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Pseudo-Hans Döbringer

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Here begins Master Liechtenauer's art of fencing
Hie hebt sich an meister lichtenawers kunst des fechtens
Author(s) Unknown
Ascribed to Pseudo-Hans Döbringer
Date before 1495
Language Early New High German
Manuscript(s) MS 3227a
First Printed
English Edition
Żabiński, 2008

"Pseudo-Hans Döbringer" is the name given to an anonymous 15th century German fencing master.[1] At some point in the 15th century (or possibly the last decade of the 14th), he dictated a gloss on and expansion of the teachings of the grand master Johannes Liechtenauer, including the only biographical details of the master yet discovered; it is even speculated that he was personally acquainted with Liechtenauer, who was still alive at the time of the writing.[2] These comments were written into MS 3227a, a commonplace book, by an equally unknown scribe.


Additional Resources

  • Alderson, Keith. “Arts and Crafts of War: die Kunst des Schwerts in its Manuscript Context”. Can The Bones Come to Life? Insights from Reconstruction, Reenactment, and Re-creation 1: 24-29. Wheaton, IL: Freelance Academy Press, 2014. ISBN 978-1-937439-13-2
  • 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: 451-480. Ed. Daniel Jaquet, et al. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2016. doi:10.1163/9789004324725_017
  • Chidester, Michael. The Long Sword Gloss of GNM Manuscript 3227a. Somerville, MA: HEMA Bookshelf, 2021. ISBN 978-1-953683-13-7
  • Chidester, Michael and Hagedorn, Dierk. “The Foundation and Core of All the Arts of Fighting”: The Long Sword Gloss of GNM Manuscript 3227a. Somerville, MA: HEMA Bookshelf, 2021. ISBN 978-1-953683-05-2
  • Dürer, Albrecht and Wassmannsdorff, Karl. Die Ringkunst des deutschen Mittelalters. Liepzig: Priber, 1870.
  • Verelst, Karin. "Finding a Way through the Labyrinth: Some Methodological Remarks on Critically Editing the Fight Book Corpus". Late Medieval and Early Modern Fight Books. Transmission and Tradition of Martial Arts in Europe: 117-188. Ed. Daniel Jaquet, Karin Verelst, and Timothy Dawson. History of Warfare 112. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2016. doi:10.1163/9789004324725_008
  • Vodička, Ondřej. “Origin of the oldest German Fencing Manual Compilation (GNM Hs. 3227a)”. Waffen- und Kostümkunde 61(1): 87-108, 2019.
  • Wallhausen, James. Knightly Martial Arts: An Introduction to Medieval Combat Systems. Self-published, 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
  • Żabiński, Grzegorz. “Unarmored Longsword Combat by Master Liechtenauer via Priest Döbringer.” Masters of Medieval and Renaissance Martial Arts: 59-116. Ed. Jeffrey Hull. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press, 2008. ISBN 978-1-58160-668-3


  1. This name stems from the false assumption of many 20th century writers identifying him with Hans Döbringer. It has been argued that this name is inappropriate because the treatise attributed to pseudo-Döbringer (and also pseudo-Peter von Danzig) are not true pseudepigrapha—they are internally anonymous. However, many Ancient and Medieval pseudepigraphic texts were originally anonymous and were assigned their false attributions by later readers, and this is also the case with these two glosses in our fledgling tradition.
  2. The manuscript uniformly lacks the typical prayer for the dead when mentioning his name.
  3. The silver "soon" was added later above the line
  4. lit: entirely finished sword
  5. lit: verses
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Page has a round hole at this point.
  7. latin
  8. Remainder is blacked out.
  9. alt: behold, peer-into, witness, probe, observe, perceive, inspect, investigate, realize, comprehend. alt: show, present, embody, illuminate
  10. latin
  11. lit: tread-full. completing a step or completing the course of a thing.
  12. alt: giving-way, stepping-off. to give something up. to let something go.
  13. alt: safe, sure
  14. alt: has success
  15. ume züst => umsonst
  16. Text gives "deñe her"; correct order based on markings is given here.
  17. schlage, not schlag
  18. Word is almost illegible.
  19. aufwinden: 1) to entangle, wind into a ball 2) to turn or twist upwards.
  20. hindringen: to break or force through. overcome
  21. "Wisely" inferred from the summary
  22. alt: straight
  23. darfahren: unversehens dazu kommen
  24. A guide letter “w” is visible under the “D” (apparently ignored by the rubricator), making the intended word “Wer”.
  25. Continued up the side margin; due to paper clipping, the bottom line is unclear. 65r gives "gewisse".
  26. wegen preposition
  27. wegen verb
  28. ienen
  29. "Ander" is placed after "Hewe" in the manuscript, with markings indicating the correct order.
  30. Inserted in the margin
  31. dargehen: the approach something in a hostile manner. Literally: to go-there.
  32. The page is clipped. only 'hew' remains. This manuscript spells 'haupte' as 'hewpte'
  33. 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
  34. "Hew" is inserted in the margin.
  35. alt: directly, immediately
  36. The comment ends here and remains unfinished.
  37. Inserted in margin.
  38. Inserted in the margin.
  39. 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.
  40. überhangen: to hang over, to lean over, to incline
  41. Grimm: setzen C.2)a)
  42. unterhangen: hang down, like the branches of a tree
  43. Inserted in margin.
  44. Inserted in margin.
  45. Latin: "as [they] are able"
  46. Inserted in margin
  47. Inserted in the margin.
  48. rauschen: like a strong wind rustling quickly through the trees
  49. Inserted in the margin.
  50. unterhangen: hang down, like the branches of a tree
  51. überhangen: to hang over, to lean over, to incline
  52. Inserted in the margin.
  53. Inserted in the margin.
  54. menen: treiben, fuhren, leiten
  55. latin: dampno => damno => harm
  56. »Nicht« appears in the margin, but its proper placement is unclear.
  57. Text cuts off here, and the rest of the page is blank.
  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