Re: Collection John of Rheinfelden

Thanks Huck for the correction and the clarification! This helps us a lot.

You wrote:
Huck wrote: 03 Oct 2021, 05:44
Ah .... .-) .... well, much more simple. It's a modern book typo, the original year number is 1450, not 1405.
Literatur des Schachspiels: Tschaturangavidjâ
Anton Schmid 1847 ... ch&f=false
I consider this post as new information which I evidently follow contentwise.

I did not think about a modern book typo – copy errors can happen in all centuries. This is in my eyes also important when discussing your remark
Huck wrote: 02 Oct 2021, 21:11 The text is written in 1472 as a copy by a professional writer, not by JvR. JvR in 1377 should have written the year number in Roman numbers MCCCLXXVII.
Note that even the “professional writers” produce a lot of copy errors as already discussed by Decker (1989) and as well by Schröder (1882). Following them leads to: Human beings commit errors in copying, this is normality, not the exception. This is especially true for the quite new Arabic numerals which were also used in medieval manuscripts as we will see in the following:

Since meanwhile, I also got hold of the paleographic “bible”: Bernhard Bischoff, "Paläographie des römischen Altertums und des abendländischen Mittelalters" in the version from 1979. With respect to number representations, he writes on p. 223f:
Die ältesten deutschen Beispiele [für indisch-arabische Ziffern; vh0610] sind ein Salzburger Komputus von 1143 und eine Regensburger Handschrift s. XII ex. Auch die wenigen Beispiele der „ostarabischen Formen“ stammen aus dem dem XII. Jahrhundert. In den praktischen Gebrauch haben sich die Ziffern langsam eingeführt, vom Geldwesen wurden sie hie und da bis ins XV. Jahrhundert ausgeschlossen. Bezeichnend für die Schwierigkeiten, denen ihre Aufnahme begegnete, sind auch die Mischungen römischer und arabischer Ziffern wie MCCC7 und die schweren Irrtümer, die [neue; vh0610] Null und Stellenwert verursachten (21, 31 statt 12,13; 101 statt 11, usw.). Die Ziffern 4, 5 und 7 nehmen im Allgemeinen erst im späteren XV. Jahrhundert eine der heutigen ähnliche Form an (Abb. 28). [Abb. 28: die 7 zeigt nach unten wie ein Haken, die 4 ist wie eine halbe 8 geschrieben, und die 5 erscheint wie eine nach unten schauende 2; vh0610]

[The oldest German examples [for Indo-Arabic numerals; vh0610] are a Salzburg computus from 1143 and a Regensburg manuscript s. XII ex. The few examples of the "Eastern Arabic forms" come also from the XII. century. The Arabic numerals have slowly been introduced into practical use, from the monetary system they were excluded here and there up to the XV. century. Indicative of the difficulties encountered with its inclusion, is the mixture of Roman and Arabic numerals such as MCCC7 and the serious errors caused by [the new; vh0610] zero and the place value (21, 31 instead of 12, 13; 101 instead of 11, etc.) are indicative of the difficulties encountered in their inclusion. Numbers 4, 5 and 7 generally only take on a shape similar to today's in the later XV. century (Fig. 28). [Fig. 28: the 7 is pointing down like a hook, the 4 is written as a half 8 and the 5 appears like a 2 looking down; vh0610]
In this light, it might not even be “a modern book typo”, it might be simply already wrong in the Giessen manuscript.

Note that the “the serious errors caused by [the new; vh0610] zero and the place value (21, 31 instead of 12, 13; 101 instead of 11, etc.) are indicative of the difficulties encountered in their inclusion.” puts all year numerals in manuscripts from 1143 onwards until the later XV. century into the difficult situation that they might be “serious errors caused by the zero and the place value”.

In this context: thanks for the nice figure showing how difficult it is to read the Arabic numerals:
Huck wrote: 02 Oct 2021, 21:11
Zahlenschreibweisen Mitte 15. bis Mitte 16. Jahrhundert
(Textauszug aus, Abbildung nach: Deutsche Gaue, Zeitschrift für Heimatforschung, Bd. IX 1908, S.310f.)
...Wir glauben, unsern Lesern einen Gefallen zu tun, wenn wir eine Reihe arabischer, richtiger indischer Ziffern (Wattenbach) zusammenstellen. Es kommt oft vor, daß man sie angeschrieben findet als Jahrzahlen auf Altertümern.
Ihre Entzifferung soll nun diese Zusammenstellung sowie die folgende Bemerkung erleichtern:
Man merke, es bedeuten die Ziffern fast nur Jahrzahlen von 1450 - 1550. Vor 1450 kommen außer in Handschriften bei uns Jahrzahlen in arabischen Ziffern seltenst vor. .....
Writing forms of numbers at mid 15th till mid 16th century.
I remember, that Franco informed me, that Ziffern were used earlier than 1450 in Florentine business calculations.
However, the translation of
Vor 1450 kommen außer in Handschriften bei uns Jahrzahlen in arabischen Ziffern seltenst vor.
is in my eyes
Before 1450, Arabic numbers appear very seldom in year numbers in our region – with the exception of appearances in manuscripts.
and we deal with manuscripts, for which the above cited passage from the paleographic “bible” of Bernhard Bischoff (1979) holds (as well that usage of Arabic numerals start in the XII century and the serious errors caused by new zero and the place value).

Best example we have is the Basel version from 1429 of JvR’s tractatus:

Folio 2r shows in the 10th line the first appearance of 1377 in the introduction in Roman numerals as m.ccc.lxxvij :

However, Folio 19r in chapter 5 shows in line 12 and line 14 Arabic numerals for the year 1344 and 1377 – and the 4s in 1344 are half- eights which can easily be misread as zeros – at least I can easily misread them (Everybody can check now and see on his own whether he finds it plausible or not):

In this light, I do not agree with
Huck wrote: 03 Oct 2021, 05:44 He would have had problems to misread a "MCCC" for a "MCCCLXXVII". As already stated, book printing likely had helped to avoid number mistakes with Ziffern.
since, as shown, JvR’s tractatus in the oldest version we have contains Arabic numerals for exactly the respective years 13XX.

And if Ingold did not have JvR’s tracatus in his library –and I showed in my previous post that he had a big personal library and liked to cite authors—and hence –as a hypothesis—quoted from memory “As I have read”, then we have to take into account the recency effect ( ... ncy_effect) that is, the last appearance is the one staying easiest in the memory. In our Ingold case, it is far easier to remember visually a 13XX than a m.ccc.lxxvij (as everybody can check now personally) – but if you remember it visually, you can even more easily misread a 1344 as a 1300 if the 4 is written like a half 8.

Hence, if Ingold read, e.g., in c. 1430 the Basel version of 1429 in the Dominican library of Basel, there is plausibility for me that he can have misread the year numerals for 13XX. I agree that we do not know how the year numbers were written in the version he more probably read in the Dominican library in Strassburg (if this was Ingold’s read), but at least we know that in 1429 Arabic numerals were used for 13XX.

However, since it is all about plausibility and what one holds for plausible, this might only be my conclusion. Others might see other plausibilities.

In this light, you asked me
Huck wrote: 03 Oct 2021, 05:44
I strongly propose again that plausibility is very high that Ingold read JvR.
Really? Ingold's text has about 8 pages. The text of Johannes has more than 300. How do you think, that such texts can be similar?
My answer: Yes, from the point of view of plausibility, I still believe –I believe, I don’t have the truth—that Ingold read JvR. The difference in page numbers is no problem for me. I see it like this: Ingold took from memory only the structure of JvR as a model from a bird’s eye perspective and from a temporal distance, transformed this structure (or order) to his needs and then wrote his chapter on cards. He did not want to do more since his composition was different: Ingold chose a book structure with 7 different games. And in the same way he had a model for the first-written chess chapter (the then well-known de Cessolis - Ingold's chess chapter, which is securely based on de Cessolis-- also does not have the length of de Cessolis, if my memory is correct), he looked in his memory for a similar model on playing cards for his short chapter on cards. This is how I see it.

in view of plausibility, moreover, by help of your correction, I can now formulate again and in a more precise way my hypothesis of the last post (I marked it as plausibility and I mark it as this again):
Plausibility is high for me, that Ingold could have misread and misremembered a 13XX – year numbers exactly as appearing in the JvR tractatus from 1429 (Basel version) as 1377 and as 1344. From this, plus Schröder's statement (1882) of JvR's tractatus being “demonstrably quite common”, plus the order of Ingold being not far away from the one of JvR, plus Ingold and JvR being from the Strassburg region having access to the same Dominican libraries, plus no other known book/treatise on cards of that time, results for me in a considerable high plausibility of Ingold having read JvR, thereby making an error in noting in words the year 1300 and having read 1344 (or 1377) in Arabic numerals in JvR's treatise.
I find this plausible, perhaps others don’t. Then we kindly agree to disagree -- which is also part of science (and fine for me).

