Visualizing the Fight Book Tradition: Collected Martial Knowledge in the Thun-Hohenstein Album, by Chassica Kirchhoff - APD6/1(2018)

pp. 3-45

Abstract

The Thun-Hohenstein album, long-known as the Thun’sche Skizzenbuch, is a bound collection of 112 drawings that visualize armoured figures at rest and in combat, as well as empty armours arrayed in pieces. The collection gathers drawings that span the period from the 1470s to around 1590. While most of the images were executed in Augsburg during the 1540s, the album’s three oldest drawings date to the late-fifteenth century. Two of these works, which form a codicological interlude between the first and second quires, find parallels in the illustrations of contemporaneous martial treatises. This article traces the pictorial lineages of these atextual images through comparative analyses of fight books produced in the German-speaking lands, and considers how the representational strategies deployed in martial treatises inflected the ways that book painters and their audiences visualized the armoured body. This exploration situates a manuscript from which one of the drawings derives, Peter Falkner’s Art of Knightly Defense, now in Vienna, within the Augsburg book painters’ workshops that would later give rise to the Thun album. Finally, this study considers how the transmission and representation of martial knowledge in late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Augsburg contributed to the later depictions of armoured bodies that populate the album.

Keywords:

Thun-Hohenstein album; fight books; Fechtbuch; codicology; manuscript studies; book painting; comparative analysis; image and memory; collecting

The art of fighting under glass: Review of museum exhibitions displaying fight books, 1968-2017, by Daniel Jaquet - APD6/1(2018)

pp. 47-62

Abstract

A growing body of research on fight books and historical European martial arts has appeared in academic circles over the last fifteen years. It has also broken through the doors of patrimonial institutions. From curiosities in exhibitions about knighthood, to dedicated temporary exhibitions about historical European martial arts, the fight books have received more and more attention from museum professionals. This article attempts to present an exhaustive list of fight books displayed in museum exhibitions over the last fifty years. It then proposes a critical view about how and why they were displayed from the perspective of the curators, based on a review of the exhibition catalogues.

Keywords:

Museum; fight book; exhibition; fencing

Combat Training for Horse and Rider in the Early Middle Ages, by Jürg Gassmann - APD6/1(2018)

pp. 63-98

Abstract

The cavalry horse, tactics and training in Western Europe – the Euro-pean provinces of the Roman Empire of the West and the Frankish Empire – du-ring the Early Middle Ages (c. 500-1000) are still subject to many myths in both popular media and academic literature. Source material is admittedly thin, yet it is specific enough to allow us to correct many of these misconceptions and outright errors.

The article initially summarises the current state of knowledge on the war horse of the period, by reference to the archaeological record. It then reviews the cavalry’s battlefield tactics, derives the skill level required to execute the manoeuvres described in the sources, and analyses where and how this training could have been provided.

The information gleaned provides an insight into the skills and expertise neces-sary to achieve the requisite sophisticated level of horsemanship. We shall argue that these imply a considerable investment in organisational infrastructure, per-sonnel and institutional memory, which has so far not received much academic attention, and has wider implications for our view of the era.

Keywords:

Cavalry; horses; horsemanship; tactics; military; training; Franks

On the Art of Fighting: A Humanist Translation of Fiore dei Liberi’s Flower of Battle Owned by Leonello D’Este, by Ken Mondschein - APD6/1(2018)

pp. 99-135

Abstract

The author presents a study of Bibliothèque National de France MS Latin 11269, a manuscript that he argues was associated with the court of Leonello d’Este and which represents an attempt to “fix” or “canonize” a vernacular work on a practical subject in erudite Latin poetry. The author reviews the life of Fiore dei Liberi and Leonello d’Este and discusses the author’s intentions in writing, how the manuscript shows clear signs of Estense associations, and examines the manuscript both in light of its codicological context and in light of humanist activity at the Estense court. He also presents the evidence for the book having been in the Estense library. Finally, he examines the place of the manuscript in the context of the later Italian tradition of fencing books. A complete concordance is presented in the appendix.

Keywords:

Leonello d’Este; humanism; Fiore dei Liberi; Latin literature; Renaissance humanism; translation

Additional Transmissions of Hundsfeld and Lignitzer Dagger Teachings, by Bartlomiej Walczak and Bartosz Starko - APD6/1(2018)

pp. 137-149

Abstract

Additional witnesses containing fragments of Martin Hundsfeld and Andre Lignitzer’s dagger teachings were located. These teachings were part of other anonymous dagger texts. Five of Lignitzer’s plays and three Hundsfeld’s can be found in the works of Gregor Erhart (MS E.1939.65.354), Lienhart Sollinger (Cgm 3712) and Paulus Hector Mair (C.94, Codex 10825). A synoptic comparison of these witnesses with other representatives points to the existence of at least two other manuscripts – one that was base for Erhart and Sollinger, and the other being the base for Paulus Hector Mair’s works. Additionally, the analysis seems to suggest that the Proto-Erhart was based on the original proto-manuscript, not transmitted through other known sources. Interestingly, Erhart seems to be a faithful copy of its progenitor, even though it contains a very disorganized text, where dagger techniques are mixed with other weapons. The article contains transcriptions as well as updated stemmae codicum for these traditions.

