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Welcome to the Wiktenauer!

The free library of Historical European Martial Arts books and manuscripts

Without books no one can be a good teacher nor even a good student of this art.
~ Master Fiore Furlano de’i Liberi, ca. 1405

Wiktenauer is an ongoing collaboration among researchers and practitioners from across the Western martial arts community, seeking to collect all of the primary and secondary source literature that makes up the text of historical European martial arts research and to organize and present it in a scholarly but accessible format. The Wiktenauer project started in 2009, later receiving sponsorship from the Historical European Martial Arts Alliance, and is named for Johannes Liechtenauer, grand master of the oldest known longsword fencing style; his tradition was also the best-documented of the early Modern era, the subject of many dozens of manuscripts and books over a period of more than three centuries. Here are a few basic categories of pages that are being constructed:

  • Master Pages host biographical information about each master, as well as the transcription and translation of his complete works. In cases of multiple copies of a master's work, the transcriptions are laid out side-by-side to facilitate the most accurate translation possible. To aid in interpretation, the writings will also be illustrated with images from the masters' work as available. A bibliography at the end of each page lists additional transcriptions, translations, and scans that are available in print. The exemplar for this category of pages is Fiore de'i Liberi. Ultimately, every master in all of the traditions of Western Martial Arts will have a dedicated page.
  • Treatise Pages host all relevant data on a book or manuscript, including description, provenance, table of contents (with links to the appropriate master pages), gallery of page scans, and bibliography of additional print resources. The exemplar for manuscripts is the Goliath Fechtbuch, while the exemplar for printed books is Ergrundung Ritterlicher Kunst der Fechterey. Ultimately, every text in the corpus of Historical European Martial Arts literature will have a dedicated page.
  • Technique Pages compile all of the relevant information from all of the relevant manuals on a particular technique, including transcriptions, translations, and images. There is also a section at the end of each page where groups may embed videos of their interpretations. The template for techniques is the Zornhaw. Ultimately, every technique mentioned in the manuals will have a dedicated page.
  • Weapon Pages provide information about how a specific weapon form is described and used in the treatises, data on surviving artifacts, an overview of archaeological research pertinent to a given weapon, and a comprehensive index of the treatises and writers that discuss each weapon.

The wiki also features pages for HEMA groups, pages for HEMA events, general information pages, and almost other topic of interest to the HEMA community you can think of. If you'd like to pitch in, simply request an account and consult How can I help?


The jury for the HEMA Scholar Awards 2014 has finally reached a decision on what nominees will be awarded for their work and dedication in 2013. Here are their choices and motivations.

First of all however, as the guy behind the scenes in this, I would like to thank the jury, the amazingly generous sponsors and the whole historical fencing community and their nominations. I would also especially like to mention the blacksmith and cutler behind the new prize we are introducing this year for the HEMA Scholar Awards; Dr. Fabrice Cognot. He has both designed and by hand created this beautiful iron and laurel twig.

Laurel wreaths of course were associated with the Greek god Apollo, the Sun, and were given to the winners of the Pythian Games that were dedicated to him. It was also given to fencers, the Children of the Sun, in the Renaissance for great display of skill and knowledge and this prize is given in recognition of the same. Last year’s winners will also receive these prizes retroactively. With that said, we finally move on to the jury’s decisions! Congratulations all!

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Mr. Tom Leoni, The Order of the Seven Hearts, USA
  • Best Researcher: Mr. Reinier van Noort, School voor Historische Schermkunsten / Oslo KDF, Netherlands / Norway
  • Best Researcher: Mr. Jherek Swanger, The Tattershall School of Defence, USA
  • Best Instructor: Mr. Keith Farrell & Mr. Alex Bourdas, Academy of Historical Arts, Scotland
  • Best Rookie Researcher: Ms. Daria Izdebska, Academy of Historical Arts, Scotland

The jury and the HROARR administration wish to congratulate all awardees and all nominees and thank them for their amazing work! Without researchers there would be no HEMA! Thank you also to all of the sponsors who have made all this possible! Your generosity is incredible and we love you for it! Wishing a happy New Year and a fantastic HEMA 2015 to everyone!

