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Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic Vol1
Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic Vol1


 
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Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic Vol1
by
our very good friend from the Big Easy, Jean Chandler


Walk the streets of the Fencing Masters

Most HEMA or WMA practitioners know the names of fencing masters like Hans Talhoffer, Paulus Kal, and the mysterious Hanko Döbringer. More serious students of historical fencing have read these masters discourses on the Kunst Des Fechtens, in their own words. Many of us have followed their guidance from routine training to fencing tournaments and beyond.

These enigmatic people belonged to another world, one very different from our own. And yet, the 15th Century wasn’t so long ago. Personal artifacts such as swords, books, even clothing that may have been held or worn by someone who personally knew these fencing masters are still around. So are tens of thousands of records detailing the lives of people in this era, including the masters themselves. Late medieval Europe was highly literate and surprisingly well documented. The data is there, in other words, but it is rarely very accessible.

You may have spent hours trying to decipher obscure parts of the fencing manuals, and struggled to make sense of them. Have you ever wondered about the lives of the fencing masters, of the people they worked for, and those they fought against? Are you curious about the world they lived in? Could better familiarity with their world help unlock some of the secrets of the fechtbücher?

The Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic, Volume 1, is a travel guide to the Medieval Baltic, circa 1456. This book is essentially an encyclopedia of a specific part of Central Europe in the Mid-15th Century. This book will take the reader into the misty primordial forests of pagan Lithuania, at a time when the Northern Crusades are still taking place with raids by the Teutonic Knights and counter-raids by the Lithuanians. The great Free Cities of Prussia, led by Danzig, are in the middle of a revolution against the Teutonic Order, and have formed an alliance with Poland. The King of Poland is from a Lithuanian family, and his parents were pagans, who burned their enemies alive as sacrifices to the forest gods. King Casimir IV Jagiellon is however a prudent and wise leader, who governs by consensus, walking a fine line between the many competing interests in his vast land.

Surrounding the Poland to the east one finds the Golden and Crimean hordes of the Mongols, the ancient Russian City State of Novgorod, and the Mongol dominated but increasingly powerful Russian state of Muscovy. In the north west are Pomerania, led by the Griffin Dukes, and the Mark of Brandenburg, led by the ruthless noble, Frederick II "The Iron", the prince elector of Brandenburg. To the south, behind a ring of mountains, the heretic Kingdom of Bohemia, whose war-wagons defeated five Crusades, and whose Czech heretics fight as mercenaries on both sides of wars in Poland and Prussia. Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic takes you into this world, and shows you the military, economic, and political organization of Central Europe in 1456. If you want to know the streets and alleys walked by the likes of Hans Talhoffer, this is your ticket to a place that is nothing like what you thought the middle ages were all about, and is far more interesting, nuanced and engaging than any fantasy genre you've ever explored.

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Lots of pictures.



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