Section Reading: The Three Behaim Boys 11/1/13
Edited by Stephen Ozment
• He is opposed to the use of anthropology and psychology in history to discover
the unknown world of the voiceless masses of early modern Europe.
• He prefers to stick close to the written record, and even if this does not reveal the
minds of the illiterate masses, at least it is capable of conveying ordinary
experience in the everyday world.
• Set in Nuremberg, Germany in the mid 1500’s
• Composed of letters from Michael and Fredrich to their mother or guardians.
(There was a third brother but we didn’t read his section)
• Writings span from ages 15 to 25
• Most letters deal with humdrum events of everyday life
• Michael was apprenticed to a merchant in Milan between the ages of twelve and
sixteen, and then served a second apprenticeship for another five years in Breslau.
• Michael constantly complains of his treatment as an apprentice in Breslau
o Taught little about trade and markets
o Used as a servant to sweep the floor and stoke the fire.
o Not allowed to buy his own clothes
o Was left in rags which made him ashamed to be seen in public.
• He eventually becomes a successful business man
• Friedrich is much more hard working and obedient. He went away to the high
school at the Altdorf Academy when he was fourteen and then spent two years in
Padua studying law.
• Friedrich's letters to his mother from school also express a series of problems
o Complaints of inadequate meals
o Expressed anxiety over his health
o Worry about getting his washing done properly.