Paulus Kal, a Schirrmeister

Paulus Kal created at least two books about martial arts. His profession was called “Schirrmeister” this expression is not defined exactly, but looking a the life of several Schirrmeister we see that this is a title defining a rank at court or in the army. It is somebody responsible for the courtly or military belongings regarding horses or wagons. Looking at the life of  Master Paulus Kal, a master of the martial arts, we can assume that he was in authority of one or more wagons and one or more canon with equipment. In times of war these canons were accompanied by wagons, craftsmen and foot soldiers like marksmen or men pikesmen. In the list for the 1468/149 war it is noted ” Item zu jeder Büchsen 6o Stein , die dann gerecht darein seyen. Item Pulfers eine Nothdurft zu inn laden. Item zu jeder Büchsen ihre Wagen. Item ein Schern, Item Zug dazu, damit man sie auf und abladet. Item etliche Ansätze.”. 60 stones and gunpowder as munition on several wagons, a shelter, wagons to transport the shelter and the canon, and ropes to load and unload the canon. The foot soldiers had crossbows, handguns, pikes, or poleaxes “ein Viertheil aus ihnen gute Armbst, das andere Handbüchsen, das dritte gute lange Spiesse, und das vierte wohlqerichtere Helms parten”, each one  a long knife, or sword, a dart, “an seiner Seiten ein gutes langes Messer, öder ein wohlschneidendes Schwert, auch unter seinem Gürtel ein Wurfpeil” and is armored by an iron hat, shoulderparts, and breastplate “möchten dann etliche Eisenhüte, und Blechhäubel dabey Achselein und Brüste haben, wäre Uns auch fast wohl gemeynt”. Each one has provision for 14 days. (Ludwig’s IX wish list in his letters to his men in November 1468).

Paulus Kal was called a master, a craftsman title, reflecting his rank of his craft in an organisation like  a guild or brotherhood. This may reference to his occupation as a “Schirmmaister“, a teacher of martial arts. Like many fencing masters of that time he may have had two occupations, a master of a craft and a master of fighting.

In this article I collected biographical dates of Meister Paulus Kal, some already known thanks to the work of Rainer Welle and authors, that took his work farther. I found some more information in various books that will add a few more pieces to the puzzle. The dates between 1448-1449 are connected to a person named “Paulus” with the job and title of the Schirrmeister in Nuremberg. It is quite feasible that this is Paulus Kal, but it is not certain.

The idea that Paulus Kal worked for Ludwig IV, Count Palatine of the Rhine of the House of Wittelsbach, for whom he created the book,  Ms.1825, Bologna (5), is based on date termination of the book. Recent research has shown that this is not accurate. The book was written as a small version, maybe a draft, while he was in duty for Duke Ludwig IX the Rich.

1448 – a Meister Pauls Schirmeister was noted in the fortification order of Nuremberg positioned next to the wheel canons below the gates: “Zü den karnpüchsen vnter die tor: Heincz Widerolt, maister Pauls Schirmaister, Claus Stör, Heincz Hawendornn, Virich Springling, Hanns Winckler, Concz Payer, Gilig Hoppel, Concz Siegel, Herman Graser, Hanns Freiburger.” (8)

March 17, 1449 – “Item meister Paulus Schirmeister von des fridpruchs wegen zwey teil widergeben und von werzuckens wegen gar nemen.” Master Paulus breaking the peace by drawing his arms. (10)

July 1449 – A letter was written to the council of Nuremberg “Item ein brief von meister Paulus Schirmeister, ob wir volks bedürften, im das zu wissen tun.” (7)

September 29, 1450 – is noted as the beginning of his employment for as the Schirmmeister of  Duke Ludwig IX the Rich, from the House of Wittelsbach. “Maister pauls kal,  Schirmmaister,  Jst diener worden mit ainem pferd”. He will be found on the payment roll of the Duke till 1479. For Duke Ludwig he created the books Ms.1825, Bologna and CGM1507, München, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (5) both probably finished after 1464.

1461 – Twelve marksmen were under the command of Paulus Kal: “Item bezalt Paulsen, schirmaister auf 12 puchsenschützen inhallt meins gnadigen geschafft und sein quittung darumb vorhanden : 12 Pfd. Pfg” (5)

February 2, 1465 – Paulus Kal is listed as “paul kall” as the Mautner of the small city of Dingolfing. Now he is responsible for collecting the Maut, the toll. Combined with the income, Paulus Cal is the resident of a good building near the Wollertor. He will keep this title and employement for 10 years until his successor Christoph Grünbeck (Grünpeckh). (3,6)

November 1468 – Paulus Kal is at war again for Duke Ludwig IX, who came to aid to Duke Albrecht IV in the so called Böckler-Wars 1468-1469. According to the sold lists he is responsible for marksmen and craftsmen. He was involved in the successfull raid at the castle Saldenburg (today a Youth Hostel)  for his master in a feud against Hans Gewolf von Degenberg auf Nußberg. (6). He was accompanied by other officials from the city of Dingolfing (Pfleger, Kastner) and has two horses with him. Dingolfing sends 12 wagons. On the 4th of December the castle was taken. (11)

Januar 12, 1474 – Paulus Kal got a letter of employment from Duke Ludwig IX the Rich as a Schirmeister in Landshut dated on 1474 Wednesday after Erhard. (1) II. Nr. 81 pag. 195.

