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Heinrich von Gunterrodt

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Heinrich von Gunterrodt
Born 1557
Lengefeld, Germany
Relative(s)
  • Hans von Gunterrodt (father)
  •  Elisabeth von der Linda (mother)
Patron Duke Johann Albrecht
Genres Fencing manual
Language New Latin
Notable work(s) De Veris Principiis Artis Dimicatoria (1579)
Manuscript(s) MS Dresd.C.15 (1579)

Heinrich von Gunterrodt (Henricus a Gunterrodt, Heinricus a Gunterroda) was a 16th century Saxon nobleman and fencing historian. He was born in Lengefeld in 1557 to Hans von Gunterrodt (1526-1566) and Elisabeth von der Linda (d. 1564), probably in Schloss Rauenstein. He received an extensive education befitting the child of nobility, learning both Greek and Latin as well as studying the law. He apparently studied at the University of Wittenberg but it is unclear if he ever earned a formal degree. He also studied fencing under Balthasar Cramonius of Pommern, and possibly also Johannes Herwart of Würtzburg, discoverer of the Walpurgis Fechtbuch.

In 1579 when he was 22, Gunterrodt wrote a manuscript treatise on swordsmanship entitled Sciomachia et hoplomachia ("Unarmed and Armed Combat"; MS Dresd.C.15). It offers his understanding of the history of fencing as well treating a number of different weapon combinations including grappling, dagger, saber, side sword (both single and with secondary weapons), spear, and poleaxe. An abridged version of the introduction to this treatise was published that same year under the title De Veris Principiis Artis Dimicatoria ("The True Principles of the Art of Fencing"). Sciomachia et hoplomachia is described as book one, but no book two ever seems to have emerged.

Gunderrodt's activities after 1579 are not currently known. Both versions of his treatise were dedicated to Johann VII, Duke of Mecklenberg. However, in 1579 Johann was controlled by a regency counil and would not rule in his own right until 1585. While his father Johann Albrecht had an interest in fencing and Mecklenberg would later become an important sponsor of the Veiterfechter, it is unknown if Gunterrodt's efforts ever earned him a court appointment.

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