Cover image for Medieval combat : a fifteenth-century illustrated manual of swordfighting and close-quarter combat
Medieval combat : a fifteenth-century illustrated manual of swordfighting and close-quarter combat
Talhoffer, Hans, approximately 1420-approximately 1490.
Uniform Title:
Fechtbuch, aus dem Jahre 1467. English
Publication Information:
London : Greenhill Books ; Mechanicsburg, Pa. : Stackpole Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
317 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
U860 .T14 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
U860 .T14 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



One of the most influential illustrated fencing manuals of the Middle Ages, available in English for the first time, depicts authentic contemporary techniques for fighting with skill, sophistication and ruthlessness.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

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 illustratedÄhere in black and whiteÄthe 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved