Follow some Lessons with Dagger and Rapier

Hans-Wilhelm-title-DR-02In a previous article, a detailed introduction to manuscript Cod. 264.23 was presented along with an English translation of the first two sections, dealing with the single rapier. In this contribution, a translation is presented of the third part (pages 61-83), dealing with fencing with rapier and dagger.

While the first two parts of Cod. 264.231 appeared to have been written directly by the unknown author, this third part is a partial copy containing 44 pieces from Hans Wilhelm Schöffer von Dietz’s treatise “Gründtliche vn eigentliche Beschreibung der freyen Adelichen vnd Ritterlichen Fechtkunst”, published in Marburg in 16202, and two pieces (33 and 46) for which corresponding lessons were not found in that treatise. There are however some minor changes in the copy presented here, mainly in the spelling of certain words and the use of commas rather than slashes. Additionally, the illustrations from the original are missing in this manuscript, and the references to the plates have not been included in the copy. For comparison, with all lessons here, the numbers of the corresponding lessons from the printed edition are included between braces: […].

New considerations about the identity of the Fencing master “Hans Wilhelm”

On page 5 of the manuscript, the anonymous author mentions the name of his fencing master “Hans Wilhelm”. In the previous article3, it was theorised that this “Hans Wilhelm” might be Hans Wilhelm Schöffer von Dietz, as he was known to have been a fencing master at the Ritterakademie Sorø. However, after the article was published, it was pointed out that there had been three fencing masters in Sorø: Hans Wilhelm Schöffer von Dietz (from 1626 until his retirement in 1636), Toussaint de Beaufort (from 1636) and Hans Wilhem Eller (from 1642)4. The first Hans Wilhelm came from Marburg, where he was the university fencing master5, Toussaint de Beaufort came from France, and Hans Wilhem Eller was brought from Strasbourg to Sorø by the Danish king to replace Toussaint de Beaufort. Therefore, it is unlikely that the “Hans Wilhelm” indicated in the manuscript was Hans Wilhelm Schöffer von Dietz. Based on this new information, it seems more likely that the fencing master “Hans Wilhelm” was in fact Hans Wilhelm Eller.

According to  Hynitsch6, one fencing master active in Strasbourg was Hans Wulff von Mulßheim, who was a student of Fabris. As Hans Wilhelm Eller came from Strasbourg, his fencing teacher may have been this Hans Wulff. In turn Hans Wilhelm Eller was most likely the fencing teacher of the unknown student who wrote Cod. Guelf. 264.23 around 1657, and the fencing rules and lessons for the single rapier are based on Eller’s teachings. As the dagger and rapier lessons presented below were copied from Schöffer’s treatise, the unknown student must have had access to a copy of that. Possibly, this treatise was still used by the new fencing master, or it was available in the school library.

“An alternative theory regarding the creation of Cod. Guelf. 264.23 is that the manuscript describes lessons given by Hans Wilhelm Schöffer von Dietz between 1626 and 1636, but was only dated later in 1657. Hans Wilhelm Schöffer von Dietz can no longer have been involved with teaching fencing at Sorø as he was reported dead by 16467.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Claus Sørensen for his helpful insights regarding the identity of Fencing master “Hans Wilhelm”.

The Text

Follow some Lessons with Dagger and Rapier

1 [1]. The first lesson in dagger and rapier fencing

Offer someone your half body and turn your right side in front. When you have placed yourself so and think that you are in measure then step with your right foot and straight in at him and thrust with the Quarta8 on the inside to his right breast. When the thrust is done, then step back again with your foot and with your blade on the inside over his blade while you step back. So his blade is engaged9. As soon as he then will disengage through under your blade again, then pay close attention that on the Tempo in which he goes through you thrust in to his right breast with the Tertia on the outside over his half strong of his blade. When the thrust is done, then step back again with your right foot and draw your blade on the outside over his. So his blade is once again engaged. As soon as he then will disengage through under your blade, then pay close attention that on the Tempo in which he goes through, you swiftly thrust to his right breast with the Quarta on the inside.

