Featured Stein: December 2012
~ Gaudeamus Igitur ~
By Master Steinologist Roy De Selms

The verse on this porcelain character stein by Ernst Bohne & Söhne presents the first two lines of a very famous student song often used at graduation commencements and at beer drinking events. The lyrics represent the lighter side of student life and the shortness of life in general. The language is Latin and the full song, shown below,  dates to the early 18th Century which in turn was based on a Latin manuscript from 1287.

The anatomically correct skull is resting on a Commersbuch (students' song book). Note that many song books had four hobnails on the front and the back as seen in the pictures below. Students would take these books to parties and sing the songs inside the book while drinking beer, etc. When the parties were in full swing and beer got spilled on the tables, these eight Biernägel (beer nails) would keep the book, opened or closed, from getting soaked when set on the tables.

The three sides of the stein's base are displayed below.
Shown below is a copy of a Commersbuch with its title page and a close up of the Biernägel . This book is the  "Allgemeines Deutsches Kommersbuch", first published in 1858 with its 162nd edition published in 2004. Note that Commersbuch can be spelled with either a "C" or a "K". The "C" spelling came from Latin long before the "K" or Germanisized spelling.

Gaudeamus Igitur
  Gaudeamus igitur,
Juvenes dum sumus;
Post icundum juventutem,
Post molestam senectutem
Nos habebit humus.
Let us therefore rejoice,
While we are young;
After our youth,
After a troublesome old age
The ground will hold us.

  Vita nostra brevis est,
Brevi finietur;
Venit mors velociter,
Rapit nos atrociter;
Nemini parcetur.
Our life is brief,
It will shortly end;
Death comes quickly,
Cruelly snatches us;
No-one is spared.

  Ubi sint qui ante nos
In mundo fuere?
Vadite ad superos,
Transite in inferos
Hos si vis videre.
Where are those who before us
Existed in the world?
You may go up to the gods,
You may cross into the underworld
If you wish to see them.

  Vivat academia,
Vivant professores,
Vivat membrum quodlibet,
Vivat membra quaelibet;
Semper sint in flore!
Long live the university,
Long live the teachers,
Long live each male student,
Long live each female student;
May they always flourish!

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