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Nuremberg Group

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Nuremberg Group
Cod.I.6.4º.2 20v21r.png
Codex Wallerstein, ff 20v - 21r
Compiled by
Illustrated by
Date ca. 1470s
Language Early New High German
State of Existence Original hypothetical; several
fragmentary copies exist
Concordance by Michael Chidester

The Nuremberg Group is a series of 15th and 16th century German manuscripts that describe a common set of techniques and seem to have originated in the area of Nuremberg, Germany. It has been suggested that these treatises define a local martial arts tradition native to that city, which would be a subset of the mainstream German style. The first two sections of the Codex Wallerstein are the oldest entry in the group, and it's possible that the later treatises are dependent on it, particularly that of Albrecht Dürer. However, this issue is complicated by the fact that the first grappling section of the Glasgow Fechtbuch, which is comprised of material not drawn from Wallerstein, contains much of the remainder of Dürer's work.

Despite the existence of several fencing manuals describing these teachings, there are few known masters of this tradition. A master Hartman von Nuremberg is mentioned by Paulus Kal as a member of the Fellowship of Liechtenauer,[1] but no writings of his that might demonstrate a connection to the tradition are known to exist. Despite attempts by a few modern writers to connect Albrecht Dürer to the Marxbrüder fencing guild, there is no evidence suggesting that he was anything but a master painter, and it seems unlikely that he practiced the techniques in his book.[2] In fact, the only known master whose connection to the tradition is certain is Antonius Rast, a former Captain of the Marxbrüder who left a partially-completed fencing manual upon his death in 1549. This manuscript was later acquired and completed by Paulus Hector Mair, and it seems to have influenced his own writings to some extent.


The Wrocław Codex 1246 was lost during World War II and cannot presently be integrated into this concordance. Fortunately, Friedrich Dörnhöffer referenced this text extensively in his 1909 edition Albrecht Dürers Fechtbuch. In the transcription, he included notes where the text of the Codex 1246 differs from that of the MS 26-232; those notes have been preserved in this compilation, indicated by footnotes with the abbreviation Br.

While the Berlin Picture Book contains a wealth of high-quality illustrations, it draws on multiple sources aside from the Nuremberg tradition including Hans Talhoffer's writings and a series of anonymous sword and buckler images. Because of this, images which don't overlap other works in the tradition can't be verified as belonging to it and thus are omitted here.

Additional Resources


  1. Kal, Paulus. Untitled [manuscript]. Cgm 1507. Munich, Germany: Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, 1470.
  2. J. Christoph Amberger. "The Death of History: Historic European fighting arts in the Mis-information Age". Fencers Quarterly Magazine. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
  3. dauchen : drücken, niederdrücken.
  4. Im Fechten gibt es den Zwerhau, der in dieser Handschrift als Twir bezeichnet wird, in anderen Quellen aber auch Twirch geschrieben wird, von zwerch = schräg, quer. Zum einen würde diese Bedeutung in Verbindung mit dem Ringen hier keinen wirklichen Sinn ergeben, zum anderen wäre die Schreibweise mit „b“, auch wenn dieses stimmlos gesprochen werden kann, äußerst ungewöhnlich. Im Rheinischen Wörterbuch findet sich dagegen der Begriff Pirch = Pferch = Einzäunung. Diese Bedeutung ergibt im Ringen mehr Sinn und könnte hier evtl. mit „Umklammerung“ übersetzt werden.
  5. der erste Buchstabe (p) ist nicht sauber geschrieben. pern stossen = Bärenstoß?
  6. es fehlt die „fünfft tbirch“, Dafür hat das Stück zwischen der drit und der vierdt tbirch keine Nummerierung.
  7. 5. plötzlich, unversehens.
  8. hier zu lesen als: fringt = ringt.
  9. The addition is difficult to read on the document, but results from the Table of Contents
  10. von äbich: abstehend, verkehrt (Deutsches Wörterbuch of the Brothers Grimm)
  11. The following pictures are marked with numbers underneath. As on the original the numbering is difficult to read, it was omitted in the transcription of the plays.
  12. das „b“ bei „nymbt“ wurde nachträglich aus vermutlich ursprünglich „y“ verbessert
  13. alt: fulcrum
  14. das „h“ ist über das vermutete „g“ geschrieben
  15. Text from subsequent image, per the statement "This passage belongs to the previous device, those belong hereafter."
  16. Text from subsequent image, per the statement "This passage belongs to the other devices before."