Fencing manual known as the 'Tower Fechtbuch'

Object Title

Fencing manual known as the 'Tower Fechtbuch'

Fencing manual known as the 'Tower Fechtbuch'


late 13th century





Scope and Content

An illuminated manuscript illustrating sword fighting. The protagonists are a priest (sacerdos) who instructs a young man (scolaris, discipulus) in a system of fencing with the sword and buckler, which has seven guards and several formulised attacks and defences. 'Notandum est quod generaliter omnes dimicatores sive omnes habentes gladium in manibus etiam ignorantes artem dimicatoriam utuntur his septem custodiis...'


1 Manuscript

Physical Characteristics / Technical Requirements

Parchment, 32 leaves, 300 x 230mm.

Some of the leaves are damaged and repaired with parchment (1, 2, 3, 4, 16, 20, 30, 32); some defaced by ink or watercolour paint. At the bottom of f. 7r is a sixteenth century ownership mark Johannes Herbart von Wirzburck. The 19th century binding (now replaced) is marked Codex Membr. I.115 on spine.

Each page is divided in two scenes illustrating the different guards and methods of attack, drawn in ink and watercoloured. Each movement is described in Latin, but with many technical terms given in German (halpschilt 2r., 8v., 13r., 14v., 15r.; Langort, 14r., 16v., 23v.; schiltslach 2v., 8v.,; stichlac 10r.; obsessio quae vocatur schuelze 9r., 26v., 28r.; durchtraten and durchtritt, 9r., 9v.; krucke 4r.; custodia quae dicitur Videlpoge 22r, 22v.)

The folios areassembled as follows: 1-8, 2-7, 3-6 and 4-5; 9-14, 10-13 and 11-12; 15-20, 16-19 and 17-18; 21; 22-27, 23-26 and 24-25; 28; 29-34, 30-33, 31-32.

Access Conditions

Open access