"A Sixteenth-Century Book of Trades" - Translation and Introduction by Theodore K. Rabb
This extraordinary book of verses by Hans Sachs and engravings by Jost Ammam offers a vivid portrait of city life in Renaissance Germany. Covering 114 ranks (such as "king") and trades (including "thimblemaker"), it provides a unique cross-section of the daily life and social attitudes of the 16th century.
Through words and pictures, the reader can experience at first hand one of the first instances of the small-town outlook that was to be an essential part of European culture for centuries. Mixing popular attitudes, such as the contempt for lawyers, Jews, and beggars, with precise descriptions of occupations that range from clockmaking to fishing, the book opens a direct window into the distant past.
Das Ständebuch was also a remarkable pioneering venture by one of the leading publishers of the day, Sigmund Feyerabend. Its complex publication history, as well as the implications of its contents, are unraveled in the Introduction by Theodore K. Rabb, who in this book has also produced the first complete translation into modern English of the doggerel verse for which Sachs was famous.
Theodore K. Rabb is emeritus professor of history, Princeton University. His publications include The Struggle for Stability in Early Modern Europe, Renaissance Lives, and The Last Days of the Renaissance.