Saturday, September 12, 2009

Simplicius Simplicissimus

In the years following the Protestant Reformation, conflict spread through Europe. Between 1618 and 1648, Germany was devastated by the Thirty Years War between Protestant and Catholic groups. The Peace of Augsburg in 1555 had sought to provide a compromise between Lutherans and Catholics and bring peace to the Holy Roman Empire. Add to that the rise of Calvinist groups, and also other nations seeking to take advantage of conflicts for their own territorial gain, and you get the Thirty Years War, which devastated parts of Germany between 1618 and 1648. The 1668 German novel Der abenteuerliche Simplicissimus Teutsch, or Simplicius Simplicissimus, is set against the background of this war.

German LEGO fan Johannes Koehler recreated the novel's cover in LEGO form.

According to Jojo:
The figure is a Pan or Satyr. Satyrs symbolise the "theater", as they gave the name for the "satire", a burlesque that was played during the intermission in a dramatic play. Often the Devil is personated after this image (horns, horse foot, wings). So this figure was a symbol for the evil in the "world theater" (30 years of war) as well as for the humourours form of the novel.

One of his long-term LEGO goals is to create further illustrations from this novel. I've included this on this blog both because of the religious conflict that underlies the novel and also for the way the satyr got transformed over time into an image of Satan.

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