Department III: German Medieval Studies
The Department of German Medieval Studies deals with the German language and literature between the 8th and 16th century. Its development to a superior form of standard that made communication between the different dialects possible and its competition with Latin writtenness have led to a special profiling of German language.
Beside its engagement with the structural development of the language German Medieval Studies focus on many of the most artistic works of ancient German literature: Percivals quest for the grail, the forbidden love between Tristan and Isolde or the downfall of the Nibelungen are just some examples.
The Minnesong, the lyrics of the crusades or the political verses by Walther von der Vogelweide were composed for the performance at noble courts and are conveyed in different versions.
The German language of the middle ages and its literature testimonialise the conditions of the ancient German culture and society and thus can be seen as the foundation of the entire academic field of German language and literature.