Defaced: The Visual Culture of Violence in the Late Middle Ages

A groundbreaking study of violence in the late Middle Ages plumbs the historical record for images and narratives of vio

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Defaced: The Visual Culture of Violence in the Late Middle Ages

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Defaced The Visual Culture ef Violence in the Late Middle A9es

Valentin Groebner

? Translated by Pamela Selwyn

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NEW YORK

2004

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() 2004 Valentin Groebner ZONE BOOKS

40 White Street New York, NY 10013 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic, mechanical, photocopying, microfilming, recording, or otherwise (except for that copying permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law and except by reviewers for the public press) without written permission from the Publisher.

Printed in the United States of America. Distributed by The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, England

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Groebner, Valentin. [Ungestalt. English] Defaced: The visual culture of violence in the late Middle Ages / by Valentin Groebner; translated by Pamela Selwyn. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 1-890951-37-4 (cloth) I. Violence in art. 2. Art, Medieval - Themes, motives. I. Title. N8257.G7613 2003 704. 9'493036'09024-dc21

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Contents

Acknowled9ments Introduction

De/faced

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Chapter I

lma9inations

Chapter II

Invisible Enemies

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Chapter III

Savin9 Face

Chapter IV

The Crucified and His Doubles

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Chapter V

Fiends: False Si9ns on the Battlefield

Afterword

Facin9 the Pictures: Are We All Sefe?

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Index

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Acknowledgments

As curious and eager as I am to read the dedications and acknowledgments in other people's books ("Oh, let's have a look! Is this his mother?"), I get shy and timid when it comes to writing my own, because they are so utterly personal. Others fulfill this task graciously and elegantly; I feel that mine are always inadequate, a kind of shorthand of concealed and encoded emotions or, rather, scholarly stutter. We stutter when we try too hard to say something, right? My expressions of gratitude always come belatedly, insufficient for what friends and colleagues have generously given me. Gerhard Wolf, during a long walk in Rome, asked questions that helped to shape my provisional and rather incoherent ideas about violence and images; Jeffrey Hamburger repeatedly encouraged me to continue and shared his encyclopedic knowledge with me; Philippe Braunstein, Susanne Bruegel, Lucas Burkart, Philine Helas, Tom Holert, Martin Kimbauer, Fritz Kramer, Klaus Kruger, Thomas Lentes, Nils Minkmar, David Nirenberg, Helmut Puff, Lyndal Roper, Philipp Sarasin, Klaus Schreiner, Peter Schuster, Gerd Schwerhoff, Dominik Sieber, Claudius Sieber-Lehmann, Gabriela Signori, Nick Stargardt, Simon Teuscher, Joseph Vogl, Laura Weigert, Barbara Wittmann, and Annette Wunschel have helped me with hints, trouvailles, comments, criticism, and suggestions: I 7

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hope to convey through these lines my affection, friendship, and gratitude to them. Earlier incarnations of several chapters appeared at various workshops and conferences. A version of Chapter 2 was presented in December 1999 at the colloquium "Stadt und Recht" at the Max Planck Institute for History and the Mission Historique Fran~aise en Allemagne; many thanks to the participants and to the organizers of the meeting, Otto Gerhard Oexle and Pierre Monnet. An earlier version of Chapter 3 was read at a conference on blessed honor organized by Gerd Schwerhoff and Klaus Schreiner whose proceedings were published by Bohlau Verlag in 1995; an English translation of the text appeared as "Losing Face, Saving Face" in History Workshop Journal 40 ( 1995). A first version of Chapter 5 was presented at the conference "Schlachtfelder" at Humboldt University in Berlin in June 2000; I am grateful for the opportunity to develop my ideas and for permission to republish the essay. Pamela Selwyn was again a wonderful translator to work with. I want to thank Meighan Gale, Jeff Fort, Ramona Naddaff, and Ingrid Sterner for their enthusiasm, help, and patience with both the manuscript and its often clueless author. And, at last, what a complicated thing to dedicate a book on such a dark topic! This is for my brothers, Constantin, Dominic, and Severin.

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exemplars of horror. It renders them, to use the German word, un9estalt, formless, defaced. Both a noun and an adjective, un9estalt is a medieval term. It can be translated into English as "hideous" or "hideousness," which originally referred to a quality causing dread or horror. More literally, it means formlessness, and unlike hideousness, u~9estalt has no appearance. It does, however, have a history, which I will try to sketch here. This history of images of violence takes us from the pictures of mutilated bodies in the Zurich exhibition, that is, from the imaginations of our own present, back to their predecessors at the end of the Middle Ages, more than five hundred years ago. The form of violence that here concerns me is a visual one, but one that produces images of formless and literally faceless terror. "The face is the most noble part of a human being," states a bill of indictment in a case involving a severed nose in late-fifteenthcentury Alsace, "and a person becomes 9antz un9estalt, completely disfigured, utterly hideous, when his or her face is mutilated:' The wounded and the dead on late-medieval battlefields were described as un9estalt, referring to the extreme violence that made humans formless and identification impossible. The same term for unrecognizability was used to describe the anonymous conspirators in tales of nightly massacres, or "nights of murder," in cities of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. At the same time, it also referred to the costumed actors in Passion plays, themselves closely associated with the dangers of disguise and diabolical dissimulation. In all these cases, violence was portrayed in and with pictures, but the pictures showed only a terrifying void. The horror that all these representations of violence shared (and share) had no identifiable face. It was un9estalt, inhuman, indescribable. It was terrore, as an Italian traveler to Bavaria and the Tirol put it in 1519- unsettled, by all things, by the sight of late-medieval images of Christ. 12

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I NTRODUCTION

I intend to show that medieval and modern concepts of Un9estalt and the representation of the terrible are connected. I would also like to suggest that this history, or, more precisely, these prehistories, may help us better to understand the relationships between the visible and the invisible in images of violence. Who was spreading terror by what means, and how did it function?

Identifications This book arose from a quite different interest, that in personal descriptions and practices of identification. In the centuries before photography and fingerprinting, how were people described so that others, who had never seen them before, could identify them? During my research, I soon encountered material that drew me away from early forms of identity papers and arrest warrants. This material addressed Un9estalt - borderline cases of identification and recognition. To be sure, the medieval texts spoke of persons and their appearances, of their hair, facial features, scars, and clothing. But they reported just as vividly on persons without faces, camouflaged conspirators in dim streets and mutilated corpses on battlefields. I decided to put the identity papers and wanted posters aside for the moment and follow this new trail. A second factor was involved as well. In recent years, cultural studies scholars have addressed issues of perception, images, and violence with increasing intensity. Material from the late Middle Ages and the sixteenth century plays a prominent role here. I had already worked with material on violence from late-medieval court records in another context. As fascinating as many of the recent studies on the history of the body are, I was bewildered by what I read as a tendency to concentrate on semiotics and to view physical violence abstractly. I became more and more uncomfortable with the way in which new academic ·buzzwords such as "the body," "images," and "media" were being used to create connections 13

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between widely disparate texts and pictures - not to mention the multifarious meanings the term "trauma" sometimes assumes in medieval studies. Theories are always flying carpets that enable authors and readers to take instant journeys through time and space, and I relish this aspect of scholarly work. But when anything can become a "medium" and "bodies" can change back and forth into "media" more or less arbitrarily, do these terms retain meaning? The use of historical material in this new cultural studies stems in part from the stereotype of "the" Middle Ages as a very violent period. I will address this image of the exotic and picturesque Middle Ages in more detail further on. The subject of violence acutely poses the question of the status of visual images. If we have not personally been abused, we perceive physical violence only in images, as violence against others, whether in visual representations such as paintings, photographs, and films or in descriptions seeking to express the terror and pain through metaphors and literary images. These images are intended to convey real pain and extreme terror. They thus do not simply cite other images but document real occurrences. At the same time, in order to maximize their effects, they must use visual and literary set pieces familiar to the beholder. In short, they refer to older metaphors even and precisely- when they are reporting on current events. The history of these representations of extreme violence began to fascinate me more and more, and I began to read my own material in new ways. Certain motifs of Un9estalt as absolute terror in texts and images of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries seemed oddly familiar to me. This sense of familiarity would prompt most historians to trace the modem phenomena back to their older "pre-forms" or "origins" in the Middle Ages. This is a venerable but not enthralling intellectual project, because such medievalists usually know

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what they want to find and - not surprising - manage to reproduce it from the five- or seven-hundred-year-old documents, treatises, and chronicles. Such a text thus begins with something like "Even in those days" or "In the Middle Ages, in contrast." Does this sound familiar? Might it not be possible, I asked myself, to proceed in the opposite direction, that is, to reconstruct how images of extreme violence functioned in the Middle Ages by beginning with the present? I did not wish to speak simply of"the body" (whose body, anyway?) and "the image" of violence (was there only one?). Instead, I wanted to be more precise. How did the authors of the images and texts that so vividly and so terribly described the injured and the mutilated intend them to affect spectators or readers? Why the late Middle Ages? In contrast to earlier periods, from which very few documents survive, this period offers rich and ample archival sources. Between the fourteenth and the mid-sixteenth century, the first monitoring and recording systems arose in the towns of central and western Europe that provide detailed accounts of violent behavior, assault, and manslaughter within specifically defined spaces, that is, within city walls. The resulting documents allow for far more precise questions than those possible for the early and high Middle ~ges, from which fewer texts survive and, more important, where the extant sources rarely refer to each other. Finally, from the fourteenth century on, pictures were produced with brilliant colors and realistic depictions, in ever larger formats and rising numbers. A Christian Europe once skeptical of pictures began to create the glittering and colorful worlds of the late-medieval panel paintings, sculptures, and woodcuts that we now admire in museums. Pictures created and reproduced on a mass scale represent the beginning of a revolution in which, with the new technology of movable type, texts literally acquired • wings.

