Cover image for Flesh and spirit : private life in early modern Germany
Flesh and spirit : private life in early modern Germany
Ozment, Steven E.
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New York : Viking, 1999.
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xvii, 348 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
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DD901.N92 O96 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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As he did in his much praised and highly successful The Burgermeister's Daughter, Steven Ozment analyzes and weaves together primary sources to create a compelling account of German life in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. From private papers and archives -- account books, letters, legal records, journals -- emerge fascinating stories rescued from history: the complicated courtship dance of two politically prominent families; the joy of parenthood for a middle-aged couple when, after losing their first nine infants, a child survives; the difficulty a widowed mother has restraining her eldest son's expenses as he studies in Italy; the challenges faced by a Lutheran pastor negotiating the Church's bitter factionalism; and a Protestant teenager coping in Catholic Louvain.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ozment adds luster to his already considerable reputation as a social historian with this deft portrayal of German family life in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Passages from private journals and letters allow the reader to see a complexity in the preindustrial family that defies both negative and positive stereotypes. By focusing on episodes in the domestic lives of five families (four merchant and one clerical), Ozment opens to our view the emotional dynamics of courtship and marriage, of parenthood and child-rearing, in post-Reformation Nurnberg. We become privy, for example, to a secret engagement between a widely traveled merchant's son and the orphaned daughter of one of the city's most prestigious families; we rejoice with a credulous merchant at the astrologically predicted birth of a second son; and we share in a prominent clergyman's anxieties over the academic difficulties of his teenage son. But in his surprising conclusion, Ozment reverses the direction of scrutiny, measuring today's divorce-prone and bureaucratically besieged families against seventeenth-century standards. In our time of overheated debates about family values, this volume offers a much-needed historical perspective on the meaning of home life. --Bryce Christensen

Publisher's Weekly Review

Drawing directly on letters, diaries and related papers, Ozment (The Burgermeister's Daughter) gracefully and convincingly draws readers into the cycle of family life among Nrnberg's 16th- and early 17th-century elite. The five chapters are devoted to courtship and marriage, birth and early childhood, mothering, the private life of a teenager and, lastly, fathers and sons. Overall, the result is informative, and Ozment's profiles are almost novelistic in their specificity. Readers might question how representative these families are of early modern Germany as a whole, however: they exemplify a small, though prominent, portion of the populace. There is also a tension between the book's structure and Ozment's avowed intention to reveal family life: while family life is inherently relational, most chapters focus on the perspective of a single person. But if these stories cover only circumstantial sociological evidence to support Ozment's contention that "the family of the past was neither as wholesome as the romantics portray it, nor as cruel as the cynics suspect," they are always absorbing. Two subjectsÄa Catholic city official during the Reformation and a prominent, liberal Lutheran churchman during a time of conservative activismÄare particularly intriguing as embattled figures for whom family provided an especially significant haven. All Ozment's subjects appear more exceptional than representativeÄand all the more interesting for it. Illustrations, map. BOMC selection. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Chapter One GETTING MARRIED The Courtship of Lucas Friedrich Behaim and Anna Maria Pfinzing In June 1612, Lucas Friedrich Behaim (1587-1648), at twenty-five, returned to his hometown of Nürnberg after four years of intermittent "bachelor journeying." This customary period of travel and study in foreign lands capped the formal education of young Germans. In addition to broadening their knowledge and skills, and allowing them to make promising contacts for the future, the bachelor journey was also a last hurrah for unfettered youth, who thereafter settled into adulthood and a professional life. Lucas was the only surviving child of wealthy wholesale merchant and Tyrolean copper mine developer Paul Behaim II (1557-1621) and Ursula Sitzinger (d. 1591), the first of his father's three wives. In May 1612, Lucas and two well-to-do peers had completed a whirlwind tour of the Near East, Italy, and France--ten adventurous months abroad that brought down the final curtain on what had been for each a charmed childhood and youth.     Now educated and widely traveled, Lucas returned to a Nürnberg that was no longer the great trading and manufacturing center it had been in the sixteenth century. Located on the Pegnitz River not far from the Main (north and west) and the Danube (south), the thickly walled imperial city controlled twenty-five square miles of surrounding countryside and was a major crossroads for European trade going in all directions, especially to and from Italy and the Mediterranean. The Behaims had been successful merchants since the thirteenth century, carting their wares north and south, and they owned lucrative copper mines in the Tyrol as well. Trade created great wealth not only for them but for many others as well, and that wealth was still visible at the turn of the century. In 1568, 416 burghers, or 6-8 percent of households, possessed taxable wealth in excess of 5,000 gulden, and 240 of those exceeded 10,000. For the year 1549, Lucas's grandfather, Paul Behaim I (1519-1568), recorded household expenses of 2,365 gulden, which included two maids, a servant, a cook, and a very conspicuous first marriage, alone costing 570 gulden.     More than half of the city's households were inhabited by artisans representing 277 different crafts and trades, which produced everything from playing cards to tobacco products. At the top of the artisan wage scale, journeymen in the cloth trade, working a 13-hour day, might earn 100 gulden a year. The city physician and schoolmaster received basic salaries of 50 or 60 gulden along with free housing within the city, while lawyers for the city council commanded between 300 and 500. Comparatively high minimum property requirements for the purchase of citizenship (50 gulden for a linen worker, 200 for dyers and butchers) kept the very poor outside the walls. In 1561, 12 percent of households, including that of Lucas's father, were headed by widows.     At the other end of Nürnberg's socioeconomic spectrum was Sebastian Welser, fabled merchant grandfather of Sebald (chapter 5) and the city's richest man in the sixteenth century, leaving propertied wealth of 140,000 gulden at his death in 1567. That legacy pales, however, when set against that of Nürnberg's absolute richest man in these centuries, merchant Bartholomäus Viatis (1538-1624), whose career attests to the social mobility available to the city's most diligent and lucky An émigré Venetian, Viatis apprenticed with a Nürnberg merchant for seven years, beginning at age thirteen, and after spending four more in Lyon, he secured a base for his own long-distance trade by marrying a Nürnberg merchant's widow, going on to accumulate a fortune of 1,125,341 gulden by his death in 1624.     