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The relatively high standing of blacks in medieval…

The relatively high standing of blacks in medieval court culture becomes evident in the characters of Belacâne and Feirefiz in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Arthurian epic, Parzival (1197-1210). Belacâne is the Moorish Queen of Zanzamanc in Africa who gives birth to Feirefiz after being married to the Christian knight Gahmuret, who is also the father of Eschenbach’s hero, Parzival. Significantly, Gahmuret’s romance with Belacâne presents an interracial (and interreligious) relationship in a positive light, although Belacâne wishes to become Christian. Likewise, Feirefiz, who is described as having black-and-white patched skin, is regarded as Parzival’s equal. Parzival even claims that, together with their shared dead father, the three of them are in essence one because of blood bond. After renouncing his pagan faith, Feirefiz marries the white Grail bearer and is granted all the privileges of a Christian knight.

Germany and the Black Diaspora: Points of Contact, 1250-1914, Mischa Honeck, Martin Klimke, Anna Kuhlmann (eds.)