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Codex Wallerstein


The illustrated fechtbuch (fencing book) known as “Codex Wallerstein” Cod.I.6.4o.2 in the possession of the Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg formerly belonged to the famous collector of manuscripts, Paulus Hector Mair. It was possibly he who was responsible for binding the individual parts of the codex into one single volume although they were produced half a century apart. The first part dates to roughly 1470, the second to 1420.

Like it was commonly the case with fechtbücher, the first part consists of various sections.The text was written down by only one single scribe, the illustrations on the other hand were executed by two artists. When the manuscript was rebound, several leaves got mixed up and so the section about the longsword is interrupted by wrestling techniques which in turn are also not presented cosecutively but are continued after the techniques with the messer

The second part, the older one, shows also a variety of fighting disciplines but no text at all. Interestingly, some harness fencing techniques are directly related to corresponding images in the manuscripts of the so-called Gladiatoria group which they precede by a number of years.

Dierk Hagedorn, August 2014


Part I

Wrestling 1

Wrestling 2

Part II


Harness Fencing

Shield and Sword (Swabian Law)

Shield and Club (Franconian Law)