Keywords:

Andre Lignitzer; Martin Hundsfeld; Dagger; Gregor Erhart; Paulus Hector Mair; Lienhart Sollinger

Do you even Zornhaw? A set-theoretic Approach to HEMA reconstruction, by Maciej Talaga and Szymon Talaga - APD6/1(2018)

pp. 151-182

Abstract

The present paper is focused on proposing a positive solution in regard to HEMA reconstruction methodology. Firstly, it starts by identifying main factors behind difficulties in communicating, validating, and evaluating competing interpretations (or motion reconstructions) among different scholars and practitioners. Then, principles of the set theory as applied to the humanities are presented and explained through examples related to the HEMA studies. This is followed by a description of a proposed methodological framework, called the Set-theoretic Method, which has been devised so as to be applicable on its own to the whole process of interpretation (motion and tactical reconstruction) or as a supplement to the previously published ADVISE method, where it acts as a bias-reducing procedure, especially during comparative stage (i.e. the ‘External Input’ stage in ADVISE). Finally, the method is illustrated with a case study – a comparative analysis of the Zornhaw glosses in the ‘Codex Döbringer’, ‘Codex Danzig’, and ‘Codex Ringeck’ followed by exploration of ‘Flos Duellatorum’ by Fiore de’i Liberi in search for an analogy for Zornhaw.
Keywords: research methodology; fight books; set theory; reconstruction; interpretation.

A new historical combat school ? the Convention of the Sword Players, by Pierre-Henry Bas - APD6/1(2018)

pp. 183-199

Abstract

For many years, various associations in France have been working on a new way to practice their historical martial hobbies with swords. Free sparring and competition have been and always will be good tools, but from a technical and tactical standpoint they are maybe quite distant from the original sources and historical documents. Some techniques and other material from martial arts manuals and treatises are often neglected or considered to be too academic. In fact, if the idea of martial opposition is present, we cannot say that today’s practices are a rebuilding of any historical practices, whether playful or serious. Based on this observation, my doctoral work, in collaboration with the REGHT association1, has led us to propose a new school of practices based on a new reading of martial arts manuals. The project is aimed at anybody who uses a bladed weapon as part of their studies of historical fencing, principally in the form of sparring and friendly competitions. Its name: the Convention of the Sword Players.
Keywords – fencing, rules, convention

Fighting with the Longsword: Modern-day HEMA Practices (Jack and Jürg Gassmann and Dominique LeCoultre) - APD5/2(2017)

pp. 115-133

Abstract

This article is based on the talk presented on 27th November 2016 in the course of the Journées d’études sur le costume et les simulateurs d’armes dans les pratiques d’arts martiaux anciens. The talk itself involved practical demonstrations and interaction with other presentations given at the event; this article does not purport to be a transcript of the presentation, but elaborates on the key themes of the presentation: The objectives of HEMA as a modern practice, and their relationship to what we know about the historical practice of the European martial arts in the Middle Ages, including physical fitness, fencing techniques and tactical awareness, based on the Fechtbücher extant. A key element of the discussion involved a comparison between the objectives of and drivers behind historical and modern tournament rule-sets.

Keywords:

Historical European Martial Arts; Fechtbuch; Middle Ages; Longsword; Sport; Competition

Constriction – Construction, a short history of specialised wearing apparel for athletic activities (S. Anthore-Baptiste and N. Baptiste) - APD5/2(2017)

pp. 73-95

Abstract

During the twentieth century, clothing permits a real freedom of bodily movement. However, when examining past athletic activity, we must take into account the period approach to the body: liberty of movement is at the same time controlled by morality, gestures and clothing. The French term “tenue” initially referred to behaviour, but since the end of the eighteenth century concerns the manner of dressing, and later by extension, the “dignity of conduct”. In the past times concerned with “sporting” activities such as the HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts), physical appearance is affected by rules of etiquette imposed by morality and civility. From the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century, each period offers a different overview of the dress standards in relation to the different approaches to corporal identity, and the constriction first necessary for military activities becomes indivisible from the moral and physical construction. As a practitioner of the 21st century, the question raises about our relationship, not only with our bodies but also with past cultures. As demonstrated by some concrete examples, if it is desired to fully approach the ancient practices, it is therefore necessary to also adopt the garment, in the same way as the accessories.

