Transcriptions | “Gladiatoria” Wolfenbüttel


This is the transcription of an Early High German illustrated manuscript, dated 1465 – 1480, that belongs to the so-called Gladiatoria group. It is located in the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel with the number Cod. Guelf. 78.2 Aug. 2o. Since I cannot show the images this is a text-only version.

Die Handschrift

For general information about the Gladiatoria group see the transkription of the version of the Yale Center for British Arts.

The available manuscript is remarkable in more than one respect. It not only contains a conglomeration of the martial knowledge of the time – fighting with longsword or sword and buckler, wrestling and techniques for staff weapons – scattered throughout and in no homogenous order is an extensive version of the Gladiatoria complex. The first fechtbuch part of the manuscript contains no informative texts, although there is the according space below the fencers' feet. Only a couple of the Gladiatoria images have a very brief text that mostly is not the description of a specific technique but rather an indication for the correct order. The second part of the manuscript consists of a warbook with much more detailed annotations and descriptions.

What makes this manuscript most significant are the verses by master Johannes Liechtenauer – however without mentioning the master's name – which precede the fechtbuch on a folio that is not included in the regular folio numbering. This version written in Low German deviates occasionally slightly from the better known versions from other manuscripts. Thus this codex represents a link between the tradition of master Liechtenauer and the Gladiatoria group that follows a different line otherwise.

Next to a continuous folio numbering in the top right corner of the recto pages (2–157; fol. 1 seems to have been repaired, three folios without numbering precede) there are some more irregular numberings and markings:

  • Bastarda on 29r (d) and 112r (h)
  • Textura on the top in the middle of the recto pages: 41 (a), 42 (b), 43 (m), 44 (n), 45 (o), 46 (p), 47 (q), 48 (k), 49 (l), 50 (F), 61 (Cf), 62 (d), 63 (e), 64 (f), 65 (G), 66 (h), 67 (I), 68 (k), 69 (l)
  • Roman on fol. 74r in the right top corner (A)
  • foll. 79v – 108v: small, possibly contemporary page numbering at the top margin, continuous from 1 to 59
  • foll. 112r – 116r: additional folio numbering top right: 1 to 5 (the 2 is missing or damaged)


The transcription

The transcription tries to follow the original as closely as possible. I have not dissolved the letter "v" in either "u" or "v". Abbreviations, duplication characters or other special characters remain mostly intact - considering the restraints of internet typography.


Rainer Leng (Compiler): Katalog der deutschsprachigen illustrierten Handschriften des Mittelalters, Band 4/2, Lieferung 1/2 – 38. Fecht- und Ringbücher. C. H. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 2008
Hans-Peter Hils: Meister Johann Liechtenauers Kunst des langen Schwertes.

Dierk Hagedorn, April 2010

Fencing Book

War Book