The Great Complicity: Medievalism & Nationalism

A introductory piece for the top site for all interested in daily doses of medievalia: Medievalists.net


In 1877, seven years after the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany, visited Metz. The employees of the mayor’s office, all Germans, gathered on the roof of St. Stephen’s Cathedral to celebrate his visit with a fireworks display. In the process, the entire roof of the cathedral burned down, and a multi-year renovation of the edifice became necessary. This renovation included not only the reconstruction of the damaged roof, but also a major redefinition of the rest of the building. By this time, Neo-Gothic architecture had become the preferred style for representational construction and reconstruction all over the western world. Nationalist German circles had even decided (erroneously) that Gothic architecture had been invented in medieval Germany, during Hohenstaufen dynasty’s rule in the Holy Roman Empire (c. 1138-1254), and was therefore ideal for re-Germanizing recently annexed French regions. As a consequence, the renovation of Metz Cathedral not only replaced the damaged roof, but also replaced the Neo-Classical western portal with a Gothic one. For the statue of the prophet Daniel, the sculptor used the face of Emperor William II as his model. Shortly after World War I, the hands of the statue were handcuffed, and a scroll with the text Sic transit gloria mundi was added. Several postcards were created of this moment in time, but the handcuffs and sign were soon taken off. Later, the sculpture’s moustache was removed to minimize the resemblance with the emperor.... READ FULL ESSAY HERE


Denominators: Medievalism, médiévalisme, medievalismo, Mediävalismus, Mittelalter-Rezeption, Neo-Gothic architecture, Metz Cathedral, Notre Dame de Paris, SMS Beowulf, Hengist and Horsa, Thomas Jefferson, Cologne Cathedral, Marienburg, Malbork Castle, Hohkönigsburg, Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, Darth Vader, National Cathedral, Song of Roland, Nibelungenlied, Joseph Bédier, Otto von Bismarck, Bernhard ten Brink, Richard Wagner, King Arthur, Winston Churchill, JFK, Camelot, Braveheart, Flag of St. George, Joan of Arc, Vladimir Putin, Jair Bolsonaro, Ivan the Terrible, Matteo Salvini, Richard Spencer, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, Viktor Orbán

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