Urban Carnival: Festive Culture in the Hanseatic Cities of the Eastern Baltic, 1350-1550
This is a significant new study of the festival culture of northern Europe in the later Middle Ages: more specifically of the German-speaking communities of the great cities of the eastern Baltic littoral in what was then called Livonia, corresponding roughly to the territories of present-day Estonia and Latvia. While subject to a degree of Scandinavian influence, the festival culture of Livonian cities such as Riga, Reval (Tallinn), and Dorpat (Tartu), which were members of the Hanseatic League, substantially overlapped with that of other German-speaking areas, not least the Hanseatic cities of northern Germany. The major part of the book is devoted to the main annual festivals of the merchants' guilds: Christmas, Carnival, the popinjay shoot, and the May Count celebrations. There follows an analysis of specific aspects of the festivals: spatial contexts, finances, food and drink, entertainments (dances, jousts, games), customs and rituals. There is also a concluding glance at changes in festival culture after the Reformation. The study combines close scrutiny of local customs (made possible by the almost miraculous survival of uniquely detailed documentation), contextualization within the wider comparative context of festival culture in late-medieval Europe, and an alterness to significant recent scholarship in both English and German.
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On the Study of Festival
Background to the Inquiry
Christmas and Carnival
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account books alderman alten Schragen associations Balthasar Russow banquet beer Black Heads bread burghers Carnival drunke Carnival regulations celebrations ceremonies Christmas and Carnival Christmas drunke city accounts city council city councillors City Hall coll Count festival culture customs dancing deme DSHI edder elected Estonian Europe Fastnacht Fastnachtsbrauchtum fifteenth Friedrich Amelung gegeuen German Geschichte Grossen Gilde gude ghesellen guests Guild in Reval Guildhall guilds and confraternities Heads in Reval hebben Ibid Item jousting KB Reval LECUB Liibeck Livonian cities Livonian Master Martinmas mede merchants Middle Low German Mittelalter Nottbeck parade Pentecost popinjay popinjay shoot records references Riga Riga and Reval schaffers schoduvel Schragen der Grossen Schwarzenhaupter sixteenth century social sollen sources spices Stadt StAH statutes stewards Stieda and Mettig subchapter Table Guild Tallinn Teutonic Order took place urban vnde vnnd wine Wolter von Plettenberg wynachten X X X