On Sunday, 25th January 2015 Michael Chidester, one of the people behind the Wiktenauer website, discovered a curious illustrated manuscript from the Universitätsbibliothek Erlangen-Nürnberg. It had already been digitised and put online—unnoticed so far however went the fact that it contained a section about fencing—mostly with a (wooden?) kind of messer—and wrestling.
A couple of hours later, I had already completed the first draught of this transcription, and by the end of the day, Matt Galas was mostly done with an English translation.
The entire codex deals with a wide array of topics such as biblical stories, anatomy, alchemy, guns, chess and so forth.
The fencing part bears some resemblance to other sources, for instance Andre Paurenfeindt’s printed fechtbuch from 1516, or the wrestling manual from Landshut, printed by Hans Wurm in the 1490s.
The manuscript is dated on a couple of pages: fol. 86v (1524); fol. 164r (1524); inside of back cover (1524; from another hand 1543).
The manuscript consists of 199 folios, and only fol. 118r–125r show fencing related material. The illustrations, two on top of each other, make up the largest part of the pages; the text exists only rudimenatry in the form of brief captions above the pictures.
The transcription follows the original as closely as possible, particularly concerning orthography, punctuation, and capitalisation; when in doubt, I opted for a lowercase letter. Abbreviations are resolved, indicated by round brackets ().
I am indebted to Olivier Dupuis for making some suggestions that enhanced the transcription, and to Matt Galas for granting me permission to use the translation here.
Very special thanks to the Universitätsbibliothek Erlangen-Nürnberg that was so kind as to allow me to present the images here.
Dierk Hagedorn, Januar 2015