Monday, October 31, 2022

Something About the Godfrey Bouillon Statue

Well stocked.

Some of my recent comments – mainly the British Royalty and The Olde Tea Shoppe – reminded me of another royal burial.

Maximilian I (1459–1519) was King of the Romans from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1508 until his death.  He was best known for organizing the Landsknechte, a group of German mercenaries, and for fighting a series of wars against the French.  Maximilian was buried in the castle chapel in Wiener Neustadt, but his grandson, Ferdinand I (1503-64), wished to construct something more majestic.  Ferdinand built the Hofkirche, or Court Church, 200-plus miles away in Innsbruck in 1553 to house his grandfather's tomb.  However, Maximilian's body remained where it was, and Hofkirche eventually served as a cenotaph.  This ornate black marble cenotaph in the center of the nave is of interest, especially the 28 large bronze statues of ancestors, relatives, and heroes surrounding it.  One of those heroes is Godfrey of Bouillon, the one-time French nobleman, and leader of the First Crusade.

Remember him?

Johnny Dixon knew who Bouillon was when he found a statue of him on the Glomus estate in The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt (1983):

Johnny saw that he was standing next to something—a huge statue of a warrior in chain mail.  The warrior wore over his suit of mail a surcoat with a Maltese cross on it.  The warrior's face was grim, and he had a long drooping mustache.  His enormous arm clutched the hilt of his sword, and he seemed to be just about to draw it from the scabbard.  On the base of the statue a name was carved.  Johnny had seen it only for a tenth of a second, but he had been able to make it out.  It was a name he knew from history books: Godfrey de Bouillon.

Granted, when he first read about the estate, Johnny didn't know who the Nine Worthies were.  Professor Childermass explained later the Nine Worthies were a sort of supergroup of medieval heroes consisting of three pagans, three Jews, and three Christians.  The latter trio included Charlemagne, Godfrey of Bouillon, and King Arthur.  And get this: there's a statue of Arthur at Hofkirche, too.  Sorry Charlemagne fans.

The statues of Bouillon and Arthur date from 1533 and 1513, respectively.  It's interesting to wonder if Bellairs knew of Bouillon's statue in Austria.

I'm suddenly curious if there are other bronze statues somewhere of the remaining seven worthies, too.

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