As Ysengrimus ( Isengrimus, grinus ) a medium- Latin epic animal is called, the (probably 1148/49 ) was created in the mid-12th century, probably written by a cleric in Ghent.


In later manuscripts of the epic will ever again attributed to a Nivardus, a Balduinus Cecus and Bernardus. The author name Nivardus was the research known for the longest time, since the other two names information is discovered late. Therefore Nivardus is still often called despite the uncertain attribution as the author name.

The text itself contains many clues that suggest that the Ysengrimus in the middle of the 12th century in Flanders ( probably Gent) was sealed by a cleric. So ( Bishop of Tournai ) or the monastery at Ghent Blandinium will include Bernard of Clairvaux, Anselm mentioned and deplored the failure of the Second Crusade.

Content and tradition

The epic is written in elegiac couplets and includes almost 6600 verses. The main character is the wolf Ysengrimus, whose name was therefore used as the title. His opponent is the fox Reinardus, which brings about the gradual demise of the wolf. It is therefore the Ysengrimus is the first work in which wear wolf and fox its later widespread fable name Isegrim and Reinhart and Reineke.

The characterized as stupid and greedy wolf is outsmarted by the sly, sneaky fox in about a dozen episodes and concludes killed. The material draws on older narrative material back ( Aesopian and medieval animal fables that Ecbasis Captivi that saying and story collection Fecunda ratis Egberts of Liege, the text written around 1100 De lupo ). Only the final (death of the wolf by a herd of pigs ) is an addition seal of the author, probably modeled on the Vita Mahumeti Embrichos of Mainz.

The main power of the poet is to compose a self-contained epic that united the various individual elements of the writing present in his time or orally transmitted fables and animal seal artfully. In contrast to the ancient or medieval epic the protagonist is a negative to right to decline certain figure in Ysengrimus. By the author presents the greedy and stupid wolf again and again as a monk and owner of the clergy who he caricatured him in his opinion, deserving of criticism in many respects monasticism of its time. In addition to many other motives, such as the pairs of opposites " Gate and sage ", " rich and poor " or motif Fortuna the anticlerical satire is the predominant theme of the seal.

The work is pervaded by irony and characterized by witty and extensive linguistic style, vivid expression in connection drastic folk and classical education. Later, the text served as a supplier of proverbs ( anthologies ) and Tierschwänken that in other animal seals ( for example, in the Roman de Renart and by further mediation, including through the Middle Dutch beast epic Van den vos Reynaerde, in Reineke Fuchs) were used. Called a paraphrase of the fourth and fifth episode, Ysengrimus abbreviatus, is regarded as something awkward work in research and the earliest dated to the late 13th century. These abridged version has contributed to the dissemination of the work.

The animal epic survives in 17 manuscripts, but only four of which offer the full text.

Editions and translations

  • F. J. Mone: Reinardus Vulpes 1832
  • E. Voigt: Ysengrimus 1884 ( basic critical edition, Nachdr 1974)
  • J van Mierlo, Utrecht, 1946 ( Dutch translation )
  • A. Schoenfelder, 1955 ( German translation )
  • K. Langosch, 1956 ( 3rd edition 1967), with geared Ysengrimus -Neck
  • E. Sypher, 1980 ( English translation)
  • E. Charbonnier, 1983 ( French translation )
  • J. Mann, 1987 ( text with English translation )

Ysengrimus abbreviatus:

  • J. Grimm: Reinhart Fuchs 1834, pp. 1-24
  • L. van Acker: L' Ysengrimus abbreviatus in: Latomus 25 (1966 ), pp. 925-947