I will not pursue this any further, since I have the impression to miss something evident with JvR, which is more important.

JvR .... Franciscans and Dominicans

Once (2011) I collected this material ...

Mostly playing card hunters were Franciscans, occasionally also Dominicans. Ingold was a Dominican.
San Bernardino played the most important role. His intensive activities started in 1417 in Bologna, during the council of Konstanz. As there is the suspicion, that in Konstanz card playing was an accepted activity and additionally pope Giovanni XXIII, formerly an important man in Bologna, was forced to leave his position, one might suspect, that the San Bernardino activities were initially a protest against the council. San Bernardino was successful and he even took the risk to attack Filippo Maria Visconti in Milan. This raised opposition and counterattacks and for some time San Bernardino had to draw back. One of two possible Ingolds had studied in Milan, perhaps he was a little bit involved in this movement.

JvR ... war of the 8 Saints (1375-1378) ... Decker's Flurry


The first accepted playing card document in Italy is the law of 24th March, 1377, against card playing.
Franco Pratesi had worked on it in the early time of his engagement for playing card history in 1989.
A second version to the theme occured in 2016
.... select number 76 "1377: Firenze - Condanne ai giocatori di naibi. The Playing-Card , Vol. 44, No. 3 (2016) 156-163"
.... an Italian article, possibly somewhere is an English translation by Michael Howard ????

I don't remember any writer about playing card history, that he related the playing card document to the "war of the 8 saints", which took place in the years 1375-1378. Florence was involved in a central role against the pope.

Some quotes ...
As a result of Gregory XI's economic sanctions, merchants of the Florentine "diaspora" were hurt economically throughout Europe, particularly the Alberti bankers in Avignon, although the interdict was ignored by many, including Charles V of France.[3]
Hawkwood honored his agreement with the Florentines not to make war in Tuscany, limiting himself to putting down the various rebellions within the papal states; in 1377 Hawkwood abandoned Gregory XI entirely and joined the anti-papal coalition.[3] Gregory XI's other condottieri also limited their activities to Romagna, notably the savage sacking of Cesena in February 1377[3] in what came to be known as the Cesena Bloodbath.[10] In the spring of 1377, papal mercenaries recaptured Bologna, which up until that point had been a key Florentine ally.
Cesena February 1377 ....
The little comune revolted again in 1377 during the War of the Eight Saints. This time it was recaptured by Breton troops of Giovanni Acuto (the English-born condottiere John Hawkwood) under the command of Robert, Cardinal of Geneva, (later antipope Clement VII). The latter, acting as the legate of Pope Gregory XI, directed the savage murder of between 2,500 and 5,000 civilians.[3] By the laws of war at the time this was regarded as an atrocity that earned the label of the "Cesena Bloodbath" and the cardinal the "butcher of Cesena". The following year what remained of Cesena was assigned by the new pope Urban VI to Galeotto I Malatesta.

The pope Gregory ...
Gregory XI's decision to return to Rome has been attributed in part to the incessant pleas, demands, and threats of Catherine of Siena.[9] Gregory's predecessor, Urban V, had tried to return as well, but the demands of the Hundred Years' War brought him north of the Alps again, and Avignon was still the seat of the bishop of Rome.[citation needed]
The return of the Curia to Rome began on 13 September 1376. Despite the protests of the French king and the majority of the cardinals, Gregory left Avignon on that day and made his way to Marseilles, where he boarded a ship on 2 October. Arriving at Corneto on 6 December, he decided to remain there until arrangements were made in Rome concerning its future government. On 13 January 1377, he left Corneto, landed at Ostia the next day, and from there sailed up the Tiber to the monastery of San Paolo. On 17 January he left the monastery to make a solemn entrance into Rome that same day.


I gave recently this information ...
Les Eschéz d'Amours: A Critical Edition of the Poem and its Latin Glosses
Gregory Heyworth, Daniel E. O'sullivan, Frank Coulson
BRILL, 25 Jul 2013 - History - 696 pages ... 37&f=false
There are notes in the text about the years 1337 (in England), 1365 and 1369 (both in France), in which years of war were accompanied by game prohibitions. In Florence the war year 1377 meets the playing card prohibition of March 1377.

WARNING ... Added later (16th of October, 2021)
There are reasons to assume, that the document connected to the year 1337 actually belongs to the year 1363. The argumentation to this point is in the postings ...


The Fraticelli appeared in the work of Umberto Eco, "The name of the Rose".

The Spiritual Power: Republican Florence Under Interdict
Richard C. Trexler .... the author is well known as a specialist for Florence and renaissance.
BRILL, 1974 - 208 pages ... &q&f=false
The given part of the page 130 shows, that the month of the playing card prohibition MARCH 1377 was not an usual month in Florence, it had chaotic states as expectable for a city, which faces an extreme danger (in this case an attacking pope and the news of a massacre in Cesena).


The pages around page 130 are of general interest. The Fraticelli have a special role in these events. The influence of the Fraticelli on Florence endured till 1389, when a Franticello Michele was burnt (see page 137). During the war (till 1378) the Fraticelli had no problems in Florence.

Added later:
The search keys "MW8-1_article.pdf " and "Hawkwood" lead to an article "THE DARK SIDE OF A HERO" with the subtitle "THE MASSACRES AT FAENZA AND CESENA".
Possibly the link ... ... rticle.pdf
The article gives the date February 3 for the massacre of Cesena.


Edward III’s proclamation of 12 June 1365 to sheriffs of all English counties banning football, handball and other ‘vain games of no value’. Football is the Latin word ‘pediuam’ in the middle of the sixth line down. ... s/c-54203/


Edward III proclamation


JvR .... Edward III

In the post above I quoted ....
Les Eschéz d'Amours: A Critical Edition of the Poem and its Latin Glosses
Gregory Heyworth, Daniel E. O'sullivan, Frank Coulson
BRILL, 25 Jul 2013 - History - 696 pages ... 37&f=false
Quite contrasting to the above statement is the following ...
Edward III
W. M. Ormrod ... =
Yale University Press, 24.01.2012 - 721 Seiten ... es&f=false

The online material of the source at is limited, the page numbers are missing and the footnotes are not included.

Added later: I got the footnotes, but I can't read them ...


Froissart tells a chess story between King Edward III and a Lady in the year 1374. ... ry-210612/

The same story is given by a different writer (a historian) as a pdf
Edward III and the Countess of Salisbury: A Study in Values
von SM Pratt .... pdf
The chess game appears in the year 1341.

************ ... -iii/5.php
.... inside the Second War of Scottish Independence (1332–1357)
In Yorkshire, making arrangements for the attack. He already had a strategy. He would besiege Berwick, the prosperous town on the north of the River Tweed. ....
In April the country mobilised. ... On the 23rd the siege began, in advance of his arrival, and by the 30th Edward arrived at Alnwick. After responding to the pro-Scottish entreaties of King Philip of France with the statement that the Scots had invaded his land several times, he proceeded to Tweedmouth, just across the river from the fortified town and castle. With the king’s arrival there on 9 May, the siege proper began.
He played chess and dice, losing seventy-six shillings on 8 June. Two days later he lost another five shillings. Tedium set in, between the ear-splitting blasts of the guns and the distant crash of stone shot smashing into the wooden houses of the town. The ennui was slightly relieved the following week, when he heard that his sister had given birth to his first nephew. But soon it was back to gambling. Having lost twelve pounds in his pavilion on 25 June, Edward ordered a direct attack on the castle.
.... compare also ....