Another piece

2 [2]. Place yourself once again in guard so, and go with your blade on the inside of his blade. When you then think that you are in the measure, then thrust fairly deep with the Quarta on the inside to your opponent’s right breast. As soon as the thrust is done, step back again with your right foot and draw your blade on the inside over his blade. So his blade is engaged, and give him a small opening on the outside over your arm. As soon as he will disengage through under your blade, and wants to thrust in with the Tertia on the outside over your arm, then parry his thrust with your dagger up away to your right, and thrust with the Riversa on the outside over his right arm in to his right breast, with a step forward of the right foot.

3 [3]. Thrust once again fairly deep with the Quarta to your opponent’s right breast. When the thrust is done, then step back again with your right foot and come down with your blade on the inside on his blade, engage again. As soon as he will then disengage through under your blade, then come down with your blade on the outside on his blade. In this way, his blade is suppressed, but you must step in at him a little with your right foot, while you come down with your blade on his on the outside. Then swiftly step with your left foot in at him on the outside, and also come down with your dagger on his blade on the outside and when you are with your dagger on his blade, then lower your upper body a little behind you, so that he cannot catch you with his dagger and thrust with the Secunda to his upper body.

Now follows how you must thrust the contra-Tempo.

4 [4]. Place yourself in your guard. As soon as he will then thrust you on the inside, parry his thrust with your dagger down away to your right side, and thrust at the same time with him with the Secunda contra-Tempo to his upper body with a step forward of the right foot. Parrying with your dagger, stepping, and thrusting must be done together as in one Tempo.

5 [5]. But when he makes you a feint on the inside near your dagger, and after that wants to swiftly thrust in on the outside over your dagger, then pay close attention that while he thrusts a feint over your dagger on the outside, you parry out his thrust with your dagger, up to your left side, and thrust with the Quarta on the inside to his right breast.

Now follows how you must make the feints.

6 [6]. If someone stands with his dagger well stretched out from him, then go with your point forward under his dagger. Then beat with your right foot when you think that you are in the measure, and make him a feint strongly in on the inside under his dagger. As soon as he wants to take out the feint there from you with his dagger down to his left side, disengage very tightly through under his dagger, and thrust with the Secunda in on the outside over his dagger to his right breast with a step forward of the right foot, and parry his blade with your dagger, when he thrusts, down away to your right side.

Now follows how you must make someone the feint in on the outside over his dagger.

7 [7]. If someone stands with his dagger well stretched out from him, then go with your rapier’s point forward under his dagger. When you then think that you are in the measure, beat with your right foot and make him a feint with the Secunda on the outside over his dagger. As soon as he wants to take out the feint there from you with his dagger up to his left side, disengage swiftly in under his dagger, and thrust in with the Quarta on the outside under his dagger to his left breast, with a step forward of the right foot. When the thrust is done, then come down with your blade on the inside on his blade, and step back with your right foot at the same time with that. In this way you prevent his afterthrust, and engage his blade at the same time with it. As soon as he will disengage through under your blade thinking to thrust in on you on the outside over your right arm, parry his thrust with your dagger up away to your right side, and then thrust in with the Riversa on the outside over his right arm, with a step forward of the right foot. Mark this as a general rule when you thrust in on someone under his dagger, or between his rapier and dagger that as soon as the thrust is done you always come down on the inside on his blade with your blade, so that you prevent him his afterthrust.

Now follows how the double feints must be made.

8 [8]. If someone stands with a stretched out dagger in front of you, then go on his outside with your rapier’s point forward under his dagger. When you then think that you are in the measure, beat with your right foot, and make him a feint with the Tertia quite straight in under his dagger. As soon as he wants to take out the same with his dagger below to his left side, disengage very tightly through under his dagger and make him a feint in on the outside over his dagger, and also beat with your right foot with that. If he will move there with his dagger up to his left side, then thrust in swiftly with the Quarta on the outside under his dagger. You can enforce this seduction as often as you like. When the thrust is done, then come down with your blade again on the inside on his blade, and when he goes through10 use the working as said above.

In another manner how you must make the double feints.

