Friday, September 14, 2012

Heath Ledger-"A Knights Tale."

 To get things started, I compiled from a variety of sources, the following article below. Most of the information was known to me, yet with the adherent hyper text links, one can tell that this article has the easy pong of Wikipedia about it.I bring it out strictly for your amusement. If I have violated any copy write laws, I will be more than happy to remove this post.

The hero of the 2001 film A Knight’s Tale, played by Heath Ledger, assumes the title “Ulrich von Liechtenstein” when he poses as a knight. As “undefeated” in jousts, this was a worthy name to take. The name also proved to work well in the plot and provided the necessary contrast to the hero's true name, William Thatcher. However, the character claims to come from Guelders, which was not in Austria but rather in the Low Countries (now in the Dutch province Gelderland). Also, the film is set in the second half of the 14th century, not the 13th century, so it is possible that William was referring to a knight he had heard of.

Ulrich von Liechtenstein (1200–1278) was a medieval nobleman, knight, politician, and minnesanger. He was born in 1200 in Murau, located in present day Austria. After the usual noble training as a page and a squire to Margrave Heinrich of Istria, he was knighted by Duke Leopold VI of Austria in 1223. Leader of the Styrian nobility, he had a hand in absorbing Styria into the Habsburg Empire, and he became Styria’s governor. He owned three castles, one of them at Lichtenstein, near Judenburg.
The rest of his life is unrecorded. It is possible that he was one of the noblemen in Styria taken prisoner by King Otakar II of Bohemia 1269. He died in 1278 and was buried in Seckau.

Ulrich is famous for his supposedly autobiographical poetry collection Frauendienst (Service of the Lady). He writes of himself as a protagonist who does great deeds of honor to married noblewomen, following the conventions of chaste courtly love. The protagonist embarks on two remarkable quests. In the first quest, he travels from Venice to Vienna in the guise of Venus, the goddess of love. He competes in jousts and tourneys and challenges all the knights he meets to a duel in the honour of his lady. He breaks 307 lances and defeats all comers. The noblewoman, however, mostly spurns his affections and demands more deeds and even mutilation for even the honour to hold her hand. In the second quest, he takes on the role of King Arthur, with his followers becoming Arthurian Round Table characters. The collection was finished in 1255.

*-(It should be noted, various sources state this was not an allegorical collection of poetry. Rather Sir Ulrich did in fact travel from Venice to Vienna dressed as Venus the Goddess of Love. Challenging all he met and competiting in various jousts along the way. It is even purported he founded the Jousting Order of the Green Lady.)

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