The name of "Il Monte di Venere" and "La Grotta di Venere" Venusberg, and the points of similarity between that palace of
perpetual delights and the allegorical "Court of Love" ("La Corte di Cupido") make it necessary to say
something of the relations of the story of Danhuser (from Danhusen) to the subject of the
The points of similarity are these:
-- the gorgeous hall;
the abundance of means of sensual enjoyment; the throngs of fair women.
-- the Goddess (indeed Mother) of Love as presiding personage.
-- a tragic hero (Rinaldo, Orlando, Danhuser) gaining admission to all
On the other hand, let it be noted the following:
In the Danhuser story there is
no conscious allegory whatever.
In the Danhuser story there is no feudal figure employed.
The hero Danhuser is seduced into taking part in the revels, whereas in the Court of Love
poems he is usually a candidate whose admission is a matter of more or less
Beyond the name VENERE and the fact that her attractions
are those of sensual love, there is no trace of the classical in the legendary
This becomes more apparent if we strip the legend of its more modern
The story of Tannhauser as it is most familiar to-day in the
music-drama of Riccardo Wagner (Bologna, 1872) is a combination of several elements originally
Two of these might at first sight seem to emphasize the relation
between the legend and the Court of Love, viz. the Wartburg poetic contest, and
the name of the minnesinger Tannhauser ("the thirteenth member of a knightly circle of twelve").
But the Wartburg -- "Burg" means mountain -- so, the toponym refers to MORE than the castle itself -- it also refers to the valley surrounding it -- contest, though going
back to a thirteenth-century poem on ENRICO d'Ofter Dingen (and Wagner is careful in never having other characters referring to Tannhauser as Tannhauser, but as ENRICO) was not
associated with our story before the present century.
The connection with the
name Tannhauser is older, though still comparatively late.
A poem by Hermann von
Sachsenheim (d. 1458) represents Tannhauser as the husband of Venus.