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Walpurgis Fechtbuch (MS I.33)
|, Royal Armouries|
Leeds, United Kingdom
|Also known as|
|Place of origin||Franconia|
|Ascribed to||Clericus Lutegerus|
|Scribe(s)||Unknown (three hands)|
|Illustrator(s)||Unknown (up to 17 artists)|
|Material||Parchment, in a modern binding|
|Size||32 folia (230 mm × 300 mm)|
|Format||Double-sided; two illustrations per side |
with text above and below
|Previously kept||MS Membr.I 115,|
|External data||Museum catalog entry|
FECHT 1 (formerly cataloged as MS Ⅰ.33, sometimes called the Walpurgis Fechtbuch, the Lutegerus Fechtbuch, or the Tower Fechtbuch) is a German fencing manual dating to the 1320s. It currently rests in the holdings of the Royal Armouries at Leeds, United Kingdom. It contains oldest extant treatise on Medieval martial arts, Liber de Arte Dimicatoria, and it appears to have been devised by a secular priest, possibly the "Lutegerus" (Ludger) mentioned in the text. It was the work of three scribes and potentially as many as 17 illustrators. The manuscript in its present form consists of five quires, of which all but the first are incomplete; at least eight leaves are believed to be missing (assuming it started with complete quires of four bifolia each).
The known provenance of FECHT 1 is:
- Written in the 1320s, possibly by a priest named Ludger; owned by Franconian monks until the 1500s.
- 1400s – an additional couplet was inscribed at the top of folio 1r, apparently a quotation from Enea Silvio Bartolomeo Piccolomini (Pope Pius Ⅱ).
- 1552-53 – looted from a monastery by Johannes Herbart von Würzburg during the Franconian campaigns of Albrecht Ⅱ, margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach. Würzburg was a belt-maker by trade and later served as fencing master to the dukes of Sachsen-Gotha; he inscribed his name on folio 7r.
- before 1579 – possibly duplicated by Heinrich von Gunterrodt while compiling material for his book (such a copy is currently unknown).
- late 1500s-1945 – owned by the dukes of Sachsen-Gotha; listed in an 18th century library catalog as Cod.Membr.Ⅰ.no.115. The second piece on folio 26r was copied into the Cod.Guelf.125.16.Extrav. (HTWo) in the 1600s by a scribe who couldn't decipher the Latin text. The manuscript was further described on six leaves of paper (with short excerpts of the text) by Heinrich Niewöhner in 1910. (Lost during World War Ⅱ.)
- 1945-1950 – location unknown (sold London, Sotheby's, 27 March 1950). Sotheby's listed the manuscript as "a 14th-century manuscript of unknown provenance", and it was not identified as the lost Cod.Membr.Ⅰ.no.115. until Krämer in 1975.
- 1950-1996 – held by the Royal Armouries and stored in the Tower of London; known variously as "Tower of London Ms. Ⅰ.33" or "British Museum No. 14 E ⅲ, No. 20, D. ⅵ. Ⅰ".
- 1996 – moved to the newly-opened Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds.
|1r - 32v||Sword and buckler, possibly by Clericus Lutegerus|
These scans are licensed under the terms of the Royal Armouries Non-Commercial Licence.
Folia 1r-3v have been conceptually restored by artist Mariana López Rodríguez; unmodified versions can be viewed on the Royal Armouries website.
The following is a list of publications containing scans, transcriptions, and translations relevant to this article, as well as published peer-reviewed research.
- Binard, Fanny; Daniel Jaquet (2016). "Investigation on the collation of the first Fight book (Leeds, Royal Armouries, Ms I.33)." Acta Periodica Duellatorum 4(1): 3-21. doi:10.1515/apd-2016-0001.
- Cinato, Franck; André Surprenant (2009). Le Livre de l'art du Combat: Liber de arte dimicatoria. Édition critique du Royal Armouries MS. I.33, collection Sources d'Histoire Médiévale nº39. Paris: CNRS Editions. ISBN 978-2-271-06757-9.
- Dawson, Timothy (2009). "The Walpurgis Fechtbuch: An Inheritance of Constantinople?." Arms & Armour 6(1): 79-92. doi:10.1179/174962609X417536.
