See trips hub: Europe Road Ways

For themes of conflict, present in any country, see Studying War.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Maypoles: Wends, Vends. Advantage of Early Spring Trip. The Vends Started It.

Vendic Tradition

 Maypole, Germany


First, an update to ourselves, this in 2008.
We recently learned about an ancient people called the Vends, the Vendic culture, in Slovenia and eastern and central Germany. Not only did the Vends or Wends thrive, with rulers in the line of succession being male or female, no discrimination or prohibition (the Slavica Lex), but many traditions and names survive - including the Maypole.

See what we found at Germany Road Ways, Vends, Ancient Culture; and in the land known as Carantania (Slovenia now, we believe, but boundaries were fluid) at Slovenia Road Ways, Expunged Ancient Dynasty of Carantania.

May and its high poles go back a long way.

May 1 is May Day- a public holiday since 1889.
Maypole, Germany, Schwabisch Hall

The Maypole with the dangles is at Schwabisch Hall, as we recall. See Schwabisch Hall post here. We arrived just after May Day, but many of the maypoles were still standing. No reason to take them down.
Maypole, Germany, Munich

Some Maypoles are the oldest traditional  type- a real evergreen tree, tall tall, with all branches stripped except for the top five feet or so.
Much of Europe used to be forested with trees of this height - taken for centuries for ships and building.

Maypoles have a long history.

Read about the deep roots of the Maypole at And details and more details at See


Maypoles also are in England, see This site connects the English maypole with the Saxon invasions, see Scroll down about 8 paragraphs, or do a little "find" for "maypole." Read the site if you don't mind things about pagan, or wicca, origins. I think all information is interesting. The site connects the Saxon use of red and white ribbons with "healing bandages," and the barberpole. It says some maypoles in Germany are 1600 years old.

The witchvox site also credits the origin of the maypole custom with the Basques and ancient Greeks. Must find out more.

Find out about other German holidays, so you can time your trip to see them, at

Pantera Tradition Adding to Christmas - Bad Kreuznach and Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera

Bad Kreuznach; 
Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera

A town we did not see; a person of interest we did not know at the time. Noone ever told us. We put the two together afterwards, however, and look how these trips end in unexpected places. We have found a possible-strained-possible-maybe connection between ancient Germania and ancient Israel. See the Roman historian, Tacitus, on the topic, but he is not unbiased, at

The gist:
1. The Place.
First, see Bad Kreuznach. The word "Bad" means that it was a place for bathing, perhaps healing waters. See :// "Bad" also can mean spa. See
See pictures at the US Historical Archive at :// Do it in two steps: Go to the home page first, at the dot com; and navigate to the photographs on your own. Longer address is to be sure you get to the right place, but a direct search to it may not work.
Where is Bad Kreuznach? It is near Bingen. See The original grave was discovered in about 1859, in a Roman graveyard, maybe at Bingen. The history around Bad Kreuznach itself long predates the Romans, and is laid out at the website for the base, at Bad Kreuznach has a long history of military installations through the centuries, including Nazis before and American after WWII. Scroll down at

2. The person: Pantera
At Bad Kreuznach is the headstone of one Tiberius Iulius Abdes Pantera. See We understand that the "Tiberius" references his Roman citizen status.
A search for "Pantera" shows some interest among archeologists and others in the family ties between Jesus and the last name found in this Roman graveyard, now in a museum. The father of Jesus? See also on the book, "The Jesus Dynasty" by James D. Tabor 2006. I am reading the book now. Mr. Tabor himself is an archeologist, not a religious apologist or promoter, an archeologist - report what you find.

3. The juxtaposition: Pantera, a father of note?
Some find enough links to propose that he was the natural father of one later called Messiah, and as to whom a natural birth was not adequate.** So: Go to Bad Kreuznach and report for all of us. We report, you decide. Try further web meanderings from Tabor's book to the Yeshua ben Pantera section in Rabbinic literature - the topic is not new: see Then go back to the 2006 Tabor book.


