The New International Encyclopædia/Dietrich of Bern

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DIETRICH OF BERN. The name under which Theodoric the Great (q.v.) appears in German heroic legends; by Bern, his capital, Verona is to be understood. With a not unusual disregard of all historical truth, Dietrich was brought into connection with the traditions of Attila, or Etzel. According to these legends, Dietrich is said to have fled from Italy before Otacher (Odoacer), or Ermanerich, and to have met with a hospitable reception from Etzel. After many years he regained possession of his kingdom. Dietrich appears in the second part of the Nibelungenlied, at Etzel's Court, and is praised with special predilection. There were numerous other poems in which Dietrich was the central figure, but only late versions of these poems have come down to us. Consult Heinzel, Ueber die ostgotische Heldensage (Vienna, 1889).