Werner von Orseln 1324-30 ; theme -1377

Added January 2017: The thread was renamed from "Werner von Orseln 1324-30" to "Werner von Orseln 1324-30 ; theme -1377" with the intention to collect threads, where the topics are earlier than the year 1377 (early playing card documents); not included are themes, which don't relate to a very early origin of playing cards.
I intend to collect these threads via link at the thread "Collection Playing Cards before 1377 ; theme -1377"


Start original article:

Werner von Orseln 1324-30

I found in "Quellenstudium zur Geschichte des Schachspiels" (1881) by chess expert van der Linde following note:

https://archive.org/details/quellenstud ... p?q=orseln
p. 59
The relevant note is in the last sentence, translated this is: "In 15th century the Hochmeister Werner von Orseln allowed the knights of the Deutschen Orden from Livland and Prussia the game of chess, whereby he at same opportunity prohibited the use cards and dice."
Van der Linde says "15th century", however Werner von Orseln had been Hochmeister from 1324 - 1330. Van der Linde gives no source for his statement.

List of the Hochmeister with Werner von Orseln
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_der_ ... hen_Ordens
1324 - 1330: Werner von Orseln

Life of Werner von Orseln (also Werner von Ursel)

This sounds promising, however, in detail we can read in the Wikipedia article:
In den Jahren des Niedergangs des Ordens erhob der Deutschmeister Eberhard von Saunheim unter Berufung auf die Statuten des Werner von Orseln den Anspruch der Autonomie vom Hochmeister sowie sogar auf eine richterliche Erhöhung des Amtes des Deutschmeisters über den Hochmeister. Der Streit zog sich über zehn Jahre von 1439 bis 1449 hin. Diese Statuten des Werner von Orseln erwiesen sich jedoch als Fälschung.[1 = Dieter Zimmerling: Der Deutsche Ritterorden. S. 281.]
Which translates: "In the years of the downfall of the order the Deutschmeister (Deutschmeister is something different as Hochmeister) Eberhard von Saunheim with reference to the Statutes of Werner von Orseln claimed the autonomy of the Deutschmeister against the Hochmeister. The dispute went over 10 years from 1439 - 1449. However, the statutes of Werner von Orseln proved to be a forgery."

So for the moment there is the question, if the note of van der Linde refers to the mentioned forged Statutes (which seems somehow probable), and the other question, if it was of interest to Eberhard of Saunheim to forge also just the sentence about the playing cards. Normally one should expect that a forgery would use older statutes, and that only the relevant detail (autonomy of the Deutschmeister) would be changed.

From the work of F. Hübsch about Bohemian trade from 1850 we've the not referenced information, that Polish nobility played with playing cards before 1340. The notes of Hübsch (not only the remark about Polish nobility), which were made in his interest to write about Bohemian trade, have strong contrast to the general fand far spread opinion of modern playing card research, which states "playing cards distributed in Europe since ca. 1370".

see ... http://trionfi.com/0/p/95/

Re: Werner von Orseln 1324-30

These kinds of questions usually come down to finding the manuscript that the modern author is referring to, and dating it. Sometimes it is a copy of an older statute, with interpolations, or simply rewritten, with "karten" and the like inserted by the contemporary copyist.

I can't go any further with Hübsch - that's for you Huck. Maybe you can write Detleff Hoffmann about it. The only earlier "disputed reading" I know of is the Bern 1367 one, which I think is widely, if not universally, accepted as genuine.

Re: Werner von Orseln 1324-30

Here is the "state of the question" on Bern, 1367, when I posed it to Thierry last year -

"Indeed this date has been much disputed. It was first brought to our attention by the Swiss scholar Peter Kopp, in his article "Die frühesten Spielkarten in der Schweiz", Zeitschrift für schweizerische Archäologie und Kunstgeschichte (ZSAK), vol. 30, 1973, p. 130, quoting F.E. Welti, Die Rechstquellen des Kantons Bern, I-2, Aarau, 1939. (So apparently Kopp had not seen the real document.)

In fact the Bern Law Book is known in four mss. (one is in Bern, another one in Vienna, etc.), and according to who reads what, views are different.
Helmut Rosenfeld (who seems to have seen the Vienna ms.) explained the ms. was compiled in 1398 from older and more recent sources (H. Rosenfeld, in ZSAK, 32, 1975, pp. 179+ and Gutenberg Jahrbuch 1975, pp. 353-75). Dummett (GT, 1980, pp. 11-2) follows him.

In 1976 Kopp replied to Rosenfeld, with "Erwiderung auf H. Rosenfelds Entgegnung", ZSAK, 33, 1976, p. 67+ and from his explanations Hoffmann (1998, p. 12 n9 et n148 p. 64) thought Kopp's dating was correct.

