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Welcome to the Wiktenauer!

The world's largest 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 de'i Liberi, ca. 1405

Wiktenauer's mission is 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 is funded by the Historical European Martial Arts Alliance and supported by researchers and practitioners from across the Western martial arts community. It 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 during a period stretching from ca. 1389 to 1713. 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?

Recent Feature Additions

We've begun a major overhaul of the way the wiki stores information which should make article updates easier and possibly allow us to do some interesting stuff programmatically in the future. All transcriptions will be moved off of the master pages (or manual pages, in a few places) and shunted into their own dedicated pages from which they will be transcluded back into their previous locations. Which is a complicated way of saying that we'll be creating a single page for each transcription and then displaying pieces of that page wherever we need them. This is what we should have done in the first place, but I didn't this was possible back then (for all I know, it might not have been—that was four versions of Mediawiki ago) and we didn't have the right extensions installed even if I did.

The ultimate goal is to arrive at a point where the only content on a page is the English-language material (we'll visit the idea of moving translations onto their own pages at a later date), which will not only serve to make the code easier to read and edit, but will also make the translation engine more useful since it won't have to grapple with the transcription text when marking up a page. (Hopefully my long-suffering Spanish translators haven't lost interest after all this time that I've spent trying to get the wiki to a state where it can work for them.)

For a detailed explanation of how this system works, see the Wiktenauer:Tutorial. Since Goliath and Fiore dei Liberi are our exemplar pages for their respective categories, they get the treatment first and I've been using them to test out and tweak the model. After them, we'll be rolling through on a treatise-by-treatise basis, creating transcription pages and then updating master pages when all the content is in place.

Here's where you come in. This is a huge undertaking and will essentially usher Wiktenauer into its third major incarnation. Doing it by myself (yes, I've been using the royal plural throughout this note since it's just me working on it), this will take several months and won't be completed on any deadline. Gone are the days when I could put in 50, 60, 70 hours a week working on this. If it's going to happen soon, I'll need volunteers. This isn't difficult or technical work for the most part—I can walk someone through the process in just a few minutes—but it will consist of a lot of copypasta and repetition. (I usually watch movies while doing it to stay focused.)

(Alternatively, if you're good at that sort of thing and can develop an automated scenario for extracting and reformatting this content, I'd be very interested to hear about it. At the moment, the only automation I'm planning on is converting HTML to Wiki Markup Language for the transcriptions where I can get the source code.)

People often ask me how I learned so much about treatises, but there's no mysterious answer; this is how, looking at manuscripts for hours and hours (in my case, I'd guess I've spent somewhere above 6,000 hours) and seeing all the ways they fit together. Here's your chance to do a little of the same. Contact me here or elsewhere if you can help, and we'll talk about setting you up with a master or treatise that interests you (it's all got to get done, so why not start with something you like?).

~ Michael Chidester (Contact) 01:43, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

What's New?

Codex Döbringer
MS 3227a, Germanisches Nationalmuseum
Nuremberg, Germany
MS 3227a 14r.jpg
ff 13v - 14r
Type Commonplace book
Date ca. 1389
Language(s) Middle High German
Compiled by Unknown
Material Paper, in a leather binding
Size 169 folia
Script Bastarda

The MS 3227a is a German commonplace book thought to have been created in 1389. The original currently rests in the holdings of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, Germany. This manual is commonly attributed to Hans Döbringer, though he is in fact but one of the four authors of a brief section on the longsword. The rest of the manuscript is a compilation text consisting of treatises on a variety of mundane and mystical topics, including martial arts. The martial aspects of the book seem to be based on the tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer, and the text implies that he was still alive at the time of the writing.

Christian Tobler notes that the presumed date of 1389, based on the presence of a multi-year calendar in the book that begins with that year, is unjustified. The eclectic nature of commonplace books means that the calendar was likely selected due to availability (rather than applicability), and could easily have been an old calendar or even a future one. As this date is also used to estimate the time period of Liechtenauer's career, this is a significant error. (Using it to date Liechtenauer is further complicated by the fact that even if he were alive when the original treatise was written, that doesn't mean he was alive when it was copied into this manuscript.)

(Read more...)

Wiktenauer Sponsor Organizations

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

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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Societas Belgarum Scientiae Nobilis
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Associação Brasileira de Artes Marciais Históricas Européias
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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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Ελληνική Ομοσπονδία
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Magyar Hosszúkardvívó Sportszövetség
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Vnione Arti Dimicatorie Italia
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H.E.M.A.-bond Nederland
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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