The manuscript Hz.014. from Coburg is almost certainly a copy of a manuscript from Wolfenbüttel, Cod. Guelf. 125.16 Extrav. (see also the transcription on this website), which in turn is also a copy. The Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg indicate that their codex is a copy after Martin Tyroff (1705 – 1758). When comparing the text from the Coburg manuscript to the one from Wolfenbüttel, one notices that the copyist from Coburg occasionally even copied some insertion marks, such as a letter “d” on fol. 3r—which is rather futile since he inserted the correct text into the correct spot anyway.
The images are next to identical in both manuscripts, only the order of the sequences is slightly different. The illustrations stem from manuscripts usually attributed to Hans Talhoffer: Fol. 14v – 37 show the arrival of the master and the preparation and execution of a judicial duel: The template is Ms. Chart. A558 from Gotha, which is believed to be authored by Hans Talhoffer due to an owner’s mark. Fol. 41v – 49v show a judicial duel between man and woman; the template of this section is Hans Talhoffer’s codex from Munich, Cod. icon 394a.
One image displaying sword and buckler combat is particularly noteworthy since it is taken from the oldest surviving fechtbuch that resides in Leeds today. Already in the 17th or 18th century the copyist was not able to understand the Latin text and the descriptions of this manuscript.
It is also curious that particularly the images on fol 17r and 19r show interior backgrounds in opposition to either the version from Gotha or Wolfenbüttel. In any case, the backgrounds are more lushly illustrated than in the templates.
The text describes rules for the judicial duel following Franconian law. One person who is mentioned repeatedly is a certain chamberlain Kraft Zobel who lived in the first half of the 15th century.
The alignment of the transcription follows the original manuscript; occasional abbreviations are indicated by underlining. The capitalisationof the manuscript is rather erratic: sometimes there is obviously a majuscule, sometimes a single sign is used for both small and capital letters, and sometimes lowercase is used. The transcription follows the manuscript as far as possible; only occasionally modern standards are applied provided they are not contradicting the manuscript.
The following table offers a comparison of the mentioned manuscripts. The pagination of the Wolfenbüttel version is not coherent and consistent, therefore the numbers in brackets are adapted to the actual page count.
Cod. Guelf. 125.16 Extrav.
We are very much indebted to the Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg for generously granting us permission to show the images here.
Dierk Hagedorn, March 2016