Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Criminal Museum of Rothenburg pt. 1

This museum completely engaged me. The Criminal Museum is composed of 4 floors that showcases a range of items from the medieval period. Shame masks, torture devises, documents of everyday life, customary dress, etc are on display.

Here is the dunking stool on display on the side of the building. This was used to punish bakers whose bread was too lite or not up to standards. Dishonest bakers were dipped into the well found in the market place (the same well shown in my previous post).

You very well can't pass a pillory on display without posing your loved ones for a picture!! I always thought these were called "stocks,"but research has taught me otherwise. Stocks differ b/c the feet are locked in the wooden part and the criminal is in a seated postion. The stocks are also a lesser punishment. Generally, when a criminal is put in a pillory, he is on display in marketplaces or crossroads to show his guilt for a petty crime. There is generally a card displaying the card and the criminal is on display for a few hours. The pillory is more dangerous than the stocks too, as it leaves the person standing and exposed. He cannot protect himself from flying objects, like rotten fruits/vegetables, stones, etc. While in the pillory, the criminal can also be subjected to further sentencing like shaving of all the hair (humiliation), or regular corporal punishment like flagellation, birching, caning, or permanent mutilation from branding or having an ear cut off.

Some of the torture devices:

Torture was used during the Middle Ages for three reasons:

1) To Force confessions or secret information from those accused

2) To discorage dessent and intellectual freedom

3) To Persuade Jews, Muslims, and other non-believers to accept Christianity

The painting of the cut off hand serves as a warning. It is the penalty for false witness and perjury. The picture above, as well as the illustration, shows an iron tie. It is used for simulaneously bonding the neck, hand, and ankles. The subject had to stay in this postion for a specified period of time.

Originally used as a bondage device in order to transport prisoners between two buildings, this device also caused painful cramping - most often in the abdomen and rectum. The neck was placed inside the hoop, the hands placed through the smaller loops, and the legs stuck between the bars with the feet locked into the bottom stirrups. This placed the prisoner into a painful foetal position with the knees and hands drawn up to the chin. Any kind of significant movement was painfully impossible.
Variations existed which allowed the torturer to slowly compress the distance between the knees and chin. This resulted in broken bones throughout the ribcage and spine.

This is a drawing of an example of water torture. During this type of torture, the victim's nose was pinched and a fluid was forced down his throat. Sometimes holy water was used...sometimes it was vinegar, urine, or a combination of diarrhea and urine were used.

I believe this is a device used for what is called "squassation." The victim's hands are bound and then he is hung from this. Weights are added to his feet, ranging from 50 to 500 lbs. Obviously, the greater the weight, the more bones would be dislocated.

The criminal had to wear these Iron Shoes while walking through town. The attached bells would notify the townsfolk of who was coming and it added disdainfullness and embarassment to the criminal.
An example of a neck violin, which is sort of a portable pillory. It's used as an instrument of humiliation for women and girls. The large hole is designated for the neck and the smaller ones for the hands. In this way the person could be easily directed and pulled along. Some examples were chained together near the 'neck' of the violin (near the farthest hand), and shown below, one long 'standing pillory' of two fiddles joined neck to neck by a solid piece of wood.

Click on the photo to read the explanation of a Double Neck Violin.

The "Boots" consisted of wedges that fitted the legs from ankles to knees. The torturer used a large, heavy hammer to pound the wedges, driving them closer together. At each strike, the inquisitor repeated the question. The wedges lacerated flesh and crushed bone, sometimes so thoroughly that marrow gushed out and the legs were rendered useless.
This is the Chair of Spikes. Majority of the time, it was used more as a warning. When it was used, the victim was placed in the chair and weights were applied, forcing the spikes into his body.
You can click on the photo above to read an explanation about the Iron Maiden.

Below are some photos of a doll display, portraying scenes from the Medieval period and how the tortures/humilations were carried out.

The Rack was a very simple and popular means of extricating confession. The victim was tied across a board by his ankles and wrists. Rollers at either end of the board were turned, pulling the body in opposite directions until dislocation of every joint occurred

Example of the baker's cage being dunked into water.

Example of a "Barrel Pillory." This was a kind of pillory that was used mostly on those disposed to drink. The barrel fit over the entire body, with the head sticking out from the hole in the top. There were two kinds - the enclosed barrel which forced the victim to kneel in his or her own filth, or the open barrel which allowed the victim to roam about town, open to ridicule and scorn.

Humiliation wasn't reserved for adults. School children were subject to strict rules regarding proper behavior. Here a school child is forced to wear donkey ears, publicly humilating him for acting silly in class. The dunce cap was also used in this era, as well as making a child stand in the corner for inappropriate behaviour.
An executioner's mask.
Chastity Belts:
The use of a chasity belt was not to inflict pain, but more of a protective barrier that wives wore while their husbands were gone for extended periods of time. Some belts are made of metal, so they cannot be worn for extended periods of time. There were two forms of the belt - the 'partial pudenda' which surrounded only the vagina with outwardly pointing teeth (sometimes spring-loaded), and the 'full pudenda' (the one pictured), which prevented both front and rear entry.
I believe this is a traditional wedding headpiece.