However, a lady from the Bern Staatsarchiv has published an article in Board Game Studies where she mentions the four mss. and cautiously writes "1367?" (Claudia Engler, "Karten-, Würfel- und Brettspiel im spätmittelalterlichen und frühneuzeitlichen Bern", BGS, 7, 2004, p. 119-125). So the question remains open.

I tend to be skeptical. It is a very early date for the word 'kartenspil'. The quote reads: "Item daz nieman mit wurfeln spilen noch kartenspil triben sol". Of course, 10 years later we know John of Rheinfelden spoke about the 'ludus cartularum', but it's in Latin, not in German. (However, in the next year, the council of Ratisbon forbade to "spilen mit der quarten" (Schreiber 1937: 48).)"

Re: Werner von Orseln 1324-30

Well, it's not about 1367 and Bern. It's about 1324-1330 and Werner von Orseln.
And it's a similar feature as with F. Hübsch ... it isn't mentioned by playing card research, at least as far I know. Although van der Linde is an author about games. ... .-) ... But his "15th century" remark made it look not very promising.

Re: Werner von Orseln 1324-30

Huck wrote:Well, it's not about 1367 and Bern. It's about 1324-1330 and Werner von Orseln.
And it's a similar feature as with F. Hübsch ... it isn't mentioned by playing card research, at least as far I know. Although van der Linde is an author about games. ... .-) ... But his "15th century" remark made it look not very promising.
Okay, but where can you start? It seems it is not - in the beginning - a question of Werner von Orseln, but a question of Eberhard von Saunheim in 1439.

The only way forward would be to find these statutes and the scholarly argument about them.

Re: Werner von Orseln 1324-30

Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
Huck wrote:Well, it's not about 1367 and Bern. It's about 1324-1330 and Werner von Orseln.
And it's a similar feature as with F. Hübsch ... it isn't mentioned by playing card research, at least as far I know. Although van der Linde is an author about games. ... .-) ... But his "15th century" remark made it look not very promising.
Okay, but where can you start? It seems it is not - in the beginning - a question of Werner von Orseln, but a question of Eberhard von Saunheim in 1439.

The only way forward would be to find these statutes and the scholarly argument about them.
The wikipedia reference quoted Dieter Zimmerling: Der Deutsche Ritterorden. S. 281, about the comment as a forgery. It likely will give notes to the source.
Additionally I found ...

http://www1.uni-hamburg.de/Landesforsch ... n1437.html

"PrUB, JH I 7402 – [1437]. o.O. – Gesuch des Deutschmeisters Eberhard von Saunsheim an das Konzil um die Bestätigung der Statuten des Hochmeisters Werner von Orseln."
Request to the council to accept the earlier statutes.

"PrUB, JH I 7377 – 1437 IX 28. Basel. – Bestätigung der Statuten des Hochmeisters Werner von Orseln für den Deutschen Orden [1329] durch das Konzil zu Basel auf Ersuchen des Deutschmeisters."
The earlier statutes are accepted.

So Saunsheim asked for an acceptance of a Statuten document by the council of Basel and he got one - already in 1437. So far: "no forgery", at least not noted as such.

But the wikipedia article reports juristic trouble between 1439-1449 ... as we know something of history, that's the period of the conclict between two churches, one of Eugen and the other of Felix. And we know: The Eugen party did win - generally.
In detail possibly a real document might have been interpreted later as "forgery" ... or it was real forgery. At least we see that political force made the issue, and a little later we see that Capristanus made a journey to East Germany and interpreted in his own style, what's right and what's wrong, burnt Jews, burnt playing cards etc.

"Forgery" in the context of Deutscher Ritterorden was noted in another context ...

http://www.archive.org/stream/hansische ... g_djvu.txt
search for "orseln"

... but this relates to a problem of an allowance for trade earlier, around 1250.


Further there is:

Regest 12016 (Sigmund.) Fundstelle/Zitat: RI XI 2 n. 12016 (URI)

1437 Aug. 1 Eger

bestätigt auf Bitten des Eberhart v. Seinsheim (Sanwns-), Meister in deutschen Landen des deutschen Ordens des Spitals unserer lieben Frauen zu Jerusalem, die dem Deutschorden von Preussen durch Werner v. Orseln (1324‒30) gegebenen Statuten [vgl.: Perlbach, die Statuten des Deutschen Ordens 146 f.] ‒ KU? ‒ Or. nicht vorh.; Abschrift in dem hdschr. Cod. dipl. ord. Teuton. v. Jäger im Königsberger Archiv; [RR. L 45 v u. 46 r o. T.] ‒ Vgl.: J. Voigt, Gesch. Preussens 7, 699. (Peters t. ad vincula)
http://regesten.regesta-imperii.de/inde ... =%20pk2.pk

So it is was accepted by Sigismund ... who soon later died.

