Friday, December 12, 2014

A fourteenth century wedding

 
 
I had promised to write this, and a lot earlier actually, but I had not come round to doing it. So finally, here it is: the piece about the fourteenth century Dutch wedding DB had organised in Archeon.


As in 2013, Archeon would have a cooking-themed event in the last weekend of september. Last year, DB had visited this event, and we had just been cooking and preparing some late Medieval dishes. It had been a lot of fun though. This year however, we were thinking of making it a tad more festive. Around march already, we had plans for a little banquet. The event would coincide namely, with the LPLG (the Dutch umbrella foundation for most Living History groups in the country) which was held in Archeon as well in 2004, and during which the earliest composition of our group agreed to merge with other members of the LHO, as they had basically the same idea as we, a group of citizens and craftsmen from a Dutch city in the second half of the fourteenth century. Thus, we were basically celebrating the tenth anniversary of the group. As I - Laurens - myself, and Nijso had our birthdays earlier in september as well, this called for a feast. Also, we had heard that our German friend from MiM would pay the park a visit as well.

 

But to add to this, Vera, who has also been an employee of the historical theme park for seven years, was very keen to organise a wedding. She had picked up that in 2008, when she first came to work there, Mirjam (a former collegue, and also a friend of mine outside of Living History) had had plans to do a wedding  with her boyfriend at the time, Sander, who is also my good friend and former Archeotolk and DB-prospect. But as the relationship ended, this plan would never take place. Earlier, in 2004, there had been a wedding as well by Mante and Matthijs, then in a relationship, and in the two years following, between Wike (a former member of DB, who migrated to Sweden) and myself, even though we never dated.
Because Vera had the strongest connections and influence inside Archeon, she would take up the task of arranging it from within, and Bertus (although he was engaged in other activities mostly) and I would do some external work. This resulted in a small research on medieval wedding customs that proved helpful, as we had entirely lost all information Mante had sorted out in 2004 (and also I found out some new information).


As Vera became ill in the week before the event - she was struck with influenza or something - there was some slight panic. In the worst case, she couldn't make it and her collegue Maaike, who was also her trusted ceremony-mistress, or someone else had to fill in as the bride. Up untill the last moment, there was some uncertainty about whether she should make it, and also who exactly would play the groom, but in the end, she felt well enough and everything went as planned. The groom would be played by Daniel van den Woldenberg, one of the members of MiM, because he has a fancy outfit. This would add something extra to the wedding, as German customs were slightly different from Dutch ones, and we could have both (or none, where information was lacking). One thing, for example: apparently the bride wore red in Germany, which was lucky because Vera had just finished a red surcotte.



Historically, the bridal couple to be would make it's intentions public, with the approval of the parents (or guardians) at a public but sacred place, often in the church yard, or near a chapel or convent. Not inside the church though, as this was, at the time, solely a house of prayer (this would change in the next two centuries, getting all sorts of church-unrelated activities inside, which would have been one of the nuisances of Dutch protestants, even though they kept weddings inside the church afterwards, as it became a sacred bond).
When the engagement had been proclaimed, three instances on which banni (objections to the marriage, as the couple might be related or one of them was already married) could be uttered, were presented. If all was well, the wedding could take place.
Normally, the couple to be would visit the priest one or two days before the wedding, to be blessed and be educated in how to be a good christian couple, so as to make sure their offspring would not be raised as heathens, and both spouses would be well aware of their marital tasks. Although the husband was formally the head of the family, these tasks were not all in his favour: he too had a lot of work to do to please and sustain his wife. Although the church would not officially admit to pleasure during marital sex, of course a priest knew that the bride and groom would have a much happier marriage if some enjoyment would take place.


