Historical European Martial Arts & Fencing Texts

A bibliography of known surviving works on foot combat from the late-13th to early-17th centuries.

Pre-1650 Manuscripts     Post-1650 Manuscripts     Miscellaneous Manuscripts


1295 Anonymous Tower Fechtbuch or "Walpurgis Manual" MS I.33 Royal Armouries Leeds
Fechtbuch MS I.33 - (in the Royal Library Museum, British Museum No. 14 E iii, No. 20, D. vi) - the "Walpurgis" manual, an anonymous 13th century German "sword and buckler" manuscript. A Medieval German manuscript on the use of the sword and buckler (currently the earliest known European martial arts work).

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1389 Johannes Liechtenauer (Hanko Döbringer) Untitled Cod. HS. 3227a Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg
Influential German fechtbuch of 1389 on swordsmanship and other weapons (only portions survive through the commentaries of later masters) by the earliest known Fechtmeister as written down by the priest and master at arms, Hanko Döbringer.
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1430 Andres (ander) Liegnitzer (Lignitzer) Untitled No MS Des. Unknown
14th century German master who wrote on sword and buckler, and possibly material on spear, short sword, werestling, and dagger fighting. His sword and buckler material is a description of six different series of attack and defence combinations to practice. It is found almost word for word repeated in numerous Fechtbucher (fencing manuals) such as Peter von Danzig's Fechtbuch of c. 1452 and Sigmund Ringeck's "Commentaries" of c. 1440.
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c. 1400s Anonymous On the Use of the Two-Hand Sword Harleian MS 3542 Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel
An obscure 15th century English text that presents in verse form a brief glimpse at one of the few examples of a Medieval English method of using a single long blade. Unfortunately, its words are nearly indecipherable and open to considerable interpretation. A similar work has also recently been found.
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c. 1400s Anonymous La Jeu de la Hache No MS Des. Unknown
An anonymous 15th century work on the use of the medieval poleaxe. Portions appear in Alfred Hutton's 19th century "Old Swordplay" (or was it "Sword and the Centuries"?). Also translated by Prof. Sydney Anglo.
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c. 1400s Anonymous The strokes if ij hand swerde Cottonian MS Titus A. XXV Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich
 
c. 1400s J. Ledall Untitled Add. MS 39564
A previously unrecorded 15th century English velum scroll on swordplay (possibly great-sword). Apparently penned by one "J. Ledall". Although cryptic, its content of cuts, thrusts, footwork, and strikes shed light on similar works.
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c. 1400s Anonymous Untitled KK 5013 Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna
Related to and probably preceding the "Gladiatoria."
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c. 1400 - 1450 Anonymous Gladiatoria MS.Germ.Quart.16MS Bibliotheca 1 Regia Berlinenstadt. Currently in the collection of Jagiellonian Library, Krakow
A mid-15th century manuscript presenting numerically indentified techniques and counter-techniques (accompanied by an illustration) described by simple explanations of their execution rather than named and associated with a larger systematic method or even core principles. Instead, a tacit understanding of leverage, balance, and the under workings of swordplay, dagger fighting, and wrestling are assumed as well armored combat.
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c. 1425 - 1475 Anonymous Untitled Cod. Vindob. 11093 Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Vienna
An anonymous 15th century manual on parchment. Sothwestern German in origin with approximately 46 pages with illustrations on every page. Contains long sword in armor on foot, axe fighting in armor, wrestling, and mounted sword combat. Clothes, armament and weapons point to the middle of the 15th century. Configuration, scope, and contents imply that this is of those manuscripts that are not explicitly in the "Liechtenauer tradition".
 
c. 1450 - 1500 Anonymous Codex Wallerstein Von Baumann's Fechtbuch, Cod.I.6.40.2 Bayerische Staatsbibliothek?, Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg?
Collection of anonymous German text and somewhat stylized illustrations from c. 1470 mostly on judicial dueling and including material on the Langenschwert, Messerfechten, dagger, and wrestling. Actually consists of two works, one late 14th/early 15th century and the other mid-16th century. One version dated to 1549 notes it as "Von Baumanns' Fechtbuch".
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c. 1450 - 1500 Anonymous Untitled Cod. Guelf.78.2Aug.20 Universität Heidelberg? Herzog August Bibliothek?
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1490 Peter Falkner Untitled P5012 Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna
Fechtbuch from 1490. Includes long-sword, sword & buckler, messer, poleaxe, dagger, and wrestling.
 
1410 Fiore dei Liberi Flos Duellatorum in Armis No MS Des. Unknown
The Pierpont-Morgan Library manuscript is the former Codex Soranzo MCCLXI, and the former Sneyd manuscript first described by F. Novati, originally ?from the library of the Abbate Canonici in Venice.? The earlier Soranzo Codex was bound as part of a larger work (folios 1-240), likely compiled from various sources on martial arts. The Pisani-Dossi Manuscript reprinted by Novati is currently in a private collection. Two other versions of Fiore?s treatise whose location or existence is currently unknown include: Codex LXXXIV (Ms. 84) from the former Biblioteca Estense in Ferrara. This consists of 58 Folios bound in leather with a clasp with the first page showing a white eagle and two helmets. Codex CX (Ms. 110) was last located in the same institute and consists of 15 small format folios on unbound parchment. It Is not known if these represent copies of one the other three versions or independent editions.

