Dogs’n Asses

Ahem, no, it’s not an Infomaniac Special and I am not turning this into an agricultural magazine. I am talking about a small country town of a bit more than twenty thousand souls, situated in the middle of the Western neighbour of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg:
Rottweil (Ger., Eng., website) is naming itself the oldest city in Ba-Wü, because  a part of it sits on a Roman city founded 73 p.Chr.n. that was called Arae Flaviae (Ger. only), the Flavian altars or altars of the Flavians (the then ruling family, if I form this word correctly). It was a kind of Emperor’s city and seemingly never a real success, because the frontier of the Imperium Romanum moved and from the middle of the third century onwards the Alamanni (Ger., Eng.) took over – the Germani (Ger., Eng.) were not civilized city dwellers and the city crumbled away, but seemingly remained inhabited.
The Karolingians (Ger., Eng.) had an important court (Herzogshof) there, and in the second half of the 8th century the king’s court Rotuvilla is named in documents. But the real new foundation took place in the high middle ages when the Staufer (Ger., Eng., exhibition) built a new city circa two kilometers West of the Roman remains, high on a spur above the valley of the Neckar (Ger., Eng.), using the Zähringer (Ger., Eng.) muster. This medieval city is still visible and largely intact despite some losses in the wars of the 17th and 18th century.
Rottweil was a free city, a Reichsstadt, and had traditionally good connections towards the Swiss Eidgenossenschaft (Ger., Eng.), in fact it fought alongside the Swiss against the duke of Burgundy in the battle of Murten in 1476 (Ger., Eng.). Most of the Reichsstädte happily adopted Luther’s Reformation and got rid of these bugging bishops, like Nürnberg, Frankfurt am Main, or smaller ones like Heilbronn f.e. But Rottweil stayed with the old confession and remained  within the Bistum Konstanz (Ger., Eng.), until 1821. Then it came to the Bistum Rottenburg, and even protestants were allowed in.
A nickname for the inhabitants of Rottweil is Esel, asses (Ger., Eng.). These interesting animals played an important role in the economic history of the city through the middle ages well into the 19th century; they must have been a very common sight, so the name stuck. Nowadays Eseltage are a touristic event.
Also a common sight from late medieval times onwards was the Rottweiler dogs (Ger., Eng.), originally a kind of Metzgerhund, a butcher’s dog. Rottweil was a centre for livestock trade, not only cows, but sheep, goats etc. The butchers were in charge of this trade and they needed dogs to tread the herds. From this origins the Rottweiler developed as shepherd’s dogs. Later, when the herds were transported by train or car, from the early 20th century onward, the Rottweiler were used by police and military. A Rüde, a male, has a height at withers up to nearly 70 centimeters and weights up to 50 kilogramms. They are described as friendly and aware or alert – by the friends of the Rottweiler (don’t miss that intro, switch on the speakers!), an absolutely unbiased group of course, others may see it different. I guess the problem walks at the other end of the lead, as always. If I were to live on the countryside, alone in the woods, I think I’d like to have one or two by my side.
If you look onto a map of the region you see to the West of Rottweil the Schwarzwald (Ger., Eng.),  East  the Schwäbische Alb (Ger., Eng.); to the South the Bodensee (Ger., Eng.) is not far away. The air is very clean there, in the neighbourhood some climatic health-resorts can be found. If I remember my geographical school lessons right the whole area is called Baar (Ger., Eng.). It seems to be nice and friendly, a good place to live.

8 thoughts on “Dogs’n Asses

  1. Well, glad you clarified that! Are you aiming for the world hyperlink record? (21 by my count.)

    Seriously, your forays into weird and wonderful byways are always fascinating, and I will follow the links as soon as I have free time from the pressures of being retired.

  2. The Battle of Murten link makes me want to go to the Ren Faire!

    Someone had a huge Rottweiler named Samson who lived in my sister’s neighborhood. He was fierce looking, but actually very gentle. He would wander the neighborhood to visit house to house and play with the neighborhood kids and other dogs. Sadly, someone shot and killed him.

    We have lots of Esel here, not confined to a region either. I worked with several in my last job!

  3. Rottweiler, Doggen and even Schäferhunde may look mean, whether they are all depends on how they are trained. I grew up with Schäferhunde and have no fear from them; respect surely, but no fear.
    Samson is a nice name for such an animal.

    Nah, they are not tied to one region. Even oneself is not free from an Esel-part.

    BTW there is always sucuk or “real” salami, that’s where the Esel go to …

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