The Lost Fort

My Travel and History Blog, Focussing mostly on Roman and Mediaeval Times


25 Sep 2009
  The Defeated Varus

Der gescheiterte Varus is the title of a 2.30 m bronze statue in Haltern am See. It was created by Wilfried Koch in 2003 and shows Varus at the moment of his defeat; the legions lost and maybe the province Germania as well, Arminius whom he trusted turned traitor.

Wilfried Koch (born 1929) is a German artist and art historian, and member of the European Academy of Science and Arts. His book about 'European Architecture from Antiquity to Present Time' (1982) has become one of the standard books about the subject and was translated into 20 languages. He added a great number of his own pencil drawings as illustrations.

Koch has painted more than a thousand portraits and since 1982 works mostly in sculpture. His bronze statues, created in wax melting technique, have become famous for their strong facial expressions and their over-large hands. Body and limbs are shaped of open shells. Most of his statues portray figures from mythology and Christian iconography (Lilith, Eva, Franciscus, Prophet, among others)

I admit I'm not much into modern sculpture, but the face of Varus' statue did impress me. You have to see it live to fully appreciate it; there is so much hopelessness and emotional pain - you can almost hear him say, "why, Arminius, why?"

Closeup of the head

Wilfried Koch says that he creates sculptures of humans in emotional and existential borderline situations, and that he wants to stir the beholder into responding with his own emotions and thoughts. The strange thing is that once you get used to his style and the 'rough' look, it works.

Closeup of the face from a different angle

When I walked towards the statue, situated in a little park outside the town centre, my first reaction was, oh dear, another of those odd looking modern thingies. But then I stood a while and looked into Varus' face. Spellbound almost.
 


18 Sep 2009
  Much Fun Was Had

I'm back from my visit to the Romans in Haltern am See. The exhibitions are great, and I was glad to have stayed long enough to do both of them justice and not rush through in two hours. I took a lot of photos, but the conditions were more than tricky and I suppose I'll have to count for at least 10% blurred pics this time. But some turned out fine; here are a few samples:

-- Shiny things

Cup from a set of silver ware

This one - showing a chariot race - and several other pretty cups were part of the Roman Lifestyle section in the special exhibition 'Imperium' in the Seestadthalle (Lakeside Town Hall). The level of craftmanship of those luxury items is amazing.

-- A dysfunctional family

Statues of some members of the Imperial Family

From left to right: Germanicus, Tiberius, Livia, Augustus, Agrippa Postumus (a grandson of Augustus who died early). Augustus wears his toga with a fold of cloth over the head, signifying his role as priest. Poor Claudius has been left out of the family portrait again.

-- Models

Closeup of the model of the fort at Haltern

One of the interesting features of the permanent exhibition in the LWL Römermuseum (Lippe-Westphalian Roman Museum) are several models ranking from the complete fort in Haltern to a single barrack. In the background of the photo you can see a display showing a column of mounted playmobil Romans. There were three legions worth of the little figures all over the place.

-- Army life

Parts of a horse harness

Central part of the museum is the Roman army. This exhibition, showing all the finds of Roman origins along the Lippe river where the Romans had a number of forts and marching camps, is statuary in Haltern, though it has been expanded with some additional displays during the duration of the Varus Battle Anniversary events.

-- Pointy things

Roman dagger

Army life of course, includes all sorts of weapons, and you know I can never resist a pretty pugio (even from an odd angle). With all the photos I took in various Roman-themed museums, I now have an impressive collection of virtual weapons, armour and horse equipment.

-- A Roman ship

The Victoria, a reconstructed Roman ship

This one was really fun. Not only was I lucky to see the reconstructed Roman ship Victoria (modeled after a find from the Danube) close up, I also managed to join in rowing her around on the lake for an hour. Not an easy job, but it can't get much more Roman for a geek like me.
 


13 Sep 2009
  Gone Fishing

I'll be off for a few days hunting Romans in Germania again. With the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest celebrating its 2000 year anniversary this year, there are exhibitions not only in Kalkriese, the assumed battlefield location, but also in Haltern am See, the location of a Roman fort that was abandoned after the defeat. Besides a long standing display in a museum on the site of the fort, there's an anniversary exhibition as well that is said to be very good.
 


7 Sep 2009
  Wallace Views

There's one man you can't escape in Stirling: William Wallace, the 13th century Scottish hero who probably would love the idea of time travel into the future, so he could have a few words with Mel Gibson about that Braveheart movie.

The main reason for his popularity as tourist attraction is because of this. OK, you'll have to take a close look, but that spiky thing on the hill in the middle of the pic is the Wallace Monument.

