صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

vendicione promeruerit sedere in sede que dicitur “scupstol” arbitrio consulum et judicio eorum subjacebit.' Which may be rendered :—'He who by fraudulent and wicked buying and selling shall have deserved to sit in the seat which is called “scupstol,” shall be ducked at the discretion of the counsellors and according to their judgment,' so here we have not only the word but the application. The word "scupstol' recalls the punishment in the old Scottish law 'cukstule,' cucking or tossing the culprit up and down and in and out of dirty water. In the England of the Normans the punishment was expressed by "tumbrel, and later by cucking or ducking stool ; in France 'tombereau' or 'tomberel,' and in Latin "tumbrellum.'

We are far too apt to look upon the middle ages as entirely a rude and rough page in the world's history, and to plume ourselves on the supreme refinement of our own age as against all that preceded it ; as if the application of steam to the locomotive was more wonderful than the genius that breathed life in the creations of Phidias and Praxiteles. Such generalizations are often hasty and very misleading. The world's history is made up of rising civilizations that culminate and set in luxury and effeminacy ; then darkness prevails, when almost all experience is lost or hidden, and the world has to begin again, as it were. So it has gone on for many thousand years, and so it will go on to the end. We owe much to the middle ages, which were progressive, and contained a great deal that was sturdy and good ; in them lay the resurrection of art, liberty, and jurisprudence.

The early history of the Wendish League was characterised by singular astuteness in negotiation, both with foreign powers and the feudal lords of its cities, and the political condition and combinations of northern Europe in the middle ages materially assisted its development. It invariably exhausted all the resources of diplomacy before drawing the sword, rightly judging that the baleful influence of war on commerce is but badly compensated for even by a successful appeal to arms. That the Wendish towns, including Hamburg, were more or less acting together for common objects with those of Westphalia, the Netherlands, and Livonia, is shown by an early treaty between the Gothic city of Wisby (Gothland) on the one hand, and the prince of Smolensk and burghers of Lübeck, Soest, Munster, Gröningen, Dortmund, Bremen, and Riga on the other. All the earlier efforts of the

NAMES OF THE HANSE TOWNS.

217

League were concentrated on extending trade and acquiring influence in the Baltic, and the Norwegians, once the terror of the seas, became restricted to their own coasting trade, while the English were ousted from a great part of their oversea traffic.

In 1278 Magnus of Norway granted extensive trading privileges to the Wendish cities and Bremen, and the foundations for the important factory of Bergen were then laid down.

The constant friction and frequent wars among the three divisions of Scandinavia gave the League opportunities for pushing its influence in Baltic waters, which it used to the utmost, and its success becaine so evident that Waldemar III., surnamed Atterdag (a day will come), determined at all hazards to attempt to check its growing power. The Confederacy sustained its first reverse in the opening campaign, when Waldemar took and sacked the rich city of Wisby in 1361, the then richest and most important emporium of the League ; the king thereupon assuming the title of king of the Goths ; his success was, however, but transient, as the Lübeck fleet led by the burgermeister Johan Wittenberg, assisted by Henrik of Holstein, soon afterwards completely defeated him before Helsingborg. Wittenberg meeting with a serious reverse after this was recalled and beheaded, a common fate for Hansa leaders whose operations were not crowned with success. Lübeck now made a league with 77 cities, Wendish, Westphalian, Netherlands, and Livonian ; the compact being signed at Cologne in 1367. The struggle for supremacy between the cities of Cologne and Lübeck will be touched upon more particularly in the second section of this paper, as it has a special bearing on English trade, but at this crisis they became united in common aims and objects, and the Hanseatic Confederation was now formally constituted. The forces now wielded by the Bund became very formidable, and their fleets took and sacked Copenhagen. The peace of Stralsund signed in 1370 gave the now powerful Confederacy indisputed sway in the Baltic, and a veto on the election to the Danish throne. Following is a list of the Hanse towns in alphabetical order :Amsterdam, Brandenburg. Buxtehude.

Duisburg.
Anklam,
Brauensberg. Danzig.

Eimbech.
Arnheim.
Braunschweig Deventer.

Elbing.
Berlin.
Bremen.
Dordrecht.

Elburg.
Bielefeld,
Breslau.
Dorpat.

Emmerich.
Bolsward.
Briel.
Dortmund.

Frankfurt a. 0.

BB

VOL. XVI.

Gardelegen. Gollnow. Goslar. Göttingen. Greifswald. Gröningen. Halberstadt. Halle. Hamburg. Hameln, Hamm. Hannover. Harderwyk. Hasselt. Helmstedt. Herford. Hildesheim. Kampen.

Kiel.
Koesfeld.
Kolberg.
Köln.
Köln-on-Spree.
Köningsberg.
Krakau.
Kulm.
Lemgo.
Lippstadt.
Lübeck.
Lüneburg.
Magdeburg
Minden.
Münster.
Nordheim.
Nymwegen.
Oschersleben.

Osnabrüch.
Osterburg.
Paterborn.
Pernan.
Quedlinburg.
Reval.
Riga.
Roermonde.
Rostock.
Rügenwalde.
Salzwedel.
Seehausen.
Soest.
Soltbomel.
Stade.
Stargard.
Staveren.
Stendal.