Fiore dei Liberi was a leading master of the Bolognese school of fighting, and his work is only one of two surviving treatises from Italy during this era. His is the primary source today for Italian long-sword, grappling, dagger fighting, and other weapons. He studied under German masters (one in Swabia named ³Hans²) but developed his own style, which he taught to knights and nobles. Three surviving editions are known of his work.
 
1410 Fiore Furlan dei Liberi da Premariacco Fior di Battaglia Accession Number 83.MR.183 Call Number: MS Ludwig XV 13 Getty Museum
One modern Italian version was edited and published by F. Novati, Bergamo, 1902. Another translation was produced in 1998 by historical fencing researcher Marco Rubboli and published in Italy by Gladiatoria.

The Getty Museum manuscript is the former Codex Marcello mentioned by F. Novati in 1902
 
1410 Fiore Furlan dei Liberi da Premariacco Fior di Battaglia ("Flower of Battle") M.383 Pierpoint Morgan Library
This was originally part of a larger collective binding entitled Arte di armeggiare a piedi ed acavallo, of which it composed pages ff 241-259. The work was split up in 1780 and its other contents are unknown.

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1440 Sigmund Ringeck Fechtbuch des Sigmund Ringeck (Commentaries on Liechtenauer) Mscr.Dresd.C487 Sachsische Landesbibliotek Dresden
Fechtbuch from the 1440s. Interpretations on Liechtenauer. One of the most thorough but not complete views of the pragmatic art of Medieval German fencing as earlier conceived by Liechtenauer. Ringeck wrote, "To fence with your whole body and with force is your wish." (Lindholm, p. 18). Includes Liechtenauer kampffechten.
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c. 1425 - 1475 Hans Talhoffer Ambrasser Codex HS.XIX,17-3 Gräfl. Schloss Königsweggwald
Talhoffer was the master-of-arms for the army of Prince Koenigsegg and was himself a member of the Jorgsbrueder, or Brotherhood of St. George fighting guild.
 
c. 1425 - 1475 Hans Talhoffer Untitled P5342BCod. Nr. 55 Ambras Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna
 
1443 Hans Talhoffer Erster Gothaer Codex MS. Chart. A558 Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel? Forschungsbibliothek Gotha?
Reprinted by Gustav Hergsell, Prague, 1901
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c. 1450 Hans Talhoffer Untitled 78A15 Kupferstichkabinett der StiftungPreußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin
 
1459 Hans Talhoffer Untitled Thott 290 20 Königliche Bibliothek Kopenhagen
Reprinted by Gustav Hergsell, Prague, 1890. A translation of this text is also available in the member's area.
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Königliche Bibliothek Kopenhagen
1467 Hans Talhoffer Zweiter Gotaher Codex Cod.Icon. 394a Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich
Reprinted by Greenhill Publications, London, 2000. Translated by Mark Rector.
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1460 Hans Talhoffer Untitled Cod. Vindob. Ser. Nov. 2978 Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Vienna
 
1461 Hans Talhoffer Untitled Cod.1.6.20.1 Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg
German fechtbuch images with text captions existing in different editions from 1443, 1449, and 1467. One of the more widely known but much less detailed fighting treatises. Covers longsword & other weapons. Includes some material on wrestling.
 
c. 1450 - 1455 Jud Lew Fechbuch des Juden Lew I.6.40.3 Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg
 
c. 1449 - 1452 Peter von Danzig Fechtbuch des Peter von Danzig Cod.44A8 [Cod. 1449] Biblioteca dell'Academica Mazionale dei Linci e Corsiniana Suddeutschland
The manuscript of Peter von Danzig und Ingolstadt contains the teachings on fighting and duelling by Meister Johanns von Liechtenauer, Meister Andreas von Lignitz, the armoured foot combat with the half-sword according to the teachings of Meister Hundsfeld, and the Austrian Meister Ott. Peter von Danzig copied the comments of Sigmund Ringeck in a literal or almost literal manner. Includes complete versions of Liechtenauer's roszfechten and kampffechten.
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c. 1458 - 1467 Paulus Kal Untitled MS. 1825 Universitätsbibliothek Bologna
 
c. 1450 - 1500 Paulus Kal Untitled P5126 Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna
 
c. 1450 - 1500 Paulus Kal Untitled MS Cgm1507 Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich
 