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Even further, the way we look at pictures today, as reflections of reality, was shaped by this transformation of media at the end of the Middle Ages. Pictures and texts from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries allow us a detailed view of how violence was made visible. They portray injured, tortured, and abused human bodies as present: they imagine them, in both senses of the word. I discuss these imaginations in what follows. A first, rather theoretical chapter (which readers are welcome to skip if they so desire) treats various readings of violence and what ties us to the Middle Ages. The second chapter addresses the visible order and its invisible enemies in the medieval town; the third chapter focuses on people with disfigured faces. The fourth chapter examines rit• uals of punishment and justice. In the fifth chapter, we will leave the city for the battlefields, with their accounts of "indescribable" atrocities. What traits allowed people to recognize human fiends? All these images of extreme violence have their own (self-interested) tales to tell. Precisely because violence against others cannot be grasped directly but is only conveyed via its depiction, we need to look at these pictures more closely. We cannot simply jump to conclusions about the universal- "the" Middle Ages, "the" early• modem period - from the individual case. Caution must be exercised: even five or six hundred years ago, not every beholder saw the same thing in misshapen faces, terrifying images of the crucified Jesus, the symbols of invisible conspirators, or the appearance of barbarian fiends on the battlefields. How, then, was medieval violence portrayed, and how were the hideously injured bodies given a voice? What role did ano• nymity play? Finally, how was illegitimate, threatening violence distinguished from proper, "ordering" violence? These are the central questions of this book.

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CHAPTER ONE

Imaginations

In a conference held in the summer of 2001 at Berlin's Humboldt University, the Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg stated that one of the fundamental tasks of history was to deal with unpleasant, disturbing events. Readers of this book will encounter a number of references to such disturbing aspects of twentieth-century history in conjunction with medieval representations of the terrible. They will make the acquaintance of a Swiss ethnographer who lectured on the rules of war in 1919; a Nazi scientist who sought, in 1938, to define ugliness; and an incensed interviewee talking about crucifixes on German television in 1995. American gangster films and accounts of the Yugoslavian civil war will occupy us along with present-day campaigns to clean up inner cities. Such connections are not intended as proof of the continued presence of medieval thought patterns. Nor do I intend to present medieval "origins" as explanations for modern effects. Instead, I am interested in asking as concisely as possible how the image of violence produces its effects on the beholder. I am interested in describing the position from which we now view and perceive the realities of events that took place five or six hundred years ago.

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What Do We See in Pictures of the Indescribable? In his admonition, Ginzburg aimed to describe our positions as spectators. Any consideration of violence and its image in the Middle Ages begins from the present- where else? Images of extreme violence are all too present in the media of the early twentyfirst century. Yet in Europe, the loudly proclaimed revulsion toward violence- the violation of a person's bodily integrity as a terrifying break with all the rules of social interaction - is closely connected to a fascination with images of that very same violence. That the representation of violence renders its victims anonymous is just one of the paradoxes surrounding it. Fear of falling victim to a violent offender abounds in the wealthy countries of western and central Europe nowadays, and this fear is used in waging successful political campaigns for increased domestic security (and tighter controls on allegedly dangerous immigrants). This delight in fear, however, does not necessarily correspond to any measurable rise in danger. Viewed statistically, European societies have never been so peaceful. In the twentieth century, violent crime and murder and manslaughter rates in western Europe were at an all-time low. They have risen slightly since the 1960s but are still extraordinarily low in historical comparison.' During the same period, the number of deaths and serious injuries from road accidents rose without interruption into the 1970s, after which it began to fall. Yet these tens of thousands of crushed, mangled, and maimed human beings are rarely spoken of in connection with violence. Their bloody bodies play a remarkably minor role in our everyday sense of the things that threaten the physical integrity of ourselves and of our fellow citizens. The injured body must be located in an exotic Elsewhere in order to appear as a terrible and fascinating image. Without doubt these images are fascinating. The visual culture of the late twentieth century is saturated with hyperrealistic rep-

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resentations of physical violence, from films and war reporting (in the case of the wars in the former Yugoslavia, with a particular emphasis on "archaic" violence in Europe) to the lovingly detailed orchestrations in video and computer games. Compared with the second major arena for graphic portrayals of the public body sexual activity- the representation of violence is subject to few restrictions in our everyday visual life. To a certain extent, the National Socialist mass murder of the European Jews during the Second World War constitutes an exception. Under the heading of the Holocaust, it has increasingly come to serve as a universalized metaphor for an abstract modern human condition per se in the United States and western Europe. In his much-discussed 1995 book Homo Sacer, the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben made the extermination camp at Auschwitz the virtual nomos, or law, of European modernity. According to his account, it was only in the National Socialist concentration camps that the ancient Greek conception of unlimited power over an anonymous "bare life" as the basis of the political order found its "true," ultimate form, which remains valid today and which can tum anyone into a faceless "homo sacer:• Anyone? Admittedly, Agamben's work is an extreme example of a finalization that makes the Nazis the dark heroes of modernity - at least from the perspective of the philosophy of history. But the concept of the Holocaust summarizes, and conveys to a broad public, "indescribable" violence, nameable evil, and the portrayal of historical guilt in certain continually repeated pictorial formulas. Recent studies of the use of photos of the mass murder of the European Jews have, doubtless correctly, described this pictorial politics as a tool in the conflict, as "rules governing what is sayable in the struggle for memory." The Holocaust itself often appears as an aporia of visualization. The more the historical event is studied, portrayed in the media, and replicated, the more present the individual names of its victims have 19

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become on monuments devoted to its remembrance, the more people insist on the fundamental unportrayability of the destruction of European Jewry. 2 This is all the more striking because recent representations of excessive violence are not subject to similar restrictions; on the contrary. 3 Grisly images from the wars in the former Yugoslavia, East Timor, and Rwanda are accepted self-evidently as part of reporting in print and electronic media. What is more, large-format portrayals of bloody wounds and heroically maimed bodies are used to advertise an astonishingly broad range of products: Oliviero Toscani's mid-1990s campaign for the Italian clothing chain Benetton used photographs from the Yugoslav civil war alongside images of African rebel fighters, presenting human bones as eyecatchers. In contemporary visual culture, such spectacular documentary photographs blend together with the fictional images of extreme violence omnipresent in films and computer games.4 Let us risk moving from these present-day images to the violence and Un9estalt at the end of the Middle Ages. If contemporary films seamlessly combine authenticity, terror, and redemption in close-ups of violence, what then can they teach us about late-medieval representations of the crucified Christ? Echoing Roland Barthes, the art historian Hans Belting recently noted that the picture of a dead body is neither anomaly nor exception but virtually the "primal meaning" of what makes a picture a picture the depiction of that which is absent. But what is to be said about pictures of the injured or disfigured, portrayals of terror that, as Barthes put it, represent the "scandale de l'horreur" in the form of the all-too-present photo-chocs? 5 The supposedly "indescribable" quality of the terrible was and is by no means formless, and it is even less wordless or mute. It works because it is always linked to narratives and references to other pictures. 6 At the end of the twentieth century and the be20

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ginning of the twenty-first century, the Middle Ages are often associated with representations of extreme violence. Why is this the case? "I'm Gonna Git Medieval on Your Ass" The Middle Ages, despite their plural form in English (in contrast to French or German), are regarded as homogeneous. These Middle Ages with a capital M and a capital A appear as a cipher for an exotic and barbarian Other, a utopian site of unregulated physical violence, and they are generally portrayed as the opposite of the modem present, which is usually depicted as bureaucratically ordered and emotionally controlled. When journalists, during the 1990s, described the atrocities of the wars in the former Yugoslavia, they referred to them as "medieval:' An American screenwriter expressed this sentiment even more succinctly. "You hear me talkin', hillbilly boy?" Marsellus Wallace in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction calls out before taking bloody revenge on one of his white tormentors for the physical abuse he himself has suffered: "I'm gonna git medieval on your ass:' 7 Pulp Fiction plays with the tropes of violent gangster films, inverting them through an ironic literalism. Tarantino's character, however, is in dialogue with a particularly long-lived piece of the nineteenth-century history of ideas and historiography concerning the big M. Medievalism, or, more precisely, the various nineteenth- and twentieth-century stylizations of the Middle Ages rest on a rhetorical principle whose basic elements are similar, despite national variants and emphases. 8 "The" Middle Ages are portrayed as fundamentally alien and distant, and sharply distinguished from the present. The key sentence of this tradition, "The Middle Ages were different," appears in association with organic and biologistic metaphors such as "womb," "origins," and "roots" that are still used to refer to present-day institutions. 21

