About the making of the Codex Amberger, life changes, and Covid.
[The following is the transcript of a Zoom conversation between a long-time friend tasked with the unfortunate responsibilities of filling the pages of the annual association newsletter and FencingClassics’ head honcho Chris Amberger. Sorry, German only.]
The following passage is from the reminiscences of the German writer August Jäger (also called von Schlumb). Jäger’s claim to fame is the 1835 novel Felix Schnabel oder Der deutsche Student—the semi-autobiographic tale of an aimless, drifting German fraternity student, who duels and drinks his way through many a university city, and, having failed his exams, sees his only perspective in “becoming an infantryman in the Greek Army” (where, at the time, a not inconsiderable number of German ne’er-do-wells were assisting the rebel cause)…
Hidden among the stacks of a New York City book dealer, its existence unknown to even the most erudite scholars, the Codex Amberger was lost to history until its chance discovery in 2005. Originally thought to have been created by Albrecht Dürer, now attributed to the sphere of the Augsburg patrician Paulus Hector Mair, it may have been part of a much larger treatise whose remnants are yet to be found….
The good Juncker von A. called it “Lanzenstechen auf Schusters Rappen”*: The back leg does not begin to straighten until the arm s fully extended. Since this reduces the tip speed to that of the body, it helps when the opponent (a) doesn’t move and (b) doesn’t attendmpt to parry. But we like the follow-up to the mask, even though it is useless in foil fencing.
this idiomatic expression literally translates as “lance-running on shoemaker’s black horse”; shoemaker’s black horse is, of course, a pair of shoes. Pedestrian jousting, in other words.