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Dirk Puehl
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30 April 1875, #onthisday on Walpurgis Eve, the French or Austrian or British antiquarian, cartographer, artist, explorer and raconteur extraordinaire Jean-Frédéric Maximilien de Waldeck died allegedly at the age of 109 in Paris.
 
Walpurgis Eve traditionally is the night when all kinds of supernatural beings hustle and bustle about, from Witches’ Sabbaths on “Walpurgisnacht” on the Brocken Mountain in Northern Germany, Valborgsmässoafton in Sweden, Valpuržina noc in Czechia or Vappu in Finland. We don’t know if it was a supernatural beauty that did it for centenarian Jean-Frédéric Maximilien de Waldeck, but allegedly he died of a heart attack after ogling a pretty girl on the Champs-Élysées. A date and event befitting for a raconteur extraordinaire who had the habit of clothing truth in a more mysterious garb, from his own biography to publishing made-up vintage erotica and populating Mexico’s Pre-Columbian Maya relics with Phrygian caps, lions and elephants.
 
But read more on:
 
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/fanciful-in-extreme-jean-frederic.html
 
Depicted below is one of Waldeck’s extraordinary engravings made after the Maya reliefs of Palenque, published in 1838 in his “Voyage pittoresque et archéologique dans la province d'Yucatan pendant les années 1834 et 1836“.  
 
#art #arthistory #culturalhistory #wunderkammer
 
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... not to forget the black berets... avec plaisir, dear Mari!
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24 April 1184 BCE, #onthisday, 3,200 years ago, the city of Troy fell after ten years of siege, at least according to the Greek polymath of the third century BCE, Eratosthenes of Cyrene.
 
"I fear the Greeks, even those bearing gifts". The story of Troy's fall itself, like many other legends of the Trojan War, is not told in Homer's "Iliad", though. The epic actually covers only a few weeks of the 10th year of the war during Agamemnon's and Achilles' quarrel over the "rosy Briséis" - even though the coming sack of the city is mentioned. Ulysses' ploy, Laocoön and the snakes, Aeneas and the Palladium and all the primal scenes that took place after Achilles' son Neoptolemus and his warriors jumped out of the Wooden Horse and put many-towered Ilium and her inhabitants to the sack are stories told in the Epic Circle, especially the Iliupersis, the "Sack of Illium", probably by one Arctinus who lived in the 8th century BCE while other events of the war were retold first by Ulysses himself in Homer’s “Odyssey”. However, wherever and if ever these events took place, their narrative marks the birth of Western literature and established the cultural identity of classical Greece. Along with a first-rate debate among archaeologists and classical philologists whether the site discovered by Schliemann under Hisarlik Hill in Turkey in 1873 really was the Homeric Troy, what Bronze Age culture or cultures built and inhabited the place, if the events told by Homer and in the Epic Cycle really happened, which of the ten settlement layers under the hill was the one occupied by then and what role the Bronze Age town actually played in the wider context of the Aegean cultural cycle and that of the Ancient Orient. And, naturally, about the identity of Homer himself.
 
But read more on
 
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/troy-is-no-more-and-ilium-was-town-fall.html
 
Depicted below is Johann Georg Trautmann’s (1713 - 1769) imagination of "The Burning of Troy" from 1762.
 
#ancienthistory  #culturalhistory  #europeanhistory  #europeanliterature  #history  #mythology
 
 
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I hope they would... it's quite a part of my essence cluttering on that table...
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#onthisday in 1616, 400 years ago, William Shakespeare died in Stratford-upon-Avon.

"Good frend for Iesvs sake forbeare,
To digg the dvst encloased heare.
Bleste be  man spares thes stones,
And cvrst be he  moves my bones"
 
(Shakespeare’s epitaph on the stone slab covering his grave in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon.)
 
 “Bardolatry” G.B. Shaw called the Victorian’s nearly religious reverence of William Shakespeare, who was finally raised to Olympian heights a few generations before by the Romantics. On the British Islands, in the German speaking states and elsewhere in Europe. But he was a cultural phenomenon already centuries before. Of the 17,677 words Shakespeare uses, he invented one-tenth, more than 1,700, himself by changing nouns into verbs, verbs into adjectives, pairing words into a new meaning and inventing some that had never been used before, from “advertising” (“Measure for Measure”) to “rant” (“Hamlet”) and “swagger” (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”). No wonder, the actual earthly existence of this demi-god-like figure was called into question. As if the idea of an individual with an otherwise rather assessable biography, graduate of a grammar school, married, three children, decent marketing skills and a job as theatre director, being one of the greatest authors of world literature at the same time was simply unbearable.
 
But read more on:
 
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2015/01/triumph-my-britain-thou-hast-one-to.html *
 
 
 
* in a short article I actually wrote two years ago on the occasion of his 450th birthday in 2014. But one can’t celebrate Shakespeare enough, what? Bardolatry.
 
