Category Archives: 16th Century

The Kriegsbuch of Ludwig von Eyb

Von Eyb KriegsbuchWe may not be up-to-date any more on what old fencing and wrestling manuals are available and accessible by now. But we just found a careful transcription of von Eyb’s fencing and wrestling sections that deserve greater exposure. Here ya go… Continue reading

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Preview: The Codex Amberger and its predecessors

After many a year of absolutely nothing, the dining room table is now bending with old and new books, reams of print-outs, photographs, articles, bibliographies: We’ve finally started to work on the definitive monograph to the modest 15-page anonymous manuscript fragment we acquired back in 2005.

To sucker as many experts as we can into doing our work for us, we’ll be presenting some of the preliminary work here on FencingClassics… to elicit qualified response and criticism and, yes, lavish praise.

Let’s kick off the process by presenting Sheet 8r, which may prove to be a key element in properly placing the fragment in its proper lineage… Continue reading

Free Resources: The Wrestling Arts of Medieval Germany

We spare no cost to proselytize the combative arts of Europe to the larger web community.

But we’re also not above letting other people foot the bill. Like those 1%ers at Google, who’ve been scanning in old books like there’s no tomorrow. Today, we bring to you a title we’d have given our eye teeth for, had it been available as an antiquarian book just five years ago:

Dr. Karl Wassmannsdorff’s Die Ringkunst des deutschen MittelaltersContinue reading

Hooked on Phonics: Dr. “Fartin'” Luther and the Gun Wad Bible

This one has absolutely nothing to do with fencing and swords.

It only goes to show what can happen to a historical text if insufficient diligence is applied reading and transcribing it.

As in the following example from a spiffy catalog, sent to me by a reputable seller of expensive-as-sin antiquarian books… Continue reading

Secret History of the Sword: Dead Poets Society—Rencontre in Hog Lane, 1589

Despite their distinct dislike for things Catholic and South European, Elizabethans were suckers for Italian fencing techniques and concepts of honor and dueling.

Some of the most prominent figures of the cultural elite of the period engaged in Italian-style swordplay. Among them was the poet Christopher Marlowe, whom we’re catching on an Indian summer afternoon on the outskirts of London, sword in hand, and ready to engage in moderate mayhem… Continue reading

Research: Tudor Fencing vs. Tudor Soccer Fatalities

Despite the occasional death on the fencing strip, modern competitive fencing is a safe sport. Heck, more kids have died taking a Little League baseball on the chest than have even been nicked by a blade!

Despite a higher degree and frequency of serious injury or even fatality, it looks that 16th-century fencing practice (as opposed to the duel, we suppose) was a civilized affair compared to archery. But the most deadly of pastimes in Tudor England apparently was football…

Read on…

Location, Location, Location: What to keep in mind when choosing a place to fight

Jéann Daniel L’Ange was fencing master at the Electoral Palatinate court and at the University of Heidelberg. His Deutliche Erlärung der Adelichen und Ritterlichen freyen Fecht-Kunst of 1664 is an independently mastered take on the “Italian manner” of rapier fencing, containing many practical hints and recommendations from L’Ange’s own experiences.

Such as what to keep in mind when selecting a place to fight your opponent… Continue reading

All in a Day’s Work: Götz von Berlichingen

Courtly manners, valiant jousting, noble sword fights?

Sissy stuff!

Götz von Berlichingen’s daily routine looked rather like Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs when compared to Parzival.

Continue reading

Two-handed Sword: Germany, c. 1560

"Anbinden auch alsdann der Schnitt"

The official Catalog of German-language Illustrated Manuscripts of the Middle Ages, Vol. 38:, lists all known German Fencing and Wrestling Books on just 144 pages.

We’re ridiculously proud that 2 of those pages are dedicated to a fragment closely associated with the American HEMA movement…

Continue reading

Resources: Freelance Academy Press

FencingClassics’s aim is to spread the word of new developments in all aspects of swordplay across the different spheres of interest. Part of that means pointing our readers at promising new ventures that are NOT undertaken by Secret Archives Press.

Like the new line of books by Freelance Academy Press, run by some of our old companions in crime…. Continue reading