Football in the Middle Ages
The first documentary evidence of football being played is in 1170. It was a game that was played by working-class boys in the towns and peasants in the villages. Football was a constant concern of the authorities. It was first banned by Edward II in 1314. At the time he was trying to raise an army to fight the Scots and was worried about the impact that football was having on the skills of his archers. It seems that most young men took little notice of the order and his father, Edward III, reintroduced the ban in 1331 in preparation for an invasion of Scotland. Henry IV was the next monarch who tried to stop England's young men from playing football when he issued a new ban in 1388. This was ineffective and in 1410 his government imposed a fine of 20s and six days' imprisonment on those caught playing football. In 1414, his son, Henry V, introduced a further proclamation ordering men to practise archery rather than football. The following year Henry's archers played an important role in the defeat of the French at Agincourt.
*************** ... -football/
n 1314, Edward II complained about “certain tumults arising from great footballs in the fields of the public, from which many evils may arise.” At the time he was trying to raise an army to fight the Scots and was worried about the impact that football was having on the skills of his archers. Edward II came to the conclusion that young people were more interested in playing football than practicing archery. His answer to this problem was to ban the playing of the game.
In 1331, Edward III reintroduced the ban in preparation for an invasion of Scotland,
In 1338, Henry IV was the next monarch who tried to stop England’s young men from playing football when he issued a new ban. This was ineffective and in 1410 his government imposed a fine of the 20s and six days’ imprisonment on those caught playing football. <<<<<< ERROR
In 1349, King Edward III of England banned the game of football by royal decree, alongside other recreational activities, because of the specific worry that it distracted his people from practicing archery. Although this sounds a little strange, archery was actually essential to 14th-century warfare, and so to the strength of Edward’s army, which was badly affected by the Black Death, a ravaging pandemic that peaked around this time.
In 1414, his son, Henry V, introduced a further proclamation ordering men to practice archery rather than football. The following year Henry’s archers played an important role in the defeat of the French at Agincourt.
In 1477, Edward IV passed a law that stipulated that “no person shall practice any unlawful games such as dice, quoits, football and such games, but that every strong and able-bodied person shall practice with the bow for the reason that the national defense depends upon such bowmen”. Edward IV was another strong opponent of football.
In 1496 Henry VII outlawed football, his son, Henry VIII, introduced a series of laws against the playing of the game in public places.
<<<<< Henry IV Bolingbroke reigned 1399-1413, not in 1238

*************** ... 32562.html
Fußball in England
Am Ende des 12. Jahrhundert wird die Existenz des Fußballs in England erstmalig urkundlich belegt. So wird im Jahre 1174 erwähnt, dass die Londoner Jugendlichen zur Fastenzeit aus der Stadt eilten, um auf einer freien Fläche das "berühmte Ballspiel" – lusum pilae celebrem" genannt – zu spielen.

Am Ende des 13. und am Anfang des 14. Jahrhunderts war das Spiel in England dann sehr stark verbreitet, es wurde in fast allen Städten gespielt. Allerdings verbot der Bürgermeister von London im Jahre 1314 das Fußballspiel innerhalb der Stadt durchzuführen. Bei solchen Spielen mussten die Kaufleute zur Sicherheit die Fensterläden/Rollläden herunterlassen und die Bürger die Fenster verbarrikadieren. Wer trotzdem Fußball spielte, wurde zu einer Gefängnisstrafe verurteilt. Zudem wurde das Fußballspiel 1349 vom König Edward III. verboten, da zu dieser Zeit zwischen England und Schottland Krieg herrschte und die Aufruhre, die durch die Fußballspiele bei jedem Spiel entstanden, verhindert werden sollten.

Die Verordnung lautete wie folgt:
"In Anbetracht dessen, dass Seine Majestät der König [Edward III., der Verfasser] zum Feldzug gegen seine Feinde in Schottland gezogen ist und ausdrücklich um striktes Einhalten des Friedens im Land ersucht hat […] und in Anbetracht dessen, dass großer Aufruhr in der Stadt entsteht während bestimmter Umtriebe, die von großen Fußbällen auf öffentlichen Plätzen in Szene gesetzt werden, woraus viele Übel entstehen können, befehlen und verbieten wir in des Königs Namen, unter Anordnung von Gefängnisstrafe, solches Spiel hinfort innerhalb der Stadt durchzuführen."

Re: Collection John of Rheinfelden

Heyworth is sloppy in his reference.
He gives this as Thomas Rymer, Foedera, volume III, page 704. The edition he cites is the first, published over several volumes between 1704 and 1735.
Image ... &q&f=false

Here is volume III, page 704, from that edition.

You can see that it does not contain this law. The laws on this page are from 1318, 9 years before Edward became king. So this is not it.

Ormrod gives the correct reference, which is to the edition of Rymer printed in the 19th century. It is volume III, part 2, page 704.
Image ... &q&f=false

Second entry on this page:
I haven't found Heyworth's 1337 law with the punishment of death; in 1363, the punishment was imprisonment, "sub poena imprisonamenti."

Re: Collection John of Rheinfelden

Fine, Ross, very nice, thanks.

So I get, that the 37th reigning year of Edward III produced the error year 1337, and that it should be corrected to 1363. At least this would be a plausible explanation. ... us&f=false

And the radical punishment with death isn't correct, if I understood you correctly. It was only imprisonment.

Still stands the year 1365 for another law.

Football is involved in the years 1331 (no second note), 1349 (German confirmation) and 1365 (confirmed as above quoted). In the year 1333 Edward III definitely gambled in a war situation.

Re: Collection John of Rheinfelden

In this light, it might not even be “a modern book typo”, it might be simply already wrong in the Giessen manuscript.
If this is still of interest ...

The Gießen manuscript with Guldin Spil is here .... ... isam-72140

Bl. 5*ra-7*ra = Gesamtregister
Bl. 1ra-166rb = Otto von Passau: 'Die 24 Alten' (Schmidt Nr. 45)
Bl. 168ra-208ra = Meister Ingold: 'Guldîn spil' (G) -----> Folio 208 is 217 in modern viewer counting
Bl. 210ra-252va = Marquard von Lindau: 'Dekalogerklärung'
Bl. 254ra-282vb = Marquard von Lindau: 'Auszug der Kinder Israel'
Bl. 284ra-289vb = Jörg Mülich: Bericht über eine Pilgerreise nach Jerusalem


Re: Collection John of Rheinfelden

Brother Johannes von Rheinfelden: a genius on a par with de Cessolis

[This will be a longer post, however, I promise to share some possible novelty on JvR in it – it’s all about breakthrough on several levels (in my eyes) – hence it might be worth reading for you]

I start with the strong intuition that I am missing massively something in all the information we already have on JvR. However, I have no clue where to begin, this is somehow “obscure and difficult”. I realize that, in a certain sense, I am in the situation JvR describes himself in his treatise:

[Bond’s translation of (1878): ... s&f=false ]
And should some persons find some passage in it not easy to understand, but obscure and difficult, let them get out of their boat at Burgheim and enter it again at Rinveld, and proceed, reading this treatise, as before, until they come to the end of it. For the said passage is dangerous to boat passengers, so that many get out and, at the other end, return into the boat, and proceed onwards as before.
Ok, why not trusting JvR and doing exactly as he proposes? Why not starting a dialogue over some centuries?

This implies close reading of exactly this passage and contextualization. Let’s try.

Let’s start with an understanding of the situation of the Rhine in that time and why is it dangerous to boat passengers. He writes “boat passengers”, hence, it is the boat situation itself, staying in the boat makes the danger.

How was the Rhine in the region around Basel / Freiburg in 1377?

First we look at the map given in ... ung-i.html
The Upper Rhine (“Oberrhein”) was in the so-called zone of wilderness (“Verwilderungszone”):
Im Oberrheingebiet durchfließt der Rhein eine große Ebene. Er hat in dieser Ebene ein geringes Gefälle, sodass seine Fließgeschwindigkeit abnimmt. […] Da der Rhein in der Oberrheinebene sehr langsam floss, lagerten sich dort in den letzten Jahrtausenden ständig Sedimente ab. Mit diesen Sedimenten schüttete der Fluss fortwährend sein eigenes Bett zu und musste anderswohin ausweichen. Deshalb kam es zu ständigen Flusslaufveränderungen und zu Stromverästelungen.

Es entstand eine Landschaft aus Flussarmen und Inseln, die ständig im Wandel war. Noch vor 200 Jahren lagen etwa 2000 Inseln im Strom zwischen Basel und Karlsruhe. Fortwährend änderte der Rhein seinen Lauf. Nach jedem Hochwasser verschwanden Inseln und bildeten sich neue. Eine exakte Kartenaufnahme und Grenzziehung war deshalb nicht möglich. […]

Gravierender jedoch war die andauernde Gefahr durch das Wasser. Dörfer wurden regelmäßig überspült und in tief gelegenen Gebieten standen die Wassermassen noch Monate später. Sümpfe bildeten sich und Seuchen wie Malaria oder Sumpffieber suchten die Menschen heim. […] Ein Chronist des 19. Jahrhunderts schrieb über den Fluss, er sei „der schreckliche Feind, der nicht nachlässt zu toben, bis er nicht Land und Leute verdorben hat“. […]

[In the Upper Rhine region, the Rhine flows through a large plain. It has a low gradient in this plain, so that its flow velocity decreases. [...] Since the Rhine flowed very slowly in the Upper Rhine plain, sediments were constantly deposited there over the last millennia. With these sediments, the river continuously filled up its own bed and had to move elsewhere. Therefore, there were constant changes in the course of the river and stream bifurcations.

The result was a landscape of river arms and islands that was constantly changing. Only 200 years ago, there were about 2000 islands in the river between Basel and Karlsruhe. The Rhine constantly changed its course. After each flood, islands disappeared and new ones were formed. Therefore, an exact map and demarcation was not possible. [...]

