biographical name

(born c. 1200—died c. 1270) German lyric poet and legendary hero. A professional minnesinger, Tannhäuser served several noble patrons; a few of his works are extant. In the legend preserved in a popular ballad, “Danhauser,” he lives a life of pleasure but, torn by remorse, goes to Rome to seek remission of his sins. The pope tells him that, as his pilgrim's staff would never put on leaf again, so his sins can never be forgiven. Shortly afterward his discarded staff puts forth green leaves. The pope sends messengers to search for him, but he is never seen again. The legend, popular among 19th-century Romantic writers, was retold in Richard Wagner's opera Tannhäuser (produced 1845).

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