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.