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Anno Urbis - The Roman Empire Online

Bulfinch's Age of Fable

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THE NIBELUNGEN HOARD

This was a mythical mass of gold and precious stones which Siegfried obtained from the Nibelungs, the people of the north whom he had conquered and whose country he had made tributary to his own kingdom of the Netherlands. Upon his marriage, Siegfried gave the treasure to Kriemhild as her wedding portion. After the murder of Siegfried, Hagan seized it and buried it secretly beneath the Rhine at Lochham, intending to recover it at a future period. The hoard was lost forever when Hagan was killed by Kriemhild. Its wonders are thus set forth in the poem:

"'Twas as much as twelve huge wagons in four whole nights and days Could carry from the mountain down to the salt sea bay; Though to and fro each wagon thrice journeyed every day.

"It was made up of nothing but precious stones and gold; Were all the world bought from it, and down the value told, Not a mark the less would there be left than erst there was, I ween."

--Nibelungen Lied, XIX.

Whoever possessed the Nibelungen hoard were termed Nibelungers. Thus at one time certain people of Norway were so called. When Siegfried held the treasure he received the title "King of the Nibelungers."


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