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The Image of the Prince in the Fifteenth Century: Ladislas, Wladyslaw and Vlad in the Songs of Michael Beheim (2009-2010)

Field of study: German Literature

In the mid-fifteenth century, rulers in German-speaking central Europe became intensely interested in the political and religious consequences of Turkish military advances in the Balkan peninsula and south-east Europe. Royal courts and other centers of social power, such as church councils and universities, sought news from the region and tried to make sense of these recent events by explaining the news in terms of their own concepts of history. This article discusses the presentation of recent Balkan news in
the works of one German courtly singer of the time, Michael Beheim, and in particular how Beheim’s songs construct the image of the prince as a historical actor, telling stories of the lives and actions of princes involved in the Balkan wars as a way of explaining these events to his listeners at the German-speaking courts of the Holy Roman Empire of the time.

Keywords: German literature, 15th c., the Holy Roman Empire, Ladislas, Wladyslaw, Vlad, Turks in Europe

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