Alle Wege Führen …

Let’s assume you fare through the South of the Holy Roman Empire (Ger., Eng.) in the 1590s. You are travelling light and by foot. You come to Tübingen (Ger., Eng.) to stay there over night: Your papers are all right, they let you in. You spend a nice hour in the municipal Badstube (Ger., Eng.; the one in Kulmbach, Ger. only, sorry), have a place to sleep in the tavern you are assigned to. The food is alright and you enjoy a mug of beer.
Trouble steps in in the shape of a group of drunk students. Especially one of them picks at you, starts an argument. You try to ignore the fool, but it does not work; the situation escalates when he  pulls out his foil or whatever broach they are carrying and attacks you. You grab the mug and – blam – dead student. Or presumably dead student.
What do you do now ?
Massacre the rest? A bit over the top, possibly. Wait for the authority to step in ? You are a foreigner. You hurt a student badly, what means that not the communal authority is responsible, but the university‘s (Ger., Eng.). That means to go to the carcer (page) (Ger., Eng.) in any case and pretty bad treatment is imminent. Your judge would be the rector of the university, and they do not like when one decimates their paying disciples; especially when the wrongdoer is a foreigner. If you are by chance a catholic, or horribile dictu a Kalvinist, things will get even worse.
So you go to Reutlingen. Now.

It’s a march of two hours, roughly 13 kilometers, from the bonny banks (yes !) of the Neckar (Ger., Eng., ??) to the bony banks of the Echaz (Ger., Eng.) under the Achalm (Ger., Eng., promo video,  ufo video (with strange soundtrack)). It will save your head.
In 1495 the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (in the form of  Maximilian I. (Ger., Eng.)) said in Mechel[e]n (Ger., Eng.) that whoever killed a human in the heat of passion or in self-defence (“auß Hitz des Zorns”) could find asylum and herberg in the free city of the Reich Reutlingen (Ger., Eng.): The verbal description of the deed and the approbation of the report by the city council will be sufficient.
From the start of the 16th to the begin of the 19th century (until the end of the old Reich) Reutlingen became the Fluchtpunkt for manslaughterers, bashers. The privilegium asyli was widely used, between 1515 and 1785 roughly 2.500 persons came in for this, and the council of the free city was not exactly known for throwing people out. They did extradite some in defined cases, but “defined” was open to interpretation, and 13 kilometers made a difference. Of course this was misused, but basically, if you reached the area of Reutlingen, you were safe.
The arguments between the authorities involved went on and on for centuries; it only came to an end when the Reich ceased to exist in 1806. Especially when the duels among the students became rampant in the 16th century the road to Reutlingen became a kind of recognized escape route.
In a way Yoknapatawpha is placeless and ageless. Überall.

21 thoughts on “Alle Wege Führen …

  1. The Achalm view is very exciting, and maybe Reutlingen a nice place to live. I got a longing for to go there … (Heimat ;-) I almost forgot!) Thank you very much for this post!

  2. Oh dear… based on some of the pictures on the webcam you’d have to be pretty desperate to seek refuge there!

    Btw Mr M, I will look at your earlier musical posts when I am somewhere less public. They sound up my street.

  3. How fascinating history is. I had no idea. It took me a while to get through all your links, especially the musical ones. I’ve been to Lafayette Co, Faulkner’s inspiration for Yoknapatawpha which is, of course, what the Chickasaw called the area before they had to ‘ zieh die Flatter.’ On my dad’s side I’m from Mississippi, btw.

  4. Maybe the emperor had a kind of “romantic” idea. He was called “the last knight” for a reason, all his life a very good rider, sword fighter, bad in Latin. Nevertheless he founded the very first institute for humanist studies (a part of Vienna university), what was pretty revolutionary. He is a strange mixture of looking back and looking forward, really Janus-headed. Very bad with money, he left a mountain of dept; basically the Fugger and other banquiers run the economics, and the Free Cities. So there is the possibility that somewhere an economic factor is involved, maybe Reutlingen could generate some income from this lawful status – but I have no real clue about it, LGS.

