Todt zum Heyden:
Death to The Heathen|
Come, deceitful dog and godless man.
Your idol cannot help you.
The Devil have you honoured as God,
he has heard your prayer.
Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto.
You highest gods - please don't leave me,
because you all three are immortal.
Saturn please have mercy.
Frölich's picture of the heathen is somewhat different from Merian's. The picture is mirror-inversed, and the heathen's wife is included, so Frölich could use the woodcut twice. Death has breasts and veil, but many of Frölich's woodcuts are rather free interpretations, so one should not attach too much importance to this.
It may sound odd there were people living in Basel in the late Middle Ages, who were still praying to Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto and Saturn. If we look at the dance of death in Kleinbasel (to the right), we see that the heathen and his wife used to pray to Mohammed. In Kleinbasel Death says to the heathen: »Machmet mach dich nit bescirmen« (="Mohammed cannot protect you") and the heathen / Turk regrets that he must leave all his wives: »Ich mosz al min frawen lon«.
When Kluber in 1568 added the Turkish emperor Suleiman I, the Magnificent at the end of the dance, there was no longer a need for Turks at this position, so the Turks were transformed into "heathens", who are praying to the old Roman gods.
|English translation from Beck, 1852|
|Death to the Pagan.||The Pagan's reply.|
Come, godless man and truthless whelp,
Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto,