Wolfgang Ritter wrote:I find it rather odd, that we discuss in length if or if not the manuscripts were written for nobles.
I'd say of course: Either that or rather very wealthy citizens.
Some of them seem to be notebooks on many different subjects, not necessarily written FOR anybody except the person or people compiling them. While some Fechtbucher are beautiful works of art, others are little more than scribbled notes without any illustrations. Lumping them all into one category is problematic. I think we should be careful of making such sweeping assumptions.
I may should look it up, but I'm pretty sure Ott was wrestling trainer to the austrian archduke, Kal was employed by a noble for more than 20 years; IIRC RIngeck as well; Talhofer was at least partly employed by nobles; Leckküchner dedicatesd hisa whole messer treatise to a noble.
So why the discussion at the moment?!?!?
That doesn''t contradict by any means the fact, that masters may have given lessons to commons, be it on
purpose or for guilds etc. we have records for that as well, just reminding of the company of the
Well, it goes a bit further than that. We know some of the Masters were themselves members of guilds. Joachim Meyer was trained as a messerschmidt (a knife maker), as were apparently many of the Federfechter- and was a citizen on the burgher rolls of at least two towns, Basel and Strassbourg. Conversely, the Marxbrüder, with whom Talhoffer is believed by some to be linked due to his inclusion of the Lion of St. Mark in his coat of arms, were closely associated with the Furriers guilds. Some Federfechter documents denouncing the Marxbruder explicitly conflate them with furriers. The Guild of St. Luke, also associated with fencing, was the painters Guild in the Low-Countries.
At one point Talhoffer was a citizen of Zurich where he was fined for a brawl among his students.
People here don't seem to understand that there was a distinction in the 15th Century between burghers and aristocrats. Some people lived in both worlds, but generally speaking aristocrats did not want to be burghers or live within the territory controlled by a town because that put them under the authority of Town Law. This meant for example that you could be imprisoned and tortured by town authorities as part of a lawsuit. Not something you would want to expose yourself to if you didn't need to be.
Marxbrüder or the Federfechter. We have records that they had a lot of different jobs, I think it was Kal who was working as a gunner, but I may mix him up. Leckküchner was looking to become a priest, i.e. establishing a parrish.
Yes in fact you could flip the connections on their head: many of these guys at one time or another had noble clients, it was obviously an ideal outcome for someone becoming a professional fencer. But was that the rule or the exception in the fencing community they came out of? What WAS the actual context of that?
But at least until the 16th century there was a clear mindset regarding the fashion and social setting of commons - and that was to imitate nobles. A sort of civilian self-esteem developped in small paces and it took until the 16th century for civilian citizens to realise, that niobles were financially relying and dependant on them, which meant power to the patrons....
This timeline is a little bit late. The Lombard towns defeated the Holy Roman Emperor in the 12th Century. Most of the freie Reichsstadt (Free Imperial Cities) of the HRE, and their equivalent in Flanders, Hungary, Bohemia and Lombardy had rebelled against their own overlords by the end of the 13th Century. Cologne for example captured their own Prince-Archbishop Siegfried of Westerburg at the Battle of Worringen in 1288, only releasing him when he conceded to their almost full independence. The Cologne Guilds took over in 1396 and in the 15th Century they fought successful campaigns against Archbishop Dietrich of Mörs and Duke Charles the Bold, at the time arguably the richest and most powerful Prince in Europe.
By the 1422 there were over 75 Imperial Free Cities in the Holy Roman Empire alone, which included most of the major towns associated with the KDF: Augsburg, Strassbourg, Frankfurt am Main, Nuremburg, Basel, Bremen, etc. etc. As well as dozens of others in regions outside of the HRE such as Danzig, Zurich, Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Prague, Bratislava, Amsterdam, Krakow and so on. These towns were powerful, independent political actors, legally and militarily the equivalent of Princes in their own right. The Hanseatic League fought successful campaigns against England and Denmark in the 14th and 15th Centuries, the Prussian Confederation, in concert with the Kingdom of Poland defeated the Teutonic Order by 1466. Augsburg in particular was a very powerful town whose merchants were already financing elections of Holy Roman Emperors and Popes by the late 15th Century.
By contrast, in Bavaria where Talhoffer spent a lot of his career, was a region where the Princes had a lot of power and the towns were relatively weak. Central Europe in this time period was an extremely complex place, in some zones (Saxony, Flanders, Swabia) the towns were dominant, in others the Feudal system reigned, or local prince-prelates of the Church.
Having a mindset where a "knight" is still regraded as the role-model for fighting abilities (as well as behaviour, please don't forget the "Vorred vor der Zedel"!) it is of no surprise for me that the manuscript concentrate on knightly arts of fighting, i.e. fighting in armour.
This I agree with but thinking of fighting in terms of chivalry or knights is not the same thing as actually being one. Some modern soldiers use Spartan imagery on their tanks, it doesn't make them Spartans. Similarly, most of the merchant halls in the cities on the Baltic in the 14th - 15th Centuries were called "King Arthurs Court" (Artushoff) but it did not make the Merchants who ran them (and ran the cities, along with the craft Guilds) nobles, in fact they had denied membership to the nobles in Danzig, Elbing, Torun and Breslau (Wroclaw) by the end of the Prussian -Teutonic war in 1466.
Oh and yes, I definitely want to see and participate in more armoured combat;-)
On this, at least, we agree.