Surfing the web for various inspirational reconstructions, like the Pudding Lane Productions one for London just before the Great Fire (and here’s another one from the same project, but at night), I came across this one for Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire:
Although I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this reconstruction, I rather like how it shows how the castle must have been a mix of its medieval origin and later accretions. Too often fantasy settings look like they’ve sprung from the earth fully-formed (ironically, representations of Tolkien’s Middle Earth are especially guilty of this, despite the setting’s detailed history, or perhaps because Tolkien himself was a great philologist but his sense of history was very flat). But RL is much more complicated, with old things always far outnumbering the new and providing the foundations, often literally, for it.
Here’s a rather fun site, designed to create ambience for a monastic murder mystery, in honour of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, but easily usable for WFRP games too: the Name of the Rose Background Ambience Generator.
It has various sliders you can use, including some to create an especially spooky atmosphere appropriate to this time of year.
A few weeks ago I posted some images and a link to an eighteenth-century book of magic. Meanwhile, the Newberry Library in Chicago is looking for help to transcribe some magical books from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, so they’ve digitised the images and put them online. That means that you also get transcriptions of the otherwise difficult to read text. Here’s some instructions for talking to spirits:
The Book of Magical Charms, fol.10r, image 13 (excerpt)
To Speak with Spiritts
Call their names Orimoth, Belmoth Lymocke]
and Say thus. I coniure you by the names
of the Angels + Sator and Azamor that
yee intend to me in this Aore, and send
unto me a Spirite called Sagrigit that
doe fullfill my comanding and desire
and that can also understand my words
for one or 2 yeares [?]; or as long as I will.
The third and last part of this overview of the offices of the early-modern German court covers religion, culture and government.
For Part One go here, and for Part Two go here.
The court’s religious community could either consist of the narrower court itself, in which case religious ceremony took place in the Hofkapelle [court chapel] or Hofkirche [court church] or it might include the wider community that surrounded the court, in which case the Hofkirche also formed its own parish. The church was under the authority of the Hofprediger [court preacher], who was responsible for services as well as the moral condition of the court. Occasionally, court churches were also monastic or conventual churches.
Music was extremely important at court. It was under the authority of the Kapell– or Konzertmeister and both smaller and larger orchestras provided music at mealtimes, chamber music and music for religious services. Trumpeters in particular took part in virtually every court occasion. Apart from the actual musicians, vocalists etc, there were also technical personnel, such as instrument makers, copyists etc.
From the end of the Middle Ages, court poets (Hofdichter) were common in England and France, but only occasionally appeared in German courts.
From the late 17th and then in 18th centuries, the name Hofmeister described the tutor of the sons of high aristocrats. These teachers had graduated from the philosophical or theological faculties of the universities, travelled with the court on its journeys and often attained high office.
Part One last week concentrated on the various aristocratic offices at court. This installment deals mainly with the commoners and domestics, including those responsible for hunting and military display. [For Part 3 go here.]
The office of Hofküchenmeister [Master of the Kitchen] was one of the few to be reserved for commoners, because it was seen as inappropriate for aristocrats to have anything to do with anything to do with economics. Even so, the kitchen [Hofküche] was the most important office to do with the support of the court.
The Hofküchenmeister was in charge of the Küchenschreiber [Comptroller of the Kitchen], who recorded everything that went in and out of the kitchen on a daily basis and was responsible for the accounts. Whatever additional stuff needed to be got from the market was financed by the Küchenmeister, who had his own budget for that. Every morning the dining plan was discussed with the staff of Mund-, Leib-, Kavaliers-, Bei– and Unterköche [senior, personal, knights’, assistant and sous-chefs respectively; sing. -koch] for the different tables. For specialty dishes, specialists like a Hofzuckerbäcker [confectioner] or Pastetenkoch [pastry cook, pie-maker] were available. Other specialist services were carried out by a Brat- und Backmeister [Master Baker], Hofmetzger [Court Butcher], Zehrgeber [to be honest I’m not sure about this one – I think it means ‘provisioner’, maybe someone responsible for provisioning the court on the move] or Geflügelwart [Master of the Poultry]. Lesser kitchen personnel included Küchenjungen [kitchen boys; sing. Junge], Küchenweiber [Kitchen girls; sing. –weib], Mägde [maids; sing. Magd] and Knechte [scullions; sing. Knecht].