Monday 25 October 2010

A Monument To Friendship

The first king of Württemberg lived and reigned in my home town, Ludwigsburg.
He was, of course, not always king; up until he made a deal* with Napoleon, Württemberg was not a kingdom but a dukedom.
When he was still young, Friedrich had a friend, Johann Carl.
Their friendship (some sources say they were probably lovers as well) must have been really strong, because it withstood military and political intrigue as well as the ever-changing scenery of the time, what with Württemberg being at war against Prussia, the French, the Turks, and finally Russia.

When Carl died in 1801, Friedrich had a monument built for his friend, a mausoleum.
Inside the mausoleum, a white marble statue by court sculptor Johann Heinrich von Dannecker was placed, the "Grieving Friendship". An inscription outside on the portico of the mausoleum reads "Dem vorangegangenen Freunde", "To the friend who proceeded me".
Underneath the mausoleum, Carl's coffin was placed, and Friedrich's intention was that after his own death, he would be put to rest there, too.

The "Grieving Friendship"

Alas, by the time he died (in 1816), he was king - and protocol wouldn't allow for him to be put anywhere else but the dynasty's own crypt beneath the castle.
So, to this day, Carl's coffin is the only one there, and the two friends who wanted to be "reunited" in death are still apart.

I had the chance to go inside the mausoleum (normally it is closed to the public) with a guided tour I took on Saturday.

*The deal went like this:
Naploeon: "You give me soldiers for my war against Russia, and I make you king."
Friedrich: "Deal! Here are 15.000 men. Now, where's my crown?"
And thus Württemberg became Kingdom. It didn't last very long - in 1918, the last king of Württemberg was forced to abdicate, when Germany became a federal republic.
Of the 15.000 men sent to Russia, 300 returned alive.


  1. Wow! That's a bit of history that I would never had known!!! Thanks so much for sharing this. What an amazing mausoleum! Very beautiful. :)

  2. You are welcome, Mel - I suppose a lot of people find history boring, but I like learning such things, especially related to the place I call home. Good job there are those like the old Professor who take care in sharing their knowledge and documenting it for posterity.

  3. I too found this interesting and thank you for your research/posting.

    I wonder what happened to your Dolphin Story of earlier in the week? I went into your archive and read the beginning of the story and the original story and enjoyed your continuation very much.

  4. Thank you, Jill!
    Reg. the Dolphin Story; I am glad that you like it and have read the first chapters. After having thought about it some more, I decided to delete the latest bit, I didn't like it much and maybe I will come up with something better for the woman and the dolphin eventually.
    By the way, do you have a blog, too? When I click on your name it just says "Profile not available".

  5. No, sorry I have no blog.
    I follow yours and A Book Every Six Days and Letters From A Hill Farm religiously, beginning each day with a visit with you three interesting 'friends' in Germany, England and northern New England USA.

  6. Well, maybe some day you'll feel you want to have your say, too, and start writing your own blog - if you do, please let me know, because I for sure would want to read it :-)
    Have a good week!
    - M.

  7. It's interesting bits of personal information like that which make history interesting.

    1. Indeed it is; it goes to show that, after all, people in the past were of flesh and blood like ourselves and had very similar worries and pleasures.