German or Germanic?

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German or Germanic?

Postby bigdummy » 09 Feb 2011 18:28

I was recently corrected on the idea of "German" martial arts. I was told by this particular individual, who shall remain temporarily nameless, that 'German' isn't a valid term in a 15th Century context, and that Germanic was preferable.

Now terminology like this is always tricky, but my understanding of the term "Germanic" is that it's not used after the Migration era.

Of course, I'm aware there was no such thing as a German State in the 15th Century, since the Holy Roman Empire was multi-ethnic. And there were various dialects of what I thought of as German, Low and High 'German', Mittelhochdeutsch, Franconian, Prussian and Schwabian. Are these languages still considered German? I know there is obviously overlap with other languages in areas like Frisia and Silesia.

But when you are talking about Frankfurt or Augsburg, while there may be different dialects, it's still German isn't it? The people of the time may have identified themselves as Bavarians, Tyroleans, Franconians, Thuringians, Saxons and etc. But these folks were also considered German at the time were they not? All of the contemporary academic literature I read of this period do refer to people of these ethnicities as 'Germans' as a term of convenience. Are they wrong to do so?

Is it legitimate to use the term 'German' for the Liechtenauer tradition? I don't think this was the angle of the person I was arguing with, but It is something I have wondered about myself since a lot of the activity seemed to be happening in Eastern European towns in Poland and Bohemia... and yet from what I understand most of these towns still had a mostly German (or at least, "German"-speaking) population in the 15th Century due to the Ostsiedlung. The written language of the Liechtenauer fechtbucher at any rate are either German of one form or another, or Latin. Or am I again misinformed?

I would appreciate other peoples perspectives on this, particularly that of people from Central Europe.

BD

EDIT: If I am wrong, I'm ready to be corrected.
Last edited by bigdummy on 10 Feb 2011 05:34, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: German or Germanic?

Postby Motley » 09 Feb 2011 20:38

You could call it Imperial Martial Arts....

Sadly I have nothing of actual use to add to the party... :-)
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Re: German or Germanic?

Postby bigdummy » 09 Feb 2011 21:00

Yeah but then I might get confused with those people on that reclaiming the blade disk 2 who fight with plastic light sabers :shock:

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Re: German or Germanic?

Postby Gil-Galadh » 09 Feb 2011 23:03

Motley wrote:You could call it Imperial Martial Arts....

This is too cool, it may fool someone that they are better than Fiore
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Re: German or Germanic?

Postby Martin Wallgren » 09 Feb 2011 23:20

Wasn´t Fiore a citizen of the Holy Roman Empire?
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Re: German or Germanic?

Postby Fab » 10 Feb 2011 04:03

bigdummy wrote:Is it legitimate to use the term 'German' for the Liechtenauer tradition?


No. Liechtenauer is German. But German isn't Liechtenauer. See cgm558, see Wallerstein, see all of them...


Boxes. Small boxes, as small as they can be, to make the mind that made them think of itself all the more clever.

But things aren't boxes.


And Martial arts definitely don't fit in boxes.
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Re: German or Germanic?

Postby bigdummy » 10 Feb 2011 05:26

Fab I think you are confusing my semantics a bit here, and you have put me in the wrong box. My question is this:

Can I say that by studying in part of the Liechtenauer tradition, I am studying a German MA tradition?

I never said that 'German was Liechtenauer' or that Liechtenauer was THE German Martial Arts. What I was told was that I'm not allowed to say I study German MA, I'm supposed to say 'Germanic'. Which I do not think is correct.

I think you already answered my question when you said

Liechtenauer is German.


but I want to clarify this before I move on.

BD
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"With any luck we'll be in Stalingrad by winter. " - Anyonymous German soldier
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Re: German or Germanic?

Postby Toke » 10 Feb 2011 06:11

in germany liechtenauers art is "deutsch" and the migration time people are called "germanen". maybe it helps.
to use the word "germanic" for medieval times sounds for me like a MARE....
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Re: German or Germanic?

Postby bigdummy » 10 Feb 2011 07:10

That is what I thought.

Thought I'm not sure what 'MARE' means.

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Re: German or Germanic?

Postby bigdummy » 10 Feb 2011 14:14

Y'all gonna leave me hanging here?
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Re: German or Germanic?

Postby Michael S » 10 Feb 2011 14:47

"Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe", the name used by ARMA for what they represent to the World Martial Arts Union.

Grabbed that from their Wikipedia page. Incidentally, the discussion page for that article is an interesting really in itself. I assume Ranp is the same as our very own?

As for what that actually entails, I have no idea.

Eugh, not wanting to drag this thread off topic, but hunting for a definition on the ARMA website did come up with:
In welcoming our member delegation, the WoMAU was able to avoid contending with the divergent numbers of emerging groups and organizations all posturing to represent a different portion of the modern practice of Medieval and Renaissance fencing. In other words, having to consider every federation, club, society, or school in the world claiming some unique ethnographic authority or special proprietary ownership over a part of these historical teachings. This way the Union is able to steer clear of the problem of selecting individual representatives from every modern nation or state for every possible fighting tradition or martial culture associated with the martial arts of Renaissance Europe, conveniently abbreviated as "MARE."