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The Middle Ages functioned and still function as an invocation of a special immediacy and authenticity, and all the more urgently in that the remnants of this age of allegedly more primal, genuine emotion are portrayed as being constantly threatened with disappearance and destruction.9 More than the history of late Antiquity, the Renaissance, or the Baroque period, medieval studies in Europe have played a major role in the political legitimization of nationalism. Even today, references to the Middle Ages are indispensable components of identity politics, in which (rather unpleasantly) historical causalities and affiliations are postulated as limited choices made by other people: The myth of the heroic Serbian sacrifice at the battle of Kosovo Polje in 1389 served as a powerful metaphor in Slobodan Milosevic's menacing redefinition of what "Serbia" and "Serbian" meant in the Yugoslav Republic of 1989. In his xenophobic tirades of the early 1990s, the radical right-wing Austrian letter bomber Franz Fuchs referred to medieval Bavarian dukes in order to argue that eastern European immigrants had no place in what he described as a historical ''Austrian" homeland. This rhetorical principle - which might be summarized as "very distant, wholly us, and therefore so genuine" -has also created associations with the Middle Ages beyond those of a stylized, allegedly homogeneous era of unmediated realness and genuineness. These connotations were and are used to emphasize the archaic and barbaric aspects of the medieval period and, not without a certain pleasurable frisson, to sketch pictures of extremely violent societies. This is the bizarre dark side of the Romantic medieval stereotype, in which the Middle Ages (ironically enough, as the opposite of the Renaissance) become synonymous with excessive cruelty and physical violence. The popular reenactments of "medieval" torture chambers belong to this tradition, as do the murderous archaic machine fantasies that led an inventive nine22

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teenth-century antiques dealer to create the "iron maiden" whose replicas now populate various European museums (and, as a cipher for neo-neo-gothic violence, provide the name for a heavy metal rock band). One of these presumed execution devices (a sort of sarcophagus in female form that, when closed, presses nails into the eyes and body of the person within) is displayed in the Museo della Tortura in the Tuscan town of San Gimignano (figures 1.1 and 1.2). Against the medieval backdrop of the town, the museum advertises its touristic horror shows and invites comparisons of this dark counterpart with imaginations of an aestheticized, sundrenched, and enlightened Renaissance in neighboring Florence and Siena. 10 And thus in Pulp Fiction, the Middle Ages become the linguistic site of the uninhibited physical violence that breaks out in the Los Angeles of the cinematic present. Violence as Exoticism and a History of Loss So much for popular images. What about serious historiography? When a collection of scholarly essays bears the nicely ambiguous title The Civilization of Crime: Violence in Town and Country Since the Middle A9es, it refers both to the image of a particularly bloody era and to the fact that only beginning in the later Middle Ages do we have anything approaching detailed sources on violence and its regulation. Scholarly research on the Middle Ages is linked in various ways to erudite portrayals of a violent age. In the opening chapter of his famous The Wanin9 of the Middle A9es, first published in 1919, Johan Huizinga emphasized the "violent tenor of life" as the characteristic feature of the entire epoch. "So violent and motley was life," he wrote, "that it bore the mixed smell of blood and of roses." The inhabitants of Huizinga's Middle Ages "oscillated between .. . cruelty and tenderness, between harsh asceticism and insane attachments to the joys of the world, between hatred and goodness, always running to the extremes:' In

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Figure 1.1. The so-called NOrnberger Jungfrau (Nuremberg Maiden or Iron Maiden) at Castle Kyburg, Switzerland, late nineteenth century {ph~t011raph from the Bau_direktio'}Jilnlon

Zurich).

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Figure 1.2. Medieval horrors as a tuu attrlC'tlgn].MUseo della Tortura, San Gimignano by the author)

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the fifteenth century, he explained bluntly, people wept more intensely, regretted more bitterly, and hated more relentlessly than in the present. "All experience had yet to the minds of men the directness and absoluteness of the pleasure and pain of childlife.... Then, again, all things in life were of a proud or cruel publicity." Norbert Elias believed he had found a similar intensity in medieval everyday behavior, describing the violence of guilty feelings, the outbursts of joy and hatred, and the penchant of both late-medieval nobles and town dwellers for pugnacity. "The instincts, the emotions were vented more freely, more directly, more openly than later:• Despite the references to childhood, neither author necessarily attributes a lower level of development to his medieval protagonists. In both Huizinga's and Elias's portrayals, this vibrant medieval life with its allegedly unbridled living out of emotions has an undeniable attraction. Both describe the violence of the fifteenth century with erotically tinged metaphors: For Huizinga, medieval violence and pride are an "impulse of nature and of the flesh:' Elias adds: "Whoever did not love or hate to the utmost in this society, whoever could not stand his ground in the play of passions ... was lost as was, conversely, in later society the man who could not curb his passions, could not conceal and 'civilize' his affects:• 11 Violence is at the very least ambivalent here, not without echoes of an allegedly lost authenticity and intensity of the physical commitment "to stand like a man" ("seinen Mann zu stehen," in Elias's original German wording). The allusion to erotic masculinity is hardly accidental. Or do such phrases themselves echo medieval literary tropes, which presented pugnacity as a temptation? "Wine, wrath, gambling, and a beautiful woman,/ these four enchant many a man," wrote an early-fifteenth-century poet who clearly knew something about this particular labyrinth of passions. 12 Historians writing since the Second World War, in contrast,

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have almost completely ceased to stylize the violent Middle Ages as an expression of vigorous physical life. With the rise of social history, violence was interpreted as a symptom of crisis or crises. In the 1970s and 1980s, "crisis" was an academic buzzword with seductive contemporary undertones. Medieval violence was understood no longer as archaic authenticity but as a social disruption, a symptom of inadequate "social discipline" (another catchphrase of the time). Scholars engaged in polemical battles about the extent of this disorderly violence, how it changed in the earlymodem period, and the undeniable drop in the rate of murder and manslaughter in the past few centuries. The British historian James Cockburn referred to such a lively debate conducted in the pages of the journal Past &..Present between 1983 and 1991 sarcastically, and with a clear emphasis on the academic "we," as "the violence we have lost debate" - a nod to a famous book title of the 1960s. 13 Who "we" are in a given case is always defined in comparison with the violence of past centuries. In this sense, research on the Middle Ages refers surprisingly directly to the present. What historians see in the Middle Ages changes with their own working situation. Some of these changes can be traced using the example of the history of crin1inality. Since the Second World War, scholars have studied court records from the late Middle Ages and early-modern period more thoroughly than ever before, but the perspectives of analysis have changed. In the 1970s and 1980s, marginal social groups or outsiders - heretics, Jews, prostitutes, and beggars - became the center of scholarly interest. Their history was written as one of exclusion, disciplining, and oppression, often accompanied by references to contemporary political movements ( and not without romanticizing overtones). Questions about gender orders and an increased preoccupation with sexual offenses reflected the growing importance offeminist scholarship. The medieval sources

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were examined for defmitions of the behavior of men and women as perpetrators and victims, and "gender roles" and "sexual identities" became the new buzzwords. At the same time, people rethought the emergence of the early-modem state in ways that went beyond the old concepts of repression and the disciplining of violence. Did the existence of violence labeled as private always point to a deficiency in the public control of behavior? What functions were assumed by the official administration of penal justice, and on whose behalf? These new perspectives were, of course, influenced by the work of Michel Foucault. 14 They were, however, also affected by neoliberal definitions of the state as one service agency among many and by contemporary debates surrounding the streamlining and deregulation of state benefits in the 1990s - that is, by the experiences that medieval historians happened to be undergoing in their respective presents. From the sixteenth to the end of the twentieth century, the modem state appeared to be keeping its grand promise to contain unregulated private violence and to protect the individual in everyday life. Since the nineteenth century, this optimism about civilizing tendencies has shaped the discussion of violence in history, hence the references to a wild, archaic, and authentic Middle Ages. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, we seem to have lost this hopeful view, regardless of whether acts of violence are actually on the rise in our immediate environments or not. Clearly, when we speak of violence, we are always speaking of imaginations: the images of mutilated and disfigured bodies in the media function as visual stimuli, as effectively orchestrated exoticism. In the twentieth century, the supposedly violent Middle Ages were used as a reservoir of material for the picturesque and the bizarre, an archive of alterity. The Middle Ages provided (and provide) a splendid contrasting backdrop for identity politics, selflocalization, and a mirroring of the present.

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Like it or not, then, when we speak of images of violence, these Middle Ages are on our back, pace Tarantino. At the same time, modem fascination has disclosed ever new materials from the past. For that reason, we know far more about violence in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries now than we did two generations ago. The medieval systems of written registration to which we owe these sources on violent behavior will be our focus in the next chapter. The documents we study today were compiled and preserved in order to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate, rightful and disorderly, "cruel" violence. What can they tell us about how injured, maimed, disfigured bodies of the late Middle Ages were seen and perceived by contemporaries?

