Nibelungenlied

Nibelungenlied  (´be-loong-en-lēd ).—An historic poem, generally called the German Iliad. It is the only great national epic that European writers have produced since antiquity, and belongs to every country that has been peopled by Germanic tribes, as it includes the hero traditions of the Franks, the Burgundians and the Goths, with memorials of the ancient myths carried with them from Asia. The poem is divided into two parts, and thirty-two lieds, or cantos. The first part ends with the death of Siegfried, and the second part with the death of Kriemhild. The death of Siegfried and the revenge of Kriemhild have been celebrated in popular songs dating back to the lyric chants now a thousand years old. These are the foundation of the great poem.