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Cluny Fechtbuch (Cl. 23842)

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Cluny Fechtbuch
MS Cl. 23842, Musée national du Moyen Âge
Paris, France

MS CL23842 194v.jpg
Cl. 23842 195r.jpg
ff 194v - 195r
Date 1480s-1500s
Language(s) Early New High German
Author(s) Unknown
Compiler Unknown
Material Paper, with a contemporary wood and
leather binding
Size 212 folia (158 mm × 218 mm)
Format Double-sided; one illustration per side,
with occasional text
Previously kept Donaueschingen
External data Museum information page
Treatise scans Digital scans (450x625)

The Cluny Fechtbuch (MS Cl. 23842; sometimes called the Paris Fechtbuch) is a German fencing manual created in the last quarter of the 15th century.[1] The original currently rests in the holdings of the Musée national du Moyen Âge in Paris, France. This manuscript is a compilation work; it seems to consist of three distinct sections, illustrated by at least two different artists, and several pages have been shuffled since it was created.

The first section consists of mounted and foot combat after the style of Johannes Liechtenauer, while the second section covers various forms of judicial combat. This material seems to be connected in some way to the 15th century writings of Paulus Kal and Peter Falkner,[2] and the 16th century works of Jörg Wilhalm and Hans Medel, but the nature of these connections is not currently understood. The third section is a fragment of the Gladiatoria treatise.

The Cl. 23842 seems to have much in common with the Wolfenbüttel Picture Book (Codex Guelf 78.2 August 2º), which may also have been a source, and like that manuscript, it is generally lacking descriptive text. Much of the material coheres closely to the written (and generally unillustrated) treatises of various masters of the Liechtenauer tradition. Given the dating and the connections to Peter Falkner in the text and the artwork, it is tempting to associate it with his other works and speculate that it was an unfinished draft of a compendium of fencing manuals, and that text was planned to be added to the blank upper area of each page.


The known provenance of the Cl. 23842 is:[1]

  • Created no earlier than the 1480s based on the watermarks on the paper, and before the 1520s due to the connection to Jörg Wilhalm.
  • pre-1800s-1980s - in the Fürstenberg library at the castle at Donaueschingen. Possibly acquired by Graf Wolfgang von Fürstenberg (1465-1509), the founder of the library. Listed as MS 862 in a Fürstliche Fürstenbergische Hofbibliothek catalogue in the 1800s and stamped by the library at each end (sold privately, 1980s).
  • 1980s-2005 - the private collection of Ian Woodner (1903-1990) of New York (sold London, Sotheby's, 2008)
  • 2008 - purchased by the Musée national du Moyen Âge.


1r - 11v Blank
12r - 57v Illustrations of long sword pieces
58r - 59v Blank
60r - 69v Illustrations of messer pieces
70r - 71v Blank
72r - 87v Illustrations of dagger pieces
88r - 94v Blank
95r - 114v Illustrations of grappling pieces
115r - 117v Blank
118r - 131v Illustrations of sword and buckler pieces
132r - 133r Blank
133v - 146r Illustrations of mounted fencing pieces
146v - 148r Illustrations of mounted vs. foot pieces
148v Blank
149r - 178v Illustrations of armored spear and short sword pieces
179rv Blank
180r - 181v, 187r Illustrations of long shield pieces
182rv Blank
183r - 186v, 187v - 189r Illustrations of pole weapons pieces
189v Blank
190r - 191v Illustrations of spear pieces
192r - 193v Blank
194r Illustration of piece with curved daggers
194v Illustration of a duel between a man and a woman
195r - 212v Illustrations of short sword in armor from the Gladiatoria group
213r - 223v Blank


Images hosted by the Musée national du Moyen Âge. More images are available for a thumbnail gallery.

Ff 12 - 57v

Folio 12r
MS CL23842 012r.jpg
Folio 12v
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Folio 13r
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Folio 13v
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Folio 14r
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Folio 14v
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Folio 15r
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Folio 15v
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Folio 16r
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Folio 16v
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Folio 17r
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Folio 17v
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Folio 18r
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Folio 18v
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Folio 19r
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Folio 19v
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Folio 20r
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Folio 20v
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Folio 21r
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Folio 21v
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Folio 22r
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Folio 22v
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Folio 23r
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Folio 23v
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Folio 24r
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Folio 24v
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Folio 25r
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Folio 25v
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Folio 26r
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Folio 26v
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Folio 27r
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Folio 27v
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Folio 28r
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Folio 28v
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Folio 29r
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Folio 29v
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Folio 30r
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Folio 30v
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Folio 31r
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Folio 31v
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Folio 32r
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Folio 32v
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Folio 33r
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Folio 33v
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Folio 34r
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Folio 34v
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Folio 35r
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Folio 35v
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Folio 36r
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Folio 36v
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Folio 37r
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Folio 37v
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Folio 38r
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Folio 38v
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Folio 39r
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Folio 39v
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Folio 40r
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Folio 40v
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Folio 41r
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Folio 41v
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Folio 42r
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Folio 42v
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Folio 43r
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Folio 43v
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Folio 44r
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Folio 44v
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Folio 45r
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Folio 45v
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Folio 46r
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Folio 46v
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Folio 47r
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Folio 47v
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Folio 48r
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Folio 48v
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Folio 49r
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Folio 49v
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Folio 50r
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Folio 50v
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Folio 51r
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Folio 51v
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Folio 52r
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Folio 52v
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Folio 53r
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Folio 53v
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Folio 54r
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Folio 54v
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Folio 55r
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Folio 55v
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Folio 56r
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Folio 56v
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Folio 57r
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Folio 57v
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Folio 60r
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Folio 64r
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Folio 75r
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Folio 83r
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Folio 84r
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Folio 101r
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Folio 96v
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Folio 97r
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Folio 112r
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Folio 114v
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Folio 118v
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Folio 119r
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Folio 127r
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Folio 133v
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Folio 134r
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Folio 140r
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Folio 140v
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Folio 145v
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Folio 150r
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Folio 152r
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Folio 153r
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Folio 159v
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Folio 160r
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Folio 157v
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Folio 170v
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Folio 171v
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Folio 175v
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Folio 177v
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Folio 178r
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Folio 180r
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Folio 181r
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Folio 183r
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Folio 185v
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Folio 186r
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Folio 187r
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Folio 189r
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Folio 191r
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Folio 194r
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Folio 194v
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Folio 195r
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Folio 198r
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Additional Resources

The following is a list of publications containing scans, transcriptions, and translations relevant to this article, as well as published peer-reviewed research.



  1. 1.0 1.1 See Sotheby's description on Talk page.
  2. Based on the caption "Here begin Peter's pieces: the sword-taking with counters and grappling. This is painted according to the Record, or according to the Running Through [found in] the Record." on folio 47r. Compare with the piece on f 15r of Falkner's work.

Copyright and License Summary

For further information, including transcription and translation notes, see the discussion page.

Work Author(s) Source License
Images Musée national du Moyen Âge la Réunion des Musées nationaux
Transcription Dierk Hagedorn Index:Cluny Fechtbuch (Cl. 23842)