While a duke of Mantua, he fell in love with Iblis, the wife of King Ibert of Sicily. When Ibert discovered that his wife and Klingsor were having an affair, he had Klingsor castrated. Klingsor then started to hate the human kind, fled to Britain to heal and study the magical arts. His talents made him a startling necromancer, and he used his magic to create the enchanted Schastel Marveile (Castel of Marvels) in Terre Marveile (‘Land of Marvels’).
He imprisoned Gawain’s mother Sangive (Arnive by Wolfram), Gawain’s sisters Itonje and Cundrie, and Arthur’s mother Arnive in the castle, where they remained until Gawain braved the Perilous Bed and won.
An analogous character appears in Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône as Gansguoter. Klingsor also appears in the German compilation Wartburgkrieg, where he engages in a poetic competition with Wolfram von Eschenbach himself.
Klingsor’s character is not so black as it is represented by Wagner in his opera Parzifal (Parsifal). He is portrayed as courteous, a man whose word was his bond; one tradition makes him a bishop rather than a sorcerer.
Wizards and Enchanters | Myths and Legends
Parzival | Wolfram von Eschenbach, 1200–1210