Thomas von Absberg

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Hans Thomas von Absberg (1477 3 July 1531) was a Frankish knight of the Absberg family, known as a robber baron.

Robber baron (feudalism) unscrupulous feudal landowner who resorted to banditry while protected by his fiefs legal status

A robber baron or robber knight was an unscrupulous feudal landowner who imposed high taxes and tolls out of keeping with the norm without authorization by some higher authority, while protected by his fief's legal status. Some resorted to actual banditry. Medieval robber barons most often imposed high or unauthorized tolls on rivers or roads passing through their territory. Some actually robbed merchants, land travelers, and river traffic, seizing money, cargoes, entire ships, or engaged in kidnapping for ransom.

He kidnapped important travellers like royal legates or merchants from Nuremberg or Augsburg. He was supported by several Frankish knights, who helped to hide the hostages, e.g. members of the houses of Sparneck or the Guttenberg. The hostages were taken on a route with several castles far away from the point they were kidnapped. An advantage for Thomas von Absberg were the nearby borders of several principalities and sometimes he escaped to Bohemia. He was known for the cruelty of cutting off the right hand with a dussack and sending it to the family of his victims to underline his demands for ransom.

Nuremberg Place in Bavaria, Germany

Nuremberg is the second-largest city of the German federal state of Bavaria after its capital Munich, and its 511,628 (2016) inhabitants make it the 14th largest city in Germany. On the Pegnitz River and the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, it lies in the Bavarian administrative region of Middle Franconia, and is the largest city and the unofficial capital of Franconia. Nuremberg forms a continuous conurbation with the neighbouring cities of Fürth, Erlangen and Schwabach with a total population of 787,976 (2016), while the larger Nuremberg Metropolitan Region has approximately 3.5 million inhabitants. The city lies about 170 kilometres (110 mi) north of Munich. It is the largest city in the East Franconian dialect area.

Augsburg Place in Bavaria, Germany

Augsburg is a city in Swabia, Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and regional seat of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is the third-largest city in Bavaria with a population of 300,000 inhabitants, with 885,000 in its metropolitan area.

House of Guttenberg noble family

Guttenberg is a prominent Franconian noble family. It traces its origins back to 1149 with a Gundeloh von Blassenberg (Plassenberg), though the first mention in a document is dated 1158. The name Guttenberg is derived from Guttenberg in present-day Bavaria, and it was adopted by a Heinrich von Blassenberg around 1310.

Eventually prisoners held at the Waldsteinburg were able to escape and reveal who the supporters of Thomas von Absberg were and where their castles were. To punish the behaviour of Thomas von Absberg the Swabian League destroyed the family's castle seat in 1523, as well as all of the castles belonging to the House of Sparneck. This was documented in a series of woodcuts by Hans Wandereisen. But Thomas von Absberg was not caught and continued his robbery, until he was murdered in Alten-Sedlitz in 1531 by one of his accomplices.

Waldsteinburg fortification

The Waldsteinburg, also called the Red Castle is a ruined castle on the summit of the Großer Waldstein in the Fichtel Mountains of Germany. It is also known as the Westburg to distinguish it from the older ruins of the Ostburg.

Swabian League

The Swabian League was a mutual defence and peace keeping association of Imperial Estates – free Imperial cities, prelates, principalities and knights – principally in the territory of the early medieval stem duchy of Swabia, established in 1488 at the behest of Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg and supported as well by Bertold von Henneberg-Römhild, archbishop of Mainz, whose conciliar rather than monarchic view of the Reich often put him at odds with Frederick's successor Maximilian. The Swabian League cooperated towards the keeping of the imperial peace and at least in the beginning curbing the expansionist Bavarian dukes from the House of Wittelsbach and the revolutionary threat from the south in the form of the Swiss. The League held regular meetings, supported tribunals and maintained a unified force of 12,000 infantrymen and 1200 cavalry.

Woodcut relief printing technique — print produced by xylography technique

Woodcut is a relief printing technique in printmaking. An artist carves an image into the surface of a block of wood—typically with gouges—leaving the printing parts level with the surface while removing the non-printing parts. Areas that the artist cuts away carry no ink, while characters or images at surface level carry the ink to produce the print. The block is cut along the wood grain. The surface is covered with ink by rolling over the surface with an ink-covered roller (brayer), leaving ink upon the flat surface but not in the non-printing areas.

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