The Royal Armouries have teamed up with specialist publishers of military manuscripts Extraordinary Editions to produce a full-size facsimile of the manuscript in a limited edition. Each copy of the manuscript will come complete with a companion volume containing a full transcription and translation of every page and a new introduction by Dr Jeffrey L. Forgeng.
Royal Armouries manuscript I.33, also known as the Tower Fechtbuch or the Walpurgis Manuscript, is the oldest known manual of swordsmanship in the western canon and one of the oldest in the world. The manuscript comprises 64 pages of approximately 30 x 23 cm, each richly illustrated, depicting a priest instructing a scholar and describing, with text and verse, a system of combat with the sword and buckler (a small round shield). Beginning with a few remarks on the art and illustrations of the seven basic guards it then proceeds to depict some 38 combat sequences.
Dr Forgeng is the Paul S. Morgan Curator at the Higgins Armory Museum in Worchester, Massachusetts. He rediscovered the manuscript lying almost unknown in the Royal Armouries’ library at the Tower of London and set about translating it. He became the world’s foremost authority on the manuscript and his original work published in 2003 sold out quickly and has been sought after ever since. He now adds nearly a decade of research to that original text.
More about this wonderful facsimile book can be read in the broschure from the publisher Extraordinary Editions: I 33 – Illuminated Fight Book, the 2012 publication