On the day of the wedding, it was advised by clerical writers, to do this at a 'good hour' which was supposedly between 7 an 10 AM, or between 2 and 4 PM. Because of the Archeon day-planning, this was however not very practical. We decided to let the ceremony take place at noon, which was much more agreeable for everyone. The ceremony, as far as I could reconstruct it, consisted of the bride walking to the groom waiting with the priest and the witnesses, to be presented to him by her father or guardian, as is still common. They would then shake hands as all agreed it was a good match, and bride and groom would be led by the priest to the entrance of the church, or a little chapel, or maybe even a sacred object in the church-yard. They would not enter the church. As opposed to modern times, the priest would not ask anymore of anyone opposed, because they would already have had three chances before. The bride and groom would then repeat after the priest their vows (in this instance, rather uniform), and the ring and some wedding gifts, often coins, would be placed in a bowl of silver, or precious material, with a linen cloth covering it. The couple would be placed under a long decorated or white cloth, held by their respective fathers, or other male relatives in their absence, as some sort of blanket to represent the wedding bed. It also has symbolical associations with either the heavens, or with the robes of the Holy Mother looking after married people and of course their children. The priest would then lift one part of the cloth and get the ring (or this might be presented to him by an acolyte), bless it with holy water, and hand it to the groom, who would then place it on the hand of the bride. This would not happen vice versa, as Medieval people had a sort of aristotelian idea about how men would be much better in controlling their urges, thus not needing to show the world they were married, whereas women, always prone to lechery, would have to show they had been married off and had become decent enough women. In reality, however, one can imagine that, ring or no ring, either man and woman could find tricks to indulge in adultery, as many fourteenth century stories tell us (they were officially 'high class literature' but often seem upon us as some sort of comical porn novels with a morale at the end, such as, don't be a stupid man, or, women need loving too).
After all this, the couple would be blessed and a mass would be held inside the church, not only in their honour, but of course, mostly in the honour of God, and to remind them again to be good, decent christians.



Officially, there was no strict need to have the actual marriage and the wedding feast on the same day, but it will often have taken place anyway. There wasn't even an official need to invite anyone to your marriage, which would probably be handy if you tried to marry without consent, but otherwise, I reckon, your parents would dislike it. I even found that up until 1560, the church disapproved of, but condoned clandestine weddings, where a couple would just agree to be together from the next time they had sex onwards. The children from these bonds would be legitimate and they would certainly help if one of the partners had been promised to someone she or he didn't want. The only problem was, that if one of the partners decided to divorce, because he or she wanted to marry someone else, or the parents threatened to do something nasty, there was absolutely no guarantee for you. If the partner would just deny that you were married, it was off. The only thing the church could or would do, was try to reconcile them, and tell the duped party that they should have been married before the church, so everyone would know and it was written down. Through accounts of these cases, it is that we even know of this practice. The greatest problem was, that from that moment on, the children would be deemed illegitimate and had no security for their future (unless the remaining parent was super rich or something).
In the earlier Middle Ages, it was even a custom to have a man and a woman live together for a while, to have them experiment with their bodies, and they would be as if married, but only for a while. If the partners and their parents agreed, they could then officially marry, if not, they would separate. I'm not sure what happened to incidental offspring of these temporal bonds. From other research, I have found that even in the fourteenth century, it was a custom rather than an exception, that a man and a women would have a sexual relationship outside marriage, from which they had children, and these would be bastards, but apparently the parents of the couple were totally fine with it. I reckon that in some instances, either the parents or the lovers recognized that they weren't suitable marriage material but liked to be together and fuck, or the custom of temporal bonds had continued up to this age. If the parents came from rich noble families, the bastards would often receive grants of land from them or their unofficial families.


Now, back to the event. We had no mass after the ceremony, because this would take too long, and it would bore the public and ourselves. Instead, we moved straight on to the wedding bed ceremony. Originally, the couple would be brought to their bed by the parents and family and friends and have some sort of paganistic ritual where the family would hold up the blankets (as seen before in the ceremony) and everyone would watch them have sex or something. Christianity wouldn't have any of this, so the ritual was transformed into something more prudish: the couple would be placed on the bed, clothed, probably laying down on top or under the blanket, and receive blessings from the priest again. Officially, the should remain abstinent for one to three days out of respect for this blessing in the face of God, but I doubt they would have. Vera and Daniel just sat down on the bed and received the blessing, to talk to the public afterwards about what the whole ceremony had been about.