* Details for the fearless interested: The father of Jesus. Facts add to faith, do not defy it; and simply refine what has to be taken on faith. Is that right? Overviews on most topics are also at Wikipedia, or other online encyclopedia, so I also went to see the non-Christian writings, other sources from the period and what agendas they may or may not have, to see what they said at the time, if anything, and discussion at Look for the agendas of any writers first, then see what persuasion techniques might be used in order to get their viewpoint accepted - or is it (surprise) a neutral compilation, for you to make your own conclusions.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Marburg -the Clifftop University

The medieval university on the cliff. Type in a search for "Marburg photos" and splendid ones will appear.

Park below the cliffs. Take the people-elevators up. This has been the place of theologians and thinkers for centuries - join them. Paul Tillich at, Rudolf Bultmann at, Martin Heidegger at, Martin Luther at, Hannah Arendt at A place of genius.

Also a place of spaetzle, up the little cobbled streets. Make some: Add bacon, the thick, hefty smoky slabs or cubes, not out skinny deprived strippies.

More blogs about Germany Road Ways.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Castles - Here is Burg Eltz. Electors, a Siege, Survival


1.  History

Burg Eltz Castle, in the hills near the Moselle River that flows into the Rhine, dates from 1157. The Eltz River used to flow around three sides. It stands after centuries of wars around. See :// Here the powerful Electors met to elect the next ruler. As years passed, various branches of the family set up housekeeping in various towers, and now the "Lion Or" branch owns it all.

The family managed, we were told, because they were master diplomats, able to bridge any dispute; and minimize conflict. The same family has owned the castle for all that time, and ongoing. In the 14th Century, one powerful Elector, Balduin, nephew of Emperor Charles IV, wanted to enforce peace in his Electorate. However, the free knights of the Holy Roman Empire objected. They wanted to retain their rights to private warfare. The Eltz family joined with the free knights group to keep rights of private warfare, and Balduin set up a siege tower on a hill around, and you can see where they lobbed boulders over the walls, and finally cut off the castle's supplies.
Eltz surrendered. Charles awarded Eltz to Balduin in 1354. The free knights of Eltz became vassals of Balduin, holding the castle only as a feudal tenure.

The French in the later 30 years' war destroyed many German castles, but this survived. See

There are original furnishings in many rooms; and little windows with little window seats carved out for children.

2.  Getting to the castle:

Cars can only go so far, to a distant lot.  Then, visitors walk down the longish winding road to the castle, with views at the switchbacks. Fine photo gallery at

3. The place of the Rosette.  History of rosette symbolism.
There is a rose symbol above a door in the imposing council room. That rosette shape means confidentiality: what is said here, stays here, a custom stemming (ahem) from Roman times. For more on sub rosa, see

This site traces the rosette symbol as meaning royalty, and the connection goes back to the Near East, the Hittites in Anatolia, and the Assyrians in Mesopotamia -- 14th Century BCE to 7th Century BCE. See magazine Biblical Archeology Review )BAR), Royal Rosettes from Far-Flung Cultures, Sept-Oct 1997 vol 23 no.5, see home page at  I see no access, however, to online archives. What do these dates mean?  Roughly, Bronze Age was 3100 BCE in the Middle East, the first Iron Age was 1200-1000 BCE, the second Iron Age was 1000-586 BCE, the Babylonian and Persian Periods were 586-about 400 BCE, and the Hellenistic Period was 332-37 BCE.  Then enter, after all that, Romans etc. See BAR site at p.34.

In early times, see BAR site, the rosette symbolized the sun god on the seals used by the rulers, perhaps to suggest the incarnation of the sun god in the king.  See photos of winged rosettes, also on burial stele, on jewelry worn by royal women and on their thrones at the king's funeral, p.53. Rosettes are on kings' crowns, particularly the Ammonites; rosettes festoon Assyrian officers, horses, servants.   They also came to symbolize the Judahite monarchy, 8th-7th Centuries BCE.

We may be more familiar with the now-commercialized uses of rose traditions, for example, this site from a florist:

An English speaker who does not want to wait for an English tour to gather, gets a laminated card with the information that is being given in the other languages. A read-along. Works fine.