Tag: Fechtbuch

The chronology of fencing books

At various points discussions have surfaced again and again, which question the chronology of the fencing styles and schools of late medieval and renaissance times. The question, who could have been the first fencing master and who “invented” a certain kind of fencing, leads often to a discussion on the chronology of fencing books. This ignores a simple fact: all fencing books are more or less products of compilation and/or plagiarism. The percentage of innovation and invention in such a book is vanishingly low. This is due the fact that the art of fighting is older than the art of writing. Thus the claim of uniqueness is always in question regarding the contemporary work of the said authors and masters. Most fencing books were created in the high age of the masters where the art – if successful – had been spread already. For us today the books and the art within is unique, but only because it is not part of our everyday life. So we seek out to find a chronology of unique works where in fact there had been only an evolution of common ground with some extraordinary peeks. The task to create a chronology is more than difficult. A lot of effort has been done to find dates and places of origin. But the accuracy of these dates is more than questionable for at least two reasons: 1....

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A goldmine of printed fencing treatises

Today I thought I would share a little “secret”. In Saarbrucken, Germany there is this great little bookbindery called Fines Mundi that produces prints of antique books with traditional binding and in many different styles ranging from quite simple to very luxurious, depending on your wallet. Currently they have about 3000 titles of antique books in stock. The cool thing is that the man who runs the company, Rolf, is a sports fencers from 40 years back and some time ago he decided to republish old fencing treatises, more for love of fencing than with any expectations to make a profit from it. Currently, they have 47 titles listed and the really great thing is that they start a new project as long as the expect to sell about 30 copies, which means that most clubs can get prints of their favourite fencing master, provided that there are good enough source material and the copyrights are in order. For new projects I have suggested a print of Freyfechter Andre Paurnfeindt‘s treatise of 1516 and a print of the edited Paurnfeindt of 1531 by Egonolff, as Fechtmeister Joachim Meyer was inspired by one of these, or both, and there are links to the works of Paul Hektor Mair as well. Furthermore, having checked three copies of Meyer, Sutor and DiGrassi, I think Fines Mundi need a bit of help with gaining access to really...

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The Secret Fechtbuch of the Little Fuggers.

The famous Augsburg family Fuggers are still considered to have been one of the wealthiest families in the world of all times, and since they were based in Augsburg, and also lived in Nuremberg and other well-known centres of fencing, it would only seem natural that at least some members of this family trained fencing in the Liechtenauer tradition. Here are some clues that might just reinforce this thought. The images below are taken from the book Das Ehrenbuch der Fugger (BSB Cgm.9460) from 1545-48. It depicts various members of the family and was probably commissioned by Anton Fugger,...

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