1462 Paulus Kal Untitled Copy of MS Cgm1507, MS Chart B 1021 Forschungsbibliothek Gotha
Covers long-sword, messer, sword & buckler, dagger, and wrestling. Similar to Talhoffer's works. Kal was a fencing master in the service of a Bavarian duke between 1458 and 1467. He wrote his fechtbuch in 1462 for the Dukes Ludwig and Georg of lower Bavaria. Several editions still in existence (at least one from 1507).
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1462 Hugues Wittenwiller Untitled Cgm. 558 Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich
This work is a codex of Middle High German manuscripts covering personal combat and various other subjects of Alemanic Switzerland, including non-martial works (mostly by Otmar Gossow).  The fencing work, spanning folios 125r to 136r, involve unarmored longsword on foot, spear and staff versus halberd, mounted sword and spear, mounted short sword or baselard, dagger, short falchion, unarmed versus armed, and wrestling.  It is uncertain whether the author was a fechter or Fechtmeister , establishing it as a major work on the Kunst des Fechtens. H. P. Hils refers to this as a non-Liechtenauerian work. But this has yet to be confirmed.
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1478 Johannes Lecküchner Untitled Co.Pal.Germ.430 Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg
 
1482 Johannes Lecküchner Kunst des Messerfechtens Cgm. 582 Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich
First of several PDF files located in the ARMA member's area.
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1482 Johannes Lecküchner Kunst des Messerfechtens Cpg. 430
Covers only the "Langen Messer" (falchion).
 
1480 Hans Folz Untitled Q566 Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Vienna Nationale Forschungs
11 sword techniques, summary of the techniques, with distorted Liechtenauer verses on two of the pages.
 
c. 1482 - 1487 Filippo Vadi De Arte Gladitotia Dimicandi (On the Gladiatorial Art of Fighting) Codice 1324 Biblioteca Nazionale di Roma
On long-sword/great-sword, dagger, spear, and wrestling. A master from the town of Pisa who served noblemen and was master at Urbino. His treatise is in 2 parts, one text and one mainly pictures with explaining lines (not all very understandable). Vadi teaches that fencing is a science, not an art and offers something of the ethics of a Master at the time and that a Master only needs teach to knights and noblemen, since they have the role or protecting widows and orphans and weak people, etc. The weapons covered are mostly great-sword/long-sword, dagger (including unarmed defense against the dagger), and short pike. For the sword he writes of cuts and the thrust plus footwork, specific techniques. The guards he uses often have the same names of the guards of Fiore dei Liberi, but interestingly the position for the same name not always identical. Obviously many guard names passed from various schools and masters with modifications in name and/or position.
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1491 Hans von Speyer Fechthandschrift Codex Universitatis Salisburgensis M.I.29 Universitätsbibliothek Salzburg
Allegedly a copy of the treatise of Jud lew.
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1492 Pietro Monte De Dignoscendis Hominibus No MS Des. Milan
 
1509 Pietro Monte De Singulari Certamine Sive Dissentione No MS Des. Milan
 
1509 Pietro Monte Exercitiorum Atque Artis Militaris Collectanea No MS Des. Huntingdon Library Santa Monica CA
 
1509 Pietro Monte Peitri Moniij edtor Anon., Sections of Monte's Collectanea Escorial MS.A.IV.23 Real Biblioteca Madrid
"Exercitiorum atque artis militaris collectanea" was the first ever published work on wrestling (also on swordsmanship and other weapons). "De Sungulari Certamine Sive Dissensione", the fist ever published work on the duel (and critical of private fighting). Monte was a master of the well-established Bolognese school tradition and wrote extensively in the 1480's and 1490's on wrestling, swordsmanship, mounted combat, physical fitness, duelling, military theory, and the use of shields and other weapons as well as sword and cloak.
 
c. 1500s Anonymous Untitled Cod.Guelf.1074 Novi Herzog August-Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel
Also known as "Fechtbuchleinn"
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1500 Anonymous Fechtreglen No MS Des. Historisches Archiv der Stadt Köln
In German. A Leychmeistere text according to Hils.
 
1500 Anonymous Das Solothurner Fechtbuch, "The Solothurn Fightbook" No MS Des. Unknown
Features mainly armored fighting, long-sword, dagger, unarmed. Swiss-German. Similar to Talhoffer, although its date precedes him.
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1500 Anonymous Untitled Lib. Pic. A. 83. Berlin Staadsbibliothek
Armored and unarmored longsword with some sections identical to 1443 Talhoffer, others similar to Duerer.
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1500 Anonymous Untitled Cod.862 Universitätsbibliothek Salzburg Fürstenbergische Hofbibliothek, Donaueschingen
 
1500 Anonymous Untitled W* 150 Historisches Archiv Cologne
 
1500 Ludwig von Eyb zum Hartenstein Untitled B26 Universitätsbibliothek Erlangen
Military compendium featuring sword and buckler fencing.
 
1508 Anonymous Fecht und Ringerbuch No MS Des. Scott Collection Glasgow
 
c. 1510 - 1520 Anonymous Untitled MS.Germ.Quart.2020, MS 5879 Jagelonische Bibliothek Krakow
A significant work covering unarmored greatsword/longsword combat and wrestling, actually a later version of the teachings of Peter von Danzig (also another edition: MS.GERM.2020 from the Preußische Königliche Staatsbibliothek). Except for minor differences concerning orthography, dialect, and structure, the unarmored, or Bloßfechten, section in the "Goliath" manuscript is said to be an almost exact copy of the major portions of Peter von Danzig's work. Virtual text-copy of Von Danzig's roszfechten & kampffechten, but with illustrations of some of those plays.
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c. 1510 - 1520 Anonymous Untitled Mss.Var.83 Berlin Staadsbibliothek
Illustrations only. "Duereresque" in style.
 
