Martin Syber (Mertin Siber, Martein Syber) was a 15th century German fencing master. Hardly anything is known of Syber beyond his New Zettel ("New Recital"). His surname signifies that he came from a family of sieve makers, but gives us no indication of his birthplace. According to Syber's own account, he learned the art from a variety of masters from across Europe, including men from Bohemia, Brabant (or possibly Provence), England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Prussia, Russia, and Swabia. The inclusion of his Recital in Codex Speyer and the Glasgow Fechtbuch suggests a connection to the tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer, and his mention of an "earlier Zettel" is likely a reference to that of Liechtenauer; however, Syber does not appear on the roll of the Fellowship of Liechtenauer recorded by Paulus Kal in ca. 1470, so the extent of his relationship is unclear.
Syber's Recital comes in the form a cryptic poem describing six Gänge, set sequences of strikes and parries. Unfortunately, no gloss is currently known to exist for Syber's verse, so its meaning is difficult to decipher. Conversely, it is worth noting that the 16th century Freifechter Joachim Meÿer not only had access to Syber's verse (which is included in his final manuscript), but also employed much of the master's unique terminology in his own teachings. Meÿer may thus hold the key to interpreting Syber's techniques.
The Salzburg version of Syber's text is followed by an additional page of verse. This poem shares some common terminology with Syber's writings and has been attributed to Syber by some authors in the past, but its omission from the other two versions of his text call this attribution into question. In addition, another version of the poem was included in one of Hans Talhoffer's manuscripts almost fifty years earlier, which indicates that if Syber were indeed the author, his career must have been much earlier than currently believed.
For further information, including transcription and translation notes, see the discussion page.
- Hull, Jeffrey. "The Longsword Fight Lore of Mertin Siber." Masters of Medieval and Renaissance Martial Arts. Ed. Jeffrey Hull. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press, 2008. ISBN 978-1-58160-668-3
- ↑ The Fellowship of Liechtenauer is recorded in three versions of Paulus Kal's treatise: MS 1825 (1460s), Cgm 1570 (ca. 1470), and MS KK5126 (1480s).
- ↑ Meÿer, Joachim. Fechtbuch zu Ross und zu Fuss [manuscript]. MS Varia 82. Rostock, Germany: Universitätsbibliothek Rostock, 1570.
- ↑ Hull, Jeffrey. "Mertin Siber’s Longsword Fight-Lore of 1491 AD: a thesis on the Fechtlehre from Handschrift M I 29 (Codex Speyer) at the University of Salzburg in Austria". The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts, 2005. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
- ↑ Talhoffer, Hans. Untitled [manuscript]. MS Thott 290.2º. Copenhagen, Denmark: Det Kongelige Bibliotek, 1459.