(In part translated from Genzmer 1984 [G]; reference is also made to the notes supplied by Wimmer 1998 [W])


Der Ackermann is divided into 33 Chapters, followed by the Ploughmanfs prayer for his wife.  The Christian symbolism of 33 – the supposed number of years of the life of Christ – can also be found in St. Augustine, in Dante (Divina Commedia), in Joachim du Bellay (Les Antiquitéz de Rome), and in many other writers.


Chapter Three

- gvon vogelwat is mein pflugh: that is, he is a eploughman of the penf – a clerk (W).

- The twelfth letter is eMf for Margaretha, eJf not being counted as a separate letter in the Latin alphabet (W).


Chapter Eleven

- In many places it was the custom for the torturer to ask forgiveness of the tortured (G).


Chapter Fourteen

- The Feast Day of St. Peterfs Chains is August 1.  The year referred to is 1400 (G).


Chapter Sixteen

- The reference to the illustration in the Roman temple has not been traced (G).


Chapter Eighteen

- The Lion-slayer may be Samson (G).

- Tepl misconstrues Platofs Academy as a town (G).

- Another misunderstanding is the gship of reedsh: the boatman in question lived in a reed hut (G).

- The philosopher who taught Nero was Seneca (G).

- Paris was the most famous university in mediaeval Europe (G).

- It was believed that sitting on an ox-skin would give insights into the future (G).


Chapter Twenty-Nine

- ghauptman vom bergeh.  Sometimes translated into modern German as eMaulheldf (eloudmouthf, eblustererf: lit. egob-herof).


Chapter Thirty

- Kaiser Karl is Charlemagne.

- The Markgrave is that Willehalm who is the hero of Wolfram von Eschenbachfs Willehalm (ca.1215-18).

- Boppe the strong is an often named but elusive hero.  It was suggested by William Wackernagel that this man was the same as the Blackforest court poet Boppe, who was renowned for his strength (d.1320) [eDer starke Boppef, Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum, 8 (1851), pp. 347-8].

- Dietrich von Bern, based on misty reminiscences of the Ostrogothic King of Italy Theodoric the Great (reigned 493-526), is the hero of the first cycle of poems in Das Heldenbuch, a collection of metrical romances of the 13th century.  F.E. Sandbachfs The Heroic Saga-Cycle of Dietrich of Bern (London, 1906), a study of the relationship between Dietrich and Theodoric, between legend and history, is available online at eKiyofs Repository of Mythos and Poetryf at and is reproduced from that site at the Northvegr Foundation:  A prose retelling of Dietrichfs exploits in English can be found in H. A. Guerberfs Legends of the Middle Ages at Project Gutenberg:

- Horn-skinned Siegfried is eDer gehörnte Siegfriedf, the hero of an ultimately disappointing Volksbuch and, originally, of an ancient poem, eDas Lied vom Hürnen Seyfridf (eThe Lay of Horn-skinned Siegfriedf), which presents a more positive image of the hero Siegfried than is found in the Nibelungenlied.  Both are available online at the eDas Lied vom Hürnen Seyfridf site:


Chapter Thirty-Two

- gkere von dem bosen vnd tue das gute; suche den fride vnd tue in stete.h  Cf. Lutherfs Bible, Psalm 34:15: gLaß ab vom Bösen und tu Gutes; suche Frieden und jage him nach!h (G)  In the Authorised Version, this is line 14: eDepart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue itf.