I am often asked which profession I would pursue if I were to be catapulted back into the 14th or 15th century. This question is easy for me to answer: I would like to be one of those craftsmen who were described by the sovereign princes as "[...] vnsere getrewn die maister der Pogner, der Pheilsnitzer und der Kurbawner in vnser Stat zu Wienn [...]" (our trusted, the bowyers, fletchers and the Kurbawner in our city Vienna).
However, I would not fulfill many of the requirements for mastery of the craft, which were formulated in 1445: although I was born honest and could show that I mastered the craft of a fletcher, I am neither married (could change soon though? ), nor have I won the gerechtikait of the hanntwerch (the fletcher's guild justice), have given a meal to all the other masters, mistresses and their journeymen, have put six shillings into the bill, and the handing over of two crossbows to the sovereign prince and land marshal is also missing. It's clear: there is still much to be done!
But what I can do in advance is to introduce myself to you. Behind the project Pheilsniczer is a person who has been interested in medieval history and craftsmanship for some time. My name is Andreas Moitzi. I was born in June 1989 in the Upper Styrian town of Judenburg, to which I am still very attached. After graduating from high school and completing my civil service, I moved to Graz, where I began studying history at the Karl-Franzens-University. At that time I was very active in the field of Austrian medieval "reenactment". I can't really explain where the fascination for bow and arrow came from, especially since I rarely practice archery, but everything developed in the direction of the fletchers craft. So it was only natural that I dealt with the medieval bowyers and fletchers in "Austria" as part of my master thesis. When I submitted the work, I had already put the reenactment project on hold. In the years before, a lot had changed and very memorable things had happened. Apart from new hobbies and interests, the associated motivation difficulties for the craft, the turning away from the Austrian "reenactment scene", it was especially the tragic loss of my craft colleague and friend Lorenz S., which caused a growing distance to the craft in me. In spite of the academic debate on the craft, time had to pass before this distance could be overcome. Lorenz was always enthusiastic and had a real glow in his eye when we talked about the Pheilsniczer project - I want to keep this glow and this enthusiasm alive and remember him that way.
It was to last until 2020, when the decision was finally made to revive the project in a new, proper and above all even more ambitious way. The decisive factor for this was once again my academic work: I had meanwhile moved to Vienna, where I was offered a position as a university assistant at the University of Vienna, where I began my doctoral thesis on the urban military system of the city of Vienna in the late Middle Ages. In the course of this study, it was necessary to deal with the urban weaponry, which of course included the bowyers and fletchers. The practical execution of the craft is a welcome change to reading & typing on the computer and showed me again how much I love to be a craftsman.
My ambition is to reconstruct arrows as accurately and as exact as possible using historical originals. Due to my academic education it is quite easy for me to find the appropriate literature, and I am overjoyed to be able to claim to be well connected in the field of craftsmanship. You may not believe it, but there are numerous colleagues who strive for the same thing as I do - only for other historical objects. This results in a wonderful exchange and numerous synergies between modern masters of historical crafts.
At this point I would like to mention three people, respectively associations, with whom I am in particularly close contact: on the one hand, Hector Cole, one of the leading smiths for arrow and bolt heads, then Andreas Bichler of Historia Vivens 1300, the expert on crossbows, and finally the people of IG 14. Jahrundert.