- Deacon, Jacob Henry (2016). "Prologues, Poetry, Prose and Portrayals: The Purposes of Fifteenth Century Fight Books According to the Diplomatic Evidence." Acta Periodica Duellatorum 4(2): 69-90. doi:10.36950/apd-2016-014.
- Eads, Valerie; Rebecca L. R. Garber (2014). "Amazon, Allegory, Swordswoman, Saint? The Walpurgis Images in Royal Armouries MS I.33." Can These Bones Come to Life? Insights from Reconstruction, Reenactment, and Re-creation 1: 5-23. Wheaton, IL: Freelance Academy Press. ISBN 978-1-937439-13-2.
- Forgeng, Jeffrey L. (2003). The Medieval Art of Swordsmanship: A Facsimile & Translation of Europe's Oldest Personal Combat Treatise, Royal Armouries MS I.33 (Royal Armouries Monograph). Union City, CA: Chivalry Bookshelf. ISBN 1-891448-38-2. (Corrigenda)
- Forgeng, Jeffrey L. (2012). The Illuminated Fightbook Royal Armouries Manuscript I.33. Extraordinary Editions. ISBN 978-0-9573046-0-4.
- Forgeng, Jeffrey L. (2018). The Medieval Art of Swordsmanship: Royal Armouries MS I.33. Royal Armouries. ISBN 978-0948092855.
- Forgeng, Jeffrey L. (2021). Das Tower-Fechtbuch. Ein Meisterwerk der mittelalterlichen Kampfkunst. Damstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
- Gräf, Julia (2017). "Fighting in women’s clothes: The pictorial evidence of Walpurgis in Ms. I.33." Acta Periodica Duellatorum 5(2): 47-71. doi:10.1515/apd-2017-0008.
- Hester, James (2012). "A Few Leaves Short of a Quire: Is the ‘Tower Fechtbuch’ Incomplete?." Arms & Armour 9(1): 20-25. doi:10.1179/1741612411Z.0000000003.
- Hester, James (2012). "Home-Grown Fighting: A Response to the Argument for a Byzantine Inﬂuence on MS I.33." Arms & Armour 9(1): 76-84. doi:10.1179/1741612411Z.0000000008.
- Kellett, Rachel E. (2012). "Royal Armouries MS I.33: The Judicial Combat and the Art of Fencing in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth- Century German Literature." Oxford German Studies 41(1): 32-56. doi:10.1179/0078719112Z.0000000003.
- Leblanc, Hélène; Franck Cinato (2023). "Scholastic Clues in Two Latin Fencing Manuals: Bridging the gap between medieval and renaissance cultures." Acta Periodica Duellatorum 11(1): 39-64. doi:10.36950/apd-2023-004.
- Morgan, Martin (2014). "Publishing Royal Armouries MS 1.33 — The Illuminated Fightbook." Arms & Armour 11(1): 68-70. doi:10.1179/1741612414Z.00000000033.
- Morini, Andrea; Riccardo Rudilosso (2012). Manoscritto I.33. Rome: Il Cerchio Iniziative Editoriali.
- Singman, Jeffrey L. (1998). "The Medieval Swordsman: a 13th Century German Fencing Manuscript." Royal Armouries Yearbook 2: 129-136.
- The manuscript has received a wide variety of dates. Anglo (1988) dated it to "the very end of the 13th century" and Hils (1985) to the early 14th century; Cinato and Surprenant (2009) are even less precise, placing it at around the turn of the 14th century. Most recent analysis has preferred the very late end of this range, with Leng (2008) dating it to 1320-1330 and Hester (2012) to "around 1320".
- See folio 1v.
- Hester (2012).
- von Gunterrodt, Heinrich. De Veris Principiis Artis Dimicatorie. Wittenberg, 1579. p C3rv
- See Cod.Guelf.125.16.Extrav., f 45r.
- S. Krämer. "Verbleib unbekannt Angeblich verschollene und wiederaufgetauchte Handschriften." Zeitschrift für Deutsches Altertum und Deutsche Literatur, volume 104. 1975
Copyright and License Summary
For further information, including transcription and translation notes, see the discussion page.
|Images||Royal Armouries||Used under the Royal Armouries Non-Commercial Licence|
|Transcription||Dieter Bachmann||Index:Walpurgis Fechtbuch (MS I.33)|