What did Konrad von Hochstaden do to get this honor?

Dan Barker is here in Köln, too, and he told me about this strange statue of a 13th century archbishop on the Rathaus. He’s standing on a grotesque.


Closeup below the fold.


Oh, those naughty medieval masons! I don’t know why they put him on that peculiar pedestal, but apparently he wasn’t very popular in Köln.


  1. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    How much chub would a cherub chug, if a cherub could chug chub?

  2. congenital cynic says

    Well blow me down! That thing was unnaturally flexible. Probably a good evolutionary reason that people aren’t that flexible.

  3. marcus says

    PZ; “What did Konrad von Hochstaden do to get this honor?”
    Perhaps the very thing depicted in the grotesque! (?)

  4. Matrim says

    It actually doesn’t require much flexibility, just very little belly fat.

  5. Tethys says

    I loves me some medieval architecture and stonecarving. That particular motif is called an ‘Kallendresser’ which I’ve seen translated as gutter shitter, or raindrain shitter. (context dependent perhaps?) According to this website on the Alter Markt in addition to the Rathaus, there are Renaissance style houses that date from the 1600s , and another Kallendresser on house #24.

    Less moralizing is the ‘Kallendresser’ (freely translated as gutter shitter), a sculpture of a man with his trousers down at the top of the facade of house no. 24. It was created in 1956 by the German sculptor Ewald Mataré. The bronze sculpture is a modern adaptation of a relief that before the war adorned a neighboring house no. 40). The origin of the sculpture is unclear, and some claim that it is a political statement towards the city hall opposite the house.

    I move that the horde adopt this wonderfully descriptive term forthwith and immediately. I also am curious about the story behind the statue of Gerhard somebody with the monkey trio and drums, and Hard Riele.

  6. Joseph Felsenstein says

    According to Wikipedia:

    The whole temporal administration of Konrad was a series of struggles with neighbouring princes and the citizens of Cologne, who refused to acknowledge the temporal sovereignty of the archbishop over their city. Konrad was generally victorious, but his often treacherous manner of warfare has left many dark spots on his reputation.

    Looks like the citizens had the last word.

  7. magistramarla says

    Thanks PZ!
    I was feeling down, but I laughed out loud when I looked at that close-up.

  8. lb says

    “It actually doesn’t require much flexibility, just very little belly fat.”
    Hmmm…and you know this…how? :-)

  9. stultus says

    I can think of a number of sitting senators and congressmen that should be honored this way.

  10. says

    Wasn’t von Hochstaden the Gestapo guy on “Hogan’s Heroes”?

    Close. The character’s name was Hochstetter. I have no idea if the writers drew on the archbishop’s reputation for the name. The name itself in various versions is not uncommon in Germany. (There is an extensive backstory for the character, which includes the claim that Hochstetter somehow refers to goose stepping. It probably doesn’t.)

  11. Lyn M: G.R.O.S.T. (ADM) -- Membership pending says

    This is from https://www.flickr.com/photos/8561740@N08/7836219498
    Haven’t found anything to contradict this, so far, or much to add to it. Whatever the controversy was about, it seems to have receded as a hot topic. He did start two cathedrals/churchs, I understand, so that would mean a lot of money was required.

    Archbishop of Cologne (1238 – 1261), von Hochstaden wielded great influence in imperial affairs but was a controversial and contentious figure. Ultimately, to generate funds for continuing work on the cathedral, he initiated a tax on hops (thus raising the price of beer), a move that may have influenced the grotesque ornamentation added by stone carvers at the base of his statue.

  12. Snidely W says

    @ Deacon Duncan:
    Did you ask for it? Well, yes you did by clicking the “[Read more…]” link.

    Unless you are going to blame your cat or something.

  13. Dog Almighty says

    A few years back I read a book about facts relating to sex. It claimed that one man out of a thousand is flexible enough to give himself oral sex. But that raises the question: if you could suck your own penis, would you?

  14. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    reminiscent of the snarky, age old riddle:
    Q: Why do dogs lick their dicks?
    A: Cuz they can. [wink]

  15. autumn says

    @ 21:
    You really don’t need great length. It is mostly flexability and a thin abdomen. Used to be able to, wasn’t really worth the trouble. Like tickling yourself, the fun seems to be in someone else doing it.

  16. pwuk says


    Q: Why do dogs lick their dicks?
    A: Cuz they can. [wink]

    I’ve often observed my hound giving his todger a good slavering and wished I could do that, maybe if I give him a biscuit he might let me.

  17. David Marjanović says

    Comment 16 has the intent figured out.

    It actually doesn’t require much flexibility, just very little belly fat.

    Not true (pers. obs.).

  18. John Horstman says

    I know two people who can do that (at least – could be more, as I don’t think I’ve discussed autofellatio with everyone I know), both of whom have greater-than-average back flexibility and penis length. Neither actually bothers except as a parlor trick – they both said using their hands was just as pleasurable or more so and involved far less muscle strain.

  19. robertfoster says

    So that’s where the expression “go fuck yourself” comes from. It never seemed like such a bad curse to me. Leave it to the Germans. Always full of surprises.

  20. M'thew says


    Well, German also has the rather uncouth expression “Fick dich ins Knie” (“Fuck yourself in the knee”). Now that has not (to my knowledge) ever caught on in any other language. It’s probably thought of as being too impossible.