The History Woman's Blog

God Save the Queen in Gotha: Early Modern Research in a German Town

Posted in Art, Early Modern, Jobs and Fellowships, Seventeenth Century by thehistorywoman on August 21, 2011

The brass band on the market square is playing God Save The Queen. It’s Gotha on a Saturday night, a sleepy little German town in the former East. Overlooking the town, just up the hill from the  market, is Friedenstein Castle. Built during the Thirty Years’ War by Ernest the Pious (1601- 1675), the Lutheran Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, it is a symbol of peace arising amidst the carnage and bloodshed of the mid- seventeenth century and home to the dynasty that would also produce Prince Albert (1819-1861) of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, later Prince consort to Queen Victoria (1819-1901). Most of the locals don’t seem to care that much about the traditions of the dynasty as they drink their beer in the little pubs around the market. They live on the tourists. That’s enough. The castle, meanwhile, plain and decrepit as it might look on the outside, on the inside holds one of the most amazing collections I’ve ever seen.

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