Stettin.
Stolpe.
Stralsund.
Tangermünde.
Thiel.
Thorn,
Uelzen.
Unna.
Utrecht.
Venlo.
Warburg.
Watershagen.
Wesel.
Wisby.
Wismar.
Zierixee.
Zülphen.
Zwolle.

The list covers an immense and almost international area. Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, and even Sweden being all represented. Many have sunk into insignificance and others have disappeared altogether. The roll was ever a changing quantity, as cities joined or left the Confederacy, or were “unhansed.' Discipline among the towns was strictly maintained, and any contumacious towards the diet were subjected to unhansing,' that is ejectment from the Bund, and were only readmitted after abject submission and the imposition of a heavy fine. The important city of Bremen, which pressed her views as to leadership, remained unhansed for thirty years, and many cities once recalcitrant were never allowed to rejoin.

The diet, presided over by a syndic, was composed of deputies from each town on the roll, but there was always great reticence displayed to the world outside as to the numbers composing the League. A deputy questioned on this head would answer evasively, * Those who fight the Hansa's battles.' The meetings were generally held at Lübeck, the deputies being received with great pomp and ceremony; heavy fines were inflicted for non-attendance without good cause assigned, and the decisions of the majority bound the entire Confederacy. The diet was the grand court of appeal for all questions and quarrels; it controlled all diplomatic action, and held in its hands the issues of peace and war. The Hansa had no regular seal of association, but all documents were sealed with the arms of the town in which the diet happened to meet. The usual symbol attached to all Hansa guildhalls was the double eagle with the legend 'quo omnes

[blocks in formation]

utimur in praesenti.' The remaining years of the fourteenth century were characterised by unwearied efforts of the League to consolidate and increase its influence in the Baltic ; but in the beginning of the fifteenth the rich and influential towns of the Netherlands withdrew in a body from the Association, allying themselves with king Eric against the Hansa. The Lübeck fleet under Tidemand Steen was defeated in the Sound, and an attempt on Copenhagen in 1428 was unsuccessful. The rival Confederacies continued the struggle for Baltic supremacy until 1445, when a truce between them was arranged.

At the close of the war Bergen became the complete vassal of the Hansa, and its extensive fishing industry a source of great riches to the Association. This northern factory calls for a passing notice, and our tourist countrymen may spend an interesting hour or two in inspecting the last settlement built after the great fire in 1702, soon after which the hated foreigners were driven out by the government under the Danish crown.

BERGEN. After the times of the Vikings when the coast towns of Norway ceased to be enriched by the spoils of other nations, the Norwegians were thrown back on their own resources, which, with the exception of extensive fisheries, were of a trifling character. Although still in possession of a considerable fleet, they were unable from some cause or other to do their own carrying trade in fish, possibly because of the horror and detestation with which the Norsemen were still regarded on the other side of the North Sea, or more likely by a wave of decadence passing over them.

A competition for this trade ensued between the Wendish towns and England, the former completely ousting our countrymen, by reason of their more powerful fleet. The Germans soon made good a foothold on the land itself at Bergen, which they successfully maintained for centuries, in spite of the bitter opposition of the citizens.

The relentless policy of monopoly nowhere showed itself in darker colours than in the Hansa's arbitrary and oppressive dealings with Norway. The maritime position of Bergen with its unrivalled landlocked harbour and fishing grounds marked it out as a centre for this important trade, and the factory grew rapidly; already in the middle of the fourteenth century it assumed the name of · Hansiche Kontor.' The factory consisted of twenty-two strongly built buildings of timber facing the fjord, connected with the water by a gangway for loading and discharging. The frontage was narrow, but warehouses extended far behind. The dwelling portion of each tenement was styled the · Hof,' and the accommodation for the ‘Hansebrüder' was of the rudest description. Each house contained a 'family of about 120 persons, the majority coming from one particular Hanse town; all men were sworn to celibacy and presided over by a ‘Husbonde.' These were divided into classes, such as managers and clerks, svender, bootsjunger, cooks, and servants. At the back was a large yard and garden, in which numerous ferocious dogs were kept. The most curious of the offices rearwards was the “Schütting,' an old Norwegian fire annex, with a single entrance, windowless beyond a hole in the roof with an adjustable shutter, to let light in and smoke out. This shutter was closed when the fire cleared. During summer the family' lived in the Hof,' eating and sleeping in their own rooms, but in the winter months they all lived in common in the capacious 'Schütting,' where a table stood for each. The fleet being laid up during the winter months, all business was at a standstill at that season.

A large branch of the import trade was the highly prized pepper, and merchants of the Hansa at Bergen rejoiced in the nickname of * Pebersvende' (pepper lads), which name still survives in the languages of Scandinavia for a bachelor over forty, the members of the factory being all celibates. I may perhaps suggest to our philologists that the word nickname was necknavn (neken-to tease).

All marriage was forbidden, and no woman permitted within the enclosure; but for all that great laxity of morals prevailed, deepening as the central control became weaker.

A manuscript of the fifteenth century was found in one of the houses giving an account of a carousal held over a barrel of beer by one of the “ families,' the ale being the fine imposed on a clerk for an illegitimate child ; the manuscript ends thus "may our brother soon be found tripping again.'

The factory was really a fortress, entrance by a bridye surmounted by the arins of the station, viz., half the double eagle and a crowned cod's head. The total number of inhabitants varied from two to three thousand, and the community was governed by two Oldermænd,

« السابقةمتابعة »