Fechtbuch von 1467


The men with swords theme exhausts itself pretty quickly unless you want to draw continual attention to martial statuary, or those softcore beefcake photos where—as we’ve seen on several occasions—the sword is a subterfuge for other concerns. Hans Thalhofer (or Talhoffer: c. 1420–c. 1490) was a German fencing master whose Fechtbuch von 1467 is worth looking at today not least for its variety of what to our eyes, used to orderly fencing matches, look like very unorthodox moves. Needless to say, when you’re fighting for your life matters of orthodoxy are the last thing on your mind, so why not kick or trip your opponent? One of the great things about books such as this is the window they give on life as it was actually lived, not the mediated (and often erroneous) impressions we receive via film and television.


Wikimedia Commons has many more examples such as these while the Münchener Bibliothek has a scan of the entire book.


Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The men with swords archive

2 thoughts on “Fechtbuch von 1467”

  1. Oh, I love The Duellists, well worth a watch. In fact I might watch it again… Very much Ridley-does-Barry Lyndon but there’s nothing wrong with that. The swords in Ridley’s film are later types so they start out with rapiers (I think…they may be lighter foils), then progress to sabres before the final duel with pistols. In between you get the Napoleonic wars and a lot of beautiful photography.

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