This, as promised, is the passage from Jan Dlugosz, part of his entry for the eventful year of 1455:
"Two disasters now strike the city of Cracow. On the day the new bishop, Thomas Strzepinski is elected, a fine bell with a very pleasant ring, a gift of the late Cardinal-bishop Olesnicki, is dislodged and falls and breaks the upper part of one ear, thus making it useless, until it can be recast. Then, on the following day, fire breaks out in the house of Thomas the Armourer, which is close to the church. The attempts to put it out are only half-hearted, for almost all the apprentices are outside the city shooting at a popinjay or watching others do it; then the wind goes round to the north and the flames break out again, and the fire spreads rapidly. Some of the houses affected have gunpowder stored in them and this only increases the blaze. People are more concerned to rescue the contents of their houses than to put out the fire, which, in the end, consumes over a hundred houses and four churches, as well as the college of the students of canon law, only two of the canon's houses being saved, one that of the cantor and the other that of Canon Jan Dlugosz [i.e. the author]. The fire spreads as far as the castle, killing many, especially those who take refuge in their cellars. Many attribute the outbreak to the hurt done to God's name, when the Jews, who used to deposit most of their possessions with Thomas the Armourer, were granted their liberty.".
- annals of Jan Dlugosz, page 523
This is interesting for several reasons. All the apprentices are shooting the popinjay, probably in exactly the way depicted in the Balthasar Behem Codex image Ariella linked. And probably as part of some holiday associated with the election of the new Bishop. Why do I think that? Because the Balthasar Behem is specifically a survey of guild laws in Cracow and all the miniatures in it depict the craft guilds in various activities. It is interesting to me that the apprentices are practicing marskmanship. This is reminiscent of what we know of the (archers) guilds of St. Sebastian in Flanders, and correlates with the other links linking the craft guilds to town-defense in Krakow (i.e the craft guilds built and maintained all the principle defensive towers and gates). Except that I'm a bit surprised that apprentices were involved in this sort of thing though I probably shouldn't be.
It's also interesting that people are storing gunpowder in their houses.
Finally, what the hell is Dlugosz talking about in his implied blaming of the Jews for the fire, and what was their relationship with that rascal Thomas the Armourer?
Last edited by bigdummy
on 29 Jul 2012 04:58, edited 2 times in total.
"In the case of an ailing social order, the absence of an adequate diagnosis... is a crucial, perhaps decisive part of the disease." -Zygmunt Bauman
"With any luck we'll be in Stalingrad by winter. " - Anyonymous German soldier