother of the two Hunnish princes that they were inseparable.

So Thidrek was living in exile for twenty years, before he could muster the forces to confront Erminrek. Queen Erka was his greatest supporter. She would send her sons with Thidrek as well as twelve hundred of her knights. Attila decided to send twenty-four hundred knights under the command of Margrave Rodingeir.

Before they left, Thether promised Queen Erka that he would protect her sons. It was Duke Naudung of Valkaborg, who commanded the forces that Erka send with Erp and Ortvin. Erka also appointed as Hjalprek, a kinsman of Thidrek to protect the princes and Thether.

Battle of Gronsport

The three armies left Susa, heading towards Amlungland to confront Erminrek’s forces at Gronsport. Thidrek learned from his kinsman Reinald that facing him, is the force led by Sifka. Reinald’s own force will fight Margrave Rodingeir, and Viðga against the force of Thether and the two sons of Attila. Viðga, however, was very reluctant to fight against either his former companion Thidrek or prince Thether.

Thidrek was fighting at the centre against Sifka. Sifka cowardly fled, when Valtari of Vaskastein, Erminrek’s champion fell to Vildifer. Valtari and Vildifer had killed one another. Sifka and his men were routed, and Thidrek’s force pursued his enemy, before turning back to the main fighting.

On one of Thidrek’s force wasn’t faring well. The army Duke Naudung was commanding was facing a tougher opponent, Viðga. Ortvin saw Viðga killed their uncle, Duke Naudung. Ortvin called upon Hjalprek to help him against Viðga, but they were both killed by Runga. Thether avenged his foster brother’s death, by slaying Runga, but only to see Viðga killed his other foster brother, Erp.

Grief tormented to Thether, when he realised both sons of Queen Erka were killed. He was determined to avenge their death, and charged at Thidrek’s former companion. Viðga however didn’t want to fight against Thidrek’s brother, but couldn’t convince Thether to withdraw.

Young Thether fought bravely. His blow to Viðga’s head, failed to damage the helmet made by Viðga’s father, the master smith Velent (Wayland). The blow glanced off the Viðga’s helmet and killed Shemming, Viðga’s horse. His life in danger, Viðga had no choice but to kill Thether.

On the other side, Margrave Rodingeir and Ulfrad fought well against Reinald’s force, however, Reinald killed his kinsman Ulfrad. This was not enough to save Erminrek from defeat, because Sifka had fled earlier with a large proportion of the army, especially when Reinald’s own standard fell.

Thidrek would have pursued his enemy, but he learned news that the forces commanded by Duke Naudung had fallen. The Duke was death, as well as his friend Hjalprek, the two sons of Attila and Erka, and his own brother was killed by Viðga.

With this news, Thidrek was consumed with grief for his brother and the sons of Attila. He was also filled with rage that Viðga, his friend and companion in many adventures were their killers. So Thidrek rode after Viðga, hoping to avenge his brother.

Viðga seeing Thidrek’s approach, preferred to flee on Thether’s horse than fight his friend. Viðga tried to convince Thidrek that he had no choice but to kill Thether, since he had to defend himself. The horse of Thether was no match to Falka, Thidrek’s swift horse. Viðga’s horse stumbled at the lake, and Viðga might have drowned if he had fallen off his horse, but Thidrek wanted to kill Viðga, so he hurled his lance. The spear killed Viðga, and the spear remained standing at the mouth of the river to this day.

Death of Queen Erka

Though, Thidrek achieved decisive victory over the Amlungs, he didn’t follow up with his victory to reclaim his kingdom, because he was grieving over Erp and Ortvin, as much as he did for his own brother. Instead, Thidrek returned to Hunland with the army. So despite the victory in battle, Thidrek actually lost.

However, Thidrek refused to enter Susa, because of his grief and his failure to protect Erka’s sons. Thidrek sent Margrave Rodingeir to Susa with all the news for Attila and Erka (Helche).

Though, Attila and Erka grieved for their sons, they wanted to see Thidrek, but he refused to come into their presence. So Erka went to Thidrek, where she found him weeping. Erka comforted Thidrek and persuaded the hero to meet Attila.

Despite what happened in battle and the death of his sons, Attila welcomed the exiled prince. Attila and Thidrek remained friends. Thidrek remained in Susa, as Attila’s guest, which he would later regret.

