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11 May 2018

11th May 2018 would mark the 68th birthday of Dr. Patri Pugliese, the most important person in the history of modern HEMA that you've never heard of. I will go so far as to say that there is no one in this world who contributed more to the spread and development of the HEMA movement, and especially of HEMA in America, than did Patri.

For himself, he was a passionate student of both historical combat (not just fencing, but also drill with pike and musket) and historical dance, and founded or participated in groups dedicated to those activities around New England. Most recognizably to readers today, he co-founded the Higgins Armory Sword Guild, which not only provided online resources and public classes and demonstrations for over a decade, but also supported his friend and fellow instructor Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng in his translation and interpretation efforts (leading to his publication of I.33, Meyer, and others).

But Patri's more profound legacy is fencing manuals. Throughout the '90s and continuing until his death, he distributed a staggering catalog of fencing treatises. This was before (and while) the consumer computing revolution changed everything&mspace;he was physically mailing sheaves of paper, loose or stapled together. Some were fencing manuals that he photocopied at local research libraries, others were printed from microfilm ordered from museums. He was the first person in the community to do this, and he charged only the cost of printing and postage, or in some cases a slight premium to recoup the initial purchase.

Of this, he simply wrote "I regard myself as a student of the sword rather than a publisher, and am making these manuals available to support research in this area. It would, of course, be selfish and inconsistent with the honorable traditions associated with fencing to do otherwise."

I will include a partial list of Patri's catalog below. As the internet became more established, most of these were scanned and placed online (with his blessing&mspace;he was happy to increase their accessibility). If you ever accessed black and white scans of any of these texts from sites like Bill Wilson's homepage, the ARMA site, the Raymond J. Lord Collection, or the Higgins Sword Guild, then you have likely benefited from Patri's work. Wiktenauer itself could not have grown so quickly or easily without these scans, some of which we still use.

I often joke that our patron saint is Paulus Hector Mair, the shady 16th century Augsburg patrician who embezzled public funds to cover the cost of collecting fencing manuals and throwing lavish parties.

It is Patri, however, who embodied our highest aspirations of disseminating knowledge and resources as widely and freely as possible, and thereby pushing the bounds of our understanding of historical fencing traditions.

Patri Pugliese died very suddenly in 2007, eleven years ago. One of my greatest HEMA regrets is that even though I spent considerable time in Massachusetts during the years between 2001, when I started, and his death, I never crossed paths with him.

Eleven years is an eternity in the world of HEMA. It is enough time that his name is no longer familiar to most teachers and students of historical fencing, but if anyone of us deserves to be remembered, he does.

So raise a glass to Patri, my friends. He was a pioneer, not just of the study of fencing, but of the sharing of it. The edifice of knowledge that we have constructed in HEMA today was built on the materials he offered us, freely.

And then tell your students about this man to whom we all owe a great debt.

(Read more)


Here is a catalog of treatises Patri Pugliese was distributing as of January, 1999; I can't find a more recent list, but this is augmented in a few places by other titles that people have mentioned receiving from him:

