only german and italian ?
why are most of the surviving fight manuals from italy and what is now mostly germany? i realise 2 world wars swept through europe. or was it because the germans and italians were the most literate?
George Silver was English his fight book is still about. Ye olde Brits probably just mostly learned to fight by practising with others and figfhting the neighbours.
The largest collection of fight manuals in the world is in Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow if you are interested, you can arrange to see them.
There are others from other countries - France, Spain, the Netherlands, etc., but you're right, the great majority of surviving examples (certainly dating from the Renaissance) seem to be German and Italian. My best guess would be that this has something to do with German and Italian culture re. preserving these sorts of manuscripts, but it's way outside my field.
Wasn't Silvers most famous body of work also specifically an attempt to discredit the Italians, as well?
Yes it does have an element of that as well, he really had a dislike of Italian rapier which was fashionable in England at the time. It's well worth a read if you can find a download.
Originally Posted by Cybren
The English also really liked their bows. The English yeomanry and whatnot becoming proficient in the longbow in exchange for permission to own land. They were still an underclass and I doubt they were all that literate.
There is at least one surviving English manuscript on the use of the two-handed sword, dating back as far as the 15th century. It's basically a long poem in a very archaic type of English, but some folks have been able to come up with working translations and these guys - http://lessonsontheenglishlongsword.blogspot.com/ - have even re-constructed the system it describes.
Obviously, later in history (1700s onwards) there were numerous books on various fighting arts published in English and by Englishmen.
It's less about preservation, and more about writing it down at all- it's been suggested that Lichtenauer wasn't the only/normal school in Germany, his followers were just unusually keen on writing things down. Which becomes even more interesting if you consider Fiore dei Liberi may have been a student of Lichtenauer's.
There are series of manuscripts coming from 15th century England.
If you are interested have a look there http://www.thearma.org/manuals.htm.
From Italian manual from the 14-15th we just have 4 version of Fiore and 1 version of Vadi
From the German there are around 20 manuscripts. There are 6 for Thalhoffer alone (that we know off). It seems that in the 15th century legitimacy in the lichatanauer tradition sort of started a manual producing mania
In the middle adge you did not right a book and hoped it became a best seller, it is usually made on request or presented to a someone in power to get in their good books. It was quite expensive to have a book made at the time.
As well the way to teach at the time was mainly ora. On top of that dissemination of fighting technique was frowned upon as it is a good source of income.
Beside the idea to paying a fencing master as retainer is that he teaches only you.
On top of that inventories of modern library and museum are not that well researched and dare I say well organised. So it is very possible that manuscript in French Spanish, Dutch, and English Danish Swedish are still somewhere to be fond.
Ps here is a link to good George Silver.
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