1512 Albrecht Dürer (ed. F. Dörnhöffer) Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des Allerhoch Kaiserhauses HS.26-232 Michigan State University
 
c. 1500 - 1523 Albrecht Dürer Albrecht Dürer's Fechtbuch Cod. 1246 Universitätsbibliothek Breslau
Superb artwork on wrestling and sword use by the famed early Renaissance German artist (long/greatsword, wrestling, singlehand swords) based on the content of the 15th century Codex Wallerstein .
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1516 Andreas Paurnfeindt Ergründung der Ritterlichen Kunst des Fechtens durch freyfechter zu Vienn No MS Des. Königliche Bibliothek Kopenhagen
 
1538 Andreas Paurnfeindt La noble science ses joueurs d'espee No MS Des. Antwerp
Pauernfeindt transcribed Liechtenauer's verses as prose and rearranged their order as well as added his own passages and half-swording material. A French edition was produced in 1538.
 
c. 1522 - 1523 Jörg Wilham Untitled Cgm3711 Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich
 
1522 Jörg Wilham Untitled Cod.I.6.40.5 Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg
 
1522 Jörg Wilham Untitled Cod.I.6.40.3 Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg
 
1523 Jörg Wilham Untitled Cod.I.6.40.2 Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg
 
1556 Jörg Wilham Untitled Cgm3712 Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich
Large handwritten color Fechtbuch from 1523 on Liechtenauer this work contains some of the largest range of longsword & greatsword techniques of any manual, both armored and unarmored. Over 50 pages of paintings with captions, and another 50 without plus 18 pages of additional text. Three other later versions also survive. Includes messer and mounted combat. An earlier with cleaner illustrations includes sword and buckler combat as well as sword versus lance, including unarmored man on horseback vs. armored man, 79 plates of unarmored greatsword with captions and text, 36 plates of mounted in armor (lance and sword) with captions and text, 77 armored (mostly half-sword), 29 plates of sword & buvkler images (13 by an earlier artist), and some 100 pages of text.
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1530 Hans Lebkommer Lecküchner's Kunst des Messerfechtens No MS Des.
Covers only the "Langen Messer" (falchion).
 
1531 Christian Egenolph Der Altenn Fechter anfaengliche Kunst (Egenolffsches Fechtbuch) No MS Des. Jagelonische Bibliothek Krakow
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1531 Antonio Manciolino Opera Nova No MS Des. Venice
Cut & Thrust sword. The first surviving Italian printed manual. Concentrates on arming sword and buckler, also cloak, two swords, round shield, and pole arms. Not illustrated.
 
1532 Guido Antonio di Lucca Opera de Scherma No MS Des. Biblioteca Nationale in Rome, Instituto Italiano in Stockholm
Work on fencing
 
1533 Gregor Erhart Fechtbuch Cod.I.6.20.5
Illustrated fechtbuch. Includes work on longsword, falchion, spear, and dagger.
 
1533 Anonymous La Noble Science Sloane MS 2530 Paris
Reprint edited by Herbert Berry 1991. This is a partial French translation of an earlier German work on the two-handed sword, staff, messer (braquemard), and sword & buckler.
 
1536 Achile Marozzo Opera Nova No MS Des. Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg

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1568 Achile Marozzo Untitled No MS Des.
One of the first to focus on the use of the thrust over the cut. Considered by many an "early rapier" manual despite his use of a clearly cutting and thrusting blade. Considered one of the more significant masters. Modern Italian edition recently published.
 
1538 Hans Czynner Untitled No MS Des.
little known fechtbuch on armored longsword & dagger. Dated 1538 but reflecting 15th century combat. Features approximately 70 pages of half-swording and then dagger combat in color with accompanying captions and approximately 40 text pages.
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1539 Fabian von Auerswald Der Ringer-Kunst des Fabian von Auerswald No MS Des.
Wrestling techniques
 
1539 Sigmund Schining Untitled Cod.I.6.20.5 Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg
Based on Sigmund Ringeck. Illustrations of longsword reminiscent of Paulus Hector Mair
 
1539 Hans Niedl Untitled MS Codex I.6.2.5 Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg
Fechtmeister from Salzburg, Austria. Interprets the teachings of Liechtenauer.
 
1542 Paulus Hector Mair Brief Instructions Upon My Paradoxes of Defence Mscr.Dresd.C93/94 Sächsische Landesbibliothek Dresden

An enormous and luxuriously illustrated multi-volume fencing compendia of 1542, Paulus Hector Mair, a municipal official in Augsburg and voracious collector or Fechtbuchs as well as a practitioner of the craft, give us one of the most authoritative examples of for the credibility of Renaissance Martial Arts literature. Mair stated he after he had participated in having all the fighting techniques personally verified for him he had the artwork for the volumes prepared by two experienced fencers posing for each image under his supervision. (Hils, p. 200???)

