was a legendary sorcerer
who originated in the mythology or epic sagas of the Frankish Merovingian
Dynasty of the 5th to 8th century AD, and whose name means king of the elves
(elbe "elves" reix, rex "king"). He was also known as king of the dwarves.
In the Nibelungenlied, an epic poem in Middle High German, he is a dwarf, who guards the treasure of the Nibelungen, but is overcome by Siegfried.
In Wagner's opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, Alberich is a dwarf and chief of the Nibelungen, and guardian of the "Rhinegold treasure". Wagner's Alberich is a composite character, mostly based on Alberich from the Nibelungenlied, but also on Andvari from Norse mythology.
Some scholars propose the following characters evolved in later centuries from the concept of Alberich as king of the elves and dwarves:
- Oberon - is the French translation of Alberich (used for the name of the "King of Fairies" in French and English texts).
- Elegast/Elbegast/Alegast - elf guest, elf spirit (Dutch, German, and Scandinavian texts, respectively)