102512 | GERMANY & ROMANIA. Buridan's Ass/Satirical cast iron Medal.
102512 | GERMANY & ROMANIA. Buridan's Ass/Satirical cast iron Medal. Issued 1916. The hesitancy of Romania (69mm, 78.74 g, 12h). By W. Eberbach.
DER ESEL BURIDANS, Buridan's ass standing slightly left, with head lowered and tongue out; to left, banner of the German empire billowing and placed among a large mound of hay; to right, banner of France hanging lifeless and placed among a much smaller mound of hay // DEN / BEDENKLICHEN / RUMAENEN / GEWIDMET / 1916 (dedicated to the questionable Romanians) in five lines; all within decorative border. Edge: D•113 17.
Klose 8.34. Choice Mint State. Deep charcoal gray surfaces, with a great matte nature. A scarce type done in the same format as Eberbach's famous "Totentanz" (Dance of Death) series.
Romania played an interesting role in the politics of World War I, in that she began as a neutral country during the war's first two years, whereupon she joined with the Entente powers in August 1916. However, later in the following year, she found herself under the thumb of the Central powers, namely the German Empire, ultimately finding peace (and what amounted to a loss of sovereignty) after the Treaty of Bucharest in May 1918. She then rejoined the efforts on the eve of Armistice, coming in again on the side of the Entente.
Here, Eberbach alludes to Romania's hesitancy during the war's early years, while recounting the paradox named after 14th century French philosopher, Jean Buridan, whose philosophy Eberbach seeks to satirize. In the paradox of Buridan's ass, an ass (donkey) that is equally hungry and thirsty, and placed an equal distance from hay and water, will die of both hunger and thirst, as a logical decision of which to choose cannot be made. Here, however, Eberbach has seemingly tipped the logic scales somewhat, in that he portrays the German haystack as being much more robust but, in reality, it was Germany that needed Romania, as Romanian supplies of oil and grain were vital in Germany's continued efforts during most of 1918.
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