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Fabian von Auerswald

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Fabian von Auerswald
Born 1462
Died ca. 1537
Occupation Wrestling master
Patron Johann Friedrich Ⅰ of Saxony
Genres Wrestling manual
Language Early New High German
Notable work(s) Ringer Kunst (1539)
Manuscript(s) 2° Col. MS Philos. 62 (ca. 1539)
Concordance by Michael Chidester

Fabian von Auerswald (1462 - after 1537) was a 15th-16th century German wrestling master. He served as wrestling master to Johann Friedrich Ⅰ, Duke of Saxony, and mentions in his introduction that he instructed the children of the Elector and of members of the court in wrestling.

In 1537, Auerswald completed an extensive treatise on grappling, which was later illustrated by Lucas Cranach the Elder and published posthumously in 1539 by Hans Lufft under the title Ringer kunst: funf und Achtzig Stücke ("The Art of Wrestling: Eighty-Five Pieces"). One of the earliest printed treatises on wrestling, the book includes lucid descriptions and detailed illustrations of all of its 85 pieces, including one of only two known descriptions of the game called "wrestling in the pit". This treatise saw relatively wide circulation, and at least one wrestling master went as far as to commission a careful manuscript copy (2º Col.MS.Philos.62), to which he added his own annotations on many of the techniques. Auerswald's work also formed the foundation for Paulus Hector Mair's treatment of the subject in his own compilation fencing manuscripts of the 1540s.


Additional Resources


  1. Misnumbered—should be 27. From this point on, all numbers are offset by one.
  2. Note: the woodcut shows the technique with the sides reversed.