9 [9]. If someone stands with a long blade in front of you, then go with your point forward under his dagger, and hold your right arm in the shortening. Then beat with your right foot, and make him a feint with the Secunda in on the outside over his dagger. If he will want to take it out from you there with his dagger up to his left side, then disengage through swiftly under his dagger, and make him a feint with the Quarta in under his dagger. If he will parry out the same from you also with his dagger below to his left side, then thrust in swiftly with the Secunda outside his dagger with a step forward of the right foot, and parry his blade with your dagger down away to his right side.

Now follows how you will make the feints up from below.

10 [10]. If someone stands with his dagger stretched out well in front of him, then make the contra-posture so. When you then think that you are in the measure, and he gives you the opening on the outside over his dagger (you must however go with your body on the outside towards his dagger) then beat with your right foot, and make him a feint from below up on the outside of his dagger. As soon as he wants to take it out from you there with his dagger up to his left side, lift your blade up over his dagger. This way he will proceed with his dagger up to his left side. Then thrust in with the Quarta between his rapier and dagger to his right breast.

In another manner.

11 [11]. If someone stands in the Quarta, then lower your point down again and set yourself in the Quarta. When you then think that you are in the measure, beat with your right foot, and make him a feint from below up on the inside to his face. If he will parry out this feint from you with his dagger up to his right side, and after thrust you swiftly on the inside, then parry him his thrust with your dagger down away to your right side, and then lift your blade over his dagger and thrust in with the Secunda above over his dagger to his left breast, with a step forward of your right foot.

12 [12]. You can also, when you make the feint from below up so to his face, and he does not want to take it out with his dagger, swiftly lower your rapier’s point down again, and thrust with the Quarta on the inside to his right breast.

Another piece, how you must thrust in on someone on the outside over his dagger.

13 [61]. If someone somewhat gives you an opening on the outside over his dagger, then go with your blade on the outside of his blade. If you then think, that you are in the measure, then beat with your right foot and make him a feint on the outside in under his dagger, to the inside of his body. If he moves there with his dagger to your blade, then disengage through with your blade under his dagger, and thrust in with the Secunda on the outside over his dagger.

In another manner.

14 [62]. Go once again with your blade on the outside of his blade, as said above. When you then think that you are in the measure, then beat with your right foot, and make him a feint in on the outside under his blade, to the inside of his body. If he moves there with his blade to his left side, then swiftly disengage through again, from your right to your left, under his blade, and thrust in with the Tertia on the outside over the half strong of his blade to his right breast.

In another manner.

15 [63]. Go once again with your blade on the outside of his blade as said above. When you then think that you are in the measure, then beat with your right foot, and make him a feint in on the outside under his blade. If he does not want to parry with his dagger, swiftly pass forward, and parry his blade with your dagger up away to your right side, and thrust in with the Secunda on the outside under his blade.

In another manner.

16 [64]. Go once again with your blade on the outside of his blade as said above. Then swiftly beat with your right foot and make him a feint in on the outside under his blade. If he moves to his left side with his blade, then disengage through swiftly under his blade, and thrust in with the Tertia on the outside over his right arm. If he moves there with his blade to his right side, then swiftly pass forward and thrust in with the Secunda on the outside under his blade to his side or breast.

In another manner.

17 [65]. Go at him once again with your blade on the outside of his blade. Then swiftly beat with your right foot, and make him a feint in on the outside under his blade. If he moves there with his blade to his left side, then disengage through swiftly again under his blade, and make him a feint on the outside to his right arm. If he wants to take out that same feint from you up to his right side with his dagger, then swiftly lift your blade up just over his dagger, in this way he will grab miss with his dagger, and thrust in with the Secunda contra-Tempo at the same time with him over his dagger, with a step forward of the right foot and parry his blade with your dagger down away to your right side.

Another piece.

18 [76]. Place yourself with your dagger and rapier so and stretch your dagger well out from you, and with your rapier somewhat short. As soon as he will thrust in under your dagger, parry his thrust with your dagger down away to your left side, and after that thrust when you have parried, with the Quarta on the inside to his right breast, with a step forward of the right foot.

In another manner.

19 [77]. If you stand with your dagger well stretched out from you, and he thrusts in at you under your dagger, then parry his thrust with your dagger away down to your left side, and keep standing still with your right foot, and do not thrust after at him. As soon as he will then disengage through under your dagger again, and wants to thrust in at you with the Secunda on the outside over your dagger, parry his thrust with your dagger away up to your left side, and at the same time with him thrust with the Quarta on the inside to his right breast with a step forward of the right foot.

