Some time ago, my dear friend Claus Sørensen asked me
a favour: Whether it might
be possible to make the Talhoffer
manuscript from Berlin my
next transcribing project.
Claus, instructor of the
fencing group Laurentiusgildet
from Århus, which has strong bonds with Hammaborg, has written
his master thesis about Hans
Talhoffer, and therefore
he is particularly interested
in this master’s manuscripts.
As a token of the close friendship
between Hammaborg and Laurentiusgildet
I wish to dedicate this transcription
This is the transcription of one of six surviving manuscripts by
the fencing master Hans Talhoffer.
It is located in the "Kupferstichkabinett
der Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz" in Berlin with the number
78 A 15. It is an illustrated
manuscript and offers only very
little text – just like the other
Talhoffer codices. Due to copyright
restraints, I cannot show the
according images, therefore this
is a text-only version.
The manuscript is not dated and it is rather difficult to integrate
it into a certain timeframe (cf.
Hans-Peter Hils, Meister Johann
Liechtenauers Kunst des langen
Schwertes, p. 161 ff.). It was
created after Talhoffer's first
manuscript from 1443, but before
the Copenhagen codex from 1459
(Thott 290 2°). The initial order of the leaves seems to have
been mixed up. Techniques about
wrestling, dagger and spear
are scattered incoherently throughout
the entire manuscript. For instance,
there are some unusual sequences
in the section of the long shield:
On f. 68v a fighter is being
put into his bier, the preparations
for the fight on the other hand
are shown on f. 71v, and the
beginning of the fight takes
place on f. 73r. Therefore my
transcription features no breakdown
into separate fighting divisions.
Rainer Leng offers a more thorough
register in "Katalog der deutschsprachigen
illustrierten Handschriften des
Mittelalters" (S. 40 ff.). The
manuscript presents the following
- Fighting in harness: foll. 1r – 27v
(foll. 1r, 15r: kneeling
figures, thanking God)
- Fighting on horseback: foll. 28r – 32r
- Wrestling: foll. 32v, 38r/v, 43r – 44v,
46r, 48r/v, 51r – 53v, 57r
– 59v, 61r
- Staff/spear/flail: foll. 33r/v, 45r/v,
55r – 56v, 60r/v
- Dagger: foll. 36v, 39r – 42v,
46v – 47v, 49r – 50v
- Dressing the fighter: foll.
- Buckler: foll. 54r/v
- Weapons for the fight: foll. 62r/v
- Brothers vom Stain, Talhoffer: fol.
- Long shield: foll. 62v – 77v
(foll. 62v, 73v: figures,
The quality of the black and white images I used was unfortunately
not impeccable. The transcription
follows the original as closely
as possible, but if I should
be able to get hold of better
artwork I will revise it again.
I disregarded capitalisation.
The manuscript is exclusively
written in minuscules, and I
have ignored an occasional larger
Rainer Leng (Compiler): Katalog der
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, July 2009