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Welcome to the Wiktenauer!

The free library of Historical European Martial Arts books and manuscripts

Without books no one can be a good teacher nor even a good student of this art.
~ Master Fiore Furlano de’i Liberi, ca. 1405

Wiktenauer is an ongoing collaboration among researchers and practitioners from across the Western martial arts community, seeking to collect all of the primary and secondary source literature that makes up the text of historical European martial arts research and to organize and present it in a scholarly but accessible format. The Wiktenauer project started in 2009, later receiving sponsorship from the Historical European Martial Arts Alliance, and is named for Johannes Liechtenauer, grand master of the oldest known longsword fencing style; his tradition was also the best-documented of the early Modern era, the subject of many dozens of manuscripts and books over a period of more than three centuries. Here are a few basic categories of pages that are being constructed:

  • Master Pages host biographical information about each master, as well as the transcription and translation of his complete works. In cases of multiple copies of a master's work, the transcriptions are laid out side-by-side to facilitate the most accurate translation possible. To aid in interpretation, the writings will also be illustrated with images from the masters' work as available. A bibliography at the end of each page lists additional transcriptions, translations, and scans that are available in print. The exemplar for this category of pages is Fiore de'i Liberi. Ultimately, every master in all of the traditions of Western Martial Arts will have a dedicated page.
  • Treatise Pages host all relevant data on a book or manuscript, including description, provenance, table of contents (with links to the appropriate master pages), gallery of page scans, and bibliography of additional print resources. The exemplar for manuscripts is the Goliath Fechtbuch, while the exemplar for printed books is Ergrundung Ritterlicher Kunst der Fechterey. Ultimately, every text in the corpus of Historical European Martial Arts literature will have a dedicated page.
  • Technique Pages compile all of the relevant information from all of the relevant manuals on a particular technique, including transcriptions, translations, and images. There is also a section at the end of each page where groups may embed videos of their interpretations. The template for techniques is the Zornhaw. Ultimately, every technique mentioned in the manuals will have a dedicated page.
  • Weapon Pages provide information about how a specific weapon form is described and used in the treatises, data on surviving artifacts, an overview of archaeological research pertinent to a given weapon, and a comprehensive index of the treatises and writers that discuss each weapon.

The wiki also features pages for HEMA groups, pages for HEMA events, general information pages, and almost other topic of interest to the HEMA community you can think of. If you'd like to pitch in, simply request an account and consult How can I help?

Announcements

It's been a long road, but the 2015 Wiktenauer Fundraiser is finally, finally winding to a close. All perks are delivered apart from the scan bundles, and the last two sets of scans should arrive soon to close that out. As I stated in the beginning, the ebook-based perks were merely a "sneak peek", as it were, of documents that would eventually be released into the wild--Wiktenauer was founded on principles of information freedom, and as much as we've changed in the last six years, that is still central to our mission. With this in mind and with the help of our sister site HROARR, in the past few weeks I have made good on that pledge.

In the links below you can download the complete Johannes Liechtenauer and Fiore de'i Liberi ebooks. These are not the same as the ebooks I sent out last year, but rather are the revised versions used in recent special printings: the text has been updated with changes made by my translators after the books went to print (most notably in Cory and Christian's gloss translations and Kendra and Rebecca's Florius translation), and many typos and formatting errors have been corrected. Additionally, the images have been compressed to reduce the size of the files and make them more portable—you won't notice this on your screen, but it does mean that the PDFs won't print out at nearly the same quality as the Wiktenauer books (though those are still available at present through the Indiegogo page for anyone who wants to make a last-minute donation).

The Recital of the Chivalric Art of Fencing of the Grand Master Johannes Liechtenauer

The Flower of Battle of Master Fiore Friulano de’i Liberi

Enjoy!