Mair was obsessed with collecting arms and armor and fencing texts. His compilation exists in at least three versions and is quite significant in the range of techniques, weapons, and information it provides. One verion (Codex Vindobonensis Palatinus 10825, 271 f. Folio. Saec. 16., Oesterreichieche Nationalbibliothek, Veinna) includes dagger fighting which the other does not. The "C 93" Mair compendium (from Dresden Saechsische Landesbibliotek) dates after 1542 by Joerg Breu. Contains Liechtenauer and Ott's teachings, but is based primarily on Hans von Speyer's and Jorg Wilhalm's manuscripts. It contains an extensive range of arms and techniques including commoner weapons such as flail, sickle, scythe, and heavy club. A more substantial amount of material on the halberd is also included. Mair was apparently not only a collector of fencing books but also a practitioner, even adding commentary in his own handwriting to some images.

 
1542 Paulus Hector Mair Untitled Cod.Icon.393 Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich
 
1542 Paulus Hector Mair Untitled Cod.Vindob.10825/26 Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Vienna
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1553 Paulus Hector Mair Untitled Schätze 82 Reichsstadt Stadtarchiv Augsburg
 
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1545 Anonymous Untitled Cod.I.6.20.4 Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg
 
1550 Francesco Altoni Trattato della arte di scherma No MS Des. Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg
 
1552 Martinus von Heemskerck Fechten und Ringen No MS Des.
Woodcut engravings associated consisting of detailed engravings of cut & thrust sword, two-handed sword, and wrestling (reminiscent of Agrippa's art, though predating his work). Compiled together with a second by Sigmund Schining, 1539.
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1553 Camillo Agrippa Treatise on the Science of Arms and the Dialoque on the Same Theme No MS Des. Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg
Another of the first to focus on the use of the thrust over the cut. One of the earliest rapier manuals yet still includes several cutting techniques. Considered another one of the more significant Italian masters. (cut & thrust sword/rapier)
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1555 Christian Egenolphs Erben Die Ritterliche, Mannliche Kunst und Handarbeyt des Fechtens und Kempffens gedruckt No MS Des. Frankfurt am Main
Compilation of fectbuch published c. 1558 and then in later editions. Primarily sword & buckler and longsword material. 40 woodcuts by H. Weitz [1644].
 
1560 Anonymous Modi di metter mano alla aspada No MS Des. Venice
"Ways to put hand to the sword". 42 plates with text.
 
1560 Camillo Palladini Descorso sopra I'arte della scherma No MS Des. Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg
"Discourse on the art of Fencing". On single sword, sword & dagger, sword & cape, single dagger, dui spada, two-handed sword, halberd and pike, but not sword & buckler, or sword & targa.
 
1569 Jeronimo De Carranza De libro que tratta dela philosiphia de las armas No MS Des.
 
1582 Jeronimo De Carranza Untitled No MS Des.
One of only two of the known major Spanish renaissance fencing manuals that have survived.
 
1570 Giacomo Di Grassi His True Arte of Defense No MS Des.
"The Correct Method of Safely Using Arms, Both for Offense, as Well as for Defense, with a Treatise on Deceit, and with a Way to Train on One's Own, in Order to Obtain Strength, Judgment, and Dexterity". Translated into English in 1594, this work presented instruction in side-sword/early rapier (with buckler, dagger, and cloak), as well as two-hand sword and various pole arms. Its approach reflected some of the transition from military to civilian fencing that was then occurring.
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1570 Hans Senger The Duelling School No MS Des. Venice
Reportedly a series of woodcuts possibly influenced or copied from Joachim Meyer. Covers longsword, dussack, short staff, long staff, and halberd.
 
1560 Joachim Meyer Untitled No MS Des.  
Handwritten text of 80+ color plates on great-sword, rapier, and dussack with diagrams.
    Lunds Universitet, Sweden
1570 Joachim Meyer Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens No MS Des. Strassburg
"A Thorough Description of the Free Knightly and Noble Art of Fencing", A major Renaissance work on the longsword, dussack, and messer, repier, hastate weapons, the staff and wrestling. Contains 73 exceptional woodcuts. A second edition of Joachim Meyer's 1570 Fechtbuch (which covered mostly the then obsolete greatsword) was even reprinted in 1610, at the very height of the age of the slender rapier.
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1580 Joachim Meyer Fechtbuch zu Ross und zu Fuss No MS Des.
The fourth version of his known works.
 
1573 Henry de Sainct Didier Tracte' contenan les ecrets du premierlivre del'espee seule No MS Des. Paris
"Treaty containing the secrets of the first book on the single sword". Inspired by Marozzo and Agrippa, this is the only known French fencing treatise of the Renaissance and the only one prior to the mid 17th century.
 
c. 1575 - 1600 Paternoster A Beautiful Discourse on the Single Sword. No MS Des.  
Fragment of a short document offering teachings on the Italian rapier. Note that the name "Paternoster" can be translated as "Our Father".
 