- Talhoffer. Fechtbuch (1467) (Primarily illustrations, missing 5 plates of 270.) - Achille Marozzo. Opera nova (Mutinae:1536) - Camillo Agrippa. Trattato di Scientia d’Arme (Rome:1553) - Giacomo di Grassi, Ragione di Adoprar sicuramente l'Arme (Venice:1570) - Henry de St. Didier. Traicte... sur l'Espee Seule (Paris:1573) - Angelo Viggiani. Lo Schermo (Vinitia:1575) - G. A. Lovino. Traite d'Escrime [c.1580] (Mostly illustrations, transcribed Ms. text in Italian) - Bertrand de Loque. Discourses of Warre and Single Combat (London:1591) - Giacomo di Grassi. His True Arte of Defence (London:1594) - Vincentio Saviolo. His Practise, in Two Books (London:1595) - George Silver. Paradoxes of Defence (London:1599) - Joachim Meyer, Gründtliche Beschreibung… Fechtens (Augsburg:1600) - Salvator Fabris. De Lo Schermo overo Scienza d'Arme (Copenhaven:1606) - Ridolfo Capo Ferro. Gran Simulacro dell'Arte Edell'uso della Scherma (Siena:1610) - Joseph Swetnam. The Schoole of Defence (London:1617) - Joach. Koppen. Newer diskurs...Kunst des Fechtens (Magdeburg:1619) - Nicoletto Giganti. Escrime nouvelle ou... diverses manieres de parer et de fraper d’espee (Frankfurt:1619) - G. A. Pallas Armata, the Gentlemans Armorie (London:1639) - F. A. Marcelli. Regole della Scherma (Rome:1686) - Le Sieur de Liancour. Le Maitre D'Armes ou L'Exercice de L'Epee Seule (Amsterdam:1692) - Bondi di Mazo. La Spada Maestra (Venice:1696) - Nicolas Tamariz. Cartilla, y Luz en la Verdadera Destreza (Saville:1696) (No illustrations) - Monsieur L'Abbat. The Art of Fencing, or, the Use of the Small Sword (Dublin:1734) - P. J. F. Girard. Traite des Armes (The Hague:1740) - A. Lonnergan. The Fencer's Guide (London:1771) - John Godfrey. A Treatise Upon the Useful Science of Defence (London:1797) - John Taylor. The Art of Defence on Foot (London:1804) - Thomas Mathewson. Fencing Familiarized; or, A New Treatise on the Art of the Scotch Broad Sword (n.p.:1805) - La Boessiere. Traite de l'Art des Armes (Paris:1818) - Le Capitaine Ghersi. Traite sur l'Art de Faire des Armes (London:1830) - W. Roux. Anweisung zum Hiebfechten (Jena:1840) - Gomard (A.J.J.Possellier). La Theorie de l'Escrime (Paris:1845) - Gomard (A.J.J.Possellier). L'Escrime a la Baionnette ou Ecole du Fantassin (Paris:1847) - Henry C. Wayne. The Sword exercise Arranged for Military Instruction (Washington,D.C.:1850) - Richard Burton. A Complete System of Bayonet Exercise (London:1853) - Henry Angelo. Bayonet Exercise, New Edition (London: 1860) - George Chapman. Foil Practice; With a Review of the Art of Fencing (London:1861) - M. W. Berriman. The Militiaman's Manual and Sword-play (N.Y.:1861) - G. B. McClellan. Manual of Bayonet Exercise (Philadelphia:1862) - J. C. Kelton. A New Manual of the Bayonet (New York:1862) - A. J. Corbesier. Squad Instruction for the Broadsword (Phila.:1869) - Cordelois. Lecons d'Armes (Paris:1872) - A. J. Corbesier. Small Sword Exercise (Washington:1873) - Richard Burton. A New System of Sword Exercise for Infantry (London:1876) - J. M. Waite. Lessons in Sabre, Singlestick, Sabre & Bayonet, and Sword Feats (London: c.1881) - H. A. Colmore Dunn. Fencing (London:1989) - Baron de Bazancourt. Secrets of the Sword (London:1900) - U. S. Army. Provisional Regulations for Sabre Exercise (Washington:1907) - Sir Richard Burton. The Sentiment of the Sword (London:1911) - Egerton Castle. Schools and Masters of Fence (London:1892) - Carl A. Thimm. A Complete Bibliography of Fencing and Duelling (London:1896)

~ Insquequo omnes gratuiti fiant ~

Michael Chidester (Contact)
Wiktenauer Director
11 May 2018

22 August 2016

Greetings, Scholars,

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
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Fiore vol. 2 ebook
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Fiore hardcover
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27 December 2015‎

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: (updated 4 August)

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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Fiore vol. 1 ebook
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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)

21 February 2015‎

Fundraiser announcement final.png

Where to begin. In 2014, we were blown away when we raised $3612, over seven times our initial goal. This year, Richard and I talked about it in December and we thought that we could probably double that total if we actually put in the time to plan and prepare properly. We set up a soft goal of $1500 (because setting a goal that you're not 100% sure you can achieve is a rookie crowdfunding mistake), but our real goal was the utterly ridiculous prospect of trebling last year's total, paired with the equally ridiculous prospect of paying for the hugely-expensive scans of the elusive Copenhagen Fabris manuscript (Ms. GKS 1868/r).

And then you, gentle readers, strolled up and with utter—even contemptuous—ease you shattered that goal over your collective knee.

Our fundraising total as of this afternoon is the truly remarkable sum of $22,710. This puts us in competition with the Pro-Gauntlet for being the second highest-grossing crowdfunding project in our little community's history (Guy Windsor's Audatia game being the untouchably high number one).

Needless to say, this sum far exceeds anything that I planned for or even hoped for. Even so, let me give you some idea of what will happen with it.

First, of course, $1500 will be set aside to cover our server costs. A reserve fund equal to one year's expenses will also be set aside for a rainy day.

Second, we'll be creating and distributing swag. That's approximately 325 patches, 150 t-shirts, 80 print books, and innumerable scans and e-books. I sort of forgot to include shipping costs in our calculations initially, but with this fundraising total I'm sure we can make it work. The anticipated time-frames were listed in the campaign pitch, and range across the next three months. The swag should come out to between a quarter and a third of the fundraising total (plus shipping).

Third, we'll begin purchasing the scans from our stretch goals. The Scott Library got back to me and said they wouldn't scan the Glasgow Fechtbuch for us, and I expect the same answer from the Morgan Library, so Unannounced Projects I & II default to Stretch Goal 9 changing from Choose Your Own Adventure to All of the Above. Here's our list:

At the beginning of the year, the scans worked out to cost about $6000. We'll try to get the scans from institutions in the eurozone purchased as soon as possible to take advantage of the weak Euro, and the others we'll get as soon as may be. It will, however, probably take me the better part of the year to prepare the scans for release online.

