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Resources for the Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) student, with a particular focus on the ars gladiatoris of Paulus Hector Mair.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Codex Wallerstein: A Medieval Fighting Book from the Fifteenth Century on the Longsword, Falchion, Dagger, and Wrestling

The Codex Wallerstein (MS I.6.4.2) is a collection of material written in Middle High German during the late 14th and early 15th centuries, then purchased and compiled by Paulus Hector Mair circa 1566. In fact, Mair's handwritten entry on the first plate (see detail at bottom left) reads "Bought in 1556 on 26 January, belonging to Paulus Hector Mair." It is held in the collection at the University of Augsburg.

The Codex teaches fundamental counters to common attacks using the longsword, falchion and dagger, as well as a complete system of wrestling (including limited groundfighting). It also contains the "Pseudo-Gladiatoria," a series of uncaptioned illustrations of late medieval armored combat and judicial dueling techniques not seen in other manuals.

In 2002, Paladin Press released Codex Wallerstein: A Medieval Fighting Book from the Fifteenth Century on the Longsword, Falchion, Dagger, and Wrestling, an excellent translation of the original text into modern English and German by Polish HEMA scholars Grzegorz Zabinski and Bartlomiej Walczak. This 379-page hardcover edition features full-page reproductions of the original folia opposite accurate transcriptions and clear translations.

"Bought in 1556 on 26 January, belonging to Paulus Hector Mair."
Codex Wallerstein is an invaluable reference that belongs in every HEMA practitioner's library. Get your copy today!

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