Sunday, April 17, 2011

Of High and of Low Beds

The other day I stepped into a furniture store. A salesperson (a man) walked up to me. Following the usual preliminaries he eyeballed me and firmly stated: You need a high bed. How did the guy know that my bed is only 45 cm (18”) high?

Although I get older each time between going to bed and waking up the following morning so far and until further notice I still managed to climb out of it.

Nevertheless, when visiting the States two month ago I savoured the high beds of at least 60 cm (24”). They reminded me of those at my grandparents' farm in Westphalia. When as a child I visited them and sat on the beds my legs were not long enough to touch the ground.

Admire the medieval student struggling with his high bed in the early days of Freiburg's university:


When looking at the picture I understand the expression to climb into bed because there is even a footstep. It seems that in the States they not only hung on to the tradition of high beds but to the traditions of the medieval university too.

In the early days of Freiburg’s university students (freshmen, no women) had to learn during two years (college years?) the seven free arts in the philosophical faculty. It was the Greek philosopher Boethius (480-524) who had divided the ancient knowledge into the subjects of grammar, rhetoric (elocution), dialectic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music. The students graduated in philosophy obtaining a baccalaureus artium (bachelor). Only then they were allowed to take up the study of theology, law, medicine or continue with philosophy to finish those four faculties with a degree of magister (master).

In a manuscript from the second half of the XII century called Hortos deliciarium (Garden of pleasance) the seven arts are depicted as women where Lady Grammar claims: From me you can learn what are the words, syllibales and letters. Difficult stuff not only yesteryear such that the lady typically is shown with a birch in her right hand ready to punish her pupils (naked) where one of them feigns reading his grammar book. This photo I took in the front porch of Freiburg's M√ľnster where statues of all seven arts are displayed.


Following a European directive but with lots of resistance universities in Germany are actually obliged go back to their roots in replacing the usual university degrees of diploma or state examination with bachelor and master degrees.

Coming back to the height of beds: How is it that contrary to the beds toilet seats in the States are so low, i.e., much lower than those in Europe. Kohler, was he a dwarf? Well, I agree this is another and completely different story.

2 comments:

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  2. well this is really an ancient kind of thing. i really feel great to see the Cheap Bed Glasgow

    ReplyDelete