Fourth, the HEMA Alliance general council wants to use some of the funds to send me to events and spread the good word of manual research. There are lots of rules about what non-profits can and can't pay for, but they have a few ideas figured out. If you run an event and have or wish you had presentations about treatises, drop me a line this year—I have a several that are pretty polished at this point.

Fifth… I don't have a fifth yet. Really, this is more funding than we ever thought we'd have. I promise that none of it will go into the HEMAA Zeppelin fund, and we'll try to use it as wisely as possible to continue bringing the treatises to the masses. Doubtless new treatises will come to light over the next year and new scans will become available, and we'll be there to take full advantage when that happens.

Thank you very much for all your generosity in helping us keep the Wiktenauer going, and to keep it growing. Insquequo omnes gratuiti sint.

Michael Chidester (Contact)
Wiktenauer Director
HEMA Alliance, WMAC
17:26, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

09 February 2015

By the Oberste Gerechten Fechter! We just passed $11,500, which is over triple our total from last year, and the end of our current stretch goals. The Copenhagen Fabris (Ms. GKS 1868/r) will be ours!

We still have 11 days to go, but it will take me a few days to determine more stretch goals. I've got a few irons in the fire that I have yet to hear back on, and I want a definite go/no go before I abandon them in favor of the obvious choice (the other two manuscripts mentioned in #9, Cgm 3712 and Reichsstadt Nr. 82). Of course, Richard and the rest of the Alliance general council seem to think that some of the money should be set aside and used to defray the cost of my travel expenses as I spread the good word at events, but given the choice between free air fare and getting more manual scans, I'm inclined to choose the scans. It's not as though I get more than two or three speaking invitations a year anyway.

As before, be advised that another shortcoming of the Indiegogo platform that we've discovered is that you cannot increase a donation once made. Over the next week we'll be highlighting various of our perks; if you'd like to get a higher-level perk than the one you ordered, you will have to place a second donation to make up the difference (e.g. to upgrade from Donor III, which is $25, to Interpreter I, which is $50, you would need to make a second $25 donation). After the fundraiser ends, we'll verify with each of you which perk you want, and you'll be able to choose any perk that your total donations qualify you for.

This also applies if you mistakenly selected the wrong perk when you donated. (Caps on books will still be enforced though, since they're expensive and difficult to produce and we only plan to make about a hundred; slots remaining after the fundraiser will be allotted to people changing their perk in the order in which the original donation was received.)

As I said, feel free to keep the donations going, but I won't have new stretch goals online until Monday at the earliest. For now, let's just take a beat to consider everything we've already achieved.

~ Michael Chidester (Contact) 18:59, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

04 February 2015

And with a sixth sponsor locked in, we've now exceeded $8500! We will be purchasing one of the three manuals discussed in the last announcement, still to be determined (the Hague Fabris, the Munich Sollinger, or Antonius Rast). Way to close out the first week strong, donors!

We're now on to our final stretch goal, scans of the beautiful and important manuscript by Salvator Fabris, currently in Copenhagen (Ms. GKS 1868/r). This elaborate three-volume rapier treatise was completed by Fabris in 1601 for Johan Frederik, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp, shortly before he left the ducal court to serve as fencing master to King Christianus IV of Denmark. It's unclear based on the descriptions available whether this is a presentation copy of the book he would publish in 1606, or if it was a prototype for that book (which implies the possibility of additional teachings that were dropped from the finished work).

This manuscript has thus far been unavailable to students of HEMA due to the extreme expense of getting it scanned. Even for the average resolution scans that we're ordering the Royal Library is asking 15,700 dkk (roughly $2,500). The 300 dpi archival quality scans that we initially asked for would come at a princely sum of over $16,000, sadly out of our reach for the foreseeable future. But even at 96 dpi, the scans will be a treasure that we'd love to have in our collection.

If we can make it to $11,500 the scans will be ours! So please keep spreading the word! Insquequo omnes gratuiti sint

~ Michael Chidester (Contact) 19:41, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

01 February 2015

After holding steady at a frustrating $6395 for like six hours, we've finally crossed the threshold and will be acquiring scans of Hans Talhoffer's 1443 Fechtbuch (Ms. Chart. A. 558). So, good news.

And now for the bigger news. After some deliberation, I've decided to change course mid-stream. It hasn't set right with me that our two biggest manuscript expenses should both be manuscripts of the same treatise. Obviously the Copenhagen Fabris is a masterpiece that we would love to lay hands on; given that, I'm going to open up the ninth stretch goal.