Who Feels What? From forays into medieval archives, we now know a good deal about perpetrators and victims, discipline, gender stereotypes, and the strategies people deployed before the courts. The bloody and often deadly acts themselves, however, remain oddly opaque in many historical studies. Extreme violence, when it is not being stylized as an exotic signifier of premodern "cruelty," is viewed as a selfevident instrument in social conflicts and in the representation of penal authorities that in one way or another has always been with us. The body in agony is expected to remain mute and anonymous. Meanwhile, the question of the forms in which this violence was conveyed, as well as how contemporaries perceived it, is only rarely posed. The armed attacks in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century cities are labeled as uncontrollable, coincidental, unregulated, and "blind," a sort of murderous all-too-human behavior. Echoes of the topoi of the Middle Ages described above are quite present in this literature. (The rhetoric of an ahistorical "has always been with us" is also a tale of origins.) Referring to the alleged frequency of public corporal punishment and executions, even studies

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written in the 1980s and 1990s argue that late-medieval and earlymodern town dwellers were "desensitized" to physical violence. 15 How can modem historians possibly know that? Or have they fallen for the old Romantic model, now clothed in a new disguise, of the Middle Ages as an archaic and unspoiled age? Strong, expressive gestures of pain and emotion are not automatically more "natural" or "primal" -that is, less stylized and controlled- than restraint and stoic forbearance. Demonstrative emotional expression can also be required or demanded of people. 16 Sweeping statements about an alleged habituation to violence or a lack of empathy with its victims in the Middle Ages may thus miss the point. They confuse the performative portrayal with an "inner," unportrayable experience of emotion. And they render invisible both the standpoint of those speaking about other people's empathy- modern historians who are apparently very sure of their own feelings - and the complex relationship between violent acts and their reproduction in different media. Such blanket assertions about the cruel Middle Ages have their counterpart in modern debates about the "hardening" and " desensitization" allegedly caused by hyperrealistic depictions of physical violence on television and in video games. In a recent study, Madeline Caviness assembles an impressive range of medieval representations of extreme violence against the bodies of women. She brings together tenth-century illustrated parchments, thirteenth-century stained-glass windows, fourteenthcentury illuminated manuscripts, and fifteenth- and sixteenthcentury altarpieces and panel paintings. In search of a (universally applicable) "scopic economy" in medieval depictions of women, she contrasts these pieces with contemporary works of art while classifying parts of her medieval materials as "sado-porn pictures that created an authorized arena for the indulging of transgressive looking:' "I propose," she writes, "that the modern analogues for 30

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the subjection of female martyrs to such bodily abuse as was frequently verbally and pictorially narrated in the Middle Ages are the slasher film and the snuff movie:' 17 Strong stuff indeed. Such discussions invoke the seductive power of the portrayal: a variant of modern pictorial magic, in which the evil presented in the media literally reaches out of the picture or screen and into the reality of those using them, who tacitly become passive and unprotected consumers. Under what circumstances, though, do images of violence reproduce real physical acts? Let us take a concrete example, not from modern film, but from a fifteenth-century text. Severed ears and hacked-off hands, miscreants broken on the wheel or beheaded, appear often in late-medieval chronicles and court records. In his chronicle of the 1490s, the Nuremberg brewer Heinrich Deichsler, who served as overseer of beggars, stolidly described the almost weekly knife fights on the streets of his native city. Just as laconically he listed the hands and ears chopped off by the city's executioners as official corporal punishment of delinquents. In the same pages, however, he devoted a detailed account to the 1498 mutilation of a Nuremberg merchant by the knight Cunz Schott, who was involved in a feud with the city. Deichsler dramatically portrayed the victim's terror and pain and related the gruesome details. The merchant was forced to lay his hand on a block. He begged for mercy, but to no avail. The knight raised his ax, and had to strike three times before he hit his target and the mutilated member dangled "from a shred of skin." "Bring that to your masters," said Schott, in a final mockery of his victim. 18 What appears here as cruel violence is a matter of viewpoint. Whereas Deichsler does not present the hands chopped off by the municipal executioner or in the course of street brawls (which were officially regulated by strictly observed compensation payments) 31

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as threatening, he does portray the mutilation of the Nuremberg merchant as excessively cruel because it challenged the municipal order. Put another way, not every severed human hand was per se terrible and brutal. In late-medieval cities, the preserved hands of the dead were kept as judicial mementos (figure 1.3). These hands, however, spoke not of terrible violence but of its overcoming through the judicial order. The cruel robber baron Schott, in contrast, used an innocent victim to parody municipal jurisdiction or at least that is how our chronicler viewed the affair. Can we believe him? However "raw" and immediate this medieval violence may appear now, it has only come down to us in carefully stylized images and texts. Neither medieval court records nor chronicles or paintings recorded the acts of violence that so interested them without deliberate intention or ulterior motives. All the representations of injured, abused, and mutilated bodies that concern us here (and some of them are very dreadful indeed) were instruments aimed at an audience.

Makin9 the Beholder See I would like, then, to think of these pictures and accounts of invisible murderers and disfigured faces, of diabolical doubles and atrocities on the battlefield, as more than just "symbols" or "meanings" that melt into discourses and chains of signifiers in which one sign merely refers to another and physical violence dissolves at the end into learned literary criticism. This is a frequently practiced method, particularly in cultural studies and in discussions of "the" body in contemporary medieval scholarship. 19 I prefer to take a clifferent approach and to emphasize the context, that is, the stories surrounding pictures of Un9estalt. After all, the term "culture" refers to more than just the current repertoire of academic buzzwords; it means usage and know-how. Culture is not a supersystem of abstract meanings. Instead, it represents a heterogeneous

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repertoire of instruments that people have used for their own (generally quite practical) purposes. 20 That is what the "culture of violence" refers to here. In the following pages, investigating how and where such orchestrations of violence functioned will require us to take occasional excursions into the tangled underbrush of historical detail. This will try our patience at times, and I ask readers to bear with me. One can make interesting discoveries in the underbrush. We will encounter medieval conspiracy theories, artificial blood on the images of the crucified Christ, and cannibals in Renaissance Italy. These details may seem bizarre at first glance, but they allow us to contextualize the depictions of five hundred years ago. In some cases, they may also help us to read the minds of those who chronicled violence. Given the contemporary context, the chroniclers' accounts were, of course, affected by political conflicts. These conflicts were about visibility, about making people see violence. For that reason, representations of extreme physical violence, perhaps more than other portrayals, refer to the dual meaning of what constitutes an image. On the one hand, an image is always an inner picture in the mind of the beholder ( as in dreams or visions). On the other, it is an external, visible representation, that is, an artifact in stone or wood or on canvas. Images work through the immaterial imaginings of the beholder. They remain present through their material pictorial "bodies:'21 Their materiality, however, also makes them vulnerable to physical attack. Painted crucifixes were occasionally attacked during the religious conflicts of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, as were the actors in Passion plays, as we will see. Murals depicting political opponents were as vulnerable to assault as the wearers of enemy symbols. Representations of violence functioned to close the gap be tween immaterial and material images: that is, to create powerful 34

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realities, to "make" the beholder see. Pictures of violence were and are directions for use, for change. When they work, they go beyond the merely mimetic. Pictures of violence are intended to render invisible the difference between reflection and example, description and prescription. And like any good film or intelligent commercial today, they did this by using material pictures and accounts of Un9estalt to call up other, immaterial images in the heads of their audiences, images they knew and remembered from elsewhere. These pictures are the object of this study. Are they always equally visible? Let us proceed slowly. "The shortest way between two points, between violence and its analysis," writes the Australian anthropologist Michael Taussig in his book Defacement, "is the long way round, tracing the edge sideways like the crab scuttling:'22

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Two

Invisible Enemies

Can we actually see what we fear? Again, I would like to begin with a contemporary example. In the 1980s, the large-format graffiti and so-called tags of American youth culture moved onto the walls of private and public buildings in Europe. In the bigger cities and suburbs, these colorful pictures and graphically distorted combinations of letters can be seen on signs and in public transportation as well as on housefronts, and they have almost completely replaced the older spray-painted political slogans of the 1970s and 1980s (figure 2.1). The signs were intended to mark the presence of loosely organized youth groups, and they were aimed at other youths. In the poor urban neighborhoods of American cities, they marked a gang's territory and were used to communicate warnings and threats to rival groups. Graffiti and tags were, however, also regarded as a problem in places where the serious backdrop of ghettos and gang warfare were absent. In Berlin, Frankfurt, and Hamburg, but also in such quiet cities as Basel and Zurich, substantial amounts of public money were spent on municipal programs and campaigns to contain, and if possible stop, this undesirable ornamentation (figure 2.2). 1 As little as one sees the authors (they are present only on the walls; the sprayers themselves always seem invisible), the municipal authorities and a large 37

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□ rig 1 f.J8\lr§rr2 . 2 . Graffiti in Basel, 1999 UNIVERSITY OF Ml @.tf(l@a:~ph by the author).

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percentage of the population perceived the writing on the wall as more than mere vandalism and aesthetic disruption. They regarded it as a symptom of crisis and a threat to public order. Order was thus the order of the visible. Si9ns on the Wall I would like to begin this history, or, rather, these histories, of violent images with similarly mysterious and potentially threatening signs on the streets of medieval cities. This chapter examines the control of violence in urban space. What constituted a medieval city in the legal sense? It was an internal space juridically defined in opposition to unregulated violence outside. A medieval city was that walled legal space and legally pacified oath area (Schwurbezirk) within which stipulations regarding the control of violence applied. From the beginning, restrictions on the bearing and use of weapons accompanied the making of the medieval city. In simplified terms, cities were special areas inside which the municipal overlord or self-assured communes enforced a general commandment to maintain peace against those groups who, as nobles, insisted on their right to assert their own interests by force. Through tough political confrontations, urban communes compelled the recalcitrant nobiles to accept their rules or leave the city.2 That, at least, is the theory. In practice, the mass of streets and densely packed houses within the city walls was rarely such a homogeneous juridical space, since normally the interior of the city was a patchwork of interlocking territories. In the powerful southern German and Italian towns, which succeeded, beginning in the late thirteenth century, in securing uniform municipal legal sovereignty, the interior space of cities remained heterogeneous into the sixteenth century. The city's legal authority was riddled with numerous, mainly clerical areas of juridical privilege and exemptions. This meant that the walls of a late-medieval city en-

