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Presented here is a transcription and modern English translation of the earliest extant manuscript dealing with the longsword yet discovered; Cod. Written in Germany it is the earliest known exposition of the "Lichtenauer tradition," and a very important document for the field of historical fencing studies. The translation has been done using B. The transcription I believe is satisfactory, but I have elected to leave out the crossed out scribes mistakes in the manuscript since they do not have any importance for the technical information in the text.
Thus the transcription is not strictly complete; I may add these items in the next update. A bibliographical analysis is sadly beyond my competence without accessing the original document at the owning library, so this must be left outside of this work for now. This translation and transcription is not intended to be the final word on the work, but to be more of a usable draft for use of students who may have greater or lesser difficulty in working with the original text.
As such this is not a literal translation, but a modernized text interpreted by myself. I have tried to make sure that the instructions and meaning of the original have not been changed, only made more readable. At a later date I will add illustrations of some techniques and concepts as well as a list of technical terminology with some references.
This work is intended for public use, so feel free to print it, reference it, or quote it, but please do not use it for any commercial purposes. As always I am grateful for suggestions on how to improve the translation and transcription in the future. I would like to thank Anders Linnard, Jeffrey Hull, Stewart Feil and John Clements for their help in commenting and correcting this translation and transcription. Aside from these gentlemen I have had the help and suggestions from many others over the web.
None mentioned and none forgotten. All faults, mistakes and erroneous ideas are my own. Translation Update: Mosse a Mistake? To do that you have to have the proper distance, that was my intention.
But after reading and thinking a bit more I would like to offer a different understanding, namely that Mosse is the same as measure , Misura , etc.
The term in Japanese martial arts is maai. Capo Ferro uses the term Misura in that sense and so do other of the Italian masters such as Fiore dei Liberi. The term Mosse in its various forms does seem to me to reflect the concept of the place where you must be in order to offend or defend in a winning manner. So we must place ourselves at the correct place in order for us to be able to use the length that our body and weapon gives us.
Take away one of these two pillars and the art crumbles to nothing. That is why he does not give advice in feet or angles; we are all of different stature and prefer different weapons. What he does say is that you cannot ignore the fact that the distance and length or reach of your weapon matters. So if he intended distance how does he measure it? I think that he does so from his sword point to the body of the opponent. The reason is simply that he does not in the manuscript refer to the idea of thinking in terms of body to body.
But he does several times indicate that the point is important. For example that the point should go straight to the opponent as if a string was attached to it, that the point should be no more then cm from the opponent when weapons are crossed. It is natural to measure from the point that is likely to reach the opponent first and that will threaten him first. I would here also like to point out that this is also how Capo Ferro measures the Misura , from the point to the opponent's body.
And this makes good sense, especially when we consider the Langort , Hengen , Winden etc, the Longsword seems to have been a weapon that utilized a great amount of thrusting and threatening with the point. But if we take this idea and the fact that he says that we should close with the opponent from the side and not head on, and those two smaller steps are better then one large one, well then we begin to discern a pattern.
In his mind you are a good swordsman if you win. David Lindholm. All rights are reserved. No use of the ARMA name and emblem, or website content, is permitted without authorization. Reproduction of material from this site without written permission of The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts and its respective authors is strictly prohibited.
All rights are reserved to that material as well.
Joachim Meyer ca. It is seen as one of the most complete systems within medieval German martial arts. Meyer's book was reprinted in , and may have been an influential source for other 16th- and 17th-century German fencing books, including a book by Jacob Sutor. His book mostly consists of descriptive text, with only a few dozen woodcuts , each of which depicts several players enacting various techniques described in the text itself. The book consists of five chapters, covering the long sword , dussack a training weapon not unlike the messer , rapier , dagger , and pole weapons. Meyer's system generally flows from, and uses the terminology of, the German school of swordsmanship as set down by Johannes Lichtenauer , though Meyer's civilian system also appears to draw from contemporary Italian swordplay, including Achille Marozzo. These woodcuts typically depict the postures, cutting schemes signs or 'segno' in Italian as well as several players enacting various techniques described in the text itself.
The geographical center of this tradition was in what is now Southern Germany Augsburg , Frankfurt , and Nuremberg. During the period in which it was taught, it was known as the Kunst des Fechtens , or the "Art of Fencing" commonly mistranslated as the "Art of Fighting". Most authors of writings on the system are, or claim to be, in the tradition of the 14th-century master Johannes Liechtenauer. The earliest surviving treatise on Liechtenauer's system is a manuscript dated to , known as Ms. More manuscripts survive from the 15th century, and during the 16th century the system was also presented in print, most notably by Joachim Meyer in