Matthieu and my ancestors on the Lüneburger Heide

A few weeks ago, I got a folder in the mail that had some genealogy information about ancestors of mine in Germany. While I’m already interested in this kind of thing, this one was particularly interesting because it had some anecdotes from the Thirty Years’ War, one of the main inspirations for this story. I didn’t read much of it at first but I finally took some time the other day to get into it deeper.

Now the Thirty Years’ War was a bad deal for everyone involved. Germany saw its cities and principalities torn apart, Sweden lost a king in battle (Gustavus Adolphus), and I still have’t really figured out what Italy was doing there. One particular ancestor of mine lived in the Lüneburger Heide, a region southeast of Hamburg. As in other European wars of the period, soldiers’ pay was augmented by plunder and poor logistics often led to foraging (basically stealing everything you could from the countryside surrounding your army’s path) being the main method for keeping your camps fed. This is where my family history comes in.

Apparently, the guy down the street from this ancestor was baking bread one day when some Florentine foragers (this story’s actually on Wikipedia guys, just translate the page into English) broke into his house and shoved him head-first into his oven, then made off with his stuff. It sounds a little funny now since there are about 350 years separating me from that incident but it also helped those reports of depravity in the war hit a little closer to home.

Also, that anecdote’s making it into the story one way or another.


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