Money was also to be very much on Lucas's mind in the months ahead, as he fell in love and took the solemn first steps toward marriage and the creation of a new family of his own. The mother he had lost at four had left him an inheritance that, together with his father's wealth, might have guaranteed him independence for life under ordinary circumstances. However, his mother's early death (April 15, 1591) after eight years of marriage brought an immediate legal challenge of his father's custody of that inheritance by her brother (Lucas Sitzinger, Jr.), who continued to contest it during the years his nephew was entering his majority (1601-1608). Because Ursula Sitzinger had died young and four-year-old Lucas was the only surviving child, her brother evidently believed, tenuously at law, that a portion of the maternal inheritance should revert back to her family. Annoying as this must have been for both father and son, the uncle's enterprise, or greed, was not to be the greatest obstacle to Lucas's access to resources normally due one in his position. The greater threat rather came from his father's own highly prolific subsequent marriages.     A scant three months after Ursula Sitzinger's death (July 1591), Paul Behaim married Rosina Paumgartner (d. 1610), who warmly embraced her four-year-old stepson as if he were her very own, which is exactly how Lucas always thought of her. She embraced his father even more warmly, bearing eight half siblings--three brothers and five sisters--by the time of her death. Although none of those siblings had any claim to Lucas's maternal inheritance, the demands of so large a second family caused his father to disburse that legacy to him only slowly and niggardly, charging against it expenditures he would otherwise have paid himself. By law, fathers managed their sons' maternal and family inheritances, theoretically having "use" of both until their death. Lucas would be twenty-seven before he gained sole control of one-half of what his mother had left him.     His father's third marriage to Maria Baier (d. 1641) in 1611 brought still more grasping half siblings into Lucas's life, five in total, with three surviving into adulthood, beginning with Stephan Carl in 1612. If, in his teens and twenties, Lucas was "big brother" to the children of his father's second family, he became in his thirties and forties a surrogate father to those of his father's third, acting as their official guardian throughout their minor years after his father's death in 1621 left him the male head of household. The End of Youth * * *     Such matters were, of course, far from his mind when Lucas returned home to Nürnberg in June 1612. By then, he had actually been away from home for the greater part of fifteen years, beginning in 1597, when, at ten, he had taken residence in nearby Altdorf to begin his formal schooling. There he would spend the next ten years (1597-1607) in the recently founded (1578) gymnasium and the academy that quickly developed around it. In addition to a basic arts curriculum, which included the study, in Latin, of philosophy, ethics, law, politics, history, and the classics, Lucas devoted himself to music, becoming by his graduation an expert musician and in his later years a major patron of the school's music program. As Altdorf was only a short wagon ride away from Nürnberg, Lucas continued to maintain close contact with his family throughout these formative years, routinely sending his laundry home each week to his stepmother, who promptly returned it, usually with a treat.     In the summer of 1608, Lucas, at twenty-one, departed Bavaria for the first time, destined for the universities of Poitiers and Angés, where he studied French and immersed himself in the local culture. The death of his stepmother in April 1610 after the delivery of her tenth child, forced a premature return home to assist his father in the busy Behaim household. It was a summons Lucas obeyed reluctantly, not arriving until December, to be greeted by perhaps five of his eight half siblings: Susanna, 10, Apollonia, 7, and newborn Magdalena, for sure, and very likely also Rosina, 14, and Maria, 12, although the latter were old enough to enter domestic service outside the home.     Happily for Lucas, the interruption of his journeying would be shorter than he expected. That was due to his father's fast-developing relationship with widow Maria Baier, a relative of his second wife, who became Lucas's new stepmother in April 1611. Her marriage to his father made it possible for him to resume his wandering, now in Italy, after only a five-month hiatus. By August, he and his companions--Nürnbergers Rudolf yon Bünau and Tobias Adam--were in Venice, where they hastily grabbed three suddenly open places on an English ship bound for Constantinople. News of plague there, received at sea, forced the ship to change its destination, however, turning a journey already undertaken on impulse and without parental permission into the adventure of a lifetime. Sailing via Crete and Cyprus to Tripoli and Jaffa, the three reached Jerusalem by late 1611.     Upon their return to Venice in February 1612, they learned of the death of Emperor Rudolf II and the imminent election and crowning of a new emperor--always a spectacle, and one the three did not want to miss. The reign of the Jesuit-trained Rudolf (1576--1612) had been remarkable for its failure to maintain the tenuous peace between Catholics and Protestants that had existed in the empire since the landmark religious peace of Augsburg (1555), which had allowed the ruler of a land to determine its religious creed ( cuius regio, eius religio: his realm, his religion). A melancholy man who suffered bouts of insanity as he aged, Rudolf neglected his political responsibilities in favor of patronizing a vibrant court culture in Prague, where he spent the last decade of his life in seclusion.     However, it would have taken a King Solomon to keep the two sides at peace in the later decades of the sixteenth century. For, contrary to earlier agreements, which forbade high Catholic clergy who converted to Protestanism from taking their bishoprics and dioceses with them, precisely that had happened. Rudolf's father, Emperor Maximilian II (1564-1576), had addressed this problem more effectively than his son by quietly encouraging compromise and cooperation between princes of different religious confessions caught in such difficult situations. Rudolf, on the other hand, sought to revive, after decades of neglect, the so-called ecclesiastical reservation protecting Catholic property, going so far as to convert forcibly the Protestant cities of Aachen and Donauwörth back into the Catholic fold. By the turn of the century, neither the parties directly affected nor the national Protestant leaders could tolerate such actions. Lutheran Nürnberg became engaged in this long-running dispute on the Protestant side, joining the militant Protestant Union in 1609, the year after its founding under the leadership of the Calvinist Elector Palatine.     