Die Blume des Kampfes on Wiktenauer

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Die Blume des Kampfes on Wiktenauer

Postby Michael Chidester » 31 Oct 2015 17:36

Realized I never formally announced this. Transcription by Barbara Kappelmayr and Andreas Meier. Translation by James Acutt (everything except the long shield material).


Die Blume des Kampfes (“The Flower of Battle”) is a nickname given to a group of three German manuscripts that share a common technical syllabus and set of illustrations. It might possibly be based on the tradition of 14th century Italian master Fiore de'i Liberi, from whose treatise Fior di Battaglia it derives its nickname, given that his works include considerable technical overlap. It is equally likely, though, that they represent an earlier German tradition of which Fiore was himself an initiate. Fiore mentions in his prefaces that he owned books on the art and he also names two older masters in his tradition, Johane Suveno and Nicholai de Toblem; it is possible that either or both of those masters authored texts which inspired both this tradition as well as Fiore's own writings.

The oldest manuscript in the Blume des Kampfes group is the Cod. 5278, which dates to the late 1420s and contains only simple line drawings somewhat reminiscent of the art of Fiore de'i Liberi, though differing in many details, lacking many signature characteristics such as garters and crowns, and generally less organized than the Friulian master's work.

The second entry, included in the MS B.26, was completed in ca. 1500 by Ludwig VI von Eyb; it contains a significant degree of overlap with the 5278, though both manuscripts also have a wealth of unique content. While the artwork, apart from being colored, is of similar quality, Eyb's treatise surpasses its fellow by including detailed German descriptions of the devices in most of its sections. (It cannot currently be determined whether this text was authored by Eyb or present in the sources upon which he based his work, but the rest of the material in the B.26 appears to have been unaltered from its sources.)

The final manuscript, Cod. 10799, is dated 1623 and is again text-less. Unlike the previous two manuscripts, however, it is illustrated with watercolors of high quality; it is also the most extensive of the three by far, encompassing nearly every device from both works as well as a number of unique devices that suggest that it was either not derived directly from the other two known manuscripts, or that it used additional sources currently unknown to us. Additionally, where the other two include war books derived from Konrad Kyeser's famous treatise on siege warfare Bellifortis, the artist of the 10799 only included the few Bellifortis illustrations that seem to portray knights and soldiers, perhaps indicating that he did not understand what he was copying. Aside from the Blume des Kampfes material, the 10799 also has a good deal of extra content including portrayals of laying down and taking up the sword, Germanic sash wrestling, armored dagger and buckler, and a sword dance.

There is a fourth Germanic manuscript potentially connected to this tradition, the Cod.Guelf.78.2 Aug.2º. This manuscript, dating to between 1465 and 1480, includes a version of Johannes Liechtenauer's Recital, a complete set of illustrations from Gladiatoria, and a brief excerpt of Bellifortis. Tucked away amidst these works are illustrations of fencing with sword, spear, ax, and dagger that parallel the teachings of the Blume des Kampfes but only occasionally replicate the artwork exactly. While this may simply be a case of an overambitious artist reinterpreting the illustrations he was copying, the differences are too many to include the manuscript in the concordance below.
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Michael Chidester
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Re: Die Blume des Kampfes on Wiktenauer

Postby admin » 04 Nov 2015 13:55

Awesome, thanks for sharing.

I like swords more than you.
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