These Interesting Times


Andechs Abbey, image from Wikipedia

Lately I have been affected by a certain variety of writer’s block. It goes like this: I get an idea, find a few nice pictures, write up a few paragraphs to go with the pictures, and then read about the latest inconceivable thing to happen in Washington DC, after which I don’t feel like posting useless historical trivia anymore.

Or is this historical trivia useless? Everyone knows the saying, attributed to Churchill*, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” But which — who’s — history?

Wandering through the earliest Bavarian history, both virtual and physical, takes one from  pre-Roman earthworks and archaeological finds to Antiquity to Very Late And Somewhat Chaotic Antiquity, which runs into what is known as the Dark Ages, where the main societal structures seem to be monasteries (sometimes building right on top of the last Roman foundations**) and family clans. And we mostly know about the latter because someone in the former wrote about them.

Seeing as we are having our own Saga unfolding in the homeland (or perhaps a Shakespearean play, suitably dumbed down for mainstream audiences raised on reality TV), it might be fitting to take a look at some of the Bavarian clans from the Early Middle Ages, whence they came, where they ruled, how they ended. Some of the names are still quite present in the local place names, others are found on the odd stone plaque or mural.

*Actually George Satayana said it first, but props to Churchill for repeating it.

**I used to think that churches being built atop the sites of old pagan temples was an ideological thing — lately I’ve come to believe that it was simply practical. The ground’s been leveled,  stone’s there, if it hadn’t been hauled off for some other purpose. In a time when resources (technical knowledge, organized manpower, food) must have been scarce, why wouldn’t they have built in a place already prepared for building?

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2 Responses to These Interesting Times

  1. Shigo says:


  2. paschberg says:

    Yes, keep on writing on history. Daily business – eh – headlines are just trumpery.

    On Andechs: Some years ago, on a beer-drinking-pilgrimage to Andechs with my colleagues we walked form there through the Kiental to Herrsching. For us it was evident that this path must have been the original way to Andechs – as walking in the opposite direction from Herrsching to Andechs is more surprising (with andechs blobbing up from the jungle) than from the nevertheless impressive southeast.

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