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   PDF: Heinrich von Gunterrodt Treatise


Price: $3.99
Item Number: FAP000022
Author(s): Bert Gevaert
Pages: Downloadable PDF - 35 pages
Published: March 2014

For most students of Historical European Martial Arts, the name Heinrich von Gunterrodt is known as little more than a 16th century owner of  the c.1300 sword and buckler manuscript, I.33. However, this Saxon nobleman was a swordsman and fencing historian in his own right. In 1579, he penned a short treatise on the history of fencing entitled De Veris Principiis Artis Dimicatorie (Of the True Principles of the Art of  Combat) and dedicated it to Johan Albrecht, Duke of Mecklenberg. Ostensibly a history tracing the art of swordsmanship and wrestling into antiquity, the text is also interesting because of the relationships von Gunterrodt draws between fencing and unarmed combat, and his comparisons between what was taught in the fencing schools of his own day with the lessons contained in Ms. I.33. Perhaps of most interest to modern students of swordplay in this period is his scathing critique of the Marxbrüder fencing guild and public fencing contests, or Fechtschulen, which he sees as little more than crudely-skilled, drunken sporting events; a criticism that interestingly parallels contemporary writers analyzing the fencing guilds and public prize-fights in England and Spain.

Students of the Liechtenauer tradition, and those interested more generally in the sweeping changes in the nature and purpose of swordplay that occurred in the second half of the 16th century, will find this essay a fascinating addition to their libraries.

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