The gravestone of a German baroness who is believed to be the source of inspiration behind the famous children’s fairytale called snow white has been rediscovered. It is on display in Bamberg Diocesan Museum and is considered to be a fan favorite.
Who Was the Original Snow White
According to historians the German Baroness Sophia Maria von Erthal was born in 1725 and was the daughter of Prince Philipp von Erthal who owned a mirror factor. She had two brothers Prince Bishop Franz Ludwig and Archbishop Friedrich Karl Joseph.
After the death of Sophia’s mother, her father remarried when n she was 18 years old. According to some documents recovered by historians her relationship with stepmother Claudia Elisabeth Maria von Venningen, the imperial countess of Reichenstein was not very good.
The Landscape and the Mining Operations
One mirror belonging to the Erthal family has the words “amour propre” meaning self-love inscription on it. Another critical factor that may have inspired or influenced the story may have been the mines that were present nearby where children often worked.
The seven dwarfs and the seven hills they pass every day to get to work may have been inspired by the actual landscape that came en route to the miners’ work.
For A Female to Get a Grave Stone in 18th Century Germany Is a Big Deal
“Regardless of whatever relevancy the gravestone may have to the story we still would have displayed it,” said the museum’s director” its a big deal for a female living in the 18th century to get her name on a gravestone”. This was impossible to achieve keeping in mind the male-dominated society that existed.
Sophia Maria von Erthal the original snow white went blind and died in 1796 in a Bamberg monastery where she was buried. Sometime during the 19th century, the monastery was demolished, and her gravestone was considered lost only to be rediscovered in a private collector’s possession.
The conditions and the life the baroness lived were very well known by the people, so there is a high probability that the author was aware of these facts before he wrote the story.