Of the several manuscripts that I inquired about in the leadup to the fundraiser but was not able to line up in time, two stand out as costing roughly the same as the Hague Fabris. The post-fundraiser questionnaire will include a question about which of the three manuscripts you the donors would like us to purchase. Here are the options:

  1. The Hague version of Salvator Fabris' famous rapier treatise (MS KB.73.J.38), as previously planned. This manuscript was written some time before 1609 and contains an incomplete version of Fabris work, but has lovely hand-painted illustrations.
  2. A manuscript by Freifechter Lienhart Sollinger entitled "Maister Liechtenawers Kunstbuech" (Cgm 3712). This extensive 16th century manuscript contains treatises by a variety of masters in the Liechtenauer tradition, and concludes with a presentation of Jörg Wilhalm Hutter's 1520s treatises and a series of uncaptioned sword and buckler illustrations from the quasi-I.33 series. Black and white scans are currently available, but we'd love to see it in color.
  1. The fencing manual of Master of the Long Sword and three-time Captain of the Marxbrueder Fencing Guild Antonius Rast (Reichsstadt "Schätze" Nr. 82). Possibly based on Codex Wallerstein (with revised text) as well as a variety of other writings, this gorgeously-illustrated manuscript is one we'd dearly love to have. In fact, it's been on our list for years now, but previously we didn't have the funding and last year the Augsburg State Archive was undergoing renovations and had put a freeze on new orders. If this option is chosen, we'll order the scans as soon as they conclude.

We can buy one of these sets of scans if we reach $8,500. Please keep the donations coming! Insquequo omnes gratuiti sint.

~ Michael Chidester (Contact) 05:12, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

27 January 2015

My name is Michael Chidester. I started with HEMA in 2001, and since 2009 I've been working on a project that should be familiar to all of you, the Wiktenauer (you can blame that name on Jake Norwood). Over the past five years and change we've become the unofficial library of historical European martial arts treatises from the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries, and we're currently making inroads into the 17th. If you've missed out so far, check out that link before going further.

We initially set out to compile all of the free transcriptions and translations that were scattered around the web, and were primarily concerned with the tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer, but our scope expanded as time passed and we now maintain the largest and most complete catalog of HEMA manuscripts from all regions and languages that you'll find anywhere, including historical data, scans, transcriptions, and of course translations. (We also index books, of course, but there are currently fewer of them since we're working chronologically and books don't become an issue until the 16th century.)

Maintaining and expanding this project is a volunteer effort that consumes many hundreds of hours a year, both from me and sysadmin Christian Trosclair, but hosting it is also quite expensive—and the costs increase each year. We initially funded it out of pocket, and then in 2011 convinced the HEMA Alliance to cover our costs.

Last year, we decided to try something new and held a fundraising drive. I hoped to raise $500 to cover hosting and registration, but the response was overwhelming. Ultimately we raised $3,611.93, over seven times what we asked for. We were completely unprepared for this level of funding, but I quickly started drawing up battle plans.

Where once paying for the digitization of manuscripts and books involved either finding a wealthy benefactor or passing the hat around and convincing HEMA researchers to pool funds, for the first time in 2014 we were able to begin unilaterally commissioning scans and getting permission to host them directly on the wiki.

Our acquisitions over the course of the last year included:

This year we're hoping to see an even greater outpouring of support because we have a number of very interesting projects lined up.

02 January 2015

Hroarr-hema-scholar-awards-2014-02.jpg

The jury for the HEMA Scholar Awards 2014 has finally reached a decision on what nominees will be awarded for their work and dedication in 2013. Here are their choices and motivations.

First of all however, as the guy behind the scenes in this, I would like to thank the jury, the amazingly generous sponsors and the whole historical fencing community and their nominations. I would also especially like to mention the blacksmith and cutler behind the new prize we are introducing this year for the HEMA Scholar Awards; Dr. Fabrice Cognot. He has both designed and by hand created this beautiful iron and laurel twig.

Laurel wreaths of course were associated with the Greek god Apollo, the Sun, and were given to the winners of the Pythian Games that were dedicated to him. It was also given to fencers, the Children of the Sun, in the Renaissance for great display of skill and knowledge and this prize is given in recognition of the same. Last year’s winners will also receive these prizes retroactively. With that said, we finally move on to the jury’s decisions! Congratulations all!

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Mr. Tom Leoni, The Order of the Seven Hearts, USA
  • Best Researcher: Mr. Reinier van Noort, School voor Historische Schermkunsten / Oslo KDF, Netherlands / Norway
  • Best Researcher: Mr. Jherek Swanger, The Tattershall School of Defence, USA
  • Best Instructor: Mr. Keith Farrell & Mr. Alex Bourdas, Academy of Historical Arts, Scotland
  • Best Rookie Researcher: Ms. Daria Izdebska, Academy of Historical Arts, Scotland

The jury and the HROARR administration wish to congratulate all awardees and all nominees and thank them for their amazing work! Without researchers there would be no HEMA! Thank you also to all of the sponsors who have made all this possible! Your generosity is incredible and we love you for it! Wishing a happy New Year and a fantastic HEMA 2015 to everyone!