Keywords:

constraint; construction; clothing; morality; body; dance; fencing; arming clothes

Fighting in women’s clothes The pictorial evidence of Walpurgis in Ms. I.33 (Julia Gräf) - APD5/2(2017)

pp. 47-71

Abstract

Ms. I.33 is not only the oldest of the known fencing treatises in European context, it is also the only one showing a woman fighting equally with contemporary men. The author presents her research about the garments this female fencer wears, including her shirt, dress and overdress, hairstyle and footwear. Special consideration is given to the questions whether Walpurgis wears a belt, the length and hem circumference of her garments as well as the methods of draping them in the way depicted. The results of the analysis are compared with contemporary pictorial and archaeological sources of the early 14th century. Some personal insights gathered by the author while fighting in this kind of clothes shed light on the possibilities of moving without being disturbed by them. The clothes and hairstyle worn by Walpurgis, give clues about her social status and thus help to understand the context and dating of the whole manuscript.

Keywords:

Ms. I.33; Sword and Buckler; 13th and 14th century dress; female fencer

Arming shoes of the fifteenth century (Marquita Volken) - APD5/2(2017)

pp. 25-45

Abstract

Military footwear for the fifteenth century includes arming shoes worn under sabatons. Written sources suggest arming shoes and footwear used for fighting were ordinary shoes adapted for the purpose. Archaeological footwear was examined for signs of such modifications. Medieval shoe technology is presented, showing the range of footwear and its uses and gait biomechanics. Based on experiences from re-enactors wearing armours, medieval shoe styles are discussed for appropriateness as arming shoes. The question of why medieval military footwear shows no purposed development is addressed.

Keywords:

Arming shoes; fifteenth century shoe fashion; footwear technology; turn-shoes; pattens; repair soles; gait biomechanics

The armour of the common soldier in the late middle ages. Harnischrödel as sources for the history of urban martial culture (Regula Schmid) - APD5/2(2017)

pp. 7-24

Abstract

The designation Harnischrödel (rolls of armour) lumps together different kinds of urban inventories. They list the names of citizens and inhabitants together with the armour they owned, were compelled to acquire within their civic obligations, or were obliged to lend to able-bodied men. This contribution systematically introduces Harnischrödel of the 14th and 15th c. as important sources for the history of urban martial culture. On the basis of lists preserved in the archives of Swiss towns, it concentrates on information pertaining to the type and quality of an average urban soldier’s gear. Although the results of this analysis are only preliminary – at this point, it is not possible to produce methodologically sound statistics –, the value of the lists as sources is readily evident, as only a smattering of the once massive quantity of actual objects has survived down to the present time.

Keywords:

armour; common soldier; source; methodology; urban martial culture; town; middle ages

Interpretation of Fiore dei Liberi’s Spear Plays (Jakub Dobi) - APD5/1(2017)

Hands on section: pp. 131-151

Abstract

How did Fiore Furlano use a spear? What is the context, purpose, and effect of entering a duel armed with a spear? My article- originally a successful thesis work for an Ars Ensis Free Scholler title- describes in detail what I found out by studying primary sources (Fiore’s works), related sources (contemporary and similar works), and hands-on experience in controlled play practice, as well as against uncooperative opponents.
In this work I cover the basics- how to hold the spear, how to assume Fiore’s stances, how to attack, and how to defend yourself. I also argue that the spear is not, in fact, a preferable weapon to fence with in Fiore’s system, at least not if one uses it in itself. It is however, a reach advantage that has to be matched, and thus the terribly (mutually) unsafe situation of spear versus spear occurs. As a conclusion, considering context and illustrations of spear fencing, I argue that the spear is only to be considered paired with other weapons, like dagger, or sword. In fact, following Fiore’s logic, we can assume he used the spear to close the distance to use a weapon he feels more in control with.

Keywords – Fiore, Furlano, Liberi, Italian, duel, spear, Ars Ensis

The plays with the axe in armour of the Anonimo Bolognese (1510-1515) (Daniel Jaquet) - APD5/1(2017)

Hands on section, pp. 109-130

Abstract

This contribution examines an anonymous text (Di Accia armato di tutt’arme ) addressing the handling of the axe for armoured combat, compiled in a two-volume anonymous manuscript collection of the beginning of the 16th c. This collection is of particular interest since it predates the “classical” authors of the Bolognese school of the 16th c. and marks a turning point from an earlier late Medieval tradition. Moreover the inclusion of a text dedicated to armour fighting is equally interesting since this kind of combat tends to fade away from the technical register of the next Bolognese authors.
The manuscrip is shortly described and the text is presented in a diplomatic edition, with a translation and a reproduction of the manuscript in appendices. The content is described and analysed from a technical and a historical point of view, allowing comparison with other similar treatises, identification of the arms and armour, and discussion of the context of application.
Keywords – Anonimo Bolognese, axe, chivalric game, armoured fencing,
Historical European Martial Arts