Joseph Viktor von Scheffel (1826–1886) came to Hohentwiel in 1854, spent a few weeks in the guest house and wrote his novel Ekkehard there. The love story between Hadwig, the widow of Duke Burkhard von Schwaben, and the monk Ekkehard became the most-read novel of the 19th century. There was indeed a monk named Ekkehard at St. Gallen monastery at Hadwig's time, but Scheffel embroidered to his heart's content the historically accurate connection to the Duchess.
Hohentwiel - a symbol of national unity
Plaques for the nation
Two plaques on the interior wall of the armory commemorate poet Joseph Viktor von Scheffel and Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. Both were venerated as national heroes when the German Empire was created in 1871, and with them Hohentwiel as a symbol of national unity.
Otto von Bismarck was Chancellor of the German Empire from 1871 to 1890. He was one of the main driving forces behind the creation of the Empire and he was key in helping to define its politics. Following his removal in 1890, he attracted cult worship everywhere in the German Empire. The plaque on Hohentwiel is just one of countless testimonies to this. Following his death in 1898, a total of 240 Bismarck towers were erected, spanning the whole of the German Empire.
The bronze reliefs were completed circa 1900. Portraying the poet and the statesman was about more than personal glory. The novel's success was not just due to the romantic love story. It led readers into the heyday of the Ottonian emperors and stirred up contemporaries' desire for national unity and size. A large part of the bourgeoisie found this dream fulfilled with the creation of Bismarck's German Empire. Around the turn of the century, Hohentwiel had become a site and symbol of national enthusiasm.