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Dear Augustin

The legendary and drinking Viennese bänkelsänger, bagpiper and impromptu poet has supposedly actually lived. By Augustin N. (1645-1685) the surname only the first letter from the official death list is known (source: Historical Dictionary of the City of Wien ). In some sources, however, the name Markus Augustin is given. In his favorite restaurant "Zum roten Dachel" in Vienna's 1st district (later the "Griechenbeisl") he regularly performed his funny and crude songs and pats. The very popular in Wien and the this year but often sung song "Oh, you dear Augustin" was created only after his death around the year 1800.

Plaque on the wall of the Griechenbeisl's Vienna, 1st verse of the song, Augustin Fountain in Vienna new building

After one of these evenings, the excessive consumption of wine staggered heavily into his dwelling. The year of the event is stated as 1679. At that time there was in Wien just a terrible plague epidemic in which 150,000 people died. Augustin fell at the church of St. Ulrich in the 7th district of Vienna called Neubau in an open plague pit, in which then the deceased plague victim was thrown in and covered with quicklime (according to another version, he was found drunk on the street and from the Pestknechten thrown into the pit). He fell asleep in the dark and was not released from his precarious situation until the next morning by the plumbers. Allegedly, he took no physical damage and emptied a lot of glass. Whether this was due to alcohol consumption remains forever an unsolved mystery.

Whether the love Augustin actually lived is not certain. Among other things, also has the famous preacher Abraham a Sancta Clara (1644-1709) in one of his legendary sermons in the year 1675 in the Rochuskirche (Wien-Landstraße) tells of a drunken bagpiper, who was thrown by the gravediggers into a plague pit. However, he did not mention the place of the incident, nor did he refer to a person named Augustin. In 1679, a pestilence order written by the medical officer 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 investigation absolutely necessary before a burial by a mortician. This was not the case with loving Augustin and could have ended for this evil (buried alive).

As painful as this is for the Viennese, who have become fond of "their" Augustin, it is probably only a legend. For already in 1576 a similar incident is reported by a man in Cologne. And the English writer Daniel Defoe (1660-1731), well-known for his book "Robinson Crusoe," tells a very similar story, which allegedly happened in London in the plague year of 1665. See also other quirky stories about excessive wine enjoyment below intoxication and drinking culture,

Picture left: By Zenit - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 , Link
Picture right: By Thomas Ledl - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 at , Link

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