Legends, form of hagiography. Legends tell of the exemplary lives of the saints or incidents therefrom. Originally readings for church services and meals in abbeys on feast days of saints. In legends the emphasis is less on historical facts or (as in the stories of miracles) the influence of celestial powers than on the leading of a life that is pleasing in the sight of God. There are various types of legends: those dealing with the lives of Christ, Maria, the saints and martyrs, simple, traditional legends, and literary legends. Well-known are the legends of St. Barbara, St. Dorothea, St. Margaret, Pontius Pilate, and Saint Veronica. Many legends have been recorded in collections of manuscripts: Klosterneuburger Legende, Kreuzensteiner Legendar. Authors of the Middle Ages who set down legends in their works included Gundacker von Judenburg, Konrad von Fussesbrunnen, and Rudolf von Ems. Other literary works of the Middle Ages devoted to legends are "Marienleben" ("The Life of Mary"), "Kindheit Jesu" ("The childhood of Jesus") and "Barlaam und Josaphat" ("Barlaam and Josaphat"). Examples of historical legends from the Austrian region are the legend of the veil of Margravine Agnes, the creation of the Austrian striped shield at Acre, the rescue of Emperor Maximilian I from the Martinswand rock face, and the legend of Lieber Augustin in the pit full of plague victims.
Literature#H. Rosenfeld, Legenden, 31972; A. Masser, Bibel- und Legenden-Epik des deutschen Mittelalters, 1976; W. Zitzenbacher, Oesterreich, Historische Legenden, 1978.