We now took a short break, to relax, and this was especially necessary for Vera, who was still somewhat ill and super stressed. Luckily, both days were absolutely tremendous considering the weather, it was still like summer, and that at the end of september (then again, 2014 is said to have been the warmest year since some 300 years). This would soon prove to be a slight problem, as we had set up the tables for the wedding feast on the hottest spot of the medieval market square, at the middle of the day. It must have been somewhere between 25 and 30 degrees Centigrade still. While the cooks, the personnel and the public reclined in the shade, we, as the wedding guests, were seated in the hot sun during dinner. It was worth it though, because the food, prepared by MiM, under the supervision of Ronald Vetter, the chef, was delicious.
 

Then, during this feast, came the prime moment. You might even wonder why I have not elaborated about this before, or even mentioned it, but this is because this momentwas seperate from the church ceremony. These days, it is custom to have the couple kiss at the altar after they have given eachother the ring and have been bleesed by the priest, but in the fourteenth century, this was not so. The couple would face eachother in the middle of the U-shaped table formation, surrounded by all the guests, and a pile of cakes would be held or placed in between them. The pile of cakes, or rather cookies, had been made by Renate, the baker, and she held it up, while Vera and Daniel had to stand on the tips of their toes to give a quick smooch. Seeing the pictures, this was apparently enormously funny.

 

After the feast, most of the vistors went to see the gladiator show, and after that, slowly left the park. Some people thought the wedding was real and came to congratulate the couple and thank them for the small portions of food they had been allowed to enjoy. Now it was time for us to relax. We had a few drinks, talked, and cleaned up as much as we could before it became dark. This happened early, as it was officially autumn, and unlike the summer, dusk fell about 8 PM. Vera, not too well, went home around this time, shortly after that followed by Bertus and Isis who live in Alphen. The Germans of MiM slept in the Roman inn, and the few remaining DB-members, namely Reinier, Marije, Christie and myself, slept in the tents we had brought.

 

On saturday we had been joined by Wilg and Bryndis, and Bea, on sunday by the Wessels family. Nijso also left on saturday evening. The sunday was mostly the same as saturday, but Ronnie (Ronald) and Taija Vetter had to leave early for home (they live in Edinburgh now). After the cleaning and breaking up of the stuff, we went home, except for the remaining Germans, who would leave the next morning.


Laurens Feijten

All photo's are made by Hans Splinter












Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A tight fitting hood with armpit straps.

It has been a long while since I posted on the Deventer Burgerscap blog. But my participation in the latest DB event and the questions I got after my hood that I wore there have nudged me back to the writing table. The hood in question is one that I made years ago already and which is tight fitting, with a front button closure, a short and squarish shoulder mantle and with straps running under the armpits connecting front and back of the said mantle.

Photos courtesy of Hans Splinter, 2014

The tight fit enables the wearer to wear a mantle or other outer garment on top, such as was the (male) fashion in the 1360s and 1370s, without too much bulky fabric around the neck. The straps under the armpits enable the wearer to shift the mantle, from a position where the buttons are in front on the chest to or from one where they are on the right shoulder, while the hood stays in its proper place.This way of carrying your mantle was also fashionable in those days. Lastly, when worn without any outer garment on top, the armpit straps make this a very practical hood for use during outdoor activities since the hood-mantle can not be blown up into your face by the wind.

Photos courtesy of Isis Sturtewagen & Hans Splinter, 2014

This hood is in fact a prototype but still needs replacing by a new and better one. You know how these things go. For the prototype we (Isis helped me out) made a pattern with a seam in the neck. This made for an unwelcome bunching up of fabric in the front where the buttons and buttonholes are. Since then we have learned that a tight fitting hood can also be made with the usual pattern of two large pieces that only get augmented by two inset gores on the shoulders. The new pattern in cheap fabric has already been made.

