Life of Saint Servatius

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The Life of Saint Servatius presents, for the first time together in one volume, the Middle Dutch Legend of Saint Servatius by Heinrich von Veldeke and the anonymous Upper German Life of Saint Servatius, and, again for the first time, offers those readers not versed in medieval Germanic languages authoritative English translations. With this volume, then, readers have two principal vernacular texts concerning the life and deeds of St. Servatius. Commentary has been provided to point out historical and Biblical references and to draw attention to significant parallels between the texts, and between the texts and their Latin sources. The introductions to the Legend and the Life offer background on the writers and the times they lived in, and discuss some of the most important aspects of the two works. Due to the scope of this book and to the limitations of space, no effort has been made to attempt an exhaustive comparison of the two vernacular texts, neither to each other, nor to their sources. Such studies are rare, but it is hoped that scholars in the near future will undertake what promises to be a fascinating investigation.

To aid the reader, maps have been provided along with photographs of subjects that are either mentioned in the text or are of great importance in the life and legend of Saint Servatius.


“The present volume presents, for the first time, a combined edition of the two medieval vernacular verse epics about Saint Servatius of Maastricht. At the same time, it presents for the first time an English translation of both works, and thus two texts of literary-historical significance are made accessible to an international audience. In addition, such an edition renders a not insignificant service to both Dutch and German medieval studies. In recent decades, English has become the international language of scholarship, which to a large degree also holds true for philological and literary studies ... Readers of this double edition will be able to determine for themselves how the two works differ in numerous details that reveal much about the objectives of the authors ...” – Professor Dr. Jan Goossens, Catholic University of Leuven

“St. Servatius was the one sent by God with a mission to preach the Gospel to all people and to baptize them in the name of the most-high Trinity. Who was this man, so driven by the love of his Lord and the care for the eternal salvation of his people? ... This man, of whom so little is known with certainty except for the most important fact, namely his love for Christ and his people, has fascinated so many people that his cult and fame has spread throughout Europe ... Above all, he is the ‘great Lord of Maastricht,’ who brought to his town glory, honor, esteem, and prosperity. May this saint also inspire and stimulate English-language readers of the 21st century to dedicate themselves to Christ.” – (from the Foreword) Father Sigismund Tagage, Treasurer of the Basilica of St. Servatius, Maaastricht, The Netherlands

“In the past few years, international scholarly attention for Middle Dutch literature has steadily increased ... the focus has been mainly on secular (Arthurian) literature, and this book on Saint Servatius will be a welcome expansion of Middle Dutch and Middle High German literature made accessible to foreign scholars ... The combination of the Legend of Saint Servatius by Heinrich von Veldeke and the anonymous Upper German Life of Saint Servatius is a very fortunate one, because it brings to light a remarkable trait d’union between the Low Countries and the southern parts of Germany in the Middle Ages ... Both texts have an introduction of their own, offering all the necessary philological details to enable a fruitful reading of the text ... The added maps and plates greatly enhance the book; the geographical space of the stories is opened up and many details come alive!” – Dr. Geert H.M. Claassens, Professor of Middle Dutch Literature, Catholic University of Leuven

Table of Contents

1. List of Plates
2. Foreword by Father Sigismund Tagage
3. Preface by Prof. Dr. Jan Goossens
4. Acknowledgements
5. Maps
6. Abbreviations
7. Translators’ Note
8. Introduction: Saint Servatius: Life and Legend
9. A Note on the Manuscripts and the Edition of Heinrich von Veldeke’s Legend of Saint Servatius
10. Heinrich von Veldeke’s Legend of Saint Servatius
11. The Anonymous Upper German Life of Saint Servatius
12. Bibliography of Consulted Sources
13. Index
14. Scripture Index

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