Wiktenauer logo.png

Talk:Joachim Meyer

From Wiktenauer
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Work Author(s) Source License
Lund Figures Lunds Universitets Bibliotek Lunds Universitets Bibliotek
Public Domain.png
1570 Figures Tobias Stimmer Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig
Public Domain.png
Rostock Figures Universitätsbibliothek Rostock
Public Domain.png
Translation Mike Rasmusson Schielhau.org
Translation Kevin Maurer Meyer Frei Fechter Guild
Translation Thomas Carrillo Meyer Frei Fechter Guild
Translation Jon Pellett Megalophias his Page
Translation Jordan E. Finch Wiktenauer
Lund Transcription Olivier Dupuis Index:Joachim Meyers Fäktbok (MS A.4º.2)
1570 Transcription Michael Chidester Index:Gründtliche Beschreibung... der Kunst des Fechtens
Rostock Transcription Jens P. Kleinau Index:Fechtbuch zu Ross und zu Fuss (MS Var.82)

Veldenz/Munich Manuscript

Transcription Notes

The following text comes from the manuscript Bibl. 2465 of the National Musuem of Bavaria in Munich. The author of the text is Joachim Meyer, who dedicated it to the count of Veldenz in march 1561.

You will find more information, including an access to the pictures of the manuscript in the paper: Dupuis, O. (2021). A new manuscript of Joachim Meyer (1561). Acta Periodica Duellatorum, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.36950/apd-2021-004

A great thank for the help in the transcription process to Daniel Jaquet, Dierk Hagedorn, and Kevin Maurer. Every remaining mistakes (and it remains a ton of them) is my doing.

The edition process is minimalist: the original line breaks, the punctuation are all kept. Capital letters indicate when obviously such a letter form appears in the text, without following modern usage.

To facilitate reading, the main chapter titles have been emphasized in bold; the subtitles in bold and italic.

The catchwords at the bottom of some pages have not been reproduced.

The footnotes are deliberately kept to the minimum.

The sign at the end of a line indicates an hyphenation.

The sign ¶ is put where a specific sign indicates the end of paragraphs.

Translation Notes

Dedicated to the memory of our beloved Oberhauptmann Mike Cartier (1966-2019) You shall never be forgotten my Friend.

This translation has been done in the hopes that those who read it will come to understand the greater depth of knowledge of the fighting arts possessed by Joachim Meyer. He was a highly conceptual and creative man when it came to not only the technical application of fighting techniques, but also the instructional methods used to convey meaning to an activity that requires physical practice.

This translation is undoubtedly an amateur attempt. We all look forward to a more professional and academically done English translation of this important Meyer work. But in the meantime, this should provide us with many more questions, and hopefully some answers.

I have transcribed and translated the greater part of his four known works. And through my efforts to put into the English language his physical descriptions of fencing actions, I have come to a greater appreciation for the methods he used to instruct the fencing arts. While he seems to have tailored his three handwritten works to the specific Noble that he dedicated each particular work to, it is still quite obvious through his pedagogy or methods of instruction that certain theoretical concepts were inherent within the fencing arts even prior to his own lifetime. In translating this latest re-discovery, many of my previous theories about his knowledge and instructional methods were reconfirmed and of course, several have to be reconsidered. The advantage of having another Meyer fencing book is we can better understand the art on a holistic level through this revealing book. In several places of this work, Meyer actually sought to clarify for Duke Georg Hans from Veldenz the true meanings of at least some of the earlier Liechtenauer and other Zeddel, which were purposefully obscured. Clearly, Meyer understood the reasoning behind the words in the Zeddel and his Glosa or interpretations that he gave here are an attempt to bring clarity to their greater concepts. He did this by giving physical and technical examples of their use and through this, he gives us more ability to know and perceive how and where to use them.

The brief and cryptic verses must have served for several centuries to convey certain physical concepts when fighting with Swords. Yet, I have always believed that the vast knowledge crammed into their scant few words, could someday become less obscure, specifically in relation to the art that Joachim Meyer practiced and taught. Realizing, of course, that other earlier German Masters gave somewhat adequate definitions to the Zeddel, I find the 1561 contains obscure examples which seem more familiar and compatible with his previously known techniques.