Click the photo above this one to see the explanation of the Tally Stick. If this was implemented today, I know a bunch of people who would be in trouble financially!!!
Pt. 2 Shame Masks coming soon!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

:( My Poor Baby!!!

Sebastian is the epitomy of "rough and tumble boy." Now he has the wound to prove it:

This laceration is totally reminiscent of Anberlin's accident about a year and a half ago. He was running in the house (just like Anberlin) and tripped and caught the corner of the wall. Luckily the clinic is just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Anberlin was still in pj's (I already had Sebastian dressed for the day) so Josh ran to the clinic with him while I got Anberlin dressed and I threw some shoes on.
My tough guy got ONE stitch with NO pain meds. They wrapped him in a blanket and then put him on this board and strapped him down even more. After he got his stitch, I got really lightheaded and had to sit down. What a wuss. He took it like a champ...I mean, he screamed of course. "Mommy!!" "Daddy!!" "Choo! Choo!" LOL.
And well you'd think he'd have some hesitation about rough housing, but I swear, I can't get him to NOT run for anything. In fact, just as I typed this message, he came high tailing through the living room. Geeze.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My Birthday Field Trip

It's fall!! Since I'm from south Texas, I have never really had the opportunity to really experience autumn. It's so gorgeous. The crisp air, the warm colors springing up puts me in such a good mood!

Saturday was my 26th birthday (ugh, 26, I know) and originally, we were going to a nearby town of Bad Windsheim. We changed our mind at the last minute and decided to go back to Rothenburg. There were a bunch of places I wanted to go to that we missed the first time we went.

Here's Josh looking at my "German for Travelers" book I purchased at half price books in the states before we left. It's a bit old but it was only like 75 cents! He was looking at the restaurant section, trying to find dishes that sounded good. He asked me how I would pronounce the "what would you recommend" phrase, and I horribly attempted it. We ended up in a fit of giggles. The german language is by no means easy! There are alot of words that roughly resemble some english words, so that helps.

Rothenburg is extremely interesting. I snapped a bunch of photos and as soon as we got home, I looked up what it all was. Above is a map of the city. A wall surrounds the city (approximately 3.5 kiliometers or 1.86 miles). It has a covered walkway on majority of the wall, which you can sort of make out in the photo below. This is the North wall of the city and this particular photo is of the GalgenTor (Gallows Gate). In medieval times, executions took place just outside this gate, in front of the tower.

All of the streets are cobblestone and every so often you hear the "clop clop clop" of horse drawn carriages taking tourists around the town.

It's rare to see just a plain building, whether it be a home or a store. You almost always find the building facade decorated with plants and flowers. Even when you don't see that, there is some architectual or ornamental details like the door below.

This time around, we actually went into the Rathaus, or Town Hall. We climbed up the 65 meter tower(about 213 feet high)...with the kids. I don't know what we were thinking!! At first, it wasn't a big deal, but the higher up we got, the narrower the stairs and stairwell got. My thighs were burning by the time we got to the top!! We were so high up, but it was a beautiful view of the mostly pastoral german landscape.
(Obviously, this is not one of my photos. I did not have one that showed the height of the Rathaus tower.)

Here's a bird's eye view of the market square. Note the fountain in the bottom right corner. It is St. George's fountain above Herterichs Well. This well, which is 8 meters deep, is the largest of the 40 wells in the city of Rothenburg. The decorations on the fountain date back to 1608.

Here you can see the clock tower, also known as the City Councilors' Tavern. The main clock on the building shown in the photo above was installed in 1683. The windows on each side of the clock open on the hour and the scene of the Meistertrunk is played. Former mayor Nusch is shown drinking 3 and a quarter liters of Franconian wine from a huge tankard, while General Tilly watches in amazement. According to legend, Nusch saved the town from destruction by performing this feat on October 31, 1631 during the Thirty Years War.
When you first enter the Rathaus, there is this wonderful spiral stairwell. I really like the way this photo came out. It's probably my favorite from the day.

Next blog will feature the Criminal Museum! Lots and lots of interesting information!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Some randomness

1) The other morning, I was just starting to rinse the kids breakfast dishes when I noticed something pecular popping out of the side overflow drain. Of course I had to stop what I was doing to grab my camera. I tried my best to leave it undisturbed. I wanted to see how big it would grow, just for curiosity's sake. That idea went down the drain, as did the plant, because I accidently grazed it while finishing up the dishes.
2) Sebastian has a new phase that Anberlin never went through. He insists on stripping down...even in the most inappropriate places (like the trainstation, as pictured here). When he's not pulling his pants down, he's pulled one arm through his neckhole and it looks like he's wearing a toga.
3) There are so many flowers here. The yards in the town of Illesheim are filled with them...even areas around the street are abundant. Of all these things, I stop to take a picture of this dandelion clock. LOL. I love blowing them to disperse the seeds.