With the election in 1612 of new Emperor Mathias (r. 1612-1619)--the childless Rudolf's hated younger brother, whom he tried to bar from the succession--there was hope that a peaceful settlement of religious differences might occur. Although also a devout Catholic, Mathias favored negotiation with the Protestant estates. However, the aging Mathias, who was fifty-five when Germany's seven electoral princes voted him emperor, also became preoccupied with court life and proved himself incapable of mediating between the two now deeply divided sides. At his death seven years later (1619), the childless emperor would be succeeded by his cousin Archduke Ferdinand, an ominous change of direction, for he had forcibly restored Catholicism within his own lands.     In the months before Lucas arrived home, that gloomy prospect had not been foreseen. In November 1611, the electoral princes of the empire convened in Nürnberg to discuss matters of succession and religious peace in light of Emperor Rudolf's rapidly failing health. The royal delegates spent a week in the city, during which they alternated meetings with banqueting, hunts, and jousts, in the midst of which they declared Mathias the new Roman king and, as such, successor to the imperial throne. With each elector bringing along his own household, the city teemed with thousands of visitors and horses, among them a great number of nonelectoral princes, prelates, dukes, lords, and foreign diplomats who took part in the negotiations. To contemporaries, it must have seemed that the entire Holy Roman Empire had descended upon Nürnberg for one last hurrah before the conflict that would become the holocaust of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648).     Learning in Venice of Rudolf's death and the imminent election of a new emperor, Lucas and his friends--all Lutherans--hoped to return home in time to join the Nürnberg delegation to Frankfurt am Main for the new emperor's crowning. Although they believed that event still to be many months away, it now became a powerful inducement for the three to set a sure, if circuitous, course for home. Lucas immediately wrote his father to confirm their plans to attend the coronation. Meanwhile, he and his companions, determined to see as much of the world as they could before their bachelor days ended, set out for Lyons, where they arrived in May, still hoping to dash through Paris, Amsterdam, and even London before turning homeward. However, learning in Lyons that the election and crowning of the new emperor would likely occur before the end of the month, they departed immediately for Nürnberg.     As it turned out, Mathias was officially elected on June 13 and ceremonially crowned two weeks later in Frankfurt am Main, with Lucas and his friends comfortably in attendance. Among the events surrounding the coronation was the knighting of young patricians, among them Lucas himself, an honor he memorialized seven years later in a small painting commissioned to stand with six others as decorations on an organ he had specially made. While en route from Bohemia to Frankfurt, the future emperor and his wife, accompanied by a royal train of 135 coaches, 636 horses, and 1,500 attendants, stopped over in Nürnberg, where they lodged on May 15 with the Imhof brothers on Egidienberg. The royal party also made a grand entry into the city on its return trip to Bohemia after the crowning. Nürnbergers greeted Emperor Mathias with bells and cannons, surely a pleasing sight for this ruler who would come to be known for his love of spectacles.     While these days were a new beginning for the emperor, they were the end of youth for Lucas and his friends. Having had their years of bachelor travel and play, males of their age (Lucas was now twenty-six) and social class were expected at last to marry and settle down. While many appear to have looked forward to that day, few wanted to have it arrive before they had wrung every possible adventure and pleasure out of unfettered youth. While that may have been as true of Lucas as it was of his peers, it is an issue he did not, unfortunately, directly address. His half-brother Georg (1593-1615), their father's third son, did so at length, however, and very instructively for the times.     At twenty, Georg had tasted military life while on two imperial missions, the first as a page to a regent and the second as a stall master. He shared the contemporary male consensus that military exploits and a good marriage were the only sure paths to honor and wealth, and while intending to pursue both wholeheartedly, he wanted first to exhaust his youth in the quest for glory and honor. However, as no significant military campaigns lay on the horizon in 1614, he begged his father to allow him to spend the last years of his youth as his brother Lucas had done, traveling freely in Italy, France, or the Netherlands.     Unfortunately for Georg, his father was then facing large expenditures on the youthful marriages of his eldest daughters, and for that reason, he instead sent Georg to apprentice in the family mines in Kitzbühl, where he would learn the family business from mining the ore to keeping the books. If that news was not disappointment enough for an aspiring cavalier, the further announcement of his father's intentions to arrange a marriage for him within that very year was received by the son as a virtual death knell.     Facing the premature end of his youth, yet convinced that he could "accomplish more with a pistol and a dagger than with a quill," Georg begged anew his father's leave to travel, and since his eider brother Paul, then twenty-one and also at this time being fitted (more willingly) for a marriage, had recently been rejected by the candidate he and his father were pursuing, Georg proposed that Paul be given "the maiden from Werdau," whom his father was evidently pressing on Georg. I am happy to cede [that opportunity] to [Paul], because I am planning with Father's help to see some glorious military actions, or to journey to Jerusalem and other places [before I marry]. Only after I have done these things do I wish to follow Father's advice and devote myself to the school of the cross and put on the wretched legscrews [of marriage].... I do not want the bloom of my youth to decay and pass without such adventures, but to spend it adding more glory and honor to our esteemed and venerable family.     In the endeavor to have his own way, Georg enlisted Lucas's support, albeit to no avail. After writing five more pleading letters to his father from Kitzbühl without a response, he did as his father and Lucas had done before him: He struck out for Venice and the Holy Land without prior permission. Writing from Innsbruck en route, he audaciously asked his father "most obediently" to forgive him if, in the absence of a response to his letters, he had been wrong to presume that he had tacitly been given the go-ahead. He also apologized in advance for the costs both knew his willful action would incur, even instructing his father to charge any expenses he did not wish to pay himself against his (Georg's) maternal inheritance. Georg so advised his father not only because he had disobediently struck out on his own, but also because he had the supreme confidence of youth that in due course a successful military venture, or a marriage to a wealthy woman, would make him financially independent of his father.     