20 [78]. If you stand once more with your dagger well stretched out from you, and he thrusts in at you on the outside over your dagger, then parry his thrust with your dagger away up to your left side and almost at the same time with him thrust with the Quarta on the inside to his right breast.

21 [79]. If he once more thrusts in at you on the outside over your dagger, then again parry his thrust with your dagger away up to your left side, and while you parry stand still with your right foot, and do not thrust after at him. If he will then swiftly disengage through again under your dagger, and wants to thrust in at you under your dagger, then parry his thrust with your dagger away down to your left side, and then thrust with the Quarta on the inside to his right breast, with a step forward of the right foot.

In another manner.

22 [80]. If you once again stand so with your dagger stretched out from you, and someone wants to make you a feint in under your dagger or on the outside over your dagger, then pay close attention, while he beats, and makes you the feint, that you swiftly thrust the Quarta at the same time with him, on the inside to his right breast, with a step forward of the right foot.

In another manner.

23 [81]. If you once again stand so with your dagger well stretched out from you, and [someone] makes you a feint in under your dagger, then do not parry his feint with your dagger, but parry his feint finely calmly with your blade. If, while you parry with your blade, he will then swiftly disengage through under your blade, and wants to thrust at your right breast on the outside over your blade, then parry his thrust with your dagger away up to your right side, and thrust with the Riversa on the outside to his right breast.

24 [82]. You can also, if you like, when you parry his feint with your blade, and he disengages through under your blade, and thrusts you on the outside in over your blade, then parry his thrust with your dagger away down to your right side and thrust with the Secunda contra-Tempo at the same time with him to his upper body.

In another manner.

25 [83]. If you once again stand with your dagger well stretched out from you, and someone makes you the feint in on the outside over your dagger, then do not parry his feint with your dagger but parry his feint with your blade. As soon as he will then disengage through under your blade and wants to [thrust you] on the outside [to your right breast, then parry his thrust with your dagger, above]11 away to your right side and thrust with the Riversa on the outside to his right breast.

Another piece.

26 [188]. If you stand in the first guard and your opponent then rushes in on you in the Prima, and wants to parry out your blade down to his right side with  his dagger, and then wants to thrust in on you with the Secunda on the outside over your dagger, then pay close attention while he disengages through with his blade from his left to his right, under your blade, under your dagger, and wants to thrust in on you on the outside over your dagger, then swiftly step back with your right foot, so that your left foot comes in front, and make him a binding with your blade. Then swiftly rush in on him, and stay with your dagger on his outside over his blade, then swiftly thrust in under his blade to his right side, or else thrust in with the Secunda above over his right arm, where you will see the best opening.

Now follows how you must cut someone on the outside to his right leg, and afterwards use the thrust in that.

27 [115]. Make a feint to someone with the Quarta on the outside of his blade well to his right eye, with a step forward of the right foot. As soon as he wants to take this out from you with his blade up to his right side, step back again with your right foot, and cut him on the outside to his right leg. When you have completed the cut, then keep standing with your blade on the ground near your right side. As soon as he will then thrust you above in the opening, parry his thrust with your dagger up away to your right side, and thrust in with the Secunda on the outside under his blade.

28 [116]. You can also, when you have cut him on the outside to his right leg, and he then swiftly thrusts you above in the opening, parry his thrust away up to your right side with your dagger, and thrust in on the outside over his right arm with the Riversa with a step forward of the right foot.

In another manner.

29 [117]. You can also, when you have cut to his right leg on the outside so, and he then swiftly thrusts you above in the opening, parry his thrust away with your dagger down to your right side and thrust with the Secunda contra-Tempo at the same time with him to his upper body with a step forward of the right foot.

In another manner.

30 [118]. Once again make him the feint with the Quarta on the outside to his right eye with a step forward of the right foot, and while you make the feint on the outside, see to it that you come with your dagger on the inside on his blade, and parry the same with your dagger away up to your left side. Then swiftly cut on the outside to his right leg. When you have completed the cut on the outside to his right leg, then thrust swiftly again with the Quarta on the inside to his right breast, and stay on his blade on the inside with your dagger.

