Golden Else

The Siegessaule,a triumphal column,Golden Else, Berlin, Germany

Public Art : Golden Else also known as Victoria

Nickname : Goldelse ( meaning "golden Lizzy"), "Chick on a Stick"

Sculptor : © Friedrich Drake ( Born 1805 in Pyrmont, Germany and died April 6, 1882 in Berlin)

Date: c.1873

Location : Atop the Triumphal Column of the Siegessaule, Grosser Stern, Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany.

Golden Else, Berlin, GermanyDescription: The Siegessaule, a triumphal column, was designed by Johann Heinrich Strack to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Prusso-Danish War of 1864, however, by the time the column was erected they had two more wins to celebrate, Austro-Prussian War (1866) and France in the Franco-Prussian War (1870/1871). The 69m column was built from 1864 to 1873 and was constructed from 4 awfully big blocks of sandstone, of which three, have been decorated with cannon pipes. And where would one get so many cannon pipes, you may ask ? Well, they were collected them from their enemies, after the Unification Wars. Now, that is definately rubbing salt into the wounds of Denmark, Austria and France. Nothing, like using public art for gloating purposes. The other block was added later and is decorated with golden garlands. There are four bronze reliefs on the foundation of the column showing the three wars and the victorious marching of the troops into Berlin (of course). The reliefs were created by Moritz Schulz (1825–1904), Karl Keil (1838–1889), Alexander Calandrelli (1834-1903) and Albert Wolff (1814–1892).

The  8.3m high and 35 ton gilded figure sculpted by Friedrich Drake, known as "Golden Else", represents the Goddess of Victory and was added later, after Prussian victories against Austria (1866) and France (1871) known as the "Unification Wars". The barefooted and winged Victoria, holds up a wreath in her right hand ,whilst in her left she carries a staff. On her helmet rests an eagle or phoenix.

So who really is the Goddess of Victory ? : Okay, the Greek's started the ball rolling with the goddess first appearing in Greek Mythology, as Nike (not the shoe), meaning victory. It was later adopted by the Romans with a name change and a different storyline (but basically the same). In Roman mythology she was know as Victoria, which means victory in Latin and Greek. The Romans indulged in their goddess, building temples and having her image appear on anything, from coins to architecture. Usually, Victory is depicted riding her chariot.

Some May Find This Interesting : The reliefs on the base of the Siegessaule were removed by the French forces during WWII (that's what happens when you gloat). However, in 1987 the then French President, François Mitterrand, had them restored and presented to Berlin (on behalf of France) for Berlin's 750th anniversary.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to Dr Andrew Taylor for kindly providing the photographs.


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