Persons, Places


The city of Konstanz (Ger., Eng.) made their entry on the stage of world history at the beginning of the fifteenth century, when the big concilium (Ger., Eng.) was held within their walls from 1414 until 1418. The Roman church had to sort out some small problems, like the schisma of 1378 (Ger., Eng.), and a threat to the holy unity of the western church, embodied in Jan HUS (Ger., Eng.). The driving force behind the conventus was the Roman-German king (since 1411, later (since 1433) Emperor) SIGISMUND (1368-1437) (Ger., Eng.): The problem with these rivalling popes was that each of them was supported by another European force – I do not want to use the word “nation” here – like f.e. the French king. Add to this religiously founded proto-national ideas like those HUS and friends were promoting and you see a situation that urgently needs to be addressed: SIGISMUND had to control all these centrifugal forces if he wanted to save the unity of the Reich – and that was exactly his aim, a unified Reich under one accepted Emperor, preferably himself. He reached his aim when he was crowned 1433, the first Emperor since the death of CHARLES IV. (1316-1378) (Ger., Eng.). Last pope standing was MARTIN V. in 1417 (1368-1431) (Ger., Eng.), HUS was burned at the stake 1415.
Konstanz was chosen as location for the concilium because it was on “neutral” soil, it was not automatically biased, standing on one side, like Avignon (Ger., Eng.), Bologna or other places; and it was a freie Reichsstadt (Ger., Eng.), a free city, obligated only to the Emperor, or – while there was none – to the Roman-German king.
The city counted only eight thousands inhabitants maximum at the beginning of the fifteenth century. Throughout the whole concilium circa 72.000 people showed up, at least 20.000 humans were constantly present. This gives an idea about the necessary organization for this extraordinary event: These humans wanted lodging, eating, drinking, and love. And while the transcendental angelic version would be out of reach, the more secular and earthly version would do.
The chronic of the concilium was written by Ulrich (von) RICHENTAL (ca. 1360-1437) (Ger.), who was involved in the preparations for the big meeting, and who (according to WEIDHASE *) was the Hurenweibel (Ger. article on Feldwebel) at least while the concilium lasted. RICHENTAL says that there were 700 public prostitutes in the public houses, additional to those, who had rented houses for themselves, and without the secret prostitutes, who went uncounted.

 If one enters the harbour of Konstanz from the lake side, one can not fail to notice a pretty large statue on the right side: 9 meters tall, and spinning around herself (some say 360° in three minutes, some say four), she wears a funny headpiece, shows her breasts, the gown is not closed,  and she sterns seemingly playfully and effortless two Männlein – two impostors who simply grabbed the insignia of power, Martin and Sigmund, as Peter LENK says, the man who built IMPERIA (Ger., Eng., 3 d model)
As far as I know it is the only public Denkmal, memorial to prostitutes, please correct me if you know another one. The smiling goddess of earthly love was erected on private grounds – the modern city fathers did not dare to build such an inappropriate figurine on public grounds – that (hear!hear!) belonged to the Deutsche Bahn AG, who possesses (or possessed) the harbour with all belongings. Meanwhile IMPERIA is attracting tourists and the public arousal is replaced by a more or less proud acceptance, after all she brings in money, wellwell …

Here are some pictures I took from the book by WEIDHASE, the ones I snapped while passing the great woman on a ship are not good, and if you follow the links you will find good photographs. But I like the two Männlein waiting for their destiny.





* Weidhase, Helmut: Imperia. Konstanzer Hafenfigur. Skulptur Peter  Lenk, Konstanz 3. Aufl. 2007, S. 11



Last night I attended as a guest an ‘Abschlussball’, a class finally reached the abiturium. While the tests were written some weeks ago and final examinations had been done through April and May, this was the official end of their schooldays. A mass, speech of the rector (very interesting), official presentation of the certificate with special mentions, champagne reception in the inner yard, dinner, Jazz combo, later dancing. Interestingly the fratres (OSB) socialised very well (glass in hand, hehee)  – the school is located in a monastery, pater abbas gave a short and thoughtful speech.

Youth is wasted on the young, men especially, too cool to move their asses and dance. The young women were a real show and worth any second in this hall and it were the parents who really celebrated the liberation: The young people now are free to stand on their own feet, what could have been done was done; wheter they learn a profession or trade now, study, serve in one way or another, its up to them to deceide. The ‘Reifezeugnis’, or ‘Matura’ as is the fitting Austrian name, allows them to join a university of their choice, now or later. Most of them will move to another place in the coming months and for all of them starts a new stage of life.

The parents were happily dancing and I think most of them will remodel their lives now and perhaps ask themselves  something like ‘How was it twentysomething years ago? Where did I stop?’



Most things man does, he does trying to make things last. For example the wedding-ceremony I attended aimes besides to respectability and rightfulness to the lasting of the connection and wants to asure this by calling the mightiest potence possible here, God itself.
Our ritualized doing gives structure to otherwise unstructured behavior and situations and is a means to “make things stay forever”. I hope my use of the words is not too bad and misunderstandable.
As every human being has to learn, change is unavoidable – we ourselfes change, this mago is different from the mago 20 years younger. Thank God! Life is change and man wants to have stability, unchangable “things”, something “für immer”, for ever, perpetual. So ritual, ceremony, doing something following the “old” forms and thus creating tradition (or at least the illusion of it) are like fixed islands in the streaming of life.

Time is not the enemy. It just is and we are in it – for ever. Pain is a part of life, the physical can be dealt with in some way (at least where the drugs are available), the mental or spiritual pain …

“Frau Welt” (literally “Miss World (!)) is a figure that shows on one side a living, healthy, blossoming woman. The other side shows a skeleton. I do not have good pictures here, what I found is from a museum. In my head are pictures from paintings I once seen (possibly from altars), but I was unable to locate them via web or in books.
“Media in vita in morte sumus”, in the middle of life we are in death. The historical era or piece of time of the european cultural history I like best and try to learn all about is the Baroque, roughly the time between 1555 and 1650 or later, depending on what you are looking for or dealing with (architecture, arts generally, literature, politics, religion).

Sorry, no explanation for the title.