Depicted below is Sir John Gilbert’s (1817 – 1897) picture puzzle “The Plays of William Shakespeare“ (c. 1849)

#shakespeare400   #shakespeare  
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True... I see a whole wing full of curiously named alien oddities :-)
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16 April 1746, #onthisday, 270 years ago, the Jacobite Rising of “Forty Five” ended near Inverness with a decisive defeat of the “Young Pretender” Charles Edward Stuart at the Battle of Culloden, the last pitched battle fought on British soil.
 
 Wha wadna fecht for Charlie? the Jacobites sung when the Young Pretender raised his banner at Glenfinnan in Inverness-shire and the “Forty-Five” had begun, the Jacobite rising of 1745. Almost a year later, after all the blue bonnets went over the border, threatened London even and went back, Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Highland Army were cornered near Inverness and prepared to give battle to the man who would later be known as “Butcher” Cumberland and his government troops, about one quarter of them Scots themselves.
 
But read more on:
 
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/wha-wadna-fecht-for-charlie-battle-of.html
 
Depicted below is the Anglo-Swiss military painter David Morier (1705 - 1760) take on the Battle of Culloden, understatedly called "An Incident in the Rebellion of 1745" from 1749. Allegedly, survivors of both sides from said incident modeled for Morier.
 
#culturalhistory #europeanhistory #history #militaryhistory
 
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I've heard it for the first time under these auspices sung during the coronation scene in the '52 version of "The Prisoner of Zenda" when I was a nipper... and found the consonance of the "conquering hero" and the local Christmas carol quite baffling, +Nico Gerrits - Yes, it's grim irony in regards to Culloden indeed!
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11 April 1241, #onthisday 775 years ago, a numerically inferior army of the Golden Horde led by Subutai decisively defeated King Bela IV of Hungary at the Battle of Mohi, opening the country and its neighbours to brutal invasion.
 
It was the explosive spread of an empire the world had not seen since the days of Alexander. Over the course of some twenty years, Temüjin, better known as Genghis Khan, meaning “universal leader”, had conquered a territory across East and Central Asia from China and Korea to the shores of the Caspian Sea, twice the size of the Roman Empire at the height of its power. A generation later, Genghis Khan’s successors overran the Old Russian kingdoms and in 1241, they stood on the doorstep of Central Europe, ready for invasion and Poles, Hungarians and the Balkan Principalities had ignored all dire warnings about what kind of an invader was ready to wreak havoc among them in one of the bloodiest campaigns Europe had ever seen.
 
But read more on:
 
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/these-terrible-strangers-have-taken-our.html
 
 
Depicted below is a Mongol horse archer from the days of Temüjin.
 
#culturalhistory  #europeanhistory  #history  #medievalhistory #militaryhistory
 
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A bit like dancing on one's grave indeed... given the fact that they are actually extinct :-)
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2 April 1805, #onthisday, the Danish author, poet and creator of some of the world’s best-known literary fairy tales Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense.

It is somewhat difficult to imagine Hans Christian Andersen in the guise of Danny Kaye singing the theme song of Charles Vidor’s movie from 1952 and reconcile it with influences of Lord Byron. But there is more to Hans Christian Andersen than literary fairy tales, even if they have become not only world literature but, with the Ugly Duckling, the Little Mermaid and the Snow Queen, a proverbial and integral part of at least the Western collective unconsciousness over the last 150 years, along with one might call genuine folk tales. But read more on:

http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/every-mans-life-is-fairy-tale-on-hans.html

Depicted below is Edmund Dulac's (1882 - 1953) illustration of H.C. Andersen's Little Mermaid for 
"Stories from Hans Christian Andersen" (1911)


#culturalhistory #europeanliterature  #folklore  #literarturehistory  #literaryhistory  #literature #mythology
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They do, +Mari Christian? As far as I've noticed so far the lot tries to shield their young from everything that's not educational...
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Dirk Puehl

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“A poor old Widow in her weeds
Sowed her garden with wild-flower seeds;
Not too shallow, and not too deep,
And down came April -- drip -- drip – drip” (Walter de la Mare)
 
It was an uncommonly cold April over here in Central Europe, inclement, wet and the poor old widow seemed just to breed frost flowers instead of daffodils this year. A good time to tell a story or three, though. Wolves in Europe, blood and thunder in the Middle Ages, war and art in Scotland, trolls and mermaids from Scandinavia, noble robbers from Italy and tall tales from days of yore, Troy and the Maya who worshipped elephant-headed rain gods if you want to believe one raconteur extraordinaire.
 