More serious, however, was the constant danger posed by the water. Villages were regularly washed over and in low-lying areas the water masses were still standing months later. Swamps formed and epidemics such as malaria or swamp fever afflicted the people. [...] A chronicler of the 19th century wrote about the river that it was "the terrible enemy that does not cease to rage until it has not spoiled land and people." [...]]
So the Rhine itself was already a danger to the people. But was it a special danger between Burgheim and Rheinfelden?

To clarify this, I tried already some week ago to follow the Rhine from Burgheim to Rheinfelden with high resolution on google maps and found just before Basel the so-called “Isteiner Schwellen” (“Istein treshholds”):

Die Isteiner Schwellen sind Stromschnellen im Oberrhein am Rheinkilometer 177 bei der südbadischen Ortschaft Istein, die zur Gemeinde Efringen-Kirchen gehören. Sie liegen parallel zu dem 1928 gebauten Rheinseitenkanal und wurden bis zu diesem Zeitpunkt als Wasserstraße für die Schifffahrt von Basel Richtung Norden genutzt.

Aufgrund der Rheinbegradigung durch Johann Gottfried Tulla im 19. Jahrhundert wurde dieser Abschnitt schiffbar gemacht. […]
Allerdings stellte dieser Bereich des Rheines aufgrund der vielen Felsblöcke und einem Gefälle ein großes Hindernis für die Schifffahrt dar. Unter anderem auch aus diesem Grund wurde ab 1928 der Rheinseitenkanal (französisch: Grand Canal d'Alsace) von Weil am Rhein bei Märkt bis nach Breisach gebaut.

[The Isteiner Schwellen are rapids in the Upper Rhine at Rhine kilometer 177 near the South Baden village of Istein, which belong to the municipality of Efringen-Kirchen. They lie parallel to the Rhine side canal built in 1928 and were used until that time as a waterway for shipping from Basel to the north. […]

Due to the straightening of the Rhine by Johann Gottfried Tulla in the 19th century, this section was made navigable.

However, this section of the Rhine was a great obstacle to navigation due to the many boulders and a slope. Partly for this reason, the Rhine side canal (French: Grand Canal d'Alsace) was built from Weil am Rhein near Märkt to Breisach starting in 1928.]
Note that the Isteiner Schwellen are “rapids”, hence dangerous. They were used in 1377 “for shipping from Basel to the north”. However, the ships also have to come to Basel, so the ships have get over the rapids of the Isteiner Schwellen in the other direction from Burgheim to Rheinfelden, which was certainly also dangerous, especially when ships are also coming northbound.

That the Isteiner Schwellen were dangerous for shipping in medieval times is confirmed in ... n-im-rhein
So lange ist es noch gar nicht her, als die Stromschnellen noch ein gefährliches Hindernis für die Schifffahrt auf dem Rhein zwischen Basel und Breisach darstellten. Schon im Mittelalter wurden sie von den Schiffern gefürchtet. Und das zurecht, kam es an den Stromschnellen doch immer wieder mal zu Schiffsunglücken. Darunter auch richtig schwere. So zum Beispiel 1646 und 1756, als mehrere Menschen bei Schiffbrüchen ihr Leben verloren.

[It was not so long ago that the rapids were still a dangerous obstacle for shipping on the Rhine between Basel and Breisach. Already in the Middle Ages, they were feared by skippers. And rightly so, as shipping accidents occurred at the rapids from time to time. Some of them were really serious. For example, in 1646 and 1756, when several people lost their lives in shipwrecks.]
A quite actual photograph of the Isteiner Schwellen is given here

Note that the main water body flows nowadays in the Rhine side canal, you have to imagine far more water going over these “Istein threshholds”.

After having found the Isteiner Schwellen and in view of our ongoing discussion in this thread on Rosenfeld, I did a countercheck in the Internet wrt. Rosenfeld – and: we have to give credit to him, he saw it already: In his small article on JvR (Rosenfeld, Hellmut, "Johannes von Rheinfelden" in: Neue Deutsche Biographie 10 (1974), p. 567 [Online-Version]; URL: ... dbcontent ), we find
Die eingebürgerte Benennung nach Rheinfelden war Willkür. J. nennt weder den Beinamen noch das Heimatkloster Freiburg, gibt aber Freiburg ausdrücklich als seinen Geburtsort an und erwähnt die Schiffahrtsschwierigkeiten an den Isteiner Schwellen, Goldwäscherei im Rhein, Goldbergbau bei Freiburg sowie Burkheim am Kaiserstuhl. Rheinfelden wird nur nebenbei bei scherzhafter Umschreibung von Unglaubwürdigkeit genannt.

[The naturalized naming after Rheinfelden was arbitrariness. J. mentions neither the epithet nor the home monastery Freiburg, but explicitly gives Freiburg as his birthplace and mentions the shipping difficulties at the Isteiner Schwellen, gold panning in the Rhine, gold mining near Freiburg as well as Burkheim am Kaiserstuhl. Rheinfelden is only mentioned in passing in a joking paraphrase of incredibility.]
Note that this is a true paragraph à la Rosenfeld which we have to differentiate in good and bad science: on the one hand, he gives important information as “the shipping difficulties at the Isteiner Schwellen, gold panning in the Rhine, gold mining near Freiburg”, on the other hand, he makes again one of his bizarre statements “Rheinfelden is only mentioned in passing in a joking paraphrase of incredibility.” We can be very sure that this is bizarre, since JvR gives –up to our knowledge—no sign of irony or jokes in his whole tractatus, which is written in a very serious tone as we can derive, e.g., from Bond’s translation (1878) or from Jönsson (2005).

So we know that the Isteiner Schwellen are dangerous for shipping. But this is not satisfactory at all, because if only the Isteiner Schwellen were dangerous, why do the passengers need to get out of the boat at Burgheim and get back into the boat at Rheinfelden -- if they could just get out of the boat directly in front of the Isteiner Schwellen and get back into the boat directly after them, see again the map Huck provided and the distance you have to walk on foot?:

Perhaps inspecting the given names yields some information. As for Burgheim, we find in
In diese Zeit fällt vermutlich die Verleihung des Stadtrechts, die jedoch mangels Auffindbarkeit der entsprechenden Urkunde nicht mehr genau datiert werden kann. Sie muss jedoch vor 1348 geschehen sein. Gerechtfertigt wurde dies durch Burkheims Rolle als eine von 44 Zollstätten am Rhein, der dort bereits seit langer Zeit durch die Burg kontrolliert werden konnte.

[The granting of the town charter probably took place at this time, but due to the fact that the corresponding document cannot be found, it cannot be dated exactly. However, it must have happened before 1348. This was justified by Burkheim's role as one of 44 customs sites on the Rhine, which could already be controlled by the castle there for a long time.]
Hence we know that Burkheim was a customs site in 1377 –i.e.: you had to pay taxes there for passing. Same holds true for Basel following ... _Oberrhein
Am Oberrhein lagen ebenfalls diverse Zollstätten wie beispielsweise in Basel,

[There were also various customs sites on the Upper Rhine, such as in Basel,]
And Rheinfelden was also one (at least approximately) following

[click on the AG_ge –button top left]
Kaisten hiess offenbar auch eine Zoll- und Gerichtsstation vor den Toren der Stadt Rheinfelden. Diese Zollstätte, die in der Nähe von Magidunum (Magden) errichtet wurde, erscheint urkundlich erstmals 1297.

[Kaisten was apparently also the name of a customs and court station at the gates of the town of Rheinfelden. This customs site, which was established near Magidunum (Magden), first appears in documents in 1297.]
Thus, we know that all three relevant cities were natural stops at the Rhine as customs sites. Hence it makes sense that you get out at this natural stop in Burkheim and get in the boat again in Rheinfelden. But why not immediately in front and directly after the Istein treshholds?

Let’s have a look at how ships in medieval times were moved in counter-current direction: the following depiction of this action, which is called “Treideln” in German, dates from the 16. Century from the Rhine river:

The boat is towed against the current with long ropes and horses. “Treideln” is defined in
Treideln (von [spät]lat. tragulare); auch Schiffziehen, […] schweizerisch Recken, ist das Ziehen von Schiffen auf Wasserwegen durch Menschen oder Zugtiere

[Treideln (from [late] Latin tragulare); also Schiffziehen [Towing of ships], [...] Swiss Recken, is the pulling of ships on waterways by men or draft animals.]

Note that the word “Treideln” stems from Latin, it is an old action along rivers. Note furthermore that there is a Swiss-German word for it (“Recken”), so we can derive that the action was also undertaken where now we have Switzerland between Basel and Rheinfelden.