Within the dedicatory preface, Meyer insists to the Duke of Veldenz that his intention is to use “general words' ' to give clarification to the earlier, often cryptic, verses. Also within the dedication, Meyer even alludes to the reality that prior written fencing instructions did not adequately unravel the secrets within the earlier Zeddel. So the commentary that Meyer does include here in this work should prove useful to not just Meyerists, but everyone seeking more understanding of the Longsword arts. Furthermore, within the Longsword’s second section, Meyer introduced the idea that:

“I will explain the rhymes that were made with hidden words by the ancients so that the art did not become too common.”

Interesting to think that in 1561, the ability to make commonly known something that was previously and purposefully made cryptic, could now be shared in writing. Again, back to my belief that the Glosa Meyer shared here is very valuable to not just students of Meyer’s art, but to everyone seeking more understanding of previous fencing arts.

I have for the time being omitted the Harness fencing section entirely. The language used there requires more language knowledge than I currently possess. I continue to search for Early new high language resources that will clarify those specific words Meyer used for harness that I have never encountered before. It is a fun endeavor though.

Finally, I would like to thank M. Oliver Dupuis for rediscovering this manuscript and sharing it with me and the world. I initially discovered the possibility of its existence sometime in 2011 from several mentions online. The key indicator to me that it was a legitimate Meyer work was the consistent mention of who he dedicated the work to, Duke Georg Hans von Veldenz. Thus began my quest to locate and gain access to it. Many hours were spent speculating with fellow guild members about the contents just from the few scant mentions I had found of it. One source I found gave particular descriptions of the Harness section’s weapons as being a Sword with spiked Pommel, and we speculated endlessly about that. Was this really a Meyer manuscript? Was it misattributed to some other work? I searched high and low, for years trying to track this down. I always believed that it was still extant somewhere, languishing away in some dusty archive of a library. Did it survive the ravages of both World Wars? So many questions left unanswered. I came tantalizingly close to discovering this, when I found mention of it in a footnote of a Finnish Antiquarian society journal. The article there was mainly about the different types and colors of Pluderhosen of the mid 16th century in Germany and this colored Meyer work was referenced in that footnote as having been seen by a researcher in what I thought was the late 19th century, turns out it was in 1950! Due to the language barrier, I did not follow up further with this important lead, but rather moved on to so many other research projects. Had I followed up, and dug deeper into a proper translation of this Finnish Journal, I probably would have discovered it in the Munich Library where M. Dupuis eventually found it. Because that Finnish Journal footnote was actually the key. So once again please join me in thanking him for rediscovering and sharing this fascinating “new” Meyer manuscript with the world.

Kevin Maurer 2/22/22
Meyer Freifechter Research

Please note that no project from Meyer Freifechter Research is ever truly finished, I always welcome feedback to improve the quality of this translation.

Notes and explanations

A definitive definition of the word Indes, has not been attempted in this translation. I feel the definition resides within the context of the physical actions where the word was used by Meyer. The reader will find certain instances of my translation of the word Indes as meaning “instantly” or immediately. Where I thought Meyer intended the meaning to imply an immediate or expeditious movement, I used an alternative word for Indes. Yet the reader will surely see an entire paragraph in the Longsword section, where Meyer himself shared a multitude of examples of what Indes is and what it isn’t. These examples are, I believe, motivated by the earlier use of the word Indes in the “Ancient Zeddel” which Meyer was clearly trying to clarify for Georg Hans von Veldenz. Much of Meyer’s explanations and clarifications seem to emanate from that desire. He desired to give a “modern” clarification to the centuries old words and meanings found in the various Zeddel that he obviously had access to and presumably learned his art from.
As in my translation of the 1560 Lund, I have tried to maintain Meyer’s use of the word Zufechten in its original intent. I leave the definition of its meaning up to the reader as I believe it must be conceptualized and understood by the present-day practitioner because the idea behind it involves not only the distance and timing of intended actions, but also during what part or time of the fight it is taking place. Perhaps it means more than just “in the pre-fencing” or “in the onset of an engagement” A deeper study of the concept of Zufechten can lead to a greater understanding of the entire fight. Meyer clearly understood when to use this word and the examples he gave, should be afforded more thought by us.
This word was also used by Meyer in a multitude of ways and spelling variations here. Both as a noun and as an action verb. While the words Parry and Displace can have similar meanings, I have attempted to translate versatzung with the intention of conveying that physical action required to complete the physical technique that I believe Meyer intended.
This is a very common and frequently used word found in all four of Meyer’s known works. I have used the original and refrained from translating it, so as not to confuse, confound or mislead the present day reader or student. A literal translation could be “piece, or bit” and in my opinion, that simply does not do any justice to the overall importance of this word. It probably should be viewed as “a collection of techniques” or a series of physical movements that when done all together, form an important lesson. Yet the true importance of the lesson is not in the reconstruction of the movements in strict order, but that the information relayed or taught within can be altered and mixed with every other Stuck, cut, guard or handwork. Early authors of instructional fencing books and manuscripts needed some way to put in writing physical movements. So the Stucken represent the unique method of teaching a physical art. In the dedicatory preface of this manuscript, Meyer talks about the importance of sharing information in this way.