~ Michael Chidester (Contact) 00:57, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
Featured article
Paulus Hector Mair

"Mair", Cod.icon. 312b f 64r
Born 1517
Augsburg, Germany
Died 10 Dec 1579 (age 62)
Augsburg, Germany
  • Civil servant
  • Historian
Compilation by
Michael Chidester
Signature Paulus Hector Mair Sig.png

Paulus Hector Mair (Paulsen Hektor Mair, Paulus Hector Meyer; 1517 – 1579) was a 16th century German aristocrat, civil servant, and fencer. He was born in 1517 to a wealthy and influential Augsburg patrician family. In his youth, he likely received training in fencing and grappling from the masters of Augsburg fencing guild, and early on developed a deep fascination with fencing treatises. He began his civil service as a secretary to the Augsburg City Council; by 1541, Mair was the City Treasurer, and in 1545 he also took on the office of Master of Rations.

Mair's martial background is unknown, but as a citizen of a free city he would have had military obligations whenever the city went to war, and as a member of a patrician family he likely served in the cavalry. What is clear is that he was an avid collector of fencing treatises and other literature on military history. Like his contemporary Joachim Meÿer, Mair believed that the Medieval martial arts were being forgotten, which he saw as a tragedy, idealizing the arts of fencing as a civilizing and character-building influence on men. Where Meÿer sought to update the traditional fencing systems and apply them to contemporary weapons of war and defense, Mair was more interested in preserving historical teachings intact. Thus, some time in the latter part of the 1540s he commissioned what would become the most extensive compendium of German fencing treatises ever made, a massive two-volume manuscript compiling virtually every fencing treatise he could access. He retained famed artist Jörg Breu the Younger to create the illustrations for the text, and hired two Augsburg fencers to pose for the illustrations. This project was extraordinarily expensive and took at least four years to complete. Ultimately, three copies of this compendium were produced, each more extensive than the last; the first (MSS Dresden C.93/C.94) was written in Early New High German, the second and most artistically ambitious (Cod.icon. 393) in New Latin, and the third and final version (Cod. 10825/10826) incorporated both languages.

(Read more...)

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Wiktenauer parent organizations

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Historical European Martial Arts Alliance

An educational non-profit organization providing a range of programs and services for its members and affiliate schools and clubs, as well as serving the wider HEMA community.

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Western Martial Arts Coalition

A pan-American network of researchers and instructors dedicated to the study of traditional European, American, and related fighting arts and martial traditions.

Historical European Martial Arts Federations

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Western Martial Academies of Australia
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Österreichischer Fachverband für Historisches Fechten
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Belgium & Netherlands
Historical European Fighting & Fencing Arts Coalition
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Czech Republic
Česká asociace šermířů
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Fédération Française des Arts Martiaux Historiques Européens
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Galicia (Spain)
Asociación Galega de Esgrima Antiga
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Deutscher Dachverband Historischer Fechter
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Magyar Hosszúkardvívó Sportszövetség
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Coordinamento Arti Marziali Storiche Europee
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Polska Federacja Dawnych Europejksich Sztuk Walki
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Federação Portuguesa de Esgrima Histórica
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Historical European Martial Arts Federation of Slovenia
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Asociación Española de Esgrima Antigua
Federación Española de Esgrima Histórica
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Svenska HEMA-förbundet
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Swiss Federation for Historical European Martial Arts
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United Kingdom
British Federation for Historical Swordplay

Wiktenauer sponsors

Each year Wiktenauer holds a two-week fundraising drive to cover our server fees and fund new projects and acquisitions. The following are the key donors from the 2014 drive; a full list of donors can be viewed on the Contributors page.

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Bramble's Schoole of Defence
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Iron Gate Exhibition
Konstafler and Sword to Sword - Houston
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MARS - Vechtschool voor middeleeuwse krijgskunsten
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Melbourne Swordplay Guild
Pennsylvania Society for the Western Combative Arts
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Purpleheart Armoury
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Schola San Marco
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School of European Swordsmanship
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Swiss Rossfechten-Association
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Virginia Academy of Fencing (Historical Swordsmanship Division)