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compassed many houses and entire, sometimes wholly fortified districts in which legal sovereignty was in the hands not of the town council but of a cathedral chapter, a monastery, or some other institution. There, to the displeasure of the municipal authorities, cheap tax-free wine was dispensed, persons the city deemed undesirable were harbored, and persecuted miscreants found refuge. Until the end of the Middle Ages, the spatial coexistence of different, in some cases openly competing legal authorities within the city walls was not the exception but the rule. 3 In addition, there were other, legally less clearly defined zones of influence within the city walls that were nevertheless plainly perceptible to contemporaries: those belonging to patrician families. Aristocratic families controlled entire blocks of reinforced houses built around highly fortified "family towers" that dominated the urban topography of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, continuing in various forms into the fifteenth century (the picturesque silhouettes of Regensburg and San Gimignano still stand as witnesses to this). It would thus be interesting to trace a line from the "territory" made up of property purchased by the Nuremberg patrician family Holzschuher, between 1370 and 1420, around their main seat within the city walls, to the power centers organized around individual noble parties (such as the Medicis) that existed into the 1430s, and on to the Augsburg Fuggerei, laid out at the beginning of the sixteenth century, which was a later example of the expansion of a city quarter under the aegis of a powerful urban clan.4 In all these cases, the municipal authorities were anxious to restrict the power of the noble families in their respective zones of influence and to subject it to communal control. The significance of such territories is revealed in legal documents up to the end of the fifteenth century. It also became evident in conflicts involving groups of young upper-class men - presumably the most violent group in the medieval city 41

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who repeatedly sought to mark their dominant position in a particular street or quarter by assaults and brawling. 5 The extensive town houses, courtyards, and gardens of powerful families within the city walls were thus enclosed spaces in a potentially threatening sense. Even in the fifteenth century, they did not necessarily open their gates to the municipal forces of order, any more than the palaces and courtyards of the cathedral canons or the bishops did. However much the municipal authorities may have emphasized the legal unity of cities in their selfrepresentations, the towns' spatial heterogeneity, with all the implications for violence and the attempts to control it, is amply evident in accounts of everyday life in the surviving court records. In cities of the Middle Ages, violence was not necessarily a lower-class phenomenon - on the contrary. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the internal municipal mechanisms for regulating violence were shaped by the origins of the greater part of violent offenders in the "better" families. Thus cities developed systems of flexible cash fines and suspended punishments if the culprits swore to forgo violence in the future; in short, they sought to integrate perpetrators into the political regulatory claims of the respective authorities. The spectacular capital cases, in contrast, with their public executions and severe corporal punishments, overwhelmingly targeted poor outsiders without a social base of support in the city. Those integrated into municipal networks could rely on mediation, petitions for mercy, and postponements, that is, on negotiated solutions, and these were only partially subject to formalized written records. 6 What behavior was perceived and recorded by whom as dangerous violence was thus a matter of perspective, of political standpoint. In the market for physical "protection" in the cities and territories of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries quite cliffering suppliers appeared. Given that local legal authorities often com-

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peted within a small geographical area and given their limited means of apprehending escaped perpetrators, the authorities had to style themselves simultaneously and literally as a very real physical force and as an understanding mediator if they wished to pursue a successful policy of order.7 The frequently used contemporary phrase "gracious lords" (9nadi9e Herren) summarizes this ambivalence quite neatly. Judicial records thus did not simply reflect urban realities. All the municipal records of punishments, promises not to take revenge, oath formulas, and court decisions that are used today to reconstruct violence in medieval cities arose as political texts. They do not simply document legal and social conflicts but were compiled to enforce order under certain political conditions. This means that even late-medieval and early-modern court records, which do not seem to have been the subject of literary treatment, express the aspirations and intentions of the authorities as much as they convey actual violent deeds. However "raw" and uninhibited violence may have been in the late Middle Ages and the earlymodern period, it never comes to us directly or immediately. This brings us back to modern medieval studies as an enterprise caught in its own time. Whatever forms are used to represent the Middle Ages, scholars studying the period at the beginning of the twenty-first century are the heirs to a learned tradition that very closely linked signs, legal practice, and written records. We are accustomed to reading visual signs as the expression - that is, the finished product - of legal relations fixed in writing. Before speaking about violence, then, we must first deal with its opposite, order. When referring to the "symbols" of order, one tends to assume that these symbols were visually unambiguous. But how was order actually made visible in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century cities and quite literally de-scribed and de-noted? And was it always clear in advance which signs meant what? 43

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Invisible Institutions Defining a medieval city as a legal space constituted by oath makes it easy to forget that what made a city a city in the legal sense - a political community established through oath- was itself essentially invisible. One could see it only once a year, on the carefully orchestrated oath days and council elections at which the municipal statutes and oath formulas were publicly read out and sworn to - an indispensable founding ritual for the citizenry and its political institutions. What, however, was actually read aloud and represented here, and what was left out? After all, the fact that we automatically associate written records with legal practice is itself a piece of intellectual history. The founding fathers of medieval historiography, the nineteenth-century German, French, and Italian liberal historians, regarded medieval urban communes as the obvious historical predecessors to the bourgeois self-administration and modern state structures of their own time. This stylization has led, among other things, to a concentration on the study of written municipal charters. From the political perspective of the late nineteenth century, with its concern for citizens' participation in political institutions codified in constitutions and fixed in law, this was only logical. Since then, historians have systematically processed and edited a huge body of sources on municipal laws and ordinances, which are now available in libraries for other historians to use as the basis of their research (and which thus continue in turn to influence the themes and objects of this research). All this is not as self-evident as it might seem. First, these medieval texts were never constitutions in the modern sense. Second, at the time of their codification and well into the eighteenth century, they were not generally accessible - or, at any rate, one could gain access to them only under far more difficult circumstances than those prevailing for twentieth-century histo44

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rians. The vast majority of late-medieval town dwellers encountered written municipal laws only on extraordinary occasions. Unlike the orchestrated spectacles of executions, "legitimate," organized violence ( and we will return to these spectacles in detail presently), trials and the procedures of law enforcement were not accessible to the public. On the contrary, most of the medieval administration of justice occurred behind closed doors. Municipal record keeping was a carefully maintained secret, der stat 9eheym, in a rather broad sense. In strictly patrician-ruled cities such as Nuremberg and Venice, for example, the "sworn trades," guilds, and brotherhoods were forbidden to keep copies of the legal texts affecting them and had to apply to the council in order to examine their own statutes. 8 Allegations that ancient laws had been manipulated or that the (equally secret) municipal finances had been misappropriated and mismanaged were at the core of most urban uprisings and unrest in the Middle Ages. When in the 1470s the powerful Bern town clerk Thtiring Frickart was accused by his enemies of inserting previously uncommon "little words and tricks" (wortli andftindli) into municipal legal texts, and manipulating the council records to suit his own interests, it was only one case among many. We know from this period that the wording of the oath formulas that officials publicly spoke at the annual swearing-in day at Easter was indeed altered to fit current political requirements in Bern. Certain terms were replaced, and some passages were tacitly struck out as momentarily inappropriate.9 The oft-invoked "old custom" (alt herkommen) of a medieval city was thus kept flexible and politically manageable through the tight control and secrecy of legal records. Many towns followed the paradoxical principle of requiring those present when important texts were read aloud to promise under oath not to repeat what they had heard to anyone outside the council chambers or guildhall and to maintain secrecy

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(hel). It was not without a certain tartness that the Italian jurist Baldus de Ubaldis remarked in a legal opinion of 1379 that it would be a wonder if the inhabitants of Florence were actually familiar with all the laws that applied to them. 10 Thus when the Gorlitz town clerk Johannes Frauenburg composed the 1476 treatise on the duties of a mayor by admonishing the officeholder to "arise and go to sleep with the city's paperwork," he may have been referring not just to a constant reading of the documents but also to his strict control over them. 11 The fact is that bureaucratic practices and record keeping were not nearly as closely intertwined as Frauenburg suggests, or as present-day historians sometimes wistfully wish when working in the archives. Many council committees that enforced municipal claims to authority at the end of the fourteenth century and the first decades of the fifteenth century did so without a codified municipal charter. They acted ex arbitrio, at their own discretion, and without recourse to written regulations. The Florentine Otto di Guardia is probably the most famous and successful example of this, but it was not alone, as the Nuremberg A.lteren Herren, the Basel Heimlicher, and many other such municipal bodies show. 12 Recent scholarship has emphasized how strongly urban legal reality was shaped by not only the written word but also by informal regulations, discreet acts of clemency, selective renunciation of sanctions, and multiple procedural standards. 13 Extant sources on the internal financial organization of the administration of justice-generally only from the fifteenth century and later - reveal that the municipal enforcement of law was, in large part, based on institutionalized and systematic surveillance and denunciation. Italian cities used specially installed letter boxes for anonymous tips, known in Florence as tambure. Also deployed were paid informers, known in Nuremberg as heimliche knechte (secret servants) and on the Upper Rhine as liisener (lis-

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teners), who in addition to their basic salary received a portion of the fines extracted from the delinquents captured on the basis of their tips. This cannot be understood merely as authoritarian repression. It may have represented one of the few opportunities for the population to defend itself anonymously against the attacks and corruption of municipal officials. Medieval city authorities rather successfully protected their informants' anonymity, to some extent to this day, for the confidential, strictly maintained records of the Nuremberg Alteren Herren and the Florentine Otto di Guardia do not even mention their names. 14 Legal vagueness and covert proceedings were the rule for these institutions. Stated briefly, then, medieval municipal law can be described as secret (although regularly invoked in public), and inaccessible to the great majority of the population (in terms of its proceedings), and invisible in its written form.

