Goethe on fleas/Goethe’s juristische Abhandlung über die Flöhe

The Legal Antiquarian is a promising new blog from Mike Hoeflich of the University of Kansas School of Law.

In a recent entry, it mentions Goethe’s juristische Abhandlung über die Flöhe.

It looks as if the original was by Otto Philipp Zaunschliffer, whether in Latin or German. In the Rococo period, there was a plague of fleas, and Zaunschliffer wrote this spoof treatise on fleas in that time. It became very popular with law students. Later it was wrongly attributed to Goethe. the Wikipedia entry on Flohbein mentions this – a Flohbein (flea leg) being a ceramic woman’s leg with fleas or fleabites on the upper thigh, used to fill a pipe with tobacco. Here’s a picture from Gleiberg, via Wikipedia:

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