Wallace Monument, seen from Stirling Castle

The hill is called Abbey Craig, and it's said to have been the place from where Wallace watched the gathering of Edward I's army before the battle of Stirling Bridge in September 1297. Wallace won that battle, which is one of the reasons for his popularity - defeating Edward I counts as something. After the battle Wallace was proclaimed Guardian of Scotland, though I don't think there's an exact job description anywhere.

Wallace Monument, near Stirling

This picture of the monument looks pretty dramatic; an effect you'll get when photographing objects against the sky. And the Scottish sky is prone to be dramatic all in itself.

The monument was constructed in the wake of a resurgence of Scottish nationalism in the 19th century (1), based on a fundraising campaign that yielded £18,000. The 220 feet high sandstone tower was completed in 1869 to the Victorian Gothic designs of architect John Thomas Rochead. There's a museum inside.

View from the monument towards Stirling

There was still some time left after I visited Stirling Castle, and I decided to see the Wallace Monument. The official guidebook said it's open until 6 am but when I arrived at the foot of the hill, it turned out opening time was only until 5 am. Well, I climbed the hill anway because the terrace in front of the tower offers a great view over the surroundings, but I miissed the exhibition (and climbing 280something stairs, lol).

View towards the Highlands

The view was worth the climb, though it was the first time I regretted not having brought my trusty walking stick (I would regret it several more times in the days to follow).

I got a Historical Scotland booklet about William Wallace I bought ten years ago, and Nigel Tranter's novel is on my TBR pile, so I may come up with some information about the man that are a bit more historical correct than Wallace having sex with Queen Isabella three years after his death. ;)

Zoomed in view to Stirling Castle, seen from the Wallace Monument

In the evening light only the renovated hall can be distinguished by its yellowish stone, the grey walls beneath almost merge with the landscape.

(1) Nationalist revival spread all through Europe at that time. The German Hermann Statue celebrating Arminius' victory over Varus dates from the same era. Let's hope Gibson never finds out about that piece of history.
 


2 Sep 2009
  Weather Patterns

This summer could be classified as crazy, but following a pattern - at least in Germany. It goes like this:

  • Day 1: patchy clouds, mostly dry and warm
  • Day 2: sunny and warm, getting humid
  • Day 3: sunny, HOT and HUMID
  • Day 4: hot, humid, big fat thunderstorms
  • Day 5: rain and wind, cooler
  • Day 6: showers, still windy, cold
  • Day 7: overcast, few showers, getting warmer.

  • Rinse and repeat.

    Thunderstorm clouds

    At least it makes for an interesting sky sometimes. Here's one of those big fat thunderstorms coming in from the south-west (their favourite direction).

    Rainbow

    Sometimes there are rainbows when the storm moves east and the sun comes out again; a constellation that happens mostly in the afternoon.

    After the storm

    And an hour later the sky looks as if it never did anything bad.

    But since this fun is going on more or less since I returned from Scotland, I could do with some different weather. What about a few not too hot but sunny days in a row?
     




    The Lost Fort is a travel and history blog based on my journeys in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and central / eastern Europe. It includes virtual town and castle tours with a focus on history, museum visits, hiking tours, and essays on Roman and Mediaeval history, illustrated with my own photos.


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    Location: Goettingen, Germany

    I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who still hasn't got an Instagram account.
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    Estonia

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    The History of Mediaeval Tallinn


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    Poland

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    France

    Towns

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    Hiking Tours and Cruises

    Germany

    The Baltic Sea Coast
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    A Tour on the Wakenitz River

    Harz National Park
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    Rivers and Lakes
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    The Moselle
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    Wildlife
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    Ozeaneum Stralsund: The Baltic Sea Life
    Ozeaneum Stralsund: The North Sea Life

    Seasons
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    Spring at the 'Kiessee' Lake
    Spring in the Rossbach Heath (Meissner)
    Memories of Summer
    Summer Hiking Tours 2016
    Autumn in the Meissner
    Autumn at Werra and Weser
    Winter at the 'Kiessee' Lake
    Winter Wonderland - Views from my Balcony


    United Kingdom

    Mountains and Valleys
    West Highland Railway

    The East Coast
    By Ferry to Newcastle
    Highland Mountains - Inverness to John o'Groats
    Some Photos from the East Coast

    Scottish Sea Shores
    Crossing to Mull
    Mull - Craignure to Fionnphort
    Pentland Firth
    Castles Seen from Afar (Dunollie and Kilchurn)
    Staffa
    Summer Days in Oban
    Summer Nights in Oban

    Wild Wales - With Castles
    Views of Snowdownia
    Views from Castle Battlements