As a man who admired strength and independence in his sons, Paul Behaim may not have been as displeased by his son's rebellion as Georg feared. Unfortunately for both, the young man's resolution would never be fully tested, nor its aftermath known. After arriving in Constantinople three months later, he soon fell ill and died at the palace of the English ambassador. His father noted his passing solemnly in the margin of the last letter Georg had written him, jotting without further comment, or evident expression of grief: "Died on June 15, at twenty-two; in Constantinople." Private Vows * * *     Having traveled through Italy, France, and even to Jerusalem and beheld the crowning of a new emperor, Lucas was as worldly-wise as a youth his age (twenty-six) might then be. As he settled back into his Nürnberg home in the summer of 1612, he probably did not suspect that his greatest adventure still lay ahead of him, and in his own backyard. Within months, he had fallen deeply in love with twenty-one-year-old Anna Maria Pfinzing (1591-1654), the youngest of five surviving children from the marriage of her longdeceased parents Paul Pfinzing (1554-1599) and Sabina Lindner (d. 1594). Her family was one of the city's oldest and most respected, with ties to the Holy Roman Emperor himself (Anna Maria's great-uncle Melchior (1481-1535) had been Emperor Maximilian I's secretary). A widely traveled merchant and influential councilman, Paul Pfinzing had also been the area's leading cartographer and the author of a famous atlas of Nürnberg and its environs, fruits of his service as warden of the regional imperial forest. Both he and his wife died prematurely at forty-five (she in 1594, he in 1599), leaving Anna Maria an orphan at eight. She and her four minor siblings from her father's first marriage were apparently all raised by her maternal grandmother and mother's namesake, Sabina Lindner. Anna Maria was still living with her in her house on Wolf Street when Lucas came courting in the summer of 1612.     The surviving Lindner children were equal heirs to the family inheritance, which came from three sources: the annual rents and interest of the family estate in Henfenfeld, a village east of Nürnberg; a continuing mercantile business run on the children's behalf by their guardians, maternal uncle Gabriel Lindner and paternal uncle Georg Pfinzing (1568-1631); and household silver and other movables more immediately at their possession. Assessed purely in terms of the dowry Anna Maria could bring to a marriage with Lucas, she was not the most outstanding candidate in a city of many wealthy patricians and burghers. However, material considerations appear not to have been Lucas's main concern in selecting Anna Maria as his life's mate. Such considerations may actually have carried greater weight for Anna Maria, whose passion for her fiancé, at least in the first months of the relationship, would require Lucas's constant fanning.     Certainly, the material side of the union held the full attention of his father, who was moved by his own prodigious family expenses to place his sons and daughters early in the best available matches. There is the suggestion that he had pursued at least one other match for Lucas. And for unrelated personal reasons, soon to be revealed, Paul Behaim also had his own tumultuous history with prominent members of Anna Maria's family, an unhappy past that would haunt the couple throughout the marriage negotiations.     Although Lucas and Anna Maria had known each other since childhood, there are no indications of any prior romance before his return from his bachelor journeys. Nor is the fact that they exchanged private vows a year before their public ones--for the age, prima facie evidence of deep emotional involvement by at least one party--any reliable evidence that they consummated those secret vows before their wedding day.     On the other hand, Lucas's correspondence with his male friends strongly suggests that he had not been chaste during his travels, and so likely brought to the relationship a degree of sexual experience Anna Maria appears to have lacked. Contemporaries certainly suspected that private vows were a pretext for sexual intimacy. Within Lucas's circle of young adult males, at least one peer viewed Anna Maria's willingness to enter a secret marriage as her consent to the wildest sexual pleasure the two could imagine. However, if Lucas's description of the relationship after their secret engagement is any measure of its intimacy, Anna Maria, often to her fiancé's great frustration, remained disturbingly unimpassioned and scrupulously chaste throughout the courtship. And given the close scrutiny a courtship at their social level received from concerned parents, siblings, and friends--not to mention the possible punitive consequences for couples caught in premarital sex in late medieval Nürnberg (symbolic shaming during the wedding ceremony, fines, even imprisonment)--it would have been exceedingly foolish for a soon-to-be married patrician's daughter to have taken such a risk. Whereas in small village society, premarital sex between known, betrothed couples and nuptials in the early months of visible pregnancy were readily acceptable steps in a proper marriage, among the urban upper classes, greater discretion and discipline were expected, and scandalous lapses in propriety could make a wedding day as much one of infamy as of celebration.     Due to circumstances beyond their control, the wedding did not occur as soon as it might, and certainly not as quickly as the bride and bridegroom desired. Lucas had long been scheduled to spend six months apprenticing at the mines in Kitzbühl in the Tyrol, there to learn firsthand the rudiments of the family's copper mining business, which he would one day oversee in his father's place. It was on the foundations of mining and metallurgy that many a successful patrician family in big cities like Nürnberg built mercantile and financial firms that endured for generations, and the Behaims were among those successful families. Lucas had earlier had a foretaste of the mines, having, in December 1607 at age twenty, spent several weeks in Kitzbühl as an observer.     When he and Anna Maria parted in early November 1612, not only had no public vows been exchanged between them, the formal marriage negotiations between the two families were just getting underway. Given the rumors of their private vows, which were then beginning to circulate among their irreverent peers, the couple's true relationship soon became a subject of intense speculation and gossip within their social circle, something that both frightened Lucas and added new excitement to the relationship. First Letter * * *     On November 19, two days before he departed for the Kitzbühl mines, Lucas and his bride-to-be had their first formal meal together in the home of his maternal aunt, Maria Sitzinger (d. 1637), wife of Wolf Löffelholz (1563-1617), then bürgermeister and soon to rise to the city's ruling Council of Seven ( Septemvir ). Nine days earlier (November 10), Lucas's father, having learned of their private vows, had given his consent to the marriage. En route to Kitzbühl, while stopping over in Munich, Lucas wrote his first letter to Anna Maria, and his first from Kitzbühl was written on the day he arrived (December 1) there. All of his letters to her have survived in drafts preserved in his copy book. On the other hand, none of hers to him remain--neither any drafts she may have made, nor the polished versions he mentions receiving and evidently kept for a time.     From a few surviving later letters of hers, it appears that this loss may not be a great one, as she was not "the born love-letter writer" he was, her letters being by comparison "conventional and impersonal." From his frequent pleadings with her to write more expressively and from the heart, that judgment seems to be one Lucas may have shared. On the other hand, when a chastened and self-effacing Anna Maria dismissed her letters to him as "inferior, slight, and silly," he was quick to reprimand her for a description "against all truth and fairness."     