Two years after the Battle of Gronsport, Erka died from unknown illness. Before she died, she said her farewell to Thidrek and Hildibrand, as well as to her husband. The Queen gave Thidrek fifteen marks of red gold and her niece the Lady Herad (Herrat) to marry.

Erka told Attila that he must remarry, but the Queen warned him not to choose Grimhild as his wife, because Sigurd, Grimhild’s husband was recently murdered by her brothers. A marriage to Grimhild would bring about Attila’s own downfall, Erka foretold. See the next article about the Death of Sigurd.

After this foretelling, Queen Erka died. She was given a great funeral, and many in Hunland grieve for her death.

Related Information
Thiðrekssaga is a Norwegian saga, written in about 1200.
Nibelungenlied was a German epic written in about 1200.
Dietrichs Flucht (“Dietrich’s Flight”).
Die Rabenschlacht (“The Battle of Ravenna”) was a German epic written in the late 13th century.
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Erminrek (Ermanaric), Thiðrek (Dietrich), Attila, Viðga (Witege), Herad (Herrat).


Death of Sigurd

The hero Sigurd lived in Vernisa (Worms?) in Niflungaland with his wife Grimhild and her brothers. Gunnar shared half of his kingdom with his mighty son-in-law. Sigurd had loyally served Gunnar in both counsels and in wars against the enemies of Niflungs. With Sigurd’s help, Gunnar had managed to enlarge his territories.

There was however hostility and tension between the two queens, Brynhild and Grimhild. Brynhild had not forgiven Sigurd for marrying Grimhild instead of her. At first, most of Brynhild’s hostility was towards her sister-in-law.

One day, Brynhild asked Grimhild why she was standing so proud like a queen. Grimhild replied that she was a queen, since her mother was a queen of this land before her. Brynhild told Grimhild that there can only be one queen, and that since Gunnar’s was her husband, she was the Queen. Sigurd, Brynhild said superiorly, was nothing more than Gunnar’s lowly vassal.

Grimhild reteliated with that she knew who had taken Brynhild’s virginity. Brynhild loftily replied that it was Gunnar who had taken her maidenhead. Grimhild foolishly answered that it wasn’t true, saying that it the one who took Brynhild’s virginity was also the one who took Brynhild’s gold ring, and it was Sigurd who had first slept with Brynhild, not her husband.

Brynhild thought that Grimhild was a fool, until she saw her missing ring on Grimhild’s finger. Brynhild was horrified and humiliated when she recognised her ring, and that her husband had Sigurd take away her virginity and her superhuman strength.

Brynhid went to her husband, as well as her two brothers-in-law, and revealed what Grimhild had told her. Gunnar promised to his wife that they would deal with this.

So Gunnar plotted with Hogni and Gernoz on how they would kill Sigurd. Hogni suggested that they lured the hero on the hunting trip. Hogni promised that he would slay, and Brynhild promised that he would receive Sigurd’s treasure, the fabled red gold of the dragon Regin.

So Gunnar arranged the hunting expedition. While they took a break after a long chase near the spring, Gunnar took a drink of water, lying on his stomach. Sigurd followed suit, lying down so that he could drink water from the stream.

In this vulnerable position, Hogni took one of the spears and drove it into Sigurd’s back between the shoulders; this was the only vulnerable spot that Sigurd couldn’t rub the dragon’s blood.

Had Sigurd known of this treachery, he would have defended himself easily killed his brothers-in-law. Sigurd died. They brought his body home, where Brynhild instructed them to throw his body to Grimhild.

Grimhild woke from her sleep to find her husband dead. She knew that it was Hogni who murdered him. Brynhild could be heard laughing over Sigurd’s death.

Grieving over the loss of Sigurd, Grimhild had her people loyal to her and Sigurd, to bury her husband.

Related Information
Thiðrekssaga is a Norwegian saga, written in about 1200.
Nibelungenlied was a German epic written in about 1200.
Volsunga Saga is an Icelandic Saga, written about 1250.
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Sigurd, Brynhild, Grimhild (Gudrun), Gunnar, Hogni, Gernoz (Gernot), Gislher (Giselher).


Fall of the Niflungs

There is great deal of similarities of this section of the Thidrekssaga with the Nibelungenlied, concerning the Fall of the Nibelungs.

