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Jean Henri Chandler




Location: New Orleans
Joined: 20 Nov 2006

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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jan, 2009 12:41 pm    Post subject: Violence in a Medieval Bavarian Market town         Reply with quote

Thought some people here might find this interesting

http://www2.iisg.nl/esshc/programme.asp?selyear=9&pap=6190

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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Reading list: 5 books

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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jan, 2009 11:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmmmm..... is ten a year really supposed to be that violent? I'd think it worth looking at small modern market towns and see if any had as good as 10 per annum. This is the trap so to speak in looking at medieval violence.

RPM
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 29 Jan, 2009 9:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Hmmmm..... is ten a year really supposed to be that violent? I'd think it worth looking at small modern market towns and see if any had as good as 10 per annum. This is the trap so to speak in looking at medieval violence.


I find your response a little surprising, given that the town's population is only 500 people. That's a fair number of incidents per capita, especially that given that over half of them involved violence with fists, knives, or swords. Further, of the terms the author provides for some of the types of wounds noted, we can see that many of the injuries being sustained were not minor.
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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Reading list: 5 books

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PostPosted: Thu 29 Jan, 2009 11:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig, let me help explain. It is a town of 500 that SWELLS by many times with traders, merchants on other outsiders.... this actually is by far the most important factor that you seem to have missed. Market towns and ports populations could easily grow exponentially during trade season, a town of 500 could easily have five times or more people there, especially if as he says there were over 70 known settlements that traded there. Since he does not have the dates of the crimes we cannot be sure most take place during trade season. I think him assuming that we can discount 1/3 as not knowing where those involved are from is a bit odd. If it is a town court and there is but 500 townsmen it would be unlikely not to know of the parties involved and their origin, so instantly the idea that much of these crimes were townsmen centred crumbles as it then drops to less than 48% involved in total, and not always involving two townsmen parties. So then you have 5 violent crimes A YEAR or less in a single place not just 500 of people but thousands of people involved, likely a great amount between people who have little connection to each other in a small town. Perhaps as Hans showed you get the occasional feuds…. Still happens today, domestic crime likely still happens but I think the conclusion that this town was very violent is somewhat unfounded on the info he presents in a larger context. Crimes of townsmen to townsmen would drop this 5 well lower. I doubt highly that many towns that have similar make ups today have such a low crime rate. In medieval England I have looked at the books of fines in several towns and most ports like Southampton have well over 60-70% or more a year crime carried out by galleymen. I have lived in several ports on three continents now and am nearly sure that ports have increased crime due to similar problems. A massive influx of population with no real ties to the town is always going to be a strain. They get their after some time out of work or travel looking for food, drink and entertainment which also could lead to further conflict. That is why so many small towns and ports dislike sailors, soldiers and such. It is a fairly well known resentment in such places and often for good reason. One place I lived people actually had a rating system of what sailors or soldiers were worse than others. I am just lucky that where I live now is not a major port for trade anymore..... just tourism... which is a bit better I suppose.


RPM
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Thu 29 Jan, 2009 11:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
Quote:
Hmmmm..... is ten a year really supposed to be that violent? I'd think it worth looking at small modern market towns and see if any had as good as 10 per annum. This is the trap so to speak in looking at medieval violence.


I find your response a little surprising, given that the town's population is only 500 people. That's a fair number of incidents per capita, especially that given that over half of them involved violence with fists, knives, or swords. Further, of the terms the author provides for some of the types of wounds noted, we can see that many of the injuries being sustained were not minor.


In our modern World all acts of violence except very very clear cases of selfdefence get lumped into crime statistics, in Medieval times there would have been many more excusable and socially acceptable cases of violence: A personal insult, a thief caught red handed by a crowd/mob ( Instant justice or at least a very speedy trial ), a dispute resolved by a fight or more seriously by a duel, etc .... Now some acts of violence even then would have been considered crimes but many violent acts would be considered like the normal dispute mechanism ! Also, people all wearing a knife or a dagger tended to be more polite as rudeness could have serious consequences: The " rude " had better be very skilled in the use of arms, be of a higher social order to survive long being a jerk !

Anyway, just saying that of the 10 per annum violent acts in a population of 500 maybe only 1 or 2 might have been considered a real crime in period but today a small push could end up being prosecuted as an assault and become part of a crime statistic.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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James R.Fox




Location: Youngstowm,Ohio
Joined: 29 Feb 2008

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PostPosted: Fri 30 Jan, 2009 9:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sirs-Sounds like where I live(youngstown OH) We are'nt called Murdertow, USA for nothing,you know. Big Grin
Ja68ms
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