|Spessart Roots - A History of the People of a German Forest|
Murder and Mayhem:
Dangerous criminals—thieves and murderers—were a constant in Spessart Forest. Traveling through the forest was perilous, for nobleman, trader, or commoner.
Because of its density, thieving bands flocked to the Spessart, where they lived in hidden camps. They used the concealment of the forest to ambush their victims and then escaped easily with their booty under the same cover… The common cutthroat was not alone in these depredations. There was a time when the local knights became marauders themselves, taking refuge in their castle fortresses.
The years of the robber knights, at the end of the Middle Ages, in the 14th and 15th centuries, were a particularly violent time. The robber knights were wielding unrestrained terror. They attacked ships on the waterways, and merchants and pilgrims on the roads. The two major trade routes through Spessart Forest, Birkenhainer Strasse and Eselweg, were completely unsafe.
Spessart roots - A History of the People of a German Forest