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1572 Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Hogenberg)

In the year 1444 a duel took place between two fencing-masters. One from the south coming from Vienna the other from Württemberg. One of fencing master from Vienna is named Conrad of Siebenbürgen (Transilvania), the other is not named. The only thing that we kow of the second fencing-master is that he has followed the Conrad of Siebenbürgen for 80 miles, and that he is born in Württemberg. It may be (that is uncertain due the wording) that he works for the dukes of Württemberg. All those things match our favorite fencing-master Hans Thalhoffer. He had been in Salzburg meeting Johannes Hartlieb, was probably now working in the area south of Nürnberg and had good relations to the rulers of Württemberg. And the story is exactly matching the character of Talhoffer displayed in the case of Villenbach. But we have no proof at all, some anecdotal points nothing more. And so we just listen to this interesting story found in the chronicle of Michael Eisenhard of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

The duel of the fencing-masters

Conrad Siebenbürgen, a daring and defiant fencing-master from Vienna, Austria, came to Rothenburg. He hang a blank sword with a garland at the town-hall. The fencing-master had a Fechtschul (fencing school) and took one guilder from someone to teach him for a month.

In this year another fencing-master arrived, he came from Duke of Württemberg’s country. He chopped the other fencing masters’s sword down, and called out that Conrad Siebenbürgen was not a fencing master at all, that Siebenbürgen was not approved in fencing. And that he had followed that imposter for 80 miles already. Furthermore the master from Württemberg requested from the lord mayor Heinrich Trüben and the town councilors a order against that Siebenbürgen, so he could fight that wrong fencing-master in earnest with sharp weapons. Thus finding out who is the true master and who not.

So it was set, that he was given the Grieswarten (seconds) with the staffs, namely Hans Bermetter the younger and Peter Werninger the younger, and as judges Master Georg Fröhlich and Master Endres the stone-cutter, who had some knowledge in the rules and rights. It was made a circle with a rope in the Schremme (a nearby place). The mercenaries and the town guards surrounded that place armed in full harness.

The fight was done with weapons with broken points. Conrad Siebenbürgen tried to split the head of the Württemberg fencer, but missed him and had cut the ball of the hand. The Grieswarten stopped the fight and it was judged that this was a dishonest strike. The Siebenbürgen was arrested and imprisoned for two or three hours. After that event both fencing-masters were ordered out of the city and left.

Books used in this article:

  • ca. 1520, Chronik des Michael Eisenhard, Erlangen B 188 (Irm. 1449), NStA, Rst. Rothenburg Akt Nr. 71: Eisenhartische Kronik 910 bis 1529. Nachträge 1535/36. — Abschrift enth. die Zeit 933—1529, NStA, Akt Nr. 70. —Abschrift zus. m. Genealogie der v. Castell u. Kaufbriefen 1383—1708, RStA, Bd. 21.
  • Taschenbuch für die vaterländische Geschichte, Band 6, Franz Joseph von Hormayr, 1835
  • Fahrendes Volk im Mittelalter, Ernst Schubert, Regionalgeschichte Vlg., 1995