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Latest revision as of 06:05, 16 September 2020

Pol Hausbuch
MS 3227a, Germanisches Nationalmuseum
Nuremberg, Germany

MS 3227a 13v.jpg
MS 3227a 14r.jpg
ff 13v - 14r
Type Commonplace book
Date ca. 1400s
Compiled by Unknown
Material Paper and parchment, in a leather
Size 169 folia (145 mm x 105 mm)
Format Double-sided, with black and red ink
External data Museum catalog entry
Treatise scans
Other translations

The Pol Hausbuch (MS 3227a) is a German commonplace book (or Hausbuch in German) thought to have been created some time between 1389 and 1494.[1] The original currently rests in the holdings of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, Germany. It is sometimes erroneously attributed to Hans Döbringer,[2] when in fact he is but one of the four authors of a brief addendum to Johannes Liechtenauer's art of long sword fencing, the only fencing material in the manuscript that appears in another fencing manual. The rest of the manuscript is a typical example of a commonplace book, containing a variety of unrelated treatises on mundane and esoteric topics, including fencing and grappling. The martial sections of the text seem to consist of commentary on and expansion of the teachings of Liechtenauer, even containing the only biographical details of the master yet discovered, and it is even speculated that he was still alive at the time of the writing.[3]

Christian Tobler argues that it is unjustified to assume a date of 1389 based purely on the presence of a century-long calendar. The eclectic nature of commonplace books means that the calendar could easily have been an old calendar or even a future one. As the date of the Pol Hausbuch is also used to estimate the time period of Liechtenauer's career, this is a significant error. (Using it to date Liechtenauer is further complicated by the fact that even if he were alive when the fencing treatise was written, the version in this manuscript is potentially a later copy rather than the original.)[4] An upper limit on the origin of the manuscript can be set based on the date in the cover, but realistically it could still originate from any time between the turn of the 15th century and Nicolaus Pol's ownership in 1494.



1r - 5v Treatise on fireworks (Marcus Graecus: Liber Ignium)
6r Recipes for powders used for painting
6v - 10v Latin recipes (paint, alchemy, medicine)
11r - 12r
12v - 13r Alchemical recipes in Latin
13v - 17v
18r - 40r
43r - 52v Long sword by Andres Juden, Jobs von der Nyssen, Nicklass Prewßen, and "the Priest" Hans Döbringer
53r - 59v Recital on mounted fencing by Johannes Liechtenauer
60r - 61r Recital on short sword by Johannes Liechtenauer
64r - 65r
66v - 67r Astrological texts, magical and medicinal recipes, name magic
68r - 73v Astrological texts, magical and medicinal recipes, name magic
74v - 77v Recipes for paint, tumors, metal and ivory treatment
79r - 81v Miscellaneous Latin recipes, treatment of gems, preparation of a miraculous potion
83v Interval between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday for years 1390-1495
84r - 85r
85r - 85v, 86v Magical recipes
86r, 87r - 89r
90v - 91v Medical Recipes for the Mouth and Teeth
92r Mead recipe
92r - 165v Various alchemical recipes, food recipes, nonsense recipes, in various hands
161v - 165v "Horse pharmacopeia" (Rossarzneibuch) by Master Albrant
166r - 169v Index to the recipes in the manuscript, partly illegible


Cover 1
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Cover 2
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Folio 157r
Folio 157v
Folio 158r
Folio 158v
Folio 159r
Folio 159v
Folio 160r
Folio 160v
Folio 161r
Folio 161v
Folio 162r
Folio 162v
Folio 163r
Folio 163v
Folio 164r
Folio 164v
Folio 165r
Folio 165v
Folio 166r
Folio 166v
Folio 167r
Folio 167v
Folio 168r
Folio 168v
Folio 169r
Folio 169v
Cover 3
Cover 4

Additional Resources

  • Burkart, Eric. “The Autograph of an Erudite Martial Artist: A Close Reading of Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Hs. 3227a”. Late Medieval and Early Modern Fight Books. Transmission and Tradition of Martial Arts in Europe. Ed. Daniel Jaquet, et al. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2016. ISBN 978-9004312418. pp 451–480.
  • Michael Chidester. “…eyn Grunt und Kern aller künsten des Fechtens”: The Long Sword Gloss of GNM Manuscript 3227a. Lulu.com, 2020. ISBN 978-1-71614-480-6
  • Dürer, Albrecht and Wassmannsdorff, Karl. Die Ringkunst des deutschen Mittelalters. Liepzig: Priber, 1870.
  • Hull, Jeffrey, with Maziarz, Monika and Żabiński, Grzegorz. Knightly Dueling: The Fighting Arts of German Chivalry. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press, 2007. ISBN 1-58160-674-4
  • Wallhausen, James. Knightly Martial Arts: An Introduction to Medieval Combat Systems. Lulu.com, 2010. ISBN 978-1-4457-3736-2
  • Welle, Rainer. "...und wisse das alle höbischeit kompt von deme ringen". Der Ringkampf als adelige Kunst im 15. und 16. Jahrhundert. Pfaffenweiler: Centaurus-Verlagsgesellschaft, 1993. ISBN 3-89085-755-8
  • Vodička, Ondřej. “Origin of the oldest German Fencing Manual Compilation (GNM Hs. 3227a)”. Waffen- und Kostümkunde 61(1), 2019. pp 87-108.
  • Żabiński, Grzegorz. “Unarmored Longsword Combat by Master Liechtenauer via Priest Döbringer.” Masters of Medieval and Renaissance Martial Arts. Ed. Jeffrey Hull. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press, 2008. ISBN 978-1-58160-668-3


