Tales and Titles

Source: Dr. Gertraud Sturm Dissertation, Vienna, 2011

Professor David Heinrich Mueller was the first who, being the second figure of significance
in the Austro-Hungarian Oriental academic science in the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century, paid his attention to the Sabaean studies and then went to the island of Socotra (Soqotra) as a head of
the Austrian South Arabian Expedition 1898-99 to collect Soqotri oral folk texts which were first of all folktales!

He also invited a number of Socotrans to Vienna in 1902-1907 and recorded their poetry and songs by phonograph (these recordings are among the very first recordings of the unique languages world wide Sound Archive started by the K.u.K. Austro-Hungarian Academy of Sciencies).

He was knighted by the Emperor Franz-Josef I as a baron (Freiherr) with a title ‘Mueller von Dedham’ on Dec. 20, 1912. Unfortunately, he died a day after.

As a Freiherr he (and then the members of his family too) had got a family Coat of Arms the design of which was made by the Imperial Herald and the top heraldic expert Ernest Krahl (the designer of the Coat of Arms of Serbia of 1882 and also of the initial design of the Coat of Arms of the Austrian Republic in 1919).

We do not know if Prof. D. H. Mueller took part in his Title of Nobility and Coat of Arms designing: we have no answer and the question remains open.

However, there are two things seeing unusual in this issue:

– the name “Deham” after the nobiliary particle “von”: not “von Mueller”, but “Mueller von Deham” (his younger son who after 1938 lived in the US was called Albert Mueller-Daham); what does this “Deham” mean and where it does come from, if not from Socotra where there is a significant coastal fishers’ and pearl divers’ village Deham some miles to the west from Muri and its modern airfield;

– the head of “natuerliche Antilope” (“natural antelope”) in the top of the Coat of Arms design: is this an allusion to a Socotran wild gazelle – not registred by his British colleagues Dr. H.O. Forbes and Mr. W.R. Grant (Ogilvie-Grant) – but recorded by Mueller in a number of remarcable folklore texts?

Examples of Ernest Krahl’s heraldic art:

From: Wikipedia

From: Dorotheum

From: austria-forum.org

From: Wikimedia

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