1575 Angelo Viggiani Lo Schermo No MS Des. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich
 
1577 Mecurio Spetioli da Fermo Capitolo di schermire etcavacare No MS Des. Bologna
Fermo was a 16th century Italian master of arms who produced only a short poem on swordsmanship.
 
1579 Heinrich von Gunterrodt (Henri a Gunterrodt) De veris principiis artis dimicatoiae tractatus brevis No MS Des. Wittemberg
 
1580 Giovanni Antonio Lovino Traite d'Escrime No MS Des. Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel
 
Undated Giovani Antonio Lovino Modo di cacciare mano al spada [and] Ragionamento sopra la scienza dell' arme MS Italien 959 Biblioteque Nationale Paris
On rapier, as well as other swords and weapons. Also the unpublished appendix, the Ragionamento.
 
c. 1580 Girolamo (Hieronymo) Cavalcabo Untitled No MS Des.
Fencing book of approx. c. 1580, French translation edition of 1597, another of 1609, and German editions of these in 1611/12. Concerned primarily with sword & dagger, and also with single sword and sword & cape. He was a tutor to the French court. His work was influential and French translations of his text were produced in 1597 and 1609, with German editions of these in 1611 and 1612. Modern English translation forthcoming
 
1584 Alfonso Fallopia Nuevo et Brieve Modo di Schermire No MS Des. Nationalbibliothek Rome
On the civilian rapier.
 
1587 Federico Ghisliero Untitled No MS Des. Universitätsbibliothek Graz
 
1587 Frederico Ghisliero Regole do molti cavagliereschi esserciti No MS Des. Italy
"Rules of Many Chivalrous Armies". A work by a young Italian soldier and swordsman revealing connections to Spanish styles. Offers some fascinating material and alternative views. Previously thought lost.
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1591 Anonymous Untitled Cod.Guelf.83.4Aug.40 Österr. Nationalbibliothek Wien
Parchment of 116 pages. Pages 2-19/ 36 items with longsword, 22-37/ 31 items with staff, 38-56/ 38 items with halberd, 59-66/ 16 items with dagger, 69-73/ 10 postures with Dussack, 76-85/ 19 items with Dussack, 87-101/ 30 items with assorted dagger, etc. 103-105/ 15 items of various dagger used at the table(!), 107-116/ 18 items with wrestling.
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1594 Vincentio Saviolo His Practice in Two Books No MS Des.
The first intreating of the use of the rapier and dagger. The second, of honor and honorable quarrels. London, Thomas Scarlet for John Wolfe. His Practise In Two Bookes is one of the more influential (and now today popular) of the true rapier manuals.
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1599 Don Luis P. de Narvaez Libro de las Grandeza de la Espada No MS Des.
 
1672 Don Luis P. de Narvaez Nueva sciencia No MS Des. Madrid
 
1599 George Silver Paradoxes of Defence (Presentaion copy of the manuscript) No MS Des. British Library
Quarterstaff, dagger, cut & thrust sword/back-sword/short-sword with dagger or buckler. The primary source for English method of martial arts from the Renaissance.
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c. 1600 - 1650 Don Ruggiero di Rocco Precetti e vere regole della nobili art della scherma date in luce, da Don Ruggiero di Roco No MS Des.
"Garnishments and True Rules of the Nobil Arte.".. An obscure 17 th century work on single rapier written for Prince Carl of Polonia. Rocco was hired as a fencing instructor by Charles, King of Poland c.1600/1650. Little is known about him or his work. He used only four guards.
 
c. 1600 Anonymous Untitled No MS Des.
Dutch fencing work obtaind from the Chicago Art Institute
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c. 1600 Anonymous Untitled Corble Collection, Netherlands
Anonymous Spanish book of 33 fencing plates
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1600 Don Pedro de Heredia Traite des Armes No MS Des. Kelvinggrove Museum Glasgow
The R. Scott library treatise of Heredia is in two volumes written in French. The first comprising some 213 pages of text and the second volume consisting of 54 l water color drawings each with an explanatory legend and reference to the text volume. However, one modern bibliographic source suggests a Spanish might still be known.
 
1600 Hans Wurm Das Ringersbuch der Hans Wurm No MS Des.
23 plates from a little known German wrestling manual.
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1600 Marco Docciolini Trattato in materia de scherma No MS Des. Florence
On rapier.
 
1603 Giovanni Alberto Cassani Essercito militaire, il quale dispone l'houomo a vera cognitione del scherima de spada No MS Des. Naples
"Military Exercise, which prepares a Man to the True Knowledge of Fencing with the Sword, and Dispose the Army for Battle". Naples, Appresso T. Longo.
 
