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Peter Falkner

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Peter Falkner
Born ca. 1460s
Died after 1506
Occupation Fencing master
Citizenship Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Movement Marxbrüder
Genres Fencing manual
Language Early New High German
Notable work(s) Kunste Zu Ritterlicher Were
First printed
english edition
Tobler, 2011
Translations Deutsch-Übersetzung

Peter Falkner (Peter Faulkner, Petter Falckner) was a 15th century German fencing master. His early life is uncertain, but he was certified as a Master of the Long Sword by the Marxbrüder in Frankfurt-am-Main some time before 1491.[1] Falkner was a witness of record to the guild's biannual treasury accounting in 1496, a task he performed again in 1506.[1] In 1502, he was elected as Captain (Hauptman) of the guild, and he seems to have served an unusual three consecutive terms.[1][2]

In the 1490s, Falkner seems to have produced at least two manuscript fencing manuals (becoming the first member of the Brotherhood of Saint Mark to do so, unless Hans Talhoffer were also a member). Sadly, only the shorter of the two manuscripts, Kunste Zu Ritterlicher Were (MS KK5012),[3] survives. This fully-illustrated manuscript includes a sword section is based on Liechtenauer's Recital and a messer section based on that of Johannes Lecküchner (though in both cases with considerable alteration and elaboration by Falkner, and several short sections on other weapons which appear to be entirely original.

The longer of the two manuscripts, known as the Falkner Turnierbuch, seems to have been destroyed by Prussian bombardment during the Siege of Strasbourg in 1870. What little we know about its contents comes from records made before this time, which seem to indicate a manuscript of at least 111 folia containing an anthology of treatises by other masters of the Liechtenauer tradition, as well as a few works of unknown origin. There is also a possible third Falkner manuscript, the apparently-anonymous MS Cl. 23842, whose illustrations bear a strong resemblance to the artwork in KK5012 and which seems to even directly allude to it.[4]

Falkner's artwork resembles to some extent the earlier treatises of Paulus Kal, which may have been his inspiration, and his art seem in turn to have influenced Jörg Wilhalm (especially if he created Cl. 23842).


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 1.2 Anonymous. "Ordnung und Chronik der Fechtbruderschaft Unserer Lieben Frau und Sankt Markus zu Frankfurt 1491 - 1566" (in Early New High German). Untitled [manuscript]. Comp. Paulus Hector Mair. Codex I.6.2º.5. Augsburg, Germany: Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg, 1566.
  2. The Chronik der Fechtbruderschaft lists him as Captain in 1502 and 1504, and does not mention a new Captain until 1508. There is no indication of who held the office during the 1506-1507 term, so Falkner may possibly have continued during that time.
  3. Tobler, Christian Henry. In Saint George's Name: An Anthology of Medieval Fighting Arts. Wheaton, IL: Freelance Academy Press, 2010. p 11
  4. 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 [rather than] the Record." (Hie hebendt peters stuck an: die swert nemen mit pruchen und ringen. Lasz ab malen nach deme zetel oder nach dem durchlauffen…[illegible] zettel) on f 47r. Compare with the piece on f 15r of Falkner's work.
  5. alt: side
  6. alt: weapons
  7. Or Curved
  8. Or Cross, Barrier
  9. Or Canted, Slanted, Difficult to See
  10. Or Vertex, Scalper
  11. Ambiguous “from the right”, “properly” or “directly”
  12. Indes - Both within and during
  13. I changed this from the passive voice to the active, because it sounds weird. literally: "The war is not prone to you."
  14. Ambiguous “to the right”, “properly” or “directly”
  15. Leger - guards
  16. Versetzen - parrying
  17. Überlaufen has the connotations: to overwhelm, overflow, bypass, stride across.
  18. Überlaufen has the connotations: to overwhelm, overflow, bypass, stride across. It is used as a noun here.
  19. Das »g« könnte auch ein »h« sein.
  20. Kraków adds a final clause: "when you are far from one another".