For those of you who have missed or want to re-read some of the stories about what happened #onthisday in April, once upon a time:
 
“Every man's life is a fairy tale" - On Hans Christian Andersen:
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/every-mans-life-is-fairy-tale-on-hans.html
 
“It pains me that I am condemned as a bandit and not a soldier” - the Life and Death of Fra Diavolo:
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/it-pains-me-that-i-am-condemned-as.html
 
"These terrible strangers have taken our country" - The Mongol Invasion of Hungary and the Battle of Mohi in 1241:
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/these-terrible-strangers-have-taken-our.html
 
"Sad stories, chanced in the times of old" - Victorian Problem Pictures and the Paintings of Sir William Quiller Orchardson:
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/sad-stories-chanced-in-times-of-old.html
 
"Wha wadna fecht for Charlie?" - the Battle of Culloden
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/wha-wadna-fecht-for-charlie-battle-of.html
 
"Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" - Wolves, their myth and their return to Europe – an #earthday feature:
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/whos-afraid-of-big-bad-wolf-wolves.html
 
"Troy is no more, and Ilium was a town!" - The Fall of Troy and its Cultural Aftermath:
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/troy-is-no-more-and-ilium-was-town-fall.html
 
“Father of the Trolls” - the Art of Theodor Kittelsen:
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/father-of-trolls-art-of-theodor.html
 
"Fanciful in the extreme" - Jean-Frédéric Maximilien de Waldeck, raconteur extraordinaire:
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/fanciful-in-extreme-jean-frederic.html
 
… and I hope you have as much fun reading as I had writing them.
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The old photograph? That's Hans Christian Andersen.
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#onthisday in 1857, the Norwegian artist Theodor Severin Kittelsen was born in the Telemark coastal town of Kragerø.
 
 Norwegian art did not just begin with Edvard Munch. Admittedly, Norway had to catch up a bit since the Middle Ages, on national identity as well as on how to artistically express the growing Norwegian self-awareness. When the country finally became independent from her big brother Denmark in 1814, the place had been a colonial backwater for more than 400 years. Without any art patrons or art schools to speak of. Along with the glorious Viking past and picturesque folk garb and customs, though Norwegian landscape made a national Romantic approach on art rather easy. From Hans Gude’s, Peter Nicolai Arbo’s, Erik Werenskiold’s  and Adolph Tidemand’s paintings, to folklore collected by Asbjørnsen and Moe, the Norwegian Brothers Grimm, the writings of Ibsen and, famously, Grieg’s music, “Halls of the Mountain King” and all that. However, it was one artist who gave Norway’s folklore a distinctive image and became “Father of the Trolls”: Theodor Kittelsen.
 
But read more on:
 
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/father-of-trolls-art-of-theodor.html
 
Depicted below is Theodor Kittelsen’s: "Troll at the Karl Johan Square" from 1892.
 
  #art   #arthistory   #europeanart   #folklore   #mythology
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Meiner bescheiden Meinung nach sind Trolle in der Tat etwas zum lieb haben... jedenfalls die skandinavische Variante und vor allem, wenn wir unserer Phantasie und Vorstellungskraft von Kittelsen die Flügel malen lassen. Freut mich sehr, dass Ihnen meine kleine Geschichte über den Norweger und Norwegen so gut gefallen hat, liebe Alke!
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Earth Day 2016 - My planet. My part.
 
22 April is Earth Day, an annual event held since 1970 and now celebrated across the globe to demonstrate appreciation and support for the natural environment and environmental protection. Accordingly, the Wunderkammer opens its doors for a field excursion, this time to have a look at wolves and their gradual return to Europe where they had almost died out over the last 150 years. And naturally, it begins with “Once upon a time…”
 
When the Ice Age mega fauna, predators and prey, disappeared along with the mammoth steppe, grey wolves became top dog of the food chain in many regions from Spain to the Ural and the narrative of their long competition with mankind began that ended with the extinction of wolves in most European regions by the end of the 19th century. Or almost. Over the last 30 years, wolves returned to their old haunts, their numbers increasing slowly and their existence is discussed as controversial as it was during the end of the Middle Ages. In the meanwhile, they had left a major footprint in the psyche of humanity populating the world’s northern hemisphere. Starting out as something along the lines of family in the shamanistic belief systems of the nomadic and half-nomadic steppe peoples, they became the uncanny emissaries of darkness, companion of witches and sorcerers and chief enemy of civilisation and everything that was good. And were hunted almost to extincton. However, over the last three decades, wolves began to come back to their old haunts in Europe and there is more than a gleam of hope that sooner or later, European forests as an ecosystem gradually return to a more primeval state than the mix of park and timber yard they had degraded to over previous decades and a peaceful co-existence of a natural cycle with predators and prey and humanity in the neighbourhood is indeed possible. Despite the myths of the past.
 