The Si9ns of Le9itimacy This brings us back to signs. If the texts were generally kept behind closed doors, and the municipal authorities declared their decision-making process an official secret, how were legal affiliations and spaces portrayed in practice? How were they made visible? I am interested here not in rituals and the representation of rule through ceremonies ( we will, in time, discuss this) and also not in the signs, which have been studied so intensively in recent decades, that the authorities required members of special groups such as Jews, prostitutes, or lepers to wear. I am interested instead in the official si9na of the authorities. Late-medieval urban space was, after all, full of signs, not unlike the walls of buildings in late-twentieth-century cities. What is more, it was quite literally constituted through signs. Traveling through the cities of Lombardy or Friuli today, whether in Udine, Verona, Padua, or the smaller market towns, one sees the lion of 47

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Saint Mark - a symbol of former Venetian sovereignty- everywhere on fountains, bridges, and palaces. Such political markers were widespread. During the war against Burgundy in 1475, signs showing the bear, the heraldic symbol of the city of Bern, were used to mark the newly conquered cities and villages of the Vaud as subject to Bernese sovereignty, in order, among other things, to protect them from plunder by other troops of the Swiss Confederation. On Nuremberg house walls around the marketplaces and the town hall, "painted hands" delineated the specially defined legal district of the Muntat, inside which those who violated the peace of the city by words, drawing their knives, or violent behavior could expect four times the penalty otherwise exacted for the same offense. 15 These official insignia were surrounded by competing "private" signs. Holders of public office adorned the facades of their official residences with their personal coats of arms, as we can see on the Palazzo del Podesta in Arezzo (figure 2.3). Resident rulers such as bishops or cathedral chapters were as eager as patrician families to stake out their territories in the city visually. The use of coats of arms in Venice to visually demarcate its urban landscape of houses, gardens, and entire quarters has been studied and described in great detail. Once placed in public space on gates, streets, and housefronts, however, these signs could become targets of attack (figure 2.4). A recent study of political pictorial culture in late-medieval Verona uses trial records to reconstruct a remarkable story: a patrician and a group of his armed followers occupied an entire street one night so that a painter and his assistants could work undisturbed on the fas;ade of an opponent's palazzo, adorned with a coat of arms. There they painted a sophisticated and highly insulting combination of words and images- but not without being punished, since Verona's Venetian overlords imposed heavy penalties on those involved. Italian communes made local painters solemnly

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swear that they would not paint such malicious pictures, or "scritture o pitture infamanti," anywhere in the city, at least not without the express permission of the authorities, who frequently resorted to this instrument themselves. 16 In the late Middle Ages, housefronts were thus public places in a quite ambivalent sense. The large painting on the walls of the Podesta palace in Florence attacking Walter of Brienne and his municipal supporters after his expulsion in 1344, which adorned the palace wall for over one hundred years as a warning against tyranny, contains large-format portraits of the "duke of Athens" and his local supporters, including their coats of arms. 17 The Florentine chronicle of Piero di Marco Parenti recounts how, during the visit of the Medici pope Leo X in 1515, the walls of the houses in which he and his retinue stayed were decorated at night by disgruntled citizens with insulting pictures and anti-Medici slogans. The pro-French and pro-Habsburg parties fought out similar graffiti wars on housefronts in Switzerland in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. 18 Changes of government within the city were, accordingly, accompanied by attacks on the opponent's signs, quite literally by visual cleanups. As early as the fourteenth century, the Republic of Florence forced a number of rebellious noble families to renounce their old names and coats of arms and henceforth, as a sign of submission to the laws of the commune, use only the names and symbols dictated to them. 19 Other interventions aimed to eradicate opposing coats of arms and signs altogether. After the Albizzi were toppled by the Medici in Florence in 1434, not only did insulting pictures of the vanquished family appear on the walls of Florentine houses, but their insignia were covered over in the quarters they had previously controlled and in all prominently visible places. After the failed Pazzi conspiracy against Lorenzo de' Medici in 1478, it was ordered that the Pazzi arms be painted 49

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over or pulled down everywhere in the city. After the expulsion of the Medici in 1494, they in tum found their heraldic symbols removed from all public places. In June 1508, the highest officeholder of the republic even ordered all vases, goblets, and drinking vessels that bore the golden balls of the Medici, the famous palle, to be confiscated from private households and destroyed in order to discourage their secret supporters. 20 Demonstrative signs of legitimate municipal violence appeared to be threatened by other, more discreet signs, which one could not always see. Or could one? Describing Persons In the past few years, the superb work of the French historian Michel Pastoureau has made it clear that the study of heraldrythat wonderfully old-fashioned preoccupation with noble coats of arms and mottoes - is far more than an antiquarian auxiliary discipline for medievalists. Rather, heraldry reveals the history of the political media of visualization. After all, heraldry did more than just produce juristic persons: Coats of arms projected the presence of their bearers or of the communal authorities even into those places where their physical bodies could not reach. Heraldic shields and portrait tableaux were used in a number of ceremonies as body doubles that signaled presence and in a sense looked out at the beholder - from the rituals of the knightly Order of the Golden Fleece to the patrician "death shields" that hung on the walls of urban parish churches to commemorate their deceased bearers. These heraldic images were not just visual insignia meant to represent political institutions and leaders, that is, to stand in for them or to announce their presence in their absence. They were also material objects, embodied signs. 21 Such signs were not only placed on the facades of houses and churches and on city gates, walls, and banners to be seen. One

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could also touch them, stick them in one•s pocket or onto one•s hat or clothing: badges known as Zaichen (signs) with heraldic symbols played an important role in everyday life. Made of various materials - leather, vellum, paper, lead, or brass - they served, for example, as identity badges for beggars who were permitted to sojourn in the city for a certain time and beg there, or for the urban needy, who could show them and buy cheap bread from municipal stocks in times of inflated grain prices. Pilgrims purchased Zaichen made of vellum or metal at their final destination, and then wore them on their clothing or hats. The more noble pilgrims pasted these badges into their prayer- or family books. All these signs were objects of mass distribution: in Nuremberg in 1502, bread badges were distributed to 5,004 named persons; during the well-known pilgrimage to the "beautiful Maria,, in Regensburg in 1519, several hundred thousand such pilgrim emblems were sold in a three-month period. The heraldic symbols of the local authorities also bore municipal inspection signs, stat zaichen, badges or metal seals used officially to guarantee the genuineness of goods. Similarly, municipal messengers wore such symbols on their cases, thereby identifying them as authentic municipal couriers. The Strasbourg courier ordinance of 1484 strictly stipulated that only the city's sworn couriers could "bear the city's case and symbols:• These material signs served to identify something as real and authentic; they were part of a series of official municipal si9na. 22 The notion that a late-medieval representative of public order could always be recognized as such may be a bit hasty, however. In the cities of the Upper Rhine such as Strasbourg, Basel, Selestat, and Freiburg- from which we have rich sources, such as municipal account books and council ordinances - not until the 1480s were the guardians of municipal order finally required to wear the city colors while exercising their duties. Who enforced whose 53

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order in the name of the law within the city walls differed greatly, and the emblems of patrician factions and their partisans functioned in periods of open conflict as visual declarations of affiliation. In the political struggles of the later Middle Ages, supporters wore the symbols of their party. Prohibitions of such collectively worn identification marks, emblems, and colors were common both south and north of the Alps. They could be directed against journeyman brotherhoods as well as urban noble factions. These signs served as badges of identity, and that is the real background to a miraculous tale recounted by the German chronicler Konrad Stolle. During the siege of the city of Neuss by Burgundian troops in 1474, the citizens had worn a metal emblem of their patron saint, Quirin, on their clothing. Under the saint's protection, they all had remained uninjured, and if one of them was hit by an enemy missile, it simply bounced off the emblem, which quite literally shielded them from harm. 23 That which permitted one to distinguish friend from foe in the exceptional case of a siege - namely, visible marks of affiliation within the city walls - signaled legitimacy and authority during peacetime and was accordingly the object of bitter conflicts. The 1357 treatise De insi9niis et armis by the Italian jurist Bartolus de Sassoferrato was no mere juristic formalization of heraldic categories but rather a key text on late-medieval semiological practice. What is more, the treatise was a central part of Bartolus's commentary on the Roman Corpus iuris civilis, particularly on civic and civil law. It was Bartolus who coined the maxim "Civitas sibi faciat civem": "The city creates its own citizens:'24 De insi9niis, which survives today in about one hundred manuscript pages, was widely disseminated at the time. It was already being cited by numerous French and English political authors in the second half of the fourteenth century and in the German-speaking region it influenced Felix Hemmerli's famous "Dialogus de nobilitate et 54

