The Thurnierbuch ("tournament book"), published in 1530, is an important work on the tradition of medieval tournaments in the Holy Roman Empire.
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.
The full title of the book was ThurnierBuch. Von Anfang, Vrsachen, vrsprung, vnd herkommen der Thurnier im heyligen Römischen Reich Teutscher Nation "Tournament Book: about the beginning, cause, source and origin of the tournament in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.
It was written by Georg Rüxner (also Rixner; Georg Rixner, genendt Hierosalem Eraldo und Konig der Wappen). Next to nothing is known about Rüxner's biography. He was presumably a Bavarian herold, possibly identical with the imperial herold of Maximilian I depicted by Hans Burgkmair in two woodcuts dated 1504 and 1507. In 1519, Rüxner was present at the election of Charles V. In Nuremberg city records, he is mentioned as royal herold in 1525/6.
A herald, or a herald of arms, is an officer of arms, ranking between pursuivant and king of arms. The title is commonly applied more broadly to all officers of arms.
Hans Burgkmair the Elder (1473–1531) was a German painter and woodcut printmaker.
He is also the author of a number of genealogical works, including on the dukes of Mecklenburg Rüxner's tournament book of 1530 was highly successful, but its partly unfounded claims were criticized even by contemporaries; Froben Christoph von Zimmern relied heavily on Rüxner's book for the Zimmern Chronicle.
The Zimmern Chronicle is a family chronicle describing the lineage and history of the noble family of Zimmern, based in Meßkirch, Germany. It was written in a Swabian variety of Early New High German by Count Froben Christoph of Zimmern (1519–1566). The chronicle is an eminent historical source of information about 16th century nobility in South-West Germany, its culture and its values. It is also an important literary and ethnological source for its many folkloristic texts. The text has survived in two manuscripts, both in possession of the Württembergische Landesbibliothek in Stuttgart.
The Thurnierbuch contains detailed descriptions of 36 tournaments supposedly held between 938 and 1487, including full lists of participants. Rüxner is the origin of the tradition that the imperial tournaments in Germany were established by Henry the Fowler but it is now widely accepted that the first 14 tournaments in his list are unhistorical invention. His account of imperial tournaments during the 15th century, however, may be treated as mostly historical, and Rüxner is thus an important source on the details of tournament rules and practices in Germany during the late medieval period.
Henry the Fowler was the duke of Saxony from 912 and the elected king of East Francia (Germany) from 919 until his death in 936. As the first non-Frankish king, he established the Ottonian Dynasty of kings and emperors, and he is generally considered to be the founder and first king of the medieval German state, known until then as East Francia. An avid hunter, he obtained the epithet "the Fowler" because he was allegedly fixing his birding nets when messengers arrived to inform him that he was to be king.
The Thurnierbuch was reprinted in Frankfurt by Sigmund Feyerabend in 1578 or 1579. This Frankfurt edition was in turn the source for a number of manuscript copies made in the early 17th century.
Rüxner's floruit spans the first three decades of the 16th century, and it is possible that he published early versions of his work prior to the surviving 1530 edition. Works that may reflect such earlier works by Rüxner were published by Marx Würsung in 1518and by Ludwig von Eyb the Younger in c. 1525.
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