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Jörg Wilhalm

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Jörg Wilhalm
Born 15th century
Died 16th century
Citizenship Augsburg, Germany
Movement Augsburg tradition
Genres Fencing manual
Language Early New High German
Notable work(s) Jörg Wilhalm Hutters kunst zu Augspurg
Concordance by Michael Chidester

Jörg Wilhalm was a 16th century German fencing master. He refers to himself as a hatter (Hutter), a fact that is confirmed in the tax records of Augsburg, Germany in 1501, 1504, and 1516.[citation needed]


Four works are commonly attributed to Wilhalm: on unarmored long sword fencing in the tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer, on armored and mounted dueling that appear to be based on those of the early 15th century (relying on armor designs that were obsolete by the 1520s), and a series of 32 uncaptioned illustrations portraying scenes of judicial combat. However, it is unclear if Wilhalm authored all of these works or, like Lienhart Sollinger and Paulus Hector Mair after him, merely compiled existing works together and placed his name on them as an owner's mark. The development of the armored dueling treatises can be traced through a draftbook and rough early annotated copy, but the same is not true of the unarmored long sword fencing, which appears to be based on the MS Cl. 23842 from the 1480s-90s and is accompanied by an excerpt of Branch C of the pseudo-Peter von Danzig gloss which Gregor Erhart attributes to one Nicolaüs and dates to 1489.[1]

There are three extant manuscripts of Wilhalm's treatises created between 1522 and 1523, all now residing in Augsburg (along with most of the rest of Paulus Hector Mair's collection). The apparent oldest of Wilhalm's manuscripts, Cod.I.6.4º.5,[2] consists of numbered but uncaptioned illustrations of armored dueling on horse and on foot, and is dated to 1522. The same year saw the completion of the Cod.I.6.2º.3, which includes the same illustrations but adds written instructions to the plays; for this reason, Hils assumed the former was the draftbook used to develop the latter.[citation needed] In 1523, Wilhalm seems to have created an accompanying long sword treatise, preserved in the Cod.I.6.2º.2.

Some time soon after this, all three of Wilhalm's prior works, along a new series of 32 uncaptioned illustrations of dueling, were compiled into the Cgm 3711. This manuscript has some oddities not found in the others, including carnival costumes on some of the fighters and a pretzel salesman appearing in the illustration on folio 11r. It's currently unclear whether Wilhalm was involved in the creation of this manuscript or not, but it appears to be a presentation copy of the collected works and includes content unique to each of the three earlier manuscripts. Wilhalm's long sword treatise was also copied by sculptor Gregor Erhart into the MS E.1939.65.354 in 1533, though it's currently unclear which source he based it on.

Most copies of Wilhalm's treatises were eventually acquired by Freifechter and collector Lienhart Sollinger. Cgm 3711 was a source for his Cgm 3712 (1556) and Cod.Guelf.38.21 Aug.2º (1588), and the former also seems to have drawn heavily from MS E.1939.65.354. Sollinger, in turn, sold several of these works to Paulus Hector Mair: the Cod.I.6.2º.2 in 1544, the Cod.I.6.4º.5 in 1552, the MS E.1939.65.354 in 1560, and the Cod.I.6.2º.3 in 1561. Wilhalm's draftbook in particular was apparently used as the primary source for Mair's writings on armored dueling (preserved in three manuscripts in the 1540s and 50s); owing to its lack of text, Mair inserted his own descriptions of the plays—descriptions which diverge noticeably from Wilhalm's own explanations.

A final set of two copies of Wilhalm's work, Cod.Guelf.1.6.3 Aug.2º and MS KK5247, were prepared by Jeremias Schemel von Augsburg at the end of the 16th century as part of a massive compilation of treatises on horsemanship which also included discussion of riding, dressage, jousting, and tournaments. These manuscripts contain Wilhalm's original text (unlike Mair's version), but the elaborate artwork includes details from multiple prior versions of Wilhalm's work, suggesting that Schemel's source manuscript may remain to be discovered. A third manuscript of Schemel's work also exists, copied from the MS KK5247 in 1838, but such a late work has little to contribute to any analysis of the tradition.


In order to compress these tables and avoid empty columns, the Glasgow version of the long sword section and the draftbook for the short sword and mounted fencing sections appear in the same column (since they don't overlap). The three additional versions of the short sword and mounted fencing appear at the far side of those tables. The section containing uncaptioned plays only appears in three manuscripts, so the others are all omitted.

Additional Resources

The following is a list of publications containing scans, transcriptions, and translations relevant to this article, as well as published peer-reviewed research.


  1. MS E.1939.65.354, folio 189r; the complete text of Branch C is only given in MS KK5126 (1480s).
  2. Generally we refer to manuscripts by their locations for ease of communication, but with three of the ten manuscripts in Augsburg, three in Wolfenbüttel, and two in Munich, that's not really feasible here.
  3. windest
  4. korrigiert aus »halben«
  5. from ehert
  6. loss
  7. Verse 52
  8. Treibn?
  9. Meaning as though armored
  10. At the end of the first line “zwiuach” is written with an “h” which is a scribal error.
  11. Note: different hand
  12. Same hand as previous.
  13. Change in scribe's hand?
  14. schnidt
  15. Change in hand
  16. Disappears into the margin.
  17. The rest of the paragraph is cut off.
  18. Word disappears into margin.
  19. Matthias Lexer's Mittelhochdeutsch Handwoerterbuch defines 'sippen' as 'verwant sein mit einem (dat.)'
  20. unleserliche Notiz zweier Wörter am unteren Seitenrand
  21. The last word disappears partly in trimming.
  22. The 'Teutscher Dictionarus' by 'Simon Roten' of 1571 defines 'Temisch' as 'Temisch,Crüncken/weinig/vom wozt Temez tum, das ist wein', and 'Temen' as 'Oberflüssig wein trincken', so I assume being stunned as if drunk is what is implied here.
  23. I omitted the translation of 'in Seim helm' in order to make the translation easier to read.
  24. The rest of the text is badly damaged at the bottom, disappears in the trimming and is not decipherable.
  25. The text disappears in trimming and is not decipherable.
  26. The rest of the text disappears in trimming and is not decipherable.
  27. The text disappears in trimming and is not decipherable.
  28. The text disappears in trimming.
  29. The rest of the text disappears in trimming and is not decipherable.
  30. The text disappears in trimming and is not decipherable.
  31. The text disappears in trimming and is not decipherable.
  32. The text disappears in trimming and is not decipherable.
  33. The rest of the text disappears in trimming and is not decipherable.
  34. In a second hand.
  35. In a third hand.
  36. In a different hand.
  37. In a different hand.
  38. korrigiert aus »mich«
  39. korrigiert aus »tengke«
  40. Notiz Mairs
  41. Notiz Mairs
  42. At the lower edge are remnants of a line written by another hand, but which is unreadable and lost to a later recutting of the manuscript.