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rusticitate" of 1444 as well as Peter von Andlau's writings on the imperial constitution. Bartolus's treatise was printed for the first time in 1472, and Joachim Vadian, Guillaume Bude, Andrea Alciati, and a number of learned jurists of the sixteenth century wrote extensive commentaries on it. 25 What made De insi9niis so influential? Bartolus's tract focused on problems of signs and persons in urban legal space. Everyone had the right to create a sign, wrote Bartolus, just as everyone had the right to a proper name. He addressed in detail the problems of confusion and attribution, artisans' and company marks and their protection against copies (in the Middle Ages, De insi9niis became the fundamental legal text on the protection of trademarks), and the colors and symbols used for these signs. At issue here was the juristic legitimacy of visual representation. This returns us to the control of urban spaces. A few years earlier, in a commentary on Roman law, Bartolus had written that whenever anyone was banished from the city for high treason, his coat of arms should be destroyed and rendered unrecognizable. If a person had enemies who wanted to kill him, Bartolus explained further in De lnsi9niis, and if this person adopted the sign of an innocent and peaceful person, this would put the latter in danger of being mistaken for him, attacked and killed; such a false adoption of a sign was therefore unlawful, justifying immediate intervention by the authorities.26

Confusion and Multiplication But we should stop here to ask a question: Were people in latemedieval cities recognized by the signs they wore? Not exclusively. It might be more accurate to say that the problems of visibility and invisibility in the city were discussed by means of signs; that is why signs play such an important role in the texts that have come down to us. The medieval city not only was constituted by

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a juristic form that was by definition invisible - the oath- but also made insistent use, in the enforcement of its punitive power, of the principles of secrecy and official secrets, as we have seen. This tension between visualization as a legal form and the invisible as legal practice shaped the treatment of violence in urban space in the later Middle Ages. The insignia described by Bartolus thus referred to something essentially invisible: legal and political affiliation. When Paracelsus wrote at the beginning of the sixteenth century, "Why does a courier carry a case or have a sign or emblem hanging on his mantle if not so that one may see he is a messenger?" he raised the question of the association between signs and signifiers: one could, after all, have other reasons for wearing a courier's emblem. The Bamberg criminal code (Hals9erichtsordnun9), compiled in 1495 and printed in 1507, admonished those searching for suspects to heed warzeichen (literally: true signs), above all "clothing and other things." 27 This takes us back to Un9estalt as disguise or formlessness, now defined not by the absence of identification marks but by their dubious status. The Swiss chronicle of Heinrich Brennwald recounts the story of three false couriers who burst in on the trial of the deposed Zurich mayor Hans Waldmann in 1489 with the announcement that the emperor and his army had crossed the Rhine and were marching on the city to rescue Waldmann. This was supposed to effect Waldmann's immediate execution; as a special "sign," the chronicler noted, the false messengers had wet their clothes in a fountain to make it look "as if they were sweating." Such false messengers appear frequently in late-medieval sources. In June 1515, when an emissary of the Swiss Confederation delivered an urgent appeal to levy fresh troops for the Italian theater of war, he discovered to his astonishment that another messenger wearing the Swiss Confederation's insignia had been there a day 56

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before him to announce that it was unnecessary for anyone to go to Italy and that the mercenary soldiers should tum back.28 How, then, could one tell whether the sign designated the right person? However important heraldry may be as a sophisticated system of visual orientation, we should not imagine early-modem societies as too clear-cut. Throughout medieval literature, the history of signs is one of camouflage and deception. "Recognize the sovereign," a game with a literary flavor, was a popular theatrical pastime at late-medieval courts. Selected courtiers wore the same clothes as the prince and acted as his doubles, or that at least is the impression conveyed by Italian, Burgundian, and French accounts of the second half of the fifteenth century. Like any good literary game, this one revolved around a potentially serious problem. In April 1500, Ludovico ii Moro, duke of Milan, caught in a hopeless situation in Novara, was handed over by his Swiss troops to his French opponents. Disguised by his last loyal followers, Ludovico was smuggled in among the Swiss who had been promised safe passage in exchange for the duke. He almost managed to escape this way. Despite intense searching, his pursuers failed to recognize him, but he was betrayed by the Swiss mercenary standing next to him. According to an eyewitness account, Ludovico was pulled out of the ranks, divested of his Swiss doublet, and his hat; only then was he identified, not by his facial features but by his long hair, which he wore in the princely fashion. How, then, could one recognize someone? The story of the duke in disguise is embedded in a tangled web of narratives of wartime masquerade and dissimulation in wartime. The surviving transcripts of the interrogations of Swiss mercenaries involved in the handover of the duke are replete with couriers of uncertain status and origins, whose official badges ( warzeichen) no one recognized or who simply displayed none. 29

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Night of Murder:The Media of Visualization in the Dark Medieval orders of signs thus offer no clarity. What is more, the rhetoric of political legitimacy tied material, demonstratively visible signs ever more tightly to their secret or uncanny counterparts. Scarcely any text reveals this more clearly than the accounts of the "night of murder:' Its first versions appeared in city chronicles in the mid-fifteenth century, and it had grown increasingly popular by the early decades of the sixteenth century. My account will be based on the version related in Peterman Etterlin's Kronica von der loblichen Eydt9noscheft of 1503. The plot is simple enough: in the middle of the night, a person (in many versions, it is a child, "a young boy") accidentally stumbles on a group of armed conspirators and eavesdrops on their discussion. (Etterlin's successor Diebold Schilling added a picture of this scene to his lavishly illustrated chronicle completed ten years later; see figure 2.5.) The assembled men are planning to murder in their beds the council members, whose houses they have marked with secret signs; then they intend to open the city gates to their confederates waiting outside and seize power in the city. In order to recognize each other in the dark, they agree on a warzeichen, a red emblem on their clothing as a sign that they are partisans of Austria, in those days the arch foe of the Confederate city. In some versions, they also choose a secret password, a wortzeichen. The witness hears all this before being discovered by the conspirators. They want to kill him on the spot, but when he begs them to spare his life, they make him swear by God and the saints that he will not tell a soul what he has seen and heard, and then let him go free. The desperate boy runs through the dark town until he sees a light burning in a tavern or a guildhall, depending on the version. He enters and finds it full of people. He turns to the stove in the middle of the room and cries out loudly, "Oh, stove!" and then again, because the stove does not answer, "Oh, stove,

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stove! If I might speak!" and tells the stove what he has seen and heard and that he must not breathe a word about it to a soul. Thereupon the guests in the room (who have indeed been listening) sound the alarm. Since they are now familiar with the conspirators' secret signs from the boy's speech to the stove, they are able to identify them in the streets, track them down, and thus save the city. 30 Etterlin's account of the night of murder and the averted nocturnal raid was as fictive as the date he cites; apparently, he had conflated two cases of urban unrest in 1328-1330 and 1343. The slightly altered version of a 1350 night of murder in the neighboring city of Zurich, in contrast, was probably based on an actual event, which was also popularized in the fifteenth century. Here the secret code word is "My name is Pettermann," which serves the conspirators as a verbal sign and mark of mutual recognition. The speech addressed to the stove is absent, but the boy and the conspirators, the tavern and the exposure are presented according to the same pattern. 31 Suspiciously similar tales were told by later chroniclers from Bern - in these cases, the secret password of the covert murderers is, dramatically enough, the cry "9eltenhals!" (approximately, "Go for their necks!"). Similar tales are reported from Konstanz, Solothurn, Basel, Yverdon, and Zug; the account of the conspirators discovered just in the nick of time was a success story. By the end of the sixteenth century, the legend had been recounted from more than fourteen cities in the Swiss Confederation alone, and in many an annual celebration was held to commemorate the miraculous last-minute salvation of the city. 32 The case of the night of murder demonstrates how a narrative motif formulated in the mid-fifteenth century was popularized by printing (Etterlin's chronicle went to press in 1507) and then went on to be used in the Swiss Reformation chronicles of the 1530s and 1540s as a set piece in a patriotic dramatization of history. 60

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Not that the tale was a Swiss peculiarity; it was widely disseminated in various versions throughout early-modem Europe. 33 The story is tied in many respects to the control of violence in urban legal spaces and its visualization. In Etterlin's 1507 printed version, the chronicler inserted an interesting sentence that linked the past directly with the control of urban space in his own day. In his description of the conspirators' secret meeting place, he added that it had still been common in those days for the municipal guardians of order to patrol only the large streets at night. Since then, however, the authorities had mandated "that they go into every nook and cranny:' He evokes not just the threat posed by the (Austrian) enemy but also the penetration of the city streets by the authorities, with their claim to regulate violence by standardizing the interior space of the city. 34 The story of the night of murder was so successful in part because it reminded contemporary readers of actual surprise assaults on cities, such as that on Mainz by the episcopal overlords in 1462. Against this serious political backdrop, the narrative repeated and recombined powerful literary motifs. In Exodus 12.12-14, the "sign upon the houses" ("zeichen an den heusern," in the German Bible printed at Strasbourg in 1466) is supposed to protect the Egyptian dwellings of the Jews from Yahweh's murderous nocturnal vengeance. In the prophecies of the book of Ezekiel, the letter tau appears on the bodies of the chosen who will be spared deadly punishment. 35 And in the popular late-medieval romances about Troy, which Guido delle Colonne and his southern German translators based not on Homer but on the late-antique versions of Dares and Dictys, the impregnable walled city falls not through trickery alone but through bribed conspirators within, who have opened the gates to the Greeks in a murderous nocturnal rebellion. 36 The legend of the nocturnal conspiracy and its discovery also worked because it brought together a number of familiar motifs

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from contemporary urban legal reality. Secret visual identification marks, passwords, and slogans appear frequently in late-medieval and early-modem sources in the form of wortzeichen or warzeichen. They were intended to facilitate the regulation of access to the city, the checking of identity, and the maintenance of military discipline in case of an external threat. The conspirators' fictive identifying emblems in the tales of the night of murder had their counterparts in the real insignia (lead badges on jackets, colored armbands, or gold buttons on hats) worn by late-medieval town dwellers as accessories that served to identify them. Finally, the story of the night of murder points to the particular character of the early-modem urban public sphere. The fifteenthand sixteenth-century denunciatory reports in the archives speak with striking frequency of incriminating conversations in taverns or guildhalls, where a "secret servant" of the authorities was eavesdropping at the next table and reported back what he had heard. 37 In addition, the entire story of the night of murder was constructed around the legal form of the oath as an invisible bond: the oath that the conspirators allegedly make to each other, and the oath that they force the unwitting witness to take. While the latter could be canceled out by a formal trick (the boy addressing his words to the stove) inside the tavern or guildhall, the former was given visual form in the wortzeichen, the emblems on the clothing of the conspirators, and the secret signs on the houses of the alleged intended victims, an at once literal and uncanny manner of processing the familiar by literary means.