Also in , we find
Das Treideln am Rhein ist seit dem 8. Jahrhundert belegt. Am Hochrhein wurde nur auf einzelnen flacheren Strecken getreidelt, da insbesondere zwischen Schaffhausen und Basel verschiedene Streckenabschnitte wie beim Rheinfall […] starke und zum Teil gefährliche Strömungen und Steilufer aufwiesen. […]
Am nördlichen Oberrhein ist das Treideln bei Nieder-Ingelheim ab 1385 nachgewiesen. Der Bau und Unterhalt der Treidelpfade und der Treideldienst waren überörtlich organisiert. Treidelknechte zogen an langen Seilen, die an einem Mast am Vorschiff befestigt waren […], die Schiffe stromaufwärts oder führten ein Zugtier. Die Leinenreiter […] zogen die Seile von Pferden aus. Dafür saß der Reiter immer einseitig auf dem Pferd, um im Notfall schnell abspringen zu können. Treidelknechte und Leinenreiter führten immer ein Beil oder Messer bei sich, um die Treidelseile bei Gefahr kappen zu können. Versorgt wurden Menschen und Tiere in den Treidelstationen. Teilweise wurden die Schiffe auch mit langen Stangen gestakt. Durch die Trägheit des breiten Stromes reichten vielfach sieben bis zehn Mann oder ein Pferd für Ladungen von 10 bis 15 Tonnen. […] An Stellen mit starker Strömung wurden oft mehr als zweihundert Männer zum Treideln eines Lastschiffes benötigt. […] Der Unterhalt der Treidelpfade, die oft nur aus schmalen Knüppeldämmen bestanden, gab oftmals Anlass zu Klagen. An einigen Stellen […] fehlten Treidelpfade ganz und es musste gestakt oder durchs flache Wasser gewatet werden.

[The practice of towing on the Rhine has been documented since the 8th century. On the High Rhine, only on individual shallower stretches was towed, since in particular between Schaffhausen and Basel various stretches, such as at the Rhine Falls [...] had strong and sometimes dangerous currents and steep banks. [...]
On the northern Upper Rhine, towage at Nieder-Ingelheim is documented from 1385. The construction and maintenance of the towpaths and the tow service were organized supra-locally. Treidel servants pulled the ships upstream on long ropes attached to a mast at the forecastle [...] or led a towing animal. The line riders [...] pulled the ropes from horses. For this, the rider always sat on one side of the horse to be able to jump off quickly in case of emergency. Treidel servants and line riders always carried a hatchet or knife to be able to cut the tow ropes in case of danger. People and animals were taken care of in the tow stations. In some cases, the ships were also moved forward with long setting poles / quant poles [see for more details; vh0610]. Due to the inertia of the wide current, seven to ten men or one horse were often sufficient for loads of 10 to 15 tons. [...] In places with strong currents, often more than two hundred men were needed to tow a cargo ship. [...] The maintenance of the towpaths, which often consisted only of narrow billet dams, often gave rise to complaints. In some places [...] towpaths were missing altogether and it was necessary to use setting poles / quant poles or wade through shallow water. ]
We can learn from this that Treideln or towing was a dangerous action (“For this, the rider always sat on one side of the horse to be able to jump off quickly in case of emergency. Treidel servants and line riders always carried a hatchet or knife to be able to cut the tow ropes in case of danger”). This is also confirmed by Tulla (the man who undertook the straightening of the Rhine in the 19th century). He writes in his treatise for the Rhine-straightening action, especially for the distance from Basel to Mannheim (which is far North of Burkheim): ... a)_079.jpg
Die großen Stromkrümmen verlängern den Weg, welchen die Schiffe zurück zu legen haben, verursachen aber auch eine Verminderung der Geschwindigkeit des Stroms und erleichtern dadurch die Fahrt gegen den Strom. Der Vortheil der kleinern Geschwindigkeit des Stroms steht aber nicht in Verhältniß mit den Nachtheil der Vergrößerung des Wegs.
Der Leinpfad oder der Weg längs den Ufern für Menschen und Pferde, welche ein Schiff ziehen, kann wegen des Serpentirens des Thalwegs von einem Ufer gegen das andere, nicht fortlaufend auf einem Ufer gehalten und wegen der Ufer-Abbrüche nicht als ein ordentlicher Weg hergerichtet werden. Er ist daher besonders in Waldungen äußerst unvollkommen.
Durch den unvollkommenen Zustand des Leinpfades, durch das Wechseln desselben von einem Ufer auf das andere; durch die Unterbrechung der Ufer von den Nebenarmen des Rheins; vorzüglich durch die häufige große Entfernung der für die Schiffe und insbesondere große Gut-Schiffe erforderlichen Wassertiefe vom Leinpfad; ferner, durch die starken Krümmen um die vor den ausgehenden Ufern liegenden Kiesbänke und endlich durch die im Strom liegenden Kiesbänke, Sandbänke und Baumstöcke, wird der Schiffszug beschwerlich und öfters äußerst gefährlich.

[The large bends in the current lengthen the distance that the ships have to cover, but also cause a reduction in the speed of the current and thus facilitate the journey against the current. The advantage of the lower speed of the current is not in proportion to the disadvantage of the increase of the distance.
The towpath, or the path along the banks for men and horses pulling a ship, cannot be kept continuous on one bank because of the serpentine nature of the valley path from one bank to the other, and cannot be made into a proper path because of the breaks in the banks. It is therefore extremely imperfect, especially in wooded areas.
Due to the imperfect condition of the towpath, due to its changing from one bank to the other; due to the interruption of the banks by the tributaries of the Rhine; especially due to the frequent great distance from the towpath of the water depth required for ships and especially large cargo ships; furthermore, due to the strong bends around the gravel banks lying in front of the outgoing banks and finally due to the gravel banks, sand banks and tree stumps lying in the stream, the movement of ships becomes burdensome and often extremely dangerous.]
And we have to add: the faster the water flows, the more dangerous the towing gets in view of the inertia of the water. It especially gets dangerous over the Istein threshholds, but this gives no reason for not getting out of the boat directly before and after the Istein threshholds.

To understand why it is more dangerous between Burkheim and Rheinfelden than north of Burkheim, we have to consider geography of this time. For this we look at the first figure of this very post and cite again
In the Upper Rhine region, the Rhine flows through a large plain. It has a low gradient in this plain, so that its flow velocity decreases. [...] Since the Rhine flowed very slowly in the Upper Rhine plain, sediments were constantly deposited there over the last millennia.
Note that “the flow velocity decreases” and that “the Rhine flowed very slowly in the Upper Rhine plain”. In other words, when coming from the North until Burkheim, the Rhine flowed very slowly and towing the ships or even moving them by setting poles was not so dangerous as when towing farther south from Burkheim onwards. This has to do with the so-called Rhine knee in Basel --which was not altered of even alterable by Tulla in the 19. Century--, in which you have high flow velocities

Depiction of 1493
Depiction of 1642

Actual photography
So finally we know, that and why staying in the boat in Burkheim when going south on the Rhine is really dangerous: it is the towing of the boat itself in the presence of high flow velocities – and a look on the geographical map provided by Huck (see above) helps to understand why it makes sense to reenter the boat at Rheinfelden. That the Istein threshholds are located in the mentioned passage of the Rhine even underpins the necessity to get out of the boat at Burkheim in view of even higher danger.

Now we know more, but it does not fully help in any respect to understand JvR better. Let’s inspect his famous passage again and let’s continue with close reading:
And should some persons find some passage in it not easy to understand, but obscure and difficult, let them get out of their boat at Burgheim and enter it again at Rinveld, and proceed, reading this treatise, as before, until they come to the end of it. For the said passage is dangerous to boat passengers, so that many get out and, at the other end, return into the boat, and proceed onwards as before. [Highlighting by vh0610]
JvR parallelizes obviously in this paragraph “some passage” in his treatise and the “said passage” of the Rhine, which is “dangerous”. The danger comes from –as shown above—by the high velocity and the inertia of the water and, in an emphasized sense, by the rapids of the Istein threshholds. Hence, I propose, JvR tells us to see the danger prevalent in his text, a danger which can manifest in accident and even be life threatening. This danger can be seen when interrupting the lecture of the tractatus and by reflection.

But what prevalent danger in the text? Can we read JvR in this sense? Is it the danger pointed out in the present thread by Huck that a passenger had to face from the Basel people when passing by 1377 in Basel after the Evil Carneval in 1376?