Zwerch (Thwart) = transverse, situated or extending across something, horizontal.

Backen = cheeks/jaw

Literal translation is Clear; to clear something, I have translated this word as a variation of remen, Which may be taken to mean; to aim. To take aim, to target; aiming
Translated here as Step out or step off, Meyer used the phrase trit aus quite frequently. This could also be translated as, withdraw, remove or escape, I have used the more literal “step out” with the implication of avoiding the opponent’s incoming action(s).
Meyer used this word often in the polearms sections to indicate a parrying or displacing movement. It could be translated as turn out or turn away. I have used both those alternatives where I thought it applicable to maintain continuity of the technique.

Gebar as it appears in the Zeddel, wie er gebar or wie echt Gebar; To behave, give, put in a certain way; to deal with, deal with sth.; to act in a certain way'; to bear. From NHG wordbuch.

Gerecht = just, fair, deserved, (archaic) as in the law

Rechen may be a variation of Rechnen: translated as; to count on, to rely on. May also mean to reckon.

Foreign words

There are several uses of non German words found in this book as well. One in particular is a very interesting example and is also found in the 1560 Lund manuscript. The word is: Apicem

This word appears to be a spelling variation of the Latin word; “Apical, of or belonging to an apex," 1827, from Latin apicem, also from apex., "the tip, point, or summit" of anything, c. 1600, from Latin apex "summit, peak, tip, top, extreme end;" probably related to apere "to fasten, fix," hence "the tip of anything" (one of the meanings in Latin was "small rod at the top of the flamen's cap"), from PIE *ap- (1) "to take, reach" (see apt). Proper plural is apices. Retrieved from: etymonline.com

In the context that Meyer used this word, we see it was also used in the Rappier section of the 1560 Lund (69v.2): “heave your hilt upwards and cut from above with a straight apicem or Scalp Cut edge-wise through his face, so that in the cut you come with the hilt downward before the blade.”

In the 1561, Meyer used this word in the Dussack section when advising the reader to “pay good attention to the changers or cuts” And to change up one cut into another. He goes on to list a number of examples on how to do this, and the third example is where he used the word Apicem. Yet unlike in the 1560, here he just used the word as a noun and does not give the alternative name Scalp Cut as he did in the Lund. Interesting to think that this word was in his lexicon of descriptive cuts and does not seem to be found in his larger, more comprehensive work published in 1570. Perhaps it was another example of Meyer tailoring his teaching to an educated Noble.

Durken Zug

While not necessarily a foreign word, it represents a foreign cutting concept. Found on page 35 with an Image of two Dussack fencers, this word was difficult to not only transcribe, but required research to determine a possible translation. Ultimately, I settled on Turkish Draw (cut). Here is the context in which Meyer used it:

“However, if you have bound with someone on the Strong, nearby his hilt, then drive in over his Dussack, with your hilt to his face, and Indes draw the blade over his right arm through the face with a Turkish Cut, drive quickly out again to the parrying.”

These Notes will continue to be updated.

Solms/Lund Manuscript

Transcription Notes

Note: the page number is the one indicated on the upper right corner; this numbering is often missing or partially cut, in all but the first pages. This is an argument for their writing before the the current binding.

There is an apparent disorder in this numbering in the first pages; the number 1|5 is placed between the pages 2 and 3 and the pages 6 and 7 seem to have been inversed.

