November 9th is a momentous day to Germans. Many major events in German history occurred on that day: Robert Blum’s death in 1848, Kaiser Wilhelm’s abdication in 1918, Einstein’s Nobel Prize win in 1922, the failed Munich Putsch/Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, Kristallnacht in 1938, and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Since shortly after World War II, November 9th was nicknamed Schicksalstag (“Day of Fate”) by some media members. But its current widespread use in Germany started after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Thirty-one objects thought to have belonged to one warrior have been found in a cache in northeastern Germany’s Tollense Valley, where an intense battle was fought by as many as 2,000 warriors around 1,300 BCE. The warrior’s kit included a bronze awl with a birch handle, a knife, a chisel, a decorated belt box, three dress pins, arrowheads, and fragments of bronze that may have been used as currency. Three thin bronze metal cylinders pierced with bronze nails found with the kit may have been fittings for a cloth bag or wooden storage box which degraded, leaving only its metal fittings.
The bronze items in the warrior’s kit are similar to those found in southern Germany and the Czech Republic, and combined with the chemical analyses of multiple warriors’ bones suggesting they did not grow up locally, it is thought that perhaps warriors from multiple regions came together in this valley to fight over trade routes along the Tollense River.
Portrait of a woman (potentially Mary Magdalene) by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
The artist used contradictory symbolism in this painting, making identification a little difficult. Her hair is loose, signalling an unmarried virgin, but her direct gaze was inappropriate for an unmarried woman of a respectable family. Lucas Cranach the Elder was a great German artist painting for 16th-century aristocratic patrons. His paintings had to be respectable, able to be hung in the most eminent homes. That leaves the most likely subject the biblical Mary Magdalene, who was supposedly once a prostitute before converting.
A child-sized cup with a nipple-like spout was included in the burial of a small child, about 2,500 years ago in southern Germany. It is one of many miniature cups, many with nipple-like spouts, that have been found interred with young children’s remains across Europe. The oldest are almost 5,500 years old! They look like sippy cups, but what were these Bronze and Iron age babies drinking?
Analysis of the residue inside the containers strongly suggest that they were used to feed the babies animal’s milk. Perhaps it was part of weaning from their mothers, and transitioning to solid food. There was also evidence that the milk was fresh when it was put in sippy cup to be buried.
In German East Africa (Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania) during World War I, soldiers painted this pony to resemble one of the local zebras so it could be tethered in the open without being shot. The Imperial War Museum adds, “Two white ponies behind anxiously await their makeovers.”