Prague, of course, is haunted. Any place with history surely is. See www.grandtimes.com/Rambling_with.html. And, shivers at www.afallon.com/europe/places/prague.htm. And www.expats.cz/prague/article/czech-culture/haunted-prague/.
Ask about the pose of a statue, however, and see what the explanations are for an otherwise sinister-looking context. This fine statue fellow is in an unusual pose with a front leg extended straight forward and down, toe pointing, also known as the Iron Knight, looks the stuff of horror.
He may represent, however, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II or Rudolph II who ruled 1583-1612, and who went to the Jewish Quarter to see his love, according to this site. She is there at his feet in despair, see the left leg dangling. See www.remunda.com/travel/review/prague_monuments.html. Read about his reign at ://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/rupr/hd_rupr.htm/ Find a Virtual Jewish History Tour at ://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/Prague.html
The statue: Look closely, lower left - that is her head as you peer, she is partially sitting, head all disheveled and hanging low, and her legs limply dangle while he strides above, almost (not really) like fourth position, www.dgillan.screaming.net/stage/th-frames.html?http&&&www.dgillan.screaming.net/stage/th-ballet3.html. The site says, however, that she is hiding her face for shame at the "sin" of falling in love with a Christian.
Story does not hold together - she looks quite dead. Murdered even. Sin? Bother him? Not a whit. Plus ca change.
Read about Rudolph II Habsburg, 1583-1612, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia and Hungary, a great patron of the arts, at www.metmuseum.org/TOAH/hd/rupr/hd_rupr.htm, a paper by Jacob Wisse, Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University.
- Other sides to rulers: Guidebooks and quick history look-ups are inadequate for anything but a fast orientation. Look deeper.
There are other sides to people than the instantly seen, known. Rudolph II is also listed among the rulers of the world who are known homosexuals or bisexuals. How do they know? Each one would have to be vetted as to source, and weighed, see Homosexual and Bisexual Rulers and When They Lived, a list that includes rulers of Rome, England, France, Spain, Byzantine rulers, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, at ://www.gaylib.com/text/igay9.htm. China: see ://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/china-gaytexts.html/ To us, the only issue is why orientation should be an issue for anyone, as consenting persons, unless it is strictly religious and then they of course can do as they like as to themselves, but not as to others not sharing that belief. The site's information stems from an agenda for acceptance of a group, showing it widespread among the rich and famous, but that does not in itself negate the validity. Vet the long list for any individual that surprises you because you did not know.
Update: 2011. Hartford Courant, article on Hero: The Life and Times of Lawrence of Arabia, book by Michael Korda. Not a whisper of his orientation by the reviewer, Tim Rutton. Silly. Tells an incomplete story. Fib by omission, and perpetuating a stereotype of unnecessary hush. Deeper issues of cultural shaping, see Catching the Phoenix at ://www.nickyee.com/ponder/social_construction.html
The site at ://www.remunda.com/travel/review/prague_monuments.htmlreferences an alternate explanation to the statue's context, involving some "O Udence" in Platnerska Street, and a sign now in the "town museum." I am now looking up O Udence. Only get "jurisprUDENCE". Translate "o" -- get "the". What about Udence? Now for Platnerska. Found this map-photo of the street: www.prague.es/map/platnerska/6/.
- Timelines for emperors, rulers, events.