Undiscovered Treasure? German paper mentions unlisted fencing Ms.

A passing reference in a German paper could indicate another fencing-related manuscript languishing in Berlin…

Baltimore and Berlin—A brief note in today’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, “Lieblingsstücke aus der Berliner Stabi” (Favorite Pieces from the Berlin State Library) might point at a thus far unknown manuscript relating to fencing:

“Diejenigen, die Frauen verleumden, seien kleine Geister, die mit Missgunst auf überlegene Frauen reagieren, hat die Schriftstellerin Christine de Pizan (1365 – nach 1430) einmal geschrieben. Und so passt es gut, dass Alice Schwarzer deren Buch ‘Vom Fechten und der Ritterschaft’ in handschriftlicher deutscher Übersetzung in den Händen hält.”

(Those who defame women are small spirits who react with envy to women’s superiority, wrote Christine Pizan (1365- after 1430) once. It’s fitting that [German feminist] Alice Schwarzer hold her book “Of Fencing and Knighthood” in manuscript German translation in her hands.)

We don’t know if this work indeed contains a contemporary description of fencing, but we’d like to know. Any FencingClassics reader in Berlin (we know there are several!) who could check out the Stabi and report back to us?

2 responses to “Undiscovered Treasure? German paper mentions unlisted fencing Ms.

  1. Rachel Kellett

    This is actually a German translation of an Old French work by Christine de Pisan called the ‘Livre de Faits d’Armes et de la Chevalerie’ (the Book of Deeds of Arms and of Chivalry). It’s relatively well-known, and there is an English translation by Sumner Willard and Charity Cannon Willard, University of Pennsylvania, 1999.

    As far as I can see, the book is on warfare rather than fencing, considering types of war (siege, sea battles etc), famous military figures such as Hannibal, Scipio and Vegetius, and legal/moral issues pertaining to warfare. I will check in the library tomorrow (Thursday 22 Sept) and let you know for sure.

  2. Christoph Amberger

    Thanks, Rachel—much appreciated!

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