So I guess MARE = 'the [modern] practice of Medieval and Renaissance fencing' and/or 'every possible fighting tradition or martial culture associated with the martial arts of Renaissance Europe'.

Well, you did ask...
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Re: German or Germanic?

Postby bigdummy » 10 Feb 2011 15:44

Yes I did, and that does possibly clarify the point.

I'm certainly not trying to emphasize any kind of ARMA-esque idea of a pan European or even pan-German (or pan-Germanic) Martial Arts, I'm just trying to verify that it's ok to use the term 'German' (or deutsch) in a 15th Century context, and specifically in reference to Liechtenauer tradition fechtbucher. From what I understand the idea of a "German" ethnicity, language group, and culture is accepted by Academia as coalescing from 'Germanic' tribes no later than circa 1,000 AD. I've been told I was wrong quite forcefully by someone who is prominent in the community so I wanted to verify that I was not crazy, because I am largely self-educated so sometimes I miss things. But I think my belief has been verified tentatively.

There is a seperate and interesting issue though which I also wonder about as to the ethnicity of the Liechtenauer 'diaspora', since so many of them seemed to hail from Eastern Europe (based on their names). I've been doing a lot of research on Prussia and Bohemia recently and I still really can't determine the actual ethnicity of a lot of the people and cities in the region, it's almost like there are two alternate realities which don't admit of each others existance. All the people and places seem to have both German and Slavic names, people still apparently argue whether Copernicus was Polish or German for example or whether Gdansk / Danzig was a German town, a Polish town, or a 'Prussian' town (which itself had two or three different meanings). Certainly we know a few of the Liechtenauer tradition masters were Jewish or converted Jews. I wonder if any were Polish or Czech...

BD
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Re: German or Germanic?

Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 11 Feb 2011 09:48

"Germanic" is a term to be used for roman/migration aera - or to describe some modern (i.e. since historism of the 19th century) wannabe-mighty-warrior-and-pagan-mishmash.

On a sidenote: AFAIK the term "germanic" referring to any tribe living somewhere in nowadays Germany, Austria, Benelux during the roman and early migration period is nowadays quite limited, compared to the heavy use of the term "germanic" in 19th and early 20th century history.

BUT: speaking of germanic in a 15th century context is rubbish.

Of course there was no german state, but AFAIK there was no "Italy" or "Spain" (until somewhere around the 1460s IIRC) neither back in th 14th or 15th century.

I'm not writing about anything pre 1300s because I don't know much about these periods. But apart from the ratehr midern idea of a state or nation, there was of course the absolutely normal use of the term "german" to describe language, origin, even fashion or certain styles (in armour etc.)

Speaking of swabian, franconian etc., I wouldn't call them languages, I'd rather call them dialects. Although I'm not firm with linguistics.....
There is one major mistake 'though: "Mittelhochdeutsch" usually refers to an older variation of the german language in general around the timframe of 1050 - 1350.
The language in the fencing manuals - like 3227a, RIngeck, von Danzig etc. - is "Frühneuhochdeutsch" (Early New High German).

But this:
'German' isn't a valid term in a 15th Century context, and that Germanic was preferable.
is utter crap and you are obliged to tell exactly this to the nameless person in question.
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Re: German or Germanic?

Postby bigdummy » 11 Feb 2011 14:54

Thanks Wolfgang, and I have done so :)

What do you think about the more complex issue of possible Polish or Czech (etc.) involvement in the Liechtenauer society, perhaps even some of the masters..? I think it's interesting how much of this seems to come from the periffery of the HRE, and also in many cases from the Free Cities. Frankfurt, Basel, Strasbourg, Augsburg and Danzig / Gdansk were all Free Cities for example. Prague was partially.

BD
"In the case of an ailing social order, the absence of an adequate diagnosis... is a crucial, perhaps decisive part of the disease." -Zygmunt Bauman

"With any luck we'll be in Stalingrad by winter. " - Anyonymous German soldier
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Re: German or Germanic?

Postby Herbert » 12 Feb 2011 12:46

"german" is a valid term. It isn't when used in the meaning of "German as in Germany" but it is totally valid when used as "german as the area of the german language".
So all the martial arts originating in german speaking areas can be called german. Of course it was not high german but still german.

So tell this person to accept it.

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Re: German or Germanic?

Postby janner » 14 Feb 2011 22:12

German is used quite freely by historians of the Twelfth Century to describe the Third Crusade contingent from Central Europe under Frederick Barbarossa and it would be seen as very strange to talk of germanic at this point. So I'm not sure why anyone interested in the Fifteenth Century would get their knickers in a twist...
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