German and Latin 9th to 13th century literature

While the earliest secular literature in Bavaria is still bound to the Latin language, the first poetic attempts at Christian content in Old High German did not appear until the beginning of the 9th century. Alliteration is the metrical basis: in the Wessobrunn Prayer (before 814) and in its counterpart Muspili. The prayer written in Bavarian can be read as a faithful hymn of creation; on the other hand, the poem named after the word for the end of the world "Muspilli" is aimed at a noble audience with judicial power.

In addition to spiritual instruction, there is the pious practice of the Petruslied (Song of Peter), the oldest German-language hymn, which was recorded in Freising at the end of the 9th century. It has a verse line in common with the Book of Gospels by the South Franconian poet Otfrid von Wei├čenburg (about 800-870). The Bible poem, compiled from the four Gospels, is the most comprehensive poem of the Carolingian period and was copied on behalf of Bishop Waldos von Freising (884-906). By contrast, the ancient Saxon spiritual epic Heliand describes the earthly life of Christ from his birth to his ascension.

A new epoch begins around the turn of the 10th to 11th century in the face of the Hungarian invasions. At the top is the newly founded Tegernsee Monastery, one of Bavaria's oldest and most important literary centres. The collection of letters and songs by Froumund (c. 960-1008), which was created there, provides an insight into the cultural history of monastic life. But the first secular verse novel in Latin from the sphere of knightly life is also created here: the Ruodlieb (around 1050). Other works written in Tegernsee include the Ludus de Antichristo, a Latin drama about the struggle between the Christian final emperor and the Antichrist (c. 1160), and the Tegernsee love salutation, the oldest love poem in German ("Du bist min ih bin din").

The end of the Old High German period is marked by the first major work in the Early Middle High German language, albeit dedicated to spiritual tradition: the Expositio in Cantica Canticorum by Williram von Ebersberg (died 1085), the first translation and popular commentary of the Song of Songs in a Latin-German mixed prose. At the end of the 12th century, the Latin-German collection of the Windberg Psalms emerged as the first translation of biblical psalms in Bavaria in the Premonstratensian monastery of Windberg near Straubing. And Priest Wernher wrote one of the great Mary poems from the biblical and apocryphal tradition, Driu liet the maget, in Augsburg, in 1172.

The scientific historiography of the High Middle Ages in Bavaria is exemplary in its approach and development. The genre of the world chronicle reaches its temporary climax in the Chronica sive Historia de duabus civitatibus by Bishop Otto I of Freising (around 1112-1158). For the first time, the wealth of facts secondary to the history of salvation is exposed to a genuinely historical gain in knowledge. By contrast, the imperial chronicle, probably written by an anonymous Regensburg clergyman, is the first German world chronicle to mark the House of Welf dynasty's imperial claim to power.

The Carmina Burana, a collection of predominantly Latin secular poetry named after the Benediktbeuern monastery, which was created in the southern Alpine region around 1230, is also of exemplary, even world literary rank.