[IMC2020] Martial Experts. Fencers, gunners, and arbalesters in Swiss Towns (1350-1550)

This paper demonstrates who was considered to be a martial expert in the fifteenth century, and it presents new perspectives on research revolving around urban and military history. It includes a theoretical part where technical literature is examined, and a practical part where networks of martial experts can be revealed based on archival research in Swiss towns. This presentation was intended for the International Medieval Congress 2020 at the University of Leeds, as one of the three papers of the panel “Martial Culture I: Within the Walls of the Medieval Town.” The Congress was cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation, and only a smaller version was conducted virtually. Two of our speakers decided to release their paper on video format. Watch or listen this paper by following the link below.

Watch the video of the talk here

Abstract of the panel: Our research project (2018-22) considers towns as producers, organisers, and brokers of martial culture within the rapidly changing political world of late medieval Europe. It examines how towns transformed and were transformed by military techniques and urban ‘marti­al culture.’ The latter developed at the intersection of legal prerogatives, political requirements, and the evolving ownership and use of weapons. It integrates a number of historiographical approaches that are usually explored separately: ur­ban institutional, social, and political history; military history; arms and armour; urban martial competitions; knowledge production and dissemination; fighting expertise, and the transformation of the urban space itself. (Paper A : Martial Experts. Experts. Fencers, Gunners, and Arbalesters as Masters in Swiss Towns. Paper B : Aspects of Urban Military Organisation in the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Period. The Case of Freiburg i. Ue. (ca. 1440-1500). Paper C :  The Spaces of Martial Culture in Late Medieval Towns).

This paper is also available on the Bern Open Repository and Information System (BORIS) with the following DOI: 10.7892/boris.145074

Cite this article as: Daniel Jaquet, "[IMC2020] Martial Experts. Fencers, gunners, and arbalesters in Swiss Towns (1350-1550)," in Martial Culture in Medieval Town, 10/07/2020, https://martcult.hypotheses.org/1009.

One thought on “[IMC2020] Martial Experts. Fencers, gunners, and arbalesters in Swiss Towns (1350-1550)”

  1. Thanks, Daniel, very interesting.
    I should point out that Appenzell in its conflicts with the Prince-Abbot of St Gallen received help from Schwyz. From memory, swordsmen from Schwyz pretty much ran the place in 1403/1404, not always to the joy of the Appenzeller, but they did help the Appenzeller win the Battle at the Vögelinsegg in 1403 against the Prince-Abbot, whose men were hampered because their fancy shoes could not find purchase on the rain-soaked hills.
    In 1405 then, the Appenzeller were besieging the Prince-Abbot’s town of Altstätten in the Rheintal, and they had borrowed a cannon from the City of St Gallen for the effort. When the Prince-Abbot allied with the Habsburgs and put together an army under the command of the Count of Toggenburg, the Appenzeller withdrew up the Stoss pass; just to be on the safe side, St Gallen came to collect its cannon.
    The Appenzeller won the Battle at the Stoss, by the way – it is the battle where Ueli Rotach was killed. I realise that a historian, and one from far away, might not appreciate the relevance, but it is advisable not the question the story when in Innerrhoden.
    It is known that the Count of Werdenberg participated in the battle on the Appenzeller side, but he was told he could not wear his livery.

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