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


02/10/2009
  Mediaeval Braunschweig

I'm back from the visit to Braunschweig (English 'Brunswick'). I got photos, but not from the exhibition - I really don't know what's the problem with Medieaval exhibitions in Germany, since the Roman ones I've seen all allowed people to take pictures. Culture is for sharing, not for hiding in vitrines for a privileged few to see. Ok, rant over.

I got exterior shots of the Burgplatz (Castle Square), though, and pics of the cathedral.

-- Dankwarderode Castle

Dankwarderode, palas building

This one's not on a hilltop for a change. It dates back to the 11th century and was expanded by Heinrich the Lion in the style of the palatine castle in Goslar in the 12th century. The entire castle took up the island in the Oker river and was considerably larger than todays 'castle square'. Dankwarderode and most of the old town of Braunschweig were destroyed in a fire 1252.

In the 17th century, only the two storeyed palace building - rebuilt in Renaissance style - was still in use, and in the 19th century even that lay in ruins. But the palas was reconstructed on the ground plan of the Medieaval building in what's called Neoromanesque style. Except for the unhistorical staircase and the arrangement of the windows in the upper floor, it's a pretty adaequate representation of the exterior of Heinrich's palace, though.

-- A Romanesque cathedral

Braunschweig Cathedral

The cathedral was founded by Heinrich the Lion as chapter church in 1173 (after his return from a pilgrimage to Jeruslalem) and dedicated to St. Blasius and John the Baptist; later Thomas Beckett was added as patron, a pretty unusual patron saint as far as I can tell.

The building was only finished in 1226 - there seems to have been a break in construction during Heinrich's exile. Heinrich was buried in the cathedral after his death in 1195; the main nave, crypt and choir had been finished at that point.

Cathedral, main nave

The cathedral is built in the basilica style with three naves ending in apsides, transept and high quire, and a so-called Saxon Westwerk, the mostly unadorned western wall with the two towers. The ceiling of the main nave shows one of the earliest surviving barrel vaultings in Germany.

There have been several changes, as usual with Mediaeval buildings. During one of those alterations a special feature was added: the pillars and cross grain vaults in the northern nave are of the English perpendicular style that was not normally used in Germany, the windows have so called Tudor bows.

-- Mediaeval murals

Cathedral, murals in the apsis

The crossing and apsides had been painted in secco mural style in 1230-1250. Those paintings have been recovered under layers of whitewash in 1845 and were 'reconstructed'. Unfortunatley, in the 19th century that meant not only refreshing the colours but also adding a few elements people thought looked Medieaval. But there are still enough orignal elements to give a good impression of 13th century sacral paintings esp. in the southern transept where the orginals have been recovered as far as possible. Murals in places where there had been none in the Middle Ages have also partly been ereased.

The photo above shows Christus Pantokrator, a motive that has its origins in the Byzantine art.

-- Shinies

Decoration of a casket containing bones of a martyr

There is a permanent exhibition of Medieaval art in the Squire Hall (Knappensaal) of Dankwarderode Castle, mostly of the sacral variant like crucifixes, reliquaries and a few tapestries with religious motives. It is part of the Duke Anton Ulrich Museum in Braunschweig.

-- Some lions

Original of the lion statue of Heinrich the Lion

The Lion of Braunschweig, the heraldic animal of the Welfen family (Welf means lion cub) was commissioned by Heinrich the Lion in 1166. It demonstrated his ducal position and power. The lion is the oldest remaining large style sculpture north of the Alpes - the bronze cutie is 1.78 m high and 2.79 m long - and probably forged in Braunschweig itself. Its models are the Capitoline Wolf (the one that's causing discussions whether it is Etruscan or Medieaval), the Lion of Venice and the Marc Aurel statue in Rome. Heinrich had seen those sculptures during Emperor Barbarossa's first two Italian wars.

There is a copy on the castle square, standing on a big stone pedestal. You can see it in the first pic. The original is kept in the museum, because pollution would damage the bronze.
 
Comments:
Quality pictures as ever Gabriele, and I share your camera frustration (though if you can get decent photoes through a vitrine you're doing better than I am). I'm always startled by how much twelfth- and thirteenth-century architecture you appear to be able to find more or less at your doorstep.

