Codex a of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg also known as Hs. Its text is written in Latin and German. The German portions have been identified as in East Central German dialect. The composition of the manuscript is sometimes dated to on the basis of the calendar on fol. By the late 15th century, the manuscript was owned by Nicolaus Pol , who left the inscription Nicolaus Pol doctor

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The Pol Hausbuch MS a is a German commonplace book or Hausbuch in German thought to have been created some time between and The rest of the manuscript is a typical example of a commonplace book, containing a variety of unrelated treatises on mundane and esoteric topics, including fencing and grappling.

The martial sections of the text seem to consist of commentary on and expansion of the teachings of Liechtenauer, even containing the only biographical details of the master yet discovered, and it is even speculated that he was still alive at the time of the writing.

Christian Tobler argues that it is unjustified to assume a date of based purely on the presence of a century-long calendar. The eclectic nature of commonplace books means that the calendar could easily have been an old calendar or even a future one. As the date of the Pol Hausbuch is also used to estimate the time period of Liechtenauer's career, this is a significant error.

Using it to date Liechtenauer is further complicated by the fact that even if he were alive when the fencing treatise was written, the version in this manuscript is potentially a later copy rather than the original.

In order to see a thousand armed knights in front of you in the field etc. Haw mit eynem slage von eyner weiden eynen czweyk und wasche yn in eynem flissendem wasser VII tage ante ortum solis, und sprich: Gribello, venite, venitis cum mille granditate, quaesso vos per Astaroth, quatenus veniatis cum milleno forte auxilio.

Und wen du daz hast X gesprochen so nym dy ruten und slach sy III an dy erde und sprich X credo, czu hant hebe auf dy ruten, zo systu C ritter etc. If you want them to disappear, throw the rod away on the ground, and the rod has no power anymore etc. Now speaks Master Alchemy, that the first hardening is most always in cold water—and that is common. And recognise the hardening thusly—when the edge is blue, then it has rightly hardened. The Hammers—wherewith one smites the files or all weaponry from billets and wherewith one smites scrap into steel billets those will harden thusly: Take one part white radish, and one part horse-radish, and one part earthworms, one part cockchafer-grubs, and one part buck's blood from when that buck goes to rutting.

That hardening has the Four Elements indeed. So mash that together and squeeze out the liquid, and then what you would harden therein, rough-grind it and then harden it in that liquid. Whatever then you indeed would have tempered, that then indeed will become tempered with two parts refined sand and with one part refined resin turpentine. Would you then indeed make a great hardening of steel? And that hardening is good for all hand-weapons.

Would you harden steel and make really good edges? Would you harden hammers, wherewith one hews heaps of stone? So take grub-juice and quench the glowing hammer therein.

One other good hardening: Take the worms—two parts cockchafer-grubs and three parts earthworms and squish those and press the juice through cloth. Thereto add juice of rock-fern roots. Then thrust a glowing iron therein, or whatever else you would harden. Thus cook human hair in water until it has a bloody colour—if iron be quenched therein, then it mutates it to a good hardness. Thus to harden iron: Take mashed radish and vervain and earthworms, and distill that, let the stuff thereby mix equally, pour in equal part of donkey-mare's milk and quench glowing iron in that confection.

Thus a recipe: Mash equal parts radish and turpentine and vinegar and wild celery and extract therefrom, and quench fiery iron and copper, so that each becomes as hard as stone. Take buck's tallow, from when he is rutting lustily, and quench glowing iron therein, and it becomes maximally hardened. Would you anneal the hardness of steel? Then take human blood and let that stand until the water becomes evaporated, thus reduced. So then take the hardened weapon and put that to the fire until that is become so hot that it gulps water when quenched.

Then brush the water with a feather, thus the edge releases its hardness and becomes annealed. Thus you would make steel pliable and malleable: So take one part chamomile blooms, and one part cranesbill that has blue blossoms, and one part Mary's thistle, and put all that together into hot water.

So do it in a pot. Quench glowing steel therein -that becomes quite pliable and malleable. Thus you would make steel pliable: So take horn and scrape off the leather, and mix that with sal ammoniac , and piss thereupon, and wind that around the steel, and so let that chemical-soaked leather scorch the steel, thus it becomes pliable. And before any incidents and confrontations, you shall note and know that there is just one art of the sword and it may have been invented and conceived many hundred years ago.

And this is a foundation and core of all of the arts of fencing and Master Liechtenauer had internalized and applied it quite completely and correctly. Not that he invented and conceived it himself, as was written before, rather he had traveled through many lands.

And through that sought the legitimate and truthful art for the sake that he would experience and know it. And this art is earnest, complete and legitimate; and everything proceeds from it the nearest and shortest, simple and direct.

Just as if one would hew or stab someone and that person then bound a thread or cord to his point or edge of his sword and guided or pulled that very point point or edge to the opponent's opening. For he should hew or stab according to the nearest and shortest and most decisive of all. For one would prefer to deliver just that, because that same legitimate fencing will not have handsome and painstaking parries nor wide fencing-around.

With those, people choose to procrastinate and delay themselves. As one finds according to many illegitimate masters, that say they have invented and conceived and possess for themselves from day to day some new art, better and greater.

But I would like to see one that would conceive and perform just one application or one hew that does not come from Liechtenauer's art. Just that they will often mix-up and pervert an application. So with that, they give it a new name, each according to their head. Furthermore that they conceive wide fencing-around and parrying and often do two or three hews in place of a single hew. They will be praised by the uncomprehending just for the liveliness of it as they fiendishly arrange themselves with those beautiful parries and wide fencing-around and deliver wide and long hews slowly and sluggishly.

