Although of Italian descent, Thomasîn von Zerclaere was a significant author of a Middle High German didactic verse narrative, Der Welsche Gast (c.1186), in which he discussed a wide range of topics, ideals, and values relevant for young noblemen in their daily lives. Thomasîn worked in the service of Bishop Wolfger von Erla in Aquileia, near Venice, and outlined the fundamental values of knighthood and the importance of the crusade.