Gladiatoria (MS U860.F46 1450)
|MS U860.F46 1450, Yale Center for British Art
New Haven, Connecticut
ff Iv - 1r
|Hils' catalog||21 / 23|
|Also known as||Ars Palaestra
Fencing Manual, P. M. Bequest
MS Membr.H 109
MS Membr.II 109
|Place of origin||Bavaria, Germany (?)|
|Language(s)||Early New High German|
|Material||Paper, bound in 20th century
blind tooled brown morocco
|Format||Double-sided; one illustration per
side, with text below
|Exemplar(s)||MS KK5012 (1430s)|
|Previously kept||Forschungsbibliothek Gotha,
Gotha, Germany (until WW II)
|External link||Museum data sheet|
The MS U860.F46 1450 is a German fencing manual probably created in the 1440s. The original currently rests in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (Paul Mellon Bequest) of the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut. The MS U860.F46 1450 is part of the Gladiatoria group, a series of several German manuscripts from the 15th century that share the same art style and cover the same material, and seems to have been written by the same scribe as the Vienna version. The Gladiatoria manuals are interesting texts in that they seem to be contemporary with the tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer, but not directly influenced by it.
The core of the Gladiatoria group is a series of devices of armored fencing following the traditional progression of a judicial duel: beginning with spears and small shields called ecranches, moving to longswords, then employing daggers on foot and on the ground. (Traditional dueling would begin on horseback before going to foot combat, and the ecranche is designed for mounted fencing, but Gladiatoria skips that stage entirely.)
Unfortunately, parts of the manuscript are lost due to clipping and cropping of the pages. This makes the text occasionally a little hard to read or to decipher at all. Comparison to the MS KK5012, the manuscript with the most similar contents, makes it clear that several centimeters are missing from the leaves; in some places even the arms or legs of the fencers have been chopped off, and other parts of the drawings are missing as well. Furthermore, the text passages at the bottom of ff 3, 4, and 7 have been cut off entirely.
The known provenance of the MS U860.F46 1450 is:
- Created in the 1440s, probably using the same scribe as the MS KK5013.
- before 1700 – possibly owned by Pedro de Egnrca.
- before 1792 – owned by August, hereditary prince of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, and bound together with a 17th century fragment of El testimonio vengado by Lope Felix de Vega Carpio (donated 1792).
- 1792-1940s – held by the Forschungsbibliothek Schloß Friedenstein in Gotha, Germany, and listed as "MS Memb II 109" (looted during or after World War II).
- 1940s-1960 – missing; unbound at some point and scattered.
- 1960-1964 – several fragments acquired by AB Sandbergs Bokhandel in Stockholm, Sweden; one fragment listed as "MS T." (sold Stockholm, 1960-1964).
- 1960-1999 – owned by Paul Mellon (1907-1999), who purchased every fragment that surfaced at auction (28 leaves in 1960, 11 leaves in 1961, 2 leaves in 1962, and 2 leaves in 1963-64) and then had the reconstituted manuscript rebound.
- 1999-present – held by the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut, in the Paul Mellon Bequest.
(El testimonio vengado resurfaced sooner, having been acquired by Hauswedell & Nolte of Hamburg, Germany in 1953. Identified as a war loss, it was taken into custody by the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg, and finally identified and returned to Gotha in 1997.)
|1r - 5r||Spear in armor from Gladiatoria|
|5v - 29v||Longsword in armor from Gladiatoria|
|30r - 40v||Dagger in armor from Gladiatoria|
|41r - 43v||Wrestling from Gladiatoria|
|59v - 60v|
- Hils, Hans-Peter. "Gladiatoria: Über drei Fechthandschriften aus der ersten Hälfte des 15. Jahrhunderts." Codices manuscripti. Issue 13, 1987.
- ↑ The proposed date of the manuscript is based on the style of armor used in the illustrations.