My proposition is: no, in view of two reasons: first, some passenger/trader coming from the North having nothing to do with the local tensions is not in danger per se. Second, the official situation was somehow regulated and under control already in summer of 1376, in the sense that Basel had to pay a massive fine to Duke Leopold III of Habsburg and was more or less under his reign:
A riot on 26 February 1376, known as Böse Fasnacht, led to the killing of a number of men of Leopold III, Duke of Austria. This was seen as a serious breach of the peace, and the city council blamed "foreign ruffians" for this and executed twelve alleged perpetrators. Leopold nevertheless had the city placed under imperial ban, and in a treaty of 9 July [1376; vh0610], Basel was given a heavy fine and was placed under Habsburg control.
Hence, the situation was under control in 1377, at least on first sight. As the uprising movement was tamed and contained, I do not see a movement in 1377 with high inertia which could serve as parallelization of danger. So no clue.

[to be continued in next post]

Re: Collection John of Rheinfelden

[continued from previous post]

Thus, we have to return to the text of JvR and continue close reading:
And should some persons find some passage in it not easy to understand, but obscure and difficult, let them get out of their boat at Burgheim and enter it again at Rinveld, and proceed, reading this treatise, as before, until they come to the end of it. For the said passage is dangerous to boat passengers, so that many get out and, at the other end, return into the boat,and proceed onwards as before. [Highlighting by vh0610]
Now the question arises what path is taken by these persons, perhaps this helps to clarify things. Huck proposed, as already depicted by referring to the map he provided, that the passengers took the direct land route from Burkheim to Rheinfelden, which is shorter than going along the the Rhine.

However, I propose that they did go along the Rhine, since most of them were traders with their goods on the ships, which they certainly did not want to leave alone in medieval times – and it made no sense arriving earlier in Rheinfelden than the ship they wanted to get back into. Hence they went with the line riders on the towpaths. We did already read in ... a)_079.jpg
Der Leinpfad oder der Weg längs den Ufern für Menschen und Pferde, welche ein Schiff ziehen […]

[The towpath, or the path along the banks for men and horses pulling a ship, […]]
The named towpath ( tells us, that there is a path alongside the river for the action of towing. The German Wikipedia tells us that
Als Leinpfad oder […] Reckweg (Schweiz) wird ein Weg unmittelbar am Ufer von Flüssen oder Kanälen bezeichnet, der angelegt wurde, damit Menschen, Zugtiere oder Lokomotiven Frachtschiffe flussaufwärts ziehen konnten. […]
Der Leinpfad am Rhein von Basel bis in die Niederlande ist fast vollständig erhalten.

[Towpath or [...] Reckweg (Switzerland) is the name given to a path directly on the banks of rivers or canals that was created so that people, draft animals or locomotives could pull cargo ships upstream. [...]
The towpath on the Rhine from Basel to the Netherlands is almost completely preserved.]
Note that we learn by this that a towpath existed from Burgheim to Basel and by the Swiss name “Reckweg” we induce that also one existed until Rheinfelden. Hence there was a towpath to be taken by passengers from Burgheim to Rheinfelden alongside the river Rhine.

Let’s us do what JvR proposes for understanding his treatise and we follow this towpath alongside the Rhine (by inspecting google maps, for instance). We start at Burgheim, we pass the Istein threshholds, we come to Basel. Does this help?

No, hence I stop in Basel –as I did many times visiting the city-- because I still have no clue.

By the way, Basel is really a beautiful city, I had a friend in Basel which I visited quite often, nice place to see, especially the medieval structure. I remember him fetching me at the Badische Bahnhof, which is the train station – and I remember when being in the train, that I was always a little bit astounded that just before coming to Basel, the train being close to the River had to pass close by something like a mountain or better a limestone cliff –which is quite yellowish-white, this is why it is still in my eyes--, the passage between the cliff on one side and the mountains on the other side of the River was really narrow, which was always a little bit unexpected for me: coming from the quite large Upper Rhine valley and then having to pass that narrow passage just before Basel. This passage must be close to Istein, you can see this on this topographical map [Zoom one click out, then you see the passage better]

I realize that I am writing “passage” as JvR does. Let us follow this trace.

From the topographical map, I see that the narrow passage is close to Istein. Perhaps it is related to the Istein threshholds, let us visit the Wikipedia site again :
Die „Schwellen“ sind das letzte Überbleibsel eines Jura-Massivs (Isteiner Klotz), das ursprünglich dem Rhein den Weg in Richtung Norden versperrte.

[The "thresholds" are the last remnant of a Jurassic massif (Isteiner Klotz), which originally blocked the way of the Rhine to the north.]
Note that the Istein Jurassic massif “originally blocked the way of the Rhine to the north.” In other words, the Istein massif, called Isteiner Klotz (“Istein block”), was one of the largest dams imaginable, holding back the water towards the north (and letting the Rhine flow to the West until he met with the now French Rhone].

And then, one day in very former geological times: the breakthrough, the dam breach, which a passenger following the towpath can realize with his own eyes (see also again the topographical map by the link just given above – this is no hypothesis, this is evidence: even nowadays you can see this formation, you just have to go there and see with your own eyes):

Der Isteiner Klotz ist ein markanter Bergrücken im Landkreis Lörrach im Südwesten Deutschlands. Der Isteiner Klotz ist ein Vorgebirge zwischen den Dörfern Istein und Kleinkems, das sich etwa 150 Meter über die Rheinauen erhebt.
Am westlichen Ende bei Istein bildet der Rücken ein steiles Kliff.

[The Isteiner Klotz is a prominent mountain ridge in the district of Lörrach in southwestern Germany. The Isteiner Klotz is a promontory between the villages of Istein and Kleinkems that rises about 150 meters above the Rhine floodplains.

At the western end near Istein, the ridge forms a steep cliff.]

See the hollow moulding formed by the Rhine –as every passenger could see in 1377-- after the dam breach in the following photograph

This is a breakthrough on several levels: first of all a geological breakthrough, and second a breakthrough on the semantic level which we can use for our scientific reasoning: Hence, we can formulate a new hypothesis:

JvR as a Christian monk from the order of the preachers saw the danger he wanted to point at with his treatise that the re-established order in Basel under the Habsburg command in 1377 was like being hold back by a dam being very unstable and prone to be broken through. The whole treatise is written in order to appease the situation and to restabilise the ordered world of medieval times.

This hypothesis serves in the following as a new perspective for a relecture of JvR – and we will support this new perspective by many signs given in the treatise of JvR.

First of all, if the hypothesis can hold, we have to ask ourselves why JvR does not mention Basel but goes until Rheinfelden, this little tiny unimportant village only few kilometers away from Basel.

Answer is: because Rheinfelden was not at all the tiny little unimportant village in the 13th and 14th century. It was the center of the German kingdom [and potentially: the Empire, since the German Habsburg king was waiting for being crowned as Emperor by the Pope], since it hosted the castle Burg Stein in which the German Habsburg king lived:


Die Burg Stein war mehrere Jahrzehnte Hauptwohnsitz der Habsburger und Aufbewahrungsort der Reichskleinodien, 1283 erliess Rudolf I. dort die Rheinfelder Hausordnung. 1330 geriet auch die Stadt in den habsburgischen Herrschaftsbereich, als Kaiser Ludwig IV. aus dem Hause Wittelsbach sie an Herzog Otto den Fröhlichen verpfändete.
Die Verwaltung der Stadt [Rheinfelden; vh0610] lag zunächst in den Händen von Ministerialen. 1331 wurden drei Zünfte zugelassen (später als Zunft zum Bock, Kaufleutenzunft und Zunft zum Gilgenberg bezeichnet).[29] Sie verdrängten die Adligen allmählich aus den Führungsgremien und wählten ab Mitte des 15. Jahrhunderts alle Ratsmitglieder selbst.

[Stein Castle was for several decades the main residence of the Habsburgs and the repository of the imperial regalia; in 1283 Rudolf I issued the Rheinfeld House Rules there. In 1330, the town also came under Habsburg rule when Emperor Louis IV of the House of Wittelsbach pledged it to Duke Otto the Happy.
The administration of the town [Rheinfelden; vh0610] was initially in the hands of ministerials. In 1331, three guilds were admitted (later called the Zunft zum Bock, Kaufleutenzunft and Zunft zum Gilgenberg). They gradually ousted the nobles from the governing bodies and elected all council members themselves from the middle of the 15th century. ]

Note that the castle Burg Stein was built on top of an island within the river Rhine and was considered as being untakeable (see for more details).

Note that the „Reichkleinodien“ are the imperial and royal treasure, for which an untakeable castle is a good place to be:
Die Reichskleinodien (auch: Reichsinsignien oder Reichsschatz) sind die Herrschaftsinsignien der Kaiser und Könige des Heiligen Römischen Reiches. Dazu gehören als wichtigstes Teil die Reichskrone, die Heilige Lanze und das Reichsschwert.

[The imperial regalia (also: imperial insignia or imperial treasure) are the insignia of rule of the emperors and kings of the Holy Roman Empire. The most important parts are the Imperial Crown, the Holy Lance and the Imperial Sword.]