Having traded the comforts of Nürnberg for the primitive conditions of a mining camp, Lucas now spent his evenings around a campfire with grubby miners. Bored and filled with longing, he sought strength and consolation in religion, work, and especially writing letters to Anna Maria. His desire for information about the marriage negotiations remained ravenous, as did his need to know if their relationship continued to be grist for the city's rumor mills. Above all, he wanted to anticipate any objections to their marriage, or possible obstacles placed in its path by family members possibly unhappy with it. Yet, as vital as these issues were, another preoccupied him more when he wrote his first letter from Kitzbühl: the need for repeated and emphatic confirmation that she was thinking about and yearning for him as often and intensely as he for her. Precious, virtuous, kindest, beloved, trusted Maiden Bride! My submissive greeting from a heart lovingly disposed to you, and with it my sincere, true love and unfailing loyalty in joy and in suffering lifelong. I would like to believe that you have safely received my modest, but well-intentioned letter of November 24, written from Munich, and that you have read it with heartfelt longing, comforted by joy. To the present hour, our good and almighty God has accompanied me ... permitting me to arrive with my party in Kitzbühl not only well and hardy, but fortunate and happy as well, having endured no hardship or accident along the way. In this, I must also praise [His] great kindness toward you, for you are the beloved half of my own body and my highest and dearest good.... Otherwise, I am greatly pleased by my life and work here. This is largely because I detect that my associates like me a lot. The supervisor and the miners have promised to teach me everything they know, and they say they mean that sincerely. I remain optimistic that, God helping, my trip here will prove gainful and rewarding. As I will henceforth be going back and forth to the mountain, which is only a short hour's ride away, and preoccupied with other duties as well, my hope is that all this activity will make your unhappy absence all the more bearable for me, and the time spent away from you, which, to be truthful, already seems very long, will become all the shorter. But apart from your company, I have, praise God, no other unfulfilled need or desire. Still, I will endure your absence all the better and more patiently, if I am assured of your heartfelt love and know that your longing to be with me is as ardent as mine to be with you. Of course, the situation itself forces me to be patient. However, seeing that [this separation] has been ordained by God, and that I am now at my life's work, I can freely choose patience. The only thing that could possibly strengthen and increase my endurance is a short, friendly letter from you. That would console my deepest sadness and, so to speak, make alive again in me what is now dead. Dear love, I look entirely to you to grant me this, my heart's desire, but to do so at your own good opportunity. Dear Maiden Bride, as soon as there are developments there that concern us, please report them immediately. If the situation seems to be deteriorating, I can then write to my Aunt Wolf Löffelholz, whose intervention may improve it. And, dear love, would you also tell me frankly, whether in my absence you and I have become the subject of much gossip, or whether, God be praised, our engagement remains undiscovered. Also, let me know if your siblings and in-laws are [still] teasing you relentlessly, especially little Mürr. Knowing, however, what you now do, you will be able to endure such teasing patiently, mindful that what they falsely accused you of before is now true.... Dear love, when you write again, please do not be the least bit shy, no matter how your letter is written and presented. Write to me instead with confidence, and write only what your good heart, faithful to me, moves you to feel and to say. I know that neither of us has ever written such things to anyone else before, as can plainly be seen in my letter as well. Since we are now betrothed and confidants, and, as I hope and trust, our letters will be coming into no one else's hands but our own, we have nothing to fear in this correspondence from one another. My dear, thousand-fold beloved, I beg you above all else to commend me in your ardent prayers to almighty God and to your own dear love and loyalty, and to continue doing so until, God willing, we are happily and joyously reunited. I will do the same for you, as I continue to serve and repay you and yours with a willing heart for as long as God grants me the grace to do so.... FROM KITZBÜHL, DECEMBER 1, 1612     Although Lucas no more believed that another man could win Anna Maria's heart than another woman could take his from her, he fretted over his lack of certitude in the matter knowing that "God alone rules and guides all hearts." Consumed by the belief that their love and fidelity to one another could remain only as strong as their devotion to God, he searched for sure signs of both, which became the subject of his next letter. God, he believed, had recently answered a heartfelt request for assurance of his own worthiness and salvation made the previous year while he was a pilgrim in Jerusalem at the site of Christ's crucifixion. That sign, he now confided, had been conveyed to him through the happy, approving reception he was enjoying in Kitzbühl.     With this letter, he also sent a copy of the private prayer he recited daily at breakfast and dinner along with two standard Lutheran ones, one of which was for strength against the temptations of the flesh. With this prayer, he intended to reassure Anna Maria of her place and God's in his life, should she have doubts about either. For that distant age, a devout person's private prayer may be taken as the equivalent of a modern medical or psychiatric record in confirming a person's state of mind. That he also asked her to send him her daily prayer suggests that he was anxious to circumvent her "maidenly modesty" and gain access to her innermost feelings and thoughts about him as well. A Coarse and Shameless Request * * *     Lucas had still another, even bolder, favor to ask of Anna Maria, this one a less contrived and opaque revelation of his desire. He worried, however, that she would think it a frivolous waste of her time and entirely inappropriate for one "still so very shy and scrupulous." His desire, however, was undeniably real, and in light of their secret engagement, he believed his request to be morally within bounds. So even though he thought it a "coarse and shameless" thing to ask, he rationalized in the end that, properly perceived, it redounded more to her praise and honor than to anything she might reasonably take offense at. Dear Maiden Bride, in my solitude, I contemplate your good and faithful heart intently and I am comforted by it alone. I rejoice in it with my whole heart, and yes, I kill most of my leisure in such pleasant thoughts of you. I must tell you, however, that such contemplation [of your inner person] has caused the image of your glorious, beautiful physical form to vanish completely from my mind, so that I cannot now remember or visualize it in the least, which leaves me deeply distressed and saddened. Therefore, I ask you very kindly, my darling, to send me a portrait of your beautiful physical form, so that I might, from time to time [by looking at it], know true consolation and singular joy when such sad thoughts arise. Then, for my joy and consolation, I may have both your external countenance and, praise God, the inner face of your heart always before my eyes.     