In 1770, while he was still in Strasbourg, Goethe had already planned to dramatize the Lebensbeschreibung Herrn Goezens von Perlichingen, zugenannt mit der eisernen Hand [Autobiography of Mr. Goez von Berlichingen, so called with the Iron Fist]. He wrote the first version of his play in six weeks in 1771. This version was published posthumously in 1832. The material reveals Goethe's enthusiasm for Shakespeare's larger-than-life characters. It also suited his newly found interest in medieval history, inspired by his friend and mentor Johann Gottfried Herder to whom he showed the play. Goethe had obtained his knowledge of the medieval legal system from J.St. Pütters' Grundriss …
Mathäs, Alexander. "Gotz von Berlichingen mit der Eisernen Hand". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 October 2005; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=4904, accessed 26 April 2015.]