Frankfurt Park

The defensive walls of Frankfurt were dismantled, during the French Revolutionary War and replaced with an English landscape park.

On July 1, 1808, Goethe’s mother wrote to her son Wolfgang:

“Die alten Wälle sind abgetragen, die alten Tore eingerissen, um die ganze Stadt ein Park.”

The old barriers are levelled, the old gates torn down, around the whole city a park

When Goethe visited his native city for the last time in 1815, he encouraged the councilmen with the words:

“A free spirit befits a free city. It befits Frankfurt to shine in all directions and to be active in all directions.”

When in 1831 Arthur Schopenhauer moved from Berlin to Frankfurt, he justified it with the lines:

“Healthy climate, beautiful surroundings, the amenities of large cities, the Natural History Museum, better theatre, opera, and concerts, more Englishman, better coffee houses, no bad water and a better dentist.”

The Free City of Frankfurt on the Main was the seat of the Bundestag, the unofficial designation for the assembly of the sovereigns and mayors of the Monarchies and Free Cities which formed the German Confederation (1815–1866).

Friedrich Fröbel moved to Frankfurt-am-Main in 1805, where he took up a job in the building trade. In June 1805, Fröbel found employment in the local ‘model school’ in Frankfurt that was run on Pestalozzi’s principles of education. Fröbel felt that he had now found his true vocation. He wrote to his brother, Christoph:

It is as though I had been a teacher for a long time and was born for this profession; it seems to me that I have never wanted to live in any other circumstances than these (Lange, 1862, p. 533).

Contacts with the influential patrician family of the von Holzhausens in Frankfurt led Fröbel to travel to Yverdon in Switzerland in the autumn of 1806 to familiarize himself with Pestalozzi’s educational establishment. (The von Holzhausen family paid his travel costs.) Caroline von Holzhausen arranged to recruit Fröbel as the private tutor to her children. Between 1808 and 1810, Fröbel lived with his three young charges in Yverdon, where he acquired further training in Pestalozzi’s elementary method and also endeavoured to give the von Holzhausen children the best possible training and education.

One of the most respected families of the free imperial city Frankfurt since 1245, the Holzhausen family owned property, then far outside the fortified city of Frankfurt, which the family used for farming.

The Holzhausenschlösschen (Little Holzhausen palace) is a moated former country house built by the patrician Holzhausen family on their farm, then just north of Frankfurt. The present building was completed in 1729.

A memorial stone at the entrance, created in 1940 by Egon Schiffers, commemorates Friedrich Fröbel, a private teacher of the Holzhausen family from 1806 to 1808.

Viennese Rose

Founded in 1718, the Augarten Vienna Porcelain Manufactory is the second-oldest in Europe. Now as then, porcelain is made and painted by hand. This makes each piece unique.

The designs of Augarten porcelain have been created in cooperation with notable artists ever since the manufactory first opened its doors. Artists of all epochs have designed masterpieces. The “Viennese Rose” is a famous decoration from the Biedermeier period.

The Biedermeier period refers to an era in Central Europe between 1815 and 1848 during which the middle class grew and arts appealed to common sensibilities. It began with the time of the Congress of Vienna at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and ended with the onset of the European revolutions in 1848.

Source: Viennese Rose – Augarten Porzellan

Bronze Age

Two armies clashed at a river crossing near the Baltic Sea, about 3200 years ago.

Why did so much military force converge on the narrow Tollense Valley? The size of the site and remains found so far suggest a warrior class of 4,000 people from across Europe.

Geomagnetic surveys in 2013, revealed evidence of a 120 meter long bridge or causeway stretching across the valley. The submerged structure was made of wooden posts and stone. Radiocarbon dating showed that although much of the structure predated the battle by more than 500 years, parts of it may have been built or restored around the time of the battle, suggesting the causeway had been in continuous use for centuries.

From the scale and brutality of the battle to the presence of a warrior class wielding sophisticated weapons, the Tollense Valley could be the first evidence of a turning point in social organization and warfare in Europe.

How warriors were equipped for battle:

Around 3200 years ago was a an era of significant upheaval from the Mediterranean to the Baltic. The scattered farmsteads of northern Europe gave way to concentrated, heavily fortified settlements, once seen only to the south. The sophisticated Mycenaean civilization collapsed and in Egypt, pharaohs boasted of besting the “Sea People,” marauders who toppled the Hittites.

Source: Unexpected and Gruesome Battle of 1250 BC Involved 4,000 Men from Across Northern Europe

Eastward expansion

As the Frankish Empire expanded, the medieval eastward migration and settlement of German speaking people from the Holy Roman Empire extended as far as Transylvannia. At the beginning of the 20th century, these medieval settlements had become eastern provinces of the German Empire or the Austrian Empire

The United States of Greater Austria was a proposal by a group of scholars surrounding Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria,

The flight from the East to more industrialized regions began during the 19th century and continued with the creation of ethnically homogeneous nation states in Central and Eastern Europe after 1919, but substantially in 1945.

Younger children of noble families were free to migrate to participate in the medieval eastward migration.  Settlers were invited by local secular rulers and monasteries and granted estates and privileges. Towns were founded and granted German town law. Cistercian monks would erect an abbey, and call in settlers to clear and cultivate the land. Generally settlements were in bands from west to east and different German dialect groups expanded eastward. Franks settled the central regions through Thuringia to Silesia. When there was a Slavic settlement in the vicinity, the new German one was distinguished by Groß- (“large”) and the earlier settlement by Klein- (small): Großhettstedt and Kleinhettstedt, Großgölitz and Kleingölitz.

Europe in 919-1125

Volkstedt porcelain

Johann Friedrich was the ruling Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt from 1744 to 1767.

