By Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz
Collegium Medievale, Vol.18 (2005)
Abstract: The purpose of this article is to analyse the differences between shoemakers in late medieval Bergen and Stockholm on one hand, and the differences between the archaeological finds of shoes in the two towns on the other hand. The relations between those differences and the possible reasons for disparities will be discussed. To judge from the written sources, the ethnic background, the political situation and the inner organization of the shoemakers were quite different in Bergen and in Stockholm. In Bergen there was a strong influence of the Hanseatic League, Lubeck in particular, on the shoemakers, and this might have had implications for the shoe production. In Stockholm, there was more room for varied influences. The questions to be discussed in the following are thus firstly if there are discrepancies between the Stockholm and Bergen shoemakers and if so the background for such discrepancies. Secondly, if differences between the shoes found in the two towns might be explained as a result of differences between the way the shoemakers were organized in the two towns. This will be seen in a European context, as well as in the context of the influence of Lubeck on the shoemakers in Bergen.
The sources on shoes and shoemakers in Bergen and Stockholm are varied. The central written sources on Bergen concern the German shoemakers. They are mentioned in letters and documents in Diplomatarium Norvegicum, in Norges gamle Love 2. Roekke, in Hanserezesse and in the unpublished Urkunden Norwegica in the archive of Lubeck (returned in the 1990s to the archive). The Swedish written sources include craft guild regulations (skraordningar), documents in Diplomatarium Suecanum and entries in Stockholms stads tankebocker and Stockholms stads skottebok. A literary source on German shoemakers is a piece of Hans Sachs (1494-1576 ), a writer and shoemaker, Schwanck: Der schuster mit dem lederzancken. Background information on shoes is provided by written sources like price lists in Norges gamle Love III.
The archaeological sources used here are partly published (excavations from the sites Gullskoen in Bergen and Helgeandsholmen in Stockholm), while finds from the sites Tritonia and Riddarholmen in Stockholm are only available in the form of excavation reports. The Tritonia and Riddarholmen finds have not been used for general analyses of shoes in medieval Stockholm.
See also our feature on Medieval Shoes