Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


23.10.11
  Birthday Booty

St. Peter played nice this year and gave me another perfect, cold and sunny Sunday - and right at my birthday, too. So my father and I took another trip into Thuringia and looked for interesting things to see (well, I researched in advance and made a plan). The day ended with a nice dinner, but I didn't take photos of that. :)

Göllingen Monastery, westwork seen from the west

The St.Wigbert Monastery in Göllingen was fisrt mentioned in a charte dating to 1005 as daughter house of the Abbey Hersfeld, which makes it one of the oldest monasteries in Thuringia. Not much remains of the place, unfortunately, only the westwork and the crypt. The crypt dates all the way back to about 1005 while the rest of the westwork is from the 12th century.

Göllingen Monastery, crypt

The Benedictine monastery was in use as such until 1606; afterwards the buildings were used for various purposes and most of them detoriated and were dismantled. The geographic situation close to the German border didn't help matters, either. But after the reunion, what was left was restored and can be visited.

Runneburg, palas seen from the bailey

Runneburg Castle was called Castle Weissensee in the Middle Ages. It was commissioned in 1168 by the landgravinne Judith of Thuringia, a half sister of Friedrich Barbarossa, as suitable place to spend some time on her travels from the Wartburg futher south. The orginal buildings were a palas, a five storey keep, walls and a gate house. The palas later got an an additional storey with a great hall like in the Wartburg.

Palas seen from the outside

The castle later came to the Wettinian line of Thuringian landgraves who spent quite a lot of time there and at some point changed the interior layout of the palas. The castle was always in use even after the nobles prefered to build residences instead of draughty towers; for some time it housed members of the local government and after WW2, a school. But the buildings had to be closed in teh 1980ies because of their bad state of repair. Since the reunion, attempts are going to on to preserve and restore the castle.

Funkenburg Germanic settlement: watch tower and trench

The last point on the list was another reconstructed Germanic place, this time a fortified settlement, or castle - the seat of a thane, most likely. The Funkenburg has been partly rebuilt on the original site. Excavations had been going on between 1974 - 1980, but the money necessary for the reconstruciton could only be found after the reunion.

Gate with battlements (seen from the inside of the castle)

Today the place is a popular target for school field trips, though it was quiet on this Sunday afternoon. No Roman attack, either. *grin* There is no proof that such attacks ever happened in history, but both Germanic and Roman reenactment groups use the place for meetings and games.

Long house

There were settlements on the Funkenburg between 200 BC and AD 50. Most of the remains found in the area are Germanic (the usual pottery mostly) but some finds point at contacts with Celts and Romans. Those finds are today in various museums in Thuringia.

Storage hut

The castle has an outer and inner bailey, to use the Medieaval terminlogy. According to the post holes, there must have been about 60 huts in the area, plus storage pits, waste pits and such. The largest house - in the inner bailey - measures 8 x 14 metres; the seat of the chief or thane. Occupations involving lots of fire like the bakery and the smithy were located in the outer bailey.

Arminius must have lived in a place much like this.
 
Comments:
Happy Birthday!
I love the Germanic fortifications, thank you for posting. Great images.
Regards, Keith.
http://woodsrunnersdiary.blogspot.com/
 
Hi,
First off..happy birthday :-D
Second..I´m going to be taking part in a long term project to recreate the seige of Acre 1291 (in 1/72nd scale models) and I wondered if you have any recomendations for reading material.
Cheers
paul
 
Happy Birthday, Gabriele! Looks like it was a good one.
 
Great photos, and looks like you had glorious weather. Happy birthday!
 
Happy belated birthday, Gabriele! Lovely photos, and glad you had such great weather for the trip.
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction and Fantasy author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK and Scandinavia.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.

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