A goldmine of printed fencing treatises

Today I thought I would share a little “secret”. In Saarbrucken, Germany there is this great little bookbindery called Fines Mundi that produces prints of antique books with traditional binding and in many different styles ranging from quite simple to very luxurious, depending on your wallet. Currently they have about 3000 titles of antique books in stock.

The cool thing is that the man who runs the company, Rolf, is a sports fencers from 40 years back and some time ago he decided to republish old fencing treatises, more for love of fencing than with any expectations to make a profit from it.

Currently, they have 47 titles listed and the really great thing is that they start a new project as long as the expect to sell about 30 copies, which means that most clubs can get prints of their favourite fencing master, provided that there are good enough source material and the copyrights are in order.

For new projects I have suggested a print of Freyfechter Andre Paurnfeindt‘s treatise of 1516 and a print of the edited Paurnfeindt of 1531 by Egonolff, as Fechtmeister Joachim Meyer was inspired by one of these, or both, and there are links to the works of Paul Hektor Mair as well.

Furthermore, having checked three copies of Meyer, Sutor and DiGrassi, I think Fines Mundi need a bit of help with gaining access to really high quality images to base their prints on. What they use is good, but there are some better quality images available.

Their current list of fencing titles includes the following:

Aggrippa, Camillo. Trattado di scientia d’arme con un dialogo di filosofia. 1553.

Alfieri, Francesco. L’arte de ben maneggiare la spada et: Lo Spadone. 1663.

Auerswald, Fabian von. Ringerkunst: fünff und achtzig stücke / zu ehren Kurfürstlichen gnaden zu Sachsen; durch Fabian von Auerswald zugerichtet, 1539.

Barbasetti, Luigi. Das Stossfechten von Luigi Barbasetti; nach der Originalhandschrift übersetzt von Dr. Bernhard Dimand und Georg Ernst, 1900.

Barbasetti, Luigi. Das Säbelfechten von Luigi Barbasetti; übersetzt von K.u. K. Linienschiffs- Lieutenant Rudolf Brosch und Oberlieutenant Heinrich Tenner, 1899.

Barbasetti, Luigi. Ehren- Codex.

Bazancourt, Baron de. Secrets of the Sword; translated from the original French of Baron de Bazancourt by C. F. Clay, with Illustrations by F. H. Townsend ” La pointe d’ une epee est une relite qui fait disparaitre bien des fantomes”, 1908.

Berger, Ludwig. Der Waffengebrauch des Officiers; ein Orientierungs- Behelf, 1901.

Bezancourt, Baron de. Les Secrets de l’ epee, 1862.

Boessiere, la M.Traite de l’art des armes a l’usage des professeurs et des amateurs, 1818.

Bolgar, Franz, von. Die Regeln des Duells, 1891.

Chateauvillard, de. Duell- Codex; aus dem Französischen (Ausgabe 1836) übersetzt von Anonym, 1864.

De Liancour. Le Maitre d’Armes ou l’Exercice de l ‘Epee seule dans sa Perfection; dedie a Monsieur Le Duc de Bourgogne.

Demeuse. Le maitre d’escrime ou l’art des armes.

Diderot, Denis/ d’ Alembert, Jean Baptiste le Rond. Recueil de Planches sur les sciences, les arts liberaux, et les art mechaniques, avec leur explication. Fabrique des armes: Escrime.

Di Grassi, Giacomo. His True Art of Defence, plainlie teaching by infallable Demonstrations, apt Figures and pefect Rules the manner and forme how a man without other teacher or master…; First written n Italian by the forsaid Author and Englished by I. G. gentleman, 1594.

Dudley. Lawes and Ordinances militarie sett downe and established by the right excellence Robert, Earle of Leycester. 1586.

Eliot. Discourses of warre and single combat, translated out of french by I. Eliot, 1591.

Fabris, Salvator. Alla Serma; Mta: del Potentissimo Christiano IV Re di Danimarca, Norveggia, 1606.

Fabris, Salvator. Des kunstreichen und weitberühmten Fechtmeisters Salvatoris Fabri Italiänische Fechtkunst. Das ist: Gründliche und außfürliche unterzichtung von dem fechten: Wie man diselbe Kunst auß iren rechten Fundamenten schöpffen / und zu einer gewissen vollkommenheit erlernen solle. Erstlich in Italiänischer Sprache beschrieben: Jetzt aber algemeyner Teutschen nation zu gefallen und nutze in unsere algemeyne Hochteutsche Sprache vertolmetschet / und in offenlichen druck verfärtiget, 1619.

Giganti, Nicolot. Escrime Nouvelle ou Theatre, auquel sont representees diverses manieres de parer et de fraper d’ espee seule et d’espee et poignard, 1714.

Girard, P. J. F. Traite des armes, dedie au Roy, par le Sr. P. J. F. Girard, ancien Officier de Marine: Enseignant la maniere de combattre de l’epee de pointe seule, toutes les gardes etrangeres, l’Espadon, les Piques, Hallebardes, Bayonettes au bout du Fusil, Fleaux brises & Batons a deux bouts: Ensemble a faire de bonne grace les Saluts de l’Esponton, l’ Exercice dur Fusil & celui de la Grenadiere, tels qu’ils se pratiquent aujourd’huy dans l’Art Militaire de France.

