Appendix 1: Schwetzingen

Appendix I: Schwetzingen1

The palace at Schwetzingen was the summer residence of Carl Theodore, or Karl IV. Philipp Theodor, (1724 – 1799) who was Prince-Elector and Count of Palatine from 1742, Duke of Jülich and Berg from 1742 and also Prince-Elector and Duke of Bavaria from 1777.

Portrait of Karl Theodor; 1780 by Anton Hickel; his coat of arms.

Decorative structures were erected in various gardens throughout Europe in the eighteenth century. In England they became known as “follies”. Karl Theodor had the follies of his palace constructed to display his open-mindedness as an “Enlightened” ruler and a champion of peace. In one of the monuments at Schwetzingen there is an inscription translated as: “A field of war and death of Romans and Germans has been discovered, through the unearthing of weapons, urns and bones, in the year 1765. - To the arts of peace, which are the sole joys of his life, the elector Charles Theodore has dedicated this spot, excavated to the height of seven feet, and had this monument erected in 1768.”

The decorative mosque depicted below was built for the palace garden at Schwetzingen under the direction of the architect Nicolas de Pigage (1723-1796). It was completed in 1785, the same year in which Karl Theodor abolished the Bavarian Illuminati, after having issued edicts outlawing both Freemasonry and the Illuminati. It was built before any real mosque was erected in Germany. The mosque is adorned with several tableaus in which wise sayings are inscribed in Arabic, beneath which are the German translations. Examples of the sayings are: For the sake of the flower, one waters the thorns; Speech is silver, but silence is golden; Possessions and the world are temporary, but good deeds remain; Loneliness is better than bad company; The fool has his heart in his mouth, but the tongue of the wise man is in his heart; Changing one’s friends brings ruin; One lapse of a wise man counts for a thousand. Often the Arabic has errors. Over the entrance (in the second picture below) is a tableau in Arabic without a German translation, apparently intended to mean: There is no god, but Allah; but the Arabic is flawed so that it says: No Allah, but Allah. Although it was never intended for prayer, Muslims have made use of it on several occasions with the permission of the authorities in Baden-Württemberg; otherwise it is used for programs of the museum, including lectures and concerts.

Below is the Temple to Mercury (the Roman equivalent of the Greek Hermes), which was built by Pigage to appear to be a ruin. Mercury/Hermes was considered a messenger and keeper of secrets. The word “hermeneutics” derives from the Greek name. The structure was completed in 1788 and designated as Merkurtempel in 1791.

Another temple was dedicated to Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, identified with the Greek Athena. It was completed by Pigage in 1769.

Apollo was the name used by both Greeks and Romans for the Olympian deity who was worshipped as a god of light and the sun, truth and prophecy, healing, plague, music, and poetry. As the patron of Delphi, Apollo was an oracular god—the prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Pigage’s belvedere was erected in 1762.

Pigage completed the Temple of Forest Botany in 1780. It contained medallions with the likenesses of ancient and modern botanists, and is guarded by two sphinxes.

In addition to the above structures, which are included here because of their depiction of late 18th century attitudes among the nobility with regard to spirituality, the grounds of the Schwetzingen palace contain various other structures and gardens. Among the famous guests who visited Schwetzingen are Voltaire, Mozart, and Schiller.

Schloss Schwetzingen is administered today by the Institute for Official Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Württemberg (der Einrichtung Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg), and is open to the public on a daily basis.

  • 1. All of the information in this appendix is from Wikipedia.