    Gern geschehen, Anna K !

    Oh MsScarlet – I think in 1590 such a creature would have not survived half a day in a town. Except when they made their annual “Umzüge” for “Fasenacht” or something like that. BTW did the original clown – I think he was identified – did he ever say something about his motif ? I found nothing online.

    2.500 people in 270 years, 9 to 10 people a year, nearly every month one who has lost his temper.
    These places look like typical 70s, 1looby – the region around is very nice, the “Schwäbische Alb” has charme.
    You know, when you click the category in the header all Sunday Musics will be shown. I think its around 180 now.

    I had to think of “Sanctuary”, Freystatt, asylum – I do not know why. Maybe I want to run away, Foam. To Reutlingen.

  5. A sanctuary, that’s the word that came to my mind when I was reading your post. I wonder why Looby is so picky about the webcam’s images. The second one reminds me a lot of Torchwood’s headquarters in Cardiff, Wales -that is very Burdish, indeed, including the rain-.

    From your words I understand that Reutlingen was not a safe place to live before the asylum privilege ended. Homo homini lupus est…

  6. Mago, I’ve just watched the links in your post. They’re absolutely fantastic! Beautiful music and beautiful places, including the fictional countries -I just love them!-. Thank you for this beautiful lesson of History and Geography. :)

  7. I think Humppa is a type of music from Finland, LX. But as a teetotalist, my knowledge of beers is not exactly extensive. I know Oompa Loompas, though. They drink chocolate and live in Charlie Wonka’s chcolate factory. :)

  8. No chance to do this, Foam

    Ah – I don’t know, Hipster Yaya: In the end I guess Reutlingen was as safe as any place. The fact that many people there had hurt someone else may not mean that the risk for someone else may increase. Do you know what the people you meet daily in a town or a city already have done ? Sometimes it may be a bliss not to know too much. Blogging may have chanced this …

    I always toyed with the idea to write about the fictional places, or about some places and / or families some writers constructed, dear Leni. But I know too little about this. Arno SCHMIDT wrote about this – and constructed some interesting worlds – KEMPOWSKI did this, others … in the end I land with those family histories through the 20th century; JOHNSON’s Jahrestage and such, KEMPOWSKI’s Echolot. I once nursed the idea to construct the area I grew up in like FAULKNER did with the South, there are enough stories to be told, believe me, but it’s a s usual: Either you have the time, or you have the money. If you have the time (as now), you are dirt poor and have to survive – or you have the money, then you have no time left to write, remember, and work through all the nonsense …

    Catholic. Irish. In oh so protestant Scottish Glasgow. Right, you earned yer scars, Chef. I grew up in the Glasscherbenviertel of an industrial town. When I came there (with six years) I did not understand one word. My friends and me beat everybody’s shit out if he came from another quarter, regardless of religion or origin. My friends came from Italy, Yugoslawia or Turkey, I came from Franconia, The rest came over the bridge(s), thus qualified as enemy. Easy rules.

    This is an interesting idea I never have thought of before, LX. I only know the “humpa” from “humpa-humpa-täteräh”, I guess it was / is a kind of carneval song. This is worth some research. I have no idea about the “humpa” Leni mentions, the Finnish variety.
    Teetotal – ? Seriously, Leni ? Not even a Rüdesheimer or a small Baileys? Oh …

  9. About fictional countries: If you like the sci-fi genre, I would recommend you read “Orsinian Tales”, from my beloved Ursula K. Le Guin. The action takes place in Orsinia, a fictional country somewhere in Central Europe, at different times in the period 1150-1965. I borrowed the name of Orsinia myself in some of my books to depict one particular country and added others of my own invention (Burdishland, Vasiania, Zeewland, North Pakostinia, etc). It’s very funny to do that and helps getting the reader’s attention, especially when recognising the country.

    Bearing in mind that I first got drunk at the tender age of 4, yes, I’m a teetotaller. But I make some exceptions on special occasions (no Baileys, thanks, But I like Rüdesheimer -we call it Irish coffee here-). Normally, I’m the one who drives people home.

Comments are closed.