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The makeup of Thomasius' mind had a touch of mysticism, but this was accompanied by clear-sighted common sense and skill in logical thought, so that in him rationalism of the mind and piety of the heart were combined. Thomasius' works, which are mainly philosophical and juristic, are no longer read, but his influence as a teacher was considerable, and he still stands out for three personal achievements. He fought long and successfully against witch trials and burnings, completing the work begun by Friedrich von Spee.

Several of these poets (Opitz, Harsdorffer, Logau, Rist and Zesen) were members of Die Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft, of which mention has already been made. This body, also known from its emblem as Der Palmenorden, was in its origin a linguistic rather than a literary society. It was founded just before the Thirty Years War by Prince Ludwig von AnhaltCothen and at its outset was recruited almost exclusively from noblemen; among its early members were two princes and three dukes. In the long run, however, its membership was not solely aristocratic, and many of the participants, who all bore symbolical names such as Der Niihrende orDer Schmackhafte, were commoners in the administrative service of great men.

1195) with its philandering hero, Wirnt von Grafenberg's Wigalois (c. 1205) with its wise saws and extravagant adventures, or the uncertainly dated, anonymous Moriz von Craun with its scandalous story and enigmatic morality. The world of the courts, which constituted the literary public of the thirteenth century, was not inextricably entangled in the esoteric gyrations of ideal M inne. It had a broader taste and a perception for other modes. One of the most popular poems of that age was the lay of the Nibelungs (Nibelungenlied), which, though its characters display courtly manners, is heroic and tragic, evincing at times a ferocity, a martial aggressiveness and a brutality which are worlds away 31 from the polite fantasy of Arthurian romance.

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