Order and Deception To compete with and distinguish itself from neighboring authorities, the legal space of the city, in which stipulations regarding the control of violence applied, depended on visualization, the clearest possible markers and signs of affiliation. These signs were intended 62

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to convey visually the social form that helped constitute the medieval city, the solemn oath association, or coniuratio. But the authorities in large southern German and Italian cities in particular never relied wholly on such proclamations of the citizenry's unity and on the oath to obey the city's laws that citizens swore publicly every year. They relied instead on invisible institutions of municipal security for the control of violence: in anonymous informers, in strictly isolated "secret councils," and in documents that were assiduously kept from the public. The vast majority of town dwellers had no right of complaint or appeal against their orders and judgments. Even as powerful a Nuremberg patrician as Jakob Muffel could fall victim in the second half of the fifteenth century to these covert institutions: an efficient bureaucracy acting in the dark. The much-feared Venetian Council of Ten, shrouded in mystery, is probably the most prominent example of this phenomenon.38 The annual public coniuratio thus had its own uncanny mirror image, the conspiratio. How directly could one draw conclusions about the rule of signs from the signs of rule? The more successfully fourteenth- and fifteenth-century municipal authorities were able to implement their own signs inside the city walls, the more obsessed they became with the secret signs that purported conspirators used to communicate among themselves. Secret arsonists supposedly working in the pay of the Hussites, who could recognize each other by their secret emblems, appear in Leipzig and Erfurt sources of the 1420s. During interrogation, a man sentenced to death for murder and robbery in Fribourg in 1483 provided a detailed description of an oath that the members of his gang, which operated in Savoy, Bern, and Fribourg, had allegedly sworn to each other. Similarly, when questioned by the judge, he described the emblems that they had supposedly used to recognize each other in taverns (where else?). In June 1499, a circular letter

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from the Swiss Assembly (the Ta9satzun9) warned the Confederation authorities of a gang that had allegedly been hired by the Austrians to commit murder and arson in Switzerland. They wore yellow jackets and red-and-white hose, with yellow, gray, and white stripes on them, and could be identified thereby. It was but a small step from the alleged identifying marks of the participants in peasants' conspiracies in southwestern Germany in 1517 to the secret circles of murderous arsonists who would play such a major role in the conspiracy theories and mutual accusations of Lutherans and Catholics after 15 30. 39 The increasingly tight control of municipal space at the end of the Middle Ages was thus accompanied by the proliferation of particular types of signs, those pointing to ambiguity, camouflage, and deception. During the fifteenth century, practically anything could become a sign, from red stripes on sleeves to graffiti or symbols on housefronts. In the late Middle Ages, such emblems became politically interpreted si9na of what one could by definition not see, the Un9estalt, the invisible foe. The story of these visible signs of invisible murderers was disseminated and popularized in the early sixteenth century in printed chronicles and pamphlets. It was part of the media revolution of these decades, in which printing allowed texts and images to be distributed rapidly. These tales were so influential because they took up and varied familiar older motifs. According to the version of the night of murder story recounted in Heinrich Brennwald's Swiss chronicle of 1516, each conspirator had put "something red on his apparel," "a sleeve or some red stripe, so that they might recognize each other."40 The very vagueness of the information, and its suggestion of a number of associations with the religious representation of blood, only increased its effectiveness. We will encounter the motif of proliferating- and, in a rather disturbing sense, omnipresent - blood as a sign of invisible murderers again later.

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The tale of the night of murder did not merely reflect the various legal spaces and the visible signs of genuine authorities in cities of the later Middle Ages. It also mirrored the invisible proceedings of legitimate municipal power, its official secrets, spies, and special committees. This may seem familiar to readers of the early twenty-first century. After the attacks of September l l, 200 t, when the secretary of state of the most powerful country in the world painted a picture of the threat from invisible secret organizations whose members, running to the tens of thousands, are hiding everywhere - that is, are at once everywhere and nowhere - ready to do their worst, it may make sense to recall the historical circumstances of such narratives of invisible enemies and faceless violence. Roland Barthes reminded us that every society develops techniques of control in order to fix fluctuating signifiers and combat the terrors of uncertain signs.41 This takes us back to the graffiti with which we began. Is that why we are so quick to interpret the proliferation of signs on the wall - whose authors and meaning are unknown to us - as a decay of public security and a threat of physical violence?

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CHAPTER THREE

Saving Face

Not every threatening and formless violence was faceless; quite the contrary. Some threats not only show their face but are made quite explicitly on the human face. Let us begin once again with a twentiethcentury example. In 1938, the Swiss physician and racial anthropologist George Montandon published an article in France calling for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine as the solution to the "Jewish Question:' He called on Jews to divest themselves of any other citizenship they might have. Above all, they were forbidden to mix with other races, and all sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews were prohibited. According to Montandon, draconian punishments were necessary to enforce this "protective policy:' Men violating the law would be castrated; women under the age of forty, in contrast, would have their noses cut off, "for," he reasoned, "nothing renders individuals uglier than the removal of . nose."I th e1r Montandon's racist phantasm is as repellent as it is unsettling and oppressive. Why did he choose the nose of all things as the link between sexual order and personal disfigurement? It is less coincidental than it might appear at first glance. Montandon uses a literary motif and a set of narratives that literally make the nose the site of violence, sexuality, and Un9estalt. This motif can be

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traced back to the Middle Ages, as will be seen in what follows. I begin with cases from Nuremberg, but they have nothing to do with that city's 1938 racial laws which Montandon sought to surpass in maliciousness; they are several centuries older.

"Cuttin9 Off Her Nose in the Public Street" In April 1479, the Nuremberg town council considered a petition from one of its citizens, Fritz Schreppler. According to the council minutes, Schreppler had publicly threatened to cut off his wife's nose in the marketplace and was subsequently arrested. The council decided to release him from custody. He was, however, sworn to keep "peace" with his wife in the future. 2 The highest civic authority in Nuremberg thus invoked the general commandment to maintain peace within the city walls. It admonished a citizen by referring to the municipal laws upon which he had taken an oath. This is precisely the judicial mechanism for controlling violence discussed in the last chapter. What does it mean when a husband threatens to cut off his wife's nose in a public market? Clearly this was intended less figuratively than we might at first imagine. Again: why the nose? Schreppler's case was not unique. At the end of the fifteenth century, a series of entries dealing with similar occurrences appeared in the minutes of the Nuremberg town council. In the summer and autumn of 1486, the council had a number of dealings with the mint master of the neighboring town of Schwabach, who was involved in a love affair with a married citizen of Nuremberg. Their relationship caused a sensation: even though the Nuremberg authorities had on several occasions forbidden them to consort, the couple continued to meet publicly in the city. 3 On October 3, the mint master's wife traveled from Schwabach to Nuremberg, lay in wait for her rival, and tried, as the entry in the council minutes put it, "Cutting off Her Nose in the Public Street:' 68

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She and her husband were then arrested, but they were released two days later providing that the mint master, in the future, avoid the company of his Nuremberg paramour.4 Magdalena Beheim's case was even more bloody. In February 1505, she attacked her former maidservant with a knife and tried to cut off her nose. She not only stabbed the maid severely in the neck and breast but also managed to injure the householder and his wife, who apparently came to the intended victim's aid. The perpetrator was arrested and placed in the municipal prison, but released shortly thereafter. A council decision of the same day, February 7, announced that her husband, the brazier Jorg Beheim, was to be punished with four weeks of tower arrest for adultery.5 The following year, 1506, the Nuremberg chronicler Heinrich Deichsler tells of a certain Hans Schlemmer, who had impregnated his maidservant and agreed to pay her ten florins as compensation and child support. This was no small sum, representing twice the yearly wages of a maidservant at that time. The money was to be handed over outside the city gates. Schlemmer asked his wife to accompany him, the chronicler reports, saying "he now had to pay the whore ten florins." His wife should cut off the woman's nose; he and another relative would help her. The two men held the maid down, and Schlemmer's wife attacked her with a knife, wounding her in the nose. The culprits were arrested: Schlemmer's wife was sentenced to the ignominious punishment of stone carrying, while Schlemmer and his accomplice were placed in the stocks and flogged with a switch.6 The same constellation -husband and wife cutting off a woman's nose- appears in a Basel case of 1469 and in a laconic entry in the Nuremberg council records for January 1502.7 According to the latter, a pan maker and his wife who were under suspicion of having cut another woman's nose should be "sent for and questioned:'8 The 1513 and 1520 Nuremberg council records refer to two similar cases.

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E,·en f,1r a large medie,·al city - ~ urernberg had around ~th