1605 George Silver Brief Instructions Upon My Paradoxes of Defence No MS Des. Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel
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1606 Nicoletto Giganti Scola overo Teatro.. No MS Des. Venice
Rapier
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1606 Salvator Fabris Sienz e Practica d'Arme No MS Des.
"About Fencing, or Rather, the Science of Arms". Rapier.
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1609 Herionimo (Girolamo) Cavalcabo Neues Kunstliches FechtbuchGerman ed. No MS Des. Jena
 
1610 Andre Desbordes Discours de la theorie de la practique ed de l'excellence des armes No MS Des. Nancy
On rapier, sword & dagger, and duelling.
 
1610 Ridolfo Capo Ferro Gran Simulacro No MS Des.
("Great representation/description"). Considered the great Italian master of the rapier and father of modern fencing.
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1611 Michael Hundt Fechtbuch im Rappier.. No MS Des. Leipzig
"A New Style Fencing Manual for Rapier" In Latin and German. Images and 100 plates of text on rapier and two-weapon fighting (sword and dagger/sword and cloak) including fighting against multiple opponents.
 
1612 Gerorgio Basta Il governo della cavalleria leggieria No MS Des. Venice
 
1612 Jacob Sutor New Kunstliches Fechtbuch No MS Des. Frankfurt am Main
Assorted weapons derived mostly from Meyer.
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1613 Antonio Quintino Gioielo di sapienza nel quale si contengono mirabilis secreti, e necessarii advertimenti No MS Des.
"Jewels of Wisdom." A text produced by a commoner and included 16 pages of grappling and wrestling in swordplay as well as material on animal fighting. Its true authorship is obscure. Titled in English: "Advertisements necessary for defending oneself against an enemy in many ways, according to various accidents which might occur. Added thereunto also the way to keep yourself safe from many harmful animals." Collected by Giovanni Briccio, Roman. And brought to light by Lorenzo Leandro, Venetian." Viterbo, 1613. Carl Thimm also under a "Boiccio" lists the work as edited by one Antonio Quintino and entitled, Gioielo di sapienza or "Jewel of Wisdom in which are contained wonderful secrets and necessary advertisements for defending oneself against men and many animals."
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1614 George Hale The Private Schoole of Defence No MS Des.
An English work commenting on fighting schools of the day as well as recommendations on the rapier method. Contains interesting theories and terms but little in the way of actual methods. A short but highly practical work with interesting views. Reveals further the influence of Italian civilian fencing on English fighting styles.
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1615 Sebastian Heüsler Kriegsman und Freyfechte No MS Des.
Over 100 illustrations. Based on Italian & French texts.
 
1615 Alexander Doyle Neu Alamodische ritterliche Fecht- und Schirmkunst No MS Des. Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg
 
1615 Johan Jacobi Wallhausen ABC der Soldaten zu Fuss No MS Des. Frankfurt am Main
 
1615 Johan Jacobi Wallhausen Kriegkunst zu Fuss No MS Des. Oppenheim
 
1615 Johan Jacobi Wallhausen deBry, L'art militaire pour l'infantrie No MS Des. Oppenheim
 
1616 Johan Jacobi Wallhausen Kriegkunst zu Pferd No MS Des. Frankfurt am Main
 
1616 Johan Jacobi Wallhausen Kriegsmanual No MS Des. Hanau
 
1616 Johan Jacobi Wallhausen Ritterkunst No MS Des. Frankfurt am Main
 
1616 Johan Jacobi Wallhausen Romanische Kriegkunst No MS Des. Frankfurt am Main
 
1616 Johan Jacobi Wallhausen Art militaire a cheval No MS Des. Frankfurt am Main
 
1616 Johan Jacobi Wallhausen De la milice romaine No MS Des. Frankfurt am Main
 
1617 Johan Jacobi Wallhausen Kunstliche Piquen Handlung No MS Des. Hanau
 
1616 Atanasio de Ayala Untitled No MS Des. Spain
Short text dealing with staff weapons.
 
1617 Joseph Swetnam The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science No MS Des.
Rapier, cut & thrust sword, others
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1619 Joachim Koppen Neuer Diskurs Kunst des Fechtens No MS Des.
Rapier
 
1620 Hans Wilhelm Schöffer Grundtliche und eigentlichte Beschreibung der freyen Adelichen und Ritterlichen Fechtkunst im einfachen Rappier und Dolch, nach Italianscher Manir und Art No MS Des. Marburg
15 color gouache drawings and 36 lines of text showing 8 on unarmed, 2 on dagger, 3 on dussack, two-hand sword, long staff.
 
1620 Hans Wilhelm Schöffer Gründtliche und eigentliche Beschreibung der Fecht Kunst No MS Des. Marburg
Large text on Italian rapier. Contains 672 crude illustrations all fully described and annotated by the author. Volume I has five preliminary figures (showing the four "haupt Guardien" and a diagram of the rapier) and then 321 pairs of rapier fencers, Vol. II has 345 pairs of rapier and dagger fencers
 
1622 Nicoletto Giganti TheaterGerman ed. Of 'Teatro' No MS Des. Frankfurt
 
1628 Nicoletto Giganti Scola overo Teatro No MS Des.
 
1623 Anonymous Untitled Cod.Vindob.10799 Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Vienna
 
1623 Francois Dancie L¹Espée de Combat, Ou L¹Usage de la Tire des Armes No MS Des. Tulle (France)
On single sword and duelling.
 