Now let us go to the sources, because, what is this!? young men wearing tight fitting buttoned hoods? It seems that the reenactment (and academic?) community has long believed that buttoned hoods were something that only women wore. In their book 'Textiles and Clothing' on the textile finds from London the authors write that 'this type of closely fitting hood is typical of the late 14th century and is to be seen in many manuscript illuminations and sculptural figures. It was worn mainly by women ... '. Luckily for us they write about this hood because they found one (of a type without armpit-straps):


The book also mentions the find of part of a buttoned hood from Dordrecht in the Netherlands from c. 1400, but alas does not give a photo or drawing of it.
When we look into textual sources from that era, we find evidence of men wearing hoods with front closures ánd armpit-straps! First there are the purchases made in 1362 and 1363 for his young lordship of the towns of Schoonhoven and Gouda: Jan van Blois (nephew of Charles de Blois, but unlike the rest of his family resident in the Netherlands and fluent in Dutch):

- Item van 12 zulveren caproenhake 8 s.
- Item om lint van gaerne caproen mede te binden onder den arm 16 d.
- Item om rebant miins joncheren caproen onder den arm mede te binden 14 d.
- Item om lint caproene mede te binden 2 sc. 8 d.

This translates as:
- Item, of 12 silver hood hooks, 8 shillings.
- Item, of ribbon of yarn, to bind the hood with under the arm, 16 pennies.
- Item, of ribbon, to bind my young lords hood with under the arm, 14 pennies.
- Item, of ribbon to bind the hood with, 2 shillings 8 pennies.

Here we see that one of Jan's hoods was closed with silver hooks. The absence of buttons mentioned with hoods in the accounts does not mean these hoods were not buttoned. Buttons in this era were most of the time made of cloth. What we also encounter in these accounts is the fact that Jan's hoods were often bordered with silver or gold ribbon:

- Item 7 ellen zulverboerts op caproene te legghen, delle 10 s.
- ... 4 ellen goudboerts tot 2 caproenen, coste d'elle 6 s. 8 d.

This practice may explain why the find from London is missing the border of its mantle and face opening. The most valuable parts would have been cut off before it was discarded of.

Next to the household accounts of Jan van Blois we have the Limburger Chronicle as a source. Written in the German town Limburg an der Lahn in the late 14th century, it mentions for the year 1362:

Unde di junge menner drugen alle meistlichen gekneufte kogeln als die frauwen, unde di kogeln werten bi drissig jar, da vurgingen si.

This translates as:
And the young men all wore mostly buttoned hoods like the women, and these (type of) hoods were worn for thirty years, after this it (the fashion) went away.

From this we can conclude that the hood with button (or other front) closure was worn both by (young) men and women from c. 1360 to c. 1390. Lastly we arrive at what they looked like in art and where this art originates from so that it can tell us in what area these hoods were worn. We encounter them in England (Warwickshire and East Anglia), France (Ile de France), the Northwest of the Holy Roman Empire (Low Countries, Westphalia), the West of said empire (Alsace), the South-East of said empire (Württemberg, Thuringia, Bavaria), Switzerland and lastly Northern Italy (Lombardy, Tuscany). So a quite large part of Europe.

Top: Weepers from the effigy of Thomas Beauchamp (+1369) in Warwick
Bottom: Egerton Genesis, East Anglia, 1350-1375 - BL Ms. Egerton 1894

Left: Aristotles Politica and Oeconomica, 1376, Nicole Oresme, Paris - Brussels, Bibl Royale Albert Ier, 11201–02, Book I
Right three: Livres de Modus et Ratio, 1374-1379, Paris - Paris, BNF, Français 12399

Top left: Osnabrücker Altar, 1370-1380 - Wallraf Richartz-museum, Cologne
Top right: Missal of Arnold van Oreye, lord of Rummen, Meuse region, 1366 - Museum Meermanno Westreeniaum 10 A 14
Bottom left: Letter of indulgence from Herkenrode, 1363 - Provincial Library Limburg, Belgium
Bottom right: Herforder town council in the Herforder Stadtrechtsbuch, 1368-1376

Left: Stained glass in the church of Niederhaslach, Alsace, c. 1360
Right: Speculum Humanae Salvationis, Alsace, 1370-1380 - Paris, BNF, Latin 511

Top left: Johann Ehinger (+1368), Mayor of Ulm - Münster, Ulm
Top right: Weeper from the effigy of Gunter XXV von Schwarzburg (+1368) - Arnstadt, Liebfrauenkirch
Bottom left: Southern portal of the Dom of Augsburg, 1356-1376
Bottom right: Rudolf von Ems Weltchronik, South German, c. 1370 - München Bayerisches Staatsbibliothek Cod. Germ. 5

