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Gründtliche Beschreibung der… Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meyer)

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Gründtliche Beschreibung der…
Kunst des Fechtens
A Thorough Description of the… Art of Fencing
Meyer 1570 Cover.png
Full title A Thorough Description of the Free,
Chivalric, and Noble Art of Fencing,
Showing Various Customary Defenses,
Affected and Put Forth with Many
Handsome and Useful Drawings
Author(s) Joachim Meyer
Illustrated by Tobias Stimmer
Dedicated to Johann Casimir
Place of origin Strasbourg, Germany
Language Early New High German
Publisher Thiebolt Berger
Publication date 1570, 1600
Pages 433
Treatise scans

Gründtliche Beschreibung der… Kunst des Fechtens ("A Thorough Description of… the Art of Fencing") is a German fencing manual written by Joachim Meyer and printed in 1570. Building on his earlier 1560s works MS Bibl. 2465 and MS A.4°.2, it is a complex, sophisticated treatise purporting to teach the entire art of fencing (something that Meyer claimed had never been done before), and represents a significant evolution of the art that Johannes Liechtenauer taught 150 years earlier. It treats the sword, Dussack, rapier (both single and with secondary weapons), dagger and wrestling, and various pole weapons including the short staff, halberd, and long staff (pike).

Publication History

The first edition of Gründtliche Beschreibung der… Kunst des Fechtens was printed in Strasbourg by Thiebolt Berger in 1570, exactly one year before Meyer's death. A second edition was printed in Augsburg in 1600 by Michael Manger (under publisher Elte Millers), possibly arranged by his widow and her family; for this edition, the same woodblocks were used but the text was reset (and many small errors or variations were thus introduced). A third edition (based on the 1600) was prepared in 2011 by Wolfgang Landwehr, including digital reproductions of the illustrations and setting the text in a humanist font, and published in Herne by VS-Books under the title Joachim Meyer 1600: Transkription des Fechtbuchs 'Gründtliche Beschreibung der freyen Ritterlichen und Adelichen kunst des Fechtens'; this edition was reissued in 2018. A fourth edition was prepared in 2021 by Michael Chidester and published by HEMA Bookshelf; this edition was created from digital scans of the 1570, including the painted figures from the Leipzig University Library's copy and annotated pages from several other copies.

According to some sources, there were other editions printed in 1590, 1610, and 1660,[1][2] but no copies from these printings are known to exist and they are probably spurious (due perhaps to errors in cataloging the known editions or mistaken references to the works of Jakob Sutor (1612) and Theodori Verolini (1679)).

In 2006, Meyer's treatise was translated into English by Dr. Jeffrey L. Forgeng and published by Palgrave Macmillan in New York and London under the title The Art of Combat: A German Martial Arts Treatise of 1570. A second edition with minor corrections was published in 2015.

In 2012, Alex Kiermayer translated the treatise to modern German, and this was published by Arts of Mars Books under the title Joachim Meyers Kunst Des Fechtens. Gründtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens, 1570.

In 2022, Rebecca Garber completed a new English translation, which was published in three separate editions in 2023 by HEMA Bookshelf in Boston under the title Foundational Description of the Art of Fencing, the 1570 Treatise of Joachim Meyer.


a1r - b4v Preface by Joachim Meyer
Ⅰ.1r - Ⅰ.64v Part 1 - Sword by Joachim Meyer
Ⅱ.1r - Ⅱ.49v Part 2 - Dussack by Joachim Meyer
Ⅱ.50r - Ⅱ.107v Part 3 - Rapier by Joachim Meyer
Ⅲ.1r - Ⅲ.15v Part 4 - Dagger and wrestling by Joachim Meyer
Ⅲ.16r - Ⅲ.47r Part 5 - Staff and pole weapons by Joachim Meyer
Ⅲ.47v Errata


Title pages

First Edition
Meyer 1570 Cover.png
Second Edition
Meyer 1600 Cover.png
Johan Casimir's arms
Meyer 1570 Crest.png