Note furthermore that w.r.t. power, Rheinfelden could serve –also in 1377 and later—as a model for the peaceful transition in collaboration of nobles and commons: “The administration of the town [Rheinfelden; vh0610] was initially in the hands of ministerials. In 1331, three guilds were admitted […]). They gradually ousted the nobles from the governing bodies and elected all council members themselves from the middle of the 15th century.”
In this light, note that ministerials are defined as following
The ministeriales (singular: ministerialis) were a class of people raised up from serfdom and placed in positions of power and responsibility in the High Middle Ages in the Holy Roman Empire.

The word and its German translations, Ministeriale(n) and Dienstmann, came to describe those unfree nobles who made up a large majority of what could be described as the German knighthood during that time. What began as an irregular arrangement of workers with a wide variety of duties and restrictions rose in status and wealth to become the power brokers of an empire.
Note that this is a possible reason for the fact that JvR changes in Part II the order of the nobles in comparison to de Cessolis [citing from my previous post on this in the present thread], see Rosenfeld, Verfasser-Datenbank (De Gruyter, 2012)
Im 2. Teil (38r-116v) will J. die Moral der Vornehmen stärken. Er hält sich dabei (mit kleiner Änderung der Reihenfolge) genau an die 5 Kapitel der Schachallegorie, indem er König, Königin, Principalis princeps, Principales und Principales miliciae behandelt.

[In the 2nd part (38r-116v) J. wants to strengthen the moral of the nobles. Thereby, he follows (with a slight change of the sequence) exactly the 5 chapters of the chess allegory, by dealing with king, queen, principalis princeps, principales and principales miliciae.]
This analysis of Rosenfeld is confirmed by the structure and titles of chapters within the respective parts Jönsson reports for the JvR-tractatus, see Jönsson (2005), pp. 364-365.

This yields a basis for the invention/extension of JvR’s-tractatus: De Cessolis gives the form and content, as well for Part 2 and also Part 3:

The English translation on ... _away=true

confirms this for the second part [of de Cessolis; vh0610]
The second part of The Book of Chess begins here. It concerns the form of the noble pieces, describing each of the thirteen figures. It is divided into five chapters. The first tells about the form of the king, his character and matters that pertain to him; the second, about the form and character of the queen; the third, the form and character of the elders; the fourth, the character and duties of the knights; and the fifth, the character and duties of the rooks.
Thus, JvR places the military knights at the end of the hierarchy of nobles in contrast to de Cessolis – since for him the peaceful living together has higher priority than war action.

In this light, JvR not only mentions Rheinfelden for the Burg Stein as the center of the Habsburg dynasty (The grandfather of Duke Leopold III is even born in the castle Stein in Rheinfelden, see ), but also for a model of how nobility and commons can peacefully live together.

However, the danger which prevails in 1377 is in the tension between Rheinfelden (Habsburg nobility) and Basel (commons). JvR sees this tension, perhaps due to the organizational attachment of his Freiburg abbey to the Basel mother abbey, and wants to warn massively of the possible dam breach, which is then uncontrollable as the River Rhein flowing through the Istein breach.

The dam breach he thinks about is nothing else than the destruction of the medieval order of society, which guarantees stability – and change was not connoted positively, see Jönsson (1998), p.143
Wechselhaftigkeit und Veränderung hatten damals einen sehr negativen Beigeschmack, da sie an die Unvollkommenheit und Lasterhaftigkeit der Welt erinnern.

[Changeability and change had a very negative connotation at the time, as they reminded of the imperfection and depravity of the world.]
The medieval order guaranteeing stability --and due to the Evil Caneval of 1376 in danger in 1377-- was the so-called Estates of the Realm, the Ständeordnung


• Der Erste Stand umfasste die Gruppe aller Geistlichen, das heißt Angehörige der hohen Geistlichkeit wie auch des niederen Klerus (Lehrstand).
• Der Zweite Stand bestand aus Mitgliedern des Adels, sei es aus dem Hochadel, dem niederen Adel oder auch aus dem oft verarmten Landadel (Wehrstand).
• Der Dritte Stand umfasste nominell alle freien Bauern, später auch die freien Bürger (Nährstand).
Das ständische System galt den Menschen des Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit als feste, von Gott gegebene Ordnung, in der jeder seinen unveränderlichen Platz hatte. Für den Adel und den dritten Stand galt, dass jeder zunächst den Stand seines Vaters übernahm. […] Das ständische System ist ein statisches Gesellschaftsmodell. In der mittelalterlichen Theorie waren den drei Hauptständen bestimmte Aufgaben zugewiesen. Der erste Stand hatte für das Seelenheil zu sorgen, der zweite Stand sollte Klerus und Volk gegen Feinde verteidigen, Aufgabe des dritten Standes war die Arbeit.

[- The First Estate comprised the group of all clergy, i.e. members of the high clergy as well as the lower clergy (teaching estate).
- The Second Estate consisted of members of the nobility, whether from the high nobility, the lower nobility, or even the often impoverished landed gentry (defending estate).
- The Third Estate nominally comprised all free peasants, later also the free citizens (nourishing estate).
The system of estates was regarded by the people of the Middle Ages and early modern times as a fixed, God-given order in which everyone had his unchangeable place. For the nobility and the third estate it was valid that everyone first took over the estate of his father. [...] The system of estates is a static model of society. In the medieval theory, the three main estates were assigned certain tasks. The first estate had to take care of the salvation of souls, the second estate was to defend the clergy and the people against enemies, the task of the third estate was work.]
So the Estates of the Realm secured the God-wanted stability of the world. And the Evil Carneval 1377 in Basel –and we cannot thank Huck enough for this hint of the Evil Carneval, thanks again!-- attacked exactly this God-wanted stability, see
Unter ihren Bannern kehrten die Bürger bewaffnet auf den Münsterplatz zurück, um gewaltsam gegen Leopold und seine Ritterschaft vorzugehen.
Herzog Leopold konnte sich durch eine entehrende Flucht über den Rhein retten. […]
Der Tumult endete mit mehreren Toten und der vorübergehenden Gefangennahme einiger Adliger. Der Ausgang der Ausschreitungen war für Herzog Leopold und seine Gesellschaft eine tiefe Verletzung des Standesbewusstseins.
Auch war dem Adel die Tatsache beunruhigend, dass das Volk sich mit Waffen gegen ihn gewandt hatte. Es erinnerte wohl beängstigend an Volkserhebungen, wie die blutige Jacquerie im Jahr 1358 in Frankreich.

[Under their banners, the citizens returned armed to Münsterplatz to take violent action against Leopold and his knighthood.
Duke Leopold was able to save himself by a dishonorable flight across the Rhine. [...]
The tumult ended with several deaths and the temporary capture of some nobles. The outcome of the riots was for Duke Leopold and his company a deep emotional injury to their consciousness of belonging to the higher estate of the realm.
The nobility was also disturbed by the fact that the common people had turned on him with arms. It was probably frighteningly reminiscent of popular uprisings, such as the bloody Jacquerie in 1358 in France.]
Note that the “bloody Jacquerie in 1358” was leading to pure chaos, see
Anlass des Aufstandes waren die Verwüstungen, die Karl der Böse von Navarra in der Gegend um Paris anrichtete und die den Bauernstand besonders hart trafen. Im Februar 1358 erhoben sich die Pariser Gewerke unter dem Prévôt des marchands Étienne Marcel gegen den Adel. Die Erfolge dieses Aufstands ermutigten die Bauern, sich ebenfalls gegen ihre Peiniger zu erheben, die sie aufs Härteste bedrückten und unter anderem kostenlose Reparatur ihrer von den Engländern verwüsteten Besitzungen durch die Bauern verlangten. Am 21. Mai 1358 begann der Aufstand in Compiègne und griff auf den Nordosten Frankreichs über. Die Aufständischen legten dabei hunderte von Schlössern in Schutt und Asche, ermordeten Edelleute und begingen zahlreiche Gräueltaten.
Schließlich einigten sich die Ritter aller Parteien, und es gelang ihnen, am 10. Juni 1358 die Bewegung zu ersticken. Dabei nahmen sie an den Rebellen furchtbare Rache. Infolgedessen blieb die Gegend nordöstlich von Paris auf viele Jahrzehnte völlig verwüstet, und auch der Adel lebte noch Jahrhunderte später in Angst vor einer Wiederholung dieser Ereignisse.

