Solomon and Marcolf

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"Marcolf" redirects here. See Markolf for the given name.
Illustration from "Salman und Morolf" by Hans Dirmstein, Frankfurt am Main 1479

Solomon and Marcolf is a medieval narrative describing the adventures and conversations of Solomon and Marcolf, or Marolf. The adventures have some connection with those of Ashmedai, while the conversations consist chiefly of riddles similar to those put to Solomon by the Queen of Sheba. The exact extent of its indebtedness to the Haggadah is somewhat doubtful, though it is practically certain that the various versions are derived from an Eastern original.

The earliest known versions of the tale are the Old English versions commonly referred to as Solomon and Saturn, first published by J. N. Kemble in 1848, for the Ælfric Society.[1] The tale was popular in Germany, where Marcolf, or Marolf, became a sort of type of the "wise fool". It was first printed under the title Dis buch seit von kunig salomon vnd siner huß frouwen Salome wie sy der künig fore nam vnd wie sy Morolff künig salomon brüder wider brocht in Strasbourg by printer Matthias Hupfuff in 1499, with woodcut illustrations.[2][3][a] Latin versions of it were often appended to the "Epistolæ Obscurorum Virorum". Both Hans Folz and Hans Sachs made use of the legend. A French version was made by Pierre Mauclerc, Count of Brittany, in the thirteenth century.

In Italian, Giulio Cesare Croce adopted it in his "Bertoldo", another name for Marcolf. This was developed into a book at Bologna in 1736. Other versions occur in the Bolognese and Venetian dialects, and in Dutch, Greek, Polish, Icelandic, and Welsh. There are two editions in English, one published by Gerard Leeu (Antwerp, 1492), and another, Sayings or Proverbes of King Solomon, with the Answers of Marcolfus, printed by Richard Pynson in 1530, a version of the much shorter French Dictionnaire de Salomon.

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Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ Woodcut illustrations only, of 1555 Strassburg edition printed in: Heitz, Paul (1922). Strassburger Holzschnitte zu Dietrich von Bern, Herzog Ernst, der Hürnen Seyfrid, Marcolphus. J.H. Ed. Heitz. 

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