  1. The date of 1389 is based on the presence of a 105-year religious calendar on folio 83v that begins in 1390, while the date 1494 is included with the signature of Nicolaus Pol inside the front cover.
  2. The attribution to Hans "Hanko" Döbringer is based on how prominently the name "Hanko pfaffen Döbringers" appears to be displayed on folio 43r, but upon examination this is revealed as a simple correction inserted in the margin indicating that Döbringer's name had been accidentally omitted from the list of four authors of the treatise beginning on that page. Attributing this manuscript to Döbringer therefore requires him to have forgotten to include his own name in his own treatise.
  3. The manuscript uniformly lacks the traditional prayer for the dead when mentioning his name.
  4. Tobler, Christian Henry. "Chicken and Eggs: Which Master Came First?" In Saint George's Name: An Anthology of Medieval German Fighting Arts. Wheaton, IL: Freelance Academy Press, 2010.
  5. The silver "soon" was added later above the line
  6. lit: entirely finished sword
  7. lit: verses
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Page has a round hole at this point.
  9. latin
  10. Remainder is blacked out.
  11. alt: behold, peer-into, witness, probe, observe, perceive, inspect, investigate, realize, comprehend. alt: show, present, embody, illuminate
  12. latin
  13. lit: tread-full. completing a step or completing the course of a thing.
  14. alt: giving-way, stepping-off. to give something up. to let something go.
  15. alt: safe, sure
  16. alt: has success
  17. ume züst => umsonst
  18. Text gives "deñe her"; correct order based on markings is given here.
  19. schlage, not schlag
  20. Word is almost illegible.
  21. aufwinden: 1) to entangle, wind into a ball 2) to turn or twist upwards.
  22. hindringen: to break or force through. overcome
  23. "Wisely" inferred from the summary
  24. alt: straight
  25. darfahren: unversehens dazu kommen
  26. A guide letter “w” is visible under the “D” (apparently ignored by the rubricator), making the intended word “Wer”.
  27. Continued up the side margin; due to paper clipping, the bottom line is unclear. 65r gives "gewisse".
  28. wegen preposition
  29. wegen verb
  30. ienen
  31. "Ander" is placed after "Hewe" in the manuscript, with markings indicating the correct order.
  32. Inserted in the margin
  33. dargehen: the approach something in a hostile manner. Literally: to go-there.
  34. The page is clipped. only 'hew' remains. This manuscript spells 'haupte' as 'hewpte'
  35. twer: noun: something that gets in the way, something that cuts across something else, something that crosses. verb: to twist, to twirl, to turn obliquely in relation to something
  36. "Hew" is inserted in the margin.
  37. alt: directly, immediately
  38. The comment ends here and remains unfinished.
  39. Inserted in margin.
  40. Unlike other places where there are definitely passages originally forgotten and inserted with a caret, such is missing here. Thus, it can be conjectured that this is a later addition or comment.
  41. überhangen: to hang over, to lean over, to incline
  42. Grimm: setzen C.2)a)
  43. unterhangen: hang down, like the branches of a tree
  44. Inserted in margin.
  45. Inserted in margin.
  46. Latin: "as [they] are able"
  47. Inserted in margin
  48. Inserted in the margin.
  49. rauschen: like a strong wind rustling quickly through the trees
  50. Inserted in the margin.
  51. unterhangen: hang down, like the branches of a tree
  52. überhangen: to hang over, to lean over, to incline
  53. Inserted in the margin.
  54. Inserted in the margin.
  55. menen: treiben, fuhren, leiten
  56. latin: dampno => damno => harm
  57. »Nicht« appears in the margin, but its proper placement is unclear.
  58. Latin passage follows; very difficult.
  59. Please note that there are only three methods described against the turning-out.
  60. A guide letter “w” is visible under the “D” (apparently ignored by the rubricator), making the intended word “Wer”.
  61. Alternate description follows, it hopefully should make the method clearer:
    If he holds you by the shoulders, and you grab his shoulders from the outside. Then you sling your right arm with the elbow over his left and below his right, and push downwards, so his right arm moves up. Take this arm over your head and secure the grip with your left hand behind your head; and then push against his chest with your right again. This will lead to a painful breaking lock.
  62. This is a partner exercise, similar to one I know in chinese shuai chiao

Copyright and License Summary

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

Work Author(s) Source License
Images Germanisches Nationalmuseum Digitale Bibliothek
Translation (11r - 12r) Jeffrey Hull "Fight-Book Clues to the Quality and Build of Knightly Weaponry"
Translation (13v - 89v) Thomas Stoeppler Private communication
Translation (74r) Michael Chidester Wiktenauer
Translation (78r) Betsy Winslow Wiktenauer
Transcription Dierk Hagedorn Index:Pol Hausbuch (MS 3227a)