The Art of Swordsmanship by Hans Lecküchner

March 2018
443 black and white, 1 line illustrations
481 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Armour and Weapons
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BIC HBLC1, 1D, 2AB, 3H
BISAC HIS037010, HIS027080, ANT016000

The Art of Swordsmanship by Hans Lecküchner

Translated by Jeffrey L. Forgeng

English translation of one of the most significant medieval texts on fighting with swords.
Completed in 1482, Johannes Lecküchner's Art of Combat with the "Langes Messer" (Messerfechtkunst) is among the most important documents on the combat arts of the Middle Ages. The Messer was a single-edged, one-handed utility sword peculiar to central Europe, but Lecküchner's techniques apply to cut-and-thrust swords in general: not only is this treatise the single most substantial work on the use of one-handed swords to survive from this period, but it is the most detailed explanation of the two-handed sword techniques of the German "Liechtenauer" school dating back to the 1300s. Lecküchner's lavish manuscript consists of over four hundred illustrations with explanatory text, in which the author, a parish priest, rings the changes on bladework, deceits, and grappling, with techniques ranging from life-or-death escapes from an armed assailant to slapstick moves designed to please the crowd in public fencing matches.
This translation, complete with all illustrations from the manuscript, makes the treatise accessible for the first time since the author's untimely death less than a year after its completion left his major work to be lost for generations. An extensive introduction, notes, and glossary analyze and contextualize the work and clarify its technical content.

Jeffrey L. Forgeng is curator of Arms and Armor and Medieval Art at the Worcester Art Museum, and teaches as Adjunct Professor of History at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

An e-book version of this title is available (9781782045267), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.


It is clear that Jeffrey Forgeng is not only a technical expert on the weapon illustrated in this manual, but also a scholar deeply versed in the manuscript tradition of which this volume is a part as well as in the accumulated historiography that treats it. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

A fantastic attempt to make the fecht-bücher increasingly accessible to a wider audience.... What sets this book apart is the contextualisation of the source and the excellent translations. MEDIEVAL WARFARE

For anyone really interested in fighting styles and techniques, this is a must-read. SLINGSHOT

Forgeng's translation is clear and accessible. His experience not only as a scholar of early swordsmanship, but as a practitioner, is readily apparent. . . . [Forgeng makes] a vital text more widely available for practitioners not only looking to better understand the use of single-handed swords of all types, but also to how those techniques complement other medieval martial practices. DE RE MILITARI

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