With those they quite severely delay and hew-ahead of themselves and also with those give themselves firm openings because they have no measure in their fencing. And anyway, that is not called for in earnest fencing. In some cases, it could possibly be somewhat good in school fencing for exercise and enjoyment. But earnest fencing will proceed swift, straight and quite direct without any hesitation nor delay like a string or something like it determined the measure and trajectory.

When one shall slash or stab whoever stands there before them, then truly no strike or stab backwards or to the side helps him, nor any wide fencing nor multiple hews. They that would like to end it with someone, they procrastinate and delay themselves so that they preclude the moment of truth. Rather, one must initiate their hew straight and directly to the person, to the head or to the body according to what is closest and surest.

Just as he is able to attain it and judge it, swiftly and quickly and preferably with one strike. Because with four or six, he would give himself away with them. And that one comes effortlessly as opposed to all those because the fore-strike is a great advantage of this fencing as you will hear it hereafter in the text where Liechtenauer names just five hews with other plays that are sufficient for earnest fencing and teaches it according to the correct art, conducted straight and direct toward the closest and surest as it simply can approach and leaves all of the confusing work and new found hews foolishly considered by the illegitimate masters that nevertheless thoroughly depart from his art.

Also note this and know that one cannot speak and explain or write about fencing quite as simply and clearly as one can easily show and inform it with the hand.

Therefore act on your judgement and consider the best of it and therein, exercise the bulk of that yourself in play which you think is of the best in earnest. Because practice is better than empty art, for practice is fully sufficient without art but art is not fully sufficient without practice. Also know that a good fencer shall, ahead all confrontations, command and clasp his sword certainly and surely with both hands between the hilt and the pommel. Because like this, he holds the sword much surer than when he clasps it by the pommel with one hand and also strikes much harder and surer like this, because the pommel overthrows itself and swings itself in accordance with the strike, so that the strike arrives much harder than when he clasps the sword with the pommel, because like this, he restrains the strike with the pommel, such that he may not arrive so completely and so strongly, because the sword is just like a scale.

For if a sword is large and heavy, so must the pommel also be accordingly heavy, just like a scale. Also know that when one fences with someone, so shall he fully take heed of his steps and be sure in them just as if he shall stand upright upon a scale, shifting backwards or forwards according to that as necessitates itself, connected and nimble, swiftly and quickly. And with good spirit and good consciousness or consideration shall your fencing proceed and without any fear as one will hear that hereafter.

You shall also have measure in your applications accordingly as it necessitates itself and shall not step too wide, so that you may better adjust yourself to another's steps, done backwards or forwards according to that as it will necessitate itself.

Also often itself necessitating two short steps for one long and often necessitates itself that one must do a little pre run with short steps and often that one must do a good step or spring. And whatever one will readily conduct in play or in earnest, they shall make that foreign and confusing so that the opponent does not notice what this is meant to conduct against him. And as soon as [5] the opponent then comes at him and also has the measure of the opponent so that he thinks he will have and reach in the opponent well, so shall he brazenly hurry to the opponent and drive swiftly and quickly to the head or to the body.

He hits or mises and shall always win the fore-strike and allows the opponent to come with nothing as you will better hear hereafter in the common lore, etc. One shall also always prefer to target the upper openings rather than the lower and one drives in over the hilt with hews or with stabs, bravely and quickly. Because one reaches the opponent much better and further over the hilt than under it.

And one is also much surer of all fencing like this. For the upper contact one is much better than the lower one. But if it comes to be as such that one were nearer to the lower, then he must target that as this often occurs. Also know that one shall always come to the right side of the opponent in his applications. Because he may better have the opponent in all confrontations of fencing or wrestling than immediately in front of.

And whoever knows this part well and delivers well, they are not a bad fencer. Also know when one will earnestly fence, they contemplate a polished play, whichever he wishes that is complete and correct there and earnestly internalize that and keep it in his intent and spirit. Whatever he wishes upon someone just as if he would say: "This I mean to truly conduct" and so this shall and must go forward with the help of god, so it might fail him in nothing. He does what he should when he bravely hurries and charges there with the fore-strike, as one will often hear hereafter.

Because he cannot be unstruck From this coming. Here note that constant motion secures him in the beginning, middle and end of all fencing according to this art and lore. As such that one completes the beginning, middle and ending in one rush without pause and without the hindrance of his counter-fencer and does not allow the opponent to come to strikes with anything. Of this, the two words come: before, after. That is, the fore-strike and after-strike. Immediately and at one time as if left without any middle [9].

This is the general preface of the bare-fencing on foot. Mark this well. General gloss hereafter. So are the hangings and the windings are the attachments and the revolutions of the center and of the core.

From them, quite a few good plays of fencing also come. And are invented and conceived so that a fencer, who begins to hew or thrust directly to the point, of course may not hit every single time; yet they can hit someone with those same plays hewing, stabbing or cutting; with treading out and in; and with stepping-around or springing. And if one mislaid or mis-extended the point of his sword with shooting or with lunging [13] then he may realign and retract and shorten it again with winding or treading-out, [14] in such a way that he again comes into the certain [15] plays and principles of fencing.

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Pol Hausbuch (MS 3227a)

It contains recipes for a wide range of purposes as well as treatises on martial arts. Most notably, it is the earliest manuscript dealing with the art of fencing with the long sword of Johannes Liechtenauer which remained predominant in the German school of swordsmanship for two centuries to come. See also Historical European Martial Arts. Wikimedia Foundation. List of codices — Notable codices are listed here.


Nürnberger Handschrift GNM 3227a






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