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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

The 2015 Wiktenauer fundraiser was a resounding success, far beyond anything we imagined when we started in 2009. It raised three times more than the extreme end of what we thought possible when we launched the campaign in January. This is amazing. However, that also means that we committed to fulfilling three times more perks than we had ever planned for. (In retrospect, the time frames I initially estimated were wildly optimistic even for the expected number of donors.) The fact that I decided to completely rewrite the gift books from scratch before sending them out also may have contributed to this. Thus, development in other areas of the wiki largely halted this year as I worked on arranging all of these gifts for our donors. Many new resources were added this year, of course, but they've all been connected to these projects—for example, Christian's excellent translation of Sigmund Schining ain Ringeck's long sword gloss, the writeup of die Blume des Kampfes, Colin Hatcher's translations from the Getty version of Fiore de'i Liberi's treatise, and the fresh new scans of Novati's facsimile of the Pisani Dossi version.

As the end of the year arrives, we're still working on fulfilling the rewards from the fundraising drive. Here's how we stand presently:

Perk Creation Delivery
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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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At the moment, we're still working on purchasing about half of the intended scans, and I'm early in the process of creating Fiore Volume II. Once the scans are purchased, we'll begin distributing to donors who selected that perk; I expect this to happen in the first three months of 2016. Once the second Fiore book is finished, we'll print Volumes I and II together and send those out as well; I originally intended to have this done by the end of the year, but an illness in the family has set me back by several weeks and a date in late January seems most likely.

I want to get these three books into the hands of as many fencers as possible, so donations for books will remain open on the Indiegogo page until the Fiore books are printed. Here's a sample of what the Fiore book looks like:

In any event, I thank you for your continued patience and support, and promise that the perks will be worth even this long wait.

Michael Chidester (Contact)
Wiktenauer Director
HEMA Alliance, WMAC
21:09, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
Featured article
Fiore Furlano de’i Liberi

This master with a forked beard appears sporadically throughout both the Getty and Pisani Dossi mss., and may be a representation of Fiore himself.
Born 1340s
Cividale del Friuli, Friuli
Died after 1420
France (?)
Relative(s) Benedetto de’i Liberi
Occupation
Nationality Friulian
Patron
  • Gian Galeazzo Visconti (?)
  • Niccolò III d’Este (?)
Influences
Influenced Philippo di Vadi
Genres
Language
Notable work(s) The Flower of Battle
Manuscript(s)
  • Codex LXXXIV (before 1436)
  • Codex CX (before 1436)
Wiktenauer
Compilation by
Michael Chidester

Fiore Furlano de’i Liberi de Cividale d’Austria (Fiore delli Liberi, Fiore Furlano, Fiore de Cividale d’Austria; ca. 1340s - 1420s) was a late 14th century knight, diplomat, and itinerant fencing master. He was born in Cividale del Friuli, a town in the Patriarchal State of Aquileia (in the Friuli region of modern-day Italy), the son of Benedetto and scion of a Liberi house of Premariacco. The term Liberi, while potentially merely a surname, more probably indicates that his family had Imperial immediacy (Reichsunmittelbarkeit), either as part of the nobili liberi (Edelfrei, "free nobles"), the Germanic unindentured knightly class which formed the lower tier of nobility in the Middle Ages, or possibly of the rising class of Imperial Free Knights. It has been suggested by various historians that Fiore and Benedetto were descended from Cristallo dei Liberi of Premariacco, who was granted immediacy in 1110 by Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich V, but this has yet to be proven.

Fiore wrote that he had a natural inclination to the martial arts and began training at a young age, ultimately studying with “countless” masters from both Italic and Germanic lands. He had ample opportunity to interact with both, being born in the Holy Roman Empire and later traveling widely in the northern Italian states. Unfortunately, not all of these encounters were friendly: Fiore wrote of meeting many “false” or unworthy masters in his travels, most of whom lacked even the limited skill he'd expect in a good student. He further mentions that on five separate occasions he was forced to fight duels for his honor against certain of these masters who he described as envious because he refused to teach them his art; the duels were all fought with sharp swords, unarmored except for gambesons and chamois gloves, and he won each without injury.

Writing very little on his own career as a commander and master at arms, Fiore laid out his credentials for his readers in other ways. He stated that foremost among the masters who trained him was one Johane dicto Suueno, who he notes was a disciple of Nicholai de Toblem; unfortunately, both names are given in Latin so there is little we can conclude about them other than that they were probably among the Italians and Germans he alludes to, and that one or both were well known in Fiore's time. He further offered an extensive list of the famous condottieri that he trained, including Piero Paolo del Verde (Peter von Grünen), Niccolo Unricilino (Nikolo von Urslingen), Galeazzo Cattaneo dei Grumelli (Galeazzo Gonzaga da Mantova), Lancillotto Beccaria di Pavia, Giovannino da Baggio di Milano, and Azzone di Castelbarco, and also highlights some of their martial exploits.

(Read more...)

Recently Featured:
Sigmund Schining ain RingeckJoachim MeÿerPaulus Hector MairDie Blume des Kampfes

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
XKdF Network.png
xKdF Network
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Schola Saint George


Associació Catalana d'Esgrima Antiga.png
Associació Catalana d'Esgrima Antiga
Boston Armizare.png
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
Sword to Sword.png
Sword to Sword - Kunst des Fechtens
Système d'Armes.png
Système d'Armes - New Orleans
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Tattershall School of Defense