After Georg Heinrich Macheleid had received the privilege to establish a porcelain manufactory in his native village Sitzendorf, the factory was relocated to the hamlet Volkstedt near Rudolstadt in 1762. The manufactory was run by a consortium of several noble men, Georg Heinrich Macheleid and Prince Johann Friedrich of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt himself.

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Presented in memory of Mrs L. May by her family, 1988

Gallery location: 17th & 18th Century Decorative Arts & Paintings Gallery, Level 2, NGV International.

Source: Johann Friedrich Prince of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, plaque | VOLKSTEDT PORCELAIN FACTORY, Volkstedt (manufacturer) | NGV | View Work

Paris Bible

In the late twelfth century, theologians at the University of Paris compiled a highly authoritative recension of St. Jerome’s Latin Bible. Whereas earlier Bibles almost invariably had appeared in multiple volumes, with the books in no canonical sequence, thirteenth-century Parisian scriptoria began producing single-volume manuscripts of the new Paris Vulgate in unprecedented quantities. Intended for individual rather than institutional use, these portable Bibles were often richly illuminated.

Thirteenth-Century Portable Paris Bible

Poor Man’s Bible

Johann Froben printed the first pocket-sized octavo Latin Bible at Basel in 1491, the so-called “Poor man’s Bible.”

He completed the second edition in this small format (paper folded three times) in 1495. Convenient to carry and easily affordable, this edition combined several user-friendly features that Froben advertised on his title page: marginal chapter divisions and references, a subject index, and tabular summary of the books and their contents.

This was also the earliest printed Latin Bible to include a woodcut illustration. Based on a woodcut by young Albrecht Dürer, the frontispiece faces the opening of St. Jerome’s introductory letter to St. Paulinus, Bishop of Antioch. Here, the translator of the Vulgate turns from his work to pull a thorn from the paw of his fabled companion, the lion. On his desk are the texts of his Prologue to the Pentateuch and Latin and Greek (Septuagint) versions of Genesis 1:1.

Source: The “Poor Man’s Bible”

Wandering scholar

Desiderius Erasmus, (born October 27, 1469, Rotterdam, Holland [now in the Netherlands]—died July 12, 1536, Basel, Switzerland), humanist who was the greatest scholar of the northern Renaissance, the first editor of the New Testament, and also an important figure in patristics and classical literature.

Using the philological methods pioneered by Italian humanists, Erasmus helped lay the groundwork for the historical-critical study of the past, especially in his studies of the Greek New Testament and the Church Fathers. His educational writings contributed to the replacement of the older scholastic curriculum by the new humanist emphasis on the classics.

Source: Desiderius Erasmus: The wandering scholar

Swiss printer

The first Bible printed in octavo format, and the first book signed by Johann Froben, founder of a great printer’s dynasty and friend of Erasmus. The size of Froben’s Bible conforms to that of many thirteenth-century portable Bibles written in Paris and elsewhere. Froben’s Exhortatio emphasized this feature: “in view of its small size this could better be called a mini-Bible than a Bible” (aptius Bibliola quam Biblia dici poterit). To keep the number of leaves within a single volume, Froben used an unusually small but very clear gothic fount, in today’s nomenclature of 7-point size. The octavo format was clearly welcomed by readers: Froben printed a second edition in 1495.

Johann Froben, also spelled Johannes Frobenius (born c. 1460, Hammelburg, Franconia [Germany]—died October 1527, Basel, Switz.), the most famous of the Basel scholar-printers, whose professional innovations revolutionized printing in Basel and whose publications included many outstanding works of scholarship.

Froben’s first publication, a Latin Bible, appeared in 1491. Entering into partnership with Johann Petri (1496), Johann Amerbach (1500), and the bookseller Wolfgang Lachner, whose daughter Gertrud he married, Froben came to control four presses by 1515 and, later, seven. Froben’s contributions to printing in Basel included popularizing roman type, introducing italic and Greek fonts, experimenting with smaller and cheaper books, and employing talented artists, including Hans Holbein, as illustrators. His correctors included many famous scholars who benefited from the proximity of the hitherto little-used manuscript collections of Alsace and the Palatinate.

About 250 of Froben’s publications have been listed. They include, notably, the first New Testament printed in Greek, with a Latin translation (1516) by Erasmus, who after 1513 entrusted the printing of all his works to Froben, and also the works of the Roman historian Velleius Paterculus (1520) and the Latin church father Tertullian (1521), both edited by Beatus Rhenanus.

Source: Johann Froben | Swiss printer

The first small-size Bible ever published was an octavo edition of the Latin text issued in Basel by Johann Froben in June 1491. It is generally known as “the poor man’s Bible” and was modeled on the thirteenth-century manuscripts of the Paris Vulgate that continued to circulate long after the invention of printing.

Before 1500 the cost of paper far exceeded any other expenses incurred by printers and publishers when issuing a new book. The larger the book, the more expensive it was. A folio Bible such as the one printed by Gutenberg in the early 1450s was unaffordable to all but a few.

To the sources! 

Rejecting a thousand years of commentary and discussion, new men in a new age sought truth in ancient sources.

The Seven Sages, depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicle 1493

Those who had the ability and the determination to master difficult ancient languages with the corresponding grammar, rhetoric, poetics, history and moral philosophy, became members of an intellectual nobility. These scholars of the studia humanitatis adopted classical names to identify them as a literary nobility, the nobilitas literaria.

Some took the name of their place of origin, others translated their names into Latin, and others derived their name from the occupation of their father.

All were engaged in the same noble pursuit: to find and study the manuscripts of the ancient civilizations of Rome and Greece. They hoped dissemination this knowledge could restore society to the former glory of thought, when free men of virtue and prudence, spoke and wrote with eloquence.
Ad fontes! They cry.  To the sources!