Sword A
Meyer 1570 Sword A.png
Sword B
Meyer 1570 Sword B.png
Sword C
Meyer 1570 Sword C.png
Sword D
Meyer 1570 Sword D.png
Sword E
Meyer 1570 Sword E.png
Sword F
Meyer 1570 Sword F.png
Sword G
Meyer 1570 Sword G.png
Sword H
Meyer 1570 Sword H.png
Sword I
Meyer 1570 Sword I.png
Sword K
Meyer 1570 Sword K.png
Sword L
Meyer 1570 Sword L.png
Sword M
Meyer 1570 Sword M.png
Sword N
Meyer 1570 Sword N.png
Sword O
Meyer 1570 Sword O.png
Cutting Diagram 1
Meyer 1570 Sword Cuts.png
Cutting Diagram 2
Meyer 1570 Sword Segno.png
Dussack A
Meyer 1570 Dussack A.png
Dussack B
Meyer 1570 Dussack B.png
Dussack C
Meyer 1570 Dussack C.png
Dussack D
Meyer 1570 Dussack D.png
Dussack E
Dussack F
Meyer 1570 Dussack F.png
Dussack G
Meyer 1570 Dussack G.png
Dussack H
Meyer 1570 Dussack H.png
Dussack I
Meyer 1570 Dussack I.png
Dussack K
Meyer 1570 Dussack K.png
Dussack L
Meyer 1570 Dussack L.png
Dussack M
Meyer 1570 Dussack M.png
Dussack N
Meyer 1570 Dussack N.png
Dussack O
Meyer 1570 Dussack O.png
Dussack P
Meyer 1570 Dussack P.png
Meyer Portrait 1
Meyer 1570 Portrait 1.png
Meyer Portrait 2
Meyer 1570 Portrait 2.png
Meyer Portrait 3
Meyer 1570 Portrait 3.png
Cutting Lines
Meyer 1570 Rapier Cutting Lines.png
Rapier A
Meyer 1570 Rapier A.png
Rapier B
Meyer 1570 Rapier B.png
Rapier C
Meyer 1570 Rapier C.png
Rapier D
Meyer 1570 Rapier D.png
Rapier E
Meyer 1570 Rapier E.png
Rapier F
Meyer 1570 Rapier F.png
Rapier G
Meyer 1570 Rapier G.png
Rapier G'
Meyer 1570 Rapier G2.png
Rapier H
Meyer 1570 Rapier H.png
Rapier I
Meyer 1570 Rapier I.png
Dagger A
Meyer 1570 Dagger A.png
Dagger B
Meyer 1570 Dagger B.png
Dagger C
Meyer 1570 Dagger C.png
Dagger D
Meyer 1570 Dagger D.png
Dagger E
Meyer 1570 Dagger E.png
Dagger F
Meyer 1570 Dagger F.png
Staff A
Meyer 1570 Staff A.png
Staff B
Meyer 1570 Staff B.png
Staff C
Meyer 1570 Staff C.png
Staff D
Meyer 1570 Staff D.png
Staff E
Meyer 1570 Staff E.png
Staff F
Meyer 1570 Staff F.png
Staff G
Meyer 1570 Staff G.png
Staff H
Meyer 1570 Staff H.png
Staff I
Meyer 1570 Staff I.png
Staff K
Meyer 1570 Staff K.png
Staff L
Meyer 1570 Staff L.png
Staff M
Meyer 1570 Staff M.png

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. Schaer, Alfred. Die altdeutschen fechter und spielleute: Ein beitrag zur deutschen culturgeschichte. K.J. Trübner, 1901. p 76.
  2. Pollock, W. H., Grove, F. C., and Prévost, C. Fencing. London and Bombay: Longmans, Green, and co, 1897. pp 267-268.

Copyright and License Summary

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

Work Author(s) Source License
Images Circle of Tobias Stimmer Leipzig University Library
Public Domain.png
Transcription Michael Chidester Index:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens