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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Fri 29 Jan, 2021 8:00 am    Post subject: The Name "Bauernwehr"         Reply with quote

Hello all,

Does anyone know how historic the words 'bauernwehr' or 'hauswehr' are? I have a suspicion they aren't particularly old...

Best regards,
Christian

Christian Henry Tobler
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Author, In Saint George's Name: An Anthology of Medieval German Fighting Arts
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Mark Millman





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PostPosted: Fri 29 Jan, 2021 9:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Christian,

The Göttingen Academy of Sciences' Frühneuhochdeutschen Wörterbuches lists hauswer with the following definition:

im Haushalt befindliche Waffen zur Verteidigung des eigenen oder des herrschaftlichen Hauses

"weapons in the household for the defense of one's own or the manor house"

The meaning, at least as far as HEMA usage goes, has apparently changed. But the earliest dated appearance is from 1450 according to the citations (which I haven't copied here; there's also a mid-seventeenth-century citation and an undated one).

There's also an entry as hūswer in Gerhard Köbler's Middle High German dictionary; scroll down or search the page to find it.

I was not able to find bauernwehr in either of these dictionaries, and I didn't find either word in Grimm--to be sure, I didn't look very hard, and they may appear as combined forms, but they definitely aren't headwords.

I have not checked Lexer (but Köbler's entry for hūswer refers to it), and it occurs to me that I have not checked Grimm using alternative spellings of bauer and haus. You can find both dictionaries at the University of Trier's Center for Digital Humanities' Wörterbuchnetz site.

I hope this proves helpful.

Best,

Mark Millman


Last edited by Mark Millman on Fri 29 Jan, 2021 11:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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T. Kew




Location: London, UK
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PostPosted: Fri 29 Jan, 2021 11:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting question. I forwarded it to the Germanists on the podcast team I'm part of. My friend Stephen dug up https://fwb-online.de/lemma/bauernwer.s.9ref, which points through to "bauernwer ›primitive Schlagwaffe‹ (a. 1630)", so that's at least moderately early.
HEMA fencer and coach, New Cross Historical Fencing
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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Fri 29 Jan, 2021 11:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark,

Thanks! Some interesting starting points there.

Tea,

That link isn't working, I'm afraid.

The reason I'm running this down is I suspect in the 15th c., what we now call a bauernwehr was simply a 'short messer'.

My best to you both,
Christian

Christian Henry Tobler
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Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

Author, In Saint George's Name: An Anthology of Medieval German Fighting Arts
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Mark Millman





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PostPosted: Fri 29 Jan, 2021 11:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Christian,

You're very welcome.

Try this link instead for Tea's reference (which is a nice find; thanks to Stephen): bauer. As you're interested in earlier citations it may not be of much interest, but it's another starting point.

Best,

Mark
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Fri 29 Jan, 2021 1:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christian Henry Tobler wrote:
The reason I'm running this down is I suspect in the 15th c., what we now call a bauernwehr was simply a 'short messer'.


Messer simply means knife, meaning a everyday cutting tool with a blade length of, I suppose, somewhere between 10-15 cm, generally speaking. So a "short Messer" seems like a paradox: first enlarge a everyday item, then shorten it again?

The short single edged sword with a rivetted hilt has become known as a Messer in a English-language HEMA context but I'd say that was more like slang in the 15th / 16th century context. If you were to walk up to a 16th C. German farmer and say "Hi, may I borrow your Messer?", I think he'd hand you his knife and not his Bauernwehr.

Bauernwehr type knives are extremely common in 15th / 16th century art depicting farmers. Bauernwehre also seem much more common in museums than Messers (of the form as depicted in the Fechtbücher).
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Fri 29 Jan, 2021 2:46 pm    Post subject: Re: The Name "Bauernwehr"         Reply with quote

Christian Henry Tobler wrote:
Hello all,

Does anyone know how historic the words 'bauernwehr' or 'hauswehr' are? I have a suspicion they aren't particularly old...

Best regards,
Christian
They are not in Grimm or Köbler (although Hauswehr as literal "home defense" is a word) so I would not be surprised if they are post-1880 collector's jargon like Kriegsmesser, Grossmesser, usw. People inventing typologies need more names than the people who just make or use a thing!
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T. Kew




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jan, 2021 2:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Hansen wrote:

Messer simply means knife, meaning a everyday cutting tool with a blade length of, I suppose, somewhere between 10-15 cm, generally speaking. So a "short Messer" seems like a paradox: first enlarge a everyday item, then shorten it again?


Hugo Wittenwiler, writing a fencing treatise in the late 15th century, explicitly covers the 'short Messer' and distinguishes it from other messers, baslers (baselards), etc.[/url]

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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jan, 2021 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

T. Kew wrote:
Paul Hansen wrote:

Messer simply means knife, meaning a everyday cutting tool with a blade length of, I suppose, somewhere between 10-15 cm, generally speaking. So a "short Messer" seems like a paradox: first enlarge a everyday item, then shorten it again?


Hugo Wittenwiler, writing a fencing treatise in the late 15th century, explicitly covers the 'short Messer' and distinguishes it from other messers, baslers (baselards), etc.[/url]


Thanks! What is also interesting is that in the same chapter, he also covers the fork. Big Grin

That does strengthen the position of the Bauernwehr as "the Messer" and the shorter eating tool as well as the longer Messer as depicted by Dürer etc. as derivatives, at least in the context around 1500.
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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jan, 2021 8:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Short messers are also mentioned in Hs. 3227a and, slightly farther afield, in Weisskunig.

I strongly lean toward Bauernwehr, at least as a term for this weapon, as 19th c. In origin.

Christian Henry Tobler
Order of Selohaar

Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

Author, In Saint George's Name: An Anthology of Medieval German Fighting Arts
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