Medieval Combat: A 15th Century Illustrated Manual of Swordfighting and Close-Quarters Combat

Overview

This brilliant and attractive new book makes one of the most influential fencing manuals of the middle ages available in English for the first time. The authentic fifteenth-century techniques of master-of-arms Hans Talhoffer are illustrated in detail, presenting not only a unique historic record but also a visual guide for modern practitioners. This unparalleled guide to medieval combat, illustrated with 268 contemporary images, provides a glimpse of real people fighting with skill, sophistication and ...
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Overview

This brilliant and attractive new book makes one of the most influential fencing manuals of the middle ages available in English for the first time. The authentic fifteenth-century techniques of master-of-arms Hans Talhoffer are illustrated in detail, presenting not only a unique historic record but also a visual guide for modern practitioners. This unparalleled guide to medieval combat, illustrated with 268 contemporary images, provides a glimpse of real people fighting with skill, sophistication and ruthlessness. Mark Rector, the editor and translator of this work, is an actor, playwright, stage combatant and fight choreographer. He is a founder of the Chicago Swordplay Guild and Associate Director of Swordplay Symposium International. Greenhill
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1467, Talhoffer, a Swabian fencing instructor, produced a lavishly illustrated fechtbuch ("fight-book") with 270 illuminations demonstrating techniques for nearly every weapon in the medieval knight's arsenal, as well as techniques for judicial combats between nobles and between peasants. Although long available in German, this is the first English translation of his remarkable how-to. Profusely illustrated--here in black and white--the book offers freeze-frame instructions on medieval martial arts using swords, shields, poleaxes, daggers and wrestling, both on foot and on horseback. Its repeatedly drawn figures are lifelike and even emotive, grimacing in pain or frowning with fierce determination. Many of the plates do not demonstrate step-by-step techniques, preserving instead images of a bout at the moment when one technique has prevailed over another. Without a contemporary instructor as a guide, the drawings can seem arcane and confusing, since they lack explanatory captions. Rector, a founder of the Chicago Swordplay Guild, does provide an introduction and footnotes, and along the way gives practical clarification of German martial arts and a harsh, complex picture of medieval society (particularly medieval justice), if not of specific moves. Aside from their historical merit, Talhoffer's beautiful and austere illustrations provide a visual vocabulary of historical combat that might prove inspirational for directors, artists, re-enactors or stunt coordinators; others should not be surprised to find themselves posing in front of the nearest mirror. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781853674181
  • Publisher: Greenhill Books/Lionel Leventhal, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/15/2000
  • Pages: 317
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.66 (h) x 1.12 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2000

    Message from the Translator

    I am delighted with the response to MEDIEVAL COMBAT. My hope is that it serves to help the emerging Western Martial Arts community in their study of European swordsmanship, and that students and scholars and just plain folks who are interested in the history and art of the Middle Ages look to this book for the insights it provides into the real people who fought and lived and died in this fascinating period. As a martial artist and stage fight choreographer and combatant, I am keenly concerned with understanding the 'real deal' of personal combat. There is an astonishing wealth of material outlining the systematic methods for using all the weapons in the medieval and Renaissance warrior's arsenal, but most of these documents remain untranslated into English. For years, English speaking martial artists have been constrained to base their interpretation of these sophisticated methods on the illustrations alone, without the benefit of the knowledge to be gained by a careful study of the accompanying text. Now, finally, efforts are under way to unlock these secrets of the sword. This book is just one small step in what promises to be an exciting rebirth of the study of the Western Martial Arts and Historical European Swordsmanship. Enjoy! Mark Rector

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