Another piece.

31 [295]. Place yourself with your rapier in the middle Tertia and place yourself with your dagger behind over the strong of your blade, and open yourself with that on the  outside over your left arm. As soon as he will then thrust in on you on the outside over your dagger, parry his thrust with your dagger away up to your left side, and thrust with the Quarta on the inside to his right breast, with a step forward of the right foot.

32 [296]. But if he made you the feint in on the outside over your dagger, and acted as if he wanted to thrust above, and after that thrust in swiftly under your dagger, then parry his thrust with your dagger away down to your left side and thrust with the Quarta and with a step forward of the right foot on the inside to his right breast.

Another piece.

33. If someone stands with a straight blade before you and gives you the opening to the inside of his body, then engage his blade on the inside. If he will then stand still with his blade, and does not want to work on you, then thrust with the Quarta on the inside to his right breast. If he will want to parry out this same thrust from you with his dagger up to his right side, and thrusts after in on you on the outside under your blade, then step swiftly back again while he thrusts after, and make him a binding with your blade. Thrust in with the Secunda contra-Tempo at the same time with him on the outside over his blade to his right breast with a step forward of the right foot.

Another piece.

34 [195]. If someone stands in the Quarta, then go at him with your blade on the inside of his blade, and thrust with the Quarta on the inside to his right breast. If he will then take out your thrust from you with his dagger up to his right side, and wants to swiftly thrust in on you with the Riversa on the outside you’re your right arm, then pay close attention that while the thrusts you swiftly step back with your right foot, and parry his thrust with your blade, such that you come with your blade on the outside of his blade. As soon as he then disengages through under your blade from his left to his right, and wants to thrust in on you on the inside, parry his thrust with your dagger up away to your right side and thrust in with the Secunda and with a step forward of the right foot on the outside under his blade to his right breast.

35 [196]. But as he disengages through under your blade, and thrusts at your lower body, then parry his thrust with your dagger down away to your right side and thrust with the Secunda contra-Tempo at the same time with him to his upper body.

36 [197]. You can also, when you have parried his Riversa so with your blade, and he goes through under your blade, and wants to thrust in on you on the inside, parry his thrust with your blade and then thrust unexpectedly with the Quarta on the inside to his right breast with a step forward of the right foot.

Another piece.

37 [201]. Place yourself so, stretch out your blade in a straight line down and offer him your right side, and let your rapier’s point stand barely one span high from the ground, and hold your dagger from you. As soon as he will then thrust you on the inside in the opening, do not parry his thrust with your dagger but thrust the Quarta contra-Tempo at the same time with him to his right breast.

38 [202]. You can also, when he thrusts you to the inside of your body, parry his thrust with your dagger away down to your right side, and thrust with the Secunda contra-Tempo at the same time with him to his upper body with a step forward of the right foot.

39 [203]. You can also, when he thrusts in on you on the inside, parry his thrust with your dagger away up to your right side, and thrust in with the Riversa on the outside over his right arm to his right breast, with a step forward of the right foot.

In another manner.

40 [204]. When he thrusts in at you so on the inside, and you stand in the above said Quarta, then pay close attention that while he thrusts you swiftly disengage through with your blade under his thrust so that you come with our blade on the outside of his blade. Then swiftly pass forward and thrust in with the Secunda on the outside under his blade to his right breast, and with your dagger parry his blade up away to your right side.

In another manner.

41 [205]. When you lower your blade down so and he then wants to engage your blade on the inside, then pay close attention that while he engages you, you swiftly disengage through under his blade and thrust in with the Tertia on the outside over the half strong of his blade to his right breast.

In another manner.

42 [206]. When he engages your blade on the inside, then swiftly disengage through under his blade, and make him a feint in with the Tertia on the outside over the half strong of his blade. If he will want to parry out the same feint from you with his dagger down to his left side, then swiftly disengage through under his dagger, and thrust in with the Secunda on the outside over his dagger, and with your dagger parry his blade down away to your right side.

