The Signori di Notte al Criminal (criminal Masters of the Night) in Venice are  monitoring crimes during the night. They gathered in a dining room of the Doge’s Palace in the Chamber of Torment. On the 9th of March 1359 they tortured a German fencing master several times to make him confess a serious crime: the stealing of a fried meat pie on the market.

1358 mense Marcii die secundo intrante. Magister Nicolaus dimicator, qui fuit de Alemanea et nunc habitator Clugie, suspectus de aliquibus frixaturis acceptis done Benevenute mercarie S. Juliani  9 mensis Marcii, quod die primo mensis presentis, dum foret simul cum Nichele Teotonicho de Marborgi, hora circa tercias ipse ivit simul cum ipso ad stacionem unius femine,  que vendit frixaturas in mercaria, quas idem Nichele volebat emere. Et dum forent ad stacionem ipsius mercarie, fecit ostendi frixaturas et, ostensis multis ex ipsis, ipse furtive et animo et proposito furtum comittendi accepit unam frixaturam de duobus brachiis albam, quam frixaturam postea dicta die, quia ipsa magistra a frixaturis cognovit ipsum,  restituit sibi ipsam frixaturam ….

Nota quod 1358 mense Junii die 27 intrante per judices de proprio predictus fuit sententiatus idem magister Nicolaus dimicator ad frustandum et bullandum et d(ominus) Bertucius Bocassio protulit sententiam.

Archivio di Stato di Venezia, Signori di notte al criminal, 1270 – 1797, Proc 3 f.59

In short: on the 2nd of March 1359 the fencing master Magister Nicolaus, a German living in Chioggia (Clugy), was walking over the market. Nichele Teotonicho was accompanying him. They came to woman selling fried food (probably meat pies). Magister Nicolaus wanted to give one of those to his friend. And he let the women show him quite a few with the purpose of theft. Ans so he did. This all he confessed after being tortured and interrogated several times at the 9th of March. On the 27 June he was sentenced properly.

Beside the fact, that torturing somebody for stealing a meat pie seems very odd, the entry in the Archives of the Signori di Notte al Criminal shows us the existence of German fencing masters in Venice in the 14th century. That way illustrating the distribution of the martial arts in German enclaves in foreign countries or cities. Enclaves for merchants and/or students like the one in Venice exists in major cities of Europe.

Book used in this article:

Der Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venedig und die deutsch-venetianischen Handelsbeziehungen. Quellen und Forschungen, Henry Simonsfeld, Volume: 2, Stuttgart, J.G. Cotta, 1887, Page 299