Grassi, di Giacomo. Ragione di adoprar sicuramente l’arme si da offesa come da difesa, 1570.

Hergsell, Gustav. Die Fechtkunst im 15. und 16. Jahrhundert, 1896.

Hergsell, Gustav. Unterricht im Säbelfechten von Gustav Hergsell – K.K. Oberleutnant der N. A. Landwehr, K. Landes-Fechtmeister zu Prag; 1.Theil :Fleuret, 2.Theil: Säbel, 3.Theil: Salut, 1885.

Hergsell, Gustav. Die Fechtkunst, 1892.

Hergsell, Gustav. Duell- Codex; 2. ergänzte Auflage, 1897.

Hergsell, Gustav. Talhoffers Fechtbuch aus dem Jahre 1467 geschichtliche und andere Zweikämpfe darstellend Normalausgabe, die Tafeln in schwarz Weiss Wiedergabe, 1887.

Kufahl, Hans / Schmied-Kowarzik, Josef. Der Zweikampf auf den Hochschulen; Geschichte des Zweikampfes, nebst einem Anhang enthaltend Duellgesetze und Paukcomment.

Lafaugere, L. J. Nouveau Manuel complet d’Escrime ou Traite de l’ Art de faire des Armes, nouvelle Edition, entierement refondue et ornee de Vignettes intercalees dans le Texte, 1865.

Lüpscher, Anton / Gömmel, Franz. Theorie der Fechtkunst, eine analytische Abhandlung sämmtlicher Stellungen, Stösse, Paraden, Finten u.s.w., überhaupt aller Bewegungen im Angriffe und der Vertheidigung. Nach dem Traite d’ escrime par le Chevalier Chatelain, Officier superieur dans l’ armee francaise, frey bearbeitet; nebst einer Anleitung über das hiebfechten, 1819.

Manciolino, Antonio. Opera Nova, dove li sono tutti li documenti e vantaggi che si ponno bavere nel mesier der armi d’ogni forte novamente coretta e stampata, 1531.

Marozzo, Achille. Opera Nova de Achille Marozzo, Mastro Generale de L’arte de L’armi, 1536.

Marozzo, Achille. Arte dell armi, ricorretto et ornato di nuoue figure in rame, 1568.

Meienreis, Walther. Das Stossfechten nach der italienischen Schule, 1914.

Meienreis, Walther. Das Säbelfechten mit dem leichten Säbel auf Hieb und Stich; aus: Miniatur- Bibliothek füe Sport und Spiel, 1914.

Meyer, Joachim. Gründtliche Beschreibung der freyen Ritterlichen und Adelichen Kunst des Fechtens, in allerley gebreuchlichen Wehren, mit schönen und nützlichen Figuren gezieret und fürgestellet. Beeinhaltet: 3. Theil vom Schwert; mit ordentliche Beschreibung des Fechtens im Dusacken; Rappierfechten; 4. Theil Fechten im Dolchen; 5. Theil: Stangen und Hellebarden, 1600.

Olivier. Fencing Familiarized, or treatise on the Art of Sword play.

Parise, Mansaniello. Das Fechten mit Degen und Säbel, 1926.

Roux, Johann Adam Karl. Gründliche und vollständige Anweisung in der deutschen Fecht-Kunst auf Stoss und Hieb, aus ihren innersten Geheimnissen wissenschaftlich erläutert, für Kenner zur Ausbildung und als Kunstschatz, für Lernende systematisch und deutlich entworfen, 1798.

Roux, Johann Wilhelm. Anleitung zur Fechtkunst nach mathematisch-physikalischen Grundsätzen bearbeitet von Doctor Johann Wilhelm Roux, Lehrer der Mathematik und Fechtkunst am Pagen-Institute zu Gotha; Erstes Bändchen, Die Anleitung zum Stossfechten enthaltend, 1808.

Saviolo, Vincentio. His Practise; in 2 Books: The First intreating of the use of the Rapier and Dagger; the Second, of Honour and honorable Quarrels, 1595.

Scheible, J. Jakob Sutor’s künstliches Fechtbuch zum Nutzen der Soldaten, Studenten und Turner; neu herausgegeben wort- und bildgetreu nach dem Original durch J. Scheible, 1849 (1612).

Seemann-Kahne, Friedrich und Christian. Akademische Fechtschule.

Spilling, H. Das Fechten auf Hieb und Stoss auf Grund der Allerhöchsten Verordnung vom 11. April 1901, 1902.

St. Martin, M.J. L’Art de faire des Armes reduit a ses vrais principes. Contenant tous les principes necessaires a cet art, qui y sont expliques d’une maniere claire et intelligible.On y a joint un Traite de l’Espadon, 1804.

Verein Dt. Fechtmeister. Deutsche Stossfechtschule nach Kreuzlerschen Grundsätzen. 1892.