~ Michael Chidester (Contact) 00:57, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

15 September 2014

From our sister site HROARR:

Rules for nomination and other information can be found here.

As we all know HEMA has many different aspects that are all equally important in our shared effort in recreating these forgotten martial arts.

However, all of our success rests on the hard work of researchers, transcribers, translators and interpreters, hard work, a work that often receives little recognition or actual reward in the way that tournament fighting does, not least since much work is done silently and generously published online for free.

With this in mind, and acting as a neutral party within the HEMA community, in 2013 HROARR introduced annual awards for Best efforts in HEMA research, with all aspects it includes. The idea was to create a highly prestigious award, our very own Oscar or Nobel Prize, if you will.

Each year 5 winners are awarded. Nominations are up to the community to send in, and decisions are based on actual achievements during the preceding year, not through community voting. At this time, all published work has to have been written in English, except for transcriptions, of course.

Decisions will be made by a quite small panel consisting of last year’s awardees and if needed new elected jury members. As the awards become more and more established, these awards will also be more and more independently managed by the new juries and the growing list of awardees and less so by HROARR.

All winners will be presented on a special awards page, where the winners for each year are listed with their achievements.

I sincerely hope this will serve as both an inspiration and an encouragement for all the hard working people in our community!

Thank you and have a great day, everyone!

Roger Norling
Responsible publisher and Chief Editor
HROARR.com

03 February 2014

Greetings, scholars.

Our fundraising drive ended on Friday, and I've clean run out of synonyms for "incredible" to use in these posts. After PayPal fees, we took in $3,611.93, over seven times our initial goal. This generous outpouring from our users has vastly exceeded any plans we've made for projects, so at the moment the bulk of it will sit in an account while we investigate new digital scan acquisitions over the next several months. (I've already put in a few inquiries and settled one agreement that was pending before the fundraiser, but until this point I've been reaching out to institutions one at a time as I get ready to work on the associated index page.)

All told, we received 85 separate donations, including nineteen at the sponsor level. In particular I'd like to highlight our top five sponsors: MARS Swordfighting, Purpleheart Armoury, Esfinges, the Bramble Schoole of Defence, and Iron Gate Exhibition. Together, these five organizations--schools from Europe and the US, a leading HEMA supplier, an international network for female fencers, and a major HEMA event, illustrate in some small way the breadth of our community. I'll be getting in touch with them and all of the other donors to find out if you'd like your name listed in the donor list or would prefer to remain anonymous. If you know that you donated $100 or more, please decide if you'd like your organization represented in the sponsor list, and if so, prepare some sort of logo for me to potentially use.

To return to my initial refrain, the outcome of this year's fundraiser was beyond anything we ever expected. I thank all of you, and I'm sure the HEMA Alliance general council does as well (since this removes a big item from their annual budget ;)). Here's to another year of exciting manual research!


Michael Chidester (Contact)
Wiktenauer Director
HEMA Alliance, WMAC


P.S. If you missed the window for the fundraiser, fear not! The donate button at the bottom of the sidebar will remain where it's always been, and donations are welcome at any time. If you donate over $100 in the next week or so while I'm still figuring out the while sponsor thing, I'll even include you in the list.


29 January 2014

Greetings, scholars.

The second week of our fundraiser has now completed, and you, gentle readers, have continued to exceed our wildest expectations. We've now passed the unbelievable $2500 mark, and we still have two days to go. On the technical side (which was the reason we did this in the first place), our plans to double our server resources will go ahead without a hitch and we will also be investing in server backups and other stuff whose importance Christian assures me of. On the cool side, I've also begun making inquiries to libraries holding manuscripts of interest and will hopefully have more news on that front soon.

I must, however, modify the statement I made last week. As some of you are aware, some time ago the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies, a component of the University of Massachusetts, offered to take us under its vast, membranous wing and host the wiki on university servers in perpetuity. This process has crept along at the glacial pace of large institutions, but at some point, probably later this year, it will go forward. This opens lots of new opportunities for us and is a development we're very excited about, but some of the details are unclear and we still don't know if they'll be able to make it entirely free for us. In the event that UMass absorbs the costs, all of the remaining funds in our technical budget will be diverted to manual acquisition. (In the event that they do not, it will be business as usual as far as our spending goes.)

However, the main reason I bring this up is that it was pointed out that UMass might not approve of having a big list of sponsors on the front page of what is ostensibly an academic resource. We'll worry about that when it comes up, but I feel I should add the caveat that while the sponsors who have contributed over $100 will have the representation I promised for the foreseeable future, it may not last the full 12 months and (several months from now) we might have to move that list to a different location on the site.

