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Twenty-six years after the first edition and translation by Sydney Anglo in 1991 of the anonymous manuscript Le Jeu de la hache , many elements can still be significantly improved. This paper offers a completely new critical edition of the text, and a major revision of the translation. This article includes a detailed glossary as well as notes to discuss the many ambiguous passages in the original text. Finally, the studies of the language, the vocabulary, the dialect, the writing style and the physical document make it possible to refine the dating of the manuscript to the third quarter of the fifteenth century, between 1460 and 1485, and its origin, probably Flanders or Wallonia in the entourage of the dukes of Burgundy.


The Thun-Hohenstein album, long-known as the Thun’sche Skizzenbuch, is a bound collection of 112 drawings that visualize armoured figures at rest and in combat, as well as empty armours arrayed in pieces. The collection gathers drawings that span the period from the 1470s to around 1590. While most of the images were executed in Augsburg during the 1540s, the album’s three oldest drawings date to the late-fifteenth century. Two of these works, which form a codicological interlude between the first and second quires, find parallels in the illustrations of contemporaneous martial treatises. This article traces the pictorial lineages of these atextual images through comparative analyses of fight books produced in the German-speaking lands, and considers how the representational strategies deployed in martial treatises inflected the ways that book painters and their audiences visualized the armoured body. This exploration situates a manuscript from which one of the drawings derives, Peter Falkner’s Art of Knightly Defense, now in Vienna, within the Augsburg book painters’ workshops that would later give rise to the Thun album. Finally, this study considers how the transmission and representation of martial knowledge in late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Augsburg contributed to the later depictions of armoured bodies that populate the album.


This paper investigates the collation of the first Fight Book, the Leeds, Royal Armouries, Ms I.33. It critically reviews previous hypotheses about the composition of the quires and the identification of the material lacuna, and proposes a new hypothesis. This investigation is based on observation of the original after restoration (2012) and the simulation of the previous hypotheses with a working document composed of laminated sheets into which reproductions were inserted. Bifolia were physically attached, forming quires by successive folds. This simulation phase allowed us to analyse textual and pictorial content according to the various postulates and to propose identification of the material lacuna. The pivot point allowing a new argumentation are the two counterfoils of the two flying leaves (fol. 19 and 26), which were not taken into account by previous researchers. Several synoptical diagrams of the representation of the quire are enclosed for the reader to follow the developments.

’Neill, Timothy. 1984 [Reprint 2014]. The Irish Hand: Scribes and Their Manuscripts from the Earliest Times. Cork: Cork University Press. O’Sullivan, William. 1999. “The Book of Domhnall Ó Duibhdábhoireann: provenance and codicology”, Celtica 23: 276-299. Ó hUiginn., Ruairí. 2018. “The Book of Ballymote: scholars, sources and patrons”, in: Ruairí Ó hUiginn (ed.), Book of Ballymote : Codices Hibernenses Eximii 11 . Royal Irish Academy: Dublin: 191-220. Patterson, Nerys. 1986. “The O’Doran legal family and the sixteenth century recensions of the Pseudo-Historical Prologue

Communication (Books, Charters and Inscriptions), Turnhout 2016, pp. 1–24, at p. 9. Since the publication of Michael Clanchy’s »From Memory to Written Record« in 1979 Michael T. Clanchy: From Memory to Written Record. England 1066–1307, London 1979. at the latest, research on pragmatic literacy has been an increasing topic in Medieval Studies. Though it has been convincingly argued that Medieval Studies have a far longer tradition in this area of research, since Auxiliary Sciences like Palaeography or Codicology dealt with many of these aspects since their beginning and also