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(1459) Fight Earnestly- Hanz Talhoffer

(1459) Fight Earnestly- Hanz Talhoffer

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Published by Samurai_Chef
Hans Talhoffer (c. 1420 - c. 1490) was a Fechtmeister (literally 'fencing master' or 'fight master'), employed as 'master of arms' to the Swabian knight Leutold von Konigsegg, a feudatory of Count Eberhardt the Bearded of Württemberg in southern Germany. He is the author of 'at least six' Fechtbücher, illustrated treatises describing methods of fighting with bare hands, dagger, long sword, short sword, pole weapons, shields, maces, and on horseback.

Talhoffer was a contemporary of fencing master Paulus Kal, an exponent of the German school of fencing, and 'probably a follower of the Grand Fechtmeister Hans Liechtenauer.

One of the few pieces of documentary evidence about Talhoffer's life appears in the records of Zürich (Switzerland), documenting that he was teaching near the Rathaus (city hall) in 1454, where a fight broke out among his students, resulting in various fines.

John Clements, Director of the Historical Armed Combat Association proposed in a foreword to a 2000 edition of the 1467 Talhoffer Fechtbuch that modern use of the term 'martial arts' is incorrectly associated primarily with Asian practices, and that Talhoffer's work exemplified 'hundreds' of similar fighting manuals in Medieval Europe that 'present to us a portrait of highly developed and innovative European martial arts based on sophisticated, systematic and effective skills.'

Mark Rector notes in his introduction to his 2000 translation of the 1467 Talhoffer Fechtbuch that medieval swords were quite light, weighing between two and four pounds (roughly one to two kg) and were well balanced. Medieval European martial arts used nimble footwork and a 'primary tactical principle' of 'single time' so that 'every attack contains a defence and every defence contains a counter-attack'.

Techniques illustrated by Talhoffer include unusual handling of swords, such as half-swording (gripping a hand-and-a-half or two-handed sword with one hand near the pommel and the other on the forte of the blade), handling swords at the tip to use the guard as a bludgeon or hook, and the use of cello-shaped shields that featured spiked ends for hooking and impaling opponents. Illustrations depicting a judicial duel between a man and a woman suggest duelling was not the sole preserve of men.

Works

Talhoffer's work is among the most widely known of the 15th century German Fechtmeister[3]. There are six surviving illustrated Fechtbücher, documenting a span of three decades of his activity.

A list of the Fechtbücher by Hans Talhoffer:

(1) MS Chart. A 558, Gotha, 151 folia, 178 drawings, 41 pages of text, 1443.
(2) HS XIX. 17-3, Königsegg, 73 folia, ca. 1450.
(3) P 5342 B (Cod. Nr. 55 Ambras). Copy of (2)
(4) 78 A 15, Berlin, 77 folia., before 1459.
(5) Thott 290 2, Kongelige Bibliothek, Copenhagen, Hans Talhoffers Alte Armatur und Ringkunst, 150 folia, 1459
(6) Cod. icon. 394, 137 folia, 1467.
(7) Cod. Vindob. Ser. Nov. 2978 276 folia, 16th century copy of (6).

Of these, (1), (3) and (6) have been edited by Gustav Hergsell. (5) is available online as full facsimile at the website of the Kongelige Bibliotek. So that ignoring copies, (4) is the only known manuscript that remains unpublished as of 2006. The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts website also has a complete English translation and analysis of the 1459 Thott Manuscript(5) by Jeffrey Hull.
Hans Talhoffer (c. 1420 - c. 1490) was a Fechtmeister (literally 'fencing master' or 'fight master'), employed as 'master of arms' to the Swabian knight Leutold von Konigsegg, a feudatory of Count Eberhardt the Bearded of Württemberg in southern Germany. He is the author of 'at least six' Fechtbücher, illustrated treatises describing methods of fighting with bare hands, dagger, long sword, short sword, pole weapons, shields, maces, and on horseback.

Talhoffer was a contemporary of fencing master Paulus Kal, an exponent of the German school of fencing, and 'probably a follower of the Grand Fechtmeister Hans Liechtenauer.

One of the few pieces of documentary evidence about Talhoffer's life appears in the records of Zürich (Switzerland), documenting that he was teaching near the Rathaus (city hall) in 1454, where a fight broke out among his students, resulting in various fines.

John Clements, Director of the Historical Armed Combat Association proposed in a foreword to a 2000 edition of the 1467 Talhoffer Fechtbuch that modern use of the term 'martial arts' is incorrectly associated primarily with Asian practices, and that Talhoffer's work exemplified 'hundreds' of similar fighting manuals in Medieval Europe that 'present to us a portrait of highly developed and innovative European martial arts based on sophisticated, systematic and effective skills.'

Mark Rector notes in his introduction to his 2000 translation of the 1467 Talhoffer Fechtbuch that medieval swords were quite light, weighing between two and four pounds (roughly one to two kg) and were well balanced. Medieval European martial arts used nimble footwork and a 'primary tactical principle' of 'single time' so that 'every attack contains a defence and every defence contains a counter-attack'.