Effigy of the wife of Francois I (+ 1362/1363) and a weeper beneath said effigy - La Sarraz, Switzerland

Top left: Count Porro offers to Madonna, from chapel in Lentate sul Seveso, c. 1370 - Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
Top right: Quilted textile from Florence, 1360-1400 - Victoria & Albert Museum, London, no. 1391-1904
Bottom: Guiron le Courtois, Lombardy, 1370-1380 - Paris, BNF, Nouvelle acquisition française 5243 


In some of the above pictures it seems that no buttons or hooks can be seen because of a mantle going over top. But in case of the rightmost one of the Warwicks the open folded 'collar' does give a front closure away. And in case of the leftmost of the aldermen of Herford you can see buttons indicated beneath his chin if you look closely. The others I have included because the fact that they are so tight fitting means they must have had a front closure hiding underneath that mantle. Of course, if they had armpit-straps can not be said for sure.
 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Meppen, Germany

On the 2nd and 3rd of August, 2014, the three of us, Nijso, Reinier and I, Laurens, went to participate in the Museumsfest in Meppen, Westfalen. We had been invited by Thorsten Witschen, whom we knew from the Tohopesate, and whom I last saw at the Tohopi-meeting at the house of Ronnie and Tanja in 2009. He is more into portraying 18th century now but as this was a multi-period event, all sorts of groups were present, from Roman soldiers and gladiatrices, Germanic foederati and migrating Franks, through vikings, crusaders, 13th and 14th century craftsmen, Landsknechte, 16th century musicians to the 18th century hunting display.



The weather was hot, it must have been up to 28 degrees Celsius, so we lay low and tried to keep out of the sun as much as possible. Reinier had taken his field forge for blacksmithing and together with Nijso's help forged a daggerblade for Nijso which he had started in Wisby in 2011 and two small knives, and reworked some hammerheads to make them look more medievalish. Nijso tested his cool new leather apron with sexy cleavage.


In the meantime, I took apart my maille haubergeon which I ordered but which did not fit. I found out why: the arm-holes were too far to the back so that the torso became too wide and it did not close well at the neck, as well as that the armpits were very wide and just had been gathered together by a few rings which probably would not last long. The sleeves, instead of the desired elbow hinge, were far too wide and were made straight but baggy at the elbow, and the collar was too wide as well. I took off sleeves and collar and opened up the shoulders, so I can insert trangles into the old arm-openings and cut out new smaller ones more to the front. I'm not entirely pleased with the way the makers interpreted my wishes.



We made some new friends, for example Martina of Die Blidenbauer (www.dieblidenbauer.de) who makes trebuchets together with her husband Jürgen, and crafts everything she uses very close to the originals, with lots of documentation. We also spent the saturday evening with the foederati (1st-3rd c.) who were old friends of Reinier, and I socialized with their neighbouring Franks (4th-6th c.), a 13th century chap named J.P. (Jan-Philipp or something, who invited me to come axe-throwing the next day) some vikings who called me 'Der Lorenz' and used me as an example of wisdom and courage, but mostly to taunt a fellow groupmember who succeeded in remaining silent when he was on the toilet when the museum was closed, thus being locked in and having to call for help afterwards. The drinks were free so as you can understand, saturday evening was hilarious.



We were also very enthousiastic about the excellent warm buffet which was composed of several grilled meats and sausages, tremendous salads, baked potatoes and some sort of macaroni salad which I think was glutenfree because it was quite yellowish, so probably made of corn. It was delicious and very much, and of course our eyes were larger than our stomachs.

 



Next to the museum grounds and the field we were camping on was a little stream and then a youth hostel where we could get breakfast for a reduced tariff, which was pleasant, because we could get bread and coffee and eat that in all ease, and also use the clean toilets. This is quite agreeable for when next year, when we will try and go again, Machteld and the children want to come too but not sleep in a tent, for one could also sleep in the hostel if desired. All the people were so nice and friendly, and we noticed that many of the vistors (among whom quite a lot of Dutch people) were genuinely interested and knew things to talk about and to ask that weren't all too obvious. The reenactors too were all well informed and well read about their own period and others as well, and really tried their best to show history as close to reality as possible.