A tiny point of English, lastly, which may help others too: 'privilege' does not have a 'd' even though it sounds as if it should. It's one of those Norman French words that stuck in English via the law courts, because of course it actually means 'private law', `privi lege', a right that is not available to the general public. The etymology, for once, explains the spelling.
 
Thank you, Jonathan. I'm getting pretty good at taking photos through a vitrine - some of the pictures from Haltern turned out fine.

The protestant counties in Germany are a good hunting ground for Medieaval architecture since the churches didn't get 'polluted' with Baroque ornaments the way it often happened in Catholic counties in southern Germany and along the Rhine.

Thanks for the spelling correction. The word did look off with a d but I went with the sound. Damn English never follows its own rules. ;)
 
Someone once said "English never met a word it didn't like", and one of the problems with borrowing words from all over the place is that spelling ends up all over the place as well. You're not alone, which is why every now and again some committee of the great and good publishes a report suggesting that spelling should be harmonised for greater consistency (and gets ignored). The Microsoft spelling checker can be quite handy for once - it can't find mistakes where one correctly spelled word has been substituted for another ("my deer friend" etc), but it's quite good for typos and misspellings.

Great photos, especially the interior shot of the nave. That really gives a good sense of space.
 
Thank you, Carla.

I deactivated the Microsoft spellchecker because it insists on using the reformed German spelling which I refuse to acknowledge. ;)
 
Those murals were beautiful. Thanks for sharing all of these wonderful places with us. I'm sure that without these posts not many would even know these places existed!

And, for what it's worth, even I've had problems with that privilege word quite few times!
 
Truly beautiful, especially the Byzantium Art. Thanks very much for sharing. Love your blog.
 
Thank you, Lady D and Mirella.

Braunschweig is actually a big enough town that should have made it into the travel guides, but there are indeed hidden treasures in Germany I like to share, like the Romanesque Weser abbeys and all those castles. :)
 
Great pics - I love the murals especially! Interesting about Thomas Becket, too.
 
Thank you, Alianore.

Yes, the Beckett thing is interesting. Wonder if Mathilde asked Heinrich to add him, for her father's sake.
 
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The Lost Fort is a travel and history blog based on my journeys in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and central / eastern Europe. It includes essays on Roman and Mediaeval history and architecture, as well as some geology, illustrated with my own photos of old castles and churches, Roman remains, pretty towns and beautiful landscapes.

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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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A Note on handgenginn maðr

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Stockfish Trade

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King Heinrich IV
Emperor Otto IV, Introduction

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The Counts of Winzenburg

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The Thuringian Succession War - Introduction
The Star Wars

Royal Troubles
Otto IV and Bishop Adalbert II of Magdeburg


England

From the Conquest to King John

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Contested Borders
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From Henry III to the War of the Roses

Royal Biographies
King Henry IV - His Lithuanian Crusade

Great Fiefs
The Earldom of Richmond and the Duchy of Brittany


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 (1)
King David and the Civil War (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

Princes and Rebels

The Princes of Gwynedd
The Rise of House Aberffraw

The Rebellions
From Llywellyn ap Gruffudd to Owain Glyn Dŵr


Scandinavia

Norway

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

Famous Nobles and their Feuds
Alv Erlingsson of Tønsberg


Russia

The History of St.Petersburg
(to come)


The Baltic States

Lithuania

The Teutonic Knights in Lithuania
The Siege of Vilnius 1390

The Geminid Dynasty
Troublesome Cousins - Jogaila and Vytautas


Poland, Bohemia, Hungary

Poland

The Teutonic Knights in Poland
The Conquest of Danzig

The Jagiełłonian Kings
Władysław Jagiełło and the Polish-Lithuanian Union

Bohemia
(Including Silesia and Moravia)

The Bohemian Kings of House Luxembourg
(to come)


Flanders and Luxembourg

The Counts of Luxembourg
(to come)


Other Times

Neolithicum to Iron Age

Germany

European Bread Museum, Ebergötzen
Open Air Museum Oerlinghausen

Scandinavia and Orkney

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

Scandinavia
Ship Setting on Gotland

Post-Mediaeval History

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

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

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 (my translation)
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