Particularity of the language for the hand B (fol. 10r-38v)

  • position inversion for the letter h in certain words: nhemlich, sthe, verkheren, thrit, ahn, fhel
  • introduction of a h after the initial k: khunst, khommen
  • contraction of einem/deinem/seinem in eim/deim/seim
  • a capital on the first letter in the words "In" or "Im" (only exception on fol. 18v)

Abbreviations system for the hand B:

  • -en/-n : a running line at the end of the word (abgehen, ...), very common
  • -er-, -er: a sort of apostrophe in the middle or the end of a word (od' for oder), very common too
  • initial letters followed by a dot or double do (sch: of fol. 36r for "schneid"), uncommon
  • v stricken for versetzen, uncommon, one occurrence on fol. 30v

Punctuation used by the hand B: "/" "." "?" (fol. 10v), "¶" (actually a sign indicating the end of a paragraph), ":" (fols 13r, 22r)

Particularity of the language for the hand A (fol. 1r-9v, 38v-...)

The language used by the hand A does not share the same particularities , it uses less abbreviations, more double n (unnd, ochsenn, ...), -e added to vowel to mark a diphthong (bloess, moecht), which could indicate a composition from another period.

Caractéristiques idiomatique:

  • itzt : encore utilisé dans certaines régions suisses (fol. 27v, 29r, 71r)
  • i,j and u,v are rendered following their own pronunciation system
  • overscripting done to indicate a u instead a n, or a y instead a g, are note rendered

Translation Notes

I have used the word Stück and its plural form Stücken, instead of attempting a translation into English. I experimented with the word Technique in places here and there, or where I felt it was meaningful. In several places I interchanged the use of the word 'Travel after' with Chase, specifically when translating the word nachreisen. I have maintained Meyer's use of the German word Zufechten. Also, I have used the word Onset to translate the word Zugang, where it was used.

In translating the Longsword section, I cross referenced the excellent translation work of Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng. His translation work in the Meyer 1570 Strassburg, is superior to anything I could conceive of here, and so in the hopes of sharing a better translation of the 1560, I was inspired in places from his portions of the 1570 Longsword Section. especially where those portions appeared word for word from the 1570 to the 1560. Several of Dr Forgeng's translations of the two line verses, for example, are much more descriptive and accurate than anything I could come up with. And as such, we are very grateful to Dr. Forgeng.

I have transcribed and translated this fencing book over the course of several years now. And have graciously accepted the help and advice of Jens P. Kleinau. He contributed significantly to vital areas of this work. I am grateful for his suggestions and corrections. And will always remain open to the same from others.

This translation is undoubtedly an amateur attempt. and we all look forward to a more professionally done English translation of this important Meyer work. But in the meantime, this should provide us with many more questions, and hopefully some answers.

I have omitted Translator's notes on the respective pages. The reader will undoubtedly notice that several plates or images are referenced in text by Meyer, and yet no image is to be found "above". We have called this the 1st Edition so that further editions will be released with any and all necessary corrections made. And my transcription will remain available for those interested in that. But I would hope that they will also, and ultimately share their translations.

Also I would like to personally thank Mike Cartier, Hauptmann of the MFFG, for the inspiration in getting this project done. For having Faith in the vision, and for his help in creating the digital workspace where I was able to keep this project organized. In addition I would like to thank everyone else in the Meyer Freyfechter Guild, who has helped me with this.

We would also like to express our gratitude to the University of Lund, Sweden for sharing this important Meyer work.

Kevin Maurer 12/12/12

Please note that no project from the Guild is ever truly finished, we always welcome feedback to improve our service to Meyer and the HEMA community.

