centuries the so-called Agate Bowl (4th century C.E., ca. 29 inch.), one
of the inalienable heirlooms of the House of Habsburg at the Imperial Treasury
in the Hofburg in Vienna, was held to be the Holy Grail. It had come
into Habsburg possession through Charles the Bold of Burgundy (1433-1477).
This medieval treas-ure was not positively identified until 1951 when during
a careful cleaning a new reading of the inscription revealed that it merely
contained the signature of the artist and not the falsely assumed name
advice given is significant only in part. The caution against muddy fords
seems almost a joke, but Parzival takes the advice about women very seriously
without understanding it at all. Parzival accuses the Red Knight (Ither)
of ‘perhaps’ being Llewelyn, again revealing his ignorance.
4Parzival shows that he is very unsophisticated.
It was unknightly to use a javelin against a man, but Parzival keeps his
word and kills Ither with it.
5Jeschute belongs to the class of courtly
ladies whom Wolfram despises.
6French for ‘squire.’
8javelot: he uses a javelin, a hunting
spear, instead of the courtly sword and lance. David Blamirez points out
in Characterization and Individuality in Wolfram’s ‘Parzival’ 
that “the gabilôt becomes the emblem of Parzival's total ignorance
of courtly etiquette” (p. 142).
9Gurnemans represents all that is best
in the chivalric world, and his advice is sound, but, for a man with Parzival’s
mission, insufficient. It is interesting to note, however, that Gournemans
does not dismiss Parzival without elaborating on the theme of conjugal
love: “man und wîp diu sint al ein; / als diu sunn diu hiute schein,
/ und ouch der name der heizet tac. / der enwederz sich gescheiden mac:
/ si blüent ûz eime kerne gar” (173: 1-5) [“Mann und Frau sind
völlig eins — / wie die Sonne, die heut schien / und das, was
man als >Tag< bezeichnet / Hier läßt sich keins vom andren
trennen: / aus einem Kerne blühn sie auf!” Bernd Lampe points
out in Parzivâl: Gralssuche und Schicksalserkenntnis 
(p. 202) that it is precisely Parzival's love for Conduir-amour that will
ultimately enable him to return and claim the Grail. After the meeting
with Gurnemans, Parzival does not mention his mother's advice again.
procession of women is much more elaborate than in the same scene in Chrétien’s
poem. It may be reminiscent of Eastern or Mozarabic rites.
11According to Wolfram, who first uses
the word, ‘Achmardi’ is green and gold-brocaded silk.
12Repanse de Joie—one who rewards with
joy?—is a name invented by Wolfram. It will be noted that at this
point we are told little more, indeed less, about the Grail than Parzival
himself could observe. We do not yet know that it is a stone.
13The »cornucopia« motif is
very common in association with the Grail, but it is not mentioned by Chrétien.
15suivants: French for ‘attendants’
17la sorcière: the sourceress;
her education appears to be somewhat eclectic; of the seven liberal
arts she apparently only knows dialectic, geometry, and astronomy (see
p. 12, fn 1).
18beau gens: beautiful people
19Lasur: lapis lazuli
21Muli: mule, offspring of a jackass
and a mare. Because she is so ugly she falls considerably short of the
courtly ideal of beauty; no self-respecting knight would ever wish
to vie for her (314:10).
is, of course, referring to God, and his remarks are blasphemous.
He is guilty of pride in his belief that his deeds must induce God to consider
23Templar: so named from occupying
quarters near the site of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. The Templars
were members of a religious military order established by the Crusaders
at Jerusalem in 1118 to protect pilgrims and the Holy Sepulchre.
24The Parzival manuscripts also contain
the readings ‘lapsit exillis,’ that is, ‘lapis ex coelis,’ stone from heaven.
‘Lapis exilis’ is most likely the correct reading in that it suggests ‘thin,
modest,’ referring to the magic stone in the Alexander legend which is
said to have come from paradise and whose purpose it is to remind the great
conqueror of the impermanence of life. Thus, Wolfram’s Grail may
also be viewed as a symbol of Christian humility.
25The idea of the Grail’s being revivified
by the bringing of a wafer on Good Friday by a dove (the resemblance
to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is obvious) is found only
in Wolfram’s poem. He places great emphasis on the Grail’s power
to sustain life on earth, but only as a result of heavenly power.
26Although the neutral angels are mentioned
by Dante in Inferno 3:34-69, little was written about them
in the Middle Ages, and certainly no source is known for what Wolfram says
about them here.
de guerre: battle cry
29from French «orgeilleuse»,
30A Jew killed a bull by whispering into
its ear the name of his God. St. Sylvester revived it by whispering
the name of Christ. The story of the raising of Lazarus is found
in Jn 11.
31Secundille was the pagan wife of Fairefis
and was queen of ‘India.’