Assuming she was agreeable, Lucas wanted to entrust her brother Paul, who was then traveling regularly between Nürnberg and the mines and acting as their messenger, with the name of an artist who had once painted his own portrait and who might now be commissioned to paint hers. Despite his protestations, the request, as Anna Maria surely recognized, was one neither a fiancé nor a fiancee could lightly refuse.     Fraternally vigilant on behalf of his sister's reputation, brother Paul was at this time keeping a close eye on the pair. A few months after writing his shameless request (April 1613), Lucas learned from his future brother-in-law that Anna Maria's eldest sister Katharina had come upon and read one of his letters to Anna Maria while visiting their grandmother's house. According to Paul's report, Katharina fortunately found "only pure spirituality" in the letter, and thus had no reason to "cudgel [Lucas] from behind" by reporting lewd comments and possible lewd behavior on his part to Pastor Johannes Schröder at St. Lorenz's Church.     Carnality, however, was also what Lucas then felt and feared. Chastely lusting for Anna Maria, yet forbidden by conscience and social convention from viewing it shamelessly as such, he worried that his request for a portrait of her "glorious physical form" would be construed as only carnal. Paul Pfinzing certainly understood such things, and as his otherwise consistent support of his sister's wishes suggests, his letter to Lucas may best be viewed as a fraternal "heads up" rather than any preemptory strike at the planned marriage. Teasing * * *     On December 27, almost two months after his departure from Nürnberg, Lucas received Anna's first letter, dated December 8, responding to his of November 24 and December 1. It found him surer than ever that God was signaling "rich blessings" for them both, this time extrapolated from the good jobs the Behaim family graciously provided equally grateful miners. "Providence," he assured Anna Maria, "always favors undertakings that support and feed the poor over those that squeeze and oppress the common man."     With every consolation, a new worry seemed to come for Lucas, and this time it was the discovery and publication of their private vows in Nürnberg. To impress upon her what he believed to be their imminent "notoriety," he shared a gossipy letter from cousin Conrad Baier, posted two months earlier from England and recently received in Kitzbühl. In it, Conrad reported juicy rumors about them ("I can easily imagine that the excitement [of the relationship] has left you near exhaustion"), and asked if he might expect a wedding invitation soon, which left Lucas exclaiming to Anna Maria: You can readily deduce ... that we are now deemed to be man and wife in England as well as here at home, and to be such first and foremost [only] in the eyes of Almighty God and all His holy angels!     Cousin Conrad's teasing was nothing, however, compared to that of cousin Albrecht, who had himself recently (October 20, 1612) married Juliana Tucher, an event Lucas attended as a bachelor escort on the eve of his departure for Kitzbühl. Three months later, in mid-January, a lovelorn Lucas wrote to Albrecht, now experienced in lovemaking, to complain about his solitary state in Kitzbühl and to confirm, apparently for the first time, the truth of the rumors of his private vows with Anna Maria. "Nobody but everybody knows," Albrecht--who had done his share of gossiping--assured Lucas in answer to his request for the latest Nürnberg rumors.     Lucas evidently had also shared, as only young male adults can, the physical frustrations of being separated from his beloved, a subject Albrecht now mercilessly teased him about in his reply. Conveying his own enthusiasm for the carnal delights of marriage, Albrecht presented his faraway cousin with a provocative proposition. I have learned from your letter of the wonderful agreement that allows you now to blow fire out of your sweet little Anna's ass, something I would also dearly like to do to her myself, if only my own dear maiden would give me permission. Were she to do so, I think it could not better be done than by inserting my self-extended reed into her from the front and then blowing bravely into it, whereupon the coals and excess heat generated in her hind quarters would sail forth. If this plan of mine pleases you, perhaps you could write to my maiden [Juliana] and ask her if I may be allowed to try it. For were I to proceed without her foreknowledge, the soup would surely turn sour and kind words become dear. I am also pleased to learn that your penis is loyally standing by you, giving you your first wakeup call each day. I shall make this happy news known to Anna Maria on Sunday, Capis Casari, when I console her and counsel fond patience [during your absence]. The Father of the Groom * * *     At the time he read these words, Lucas had been separated from Anna Maria for three full months, and, as his letters to her plainly indicate, assurance of her love and fidelity continued to obsess him. If such teasing left him more appalled than amused, he did not dwell on it for long, because he and Anna Maria now faced a more pressing problem: the failure of the two families to unite around the marriage. Since late December, Lucas had complained that neither his father nor Anna Maria's relatives had taken the initiative to "congratulate" one another on the creation of the new family and proceed with the wedding plans.     Several factors were at play here. Negotiations with Anna Maria's grandmother and guardians were more complicated than negotiations with her parents would have been. Also, Lucas's prominent father had initially considered other matches for his son, and thus may have hesitated to extend his hand too quickly to Anna Maria's relatives on his son's desires alone. However, whatever exploring the senior Behaim may have done ended abruptly upon his discovery of their secret vows.     The more persuasive explanation of the continuing divide between the Behaims and the Pfinzings may actually lie in some thinly concealed personal history. In March 1609, Paul Behaim became the guardian of the four stepchildren of Anna Maria's eldest sister, Katharina Pfinzing (1585-1637)--this in fulfillment of the last wishes of the latter's deceased husband Jakob Imhof (1572-1609). Those children were actually Paul Behaim's blood nieces and nephew, for, before Jakob's marriage to Katharina Pfinzing in 1605, Paul's younger sister Maria (1565-1600) had been his wife and the mother of his four children. In Nürnberg, it was commonplace for elder male relatives to assume such responsibilities, especially one in Paul's exalted position, hence his guardianship of his three nieces and nephew. In that position, however, he had conflicts with Katharina, their stepmother, over the children's care, and, according to Lucas, occasionally treated her "harshly." On some of those occasions, Lucas claimed to have taken Katharina's side against his father. He also praised his sister-in-law as one who always treated him favorably, even against his expectations, which was something he confessed he could not always say about his father: "God knows, I have such trust in her, more than in my father."     