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Roth, Hans and Margarethe

German, he: 1501 - 1573; she: 1507 - 1582

Vöhlin, Margarethe


Hans Roth married Margarethe Vöhlin in the town hall of Augsburg on 5 February 1526. Both Hans and Margarethe belonged to prominent mercantile families of southern Germany. Margaret was the daughter of a prominent merchant and patrician of Memmingen, Konrad Vöhlin [d.1511], and his second wife, Margaret Sättelin.

The Vöhlins were one of the foremost patrician families in Memmingen, appearing in that city around 1340 and not dying out until between 1786 and 1816. Konrad Vöhlin served six times as mayor and attained a high rank in the civil militia. Together with his brother-in-law, he founded the "Grosse deutsche Kompagnie", a trading company that dealt with such far-flung territories as India and Venezuela. Spices were doubtless a major import and the three Ps on the Vöhlin coat-of-arms are usually considered an allusion to the family's earlier ventures in the spice trade. The Ps are commonly believed to refer to pepper (pfeffer), part of the family's trade in spices, especially those used in wine (Würzwein), and associated with the letters in the following Latin sentences: Piper Peperit Pecuniam,/ Pecunia Peperit Pompam,/ Pompa Peperit Pauperiem,/ Pauperies Peperit Pietatem. This may be translated: Pepper produces profit/ Profit produces pomp/ Pomp produces poverty/ Poverty produces piety.

Although his family was based in Ulm, Hans Roth (or Rott) is mentioned in the tax books of Augsburg before 1526. He was listed in 1526 as a member of the patrician society "Zum Goldenen Löwen" (at the Golden Lion) in Memmingen and in 1536 he and his wife sold a portion of the revenues from an estate, the "Frauen Mühle," also in Memmingen. Rieber believes he was a Protestant by 1530. Roth was back in Ulm by 1542, and as an international merchant and banker had become rich enough to have a castle constructed in Reutti, near Ulm, as well as a large patrician house in Ulm. He and Margarethe had two sons, Georg and Hans, and two daughters, Regina and Margarethe. Hans Roth died on 14 March 1573 and was survived by Margarethe, who died on 5 July 1582. [See letter of 10 August 1988 to John Hand from Dr. Gebhard Weig, Stadtarchiv, Ulm, in object file (1971.83.11) in NGA curatorial records.]

Westermann, U. "Die Vöhlin zu Memmingen." Memminger Geschichtsblätter 9 (November - December 1923), 33-40, 41-44.
Braur, Walter. "Das Wappen der Memminger Familie Vöhlin." Memminger Geschichtsblätter (1970): 35-40.
Rieber, Albrecht. Reutti, Stadt Neu-Ulm. Evangelische Pfarrkirche St. Margareta. Weissenhorn, 1984.
Hand, John Oliver, with the assistance of Sally E. Mansfield. German Paintings of the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1993: 170-173.
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