Michael Chidester (Contact)
Wiktenauer Director
22 August 2016

P.S. And for your continued reference, here is the current status of the Fundraiser:

Perk Creation Delivery
Patches
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T-shirts
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Treatise scans
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Liechtenauer ebook
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Liechtenauer print book
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Fiore vol. 1 ebook
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Fiore vol. 1 print book
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Fiore vol. 2 ebook
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Fiore vol. 2 print book
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Fiore hardcover
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Featured article
Die Zettel
The Recital
Johannes Liechtenauer.png
Full Title A Recital on the Chivalric
Art of Fencing
Ascribed to Johannes Liechtenauer
Illustrated by Unknown
Date Fourteenth century (?)
Genre
Language Middle High German
Archetype(s) Hypothetical
Manuscript(s)
First Printed
English Edition
Tobler, 2010
Concordance by Michael Chidester
Translations

Johannes Liechtenauer (Hans Lichtenauer, Lichtnawer) was a German fencing master in the 14th or 15th century. No direct record of his life or teachings currently exists, and all that we know of both comes from the writings of other masters and scholars. The only account of his life was written by the anonymous author of the Nuremberg Hausbuch, one of the oldest texts in the tradition, who stated that "Master Liechtenauer learnt and mastered the Art in a thorough and rightful way, but he did not invent and put together this Art (as was just stated). Instead, he traveled and searched many countries with the will of learning and mastering this rightful and true Art." He may have been alive at the time of the creation of the fencing treatise contained in the Nuremberg Hausbuch, as that source is the only one to fail to accompany his name with a blessing for the dead.

Liechtenauer was described by many later masters as the "high master" or "grand master" of the art, and a long poem called the Zettel ("Recital") is generally attributed to him by these masters. Later masters in the tradition often wrote extensive glosses (commentaries) on this poem, using it to structure their own martial teachings. Liechtenauer's influence on the German fencing tradition as we currently understand it is almost impossible to overstate. The masters on Paulus Kal's roll of the Fellowship of Liechtenauer were responsible for most of the most significant fencing manuals of the 15th century, and Liechtenauer and his teachings were also the focus of the German fencing guilds that arose in the 15th and 16th centuries, including the Marxbrüder and the Veiterfechter.

Additional facts have sometimes been presumed about Liechtenauer based on often-problematic premises. The Nuremberg Hausbuch, often erroneously dated to 1389 and presumed to be written by a direct student of Liechtenauer's, has been treated as evidence placing Liechtenauer's career in the mid-1300s. However, given that the Nuremberg Hausbuch may date as late as 1494 and the earliest records of the identifiable members of his tradition appear in the mid 1400s, it seems more probable that Liechtenauer's career occurred toward the beginning of the 15th century. Ignoring the Nuremberg Hausbuch as being of indeterminate date, the oldest version of the Recital that is attributed to Liechtenauer was recorded by Hans Talhoffer in the MS Chart.A.558 (ca. 1443), which further supports this timeline.</noinclude>

(Read more…)

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Wiktenauer parent organizations

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Historical European Martial Arts Alliance

An educational non-profit organization providing a range of programs and services for its members and affiliate schools and clubs, as well as serving the wider HEMA community.

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Western Martial Arts Coalition

A pan-American network of researchers and instructors dedicated to the study of traditional European, American, and related fighting arts and martial traditions.

Wiktenauer sponsors

Each year Wiktenauer holds a two-week fundraising drive to cover our server fees and fund new projects and acquisitions. The following are the organizations are official sponsors of the 2015 fundraiser; a full list of donors can be viewed on the Contributors page.

Top three 2015 donors

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Kron Martial Arts
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xKdF Network
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Schola Saint George


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Associació Catalana d'Esgrima Antiga
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Boston Armizare
Fechtschule Victoria.png
Fechtschule Victoria
Longpoint HEMA Tournaments & Workshops.png
Longpoint: HEMA Tournaments & Workshops
Noble Science Academy.png
Noble Science Academy
Ottawa Swordplay.png
Ottawa Swordplay
Purpleheart Armoury.png
Purpleheart Armoury
Rhode Island Fencing Academy and Club.png
The Rhode Island Fencing Academy and Club
The School of European Swordsmanship.png
School of European Swordsmanship
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Sword to Sword - Kunst des Fechtens
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Système d'Armes - New Orleans
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Tattershall School of Defense