Transcriptions | Paulus Hector Mair



About the Manuscript and this Transcription

The National Library of Saxony in Dresden, Germany (Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden) owns the manuscript “Fecht-, Ring- und Turnierbuch – Mscr.Dresd.C.93/94” in two volumes. The first one, Mscr.Dresd. C 93, is available online. The second one is expected soon.

Paulus Hector Mair not only commisioned and paid this Fechtbuch, he also took responsibility for selecting the shown techniques (f. 2r “als ich dises Eernwerckh zu°samen geordnet...” “when I arranged this work of honour...”). Mair wrote the detailed introduction (“Vorred”), because he experienced young people of those days to be too ignorant, impertinent, lazy and careless to honour the Kunst des Fechtens (f. 2r). The manuscript dates to the middle of the 16th century (post 1542). See also “Katalog der deutschsprachigen illustrierten Handschriften des Mittelalters”, edited by Rainer Leng, p. 97 ff („Bd. 2 196r Wie aber die bemellte Sannct Leonharts Kirch Anno 1542 von dem Rathe zu Augspurg abgebrochen“). Paulus Hector Mair was servant of the town council of Augsburg at that time (f. 16r).

Mair’s work is recorded in 3 manuscripts. Mscr. Dresd. C 93/94 is written in German. BSB Cod.icon 393 (1/2), held in the Bavarian State Library in Munich (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München), is in Latin (online, Englisch translation of the sickle part). The third one, Codex Vindobensis 10825/26 in the National Library of Austria in Vienna (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Wien), is bilangual German-Llatin (online). Both German versions differ only in some spellings and in the use of punctuation marks.

The first volume of the manuscript from Dresden contains: “Vorred” (foreword f. 2r-16r), “Register” and warning (f. 16v-19v), “Lannge schweert” (longsword f. 20r-113r), “Du°seggen” (dussack f. 114r-180v), “Stenglin” (staff f. 181r-191v, be careful with the online version as there is something wrong with the order of the pages), “lange~ Spieß” (long staff f. 192r-199v), “Helle~parten” (halberd f. 200r-211v), “Seges [scythe f. 214r-217v] Trischel [flail f. 218r-222v] Bau°rnstangen [peasant’s staff f. 223r-226v], vnd wor wider wor [mixed weapons f. 227r-232v]” and last the “Sichel”(sickle).

The techniques for sickle are on Folio 233r-242v (pp. 468-488 in the Pdf). The heading is followed by a register of the 16 pieces (“stend” f. 233r). Every piece has its own page with heading, coloured “screenshot” during the technique and explanation. This text contains an opening technique with several following actions for both opponents.

The foliation is written with pencil in the upper right corner of the right pages. In the transcription, the page number in the Pdf is placed in brackets behind for a better overview. In addition, the pictures are numbered from 1 to 16 in their upper right corners. These numbers correspond to the register, which is useful because the names of the techniques differ a bit. The headings as well as part of the first line of the explanation are in bigger letters than the rest. It is transcribed with bold letters. The type is a well to read Gothic letter (“fraktur”). The headings resemble a textura, the text a cursiva. The whole manuscript seems to be written by one hand only. Conspicious differences in spelling make it likely that the sickle part was more than one day’s work, three sections might be distinguished.

Punctuation marks are rare and seldom used. These dots (•) are taken over in the transcription. From time to time they occur in places where they mark sections in the text (e.g. places for modern punctuation marks). Sometimes, but not always, sections are also marked with a capital letter of the following word. In the whole text the usage of capital and small letters seems rather arbitrary. The transcription of this is in some cases also an interpretation. The same occurs with the division of single words. Ligatures e.g. for “tz” were dissolved into single letters with the exception of “sz” which is transcribed as “ß”. The letters “u” and “v” at the beginning of words are not distinguished. Diacritic marks like “u°”, “w°” and “ÿ” are taken over if possible. The same applies to “~” for missing letters at the end of words.

Have fun with this manuscript and especially with interpreting the sickle, a completely weird weapon!

Julia Gräf and Ingo Petri, September 2010

Foreword [JG]

Register [JG & IP]



Liechtenauer’s Kunst des langen Schwerts (longsword)

Dussack [JG]



Spear [JG]

Halberd [JG]

Scythe [JG & IP]

Flail [JG & IP]

Peasant’s Staff [JG & IP]

Mixed &IP]

Sickle [JG & IP]