Fun Stuff

Not So Serious Romans
Aelius Rufus Visits the Future Series
Building Hadrian's Wall
Playmobil Romans

Royal (Hi)Stories
Kings Having a Bad Hair Day
The Case of the Vanished Wine Cask

Historical Memes
Charlemagne meme
Historical Christmas Wishes
New Year Resolutions
Aelius Rufus does a Meme
Rules for Writing Scottish Romances

Funny Sights
Tourist Kitsch in St.Petersburg


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

Palaeontology

Fossils
Ammonites


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Per Lineam Valli (M.C. Bishop)

Digging Up Fun Stuff
The Anglo-Saxon Archaeology Blog
Arkeologi i Nord
The Journal of Antiquities (Britain)
The Northern Antiquarian
The Roman Archaeology Blog

History Blogs - Mediaeval

Þaér wæs Hearpan Swég
Anglo Saxon, Norse & Celtic Blog
Casting Light upon the Shadow (A. Whitehead)
Norse and Viking Ramblings
Outtakes of a Historical Novelist (Kim Rendfeld)

Beholden Ye Aulde Blogges
A Clerk of Oxford
Daily Medieval
Historical Britain Blog (Mercedes Rochelle)
Magistra et Mater (Rachel Stone)
North Ages
Senchus (Tim Clarkson)
Viking Strathclyde (Tim Clarkson)

Royal and Other Troubles
Edward II (Kathryn Warner)
Henry the Young King (Kasia Ogrodnik)
Piers Gaveston (Anerje)
Lady Despenser's Scribery
Simon de Montfort (Darren Baker)
Weaving the Tapestry (Scottish Houses Dunkeld and Stewart)

A Mixed Bag of History
English Historical Fiction Authors
The Freelance History Writer (Susan Abernethy)
The History Blog
History, the Interesting Bits (S.B. Connolly)
Mediaeval Manuscripts Blog
Mediaeval News (Niall O'Brian)
Time Present and Time Past (Mark Patton)

Thoughts and Images

Reading and Reviews
Black Gate Blog
The Blog That Time Forgot (Al Harron)
Parmenion Books
The Wertzone

Imaginations
David Blixt
Ex Urbe (Ada Palmer)
Constance A. Brewer
Jenny Dolfen Illustrations
Wild and Wonderful (Caroline Gill)

German Blogs
Alte Steine
Anwolf
Meerblog

Highland Mountains
The Hazel Tree (Jo Woolf)
Helen in Wales
Mountains and Sea Scotland

The Colours of the World
Shutterbugs


Research

Archaeology
Past Horizons
Archaeology in Europe
Orkneyar

Roman History
Deutsche Limeskommission
Internet Ancient Sourcebook
Livius.org
Roman Army
Roman Britain
The Romans in Britain
Vindolanda Tablets

Mediaeval History
De Re Militari
Internet Mediaeval Sourcebook
Kulturzeit
The Labyrinth
Mediaeval Crusades
Medievalists.Net
Viking Society for Northern Research

Castles
Burgenarchiv
Burgerbe
Burgenwelt
Exploring Castles
The World of Castles

Miscellaneous History
Heritage Daily
The History Files

Mythology
Ancient History
Encyclopedia Mythica

Online Journals
Ancient Warfare
The Heroic Age
The History Files

Travel and Guide Sites

Germany - History
Antike Stätten in Deutschland
Burgenarchiv
Strasse der Romanik

Germany - Nature
HarzLife
Naturpark Meissner
Naturpark Solling-Vogler

England
English Heritage
Visit Northumberland

Scotland
The Chain Mail (Scottish History)
Historic Scotland
National Trust Scotland

Reiseblogs
Reisen & Fotografie (Tobias Hoiten)
fern & nah (Christian Oeser)

Books and Writing

Interesting Author Websites
Jacqueline Carey
Bernard Cornwell
Dorothy Dunnett (Dorothy Dunnett Society)
Steven Erikson
Diana Gabaldon
Guy Gavriel Kay
George R.R. Martin
Sharon Kay Penman
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Tolkien Society)
Tad Williams

Historical Fiction
Historical Novel Society
Historia Magazine

Writing Sites
Absolute Write
TheLitForum.com
National Novel Writing Month


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