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Arming shoes of the fifteenth century

Abstract

Military footwear for the fifteenth century includes arming shoes worn under sabatons. Written sources suggest arming shoes and footwear used for fighting were ordinary shoes adapted for the purpose. Archaeological footwear was examined for signs of such modifications. Medieval shoe technology is presented, showing the range of footwear and its uses and gait biomechanics. Based on experiences from re-enactors wearing armours, medieval shoe styles are discussed for appropriateness as arming shoes. The question of why medieval military footwear shows no purposed development is addressed.

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The armour of the common soldier in the late middle ages. Harnischrödel as sources for the history of urban martial culture

Abstract

The designation Harnischrödel (rolls of armour) lumps together different kinds of urban inventories. They list the names of citizens and inhabitants together with the armour they owned, were compelled to acquire within their civic obligations, or were obliged to lend to able-bodied men. This contribution systematically introduces Harnischrödel of the 14th and 15th c. as important sources for the history of urban martial culture. On the basis of lists preserved in the archives of Swiss towns, it concentrates on information pertaining to the type and quality of an average urban soldier’s gear. Although the results of this analysis are only preliminary – at this point, it is not possible to produce methodologically sound statistics –, the value of the lists as sources is readily evident, as only a smattering of the once massive quantity of actual objects has survived down to the present time.

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Constriction – Construction, a short history of specialised wearing apparel for athletic activities from the fourteenth century to nineteenth century

Abstract

During the twentieth century, clothing permits a real freedom of bodily movement. However, when examining past athletic activity, we must take into account the period approach to the body: liberty of movement is at the same time controlled by morality, gestures and clothing. The French term “tenue” initially referred to behaviour, but since the end of the eighteenth century concerns the manner of dressing, and later by extension, the “dignity of conduct”. In the past times concerned with “sporting” activities such as the HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts), physical appearance is affected by rules of etiquette imposed by morality and civility. From the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century, each period offers a different overview of the dress standards in relation to the different approaches to corporal identity, and the constriction first necessary for military activities becomes indivisible from the moral and physical construction. As a practitioner of the 21st century, the question raises about our relationship, not only with our bodies but also with past cultures. As demonstrated by some concrete examples, if it is desired to fully approach the ancient practices, it is therefore necessary to also adopt the garment, in the same way as the accessories.

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Fighting in women’s clothes The pictorial evidence of Walpurgis in Ms. I.33

Abstract

Ms. I.33 is not only the oldest of the known fencing treatises in European context, it is also the only one showing a woman fighting equally with contemporary men. The author presents her research about the garments this female fencer wears, including her shirt, dress and overdress, hairstyle and footwear. Special consideration is given to the questions whether Walpurgis wears a belt, the length and hem circumference of her garments as well as the methods of draping them in the way depicted. The results of the analysis are compared with contemporary pictorial and archaeological sources of the early 14th century. Some personal insights gathered by the author while fighting in this kind of clothes shed light on the possibilities of moving without being disturbed by them. The clothes and hairstyle worn by Walpurgis, give clues about her social status and thus help to understand the context and dating of the whole manuscript.

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Fighting with the Longsword: Modern-day HEMA Practices

Abstract

This article is based on the talk presented on 27th November 2016 in the course of the Journées d’études sur le costume et les simulateurs d’armes dans les pratiques d’arts martiaux anciens. The talk itself involved practical demonstrations and interaction with other presentations given at the event; this article does not purport to be a transcript of the presentation, but elaborates on the key themes of the presentation: The objectives of HEMA as a modern practice, and their relationship to what we know about the historical practice of the European martial arts in the Middle Ages, including physical fitness, fencing techniques and tactical awareness, based on the Fechtbücher extant. A key element of the discussion involved a comparison between the objectives of and drivers behind historical and modern tournament rule-sets.

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The typological debates around Le Jeu de la Hache (BnF MS Français 1996) and their stakes for HEMA practice

Abstract

Le Jeu de la Hache displays a fighting-system with the pollaxe in armour, but the weapon is never described with precision, which leads to debates regarding its typology – cutting edge or hammer/raven’s beak? Through a semi-quantitative survey, we tried to offer an overview of current HEMA practice around this specific source, with special emphasis on the typological question. Despite the rather narrow scope of the inquiry, some trends emerge. Besides the various choices regarding terminology and sources, we can underline the variety of materials used for the simulators: rubber components («hammer» typology) are leading, but wood and metal are also used, for both typologies. Advantages and disadvantages of each rely on the articulation of safety and realism dimensions, and the dangerousness inherent to this kind of weapon is largely highlighted. Even if most respondents declare not to be familiar with the typological debates amongst historians, it was usually mentioned to them during their practice. Only a minority has taken part in experiments in order to bring some elements of answer, but seldom in a systematic way. Therefore, a praxeological experimental approach could bring up new data, but is not devoid of difficulties, for instance the necessity of wearing armour.

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An analysis and comparison of two German thrust-fencing manuscripts

Abstract

In this contribution, we will discuss two German fencing manuscripts - Mscr.Dresd.C.13 (SLUB Dresden) and Add MS 17533 (BL London). Both manuscripts present texts on thrust-fencing based on the teachings of Salvator Fabris. The dedication of manuscript C13 was signed by the famous fencing author Johann Georg Pascha. The author of one of the texts contained in the 17533 manuscript is named H.A.V..

A textual analysis has been performed on these two books, and then the contents of the works have been compared. This comparison shows that C13 presents a largely identical text to the main treatises contained in 17533, the most significant difference being certain additions in C13, which Pascha also discusses in his dedication. Based on our analysis, both C13 and 17533 appear to present copies of an original text. We further hypothesize that H.A.V., the author of this original text, was Heinrich von und zum Velde, the fencing master of Johann Joachim Hynitzsch.

Open access