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Old 14th June 2022, 04:32 AM   #1
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Default Reuting / Rüting – looking for info on an obscure weapon

I am in the process of preparing an article on Balthasar Russow’s Chronica der Prouintz Lyfflandt (1578). This text was written in Middle Low German by a pastor from the Estonian city of Tallinn (Reval, in German) and mostly pertains to the events of the Livonian War of 1558-1583.

Russow mentions a number of weapons in his text, including one reference to a bladed weapon called a “Rüting.” He tells of how local drunks would “unsheath their great Rütingen, that were nearly as big as Schlachtschwerde, and which one could not wield any way but with both fists, and there were many who had their heads split down the middle and an arm hewn from their bodies, so that the barbers day and night had much to do.” (My translation.)

A footnote to Eduard Pabst’s 1845 High German translation of Russow’s 16th-century Low German text indicates that Pabst was unfamiliar with this weapon (“Blieb mir dunkel” - Pabst says). The Deutsches Wörterbuch of the Brothers Grimm is more helpful. It gives the following:

“REUTING, m. name einer messer- oder schwertartigen waffe mit einschneidiger klinge; der name ist angelehnt an den reutel zum abstoszen der pflugerde, der zu diesem behufe vorn messerartig zugespitzt war, und auch als bauernwaffe gebraucht wurde (vgl. unter reute 2): ruytinck, lamina gladii KILIAN; ruytinck, machaera, gladius longus ab altera tantum parte acutus ebenda”

“REUTING, m. name of a knife- or sword-like weapon with a single-edged blade; the name is derived from the reutel used to repel plow soil, which was sharpened to a knife-like point at the front for this purpose, and was also used as a peasant’s weapon…”

The Deutsches Wörterbuch sounds like it is referring to a weapon derived from a plow share (Eng) / Schar (De), but I haven’t heard this agricultural implement referred to as a Reuting, Rüting, Reutling, etc before. Then again, I don’t know much about the terminology of agricultural tools.

I was wondering if anyone here might know anything more about this weapon (or about the agricultural tool from which it seems to have been derived). Is there any surviving example of a Reuting? Do we have any illustrations of a weapon labelled as a Reuting? Based on Russow’s account of a sheathed hacking/cleaving weapon and the dictionary’s reference to plows, I’m imaging something like a Großes Messer with some of the characteristics of a plowshare, but I’m not exactly sure what that would look like… and it’s just a guess.

Thanks in advance for any replies. This is my first forum post, so please let me know if this is not the correct place or format for a post on this topic.
JT_Soul is offline   Reply With Quote

german, messer, plough, plow, reutling

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