1625 Faminio della Croce L'essercito della cavalleria No MS Des. Antwerp
 
1627 Bonaventura Pistofilo Il Torneo No MS Des. Italy
Knightly use of poleax in tournament pageants in armor.
 
1629 Antonio Ansalone Il cavaliere descritto in tre libri No MS Des. Messina
 
1630 Girard Thibault d'Anvers Academie De L'Espee No MS Des. France
Rapier. The most elaborate and lavishly illustrated Renaissance fencing text. Written in French by a Flemish master teaching a version of Spanish fencing. An English translation by John Michael Greer is in progress. Part One: Philosophy and Practice ($11.95) is available now (1998), with Part Two: Advanced Techniques forthcoming. Contact Fir Mountain Press, P.O. Box 95674, Seattle, WA 98145.
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1630 Sebastian Heussler Neu Kunstlich Fechtbuch No MS Des. Nurnberg
 
1632 Bernardino Capitelli Gran simulacro dell'arte e dell'uso della scherma No MS Des.
 
1635 Jean Baptise la Perche du Corday L'Exercise des Armes No MS Des. France
Rapier.
 
1639 G.A. Pallas Armata- The Gentleman's Armory No MS Des. England
Rapier and cut & thrust sword. Aylward speculates that the author was Gideon Ashwell.
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c. 1639 - 1640 Luis Mendez de Carmona Libro de la destreza berdadera de las armas No MS Des. Spain
Unpublished manuscript on paper recently discovered again. Carmona was a fencing master in Seville, who previous wrote a work on Carranza's method. A substantial manuscript covering the principles and fundamentals of fencing and tactics to use in specific situations. The manuscript consists of two books: a lengthy Adbirtencias praticas y primeros principios para el conosimiento de lo que se ubiere de dezir o enseñar en este Libro (in 178 numbered sections), and a shorter Primeros principios y fundamentos para comensar [?] por nuestros tres caminos . Following this are two apparently earlier working drafts (and a fragment of a third), plus several incomplete later drafts. The sequence of composition is unclear, and each draft includes substantial alterations and additions not present in the others, perhaps suggesting he was editing or changing his method. The substantial corrections and annotations may also suggest it was perhaps being prepared for publication. The opening leaves include a dedication to the Conde de Peñaflor, plus sonnets addressed to the author (among them several by other fencing masters and another by a physician)
 
1640 William Cavendish Marquis of Newcastle Mathematical Demonstration of the Sworde Hareliean MS 5129 England
 
1640 William Cavendish Marquis of Newcastle Truthe off the Sorde Hareliean MS 4206 England
English version of Spanish rapier style.
 
c. 1640 - 1653 Francesco Ferdinando Alfieri La Scherma No MS Des. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich
published in Padua
 
c. 1640 - 1653 Francesco Ferdinando Alfieri La Picca No MS Des. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich
published in Padua
 
c. 1640 - 1653 Francesco Ferdinando Alfieri La Spadone No MS Des.
One of the last of the Renaissance Italian rapier teachers of the 17 th century.
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1642 Don Luis P. de Narvaez Libro de las grandezas de la espada commentary on Carranza? No MS Des. Pampilona
"Book of the Grandeur of the Sword in Which Many of the Secrets of the Methods Developed by Comendador Geronimo de Carranza are Explained". On rapier. One of only two of the known major Spanish renaissance fencing manuals that have survived.
 
1644 Francesco Ferdinando Alfieri Quesiti del cavaliero instrutto nell'arte dello schermo No MS Des. Padua
 
1651 Anonymous Avertimenti cavalereschia verbatim crib of Messario No MS Des. Padua
 
1653 Charles Besnard Untitled No MS Des. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich
 
1653 Francesco Ferdinando Alfieri Lo Spadone No MS Des. Padua
 

 

Significant post-1650 works reflecting Renaissance teachings

1665 Sebastian Heussler Künstliches Abprobites und Nützliches Fecht-Buch... No MS Des. Nürnberg
 
1670 Giuseppe Moristaco Pallavincini La scherm illustrata No MS Des. Palermo
 
1670 Philibert de La Touche Les Vrayes Principes l'espee seule No MS Des. Paris
 
1681 Alvaro Guerra de la Vega Comprehension of Destreza No MS Des.  
An interesting and valuable work comparing Italian and Spanish schools of small-sword. Translation by Miguel Gomez.
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1687 Sir William Hope The Scots Fencing-Master No MS Des. Edinburough
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1692 Sir William Hope The Fencing-Masters Advice No MS Des. Edinburough
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1692 Sir William Hope The Complete Fencing Master No MS Des. Edinburough
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1694 Sir William Hope The Swordsman's Vade-Mecum No MS Des. Edinburough
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