Techniques illustrated by Talhoffer include unusual handling of swords, such as half-swording (gripping a hand-and-a-half or two-handed sword with one hand near the pommel and the other on the forte of the blade), handling swords at the tip to use the guard as a bludgeon or hook, and the use of cello-shaped shields that featured spiked ends for hooking and impaling opponents. Illustrations depicting a judicial duel between a man and a woman suggest duelling was not the sole preserve of men.

Works

Talhoffer's work is among the most widely known of the 15th century German Fechtmeister[3]. There are six surviving illustrated Fechtbücher, documenting a span of three decades of his activity.

A list of the Fechtbücher by Hans Talhoffer:

(1) MS Chart. A 558, Gotha, 151 folia, 178 drawings, 41 pages of text, 1443.
(2) HS XIX. 17-3, Königsegg, 73 folia, ca. 1450.
(3) P 5342 B (Cod. Nr. 55 Ambras). Copy of (2)
(4) 78 A 15, Berlin, 77 folia., before 1459.
(5) Thott 290 2, Kongelige Bibliothek, Copenhagen, Hans Talhoffers Alte Armatur und Ringkunst, 150 folia, 1459
(6) Cod. icon. 394, 137 folia, 1467.
(7) Cod. Vindob. Ser. Nov. 2978 276 folia, 16th century copy of (6).

Of these, (1), (3) and (6) have been edited by Gustav Hergsell. (5) is available online as full facsimile at the website of the Kongelige Bibliotek. So that ignoring copies, (4) is the only known manuscript that remains unpublished as of 2006. The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts website also has a complete English translation and analysis of the 1459 Thott Manuscript(5) by Jeffrey Hull.

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Published by: Samurai_Chef on Apr 12, 2012
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01/21/2013

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Fight Earnestly
the Fight-Book from 1459 ADby Hans Talhoffer
transcriptiontranslationcommentaryby Jeffrey Hull
from Manuscript Thott 290 2ºmade in Bayern in 1459 ADnow at Det Kongelige Bibliotek in Copenhagen Denmark 
 
 Fight Earnestly
2
 
 Fight Earnestly
3
Fight Earnestly
The
 Fechtbuch
(Fight-Book) from 1459 AD by Hans Talhoffer is truly an uncanny work. In this edition of hiswork, the fight-master opens a window for us to his world. He shares knowledge from his own field of expertise – the martial arts of Renaissance Europe. Yet he also presents works from masters of the same and other fields – 
 Zwaintzig Ussrichtung 
(Twenty Directives) by fight-master Johann Liechtenauer;
 Bellifortis
(Battle Force) bymilitary engineer Conrad Kyeser; and
 Hie Lert 
(Here Teaches) by astrologer-physiologist Jud Ebreesch. By text and by pictures, numerous diverse and lively scenes are shown that are sometimes quite bizarre vigorous fightinglessons, for judicial dueling and for battle; war-machines, strange inventions and secret formulas; and treatises uponcosmology and physiology.In this rich personal edition of his work, Talhoffer deals with a wide variety of things, from the lofty to the earthy.He has something to offer everyone – whether fighter, artist, botanist, philologist, herbalist, chemist, metalsmith,carpenter, jurist, kinesiologist, astronomer, culinarian, theologian, costumer, physician or otherwise.Although fighting-arts are the focus of Talhoffer’s book, it is really something of a kaleidoscopic view of theinterests and pursuits of the Renaissance German warrior, inclusive of manifold things meaningful to his life.However atavistic or unreal his world may be deemed now, it did truly exist and held wonder and honour worthy of our admiration.The diversity of this book stands witness to Hans Talhoffer as one of the dynamic personalities of his generation – one whom we must deem was a true Renaissance Man.All imagery herein is from the 1459-Thott edition, courtesy of the original 15
th
Century manuscript held bysterwardship of Det Kongelige Bibliotek in Copenhagen Denmark. I made this PDF to present that work here for the free learning of all sincerely interested persons. It may be viewed via personal computer, saved onto CDR and/or printed into hard-copy, allowing complete archiving of the document in whatever quality format one maychoose – with the understanding that it is meant for noncommercial and nonprofit educational usage. The imageryherein is colour-corrected; and where needed in four folios, the action of the artwork is conceptually restored. Theoriginal uncorrected DKB facsimile still exists online. DKB is found in the Web at this URL: http://www.kb.dk So first is the facsimile of the original book itself, which lets you see the words and pictures for yourself. Next aremy transcription of its German and my translation of that into English – the transcription gives you directcomprehensible reference to the original German wording, while the translation gives you the first and onlyrendering of that wording into English. Lastly is my interpretive commentary, which helps you better understandmany aspects of the words and pictures.So now let us begin. ~
 Jeffrey Hull  Kansas Ascension Day – May 2007 

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