The death of Gunnar only bears a very little resemblance to the Icelandic text, because in the Volsunga Saga, Gunnar died in the snake pit.

Wedding of Attila and Grimhild

Attila hearing that Grimhild was a widow, decided that she would become his wife, forgetting his previous wife’s dire warning not to marry a woman from Niflungaland. So Attila sent Osid of Herraland to Vernisa, with the proposal of marriage to Grimhild.

Unlike the Icelandic tales, Grimhild accepted only if her brothers agreed to marriage to Attila. Gunnar was pleased with his sister’s answer, and Osid returned with the answer, as well as the splendid golden helmet and armour that once belonged to the hero Sigurd as dowry.

Some time later, Attila came to Niflungaland, where the wedding took place at Vernisa (Worms). Thidrek and Margrave Rodingeir attended the wedding. Gunnar gave Grani, Sigurd’s horse, to Thidrek, while Rodingeir received Gram, Sigurd’s sword.

After the wedding, Grimhild traveled with her new husband and Thidrek to her new home in Susa. The wedding wasn’t a happy one, because every day, Grimhild wept and mourned over the death of her husband Sigurd. A year later, Grimhild had a son, whom she named after her father, Aldrian.

Journey to Hunland

Seven years after the marriage of Attila and Grimhild, she revealed countless red gold of the Niflung treasure. Knowing her husband’s avarice for gold, she told Attila that Sigurd’s gold rightfully belonged to her. As her husband, Attila also has rights to the gold.

Hearing about this gold, Attila decided that they would invite Gunnar to a great feast in Susa, hoping to win the Niflung treasure.

So Attila sent messages to Gunnar, asking them to come to the feast. Hogni was against Gunnar going to Susa, because he suspected their sister of treachery, and he doesn’t trust the king of the Huns. Oda, their mother, were also against her sons attending the feast at Susa, because she had a dream that the Niflungs would fall. Gunnar would not listen to either his brother or mother.

So Gunnar journeyed to Hunland with twelve hundred knights, as well as Gernoz, Gisler and Hogni. Their journey was very much like that in the Nibelungenlied, where several people, both mortal and immortal warned them to turn back. Hogni who was against the journey in the first place, was now stubborn ignoring the warning from mermaids and the ferryman. Hogni was not happy with their warnings, killed the mermaids, then the ferryman.

When they arrived at Bakalar, they were warmly welcomed Gunnar and the Niflungs, but the Margrave Rodingeir also failed to dissuade them to attend the feat.

Gudilinda, wife of Rodingeir and sister of Duke Naudung, warned the Niflungs that Grimhild was still weeping over Sigurd’s death, and was most likely plotting to destroy them, but Gunnar still wouldn’t turn back.

During their stay in Bakalar, Rodingeir married his daughter to Gisler, Gunnar’s youngest brother. Rodingeir gave Gram, Sigurd’s sword, to Gisler as a wedding gift. Hogni received the shield of Duke Naudung.

Then Rodingeir personally escorted to the Niflungs to Susa, where Attila and their sister welcomed them. Before they arrived Grimhild was still grieving over Sigurd.

The Last Stand of the Niflungs

When they arrived at Attila’s court, Thidrek went out to greet the Niflungs, and warned Hogni that Grimhild may cause trouble to her brothers.

Grimhild would only give her youngest brother, Gislher, a kiss. She then coldly asked Hogni if he brought Sigurd’s treasure, which rightfully belonged to her. Hogni cruelly told her that he only brought his enmity for her.

When she sat between Gislher and Gunnar, she began to weep again over Sigurd, accusing Hogni of destroying her happiness. Hogni coldly rebuked his half-sister that she have been married for seven years to Attila, a very powerful king, and that she should forget Sigurd.

Later, Grimhild asked help for vengeance from Thidrek and later Duke Blodlin, a kinsman of Attila, but both refused. Only, Earl Irung promised to help avenge her dishonour, in return for enough red gold to fill his shield.

Now, that his Niflung guests have arrived, Attila was reluctant to attack his guests or make rude demand for the gold from his guests. It was only when they sat down at the tables of the great feast that Attila’s reluctance changed to anger at the Niflungs.