Friday, June 13, 2014

Weekend Huys Dever

Last weekend we've had a nice and sunny weekend in the 14th century tower of Dever in Lisse. We were there for the entire weekend because of 'open kastelendag', so many castles opened their doors to the general public. This wonderful tower was the home of the family of d'Ever. It was built in the 14th century and restored in the 1970's. We had some nice activities during the weekend. The tower still has its original oven and we were able to use it to bake bread. Our most capable bakers went to work to knead the finest dough.
The temperature inside the oven is difficult to regulate and the first batch of bread unfortunately looked like they were found among the remains of Pompeii. The oven was slightly cooler during the second batch, and some wonderful breads were produced.
In this side view of the tower, you can see the window of the kitchen in the cellar below. Many modern inventions have their roots in the middle ages, like wireless communication. Horizontal wireless communication already existed prior to the 14th century, but only after architectural changes led to the building of multi-story buildings did people realize the potential of vertical communication!
These events are perfect for children to check out the equipment of a medieval soldier and to do a little bit of sparring.
The real hard work however is making these wonderful fingerloop-braided cords.
To conclude: we've had a wonderful time at a wonderful location and I hope that this is going to stay one of our traditional weekend-events.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Gedicht von der Kuh - Poem of the Cow


Picture of a cow from the Holkham bible, so we are all clear on what we are talking about.


The poem of the cow is a German poem appearing in the Wurzburger Liederhandschrifte, also known as the 'Hausbuch of Michael de Leone, Band 2', written between 1345-1354 by someone known as 'Konig von Odenwald'. It describes all the products one could make from a cow. It is a very interesting poem because some of the items mentioned were never found during excavations and we know of no surviving examples. I have translated the poem to English and in this translation I tried to use the English words that are closest to the German original. If it is unclear what is meant, I will place a comment between square brackets [so this comment was not in the original poem].

Many a man will prize his heart's desire,
But I will complain in all voices,
That people toll bells for virtue-less people.
You toll [the bells] for old ladies, when they have died,
That is a big expenditure.


You should toll the bells for the good cows, eager and beautiful:
The cow gives white milk, which is pure and invigorating
And on which one can be proud.


Well salted, poured into shape,
You can also make good cheese out of it.
Thick and thin whey is the joy of the children.
From porridge of milk and millet [dutch:gierst] grows also a powerful scream. [you become strong and healthy]
When they yell: 'it is served', everybody will be pleased.
With it the fresh butter: between Bologna and Salerno surely
Never has a better food been found as this.
You need it to make delicacies.
Together with beets they form a medicine for us people.
With the tallow you make light.
From the head and the brain, you make sausages.


So that's what they used to keep those pieces of wood together!


With the tough sinews - these are also useful - you can thresh grain, clean as well as mixed.
He who has a good roasting pan for beef, can get a soup;
If you have a good piece, then you can have a delicacy, that is called marrow:
this will make people strong.



Falcon hoods,

Dog leashes,

Arm leather,

Leg attire,
Arms gloves of cow: everything from leather,
Delivered by the cow, like we have heard.

I mention here the cover, from skins you can make sacks,
That you can pull over your headgear and helmet,
So they are protected from dust and stay clean,
As well as keep away the rust.

You cover shield and buckler with sinew and cow skin,
This I tell the people.
The straps on the kettle hat are worn by all good knights and squire

A seat from skin is good for the behind.
Is the bishop seated on it, then he engages in wisdom.
I shall also not spare you this:
one has the skin for his pleasure.
[Heh. Wait, what?]
And I want to tell you more:
In the hanging car [carriage] They put the cowhides,
On these sit the brides.



More I will tell you of the skin:
They make large precious books, from which you read and sing.
With tambourine and drums, which are made from hides, you cannot be sad.

They are not just dreams: whips, halters, bridles, stirrup leather, straps, ?backstraps [German: hinterreif, for the back of the horse], front gear, hand bags they make.
With ?leather [German: gegenleder] and belt you can joust better.
Nice saddles are made of only leather and bone.
This I give you effortless: the children play with knucklebones [a game also known as jacks].
Also the cushions on the benches, that have a cover of hide, you should think of.