Gründtliche Beschreibung der ...Kunst des Fechtens

Transcription Notes

Rostock Manuscript

Transcription Notes


Late in 2014, the Universitätsbibliothek Rostock published the digitized colour scans of Mss. var. 82, an important manuscript by the hand of fencing master Joachim Meyer (ca. 1537–1571). He was among those pioneers that were the first to ever publish a fencing manual in print. The first edition of his magnum opus “Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens” (Thorough Description of the Art of Fencing) was published in 1570. Before—with very few exceptions—fencing knowledge was passed on in the form of handwritten manuscripts. Nevertheless Joachim Meyer produced two manuscripts himself: One voluptuous, representative volume with numerous full-page colour images around 1560 (MS A.4º.2, currently held in Lunds Universitets Bibliotek in Lund, Sweden), and another one—the one present here—that seems to have served as his personal exemplar, copied from various sources in 1570.
Apart from the last section, which is Meyer’s very own take on how to fence with the rapier, this manuscript is another specimen of those vast compendia that consist of numerous fighting techniques by various masters: We encounter unarmoured fencing with the sword as well as in armour; there’s wrestling and fighting on horseback; and also dagger plays and techniques for sword and buckler are depicted.
One of the most intriguing aspects are master Johannes Liechtenauer’s teachings with the sword that can be found twice: Once in an edition (so to speak) of Sigmund Einring (also erroneously known as Ringeck), and once in a version that is similar to the one from the so-called Jude Lew manuscript (Cod. I 6 4o 3, Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg) or that from the so-called Hans von Speyer codex (M.I.29, Universitätsbibliothe Salzburg). The former is furthermore most interesting since quite frequently the text says: “als hie gemalt stet” (as it is painted here).
All this suggests that Meyer copied from various sources—one of them obviously (or possibly) illustrated. His copy however does not contain any such images.
Meyer’s Einring version is a rather abridged one, particularly in comparison to the famous so-called Ringeck manuscript from the Sächsische Landesbibliothek Dresden (Mscr. Dresd. C 487). Major portions of the corpus are missing.
The version that is similar to the Jude Lew manuscript is much more complete, and in fact this similarity goes beyond when we look at the following sections that seem to be a verbatim copy of other sections from Lew, including armoured combat by an anonymous author and by Mertein Huntzfeltz (which is attributed to Andre Lignitzer in the manuscript 44A8, Biblioteca dell’Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei e Corsiniana, Rome).
Apart from that, Meyer seems to have copied rather randomly what he could lay his hands on like for instance very brief excerpts from Liechtenauer’s wrestling in armour that are stacked completely out of context between Huntzfeltz’ armoured combat and some notes on fighting on horseback on fol. 74v/75r.
Another section about the dagger, fol. 76r–86r, is interesting insiofar as it shows no particular resemblance to any other master we are currently aware of—and it addresses the student in the second person singular and plural, thus differing from any other source.
Possibly Joachim Meyer was a bit absent-minded when we look at fol. 94v/95r and 96r/v which present exactly the same text about wrestling on horseback twice.
Particularly interesting is the name of a fencing master called Pegnitzer that appears on fol. 94r. His teachings do not appear in any other fencing manual but his name is nevertheless familiar to us on account of his membership to the “Gesellschaft Liechtenauers” (Liechtenauer’s society), as listed by fencing master Pauls Kal in his manuscripts (Ms. 1825, University Library Bologna; Cgm 1507, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich; KK 5126, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna).

The entire volume seems to have been written by one hand, quite likely Joachim Meyer’s own, although the two last sections differ in style. Both parts deal with the rapier: The first one seems to be an adaptation of the messer to be compatible to the new weapon that became modern at the time. It is written in a more stately, less fluent and cursive style than the rest of the manuscript. The handwriting however deteriorates considerably on the last pages as if it was done in a hurry or by an increasingly ill person. Nevertheless, this section is frequently annotated in the very same style of handwriting that is responsible for the bulk of the manuscript.
The last section shows yet another style in writing. It also describes the rapier and is of Meyer’s own invention which he has composed of various sources as he states on the preface page on fol. 123r, which also bears the date 1570.
It may be possible however, that the major part was written somewhat earlier. When we compare the style of writing to the second manuscript that has survived from Joachim Meyer’s hand, the one from Lund which is dated to the 1560s, we notice a stunning similarity.
The largest part of the manuscript, from fol. 6–110, is written in one homogenous and clear hand, with only very few deletions or corrections. Occasionally, there’s a marginal note, mostly in Liechtenauer’s horsefighting, where the text is segmented by horizontal lines with the words “end” and “anfang” (beginning) next to them. Some portions of the text are crossed out. Whether this indicates that the manuscript served as a blueprint for another volume and edited sections were marked in that way is only an assumption that cannot be ascertained.

