chapter  10
Masculine and Political Identity in German Martial Sports
ByB. Ann Tlusty
Pages 22

This chapter traces the rise and fall of state-sponsored martial sporting events over the course of the early modern period, concentrating on their relationship to masculine and political identity in the German cities. The weapons culture that nourished throughout the German-speaking lands during the early modern period was embedded in the layered power structures characterizing the Holy Roman Empire. Socialization to the martial role began at the level of the household, itself a kind of defence unit with its own chain of command under the governance of the householder. The most enduring symbol of martial identity in the European tradition was the sword. Early modern sword-fighting schools were closer to sport clubs than to military organizations. The most elaborate of martial competitions during the early modern period were thus centred on the sport of shooting. Shooting matches could also be divided by religious confession by the later seventeenth century, although this was the exception rather than the rule.