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"Give us this day our daily mush"

 

This might have been the prayer of the majority of people in the early Middle Ages. Bread being served to the upper classes only.

The annual consumption of breadstuffs per person, estimated by experts, varies greatly depending on - for example - region and century. As an average, one may assume 200 bis 250 kg. That means that a major German city, such as Cologne or Lübeck, with a medieval population of about 40.000, required around 8000-10.000 tons per year.

Leaving aside the difficulties producing such an amount - with the conventional methods of that day and a cost/income ratio of 1:4 - the transport and storage required exceptional efforts as well.

 

 

Dinkelsbuehl 7201 mod resolDinkelsbühl

 

Noble landlords, cities and monasteries built storehouses, also called tithe barns or fruit boxes, made of quarry stone or half-timber. Architecturally striking were the long rows of windows for ventilation. The enormous buildings dominated their environment and represented hallmarks for their builders.

 

Detmd 3023 mod  resolDetmold

 

The preserved buildings, mostly dating from the late Middle Ages, are interesting examples of medieval civic architecture. They had an important function in the prevention of famine, but also played a role in speculation.

 

 

Translation: Erik Eising (M.A.)

 




The Master of Cabestany

 

Cabestany, a village on the Rousillon plain, owes its art historical fame to one wandering sculptor and his tympanum from the second half of the twelfth century, in the parish church.

As is all too common in medieval art, he remains anonymous. Twentieth-century art historians gave him, like many of his colleagues before and after him, a notname, a name of convenience.

Scholars have tried to identify his other works based on characteristic similarities. The common viewer usually first notes his overlong hands, but also the antiquated drapery and, when observed more closely, the  drilled holes in the corners of the eyes.

 

046Meister Cabestany modAP

 

These features are reminiscent of elements that can be found on capitals in monasteries such as Serrabone, about 50 km to the west, in the Pyrenees.

Art historians have been able to track this master's journey from Tuscany, through southern France, up to Navarre - thus providing us insights in the wanderlust of medieval masters. A great success in research

   .

Translation: Erik Eising (MA)

 




Barefoot Monks in the Valley of the Blessed

 

After my move to Siegburg, it took me several years before I realized how close to a jewel of Mendicant architecture I live, namely in Seligenthal, at the foot of the Wahnbach Dam.

Around 1230, shortly after the death of St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), Mendicants came to the Rhineland and found charitable patrons in count Heinrich III of Sayn and his wife Mechthild.

During the late twelfth century, the Sayns, an important Rhenish noble family, lived on a rocky spur along the river Sieg, on which they had founded the castle and town of Blankenberg. Their relations with the Benedictine Abbey in Siegburg and the Archbishop of Cologne were not always harmonious.

Around 1231, the count and countess allowed the Mendicants to build a small monastery on their land in the Wahn Valley - likely the first Franciscan monastery north of the Alps.

How the Franciscans must have felt in this solitude of the forest along the stream, a place which would have delighted the Cistercians. The rules of the Friars Minor stipulated the duties of preaching and nursing, and they had to beg in order to fulfill their vow of poverty. Yet, benefactors and an audience they could find not far from their hermitage on the old road from Cologne to Frankfurt.

In 1255, they consecrated the Church of St. Anthony, the oldest Franciscan church in Germany.

IMG 6913  6903Seligental modAP

 

It only has two naves. The southern nave was part of the cloister, which, together with other monastic buildings, was constructed later.

Art historically, the building represents a transitional phase between Rhenish Late Romanesque and Gothic. The fan windows, arched friezes, as well as niches in the gable of the western facade are late Romanesque. The ribbed vaults and pointed arches in the interior are Gothic.

Despite repeated restorations, the building nowadays radiates a characteristic impression of the original church. Noteworthy are the beautiful color schemes, based on the original plaster- and paint residues.

 

Translation: Erik Eising (MA)

 




Buildings of the Templars

 

 

Despite intensive research, the first monastic chivalric order from the crusades still leaves many puzzles unsolved. It remains shrouded in mysteries.

This may be due to the enigmatic rites, the fabulous wealth, but also to the shameful end of the Order and its leaders, Jacques de Molay and Geoffroy de Charnay, who burnt at the stake  in 1314.

 

5377 modAP klTemplar Chapel in Laon (F) - around 1150

 

Despite intensive research, the first monastic chivalric order from the crusades still leaves many puzzles unsolved. It remains shrouded in mysteries.

This may be due to the enigmatic rites, the fabulous wealth, but also to the shameful end of the Order and its leaders, Jacques de Molay and Geoffroy de Charnay, who burnt at the stake in 1314.

Pope Clement V, residing in France and dependent on the heavily indebted French King Philip IV (the Fair), had already dissolved the Order in 1312.

Due to general interest, a number of towns in Central and Western Europe claim to be adorned with Templar chapels or churches.

According to Alain Demurger, not all of these deserve this classification. This applies to the chapel in Metz or the round churches of Bornholm, sometimes ascribed to the Templars. A number of supposed Templar chapels are actually attributable to the Hospitallers.

 Templer 022kleinTemplar Castle in Pontferrada (E) - 12th century

 

The majority of Templar architecture has fallen victim to the ravages of time. The castle in Ponferrada ist probably the sole preserved in Europe.

 

Demurger, Alain, Die Templer, Aufstieg und Untergang, Verlag C.H. Beck, München, 1991

 

 

Translation: Erik Eising (MA)

 




British Indian Ocean Territory

 

I suppose there will be two questions coming up immediately when reading this: Where is this place, and why is it mentioned here?

We are talking about a group of seven atolls between Tanzania and Indonesia under British rule. Says wikipedia. I never heard about it before.

Flag of the British Indian Ocean Territory svgFlag of the British Indian Ocean Territory

 

And the Why? The statistics of my server keep telling me of several hundred hits from persons on these windswept or – more probably –sunbaked islands.

I find this amazing, and I’m happy to see that this blog reaches far into the world, to interesting and probably lonesome places.

Thank you, my unknown friends in the British Indian Ocean Territory!

 




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