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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
Joined: 16 May 2005

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PostPosted: Mon 07 Apr, 2008 7:59 pm    Post subject: History of a picture (Men with shields and messers)         Reply with quote

I am curious about this picture. It's shown around from time to time, late period men armed with actual large shields, and I'm curious about the history of the picture itself.

I'e always been told these men were Italians, but they are armed with messers... was the messer used in Italy?

What do we know about this picture? Who made it, who are the men, are they really suppose to look like romans, (I've heard they were,) or is that just a modern idea?


To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
Joined: 16 May 2005

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PostPosted: Mon 07 Apr, 2008 8:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Argh. Pic didn't get attached, and now won't take. Pic limit of 150K and it's 560 something.... It's five guys with big shields and messers...

Well, here we go! I think....

http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/photo/8025.html

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Sean Smith





Joined: 31 Mar 2004

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PostPosted: Mon 07 Apr, 2008 8:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks like they are a smaller version of a pavise. I can see if I have any of the ones I took pictures of in Munich. There were several of that rough size (slightly longer than the torso) hanging around on the walls.
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Johan S. Moen




Location: Kristiansand, Norway
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Apr, 2008 2:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Curse my shoddy memory... Those are parade-dressed Landsknechts, but I can't remember which manuscript they are in. I think it is in Weisskunig, but I am sure someone here can give a yay or nay to that.

Johan Schubert Moen
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Apr, 2008 5:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe that would be from The Triumphs of Maximilian. It was begun in 1512 and unfinished at Maximilian's death in 1519. Note able for its excellent renditions of costume and armament for the period. There is text associated with each group if I remember correctly.

Best
Craig
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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Apr, 2008 6:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I googled The Triumphs of Maximilian, and found music related sites. It's some sort of symphony or some such?
To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Tue 08 Apr, 2008 8:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
I googled The Triumphs of Maximilian, and found music related sites. It's some sort of symphony or some such?

As the original work is in German the word you want to google is "Triumphzug" as in

Quote:
Der Triumphzug Kaiser Maximilians I. 1516-1518. 147 Holzschnitte von Albrecht Altdorfer, Hans Burgkmair, Albrecht Dürer u.a. Mit dem von Kaiser Maximilian diktierten Programm und einem Nachwort von Hort Appuhn (Die Bibliophilen Taschenbücher)
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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Apr, 2008 1:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you Daniel


You don't happen to have a good link do you? I've been searching, and all I can find are several pages of horses.

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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William Knight




Location: Mid atlantic, US
Joined: 02 Oct 2005

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PostPosted: Tue 08 Apr, 2008 6:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can see more of that kind of shield in the spotlighted pavise thread.

Having acquired a copy of the Triumphmyself a couple years ago (I'd recommend that Landsknecht fans do likewise, it's a dover book and I got it used for cheap) I've flipped through it a number of times. My personal opinion, based on their juxtaposition with people outfitted for different types of tournament combat or other fighting competition leads me to suspect that their equipment is for some sort of competition, not the battlefield.
-Wilhelm
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Stephan Hall




Location: Germany
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Apr, 2008 4:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since the book is something of a praise or even a viktory monument for maximilian, it´s possible that the scene is posed to look impressive. The Illustrator seemed to liked Long Messers more than Katzbalgers.
Katzbalgers were relativly short, the average blade seemed to be 20"( 50cm) long and very broad, and thus looking plump. So they where not first choice for representation. now wich weapon was commonly available in an Arsenal ?
Long Messers! They were not prefered by Landsknechts because they are rather arkward in close battle. But a common choice of Bürger or Townfolk relying more to a impressive Long Messer than a handy Katzbalger.
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Apr, 2008 6:40 am    Post subject: Gefecht         Reply with quote

The illustrations were produced in large format and sent around to towns and cities of the Empire to be colored and put on the wall in a long processional mural. It seems Maximilian did not favor triumphal entry processions and this was instead of that activity.

This is then a great record of the idealized entry procession and indicative of the best of everything along these lines from that time.

The picture in question is from the Gefecht section of the parade. This is the foot combatants of the period, which Maximilian was a bit of an aficionado of as opposed to earlier nobility who favored the tournament on horse more exclusively. The Dover print just calls these guys fighters with longswords and shields, but my guess is that the translation may well be lacking. I do not have the original text to check from but it seems a bit simplistic compared to the art and some of the other descriptions.

Best
Craig
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Chris Arrington





Joined: 06 Apr 2007

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PostPosted: Thu 10 Apr, 2008 8:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Its interesting to note that each of the shields is distinctly different in design, even though they are all generally of the same size and shape, and all but one could fall into the pavis class of shields.

My observations: from Left to Right.

1.) Gently curved square sheild of medium size, but does not include the "typical" gutter shape of a pavis. The grip/strapping is interesting as it is what I would call the roman style (vertical with hand down) but is strapped almost like a heater. I haven't seen one of this style from this period (but I don't have the breadth of experience that many do on this board or the armourarchive.org board).

2.) Classic "small" Pavis (in comparison to an archer's pavis) . Center gripped and has the rounded gutter. Most of the illustrations of this shield type that I've seen have been in relation to armoured combat (judicial maybe?)

3.) Similar to #2, center gripped, but has a soft "V" shape and no well defined gutter. A new shape to me.

4.) Similar to #3 in that it has no defined gutter, and has a gentle "C" cross section, and a very strong exterior median reinforcement. Another new type to me.

