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Poem of the Pel

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Poem of the Pel
Knyghthode and Bataile
Royal Library No.20 B.XI Pel.jpg
"The Attack of the Pel, A.D. 1300" (1842)
Author(s) John Neele
Ascribed to Robert Parker
Patron Viscount Beaumont
Date 1458-1460
Genre Fencing manual
Language Middle English
Manuscript(s)
Concordance by Michael Chidester
Website Digital Index of Middle
English Verse

The so-called "Poem of the Pel" is a section of the 15th century English war book Knyghthode and Bataile ("Knighthood and Battle"), written between 1458 and 1460 by John Neele;[1] this treatise is itself an elaborate verse paraphrase of Flavius Vegetius Renatus' treatise on warfare De re militari (ca. 390). The poem has often been misattributed to Robert Parker due to its many similarities to Parker's contemporary work On Husbondrie. There are three known copies of the text, an archetype (the MS 243) and two 16th century copies (the Cottonian MS Titus A.xxiii and the Ashmole MS 45, part II).

The "Poem of the Pel" forms part of a longer passage in the text about individual martial training, one of the few texts from this period that treats this topic. The complete section is listed below; note that only the six stanzas beginning with the second on fol. 5v discuss the actual training of swordsmanship, and these are what most practitioners recognize as the 'poem'.

Treatise

Additional Resources

References

  1. Daniel Wakelin. "The Occasion, Author, and Readers of Knyghthode and Bataile". Medium Aevum, vol. 73 iss. 2. Fall 2004.