Grimhild was unscrupulous enough to her use own son to start hostilities between the Huns and Niflungs. Grimhild persuaded Aldrian to strike at his uncle Hongi in the chin with his fist. Hogni caught the boy before Aldrian could dart away. Though, Hogni knew that this was his half-sister’s doing, he used his sword take off his nephew’s head, throwing the head at the Queen.

This sparked Attila to react, calling on his warriors to kill the Niflungs and avenge his son’s death. The Niflungs and Huns fought each other with weapons. Earl Irung went into Niflungs’ sleeping quarters killing all the squires. Many Niflung warriors were killed in the courtyard, because Grimhild had spread raw hides on the floor, causing the Niflungs to fall and be killed.

Thidrek and Margrave Rodingeir refused to take sides. They tried to remain neutral.

The Niflungs found that they were trapped in the hall so they broke out on to the courtyard. Gunnar got separated from his brothers, and Duke Osid captured him. In this tale, he was the first to fall, whereas in the Nibelungenlied, Gunther (Gunnar) was the second last to die, but he was actually last to die in the Icelandic version (in both the Volsunga Saga and the Eddaic texts). Here, Attila ordered to be cast in the snake pit, where he died.

By nightfall, three hundred and sixty Niflung men out of twelve hundred had died. At least twice the number of Huns had fallen to Niflung weapons, but there were many times more Hunnish warriors joining the battle. Gernoz, Grimhild’s brother managed to slay Blodlin. It was only Blodlin’s death that Margrave Rodingeir decided to turn against his Niflung friends.

With Grimhild’s encouragement, Earl Irung wounded Hogni. With his sword he struck so that the byrnie split, slicing away some flesh, before darting away. Grimhild praised Irung’s boldness, tied two gold rings to Irung’s helmet. She urged Irung, this time, to take Hogni’s head. Irung wasn’t so lucky the second time, because Hogni drove his spear through Irung’s chest.

Rodingeir confronted his son-in-law, Gislher. Gislher killed the margrave with the very sword that Rodingeir had given to the young warrior. Attila’s men faltered with Rodingeir’s death. Gernoz and Gislher took advantages of this, and with Hogni and Folkher they began driving the Huns back.

Rodingeir’s death also caused Thidrek to now join the battle with the Amlungs. Rodingeir has been Thidrek’s dear friend. Both sides were losing more men. Hildibrand was still a very formidable warrior, killing the younger Gernoz with his sword Lagulf.

Death of Hogni

While Thidrek faced Hogni, in a different area, Hildibrand mortally wounded Gislher. The single combat between two old friends last for a long while. Thidrek was becoming frustrated that he had not yet defeat Hogni. He was so angry that flame flew from Thidrek’s mouth, burning Hogni in his byrnie. Being badly burned, Hogni surrendered to King Thidrek.

Grimhild took great delight that her brothers were dead. To make sure that they were dead, the vengeful Queen approached Gernoz’s fallen body, thrusting a burning stick into her brother’s mouth. Gernoz was already dead, so there was no reaction from him.

However, when Grimhild thrust the same flaming brand into Gislher’s mouth, her dying brother perished.

Thidrek seeing how Grimhild treated her brothers, spoke out to Attila against the Queen. Attila agreed that his wife was the cause of so many deaths, would not object if Thidrek was to kill her.

So Thidrek attacked Grimhild, cutting the Queen in half with Ekkisax, his sword.

Thidrek took the wounded Hogni to his home in Susa. Though, Hogni could not be saved, he did sire a son, named Aldrian, from his nurse Herrad. Before he died, Hogni gave some keys to Herrad that she should give to their son, with instruction on how to find the cave Sigisfredkeller, where the treasure of the Niflungs was hidden. See Death of Attila about Aldrian.

Related Information
Thiðrekssaga is a Norwegian saga, written in about 1200.
Nibelungenlied was a German epic written in about 1200.
Volsunga Saga is an Icelandic Saga, written about 1250.
Related Articles
Attila, Gunnar, Hogni, Grimhild (Gudrun), Gernoz (Gernot), Gislher (Giselher), Thiðrek (Dietrich), Hildebrand, Rodingeir (Rudiger), Sigurd.


