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Rahul Kharbanda Group

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Jeremiah Hall
Jeremiah Hall

Medieval Combat: A Fifteenth-Century Illustrate...


Hans Talhoffer has had a quite an afterlife. An itinerant fifteenth-century fencing master in service to the nobility of the Holy Roman Empire, his 1467 Fechtbuch ("fight-" or "fencing-book") produced for Graf Eberhardt von Württemberg and currently held in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek was only the last and most elaborate of the five iterations of illustrated manuscripts showing his art. These survive in the five originals, plus one contemporary copy and nine other manuscripts produced through the nineteenth century--a not-insignificant fraction of the 74 known fencing books written in German. Three of these Talhoffer manuscripts were published by Gustav Hergsell (1847-1914) in modern German and French translations in the late 1800s and reprinted in 1998. An English translation of Hergsell's rendering was published by Mark Rector (who provides a foreword to this edition) in 2000 as one of the first books in the modern European martial-arts revival. Several other editions of the manuscript have followed, but Dierk Hagedorn, in his second translation of a medieval fightbook into English (the first being his excellent 2015 translation of Yale's Gladiatoria manuscript), brings Talhoffer to the audience of modern enthusiasts for the first time in color. It's worth it: Artistically, the work is a great exemplar of late medieval illustration. The details of faces, clothes, and horses are naturalistically rendered. (Unfortunately, unlike Talhoffer's 1459 manuscript, the 1467 copy does not document the presence of Africans in Europe; the former copy has a dark-skinned combatant in turban-like headgear.)




Medieval Combat: A Fifteenth-Century Illustrate...

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