Easter Knight Spectaculum in Berlin
In medieval times, tournaments thrived, featuring various competitions such as archery, sword fighting, and jousting. These events were intricately modeled to simulate battle scenes. Among the different contests, jousting, in particular, gained immense popularity.
Jousting, a spectacular duel, involved armored horsemen charging towards each other at high speed, wielding blunt lances with the aim to unseat their opponent from the saddle. Should this daring feat prove unsuccessful, a battle with swords ensued until a clear victor emerged. The 14th century marked the pinnacle of this exhilarating and chivalrous form of tournament.
In the vibrant atmosphere of medieval fairs, banquets, wedding or church celebrations, the presence of jugglers and singers was an ubiquitous and cherished sight. The mere thought of a fair without these entertainers or music groups was inconceivable for the population. Notably, some nobles' courts also hosted these talented performers, recognizing the allure they brought to their gatherings.
Jugglers and singers captivated their audiences with a mesmerizing array of diversions, encompassing magic tricks, artistry, dances, acrobatics, clowning, puppet shows, comedies, daring fire-breathing displays, and impressive juggling acts. Their repertoire also featured saucy song lyrics that added a touch of humor and wit, as well as heartwarming romantic love songs.
In the picture: The musicians skillfully wield original instruments from medieval times, transporting listeners back in time at the Cistercian monastery Chorin, nestled near Eberswalde.
Squires must not be squeamish!
In medieval times, a squire was the shield- or armour-bearer of a knight and served as a knight's apprentice. A squire was typically a young boy, training to become a knight. A boy became a page at the age of 7, then a squire at age 14. Squires were the second step to becoming a knight, after having served as a page. Squires served a knight as an attendant, doing simple but important tasks such as saddling a horse or caring for the knight's weapons and armour.
At the Spectaculum Magdeburgense, impressive fire shows can be seen. More than 70 showmen, minstrels, musicians and over 50 craftsmen take their audience on a journey back in time in the historic Mark Fortress. In addition to medieval craft and sales booths, the spectators are offered knight fights, fire shows and plays.
Spectaculum in Magdeburg
Satzvey Castle in the northern Eifel in North Rhine-Westphalia offers the ideal backdrop for knightly games.
Knights' Festival at Satzvey Castle
Medieval Fantasy Spectaculum at the Fühlinger See in Cologne.
Medieval market at Hardenberg Castle, Neviges (drone flight around Hardenberg Castle)
Medieval musicians at the “Reichsstadt-Festtage” in the historic town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria.
Executioners must not be missing from a medieval trial at the “Reichsstadt-Festtage” in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
“Executioner” is a job title in use since medieval times for the executor of the death penalty or other court sentences. This role emerged as part of the “professionalization” of the penal system during the 13th century. It aimed to centralize the administration of justice under the state's control, thereby curbing feuds and general acts of violence.
In this system, the executioner's remuneration came from the families of the punished or executed individuals, as stipulated by law. The tasks of the executioner extended beyond the actual execution; they also included using torture to elicit confessions during the judicial process. Apart from these solemn duties, executioners were burdened with various unpleasant and outlawed responsibilities. Among them, they had to clean cesspools, handle the somber task of dealing with suicides, and oversee prostitutes. These tasks were far from “respectable activities” and led to their exclusion from mainstream social life. The executioner was required to don conspicuous clothing, with red and green colors initially being obligatory. Regarded as impure and profoundly dishonest, they were considered akin to carriers of a contagious affliction, bringing perpetual misfortune to those who came into contact with them. Hence, strict prohibitions were imposed, forbidding any form of physical interaction, waving, toasting, or handling anything that had been previously touched by an executioner.
Due to the nature of their work and societal perception, executioners often had to reside outside the city, isolated from the community. Despite their role in upholding the law, they remained marginalized, bearing the weight of their profession while striving to maintain their livelihoods.
The sons of executioners faced limited career options, leaving them with little choice but to follow in their fathers' footsteps. Likewise, their daughters' marriage prospects were constrained to within the same social circles. Consequently, executioner dynasties emerged, characterized by intricate kinship connections resulting from the closed nature of their marital unions.
Historical groups camp around the entire city center. Numerous historical groups from all kinds of eras from the history of Rothenburg come together at the “Reichsstadt-Festtage” in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Monks in white robes emerge from the fog at the Kaltenberg Knights' Games in Kaltenberg, Upper Bavaria. The Kaltenberg Knights' Tournament is the largest knights' tournament in the world. Kaltenberg Castle was built in 1292 and is now owned by Luitpold Prince of Bavaria.
Participants of the “Landshut Wedding” on their way to the tournament square. The “Landshut Wedding” is one of the largest historical festivals in Europe. The four-week spectacle reenacts the marriage of the duke's son Georg to the Polish king's daughter Hedwig in 1475.
The amateur actors of the medieval festivals start at a very young age. 😄
Musicians entertain their audience in the castle courtyard at the knights' festival at Falkenstein Castle.
Two participants dressed as knights fight with lances in the arena during the knights games in Horb.
The historical procession at the Frundsbergfest in Mindelheim.