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Kölner Fechtregeln (MS Best.7020 (W*)150)

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Kölner Fechtbuch
MS Best.7020 (W*)150, Historisches Archiv
Cologne, Germany
ff 1v - 2r
Date ca. 1500s
Language(s) Early New High German (Ripuarian)
Author(s) Unknown
Size 22 folia
External data Handschriftencensus
Treatise scans Microfilm scans
Other translations Traduction française

The MS Bestellen 7020 W*150 is an anonymous German fencing manual created in the early 16th century.[1] It resided in the holdings of the Historisches Archiv der Stadt Köln in Cologne, Germany, but was unfortunately housed in the wing of the Archive that collapsed in 3 March 2009;[citation needed] its current status is unknown, and it may be lost or destroyed. The so-called Kölner Fechtbuch (Fencing Manual of Cologne) contains a few verses resembling Johannes Liechtenauer's epitome, but it has few other obvious parallels to the teachings of the high master.[1] However, as James Wallhausen points out, it does bear a certain resemblance to the syllabus of the Marxbrüder fencing guild as described by Hans Sachs.[2]


The known provenance of the MS Bestellen 7020 W*150 is:

  • Created in the early 1600s[1] by an anonymous scribe; the dialect of German used in the text (Ripuarian) suggests an origin in Cologne, Germany.[3]
  • before 1824 – acquired by scholar and collector Ferdinand Franz Wallraf (donated upon his death, 1824).
  • 1824-2009 – held by the Historisches Archiv der Stadt Köln (potentially destroyed, 2009).
  • 2009-present – status unknown.


Folio Section
1r - 1v
2r - 8r
10v - 12r
13r - 16v
16v - 17r
21v - 22r


Additional Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Matthias Johannes Bauer. "Köln, Hist. Archiv der Stadt, Best. 7020 (W*) 150". Handschriftencensus. Eine Bestandsaufnahme der handschriftlichen Überlieferung deutschsprachiger Texte des Mittelalters. October, 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  2. James Wallhausen. "The Fight-Lore of the Long Sword From the Kölner Fechtbuch (MS Best.7020)". Paleoeskirmology Historical Combat Systems. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  3. Handschriftencensus Rheinland. Erfassung mittelalterlicher Handschriften im rheinischen Landesteil von Nordrhein-Westfalen mit einem Inventar. Ed. Günter Gattermann. 1993. Vol. 2, pp. 1319f. (Nr. 2488)
  4. To ‘raise’, ‘pronounce’, ‘lift’, ‘proclaim’, ‘highlight’.
  5. Possen (antics, tomfoolery, jokes, jest, play, good humour) for the etymology see Bauer, p.138. Could also be related to Bös, malicious, angry. Or perhaps simply “mach gut bessen” (to do it best).
  6. May also mean ‘protected’; both seem apt for this context.
  7. storz; to assault. stürzen; to storm, or (as I feel might also be probable given the context here; to sturz – to ‘plunge’, ‘fall’ or ‘decend’ as refered to by Talhoffer, Medel, Wierschin p.194. We might even correlate it with Silver’s “Spent” action.)
  8. Schilt: shield. Using the hilt to protect the head and face.
  9. ewech. Ewig: perpetual, continuous
  10. A proverb similar to the one also found in Kal (Cgm 1507, 6r)
  11. The Wing Hew in accordance with Hans Sach’s account, flügel; appears in Pauernfeindt; “Wing [La Noble Science des Ioueurs Despee (1538): ‘Of the Flight’] Wing is taken from the High Guard or High Point, then initially strike from the Day to the left ear, then another from below whilst treading your left side, the thirdly strike backwards at the head.” Interestingly however, Duëz’s Französische Grammatica mentions on p531 that the translation of “l’epaule, le Flanc” in French is “der Flügel/der Streich”.
  12. From Arnold (1778, 378a) Schelle, f. a little Bell, Cymbal; die Schellen oder Hoden eines Pferds, the Cods, Stones, Testicles or Ballocks of a Stallion; einem Hand- und Fuß- oder Beinschellen anhangen, to manacle or fetter one, bind him in Chains Hand and Foot.
  13. Evidently evoking a sense of church bells, from which we may tell the time, hence: “one Time, two, three….” (schelle eyn mael.zwei.dry), emphasised using “full-stops”.
  14. ‘klingen’ means to “Clang”, to “Clink” or make a sound, whilst “Klinge” means “blade” or “sharp” or “edged implement”, interesting double-entendre.
  15. A similar description appears in Meyer, 1.19v.1 (Forgeng 2006, 64).
  16. This use of “frewen” (“Joy”) expands on the final line of the break to the Golden cut. This is evidently akin to the Liechtenauer verse, though no attribution is made to him.
  17. Inside and outside the joint’s natural Range of Motion (ROM).
  18. Messer equivalent to the Long Sword’s Wechsel.
  19. Liechtenauerian verse, non-attributed. Repeated from 3r.
  20. Outside the Range of Motion (ROM).
  21. Within the Range of Motion (ROM).
  22. Bogen in Meyer (1570), 2.2r, 11r ff., 17r, 36v ff., 39v ff. The implication here is that it is a small curve, bow, or arch.
  23. &ndsp;
  24. Liechtenauer verse.
  25. Pseudo-zettel, referring to the four openings (vier blossen) verse.
  26. Could also refer to “No threat”, or “no guarantee” (keine gewähr).
  27. Or “That technique is not one of any known: ~”