Subject: Raubritter 'robber knight'
Culture: Imperial German
Setting: knightly leagues, Holy Roman Empire late 14-15thc
Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)
* Gravett/McBride 1985 p13
"The Golden Bull of 1356 had made the princes Electors of Empire, but the lesser nobles and knights still defied them from their castles. Unruly bands were especially troublesome in Swabia and Franconia, in fragmented areas of western and central Germany where robber knights or Raubritter raided from their castles or fortified houses. In the widespread anarchy the peasantry suffered. Leagues sprang up with inventive names: the Horn in Hesse, the Crown, the Sword, St Martin, St George. That of St George comprised several lesser Swabian families who had allied during the Appenzell war (1403-1411). The knights saw the need to guard against internal feuding as well as external interference; they were aware of possible contracts with cities or princes who might hire their services."
* Shiny shapes 1998 p72
"Gruesome descriptions of deeds carried out by revolting robber knights against the ruling order during the period of the Interregnum may validly be compared to the looting and pillaging of soldiers at the end of the Thirty Years' War. All of these men at war abandoned even a minimum of social order and set up their own laws. With one important difference: the medieval robber knights were well-known individuals; the murdering bandits of the 17th century were a bunch of nameless outlaws. Even war reflected the basic change of attitude which manifested itself between the Middle Ages and the early Baroque period. ... Violation of martial law remains a strict taboo, a fact well-illustrated by the epic literature of the Middle Ages."
* Gravett/McBride 1985 p15 caption
"The klappvisier was rarely seen outside Germany. ... The ogival shape of the bascinet appears to be a German feature."
* Gravett/McBride 1985 p14
"The men wore uniform dress or insignia, e.g. the red sleeves of the Lahn-Rhine countryside, crowns, stars or wolves. Knights distinguished themselves from squires by substituting gold for silver trimmings."
* Wise 1976 p79
"In the late fourteenth century a throwing axe was ... developed for use by cavalry which took the form of a cross, having four blades with a short handle and three spikes between them. This was thrown just before two sides met."