Letter 397a

397a. Adalbert Friedrich Marcus to Caroline in Würzburg: Bamberg, 28 September 1805 [*]

Bamberg, 28 September 1805

. . . It is quite ill-mannered of me . . . to have gone so long without expressing my gratitude to you for your interesting, extensive missive. [1] . . . It is the noise of weapons amid which we have been living here for a decade and more. [2] Sometimes we think we are even seeing the retreat of a grand army, and then sometimes the advance of a small . . . corps. The poor ministers are here. Tomorrow the headquarters is to be transferred here. [3] . . . The hospitals will be arranged to care for the sick and wounded. [4] The guard fires are burning, and the guards themselves deserting. — Here you have a basic picture of our situation.

If everything that passes through here by land and by water, as they say, ends up in Würzburg, then Athens will quickly be transformed into Lacedaemon, [5] and the surrendering of your library and vacating of the museums would be the most significant auspices of far more stormy events, events that will be drawing in Huns, Vandals, Illyrians, Pandours, Cossacks, and Tartars. [6] I would think they would transfer the university to the Kreutzberg. [7] Though there is admittedly a lack of public buildings there, in the meantime one could certainly erect some mud huts, and given the harmony regnant among the current members of the academy, I would think life there could quickly become quite Arcadian. [8] I will leave it to you to carry these ideas a bit further in filling out the picture. —

I do in the meantime hope that you will be left quite in peace in your apartment. [9] . . .

Stay well, and carry on as quietly and peacefully as possible. . . .

My regards to Schelling; his Jahrbücher have arrived in the Goebh. bookstore. [10]


[*] Source: Fuhrmans 3:259 (Neueste Post. Karte von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Laendern [Vienna 1805]):



[1] Apparently not extant. Back.

[2] The reference is broadly to the various theaters of war associated with the First (1792–97), Second (1798–1802), and Third (1803–late 1805) Wars of Coalition against, first, the French Republic, and then Napoleon.

Until 1803 Bamberg was associated militarily with Franconia, afterwards with Bavaria. Concerning military developments during the period when Marcus is here writing, see the supplementary appendix on the Third Coalition and the Treaty of Pressburg, August–December 1805.

The incipient war between Austria and France, moreover, with the Austrian advance into Bavaria and occupation of Landshut, prompted Maximilian, prince elector of Bavaria, to vacate Munich and transfer his court to Würzburg (Neueste Post. Karte von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Laendern, ed. T. Molls [Vienna 1805]):


In Würzburg they requisitioned not only administrative buildings, but also private residences. Concerning those developments, see supplementary appendix 396.1. Back.

[3] Concerning these movements of Bavarian officials and troops to Bamberg and Würzburg, see the “Missive from Munich, 11 September 1805” on 11 September 1805″ in supplementary appendix 396.1. Back.

[4] Such included the Bamberg General Hospital. Back.

[5] The name under which the Greek city-state of Sparta was known in antiquity; during the 5th century BCE, it defeated its rival Athens in the Peloponnesian War to become the leading city of Greece (Shepherd, Greece at the Beginning of the Peloponnesian War (451 B.C.), from William R. Shepherd, Historical Atlas [New York 1926]); University of Texas Libraries, Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection):



[6] All names of warlike peoples or groups who ravaged or otherwise threatened other countries or populations.

  • Huns, the nomadic Asiatic people who entered Europe in the 4th–5th centuries CE;
  • Vandals, the Germanic people that ravaged Gaul, Spain, and North Africa in the 4th–5th centuries and sacked Rome in 455 CE;
  • Illyrians, the ancient people the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea known especially for their acts of piracy;
  • Pandours, during the 17th and 18th centuries irregular Austrian troops largely involved in looting, burning, and in murdering defenseless people;
  • Cossacks, from southern Russia and the Ukraine, known esp. for their fierce independent nature and their horsemanship and military skill, including in the service of Russia;
  • Tartars, a mix of peoples from central Asian peoples who under the leadership of Genghis Khan marched through Asia and even into eastern Europe in the 13th century.

Here Huns murder Saint Ursula and her companions at Cologne (Lorenzo Pasinelli, Jungfrauenmord [1691]; Herzog August Bibliothek; Museums./Signatur Graph. A2: 110) and Vandals plunder Rome (from Charlotte M. Yonge, Young Folks’ History of Rome [Boston 1880], plate on p. 402):




[7] Presumably a reference to the Kreuzberg just outside Marktheidenfeld, 25km west of Würzburg (C. F. Hammer, Charte von Fränken… nach ihrer jezigen neuerlichen Eintheilung [Nürnberg 1811]):



[8] Arcadia, a mountainous district in the Peloponnese of southern Greece that in literature came to represent an idyllic pastoral paradise (map: Ancient Greece, southern, Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge [1829]; David Rumsey Historical Map Collection; illustration: Salomon Gessner, Antiker Brunnen am Waldeingang mit Hirtenpaar und drei Rindern [1767–68]; Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum; Museums./Signatur Museumsnr. / Signatur SGessner AB 3.11):



From the Schellings’ perspective, of course, relationships among the faculty at the university in Würzburg were anything but harmonious. Back.

[9] As Caroline reports in her letter to Julie Gotter on 1 December 1805 (letter 399), the Schellings did not have to vacate their apartment in Würzburg. See the pertinent section in the supplementary appendix on the Schellings’s residence in Würzburg. Back.

[10] Joseph Anton Göbhardt in Bamberg, publisher of, among other things, Carl Joseph Windischmann’s Ideen zur Physik, vol. 1 (Würzburg, Bamberg 1805). Concerning the delay with the appearance of Schelling and Marcus’s Jahrbücher der Medizin, see Caroline’s to Carl Joseph Windischmann on 28 September 1805 (letter 397), note 1 (Joseph Richter, Bildergalerie weltlicher Misbräuche: Ein Gegenstück zur Bildergalerie katholischer und klösterlicher Misbräuche [Frankfurt, Leipzig 1785], illustration preceding p. 149):



Translation © 2017 Doug Stott