But read more on:
 
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/whos-afraid-of-big-bad-wolf-wolves.html
 
Depicted below is Dakota, a she-wolf at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, howling archetypically on top of a snowy hill. The image was taken by Retron, released into public domain by its author and was found on
 
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Howlsnow.jpg
 
We are a group of members of Google+ Create, a Google program for recognizing creative users of Google+. This year we are celebrating Earth Day with this small, symbolic art project with the theme: Earth Day 2016 - My planet. My part. 

#CreateCommunityEarthDay
 
#earthday    #culturalhistory   #europeanhistory   #history   #mythology
 
 
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Not at all, my dear... and proven guilty in regards to the city dweller. That's one interesting page you shared there - even though I disagree with quite a lot of facts cited or reported. One of the most interesting points cited was, however, this one here: "The patous, Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherd have appeared in our flocks, and this is an essential tool to ensure protection ." - that's the way to handle the threat wolve poses, isn't it? The paragraphs on stray or wild dogs are among the ones I would disagree the most with and that's were the page certainly is the weakest. Behaviour like the one you described above is reported from the wilds, but it is excessively rare and usually happens when the wolves involved are sick, rabies, etc. It is mostly observed in the killings of diseased feral dogs, not wolves though. And there are, to my knowledge, no reports from wolves attacking humans from the Abruzzi mountains, nor from Spain or the Balkans and Romania, where they lived in close vicinity to villages since ages.
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13 April 1910, #onthisday the Scottish portraitist and painter of domestic and historical genre scenes Sir William Quiller Orchardson died at the age of 78 in London.
 
When Sir William, just recently knighted, was about to be gathered unto his Urquhart ancestors and Edwardian society strolled very well dressed, very well mannered and quite blasé towards the first major catastrophe of the 20th century, yet another revolution took place. Unbloody, by and large, but rather consequential for art. It was the farewell to narrative painting in favour of perception, form and colour, the end of a tradition of imagery that might date back to the dawn of time when the first Neolithic artists painted hunting scenes on cave walls. Duly forgotten after his death, when art demanded stories no longer, Orchardson’s paintings, by and large, represented was art was not supposed to be but were highly appreciated pieces in the days of the Old Queen, when Victorian audiences considered narrative paintings to be the dernier cri.
 
But read more on:
 
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/sad-stories-chanced-in-times-of-old.html
 
Depicted below is Sir William Quiller Orchardson's take on Voltaire outsmarting the Duc de Rohan in argument, his “Voltaire” from 1883.
 
#art #arthistory #culturalhistory #europeanart  #victoriana #victorianage
 
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And isn't it lovely?
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7 April 1771, #onthisday the Italian brigand chief, guerrilla leader and folk hero Michele Arcangelo Pezza, better known as Fra Diavolo, was born in Itri.
 
It’s not quite without irony that Schiller’s play of eponymous noble robbers was written on the wings of the storm of the French Revolution and many real life brigands fought the French afterwards as guerrilleros and alleged freedom fighters as soon as their area of operation was invaded and made a satellite state, first of the French Republic and later Napoleon’s Empire. They became folk heroes, over and beyond the once quite popular image of scarily wonderful robber chiefs and highway men. One such case was Fra Diavolo. But read more on:
 
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/it-pains-me-that-i-am-condemned-as.html
 
Depicted below is an illustration from the 1920s showing Fra Diavolo and his Merry Men fighting the French.
 
#culturalhistory #europeanhistory  #history  #militaryhistory  #napoleonicwars  #socialhistory
 
 
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... flutter both away ... I found his connection with Sidney Smith at least as intriguing, naval nut that I am... 
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"I deny nothing, but doubt everything.” Lord Byron
Introduction

About what I do and post here on Mother Google her networks:

Blood and thunder, artsy things, curiosities and lots of ships, everything featured in my little #onthisday-series. I post a daily feature about something that happened “on this day”, weather permitting.

Usually, the posts turn on Literature with a heavy focus on the 19th and early 20th century and silver screen adaptions. The dark and macabre, vampires, ghosts and ghoulies, the plain fantastic, the Byronic tradition in Europe, dandyism as well as Thomas Mann, Dostoevsky and Nietzsche. History, often military history, from antiquity to the dawn of the 20th century and everything an armchair sailor can come up with. Fine arts with pretty much the same foci during the said period as well as Mythology.

And besides that I currently collect curiosities online, often with a touch of #steampunk and exhibit them in my virtual #wunderkammer, an online cabinet of curiosities. 

Speaking of what. I don’t discuss politics on the Internet.

There is a legend from the beginning of the Great War: The German High Command cabled to their allies in Vienna: “The situation is serious but not hopeless!” and some wisecrack in Vienna cabled back: “No. The situation is hopeless but not serious.” That pretty much sums it up. ‘nuff said.

The same is true for religion. Although I am willing to discuss religion from a historical point of view, I am not interested to hear people’s personal persuasions on god(s) or atheism. If you are interested in my opinion – read The Brothers Karamazov.
It’s all in there.
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