November 14, 1475 – The  Landshut Wedding between George of Bavaria, the son of the Bavarian duke, and Hedwig Jagiellon, daughter of King Casimir IV Jagiellon of Poland, had been negotiated since 1474 in Kraków through legations. Ludwig paid 32,000 Guilder bride wealth and one of the biggest wedding festival in medieaval times took places. The extraordinary long bill that sums of all the costs has “Pauls Kal” on the “Meins genedigen Herrn Herzoge Ludwigs fuetterzetl”.(4)

January 18, 1479 – Duke Ludwig the Rich died. His son Georg did not continue the employment of the Schirmeister Paulus Kal.

February 12,1480 – is noted as the beginning of the service to Archduke Sigmund of Austria and Tirol, from the House of Habsburg (5)

October 17, 1485 – A trial was filed in Innsbruck that became famous as the witch trial of Innsbruck. The inquisitor was the well know Heinrich Kramer called Institoris, the author of the Malleus Maleficarum, the Hammer of Witches. In 1485 Heinrich Institor came with the bull ‚Summis desiderantes affectibus’ of Pope Innocent VIII and three letters from Rome to Brixen and convinced the cathedral chapter. In a circular letter bishop Georg Golser instructed to support the inquisitor, who then went to Innsbruck, and preached there against magical creatures. He  gathered denunciations arrested seven women at the 21st of September, Barbara Selachin, Barbara Hufeysen, Rosina Hochwartin, her mother Barbara Röslin, Agnes Sneiderin, Helena Scheuberin, and Barbara Pflieglin. The process was under the protection of Bishop Golser and Archduke Sigismund of Tyrol (“the Rich”), who was the employer of Paulus Kal. On the October 17th in the guesthouse Rümler in Innsbruck  Paulus Kal was witnessing the interrogations in connection with the files against Barbara Selachin, and Barbara Pflieglin. Barbara Selachin was accused by Gertrud Rötlin (who she had known for 26 years) to have created a kind of vodoo puppet with two needles left in it, and that Gertrud Rötlin was suffering serious pain exactly there.

Am 17. October. Gegenwärtige: Bruder Wolfgang, Paul Caal Schirmaister und der Notar Johann Kanter.
Am 17. October. Gegenwärtige: der Inquisitor, Bruder Johann Rosenbart, Paul Caal Schirmaister,
Am 17. October. Gegenwärtige: der Inquisitor, Johann Rosenbart aus dem Ordern der Minder-Brüder, Bruder Wolfgang, Kaplan des Inquisitors, Paul Caal Schirmmaister und der Notar Johann Kanter.

But the process did not work out as Heinrich Institor would have wanted it. His behavior at the trial and the questionings nauseated people of influence, and so bishop Gosler declared the nquisition finished at the end of october, and ordered the inquisitor to leave the land. Heinrich Institor left Brixen in spring 1486. Frustrated he began to write his book “Malleus Maleficarum” that had a terrible influence later on as one of the theoretical basements for the inquisition. (2)

1485 – A “Paulus, Schirmeister von Kilchberg” is noted as a citizen of Basel. This may be our Paulus Kal but it is not very likely. It is probably only somebody having the job of a Schirmeister.(9)

Used books:
(1) Beiträge zur lebensgeschichte Herzog Ludwigs des Reichen: nebst ungedruckten regesten und einem itinerarium desselben, Ernest Geiss, G. Franz, 1847
(2) Zeitschrift des Ferdinandeums für Tirol und Vorarlberg, Herausgegeben von dem verwaltungs-ausschusse desselben, Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, 1890
(3) Geschichte der stadt Dingolfing und ihrer umgebung Von Joseph Wolfgang Eberl, F. Datterer, 1856
(4) Beyträge zur vaterländischen Historie, Geographie, Staatistik, etc, Band 2, Lorenz von Westenrieder, Lindauer, 1789
(5) Die Handschriften Paulus Kals, 2006, Carsten Lorbeer, Julia Lorbeer, Andreas Meier, Marita Wiedner,
(6) Paulus Kal – ein Fechtmeister des 15. Jahrhunderts, Jan Schäfer,
(7) Das Briefeingangregister des Nürnberger Rates für die Jahre 1449-1457, Dieter Rübsamen, 1997
(8) Quellen und Erörterungen zur bayerischen und deutschen Geschichte, Band 8, G. Franz, Band 8 1860
(9) Baslerisches Bürger-Buch: Markus Lutz, Schweighauser’schen Buchdruckerey, 1819
(10) Die Nürnberger Ratsverlässe, Band 1, Irene Stahl, Degener, 1983
(11) Baierische Landtags-Handlungen in den Jahren 1429 bis 1513, Band 7, Bavaria (Germany). Landtag, Franz von Krenner, F.S. Hübschmann, 1804
If you have comments or more facts about Paulus Kal, please tell me by commenting here.

3 thoughts on “Paulus Kal, a Schirrmeister

  1. Personally I think that the KK5126 is a personal copy of a fencing master. If this master was Paulus Kal himself, we do not know. But I would think that Paulus Kal would not only note martial art but the art of war as well in his personal book. So I believe that this is a book of one of his students.

  2. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

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