Der Ritterspiegel: Herausgegeben, übersetzt und kommentiert
Johannes Rothe's Ritterspiegel [Mirror of Chivalry] with its 4108 verses is the most comprehensive medieval knightly primer in German. In all probability it was written for young nobles in the context of Rothe's work as school head in Eisenach from 1414. Apart from its significance for the history of literature as a didactic poem, the work provides a rich source of information on the cultural and legal history of chivalry which focuses the traditional characteristics of the model of social estates on the situation in the 15th century. Rothe's concept of virtuous nobility implies social mobility, i.e. promotion or demotion within the hierarchy of estates. The following are explicated: a history of chivalry, the right to bear arms and seven privileges of the estate, rules on combat and warfare, these being oriented in either a moralising Christian or a purely practical direction, tasks of an army commander, the significance of astrology. The Thuringian text has been newly edited and translated on the basis of the Cassel manuscript; the commentary resolves linguistic issues and historical references and elucidates the source materials for the work.