From the bones large and small dice are made, that roll good on the board.
Many vicious men have gambled away everything, so they became furious with themselves.

From the horn you can make good combs. Especially small children should be groomed well with them, as you would do with good reason.
From horn they gladly make lanterns. When you place a light within, you can use it in the wind.


I will tell you more about the horn: When your back aches, they should be rubbed with them.
The hunters have a tradition that they have chosen themselves:
They wrap a belt around the horn, so they can blow on it.
If you want to raise birds, larks or finches, let them drink from it.
Also you enclose [hem about?] the front of your crossbow with cow horn.
thereupon they make vigorously from horn the handles of knives.
A writer rarely sees his horn empty; they [take ink from it and] write to the people.
From the skin, people that know how to handle leather make boots for the protection of your feet and soles. This you should believe.
Then there are wooden shoes [with leather parts, pattens] on which you can walk well, wide and tight shoes, short and long, that often creak.
From the hair you make padding or upholstery, rope and felt;
You can make bridle parts, and for children balls with hair,
That everybody runs after when they play back and forth with it.
The tail you nail to the door, with this you pull them open and close them.


Everything comes from the cow.

And still my praise has not ended, that has to be paid to the cow!
She births young, nice calf that grow into [?]bullocks and oxes.
When you eat the fat guts of the calf, they are very nourishing
And you still can get your head through your garment.
All this is not a lie: crossbow and horn bow are useless, yes they will break in two,
When we wouldn't have the tendons delivered by the cow.
With the ... [german: zerf, this is a part of a crossbow used to pull the cord under tension] you can tighten, for someone that runs away,
The shooting tendons over the crossbow.

It is a real joy.

So you can take the paws,
The blacks and the grays,
And turn them into paternoster beads
And send the devil a greeting.

You might think I only want to talk nicely and I almost forgot about the bladder, that can be used as a piper bag.

That everybody loves on the holidays.


"Martha, you are standing on my dress!

"How fortunate that you had them bladder-reinforced, dear!"



You cannot lie about it, that the seam of clothes are reinforced with it.

I cannot abstain from mentioning breast leather, funnels, and helmet horns.
Then you contain your spurs in leather.
I also would like to mention the wineskin, that is used to store wine. This one is also of bovine leather.
And first, the useful collars in which the horses pull, and the yoke belts with which the cows pull.
Nobody will deny: many tie themselves up with wide and narrow belts,that are worn everywhere.
The rings from bone are worn by men and women.
He who wears gloves or thimbles makes good use of them. Leather sacks and purses are made from skins, and bottles [flasks], funnels and pegs for storing of wine, knit-work [German: stricke, meaning knitting or knotting, so can also be a single knot] and scabbards for knives and swords, as well as clean nosebags for the cattle.

I can bring on more: the bellows can be named, which are desired by the blacksmiths.
Then there is the precious tail, that makes a nice whip. When the horses need to be shod, you can chastise them with it.
That the organs sound so loud and clear is thanks to the skin. From the tendons you can make cords for the bell-clapper.


If you want to chase away dogs, then tie a bladder to their tails, so they might think they are doomed, and they will howl terribly.
Boys, children definitely, and young people learn to swim with their help [of the bladder] when they are in the water.
People that don't have window glass do the following: They make a frame and stretch it with the good belly [german: flomen, nowadays means lard, which is the fat surrounding the belly] and cover with this their windows.

[This is described in detail in the Mappae Clavicula]


"Here, have some cow heart."

"Much obliged! You also have some rectum for me?"



Liver, kidneys, lungs, heart, gullet [german: schlund], tongue, spleen, brawn, feet, grind everything,
Many nice intestines, whiter than ermine, I couldn't stand it when I would have forgotten the stomach and the equally nice udder, br< That you can roast on the fire, just like the thick rectum
[yummy... don't you just love a good rectum?].


You can also use a cow's head as a decorative headgear



The warm dung you can spread out over the ground.
If you want to fertilize bad fields, you should add manure to that.
You should sooner weep over the corpse of a cow than of an evil old hag.
That the young are cheerful has always bothered the old.
More uses of the cow, the king [of Odenwald] doesn't know.
Now the narrative of the cow ends.
This should not sadden you.