    Wildlife
    Sea Gulls


    Scandinavia

    The Hurtigruten-Tour / Norway
    A Voyage into Winter
    Along the Coast of Norway - Light and Darkness
    Along the Coast of Norway - North of the Polar Circle

    Norway by Train
    From Oslo to Bergen
    From Trondheim to Oslo

    Wildlife
    Bearded Seals
    Dog Sledding With Huskies
    Eagles and Gulls in the Trollfjord


    The Baltic Sea

    A Baltic Sea Cruise

    The Curonian Spit in Lithuania
    Beaches at the Curonian Spit
    Geology of the Curonian Spit






    Roman History
    General Essays

    Provinces
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    - Gallia Belgica
    - Britannia

    Mediaeval History
    General Essays

    By Country
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    - England
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    Other Times
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    -
    Miscellanea
    - Geology


    Roman History

    General Essays

    The Romans at War

    Forts and Fortifications
    Exercise Halls
    Mile Castles and Watch Towers
    Soldiers' Living Quarters
    Cavalry Barracks

    Roman Militaria

    Armour
    Early Imperial Helmets
    Late Roman Helmets
    The Negau B Helmet

    Weapons
    Weapon Finds at Hedemünden
    The pilum
    Daggers
    Swords

    Other Equipment
    Roman Saddles

    Life and Religion

    Religion
    The Mithras Cult
    Isis Worship
    Curse Tablets and Good Luck Charms

    Public Life
    Roman Transport - Barges
    Roman Transport - Amphorae and Barrels
    Roman Water Supply

    Roman villae
    Villa Urbana Longuich
    Villa Rustica Wachenheim

    Everyday Life
    Bathing Habits
    Children's Toys
    Face Pots

    Miscellaneous Essays

    The Legend of Alaric's Burial


    Germania

    Wars and Frontiers

    Maps
    Romans in Germania

    Traces of the Pre-Varus Conquest
    Roman Camp Hedemünden
    New Finds in 2008

    The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
    Museum Park at Kalkriese

    The Battle at the Harzhorn
    Introduction

    Along the Limes
    The Cavalry Fort Aalen
    Limes Fort Osterburken
    Limes Fort Saalburg


    Gallia Belgica

    The Batavians

    The Batavian Rebellion
    A Short Introduction


    Britannia

    Roman Frontiers in Britain

    The Hadrian's Wall
    Introduction
    The Fort at Segedunum / Wallsend


    Mediaeval History

    General Essays

    Mediaeval Art and Craft

    Mediaeval Art
    Carved Monsters
    The Choir Screen in the Cathedral of Mainz
    The Gospels of Heinrich the Lion
    Mediaeval Monster Carvings
    The Viking Treasure of Hiddensee

    Medieaval Craftmanship
    Goldsmithery
    Medical Instruments

    Mediaeval Warfare

    Mediaeval Weapons
    Swords
    Trebuchets

    Castles and Fortifications
    Dungeons and Oubliettes

    Essays about Specific Topics

    Feudalism

    The History of Feudalism
    The Beginnings
    Feudalism in the 10th Century

    Privileges and Special Relationships
    The Privilege of the deditio
    A Note on handgenginn maðr

    The Hanseatic League

    The History of the Hanseatic League
    Introduction and Beginnings

    Hanesatic Architecture
    Examples of Brick Architecture

    Goods and Trade
    Stockfish Trade

    The Order of the Teutonic Knights

    Wars and Battles
    The Conquest of Danzig
    The Siege of Vilnius 1390

    The Vikings

    Viking Ships
    The Nydam Ship


    Germany

    Geneaology

    List of Mediaeval German Emperors

    Geneaologies
    Anglo-German Marriage Connections
    Heinrich the Lion's Ancestors

    Kings and Emperors

    The Salian Dynasty
    King Heinrich IV

    House Welf and House Staufen
    Emperor Otto IV, Introduction

    Princes and Lords

    Princes
    Otto the Quarrelsome of Braunschweig-Göttingen
    The Dukes of Braunschweig-Grubenhagen
    Otto of Northeim
    The Ludowing Landgraves of Thuringia
    Albrecht II and Friedrich I of Thuringia

    Counts and Local Lords
    The Marshals of Ebersburg
    The Counts of Everstein
    The Counts of Hohnstein
    The Lords of Plesse
    The Counts of Reichenbach
    The Counts of Winzenburg

    Famous Feuds

    Royal Troubles
    Otto IV and Bishop Adalbert II of Magdeburg

    Local Feuds
    The Lüneburg Succession War
    The Thuringian Succession War - Introduction
    The Star Wars


