As an American reenacting with a group doing 16th Century Central European history, we do not have a lot of good written resources, and what we do have has taken me quite a while to track down. So others do not have to search as hard as I have, and so I do not have to repeat myself quite as often I am adding a new bibliography here. I hope to put up book reviews too. Those of you who read my blog but reenact other time periods, I hope you’ll bear with me through these posts, I promise to keep writing on as many different time periods as I reenact, and on Living History in general.
Hanne von Reischach, a Bibliography
The following are books (and articles) that I have read in my quest to make the character I portray as part of Das Geld Fahnlein, Hanne von Reischach (link to edith Wharton), as full a person as possible. I hope the following list will be helpful for other folks who want to know more about life in 16th Century Germany, the Landsknecht, camp followers, the Reformation, and the Renaissance mindset.
Books I have Read:
Notes: This was one of the first books I read when I sat down to research the landsknecht. It does not contain a lot of specifics, but I appreciated the backstory and cultural history of Hanne’s ancestor’s as well as a chance to briefly read what her descendants got themselves up to.
Defenders of the Faith: Charles V, Suleyman the Magnificent, and the Battle for Europe 1520-1536, by James Reston, 2009
Notes: Wanna know about the rulers of the time? Interested in the politics of Europe and an overview of the important battles? This is the book for you. I’m not sure if I ever finished it, I should probably find out.
Daily Life in Holland in the Year 1566: And the Story of my Ancestor's Treasure Chest, by Rien Poortvliet, 1992
Notes: This is one of my favorite books of all time. I know it is fifty years later than Hanne, but it is a beautifully illustrated book full of urban and domestic scenes that spring to life. Besides, some things don’t change that much in 50 years. This book is worth it just for the inspiration factor and to populate Hanne’s world with real people.
Intrepid Women: Cantinières and Vivandières of the French Army, by Thomas Cardoza, 2010
Notes: Yes, it is about France and not about Germany. Yes, it mostly deals with time periods far in advance of Hanne’s but I found this book to be incredibly useful. Not many folks talk about camp followers in such broad terms, especially addressing questions of sexuality, family life, usefulness, soldier reactions and army reactions. I loved the individual stories about women included throughout the book.
Article: Mobility, Voluntary or Enforced? Vagrants in Württemberg in the Sixteenth Century, by Robert W. Scribner, 1988
Notes: This article, written in English, is located in a book (mostly in German) of papers presented at a conference in 1988. It is tough to track down, but drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do. It is a look at court cases that were brought against vagrants, or wanderers, many of them Landsknecht. It has a bunch of great stories about real Landsknecht, it also can be read as a list of the reasons why people joined the Landsknecht.
A review of the article
An excerpt with fun footnotes
The Dancing Plague: The Strange, True Story of an Extraordinary Illness, by John Waller, 2009
Notes: Excellent book. Set just outside the area I’m reenacting. Talks about the peasants war, about crop cycles and weather, about folks relationship to the saints, the conflict between religion, politics and science. I think it is a must-read for anyone interested in the mindset of the time. Besides, how cool is a plague of dancing?
The Bürgermeister's Daughter: Scandal in a Sixteenth-Century German Town, by Steven E. Ozment, 1997
Notes: This one is great for looking at family dynamics but also for family economics and the court system in the independent cities of the Empire. It has a Landsknecht in it too, which shows a little bit of how the Landsknecht were outside the cultural systems, yet moved within it as well.
Ancestors: the Loving Family in Old Europe, by Steven E. Ozment, 2001
Notes: By the same author as Bürgermeister's Daughter and Mighty Fortress, a thin volume but with delightful bits on childhood (which we all should know.)
Notes: It is pretty readable for an academic text (skip the intro and conclusion) and contains a lot of stuff on the Landsknecht, including a whole chapter on Women's jobs within the military unit. One section he calls camp women the mules of the camp, carying all the men's gear while the men get to march with just thier weapons.
Books I have not yet read (but want to include on the list)
Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Renaissance Europe, by Ulinka Rublack, 2010
Flesh and Spirit: Private Life in Early Modern Germany, by Steven E. Ozment, 2001
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