Spielmannsepik (minstrel poetry), generic term for those Middle High German epics which are considered to be older than the Courtly Epics, because of their difference from the latter in terms of structure and contents. They are assumed to date from the late 12th century, but were only written down from the 13th century, anonymously and mostly in several versions: "König Rother", "Herzog Ernst", "Oswald", "Orendel" and "Salman und Morolf". The only contribution to Spielmannsepik that can definitely be attributed to an Austrian author is the story of St. Oswald, which is told in the 15th century manuscripts of the "Wiener Oswald" (1,465 verses) and the "Linzer Oswald", of which only fragments (approx. 300 verses) have been preserved.
Literature: M. Curschmann, Spielmannsepik, 1968; J. Bumke, Geschichte der deutschen Literatur im hohen Mittelalter, 1990.