Thidrek Returns Home

After losing most his warriors and dearest friends in the confrontation between the Huns and the Niflungs, Thidrek decided it was time to return home and regain his kingdom in Bern that he lost to his uncle, King Erminrek. It has been 32 years since he has seen his home. Lady Herad (Herrat), the niece of the late Queen Erka (Helche), also decided to go to the kingdom of Bern with her husband Thidrek.

They thought it would best to go to Bern secretly to see who rule in Bern. It is possible that Duke Alibrand could be the ruler of Bern, who was possibly Hildibrand’s own son. Hildibrand thought that his wife was probably pregnant when he left Bern.

It was only on the day they were leaving Susa that Thidrek informed Attila of his intention of leaving Hunland. The hero refused Attila’s offer of an army to retake his kingdom.

On their journey to Amlungland, shortly after crossing the Rhine they encounter Earl Elsung, kinsman of another Earl Elsung, whom Thidrek’s grandfather (Samson) had killed. In the fighting Thidrek killed eight knights, including Elsung, while Hildibrand killed nine and spared Amlung. The other knights had either fled or surrender to Thidrek.

From Amlung, Thidrek learned that his uncle had being sick for some time, and Erminrek’s treacherous adviser, Sifka, had made Erminrek’s condition even worse. Sifka was the one who incited Erminrek into dispossessing Thidrek from his kingdom.

They rode until they reached another castle, which belonged to Hlodver and his son Konrad. Here, Hildibrand learned that Erminrek was dead, and Sifka had taken the crown.

When Hlodver and Konrad found out that Thidrek have returned to Amlungland, they warmly welcomed him as their lord and king. They hope that Thidrek would reclaim Bern before Sifka decided to annex it.

Thidrek then send his friend to Bern, so that Hildibrand would meet his son, Alibrand. Hildibrand however wanted to test his son prowess as a warrior. So they met, they fought until Hildibrand defeated his son, giving a deep wound on Alibrand’s thigh.

Hildibrand was finally reunited with his son, and later his wife in Bern. When Thidrek arrived in Bern, Alibrand handed over the kingdom to the rightful king. Thidrek then gathered eight thousand men for his war against Sifka.

Sifka had thirteen thousand warriors, but another force of seven thousand men from Rome came to Sifka’s aid. Thidrek discovered that he was trapped between two armies. Thidrek went to confront the Roman with half of his men, while Hildibrand confronted Sifka’s forces.

In the fighting, Alibrand encountered Sifka in a fierce combat, in which Hildibrand’s son was victor. On the other side of the battle, Thidrek received the surrender of the Roman army, when their king died.

Thidrek then went to Rome, where all the cities peacefully surrendered to Thidrek. Eriminrek’s vassals now became Thidrek’s, and Thidrek was crowned king of not only Bern, but also of Rome.

Some years later, Hildibrand, Thidrek’s long time friend and mentor, died from illness. He was given a great funeral, and Alibrand received his father’s weapons, including Sigurd’s sword, Gram.

Shortly afterward, Lady Herad, Thidrek’s wife, died from possibly the same illness that Hildibrand contracted.

When Thidrek heard that King Hertnid killed by a dragon, Thidrek once again donned his armour. A host of three thousand robbers had lay siege to Hertnid’s castle. First, Thidrek defeated the dragon. Finding Hertnid’s armour and horse, Thidrek donned the silver armour, and mounted Hertnid’s horse.

When Thidrek rode near Hertnid’s castle, Isold, wife of Hertnid, recognised her husband’s armour. Isold sent Hertnid’s knights, where they and Thidrek defeated the robbers.

Isold realised that the man wearing the silver armour wasn’t her husband. Thidrek revealed his identity and told Isold that her husband was actually killed by a dragon.

Isold warmly greeted Thidrek, where he enjoyed the hospitality of her castle. Thidrek had fallen in love with the fair, wise queen, so they were married. Thidrek appointed Artus, nephew of Isung of Bertangaland, as lord of Hertnid’s castle, while the king returned home with his new wife.

Related Information
Thiðrekssaga is a Norwegian saga, written in about 1200.
Hildebrandslied was written in Old High German, c. 800.
Jüngres Hildebrandslied was written in Middle High German, c. 13th century.
The Younger Lay of Hildebrand, c. 15th century.
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Thiðrek (Dietrich), Hildebrand, Attila, Herad (Herrat).


