Et senmiddelalderligt tysk fægtemesterhåndskrift på Det Kongelige Bibliotek. Ms. Thott 290 2º

  • Claus Frederik Sørensen Det Kongelige Bibliotek


Claus Frederik Sørensen: A Late Middle Age German fencing master’s manuscript in the Royal Library. Ms. Thott 290 2°   The Royal Library in Copenhagen houses a volume entitled Thott 290 2º Meister Hans Thalhofer: Alte Armatur und Ringkunst. It is a richly illustrated, Late Middle Age German manuscript dated 1459. The manuscript was produced at the request of the German fencing master Hans Talhoffer and contains information on the art of fencing, the art of war, and legal duelling.   Thott 290 2º consists of 150 sheets. Paper is the material used and the sheets measure 30 cm × 21 cm. The text in the manuscript has been written with red and black ink; the illustrations have been painted and are boldly outlined. Both the text and the illustrations have been professionally produced and are of high technical quality.   Thott 290 2º seems to be a combination of a sales catalogue and a knowledge bank and falls within the genre of fencing manuscripts that, as late as the 1400s, dealt with a deadly art, as can well be seen in the manuscript’s many gory and macabre illustrations.   There are 66 known German Middle Age and Renaissance fencing manuscripts, of which a list is given at the end of this article. Most of these manuscripts are based on verses that describe an ideology of fencing developed by Johannes Liechtenauer, a fencing master in the 1300s. This fencing ideology, written by the fencing master in verse form, later became the foundation for subsequent German fencing masters’ teaching, including that of Hans Talhoffer.   The manuscript Thott 290 2º contains a wide variety of knowledge, presented either with the help of illustrations or described by text. The manuscript thus constitutes an invaluable source of information concerning a forgotten European Middle Age martial art on a level with what today is known from China and Japan.  
Sørensen, C. F. (2015). Et senmiddelalderligt tysk fægtemesterhåndskrift på Det Kongelige Bibliotek. Ms. Thott 290 2º. Fund Og Forskning I Det Kongelige Biblioteks Samlinger, 50.