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Hesse - Saint-Laurent | by Martin M. Miles
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Hesse - Saint-Laurent

A benedictine abbey was founded here by the alsatian Count of Eguisheim-Dabo (aka Egisheim-Dagsburg) in 1049. Pope Saint Leo IX, born Bruno of Eguisheim-Dagsburg, consecrated an altar here in 1050, when the construction of the abbey just had started. The history of the abbey is not a very lucky one, as it was over centuries just a revenue producing fief, that changed hands quite often.

 

Not much is left from the once cruciformed church built around 1200. The history of the abbey in Hesse ended after the French Revolution and as the basic structure of a building was very unsound, two bays, the northern apse and transept were demolished end of the 18th century, leaving a torso of the once impressing church.

 

The romanesque southern arm of the transept has extensive carvings, that are delicately and full of imagination. They mingle floral designs with mythological elements.

 

Here the head of a man, holding up two "creatures".

 

The gentleman, is perfectly combed (even the beard!), but he has two horizontal horns. So this can only be a devil - in the gesture of a "master of the beasts". He has obviously grabbed the two little feathered dragons out of the vines and holds them now parallel to his face. The dragons are looking up to the devil´s eyes, like waiting for orders. He will tell them, what to do - and throw them down to the onlookers.

 

The left side of the capital is much better composed and carved, than the right one (see the hands), - I have no idea why..

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Taken in April 2011