 

 

Roger Norling
Roger Norling is an instructor on Joachim Meÿer's Halben Stangen (Quarterstaff) with Gothenburg Historical Fencing School.

His main focus in his research is the "Kunst des Fechtens" and primarily the longsword, dussack and polearms. He has been focusing on the works of Joachim Meÿer since 2009. In this he has enjoyed collaborating with the Meyer Frei Fechter Guild and in May 2013 he became a Fechter of the MFFG. Recently, he has begun researching Meyer's dagger quite systematically using the same method he applied to his staff teachings.

Currently, he is writing on a series of books which will explore the teachings of Joachim Meyer, in collaboration with researcher friends in the HEMA community.

The upcoming two years he will be teaching Meÿer quarterstaff, dusack and longsword at various HEMA events in Europe and the USA. For more about this, read his instructor's profile.

6 Comments

  1. Roger thanks for this! Awesome indeed.

    I have a question though, you mention that they would like to do this if all the copyrights are in order. The information contained in these books, including their images and text should most definitely be in the public domain considering when they were first published. What are people using to claim a copyright on the material? Are they trying to claim that the labor of doing the scans has created a new copyright? Because in the US and Canada at least that has found to not be true http://www.law.cornell.edu/copyright/cases/499_US_340.htm.

    I found a quote from an IP Lawyer Michael F. Brown that I think really fits the situation we face:

    “I’ve had a number of people ask about this situation, and it seems to me that the “Bridgeman Art Library vs Corel” case (50 USPQ2d 1110) is exactly on point. It’s a Southern District of New York case from 1999. Bridgeman produced slides of public domain artworks, and sued Corel for including the photos on one of their CDROMs, claiming that they had expended a great deal of work to make their copies as accurate as possible.
    In this case, plaintiff by its own admission has labored to create “slavish copies” of public domain works of art. While it may be assumed that this required both skill and effort, there was no spark of originality — indeed, the point of the exercise was to reproduce the underlying works with absolute fidelity. Copyright is not available in these circumstances.
    That makes sense to me – otherwise, you would be essentially recreating copyright every time you fed something into a scanner and edited out the dust, or fixed the odd typo. Every copy of Huckleberry Finn would be subject to a different copyright, because somebody had to enter the text into a typesetter, proofread it, etc.”

    • Hi Ted!

      Copyrights is a tricky issue when it comes to these type of documents. Some countries have laws that make the documentation of antique treatises copyright protected if it involves a certain degree of professional skill, expertise and specific equipment. This goes for at least the UK. USA, Sweden, Germany and many other countries do not adhere to this idea, but many libraries still believe that they do have copyrights for scans and photos of the treatises we study. And as we are dependant on good relationships with them if we hope to be able to see more treatises made available, then we need to be careful in how we approach this issue.

      The HROARR site and the Wiktenauer sites try to follow the same principle where we balance respect for the libraries with the public interest while of course following the law and the rulings strictly. You can read a bit more about this here: http://www.hroarr.com/copyrights-and-licenses/

      All this is all the more complicated when there is a certain degree of profit involved, since the printers actually make money from the digitized treatises. In this case it would be a very small profit, but unfortunately that doesn’t always matter much to the copyright “owners”, even if they in practicality aren’t even in possession of any copyrights.

  2. So basically we need someone doing work in a similar area, such as working with period cookbooks or something, to get into a copyright fight with one of these libraries regarding their (completely incorrect) policies and have some relevant legal case law established. Really it is a shame because what the libraries are doing is a direct violation of the spirit of copyright in its original format.

    Bummer.

    • Well, it isn’t always a problem. I have contacted all libraries and authors that have created the material available in the manual section of the HROARR site and only one library has been negative and when I asked what legal grounds they based their decision on I never got a reply. It is quite possible that many libraries would allow small runs of prints through a book binder such as this. Anyhow, it is an issue for the book binder to consider and deal with, and considering they already have 3000 titles on many topics I am pretty convinced they already have their stance clear. The German libraries can’t really stop them. And when we look at the printed treatises like Paurnfeindt, then those are available in many different libraries. :)

  3. Dear Roger,

    so you need 30 people to publish a book? Any idea how much they would charge, especially for some voluminous books?
    I’d love to see two works in full color printed edition.
    – Hector Paulus Mair: De arte athletica (cod. icon 393: München codex)
    – Talhoffer (Thott Manuscript)

    I know you can find these books online, but I’m so old fashioned that I really like to have a real book in my hands…

    So still 29 people to find who want these?

    Greetings,

    Bert

  4. Hi Bert!

    Nope, I have no idea. The “facsimiles” of Sutor, diGrassi and Meyer that I have were fairly cheap, but were simple hardback black&white prints of scans of the original pages. Colour with glossy paper would be considerably more expensive, especially considering the size of the volumes of Mair. I would expect several hundreds of Euros, but it might be worth it. I would consider it if I can afford it.

    I think there are some people in Gesellschaft Lichtenawers that have actually printed out Mair. I know I saw some guys leafing through a large volume of Mair with nice pages in a HEMA fencing clip I saw and I think it was them. Not 100% sure though.

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