Studies on the representation of bellicose bodies in references of the 14th to the early 16th century.
“The young soldier, therefore, ought to have a lively eye, should carry his head erect, his chest should be broad, his shoulders muscular and brawny, his fingers long, his arms strong, his waist small, his shape easy, his legs and feet rather nervous than fleshy.”
Veg. mil. I,6.
Fighting and warfare could hardly be imagined without the use of the body of the participants. To be successful in fighting, physical skills had to be gained by training, retained by adequate supplies, and demonstrated on the battlefield. As a desired result the warrior represents an ideal of body and mind, in which his inner virtues corresponded with his external appearance. This ideal body could be impaired by malnutrition or illness, damaged by injuries, or deliberately destroyed by corporal punishment.
The aim of the project “Fighting Bodies” is to analyse questions about the physical conditions of warriors and body related circumstances of warfare from the 14th up to the early 16th century. How and in which contexts were fighting bodies and bodies of warriors narrated? How were they named? In which manner were injuries and handicaps presented and interpreted? How were fighting bodies valued by the contemporaries?
The basis for the examination of these and other questions are contemporary chronicles, especially those written by authors with own experiences in warfare. Additionally, didactic tracts, medical literature and pictorial representations will partially be regarded.