Re: Werner von Orseln 1324-30

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Searchers ... 1611740673

Werner von Orseln is currently object of special interest ... in Marienwerder (place of the Marienburg) some tombs were detected, which are assumed to contain the bones of three famous Hochmeister.

In the calculation of the situation of 14th century one shouldn't overlook a change of the major trading route from the Black Sea to Europe, which earlier had a splendid functioning way between Nowgorod and Visby (Gotland; Visby had a dominant role in the Hanse trade). Genuese and Venetian trade became more important.

better view: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/hist ... routes.jpg


Trade via Visby became more or less disturbed with 1361, when it was conquered and destroyed by the Danish king Valdemar IV of Denmark.

The Victual brothers played an important role in the confusion of the earlier situation.

The German knight order states declined with this development (important lost battle in 1410 against the Polish king). The Hanse suffered for some time and had to be reorganized:

better view: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... in1328.png

This map shows the state of Europe in 1328 in the time of Werner of Orseln:


Re: Werner von Orseln 1324-30

Some more details to Werner of Orseln:

http://www.deutscher-orden.at/content/s ... e/185.html
Im Rahmen von im Jahre 2007 im Presbyterium des Domes zu Marienwerder durchgeführten Ausgrabungen, bei denen nach den Gebeinen der hl. Dorothea gesucht wurde, fanden die Archäologen überraschenderweise neben Skeletten, die den dort bestatteten Bischöfen von Pomesanien zuzuordnen waren, in einer separaten Krypta die Gebeine von drei - nach den vorgefundenen Beigaben und Stoffresten zu schließen - hochgestellten Persönlichkeiten. Drei unterschiedliche Universitätsinstitute wurden mit historischen, anthropologischen, physikalischen, chemischen und schließlich DNA Untersuchungen beauftragt. Dabei kamen die Wissenschaftler zum eindeutigen Ergebnis, dass es sich hierbei um die sterblichen Überreste der Hochmeister Werner von Orseln (+1330), Ludolf König (+1348) und Heinrich von Plauen (+1429) handle, die auch in einem Fresko im Presbyterium aus dem 15. Jahrhundert neben Bischöfen, die größtenteils Deutschordenspriester waren, abgebildet sind.
This says, that the burial place (and bones) of Werner of Orseln was located with evidence in the Dom of Marienwerder (together with two other Hochmeister-relicts).

Marienwerder is nowadays Kwidzyn.

Werner of Orseln was murdered in the year 1330 (29th of November) by a lower brother of the order, who was in rage about a special command related to two horses, Johann von Endorf.

The story is given here (inside an extended biography):
http://books.google.com/books?id=KXtBAA ... &q&f=false

The murder - described with all connected dramatic elements - is said to have been taken place here ...

... at castle Marienburg (Malbork) ... finally a rather gigantic place (21 ha), four times bigger than the enclosed part of Windsor castle, housing (finally) about 3000 knights ...

... the murder precisely is said to have taken place here at this entrance (the castle wasn't so big then, of course) ...

... called Zlota Brama or "Goldene Pforte" (Golden Door). Behind the door is that, what was considered the most important religious place of ... I don't know of what, likely the state of the Deutschritter-Orden (the "inside-the-castle-church" isn't too big, maybe roughly estimated 12x30 m). It's still totally destructed from WWII ... the discussion is still going on, if one should leave it in the current state as a memory of the large destruction, that the Marienburg got in the war, or if one really should attempt to reconstruct the original state.


The plan of the central part of the castle (which is also the older part of the whole 21 ha - areal). The oldest part is the Hochburg with the church (the church is said to have been finished 1344 - so it was still-in-work in 1330, the time of the murder).

The "Goldene Pforte" is rather humble art, not "very impressive". The major object of the entrance are the common 10 virgins with oil lamps.

... possibly it was impressive at begin of 14th century and naturally later by the legend of the murder. A lot of the art in the castle is of this humble quality (whereby the spectator often enough isn't sure, if the "old art" isn't the product of more modern reconstruction).

Naturally the situation of Werner of Orseln must be understood by the basic history of the Deutscher Ritterorden.

The engagement in Outremer stayed small ...

... an engagement in Rumania and Hungary stayed without success.

Around 1300 the map shows this distribution:

There was a strong competition with the order of the Templer knights ...

... which also competed with the Johanniter order.

After 1312 the possessions of the Templer order were given to the Johanniter. Later - after the reformation - a German protestant Johanniter section developed. The catholic order got the name Malteser (after their new major place Malta, which they got after the loss of Rhodos).

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