5.) These I've seen in modern reproductions (see WindRoses website). Very similar to the classic small pavis, except the gutter is V shaped instead of the classic curved gutter. (I also assume from the illustration that this shield is center gripped). I'd always assumed that the modern reproductions were ahistorical, and that the gutter was shaped this way because it is much easier (and cheaper equipment) to construct with a sheet metal bending brake, instead of having to have a radius press to create the classic curved gutter. Guess I was wrong ! Happy
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Craig Shira




Location: California
Joined: 02 Feb 2007

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PostPosted: Thu 10 Apr, 2008 1:21 pm    Post subject: Triumph of Maximilian         Reply with quote

.

Hello

If one is interested in Landsknechte history, the Triumph of Maximilian can be deceptive. As was mentioned before, the artist wanted to make the procession look impressive, not accurate. It is for this reason that the Triumph is the only image I can think of that depicts a Landsknecht soldier with shields, assuming that these men are, in fact, Landsknechte. The style of slashing clothing was popular in other areas outside the military. The same can be said of other depictions of clothing, armor, and and weapons.

When dealing with outright propaganda, such as this, what is depicted is seldom reality. Artistically, it is a fantastic work and stands out in my mind as one of the many great block prints from the Holy Roman Empire (the German lands). I love looking at the conceptual works and fantasy peices from the era, since the Renaissance ideal and reconing of fantasy is really interesting compared to our own.

.
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William Knight




Location: Mid atlantic, US
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PostPosted: Fri 11 Apr, 2008 10:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think what I was saying, as was Craig, is that they are probably not actually landsknechts, since they occur with other tournament combatants.
-Wilhelm
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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
Joined: 16 May 2005

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PostPosted: Sat 12 Apr, 2008 2:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Whatever they are, I should very much like to see the rest of the book's pictures. Does anyone know of an online copy?
To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Craig Shira




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PostPosted: Sat 12 Apr, 2008 5:42 pm    Post subject: Re: History of a picture (Men with shields and messers)         Reply with quote

.

I was re-reading the original post, and this segment seemed to have not been addressed.

George Hill wrote:

What do we know about this picture? Who made it, who are the men, are they really suppose to look like romans, (I've heard they were,) or is that just a modern idea?


I'm going to pull this information from the top of my head, so be prepared to read a very simplified explanation.

The term "Rome" has historically been used quite a bit, which makes its usage confusing. Similarly, there have been various "Roman Empires." The first Roman Empire was the one that established itself with the capital city Rome, in modern-day Italy. When the government weakened and the capital city was shuffled, Emperor Constantine seated the Empire in the capital city of Constantinople. Thus, there were two Roman Empires, western Rome and eastern Rome. Western Rome shortly collapsed from internal political turmoil and attacks from the Huns and Barbarians. Eastern Rome, or the Byzantine Empire as it is most often called, stayed strong and continued the Roman lineage until its capture by the Ottoman Empire in 1453 and was renamed Istanbul (in modern-day Turkey).

After the fall of western Rome around 476, "classical" Rome (before the split into East and West) was romanticized. After all, one thing more powerful than history is nostalgia and romanticism. Wanting to carry on the title of Rome, a new empire, a non-pagan holy empire, would be established. Charlemagne, from modern-day France, became Emperor in 800. However, the name of the empire and its emperor was not firmly established for a while. Eventually, the Holy Roman Empire migrated more east until it constituted all of the modern-day German lands, northern Italy, parts of modern-day Hungry, the Czech Republic, Poland, and other surrounding regions. The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved in 1806 and Napoleon reorganized the territories as the Confederation of the Rhine.

We now have four definitions of "Rome." 1, there is the city Rome, Italy.; 2, there is the western Roman Empire, which fell in 476; 3, there is the eastern Roman Empire--called the Byzantine Empire-- that fell in 1453; and 4, the Holy Roman Empire, which centered around mostly the lands of modern-day Germany.

Emperor Maximilian was the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. As was mentioned before, Emperor Maximilian was a proponent of foot soldiers and is considered to be the Father of the Landsknechte (military Georg von Frundsberg also sometimes holds the title of being Father of the Landsknechte). Maximilian raised the Landsknechte to defend his homelands before becoming Emperor and mustered them to fight for him as Emperor.

Unlike the knights, a social class bred their entire lives for a specific purpose and a financial drain on society, the Landsknechte were quickly raised, trained in the usage of pike, and could defeat cavalry. The Landsknechte took the pike skills of the Swiss and perfected them, making them highly deadly and bitter enemies of the Swiss. Unlike the Swiss, Landsknechte used guns, which Emperor Charles V attributed as one of the keys to his victory at the battle of Pavia in 1525. Still, the Landsknechte were approximately 90% pike. Other weapons used, besides pike and musket, include the katzbalger as the personal side-arm of every Landskencht, the halberd for Doppelsoldneren (soldier elite who were paid twice as much) and, less commonly, the two-handed war sword (bidenhänder or zweihänder, depending on your translation).

Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, having originated from the kingdom of Spain, had an army that had specially trained sword and target soldiers who were used to disturb a pike line. Though they fought for Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, these men were not Landsknechte; but given the popularity of the clothing style, the Landsknechte style of slashing their clothes might have been mimicked by these sword-and-shield men. However, Emperor Charles V came after Emperor Maximilian.

Emperor Maximilian said that the life of a Landsknecht was short and brutal and, to compensate for their suffering, they could be free of all the sumptuary laws that restricted what people could wear. The result was that they spent their wages on brightly colored fabrics for their elaborate, slashed clothing that they wore into battle. Some of the nobles complained about the Landsknechte and others copied the style.


Going back to your question: are these people supposed to be Roman? It depends on which of the four definitions you use. No, they are not from the city of Rome, Italy, but they are soldiers from the Holy Roman Empire. In modern times, Landsknechte are simply referred to as "the Germans," but at that time, it was the Holy Roman Empire.

.
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