Baron Franz von der Trenck (1711-49), despite dying young and in disgrace, somehow contrived to be preserved in long life unguents. I like the understated description of the vaults he shares with endless Capucin monk-mummies, though I have no desire to visit.

Trenck ended his short, violent, wandering life locked in the Spilberk fortress in Brno, a thoroughly disgraced figure.


However, he has has enjoyed a long and peculiar afterlife as the prime exhibit in the freakish vault of the Capucin monastery of the town. This odd place contains the mummified corposes of monks, laid out in rows, their heads resting on bricks, dressed in their habits and holding crucifixes, the whole place having the air of a deeply unsuccessful hospital.

For other examples of Winder wit, see our celebration of his earlier book, Germania.


Source: Simon Winder, Danubia: A personal history of Habsburg Europe (London: Picador, 2013), pp. 111-12

Photo credit: phio at pixabay

Image credit: portrait by unknown artist, Army Museum of Bavaria in Ingoldstadt, available on wikipedia

Portrait - Baron Franz von der Trenck


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