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Re-enacted burger conquest during the Burgmannen Days on the grounds of the Citadel Vechta

As Burgmann (lat. Oppidanus, castrensus) were in Central Europe since the 12th century knightly ministerials of and members of the nobility referred to by a lord of the castle with the so-called Burghut were commissioned, that is, a castle had to guard and defend it. As a rule, several castle men sat on or near a castle and formed the castle team. They were subordinate to the lord of the castle or a castle commandant commissioned by him, who often also bore the title burgrave (lat. Castellanus). Since a special Burgmann law similar to feudal law generally applied to the Burgmann , legal disputes were negotiated before this Burggrave. In their task, the noble castle crew was often supported by non-knightly and non-noble personnel such as gatekeepers and turrets .

Originally, the Burgmann was for his service in addition to a befitting apartment with kind paid. His contract could initially be canceled. Later he received an inheritable castle loan as a reward , which from the late 13th century onwards was paid out more and more frequently as a fixed sum of money ("castle money") (around 1300 in the order of 5–10 marks annually, which at that time roughly corresponded to the annual income of 5 to 10 farms).

Since the 13th century, the rights and duties of the Burgmann have been regulated in a written Burgmann contract. In addition to the location and the times when a castle man had to be present at the castle, this sometimes also stipulated the necessary armament and equipment. The obligation to be present - called residence obligation - meant that the lord of the castle had to provide his castle men with a residence free of charge within the castle complex or at least in its immediate vicinity. Such a residence was called Burgmannensitz, Burggut or Burgmannshof .

Burgmannen later increasingly evaded the permanent residence obligation by employing armed servants . With the introduction of such non-noble castle garrisons and the change from castles to fortresses in the late Middle Ages, the castle man system disappeared and the castle hat was perceived by soldiers and mercenaries . The hereditary Burgmann seats, mostly near the castle, were still of substantial importance for the social distinction and economic basis (tax exemption) of their lower nobility owners even in the early modern period.


  • Thomas Biller: Burgmann seats in castles in Germany. In: Peter Ettel (Ed.): La Basse-cour. Actes du colloque international de Maynooth (Irlande), 23–30 août 2002 (= Château Gaillard . Volume 21). Publications du RCAHM, Caen 2004, pp. 7-16 ( online ).
  • Jens Friedhoff: Burgmannen, seat. In: Horst Wolfgang Böhme , Reinhard Friedrich, Barbara Schock-Werner (Hrsg.): Dictionary of castles, palaces and fortresses. Philipp Reclam, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-15-010547-1 , pp. 100-101, doi: 10.11588 / arthistoricum.535 .
  • Stefan Grathoff: Archbishop's castles of Mainz. Acquisition and function of castle rule using the example of the Archbishops of Mainz in the High and Late Middle Ages. Steiner, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-515-08240-9 , p. 448 ff.
  • Lexicon of the Middle Ages. Band & nbsdp; 2. dtv, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-423-59057-2 , Sp. 965-966, 1055.

Web links

References and comments

  1. It is a misinterpretation to equate "Burgmann" and "Bürger" synonymously. It probably goes back to the romantic misinterpretation of the Middle Ages in the 19th century. Compare with the etymology of the word “citizen” .