peep beneath Kyffhäuser hill where Barbarossa
makes his bed, alive for centuries, not dead
he waits to serve his countrymen, to unify
them once again, with ravens, circling
‘round his lair and flowing locks of ruddy hair
The Legend of Barbarossa
According to a king in the mountain legend, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who actually drowned on 10 June 1190 in the Göksu River near Silifke during the Third Crusade, is not in fact dead, but sleeps in a hidden chamber underneath the Kyffhäuser hills. He sits motionless at a stone table and his beard has supposedly grown so long over the centuries that it grew through the table. As in the similar legend of King Arthur, Barbarossa supposedly awaits his country’s hour of greatest need, when he will emerge once again from under the hill. The presence of ravens circling the Kyffhäuser summit is said to be a sign of Barbarossa’s continuing presence.