Against this background, the Pfinzings likely had a grudge against Paul Behaim because of his treatment of Katharina after becoming guardian of her stepchildren, and those bad feelings now threatened not only the speedy completion of the marriage plans, but the newlyweds' postnuptial arrangements as well. That was because Lucas had been counting on either Grandmother Lindner or his sister-in-law Katharina--the latter now freshly married to Sebastian Imhof (November 1612), a distant cousin of her first husband--for assistance during the first year of his own marriage. Lucas hoped that one or the other would provide him and Anna Maria room and board as they were getting on their feet. He did not want Katharina and her family now to take their revenge on his father by denying him and Anna Maria that much needed courtesy--or, worse still, by stringing out the marriage negotiations interminably.     By late January 1613, the marriage plans seemed to have fallen even deeper into limbo due to Paul Behaim's continuing lack of cooperation and now apparent hostility. According to Anna Maria, not only had the "slander and belittling of malicious gossip" continued in the streets, but her future father-in-law had now also become overtly unfriendly. Lucas attempted to buck her up by insisting that none of the unpleasantries she reported should be taken personally, particularly the negative behavior of his father, which Lucas knew to be directed not at her but at other members of her family. He also wanted to believe that such behavior on his father's part was in part contrived--a way, to his father's mind, of keeping his son's private vows and marriage plans under wraps until Lucas returned home and the couple's formal engagement could properly occur and be honorably announced. Certainly, Paul Behaim would not have wanted Nürnberg's disciplinary Committee of Ten to know that the children of two such prominent families had willfully entered a clandestine marriage of their own. From this point of view, Lucas entertained the possibility that his father's behavior was intended to diminish suspicion and gossip and thereby protect the reputations of both families by keeping the public perception of the marriage within expected moral and social boundaries.     However, a much deeper personal reason for Paul Behaim's snubbing of at least two members of Anna Maria's family also existed. Since returning to Nürnberg in May 1612 from his bachelor journeys, Lucas had observed that his father never had a kind word to say for Anna Maria's paternal uncle and legal guardian, Georg Pfinzing (1568-1631), nor for her sister Katharina. There is reason to suspect that the senior Behaim's alienation from both had its beginnings in separate conflicts with each: with Katharina in his capacity (after 1609) as guardian of his Imhof nieces and nephew, and with Georg Pfinzing in the latter's capacity as Katharina's guardian. However, in 1610, well before Katharina became the stepmother of his nieces and nephew, Paul Behaim had an unhappy personal relationship with her that was known within both families. According to Lucas, in 1610, after his father had become a widower for the second time, Katharina had let him "fall through the basket"--that is, she had apparently rejected his overtures of marriage. Between April 1610, when his second wife Rosina Paumgartner died, and April 1611, when he married Maria Magdalena Baier, Paul Behaim had privately courted Katharina. The two had been widowed within a year of each other, Katharina's husband dying in March 1609 and Rosina Behaim a year later. As Katharina's guardian, Georg Pfinzing would have played a key role in any discussion of a new marriage and likely conveyed the bad news to an unsuccessful suitor. Whatever the exact circumstances may have been, the evidence suggests that Lucas's father had been wounded by Katharina's rejection.     Against this background, Paul Behaim's persistent awkwardness toward Anna Maria's family becomes clearer. The forthcoming marriage of his son to a woman whose sister had recently rejected his own hand in marriage could only have revived memories he preferred to forget, while the prospect of discussing marriage plans with Georg Pfinzing again, now on his son's behalf, could not have been a pleasant one. On the other hand, there is also something believable in Lucas's argument that his father did not want to fan harmful speculation and gossip about the secret life of his son and future daughter-in-law by being too often at Pfinzing doors before a formal betrothal had occurred.     With the notable exceptions of her uncle and sister, Lucas believed that his father was truly fond of Anna Maria's family. In a January 1513 letter to Lucas, he reported sympathetically both the rapidly failing health of Katharina's sickly husband, Sebastian Imhof, then only in their second month of marriage, and the birth of an heir to Anna Maria's sister Helena--prima facie evidence, Lucas maintained, of his father's esteem for her family. That the report of Sebastian Imhof's grave illness might also have been tinged with Schadenfreude appears not to have crossed Lucas's mind.     There were other favorable omens in the senior Behaim's recent correspondence, particularly as regarded the deepening relationship between father and son. Lucas detected that his father liked him more and more: "he now writes to me constantly and in so friendly a manner that I perceive only approval and good will." And for the claimed first time, his father had sent him a New Year's gift. None of this would be happening, Lucas believed, if he truly harbored any serious misgivings about his fiancée's family or their marriage. On the other hand, he instructed Anna Maria to apologize on his behalf to any member of her family who had been upset or offended by something his father had said or done. Lust and Piety * * *     In December 1612, Anna Maria was living in the home of her pregnant sister Helena (1590-1660), the wife of Johann Hieronymus Mürr, whom she had married three years earlier (September 1609). Anna Maria had actually been there since September, assisting her sister with housework and other chores as they awaited the delivery of Helena's first child. The thought of her being there under such conditions delighted Lucas, who believed it to be not only a laudable sororal service, but, looking ahead to the future, excellent preparation as well for the time when Anna Maria would deliver their first child. She could now learn from her sister, the midwife assisting her, and the childbed attendant "all kinds of useful, advantageous, and necessary things" about childbirth and child care, he wrote enthusiastically.     In late December, Lucas wanted Anna Maria to take the initiative in moving their marriage plans forward. He believed that could best be done by joining forces with Grandmother Lindner, sister Katharina, and his aunt Löffelholz--the two families' most powerful women--with an eye to setting a date certain for their formal engagement ( Zusagung ), preferably on the second or third day after his return home from the mines. Since the leading male authorities in the two families (his father and her uncle) continued to threaten the marriage's progress, their best hope lay with this more amenable sorority     Ten days after writing this letter (on January 9), while at the foundry in Kössen, Lucas received an "exceedingly friendly" reply from Anna Maria, delivered to him at 7 o'clock in the morning as he lay idly in bed thinking of her and "hoping with many heartfelt, passionate sighs" that her dawning day in Nürnberg was proving to be as blissful as his in Kitzbühl. It filled him with pride and joy to learn from her letter that she and her friends almost never met without drinking a toast in his honor. Such remembrance of him made him all the more mindful that God had blessed him with a maiden who was not only "beautiful, god-fearing, understanding, and richly endowed with every virtue," but who also loved him more than any other beyond any justifying merit or hope of his own.     