The armour of the common soldier in the late middle ages: Harnischrödel as sources for the history of urban martial culture
By Regula Schmid
Acta Periodica Duellatorum, Vol.5:2 (2017)
Abstract: The designation Harnischrödel (rolls of armour) lumps together different kinds of urban inventories. They list the names of citizens and inhabitants together with the armour they owned, were compelled to acquire within their civic obligations, or were obliged to lend to able-bodied men. This contribution systematically introduces Harnischrödel of the 14th and 15th c. as important sources for the history of urban martial culture. On the basis of lists preserved in the archives of Swiss towns, it concentrates on information pertaining to the type and quality of an average urban soldier’s gear.
Although the results of this analysis are only preliminary – at this point, it is not possible to produce methodologically sound statistics –, the value of the lists as sources is readily evident, as only a smattering of the once massive quantity of actual objects has survived down to the present time.
Top Image: Stone figure of a knight wearing full armour from the late 14th/ early 15th century. © The Trustees of the British Museum