[The uprising was prompted by the devastation wrought by Charles the Wicked of Navarre in the area around Paris, which hit the peasantry particularly hard. In February 1358, the Parisian tradesmen under the Prévôt des marchands Étienne Marcel rose up against the nobility. The successes of this revolt encouraged the peasants to rise up as well against their tormentors, who oppressed them most severely and demanded, among other things, free repair by the peasants of their estates devastated by the English. On May 21, 1358, the uprising began in Compiègne and spread to northeastern France. In the process, the insurgents reduced hundreds of castles to rubble, murdered nobles, and committed numerous atrocities.
Finally, the knights of all parties came to an agreement and succeeded in quelling the movement on June 10, 1358. In the process, they took terrible revenge on the rebels. As a result, the area northeast of Paris remained completely devastated for many decades, and even the nobility lived in fear of a repetition of these events for centuries to come. ]
Moreover --thanks again Huck, we owe again this hint to you!-- we have to add now in the South the Massacres of Faenza and Cesena, in February 1376 and 1377 respectively, which were also uprisings from common people, see ... ticle.pdf

Hence, in 1377, the order of the world was at stake, the dam should not break endangering the world falling into chaos (to the opponent of God, the Devil, which comes from Greek “diabolein”, throwing everything into chaos).

We should now reread the title of JvR’s treatise, see Jönsson (2005), p.361:
De moribus et disciplina humane conversacionis (“on the morals and discipline of human life”)
Note that the JvR’s title is about “Morals and discipline”! Morals and Discipline are needed to prevent the breach of the order of the world.

And that he addresses this subject is clear when rereading the second and third aim of the treatise of JvR, see Jönsson (2005), p.361
2. to draw conclusions as regards morals or teach noblemen how to live in a morally acceptable way […]
3. to teach the common people how to live virtuously
[Highlighting by vh0610]
JvR belonged to the first Estate which should teach --hence he confirms the Estates of the realm by action-- and which was not involved in the dangerous tension between the second (nobility, Habsburg dynasty, Rheinfelden) and the third Estate (commons, Basel), this is why he did not include in his treatise any description of the first Estate, see Rosenfeld (2012)
Die geistlichen Stände läßt er aus.

[He omits the first Estate of the clergy]
And as a preacher-teacher he tries as best as he can to protect the God-given order and to prevent the dam breach of the Estates of the Realm between Nobility (Habsburg dynasty; Rheinfelden) and Commons (Basel) using the cards as allegory. This is why he starts his treatise, in the introduction (Bond 1878)
[JvR; vh0610] prefaces this statement [that he writes in 1377; vh0610] by an argument that terrestrial beings are, in the sphere of their actions and passions, subject to super-celestial influences
Note that by this, he takes out the question of culpability of the conflict. It is “super-celestial influences” which brought this situation of the Evil Carneval (as well as the earthquakes and the plague described later by JvR, see again Bond (1878)).

JvR then proceeds (Bond, 1878)
Hence it is a certain game, called the game of cards [ludus cartarum], has come to us in this year, viz. the year of the Lord M.CCC.LXXVIJ. In which game the state of the world as it now is is excellently described and figured. […] But this I say that it is of advantage to noblemen and other persons of leisure that they may do no worse
Note that the cards are there for “noblemen and other persons of leisure that they may do no worse”! And “worse” is: to fight each other in leisure time as a tournament in Carneval in 1376 – and, by this, to harm the order of the world. Furthermore: fighting each other does not bring the ultimate victory to one party, see Jönsson (1998), p.141
So vergleicht er [JvR; vh0610] das Kartenspiel in verschiedenen Zusammenhängen als ein Krieg zwischen mehreren Parteien […] An einem anderen Ort weist Johannes darauf hin, dass einige Karten Edelleute vorstellen, andere aber Gewöhnliche, und ihre Begegnung in der Schlacht verläuft so, dass manchmal die Edelleute, manchmal die Gewöhnlichen in der Schlacht den Sieg und den Triumph davontragen.

[Thus, in various contexts, he [JvR; vh0610] compares the card game as a war between several parties [...] In another place, John points out that some cards represent nobles, but others represent commoners, and their encounter in battle proceeds in such a way that sometimes the nobles, sometimes the commoners, win the victory and triumph in battle.]
Hence, JvR says implicitely that it makes no sense to fight each other all the time, there will be no ultimate victory, this is what the game of cards tells us. It is better to keep the peaceful order of the world and not to go into this chaos of the ongoing battle. And for keeping the order we need structure and discipline.

So the cards are there to give order in its structure (Part I of the treatise) and by playing to prevent all human beings from doing bad things in their leisure time (Part II for noblemen and Part III of the treatise for commons) – and to understand: that for the God-wanted order of the world, they need each other.

In this light, we understand why Bond (1878) realizes
Unfortunately the holy friar [JvR; vh0610] is so fascinated with his view of the moralization of the game that in the remainder of his work he omits to describe the various methods of playing it.
And we understand why Bond reports that in Part I, fifth chapter:
[JvR; vh0610] refers to the English wars in France, and to the French people having succeeded in eventually supporting their own sovereign
The reason is that JvR builds a model of the third Estate helping the second Estate – in contrast to the Evil Carneval in Basel in 1376.

We know in our days that JvR was right seeing the potential of a danger of the dam breach after the Evil Carneval in Basel in 1376, since the battle of Sempach followed in 1386 and the conflicts and the uprisings of the commons did not really come to rest in the following years, close to Basel, and all over Europe. [I will discuss this in a following post in the next days, this post is already more than long enough.]

The final hypothesis of today deals with the statements of JvR (Bond 1878)
[…] revolving in my mind one way and another the present state of the world, suddenly occurred to me the game of cards, and I began to think how it might be closely likened to the state of the world. And it seemed to me very possible, and that it had a likeness with the world.
What makes the game of the cards having “a likeness with the world”?

Note that he says “revolving” [in his mind] as you turn a card around, note furthermore that he says “suddenly” [occurred to him] as seeing the sudden outcome of turning a card around.

For this, we have to understand what the novelty of the game of cards is --in contrast to the established chess or dices-- for JvR which makes it “like the world”:

The novelty of the game of cards in the gameplay is --in contrast to chess or dices-- the introduction of the manifested secret, of the materialized hidden in view of the cards having two sides, of which one is only seen by the card holder. This materialized hidden can suddenly revolve and shows its effect in the world – as a dam breach as in the Evil Carneval in Basel in 1376 – or as the dam breach of the River Rhine not far from Basel in very former times.

I propose that we should realize JvR’s mastership in using the then new game of cards as a description of the state of the world in several senses (as described above), using it for moralization and discipline for trying to prevent a further dam breach of peace and of the God-given order of world – and constructing such a well-fitting and complex metaphor for the situation by proposing people to walk from Burgheim, passing the Istein dam breach, passing Basel with its angry commons and reaching the very ambitious Habsburgian home castle in Rheinfelden. Thereby he is a so fine teacher, that he does not address the Evil Carneval directly --since mentioning this would reinforce the structure, i.e. the breach between nobility and commons—; he knows that he has to show his subject indirectly futurebound.

This mastership is even higher if one considers the hypothesis raised in this very thread that the first version of JvR contained only the first five chapters, hence JvR wrote everything from scratch. Let us recapitulate the titles of the first five chapters in order to support this hypothesis, using the translation by Michael Howard (the sixth chapter is then on numerology of the number 60 and stands out of the rest)
C. 3r: (Prima pars huius tractatus erit de materia ludi in se.) Et in capitulo primo erit mencio de materia ludi et de diversitate instrumentorum.
[(The first part of this treatise will be of the matter of the game in itself.) In chapter one will be stated the matter of the game and the diversity of instruments.]
C. 7v: In secundo capitulo declarabitur quod in ludo isto connotantur actus morum virtutum et viciorum.
[In the second chapter will be set forth that in this game there is a moral action of virtues and vices.]
C. l0r: In tertio capitulo declarabitur quod ludus iste valeat pro allevacione et requie laboratorum.
[In the third chapter it will be suggested that it is of service for relief and rest to labor.]
C. 12r: In quarto capitulo demonstrabitur quod ludus iste hominibus ociosis est utilis et quod valeat pro solacio eorum.
[In the fourth chapter it will be shown that it is useful for idle persons, and may be a comfort to them.]
C. 16r: In quinto capitulo ludus iste comparabitur statui mundi currentis quo ad actus nature simul et morum.
[In the fifth will be treated the state of the world, as it is, in respect to morals.]
This makes JvR not at all the “smallest preacher of his order”, but for cards a genius on a par with de Cessolis for chess. This is why his work was copied quite many times: because he wrote the book on stabilizing the instability of the order of the world in the transition time between medieval times and the upcoming Renaissance.

And if we consider –as shown above-- that he used the city of Rheinfelden as the model of how nobility and commons could peacefully live together, that is, in an ordered world in which he wanted to live in, then this genius bears in a certain sense rightfully the name given to him much later:
Johannes von Rheinfelden.

[Thanks for reading.]