    England

    Kings of England

    King Henry IV
    King Henry's Lithuanian Crusade

    Normans, Britons, Angevins

    Great Fiefs - The Honour of Richmond
    The Dukes of Brittany and the Honour of Richmond
    The Earldom of Richmond and the Duchy of Brittany

    Contested Borders

    Northumbria
    King Stephen's Troubles with King David of Scots


    Scotland

    Kings of Scots

    House Dunkeld
    Malcolm III and Northumbria
    Struggle for the Throne: Malcolm III to David I
    King David and the Civil War, Part 1
    King David and the Civil War, Part 2

    Houses Bruce and Stewart
    Robert the Bruce and Stirling Castle
    The Early Stewart Kings

    Scottish Nobles and their Quarrels

    Clan Feuds
    MacLeans and MacDonalds
    A Scottish Wedding


    Wales

    Welsh Princes

    The Princes of Gwynedd
    The Rise of House Aberffraw

    Rebels

    A History of Rebellion
    From Llywellyn ap Gruffudd to Owain Glyn Dŵr


    Denmark

    Kings of Denmark

    House of Knýtlinga
    Harald Bluetooth's Flight to Pomerania

    Danish Rule in the Baltic Sea

    The Duchy of Estonia
    Danish Kings and German Sword Brothers


    Norway

    Kings of Norway

    Foreign Relations
    King Eirik's Scottish Marriages
    King Håkon V's Swedish Politics
    Beginnings of the Kalmar Union

    A Time of Feuds

    Famous Nobles and their Feuds
    Alv Erlingsson of Tønsberg


    Sweden

    Troubles and Alliances

    Scandinavian Unity
    Beginnings of the Kalmar Union


    Livonia
    (Latvia and Estonia)

    Towns of the Hanseatic League

    Riga
    The History of Mediaeval Riga

    Tallinn
    The History of Mediaeval Tallinn


    Lithuania

    The Northern Crusades

    The Wars in Lithuania
    The Siege of Vilnius 1390

    Lithuanian Princes

    The Geminid Dynasty
    Troublesome Cousins - Jogaila and Vytautas


    Poland

    The Northern Crusades

    The Conquest of Pomerania / Prussia
    The Conquest of Danzig

    Royal Dynasties

    The Jagiełłonian Kings
    Władysław Jagiełło and the Polish-Lithuanian Union


    Bohemia
    (Including Silesia and Moravia)

    The Bohemian Kings of House Luxembourg
    (to come)


    Other Times

    Prehistoric Times

    Germany

    Development of Civilisation
    European Bread Museum, Ebergötzen
    Open Air Museum Oerlinghausen

    Orkney

    Neolithic Orkney
    The Neolithic Landscape of Orkney
    Ring of Brodgar
    Skara Brae
    Life in Skara Brae

    Scandinavia

    Gotland
    The Ship Setting of Gnisvärd


    Post-Mediaeval History

    Explorers and Discoveries

    Explorers
    Fram Expedition to the North Pole
    Fram Expedition to the South Pole

    Discoveries
    Otto von Guericke and the Magdeburg Hemispheres
    Raising a Wreck, Now and Then (Vasa Museum in Stockholm)

    Biographies

    European Nobility
    Prince Wilhelm Malte of Putbus


    Miscellanea

    History in Literature and Music

    History in Literature

    Biographies of German Poets and Writers
    Theodor Fontane

    Historical Ballads by Theodor Fontane
    (Translated by me)
    Archibald Douglas
    Gorm Grymme
    Sir Walter Scott in Abbotsford
    The Tragedy of Afghanistan

    History in Opera

    Belcanto and Historicism
    Maria Padilla - Mistress Royal
    The Siege of Calais in Donizetti's Opera

    Not so Serious History

    Romans
    Building Hadrian's Wall
    Playmobil Romans

    Mediaeval Times
    Kings Having a Bad Hair Day
    The Case of the Vanished Wine Cask

    Other
    Rules for Writing Scottish Romances
    Tourist Kitsch in St.Petersburg


    Geology

    Geological Landscapes

    The Baltic Sea
    Geology of the Curonian Spit
    Chalk Cliffs on Rugia
    Flint Fields on Rugia

    The Harz
    Bode Valley and Rosstrappe Cliff
    The 'Hübichenstein' Rock
    Karst Formations in the Southern Harz
    The Lonau Falls
    The Rhume Springs

    Meissner / Kaufunger Wald
    Blue Dome near Eschwege
    Diabase and Basalt Formations
    Karst Formations

    Solling-Vogler
    Raised Bog Mecklenbruch
    Hannover Cliffs

    The Shores of Scotland
    Staffa

    Fossils and Other Odd Rocks

    Fossilized Ammonites
    The Loket Meteorite


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