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The Wate Figure in Medieval Tradition

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Winder Mc Conell

Utilizing both literary and extra-literary sources, the study considers all documented references to the Wate figure in the Middle Ages. Subsequent to a critical evaluation of research done on the figure in the years 1826-1974, an analysis is undertaken of Wate's role in prominent literary works of medieval Germany (e.g. Alexanderlied, Dietrichs Flucht), Scandinavia (The Thidrekssaga), and England. The examination of his function within the literary milieu demonstrates that Brobdingnagian traits are a fundamental aspect of Wate's character. The etymology of his name, as well as his appearance as a giant in folklore, provide further evidence of Wate's significance as the manifestation of a primitive growth concept.