(born c. 1170died c. 1230, Würzburg?) Greatest German lyric poet of the Middle Ages. Of knightly birth, Walther was educated at a monastery school and served masters in several courts. His poetry goes far beyond the artificial conventions followed by other minnesingers by introducing an element of realism. He emphasizes the virtues of the balanced life, in both the social and the personal spheres. More than half of his approximately 200 extant poems are political, moral, or religious; the rest are love poems, among them the popular Unter der Linden.