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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?

Announcements

The 2015 Wiktenauer fundraiser was a resounding success, far beyond anything we imagined when we started in 2009. It raised three times more than the extreme end of what we thought possible when we launched the campaign in January. This is amazing. However, that also means that we committed to fulfilling three times more perks than we had ever planned for. (In retrospect, the time frames I initially estimated were wildly optimistic even for the expected number of donors.) The fact that I decided to completely rewrite the gift books from scratch before sending them out also may have contributed to this. Thus, development in other areas of the wiki largely halted this year as I worked on arranging all of these gifts for our donors. Many new resources were added this year, of course, but they've all been connected to these projects—for example, Christian's excellent translation of Sigmund Schining ain Ringeck's long sword gloss, the writeup of die Blume des Kampfes, Colin Hatcher's translations from the Getty version of Fiore de'i Liberi's treatise, and the fresh new scans of Novati's facsimile of the Pisani Dossi version.

As the end of the year arrives, we're still working on fulfilling the rewards from the fundraising drive. Here's how we stand presently:

Perk Creation Delivery
Patches
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T-shirts
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Treatise scans
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Liechtenauer ebook
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Liechtenauer print book
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Fiore vol. 1 ebook
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Fiore vol. 1 print book
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Fiore vol. 2 ebook
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Fiore vol. 2 print book
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Fiore hardcover
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At the moment, we're still working on purchasing about half of the intended scans, and I'm early in the process of creating Fiore Volume II. Once the scans are purchased, we'll begin distributing to donors who selected that perk; I expect this to happen in the first three months of 2016. Once the second Fiore book is finished, we'll print Volumes I and II together and send those out as well; I originally intended to have this done by the end of the year, but an illness in the family has set me back by several weeks and a date in late January seems most likely.

I want to get these three books into the hands of as many fencers as possible, so donations for books will remain open on the Indiegogo page until the Fiore books are printed. Here's a sample of what the Fiore book looks like:

In any event, I thank you for your continued patience and support, and promise that the perks will be worth even this long wait.

Michael Chidester (Contact)
Wiktenauer Director
HEMA Alliance, WMAC
21:09, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
Featured article
Gloss and Interpretation of
the Recital on the Long Sword
die gloss und die auslegung der zettel
des langen schwert
Author(s) Unknown
Ascribed to Pseudo-Peter von Danzig
Illustrated by Unknown
Date before 1452
Genre
Language Early New High German
Archetype(s) Hypothetical
Principal
Manuscript(s)
Manuscript(s)
First Printed
English Edition
Tobler, 2010
Concordance by Michael Chidester

"Pseudo-Peter von Danzig" is the name given to an anonymous late 14th or early 15th century German fencing master. Some time before the creation of the Codex 44.A.8 in 1452, he authored a gloss of Johannes Liechtenauer's Recital (Zettel) which would go on to become the most widespread in the tradition. While his identity remains unknown, it is possible that he was in fact Jud Lew or Sigmund Schining ein Ringeck, both of whose glosses show strong similarities to the work. On the other hand, the introduction to the Rome version of the text might be construed as attributing it to Liechtenauer himself.

Early on in its history, the Pseudo-Peter von Danzig gloss seems to have split into two primary branches, and no definite copies of the unaltered original are known to survive. The gloss of Sigmund Schining ain Ringeck also seems to be related to this work, due to the considerable overlap in text and contents, but the exact nature of this relationship is currently unclear.

Branch A, first attested in the Augsburg version (1450s) and comprising the majority of extant copies, has more devices overall than the other branch (particularly in the extensive Salzburg version of 1491) but generally shorter descriptions in areas of overlap. It also includes glosses of Liechtenauer's Recital on long sword and mounted fencing only, and in lieu of a gloss of Liechtenauer's short sword it is generally accompanied by the short sword teachings of Andre Liegniczer and Martin Huntfeltz. Apart from containing the most content, the Salzburg version is notable for including nine paragraphs of text that are not found in any other version of Pseudo-Peter von Danzig, but do appear in Ringeck (and constitute almost 10% of that gloss); this predates all known copies of Ringeck's text, but is another indicator of some connection between the works. Branch A was later used by Johannes Lecküchner as a source when he compiled his own gloss of a Recital on the Messer in the late 1470s.

Branch B, attested first in the Rome version (1452), is found in only four manuscripts; it tends to feature slightly longer descriptions than Branch A, but includes fewer devices overall. Branch B glosses Liechtenauer's entire Recital, including the short sword section, and may therefore be considered more complete than Branch A; it also different from Branch A in that three of the four known copies are illustrated to some extent, where none in the other branch are. The Krakow version (1510-20) seems to be an incomplete (though extensively illustrated) copy taken directly from the Rome, while Augsburg II (1564) is taken from the Krakow but only includes the six illustrated devices of wrestling and their respective captions. Even more anomalous is the Glasgow version, consisting solely of a sizeable fragment of the short sword gloss (hence its assignation to Branch B) which is appended to the opening paragraphs of Ringeck's gloss of the same section; since it accompanies Ringeck's long sword and mounted fencing glosses, a possible explanation is that the scribe lacked a complete copy of Ringeck and tried to fill in the deficit with another similar text.

(Read more...)

Recently Featured:
Martin SyberFiore de'i LiberiSigmund Schining ain RingeckJoachim Meÿer

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.

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 organizations are official sponsors of the 2015 fundraiser; a full list of donors can be viewed on the Contributors page.

Top three 2015 donors

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Kron Martial Arts
XKdF Network.png
xKdF Network
Schola Saint George.png
Schola Saint George


Associació Catalana d'Esgrima Antiga.png
Associació Catalana d'Esgrima Antiga
Boston Armizare.png
Boston Armizare
Fechtschule Victoria.png
Fechtschule Victoria
Longpoint HEMA Tournaments & Workshops.png
Longpoint: HEMA Tournaments & Workshops
Noble Science Academy.png
Noble Science Academy
Ottawa Swordplay.png
Ottawa Swordplay
Purpleheart Armoury.png
Purpleheart Armoury
Rhode Island Fencing Academy and Club.png
The Rhode Island Fencing Academy and Club
The School of European Swordsmanship.png
School of European Swordsmanship
Sword to Sword.png
Sword to Sword - Kunst des Fechtens
Système d'Armes.png
Système d'Armes - New Orleans
Tattershall School of Defense.png
Tattershall School of Defense