Years later, some anonymous writer, carried away by his imagination, wrote Rudel’s fictionalized biography. This style was called vida and was quite popular in the medieval period. This vida became the basis for a legend. According to it Rudel fell in love with Countess Hodierna of Tripoli without even seeing her! He just heard about her beauty from pilgrims, who were returning from the Holy Land. Rudell was so smitten, that he took a long sea journey just to see Hodierna. Unfortunately, during the voyage, he fell sick and was brought ashore in Tripoli already a dying man. When Hodierna heard the news, she came down to the shore from her castle and Rudel died in her arms.
The whole legend was a fluke, and, naturally, it never happened. But it was romantic! When 19 century Romanticism authors discovered the legend, they just could not pass the opportunity and meet it the halfway. To mention a few, Robert Browning, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Ludwig Uhland, Heinrich Heine, Giosué Carducci created their poems based on this fiction story. In the next century more epic poems and even an opera were created as well.
Usually, they say that life is more interesting than fiction. This time it was the other way around.
During regency Garsenda became the shining center of a poetic and troubadour circle. They composed songs and poems and dedicated them to Garsenda. She probably was a very beautiful woman - even the author of her biography fell in love with her and loved her for the rest of his life until he entered the monastery.
These were troubling times and there was one revolt after another in attempt to rob the beautiful Countess of her lands. But Garsenda managed to raise her son and pass him her native Forcalquier. Later, somewhere after 1220, she quietly retired to the monastery. We don’t know the exact date of Garsenda’s death but, it is highly likely that she lived a very long life, going to be over 80 years old. It seems that she was still alive in 1257, because someone with identical name made a donation to the church with a request for three priests to pray for her soul.
Not all famous troubadours were of aristocratic origin. Some of them had came from lower class families like great composer and poet Giraut de Bornelh. He was born around 1138 in Limousin and started writing music and poems at quite an early age. Soon his fame spread around and his fans gave him for his skills a very prestigious name - Master of the Troubadours.
And Giraut was a Master, indeed. He invented the new, light style of troubadour’s music, won a lot of poetical debates. We got a rare chance to observer his contribution because around ninety poems and four of his melodies survived to our modern times.
When another great troubadour Raimbaut of Orange unexpectedly died, Giraut created one of his best pieces - a lament on the Raimbaut’s death. This song became famous, especially during Third Crusade. Giraut accompanied Richard the Lionheart and his own patron Aimar V of Limoges and even stayed in the Holy Land for a while. Specialists say, that it is quite possible that Giraut made a piligrimage there even before the beginning of the Third Crusade. He lived a long life and died in 1215.
Yet, Walther’s poems give us the picture not only of a great artistic genius, but of a strenuous, passionate, very human and very lovable character. His talents and strong views became required by German society, when empire and papacy started their struggle in 1197. Walther took side with German independence and unity which gave him a place of significance in history. Till the end of his days, Walther remained a faithful Catholic, which is confirmed by religious poems. Nevertheless, he was fervently opposing the extreme claims of the Roman popes, whom he attacked with bitterness, expressing his deep patriotic feelings.
Walther never switched sides and a highly intelligent new emperor Frederick II held in high esteem poet’s genius and zeal. Thus, Walther received desired recognition and even a small fief in Franconia, that gave him a home and fixed position. Yet, he was complaining that this fief had little value. There is some evidence, that Frederick made Walther the tutor of his son, but this evidence based on one of his lyrics is disputed by modern researchers.
Walther von der Vogelweide did not stay immediately at his new fief long, he traveled for a while and only then settled at his new place. From there he was urging German princes to take part in the Sixth Crusade in 1228 but, did not participate in it himself, or at least did not go further than Tirol. In a beautiful poem he paints the change that had come over the scenes of his childhood and made his life seem a thing dreamed. When he was dying in 1230, he put in his will the request to feed the birds at his tomb every day.