Roman Latin or Egon and the imperial convent
Here you find out why the local Dominican nuns had no worries about money and where the insane resided in Tulln; why Egon’s father was dismissed and how the old convent became a Roman museum.
Many aristocratic girls did not marry in good time. What was to be done with them? What was to be done with upper-class women who became widows? The Imperial Convent at Tulln was the answer in both cases. New members were welcomed with open arms, not least because of the dowry they brought with them. And it freed them from garden work as well as nursing and pastoral duties. Yet the prioresses of the Dominican Order had good connections at the imperial court. In 1443 the Habsburg King Friedrich III personally granted them the privilege of “annually transporting ten fuder (cartloads) of wine to Passau and two pounds of salt toll-free through Austria.” But then a fire destroyed the large convent and its stately church. The nuns went into debt rebuilding the complex. And before long, they were forced to leave their refuge of faith on the banks of the Danube.
Sanatorium - today home to the Roman Museum and a youth hostel
In Egon’s school years, a sanatorium was housed in the spacious rooms of the former convent. Treatment was expensive there. Many well-to-do patients were afflicted with nerve disorders and hallucinations. “Going insane” was the common parlance back then. Egon’s father certainly did in the late stages of his battle with syphilis: memory loss, hallucinations, dementia. As many as one third of all patients in psychiatric wards were suffering from this treacherous and widespread disease at the start of the twentieth century.
Traces of the Ancient Romans.
In 1904 Adolf Schiele was “relieved of his duties as station master out of consideration for his health” as his service file reads at the Imperial Royal Austrian State Railroads. Egon had been living in Klosterneuburg for two years when this happened. He was struggling to make it through the Realgymnasium there, a university-track secondary school with an emphasis on science. And at the time he was seeing his beloved father only on weekends. He would not live to see the former convent repurposed yet again. The Roman Museum opened its doors in the priory of the former Dominican convent in 2001, more than eight decades after his early death. It features exemplary finds from Comagenis, a cavalry fort that Tulln can thank for its long history as a center of trade.