The international landsknecht community & home of Stockholmsfänikan
Myself and a few friends plan to put together a flag display, similar to, but not exact, as Italian Sbandieratori.
In most of the old prints , landsknecht banners and flags have a relatively short pole ( about two or three palms long underneath the fabric.
The problem with this, is that "athletic" waving and routines with a short pole can be very tiring, even with a counterweighted handle area.
In the interest of historic accuracy, my question is why are most landsknecht representations with such a short handle area?
Also, is there a "preferred" source of banner and heraldry reference source for images?
Thank you in advance for any possible assistance.
One of our forum members posted a number of Fahnlein/banner pictures at: http://www.landsknecht.org/photo/photo/listForContributor?screenNam...
I think that the short Fahnlein pole and, I like your term athletic, waving was sort of the point. These soldiers received superior armour and pay since their signalling was so critical to their units.
We have a source somewhere for our banner. There is a difference in size between the infantry banners and the cavalry ones. I have to check that up. But I think the fänreichs were incrediby strong. They were probably chosen for their strength.
Well, I can tell you first hand:
A 130x130 cm silk banner on an ash pole 170cm long, 2.2 cm diameter ( octagonal really), becomes very tiring quickly. This leaves 40 cm for hands, ok but low leverage for wrist manipulation. These flag and pole dimensions are today's sport standard, however the poles are super light aluminium and we would like to avoid the obvious anachronism.
Much more sucess was had by the "american standards" for what they call "color guard".
In this case an ash pole, 183 cm long and 134 x 91 cm silk, gave good silk movment and is defintely easier on the wrist.
While not absolutely vital, I would prefer some historical accuracy.
Maybe such a pole and flag size could be construed as cavalry and therefore have some basis in how things were done, or could possibly have been done.
Thank you for the information Karl, its good to look at them in some detail.
Not absoluetly sure right now, for our local relevance, our first tries will be with motifs with the Maltese cross, Flag of St John and Double headed Eagle.
We might try a little of whats known in heraldry as "canting arms" ( visual pun) ; For example: on left side a horizontal bar and the other half a tower, representing a burgher at arms.
Incidentally my family name, Borg is a derivative of Burgher and our coat of arms is also a tower.
The horizontal left bar signifies a bastard. Perhaps fitting for landsknecht irreverence and humor. :-)
I have been accused of knowing too much about heraldry and my device is used as a cautionary tale.
I have registered a simpler badge which would make a better Fahnlein/Banner:
I appreciate the bar sinister in yours. This might be an opportunity to recruit a particularly big reenactor for banner waiving.
BTW - I have read some reference to a fairly elaborate banner signalling code for Landsknechts but I have not found a single example of these Fahnlein codes. Has anyone else found any historic examples?
Big re-enactor? I wish! As it is we have to do with whoever turns up for the moment.
Flag displays can be tough, so we do what we can. As it is its totally new for us. The group we grew out of is rather conservative; The idea of a landsknecht unit is still viewed with a measure of "distance". The last time landsknecht were in Malta was in the panic-arming period just after the 1565 siege. They, along with a retinue of kampfrau, were considered as disrespectfull and irreverent and , I am told were sent packing after not long. Seriously, this story is to this day making our lives difficult. Flag tossing and longsword displays might make our appearance a little better liked.
PS, re my Bar sinister: Think, horizontal left bar is wrong. Should be slanting.
Try a different recruiting tactic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xZm2UOam74
"As big as you are, I bet you can't swing this banner around a in a figure 8 for even 20 minutes."
What sort of reenacting do you have in Malta? Alaska has a lot of reenacting per capita but we have such a small and widely spread out population.
Malta is a really tiny island, right in the center of the meditterranean. We trip over history almost literally, from very very early megalithic to ancient and middle ages. We had an extremely interesting late medieval to renaissance end period, with the Order of the Knights of St John; Many barouqe buildings and palaces.
Inspite of this, strangely enough the renaissance has been sort of neglected by re-enactors. We have very acvtive ww2 and middle ages groups though.
I think that our group , In-Guardia is the only one exclusively renaissance.
However its beginnings is rather different from the others: It was and is, sponsored by the Government Tourism board; While a bit of money is ok, regular wages and periodic assignments have attracted attention by those who are in it just for the money.
There are however a small group of us, who are hardcore types, most of whom have been involved in arms and armour, plus guns old and modern, all their lives.
I come from this background and I am setting up a small unit and introducing longsword fencing and flag juggling. Its a far swing from an otherwise dull and very regular routine.
Hence my interest in banners and flags and the bit of wild irreverence a Landsknecht bunch would bring.
That is very interesting! Are you practicing HEMA? Where can I read about the Landsknechts of Malta? What year are you concentrating on? Before or after 1530?
We focus mainly around the 1565 great siege, it appears that immediately after, the Grand Master of the order Jean de La Vallette, wanted to augment the Malta garrison, that consisted of Maltese conscripts, and members of the order from Britain, Spain, Italy, France and Germany. By this time they already had a hisrory of alliances with mercenary troops, and they brought in Landsknecht for a while. The story is that they were a little too noisey and disrespectfull and did not last long here.
Fact is that part from a few paintings and some written references there is not much.
I am trying to dig up some evidence.
No hema yet for our group yet. But that is an interesting subject you brought up, and because nothing exists without a historical perspective, the background in general is that living on a tiny island surrounded by marauding islamic pirates, has indeed had an effect on the maltese historical and cultural persona.
A great deal of people have some sort family connection with the resulting occuping armies that were stationed here over the years.
My own mothers side came from scotland , immediately after ww1 for example. There is a lot of floklore based on sea borne attacks and this has indeed played upon the general public feeling, even if not entirely conscious. Many citizens own guns to this day.
Hema? well there one or two clubs I believe; but weapons enthusiasts here are perhaps too purist and tend to see them as a sort of "olympic and sporterised" versions of martial arts.
Maybe ( and this is just an idea) the act of bringing in too many rules and form will render hema into more of a sport than a way of enlightenment.
An unfortunnate state of affairs perhaps, much like the olympics have destroyed foil and saber and almost all pistol and rifle shooting.
Our isolation has brought a few advantages: less influence from popularisms. We have a couple of old school sword masters and I dont know if they think much of anything but the sword, never mind sport.
Nice! How many landsknechts can you muster in Alaska? Do you have any events or do you go south in springtime for war? :)
There is only one other serious Landsknecht, http://www.landsknecht.org/profile/JasonGrimes?xg_source=profiles_m... and he lives 600 air miles away in Fairbanks. Our only real organized reenacting group is the SCA so we might be able to dress out half a dozen Landsknechts gentlemen and as many ladies in the state which is nearly as big as Europe.
I make one of the big southern wars each year where I can meet up with a few more folks doing Landsknecht. These SCA wars have maybe 5,000-14,000 people dressed but the SCA covers about 476AD through 1600AD and Landsknecht is a very hard kit compared to many time periods.
Since we are Alaskans we do have lots of guns including matchlocks.
I lived in Germany (SchwaBisch Hall) for about three years and traveled constantly but never made it to Malta or or even Capraia, which also had some Landsknecht history. :-( I own a small plane which is enough to fly to nearby Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory and from there there are non-stop summer flights to Europe which is always tempting to my wife and I.