Hagen (legend)

Hagen (legend)

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Hagen or Högni (Old Norse Hǫgni, often anglicized as Hogni) is a Burgundian
Burgundians
The Burgundians were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr , and from there to mainland Europe...

 warrior in tales about the Burgundian kingdom at Worms
Worms, Germany
Worms is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on the Rhine River. At the end of 2004, it had 85,829 inhabitants.Established by the Celts, who called it Borbetomagus, Worms today remains embattled with the cities Trier and Cologne over the title of "Oldest City in Germany." Worms is the only...

. Hagen is often identified as a brother or half-brother of King Gunther
Gunther
Gunther is the German name of a semi-legendary king of Burgundy of the early 5th century...

 (Old Norse Gunnarr).

In the Nibelungenlied
Nibelungenlied
The Nibelungenlied, translated as The Song of the Nibelungs, is an epic poem in Middle High German. The story tells of dragon-slayer Siegfried at the court of the Burgundians, how he was murdered, and of his wife Kriemhild's revenge....

, he is called Hagen of Tronje (perhaps Drongen
Drongen
Drongen is a submunicipality of the city of Ghent .Drongen is divided into three parishes: Drongen, Luchteren and Baarle....

 in Ghent
Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

). In German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 tradition, Hagen is especially grim, implacable, and violent and in two accounts one-eyed. According to the Thidreks saga, Hagen was not fully human, being fathered by an elf on the king's wife. In these accounts, it is Hagen who kills the hero Siegfried
Sigurd
Sigurd is a legendary hero of Norse mythology, as well as the central character in the Völsunga saga. The earliest extant representations for his legend come in pictorial form from seven runestones in Sweden and most notably the Ramsund carving Sigurd (Old Norse: Sigurðr) is a legendary hero of...

 during a hunt, wounding him on the only part of his body which was not invulnerable. This version of the character appears in Wagner's
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

 Der Ring des Nibelungen
Der Ring des Nibelungen
Der Ring des Nibelungen is a cycle of four epic operas by the German composer Richard Wagner . The works are based loosely on characters from the Norse sagas and the Nibelungenlied...

(in this version, Hagen drowns trying to steal the Rhinegold). In Norse tradition, Hagen's counterpart Högni is less extreme and the actual slayer of Sigurd (the Norse counterpart to Siegfried) is Gutthorm, a younger brother of Gunnar and Högni. But Gutthorm does so when egged on by his elder brothers.

In German accounts, Gunther and Hagen are the last survivors of the fall of the Nibelung
Nibelung
The German Nibelungen and the corresponding Old Norse form Niflung is the name in Germanic and Norse mythology of the royal family or lineage of the Burgundians who settled at Worms....

s. Hagen refuses to reveal the hiding place of the Nibelung treasure as long as his king Gunther lives. When Gunther is slain, the mortally-wounded Hagen continues his refusal with sure knowledge that Gunther cannot now weaken and betray the secret. In Norse accounts, however, it is Gunnar who refuses to tell the secret as long as Högni lives, and so brings about Högni's death.

In Atlamál
Atlamál
Atlamál in grœnlenzku is one of the heroic poems of the Poetic Edda. It relates the same basic story as Atlakviða at greater length and in a different style...

, Hniflung a son of Hagen/Högni avenges his father's death and the deaths of his kin together with his aunt Guðrún
Gudrun
Gudrun is a major figure in the early Germanic literature centered on the hero Sigurd, son of Sigmund. She appears as Kriemhild in the Nibelungenlied and as Gutrune in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen.-Norse mythology:...

. This work also states that Hogni had a wife named Kostbera
Kostbera
Kostbera is the wife of the mythical Norse hero Hogni. She is mentioned in Atlamál. With Hogni they are the mother of four sons: Solar, Snævar, Hniflung and Gjuki. Gjuki is only mentioned in Drap Niflunga....

and two other sons: Solar and Snævar. The Drap Niflunga mentions a fourth son named Gjuki (named after Hogni's father).