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Dear Augustin

The legendary and easy-drinking Viennese banker, bagpiper and poet of hands supposedly actually lived. From Augustin N. (1645-1685) only the first letter of the official death list is known from the surname (source: Historisches Lexikon der Stadt Wien ). In some sources, however, the name Markus Augustin is given. In his regular pub "Zum rote Dachel" in the 1st district of Vienna (later the "Olga Beisl") he regularly performed his funny and coarse songs and swans. The very popular in Wien and at this year often sung song "Oh you dear Augustine" did not appear until after his death around 1800.

Plaque on the wall of the Gottesbeisl's Vienna, 1st stanza of the song, Augustin fountain in Vienna's new building

After one of these evenings, he staggered from his excessive consumption of wine to his home. 1679 is specified as the year of the event. Back then there was Wien just a terrible plague epidemic that killed 150,000 people. Augustin fell at the Church of St. Ulrich in the 7th district of Vienna called Neubau into an open plague pit, into which the deceased plague victims were thrown at that time and covered with unlime lime (according to another version he was found drunk on the street and by the Plague servants thrown into the pit). He fell asleep in the dark and was only released from his precarious situation the next morning by the plague workers. He allegedly took no physical damage and emptied many a glass. Whether this was perhaps due to alcohol consumption remains an unsolved mystery forever.

It is not certain whether Augustine was actually alive. Among other things, the famous preacher Abraham a Sancta Clara (1644-1709) told at one of his legendary sermons in 1675 in Rochuskirche (Vienna-Landstrasse) about a drunken bagpiper who was thrown into a plague pit by the gravediggers. However, he did not mention the location of the incident, nor did he refer to a person named Augustin. In 1679 a plague ordinance, written by the official physician Paul de Sorbait, appeared in Wien , in which this story was also mentioned as a warning example. However, he had a different motive and only wanted to point out the examination by a death examiner that is absolutely necessary before a burial. This had not happened to Dear Augustine and could have ended badly for him (buried alive).

As painful as it is for the Viennese who loved “their” Augustin, it is probably just a legend. A similar incident was reported by a man in Cologne as early as 1576. The English writer Daniel Defoe (1660-1731), known through his book "Robinson Crusoe", also tells a very similar story, which allegedly happened in London in 1665. See also other quirky stories about excessive wine consumption below intoxication and drinking culture,

Left picture: Von Zenit - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 , Link
Right: By Thomas Ledl - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 at , Link

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