That said, let's finish strong. Every dollar we raise at this stage is a dollar that will help bring more treatises to your fingertips. Cheers!


Michael Chidester (Contact)
Wiktenauer Director
HEMA Alliance, WMAC

22 January 2014

Greetings, scholars.

I initially set a modest goal of $500 for this fundraiser, enough to cover our server costs and remove that burden from the Alliance. However, in one short week you've taken that goal and shattered it over your collective knee with contemptuous ease. We've thus far raised the truly staggering sum of $1688.71 (€1246.10), and will not only be able to fund our operations legitimately for the next year (and not resort to the tactics of our patron, Paulus Hector Mair), but will actually be able to double our server resources and make the site that much more responsive. We'll also have a good bit of money left over for manual acquisition projects and, indeed, have already made the first such transaction, receiving permission from the Universitätsbibliothek Salzburg to host color scans of Codex Speyer (Ms. M.I.29). I've added this set of scans to my work queue and will have them processed and posted in the next several weeks.

It's been correctly pointed out that this fundraiser has been a bit unstructured so far, and we'll have to do better about that next year. This is my first effort at crowdfunding, so any suggestions people have for improvement are most welcome. For 2014, there is only one additional elaboration that we'll be making. It was my intention to create a new section on the contributor list for people who donated to this fundraiser (excepting those who requested to remain anonymous), but people that contribute $100 or more (eight of you so far, according to the report I received on Monday) will have the opportunity to list your group or organization as an official Wiktenauer sponsor, with some sort of representation on the front page in addition to the contributor list (details to be determined, I need to know how many there are to determine the best format and layout).

So even though you've already wildly exceeded my expectations, let's keep the momentum going. Any additional funding received over the next week will be added to the manual acquisition pool, and if we can top a thousand dollars for that cause then some really interesting possibilities will start opening up.

Cheers!


Michael Chidester (Contact)
Wiktenauer Director
HEMA Alliance, WMAC

15 January 2014

Greetings, scholars.

As you may have suspected, operating Wiktenauer isn't free. While neither I nor sysadmin Christian receive any compensation for our efforts, the costs associated with hosting Wiktenauer come to about $500 a year. For the past year and a half, the HEMA Alliance has kindly absorbed that cost (before that it was out of pocket), but this year the Alliance general council has asked us to run a quick fundraiser to see if our community of users would be willing to cover some of it.

So from now until the end of January, you can click the link below to contribute via paypal (or click the paypal button that resides at the bottom of the sidebar, as usual).

Our initial goal is $500 to cover hosting costs for the next twelve months. If we exceed that sum, we'll set aside the additional funds for future manual acquisitions. Our current push to pair transcriptions with manuscript scans has brought us in contact with various libraries and institutions who only ask for a small consideration of €50-100 in exchange for permanent hosting rights for a full manuscript, which we're more than happy to pay when funds are available. In other cases, scans don't yet exist but the cost of commissioning those scans is low enough that it might also become feasible for us to bankroll. Funds beyond $500 will be earmarked for these projects, and we'll make announcements as they proceed. (If we vastly exceed that sum--triple or quadruple it--we'll also look into investing in additional server resources to improve the speed and responsiveness of the site.)

So if Wiktenauer is useful to you, please consider sending a couple bucks our way. If you can't afford a direct donation at this time, you can also help by passing word to other members of your schools and clubs.

Cheers, and here's to another year of manual research!


Michael Chidester (Contact)
Wiktenauer Director
HEMA Alliance, WMAC

23 August 2013

We've begun a major overhaul of the way the wiki stores information which should make article updates easier and possibly allow us to do some interesting stuff programmatically in the future. All transcriptions will be moved off of the master pages (or manual pages, in a few places) and shunted into their own dedicated pages from which they will be transcluded back into their previous locations. Which is a complicated way of saying that we'll be creating a single page for each transcription and then displaying pieces of that page wherever we need them. This is what we should have done in the first place, but I didn't this was possible back then (for all I know, it might not have been—that was four versions of Mediawiki ago) and we didn't have the right extensions installed even if I did.

The ultimate goal is to arrive at a point where the only content on a page is the English-language material (we'll visit the idea of moving translations onto their own pages at a later date), which will not only serve to make the code easier to read and edit, but will also make the translation engine more useful since it won't have to grapple with the transcription text when marking up a page. (Hopefully my long-suffering Spanish translators haven't lost interest after all this time that I've spent trying to get the wiki to a state where it can work for them.)

For a detailed explanation of how this system works, see the Wiktenauer:Tutorial. Since Goliath and Fiore dei Liberi are our exemplar pages for their respective categories, they get the treatment first and I've been using them to test out and tweak the model. After them, we'll be rolling through on a treatise-by-treatise basis, creating transcription pages and then updating master pages when all the content is in place.