From the start, lust and piety had jockeyed for position in Lucas's mind and letters. The most the conventions of the age allowed him was their discreet placement in tandem, the former energizing, the latter disciplining his passion for his bride. However, inspired now by her latest letter, and wishing again to say more than convention condoned, he found a way out by couching the language of romance in that of contemporary Lutheran religion, which also held a large place in his heart. By modeling their love for one another on that of God's for humanity, he could say more than he should--a great deal more. As his passion for God and for Anna Maria had become so completely intertwined in his own mind, he did not view such modeling as a contrivance, and may even have been unaware that he was doing it. By now, it had become second nature for him to describe the experience that gave his own personal life its greatest pleasure and meaning in terms of the experience that his faith taught him gave all life its truest pleasure and meaning. In both instances, that experience was being loved freely and unjudgmentally by someone deemed to be of infinitely greater worth than oneself. With regard both to Anna Maria and to God, he also subscribed to the Lutheran truism that such love could not be earned by deeds nor adequately conveyed by words. Sensing, however, Anna Maria's growing willingness to reveal her own heart more candidly than ever before, he begged her to join him in trying to fathom the unfathomable and express the inexpressible. [When writing,] follow logically your own good heart, and high intelligence in contemplating and pondering the love, joy, and consolation that the heart of a man as devout, honest, and true as I must now feel, when, among countless other good deeds, God, by His ordained and Christian means, has blessed that heart with a maiden as beautiful, shapely, healthy, upright, and dark-complexioned as you. In doing so, He has fulfilled that heart's every wish and desire with a person, who is not only adorned most gloriously with every physical asset any heart could want, but endowed as well with true piety and understanding, purity and self-discipline, meekness and humility, domesticity and all the other feminine virtues that could be wished for. And most consoling of all, that same maiden sincerely loves her God-given fiancé and promised bridegroom, and embraces him in such trust and kindness that it becomes difficult, near impossible, to behold so true and heartfelt a love, much less to describe or express it in words.     Such awareness of God's and Anna Maria's unmerited love left Lucas fearful as well as awestruck. As with God's love, he now found himself dreading the possible withdrawal of Anna Maria's before the two of them could be united for eternity in a "chaste marriage bed." As it turned out, these self-doubts and feelings of unworthiness had a completely mundane and fortunately ephemeral source: his request for her portrait. By mid-January 1613, he looked back on that audacious act as an irreparable blunder, thinking it had demeaned his love for her, especially in the experienced eye of her grandmother, whom he could not afford to alienate at this point. Learning that Grandmother Lindner had indeed "frowned" on his request for a likeness of her granddaughter's "glorious physical form," he took the only safe and honest course of action left him: He agreed with her completely Praising her "very proper caution" as a welcomed admonishment of his "exceptionally poor judgment," he assured them both that he had never wanted the portrait for any "frivolous reason or pastime." Already he had sought out her brother Paul and apologized to him for ever having suggested that his sister have her portrait made for him. At the same time, he begged forgiveness as well for having speculated "rashly" on her future pregnancy; such "roguery," he wanted both Anna Maria and her grandmother to believe, bore no "mischievous or vulgar intent," but had only been another sincere expression of his heartfelt devotion to his bride. Good News * * *     When Anna Maria wrote again, it was with news of Grandmother Lindner's consent to their living with her after their marriage. Joyed, Lucas envisioned leading "a quiet and comfortable life with [Frau Lindner] in her late but still good years, and doing so with the kind of devotion it is fitting for children to show to parents."     The other good news, all the more surprising as its likelihood had been discounted, was Anna Maria's decision to grant his request for a portrait. Elated, Lucas swore to her that no eyes but his would ever view it. He also gave sister-in-law Katharina some credit for it, suspecting she had supported Anna Maria's decision against their grandmother's objections. Nonetheless, he feared this sweet victory could prove pyrrhic, since Grandmother Lindner, having opposed the portrait from the start, might now, in defeat, be all the more ill-disposed toward him. More than ever, he would now have to rely on his bride's diplomacy to keep him in her grandmother's good graces.     Although it would not matter in the end, Lucas did not do all that he might to secure that diplomacy. At this time he had received an invitation to visit barely known relatives by marriage in the Tyrolean mining town of Pühlersee. The purpose of the visit, he frankly told Anna Maria, was to meet a suitor, or, as he teasingly put it, "to give to me, as to that wolf, still another wife." The suitor in question was Helena Sitzinger, a distant cousin on his mother's side of the family. As the relatives knew nothing about his secret marriage to Anna Maria, any impropriety attaching to the invitation came strictly from Lucas. Lucas, however, assured Anna Maria that he would resist any temptation that might lie in wait for him in Pühlersee. Please, dearest, do not be jealous; I will conduct myself in the most chaste and proper fashion, once there. And should that girl wish to be too friendly, I shall tell her straightaway that she has come too late, that my hide is promised and sold to you, most faithful love.     Again, only his saving charm prevented such teasing from ending as a taunt. He was at the time at the foundry in Kössen, where the metal masters instructed him in the art of assaying ore for smelting. Segueing from metallurgy into romance, he wished that he also had a master to teach him "how to assay a maiden," hastening to add: But in this, my Master [God] has directed me to you, as it is His opinion that no one else will instruct me more loyally and diligently.... And I remain most happy and willing to learn. Copyright © 1999 Steven Ozment. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. v
Introductionp. ix
Courtship, Marriage, and Early Parenthoodp. 1
1. Getting Married: The Courtship of Lucas Friedrich Behaim and Anna Maria Pfinzingp. 3
2. Birth and Early Childhood: The Three Sons of Christoph Scheurl and Katharina Futtererp. 53
Teenagers into Adultsp. 133
3. Mothering: Magdalena Romer Behaim and Her Eldest Son Paulp. 135
4. The Private Life of a Teenager: Sebald Welser's Semester in Louvainp. 192
5. Fathers and Sons: The Family Chronicle of Pastor Lorenz Durnhoferp. 217
Conclusionp. 260
Notesp. 269
Indexp. 333