43 [207]. You can also, when he wants to engage your blade so on the inside, swiftly disengage through under his blade, and make him the feint on the outside to his right eye. When he then wants to take out the same feint from you with his dagger up to his right side, then swiftly lift your blade up over his dagger and thrust with the Secunda above in over his dagger, and with your dagger parry his blade down away to your right side.

44 [208]. But if he, while you make him the feint on the outside to his right eye, moves with his blade to his right side, and wants to parry your feint with his blade, then swiftly pass in on him on the outside of his blade, and thrust in with the Secunda on the outside under his blade, and parry his blade with your dagger up away to your right side.

45 [209]. Set yourself so, stretch out your dagger well away from you, and hold your rapier down, so that the point almost comes to the ground. As soon as he will then thrust in under your dagger, parry his thrust with your dagger out away to your left side, and thrust forward with the Quarta contra-Tempo at the same time with him on the inside to his right breast, with a step forward of the right foot.

Another piece.

46. Place yourself well with your dagger stretched out from you. If then your opponent will thrust in on you below your dagger, parry his thrust with your dagger down away to your left side. If he will then disengage through under your dagger, and wants to thrust in on you with over your dagger with the Secunda, then do not parry his thrust with your dagger, but parry his thrust with your blade up away to your left side. Then swiftly go up again with your dagger. In this way you will come with your dagger on the inside of his blade. Parry him this same blade with your dagger up away to your left side. Swiftly thrust [then]12 with the Quarta on the inside to his right breast with a step forward of the right foot.

A German version of this article, including a transcription of the text, can be found here: <http://fechtgeschichte.blogspot.de/>

Sorø

  1. For a translation see: Van Noort, Reinier and Jan Schaefer: Some Fencing Rules, 20-12-2013, http://www.hroarr.com/some-fencing-rules/ []
  2. Schöffer von Dietz, Hans Wilhelm: Gründtliche vn eigentliche Beschreibung der freyen Adelichen vnd Ritterlichen Fechtkunst, Saur, Marburg 1620, http://gdz.sub.uni-goettingen.de/de/dms/load/img/?PPN=PPN521378737 []
  3. Van Noort, Reinier and Jan Schaefer: Some Fencing Rules, 20-12-2013, http://www.hroarr.com/some-fencing-rules/ []
  4. see also Eller, Søren Hertel: Den første ELLER i Danmark, retrieved from http://www.familiekroeniken.dk/log/attachments/260/Den%20f%C3%B8rste%20ELLER%20i%20Danmark.doc on 30-12-2013 – the authors thank Claus Sørensen for pointing this out []
  5. Hynitzsch, Joachim Joachim: Scienza E Pratica D’Arme = Herrn Salvator Fabris Obristen des RitterOrdens der sieben Herzten verteutschte Italiansche FechtKunst / Di Salvatore Fabris, Capo Dell’Ordine Dei Sette Cuori. Hynitzsch, Halberstadt und Vogt, Leipzig 1677, foreword []
  6. ibid. []
  7. A., G.: Den Ridderlige oc Adelige Fecht-Konstis grundelige oc Methodiske Beskriffuelse, Martzan, Copenhagen 1646 []
  8. In this section of the treatise, the author uses “Quarta“, “Tertia” and “Secunda“, rather than “Quarte“, “Tertie” and “Secund“. []
  9. In accordance with the first instalment of this translation, we have translated the following technical terms thus:

    • stringiren”    to engage
    • caviren”    to disengage
    • battiren”    to beat
    • passiren”    to pass
    • Ligation”    binding []
    • i.e. he disengages []
    • The author of the manuscript left out the words “brust zustossen / so parire ihm seinen stoß mit deinem Dolch / oben nach deiner rechten” here from the corresponding lesson 83 in Schöffer’s treatise (See page 58 of the second part of Schöffer von Dietz, Hans Wilhelm: Gründtliche vn eigentliche Beschreibung der freyen Adelichen vnd Ritterlichen Fechtkunst, Saur, Marburg 1620.). As the text makes little sense without these words, this was most likely an error, and the missing words have been added to the translation between brackets. []
    • This word is hard to read. Most likely it reads “deßwan“, which was translated as “then”. []

Leave a Reply