Here's where you come in. This is a huge undertaking and will essentially usher Wiktenauer into its third major incarnation. Doing it by myself (yes, I've been using the royal plural throughout this note since it's just me working on it), this will take several months and won't be completed on any deadline. Gone are the days when I could put in 50, 60, 70 hours a week working on this. If it's going to happen soon, I'll need volunteers. This isn't difficult or technical work for the most part—I can walk someone through the process in just a few minutes—but it will consist of a lot of copypasta and repetition. (I usually watch movies while doing it to stay focused.)

(Alternatively, if you're good at that sort of thing and can develop an automated scenario for extracting and reformatting this content, I'd be very interested to hear about it. At the moment, the only automation I'm planning on is converting HTML to Wiki Markup Language for the transcriptions where I can get the source code.)

People often ask me how I learned so much about treatises, but there's no mysterious answer; this is how, looking at manuscripts for hours and hours (in my case, I'd guess I've spent somewhere above 6,000 hours) and seeing all the ways they fit together. Here's your chance to do a little of the same. Contact me here or elsewhere if you can help, and we'll talk about setting you up with a master or treatise that interests you (it's all got to get done, so why not start with something you like?).

~ Michael Chidester (Contact) 01:43, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

10 May 2013

Greetings, scholars.

We've begun a major overhaul of the way the wiki stores information which should make article updates easier and possibly allow us to do some interesting stuff programmatically in the future. All transcriptions will be moved off of the master pages (or manual pages, in a few places) and shunted into their own dedicated pages from which they will be transcluded back into their previous locations.

Which is a complicated way of saying that we'll be creating a single page for each transcription and then displaying pieces of that page wherever we need them. This is what we should have done in the first place, but I didn't this was possible back then (for all I know, it might not have been) and we didn't have the right extensions installed even if I did.

The ultimate goal is to arrive at a point where the only content on a page is the English-language material (we'll visit the idea of moving translations onto their own pages at a later date), which will not only serve to make the code easier to read and edit, but will also make the translation engine more useful since it won't have to grapple with the transcription text when marking up a page. (Hopefully my long-suffering Spanish translators haven't lost interest after all this time that I've spent trying to get the wiki to a state where it can work for them.)

The transcription pages will come in two sorts. The simple version, used when we don't have scans hosted locally (which is often the case with manuscripts since they occupy a different niche in the copyright ecosystem than printed material does), is a straight-forward listing of the transcription with each segment marked up like this:

Sample full transcription: http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Florius_de_Arte_Luctandi_%28MS_Latin_11269%29/Transcription

The more complex version, used when we have scans hosted locally or in the Wikimedia Commons (either in image galleries or PDFs), is an index page where the transcriptions can be associated with individual page scans. This uses technology developed for the Wikisource project and is an enormously more robust system. These samples are for Goliath:

Sample index: http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Index:Goliath_%28MS_Germ.Quart.2020%29 Sample page transcription: http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Page:MS_Germ.Quart.2020_007v.jpg

Since Goliath and Fiore dei Liberi are our exemplar pages for their respective categories, they get the treatment first and I've been using them to test out and tweak the model. After them, we'll be rolling through on a treatise-by-treatise basis, creating transcription pages and then updating master pages when all the content is in place. The "Index/Page model" will be used primarily for texts that have incomplete transcriptions or are untranscribed--since it's designed to assist in the transcription process--while the "List" model will be used for texts with completed transcriptions in the initial pass. We can go back and create indexes where possible for these transcriptions after the primary work is done (since the only purpose it will serve at that point is to facilitate deeper research for the minority of our users working in that area).

Here's where you come in. This is a huge undertaking and will essentially usher Wiktenauer into its third major incarnation. Doing it by myself (yes, I've been using the royal plural throughout this note, it's just me working on it), this will take several months and won't be completed on any deadline. Gone are the days when I could put in 50, 60, 70 hours a week working on this. :( If it's going to happen soon, I'll need volunteers. This isn't difficult or technical work for the most part--I can walk someone through the process in just a few minutes--but it will consist of a lot of copypasta and repetition. (I usually watch movies while doing it to stay focused.)

(Alternatively, if you're good at that sort of thing and can develop an automated scenario for extracting and reformatting this content, I'd be very interested to hear about it. At the moment, the only automation I'm planning on is converting HTML to Wiki Markup Language for the transcriptions where I can get the source code.)

People often ask me how I learned so much about treatises, but there's no mysterious answer; this is how, looking at manuscripts for hours and hours (in my case, I'd guess I've spent somewhere above 6,000 hours) and seeing all the ways they fit together. Here's your chance to do a little of the same. Contact me here or elsewhere if you can help, and we'll talk about setting you up with a master or treatise that interests you (it's all got to get done, so why not start with something you like?).

Cheers.

