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Dietrich

(2 syl.), of Berne or Verona, a name given by the German minnesängers (minstrels) to Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths. One of the liegemen of King Etzel. In the terrible broil stirred up by Queen Kriemhild in the banquet-hall of the Hunnish king, after the slaughter of Sir Rudiger, his friend Dietrich interfered, and succeeded in taking prisoners the only two surviving Burgundians, kings Gunther and Hagan, whom he handed over to Kriemhild, praying that she would set them free, but the angry queen cut off both their heads with her own hands. (The Nibelungen-Lied.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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