The transcription follows the text as closely as possible. The specialties of capitalisation are maintained, but it was not always clear whether a single glyph was meant to be upper or lower case. When in doubt, lowercase was preferred, except in the beginning of a sentence.
Since the letters “n” and “u” look almost identical in handwriting, the scribe used a demicircle above the “u” for differentiation. This symbol is not maintained here since the modern typeface used makes the difference quite clear.
The vocal letter “y” is written as an umlaut througout the manuscript. The dots are omitted here, and “ÿ” appears as “y”.
The ligature for “sch” is written in a condensed form so that the “c” between “s” and “h” is hardly noticable—if at all. Nevertheless, the transcription writes “sch”.
Another combination that frequently appears in the transcription is “tz”. It was not always clear whether the scribe intended to write “cz” or “tz”. When in doubt, I opted for “tz”.
Other abbreviations, such as “ẽ”, mostly indicating a missing final “n”, have not been resolved in order to keep as much character of the original text intact as possible.
The text is structured by commas and full stops. It was not always possible to determine whether a spot omn the page was meant to be a comma, a full stop—or whether it was just that: a spot.
The manuscript has not preserved its original size, the pages have been cut at the outer margins, resulting in an occasional slight loss of text material. Additions to the text that I made in an attempt to restore the original are set in square brackets [].
The foliation of the transcription follows the modern one in pencil, that is written in the centre at the bottom of each recto page. Another, older foliation at the top right corner of these pages is partially or even completely lost due to the clipping the manuscript had to suffer from. This old, possibly contemporary foliation is lesser by four than the current one in the beginning, or by three (around fol. 83), or by two (from about fol. 107 onwards).

Dierk Hagedorn, 24th February 2015
(Joachim Meyer’s 444th day of death)


looks good man!

small note:

"The Thursday following the swear day, Joachim Meyer was gone to Schwerin in the coldest period of the year, invited by the duke to teach fencing. But Joachim Meyer died 14 days after his arrival in Schwerin." - V14 doc110 Strasbourg archives

The Schwörtag or swear day took place in Strasbourg the first Tuesday of each year; in 1571 that was the 2nd - so the Thursday following Schwörtag was the 4th.

so under your References section number Seven I suggest removing the "Assuming"

There are some other items I would also clarify or fix, but they are minor.

I will be re-writing my article on Meyer soon, incorporating some new research discoveries by Kevin Maurer and I (mostly Kevin!98%). Although said research will be presented in the MFFG Quarterly Journal first and foremost.

Primary sources

the source for "Marriage: Joachim Meyer from Basel, messerschmiede Appolonia Rulmennin, widow of Jacob Wickgaw, messerschmiede 4 July 1560" is ‘Original Aux AM Strasbourg’ (Straßburg, 1552–1568), Archives départementales du Conseil général du Bas-Rhin, Registres paroissiaux Paroisse protestante (Saint-Guillaume) <http://etat-civil.bas-rhin.fr/adeloch/adeloch_accessible/adeloch_consult.php?refacces=YToyOntzOjY6ImlkX2NvbSI7czozOiI0NzgiO3M6NjoiaWRfaWR4IjtzOjY6IjI5MjI1OSI7fQ==>

Day of Meyer's death

FYI , February 24, 1571 was a Wednesday and the 55th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar with 310 days remaining in the year.

Day of Meyer's Wedding

It was a Monday on July 4, 1560 and it was the 186th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar

Day of Meyer's Birth

It was Monday on August 16, 1537 and it was the 228th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar.

Basel in Germany?

Is there any indication the city of Basel was in the Kingdom of Germany at the time of Meyer's birth? The Wikipedia article for Meyer says this too, but all evidence I can find as well as intuition would point to Basel having been a Swiss confederated state (within the HRE but separate and de facto independent) by 1501, thirty-six years prior to Meyer's birth. A few books informing my question are Zeitsprünge - Basler GeschichteWörterbuch des Völkerrechts and Bonjour's A short History of Switzerland, and period maps of the HRE and surrounding areas during the 16th c. Discussion and possible enlightenment to new information on this welcomed. 》Paul Grayson (talk) 08:00, 25 February 2022 (UTC)