His seat was at Holmgard (Novgorod), according to the Thidrekssaga (ch. 45), and he was related to the Russian saga heroes. Later on his city of Holmgard became Garda, and in ordinary German legend he ruled in Lombardy. Hartnit won his bride, a Valkyrie, by hard fighting against the giant Isungs, but was killed in a later fight by a dragon. His younger brother, Hardheri (replaced in later German legend by Wolfdietrich), avenged Ortnit by killing the dragon, and then married his brother's widow.
Ortnit's wooing was corrupted by the popular interest in the Crusades to an Oriental Brautfahrtsaga, bearing a very close resemblance to the French romance of Huon of Bordeaux. Both heroes receive similar assistance from Alberich (Oberon), who supplanted the Russian Ilya as Ortnit's epic father in Middle High German romance. Karl Friedrich Neumann maintained that the Russian Ortnit and the Lombard king were originally two different persons, and that the incoherence of the tale is due to the welding of the two legends into one.
See editions of the Heldenbuch and one of Ortnit and Wolfdietrich by Dr. J.L. Edlen von Lindhausen (Tübingen, 1906); articles in the Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum by Karl Müllenhoff (xii. pp. 344-354, 1865; xiii. pp. 185-192, 1867), by J. Seemuller (xxvi. 201-211, 1882), and by E.H. Meyer (xxxviii. pp. 85-87, 1894), and in Germania by F. Neumann (vol. xxvii. pp. 191-219, Vienna, 1882). See also the literature dealing with Huon of Bordeaux.
Das Dresdener Heldenbuch und die Bruchstucke des Berlin-Wolfenbutteler Heldenbuchs. Edition und Digitalfaksimile.(Book review)
Sep 22, 2010; Das Dresdener Heldenbuch und die Bruchstucke des Berlin-Wolfenbutteler Heldenbuchs. Edition und Digitalfaksimile, ed. Walter...