Brunhild


Brunhild
/broon"hilt, -hild, broohn"-/, n. (in the Nibelungenlied)
a queen of Isenland and the bride of Gunther, for whom she was won by Siegfried: corresponds to Brynhild in Scandinavian legends.
Also, Brunhilde /broon hil"deuh/, Brünnhilde.

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I
born с 534
died 613, Renève, Burgundy

Queen of the Frankish kingdom of Austrasia.

Daughter of a king of the Visigoths, she married the Austrasian king Sigebert I in 567. One of the most forceful monarchs of the Merovingians, she urged Sigebert to reclaim her murdered sister's lands from Chilperic I. When her husband was assassinated in 575, Brunhild was imprisoned at Rouen. She later took refuge at Metz, where her son Childebert II had been proclaimed king, and she struggled to establish her authority over her son and the reluctant Austrasian magnates. After Childebert's death she continued to influence affairs and impose her will on her grandsons. After a long career she fell into the hands of her enemies, including the founders of the Carolingian family; she was tortured and then dragged to death by a horse.
II
or Brunhilda or Brynhild

Beautiful Amazon-like heroine of ancient Germanic literature.

She is known from Old Norse sources, notably the Edda poems and the Volsunga saga, and from the German Nibelungenlied. She also appears in the operas of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle. She vowed to wed only a man of the most outstanding qualities who could surpass her in strength. She was successfully wooed by King Gunther, who defeated her in a contest in which the deeds were actually performed by Siegfried in cloak of invisibility. When she later discovered that she had been deceived, she exacted vengeance, and Siegfried was killed. Siegfried's widow in turn sought revenge and brought about the destruction of Gunther's people, the Burgundians. In some Norse sources, Brunhild has supernatural qualities and is described as a Valkyrie.

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▪ Norse mythology
also spelled  Brynhild, Brunhilda, Brunhilde, or Brünhild  

      a beautiful Amazon-like princess in ancient Germanic heroic literature, known from Old Norse sources (the Edda poems and the Vǫlsunga saga) and from the Nibelungenlied in German. In the Eddic poems in which she appears, she plays the leading role; in the Nibelungenlied, because of a shift of emphasis, her prominence is greatly reduced.

      Common to both, and no doubt original, is the conception of Brunhild as the central figure of a story in which she vows to marry only a man of the most outstanding qualities and one that can surpass her in strength. One man, Siegfried, is able to fulfill her conditions, but he woos and wins her not for himself but for another. When Brunhild discovers this deception, she exacts vengeance, which results in the death of Siegfried.

      In some of the Norse sources, Brunhild has supernatural qualities and is described as a Valkyrie; it is still a matter of dispute whether these attributes are an accretion or whether their absence from the German version is an omission. Many critics, who doubt their originality in the Norse, seek the source of the poetic figure in the history of the Merovingian kings of the Franks, in which Queen Brunhild plays an important part; the name is also found in place-names and field names in the region of the Rhine and in northeastern France and Belgium, but this could have resulted from the popularity of the literary figure.

▪ queen of Austrasia
also spelled  Brunhilda, Brunhilde, or Brunechildis,  French  Brunehaut 
born c. 534
died 613, Renève, Burgundy [now in France]

      queen of the Frankish kingdom of Austrasia, daughter of the Visigothic king Athanagild, and one of the most forceful figures of the Merovingian Age.

      In 567 Brunhild married Sigebert I, king of Austrasia, changing her religion from Arianism to Roman Catholicism. In the same year, her sister Galswintha married Sigebert's half brother Chilperic I, king of the western part of the Frankish territory, but in 567 or 568, at the instigation of his concubine Fredegund, Chilperic had Galswintha murdered. Prompted by Brunhild, Sigebert then exacted Galswintha's marriage settlement (Bordeaux, Limoges, Quercy, Béarn, and Bigorre) as retribution from Chilperic. When Chilperic tried to recover this territory, war broke out between him and Sigebert (573). At first it ran in Sigebert's favour, but in 575 he was assassinated and Brunhild was imprisoned at Rouen. There, however, Merovech, one of Chilperic's sons, went through a form of marriage with her (576). Chilperic soon had this union dissolved, but Brunhild was allowed to go to Metz in Austrasia, where her young son Childebert II had been proclaimed king. There she was to assert herself against the Austrasian magnates for the next 30 years.

      After Childebert's death (595 or 596), Brunhild failed to set herself up as guardian over Childebert's elder son, Theodebert II of Austrasia, and thus stirred up against him his brother Theodoric II, who had succeeded to Burgundy. Theodebert was finally overthrown in 612, but Theodoric died soon afterward (613), whereupon Brunhild tried to make the latter's eldest son, the 12-year-old Sigebert II, king of Austrasia. The Austrasian magnates, reluctant to endure her tyrannous regency, appealed to Chlotar II of Neustria against her. Brunhild tried in vain to enlist the help of the tribes east of the Rhine, then fled to Burgundy, but was handed over to Chlotar at Renève (northeast of Dijon). She was tortured for three days, bound on to a camel and exposed to the mockery of the army, and finally dragged to death at a horse's tail (autumn 613).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Brünhild — V. Brunehilde. Brunehilde ou Brünhild personnage de la myth. germanique, héroïne de la trilogie des Nibelungen de Hebbel (1861). V. Nibelungen …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Brunhild — Brunhild, Brunhilde althochdeutscher Ursprung, Bedeutungszusammensetzung aus: »Brustpanzer« und »Kampf«. Bekannt durch Königin Brunhild im Nibelungenlied …   Deutsch namen

  • Brunhild — [bro͞on′hilt΄, bro͞on′hild΄] n. [MHG Brünhild < OHG brunna, armor + hilti (or OS hild), fight; hence, fighter in armor] in the Nibelungenlied, a queen of Iceland whom Gunther, king of Burgundy, gets as his bride with the help of Siegfried s… …   English World dictionary

  • Brunhild — Brunehilde (mythologie) Brünhild beobachtet Gunther (Brunehilde observant Gunther), peinture de Johann Heinrich Füssli, (1807). [1] Brunehilde en français ou Brynhildr en …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Brunhild —  In Scandinavian sagas, she is a Valkyrie, or priestess, in a deep sleep. In Wagner’s Ring cycle, the name is spelled Brünnhilde …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors


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