End of the Age

Death of Attila

Aldrian, son of Hogni, was raised in Attila’s court as the old king’s foster son. When the boy was twelve, he lured Attila to where the treasure of Sigurd was hidden by Hogni and Gunnar. Aldrian promised to show and give fabled hoard to the king, if Attila come with him alone.

Sigurd’s treasure was known as the Niflung treasure was hidden in a cave of a mountain, known as Sigisfredkeller, but it also contained the treasure of Gunnar and Hogni. There were countless gold and silver, as well as fine weapon and armour. It is

Aldrian opened the doors to the cave for Attila, where they descended to the deepest part of the cavern where Sigurd’s treasure was kept. As Attila stared at the Niflung treasure with wonder and greed, Aldrian left the cave and locked the doors. Despite Attila pleas and promise of power and kingdom to his foster son, Aldrian only wanted revenge against the king.

Attila died, where he starved to the death in his tomb, surrounded by wealth of the Niflung treasure.

Aldrian returned to his father’s home, where Brynhild, wife of King Gunnar, had appointed him as the earl of Niflungaland (Burgundy). Aldrian never returned to the cave, to retrieve the treasure, so the treasure remained forever hidden from men.

Death of Heimir

For twenty years, Heimir roamed the forest in Sifka’s country, killing Sifka’s men and destroying farmlands. Heimir had only ended his hostility against Sifka when he heard that Sifka was killed. So Sifka entered a monastery, repenting for his sins.

Heimir gave up all his possessions, including his weapon and his horse, Rispa, to the monks, but not revealing his identity to the abbot; calling himself Lodvig. But the peace was short for Heimir. A few years later, a giant named Aspilian from Lungbardi (Lombardy), took the farmlands belonging to the monks.

Heimir offered to fight the giant, if the monks returned his armour and weapon, but the abbot falsely claimed that he had used the sword to make nails. Heimir knew the abbot was lying, because the monks does not have the ability to destroy Naglhring, his sword. Heimir grabbed the lying abbot and shook him until four teeth popped out. The other frightened monks learning that the sword was called Naglhring, quickly returned the sword to Heimir. His horse, Rispa was also returned to him.

Seven weeks later, Heimir confronted Aspilian on an island. The giant rode an elephant, like a horse. The two boasted of their prowess and taunted each other. Heimir skilfully chopped off Aspilian’s hand and wounded the giant in the thigh. The giant wanted to fall on the little warrior, but was quick on his feet, so he avoided being crushed to death. Heimir returned triumphantly to the monastery.

When Thidrek heard the news, he immediately sought this monk. At first, Heimir refused to recognise Thidrek. Thidrek and Heimir were reunited, and Thidrek took Heimir back with him to Bern (Verona), where he appointed Heimir as his commander of the army.

One day, when Heimir went to collect tribute from all the subjects within the kingdom of Bern. Heimir returned to the monastery to collect them from the monks, which the abbot refused to give. Heimir angrily murdered the abbot and slaughtered the other monks. Taking the all gold, he then burned down the monastery.

Heimir then went to collect tribute from the largest and strongest giant. Though, he bravely confronted this giant, Heimir was no match. The giant swung his heavy staff that knock Heimir as far as an arrow from a bow. Before he hit the ground, Heimir was already dead.

The Last Days of Thidrek

Thidrek hearing the death of his friend, armed himself and went to confront the giant himself. Thidrek confronted the giant on foot. Thidrek managed to dodge a blow from the giant’s swinging blow, and used Ekkisax to cut off both of the giant’s hands. Then Thidrek killed the helpless giant.

After this fight, no other knight or giant dared to combat Thidrek. So the only adventures that Thidrek had in his last days was hunting.

But one day, he heard news of the largest black horse had entered his kingdom. Thidrek immediately wanted to capture this horse. The hounds that the king brought along, was frightened of the black horse.

Though he managed to mount the stallion, but couldn’t control the horse as it ran off, faster than any other horses. But Thidrek realised his error, when he couldn’t dismount. The horse was actually a fiend. Thidrek was never seen again.

Related Information
Thiðrekssaga is a Norwegian saga, written in about 1200.
Related Articles
Thiðrek (Dietrich), Attila, Heimir, Hogni, Gunnar, Sigurd.

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