Michael Chidester Director of the Wiktenauer Project HEMA Alliance, WMAC

19 February 2013

When we moved to the new server toward the end of last year we upgraded the wiki platform from 1.15 to 1.19, which has opened the door to a lot of new features and got us thinking about other upgrades and enhancements we could implement. I also put in a goodly amount of time upgrading and streamlining sloppy code and css, resulting in a much smoother design overall. Here is a partial list of the improvements we've made:

  • Easier navigation in the composite tables. This is one that people have requested for a while, but since it's not a feature normally found on wikis it took quite a bit of hacking to implement. Now when you scroll down in one of the big manual tables, the column headers will stay at the top of the screen so you always know what you're looking at. Additionally, when you mouse-over a cell in the table the whole row will darken to make it easier to keep your place when side-scrolling. (These features work in all browsers, but due to unresolved compatibility issues between Mediawiki and Chrome and to the fact that Internet Explorer is just terrible, this feature looks best in Firefox.)
  • Gallery image viewer. While we have largely divested ourselves of locally-hosted images in favor of directly linking to galleries hosted elsewhere, Wiktenauer still hosts a number of sets of scans taken from public-domain books (including a few manuscript facsimiles that are out of copyright), and of course we are pleased to be the only authorized host of color scans of the fencing manuals owned by the Jagellonian Library in Krakow. In order to make browsing these manuscripts easier, we've implemented a javascript-based gallery viewer that an be accessed from the category page. For example, Goliath (Ms. Germ. Quart. 2020) can be viewed here: http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Category:MS_Germ.Quart.2020. Simply click on the green easel icon in the upper right corner of the gallery to launch the viewer. An identical viewer is available for the fencing manuals hosted on the Wikimedia Commons (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Fencing_manuals). (As before, Firefox handles this feature better than the others--for unknown reasons, in Chrome and Internet Explorer the images are somewhat shuffled.)
  • Footnotes. We've gone back and imported all of the references contained in the transcriptions and translations that we host, in order to give additional insight into the reasoning behind some of the decisions that our contributors make. Initially we were storing these notes at the bottom of each table, but we're currently in the process of translating them to standard end-notes that will appear in the main list of references at the bottom of each page.
  • Credits and license terms. This has actually been around for a year or more now, but apparently a lot of people haven't been aware. If you want to find the precise license terms of a particular bit of translation or transcription, or a link to the original document, that sort of metadata is stored at the top of every Discussion tab. (We're currently looking into adding a new tab to each page called "License", but that isn't the case yet.)
  • Open translations. Several people have asked us for a process of contributing snippets of translation or corrections without needing to translate a treatise entire or interfering with the work of others, so we've implemented a few options to handle this. If you identify errors or otherwise think an existing translation is in need of fixing, feel free to annotate it with your own notes using the [1] template (http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Template:Ref); these notes will be placed in a separate container from the main article footnote list and should be signed by the user who created them, so there shouldn't be any confusion between them and notes created by the original author. (I'll write a tutorial on this eventually, but for now contact me and I'll walk you through it.) If you want to hack out a rough translation of an untranslated treatise, whether whole or just a few lines, then you can add label the translation column open for editing and add your name to the list of translation contributors on the Discussion page. This is also a possibility if a large enough body of notes build up for an existing, deprecated translation. If enough people get involved, we hope to eventually crowd-source high-quality translations in this fashion. I've opened all of my German translation work to free editing, since it's all very rough and imperfect, and we've already got a couple other such contributions as well; see Martin Syber for an example of how this in action (http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Martin_Syber).
  • Wiktenauer forum. I've asked Ben Floyd to create a new forum for the Wiktenauer, which can be found here: http://hemaalliance.com/discussion/viewforum.php?f=28. This has primarily been used for announcements until now, but if you have any questions or concerns about, or disagreement regarding, content on the wiki then this would be the place to talk about it. Let me underscore again that a lot of content on the wiki is sourced from websites that don't cite their own sources, so I would be astonished if there are not errors in the content as it currently stands and am very interested to hear about any and all of them.
  • Donations. Finally, people have asked us in the past how they can donate to the wiki and help us meet our operating costs. We've now added a donate button at the bottom of the sidebar on the left which is attached to a paypal account managed by the HEMA Alliance (who are also the ones who currently pay our bills). If we ever reach a point where our income from donations exceeds our server costs, we'll look into applying the excess toward getting new treatises digitized and even paying licensing costs to host currently-unavailable scans directly on the wiki directly.

So, that's the current state of things, though we have a lot of exciting developments currently in the works, including:

  • A new translation manager that will allow us to finally implement foreign-language articles (starting with Spanish).
  • A new interface for transcribing, proofreading, translating, and browsing printed matter, based on that used by WikiSource (we're still trying to iron out the last bugs, but it will be up and running soon).
  • Partnering with a large university that I don't think I can talk about yet to get real academic sponsorship as well as support in other exciting new projects.

Stay tuned!