If the arcaded courtyard is the centre of Vienna University, then the Castalia fountain is its heart. It was created in 1910 by the sculptor Edmund Hellmer.
“I am Castalia, daughter of Achelous. My sleep is dreaming, my dream became knowledge.” This inscription in Greek can be found on the right and left of the fountain’s statue. Castalia, daughter of the river god Achelous – depicted here as a snake – is the nymph of the Castalian Spring at Delphi and is known to inspire poetry and wisdom. The spring water is supposed to provide those who listen to its babbling with inspiration and wisdom.
In Greek mythology, Castalia, pursued by Apollo, throws herself into the anointed spring at Delphi which has since borne her name. It is a relatively rare subject in the applied arts of the modern era but does feature in the fountain statue group by Antonio Ammanati for the Sala Grande in Palazzo Vecchio (1555-1563). In poetry, Castalia appears in Heinrich Heine’s work for example.