In Albrechts Bössor we have the ambition to use sources between 1364-1389. It is a rather exact time frame, but it has to do with the reign of the king – he sat on the throne between those years. It is also a nigh impossibility. It’s not much more than 20 years, and when it comes to most sources they are not dated as exactly. Normally you will have to do with ”latter part of the 14th century” or if you are lucky ”the third quarter of the 14th century”. To put it short: we use sources from the latter part of the 14th century, but aim for sources 1360-1390.
And we SHOULD use sources from Scandinavia or Germany only. It is hard and sometimes frustrating work. Until a couple of years ago I mainly used French sources for a lot of things. You guys on the continent may well frown and ask yourselves ”Why French sources? It is totally wrong!”. You are right there. My big problem has been that my German hasn’t been good enough to work with German sources (don’t ask me how I could find French ones – I have absolutely no idea what so ever how I managed as I don’t speak a word French).
Now a days I can manage pretty well, as I used my German to find out stuff and as I made new friends in Germany. And that means that a whole new world has opened up for me, especially when it comes to historical recordings, as for instance Urkundenbücher – books that describes this and that from various areas or cities. I estimate that about 70% of medieval German is so similar to Swedish that I can read it without any greater efforts. Sometimes I miss out on details, but most of the time it’s not a big deal.
So far so good. Here come the next problem. We also have an aim to use two or more sources that are independent from each other (unless we are making exact copies – that is rare). That means that it doesn’t count to use the same altar piece or manuscript (for example) twice when you are reconstructing something. You can’t have two pictures of a similar jacket from the same manuscript and say that they are two sources. It is one and the same.
It is also a question of how meticulous you should be – is it two different sources if you find two sculptures on different geographical locations, where one is made in the 1370’s and the other made circa 1380 – by the same sculptor? I am not entirely sure – all it tells us really is a single person’s interpretation of the same object. It is really a git.
– Use two sources independent from each other.
– Use sources only from Scandinavia and Germany.
– Use sources from between the years 1364-1389.
In practice I don’t believe that anyone in the group has really managed to complete an outfit within these boundaries, but never the less – that is the ambition.
However. Our German trip was part of an elaborate scheme. Me and the new guy Kristofer decided that we were going to be the first to do it. Better still – we aimed for a time frame of 1370-1380 and a geographic limitation of cities in the vicinity of the Baltic sea. And we really thought we were able to succeed.
We started out with Internet research. I asked around on forums and we browsed thousands of pictures in for example www.bildindex.de to get a grip of which cities could have the most interesting churches and museums. I searched the part west and northwest of Lübeck. Kristofer searched the area to the east of Lübeck. We limited ourselves to go no further south than Hamburg. My parts seemed to be of little interest in comparison, so we chose the Meckleburg-Vorpommern area.
Before long we had found enough places to put together a crazy research trip that was planned by the minute – eat, sleep, travel, visits. And by the look of it, we should have enough sources from 1370-1380 to succeed! We set out with great hopes, Thursday the 1st of April, and drove our car on to the ferry 22:45. We rolled onto German soil in Rostock 06:30 in the morning the 2nd, and set out for our first goal – Lübeck.