Investigation on the collation of the first Fight book (Leeds, Royal Armouries, Ms I.33)

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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.

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  • VI.1 Primary sources

  • Anonymous Liber de arte Dimicatoria 1320-1330. Leeds Royal Armouries Ms I.33.

  • Anonymous compendium (Hans Talhoffer Fight book) 17th c. Wolfenbüttel Herzog

  • August Bibliothek Cod. Guelf. 125.16 Extrav.

  • VI.2 Secondary literature

  • Cinato Franck ‘Development Diffusion and Reception of the Buckler plays: A Fighting Art in the Making a case study’ in Late Medieval and Early Modern Fight Books ed. by Daniel Jaquet Timothy Dawson and Karin Verelst (Leiden: Brill 2016).

  • Cinato Franck and André Surprenant ‘L’escrime à la bocle comme méthode d’autodéfense selon le Liber de Arte Dimicatoria’ in L’art chevaleresque du combat : Le maniement des armes à travers les livres de combat (XIVe - XVIe siècle) by Daniel Jaquet (Neuchâtel: Alphil 2013) pp. 81-89.

  • Cinato Franck and André Surprenant ‘L’escrime scolastique du Liber de Arte Dimicatoria. Un cas de rationalisation par l’image’ in Quand l’image relit le texte: regards croisés sur les manuscrits médiévaux ed. by Sandrine Hériché-Pradeau and Maud Pérez-Simon (Paris: Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle 2013) pp. 249-60.

  • Cinato Franck and André Surprenant Le Livre de l’art du combat (Liber de Arte Dimicatoria) : Édition critique du Royal Armouries MS. I.33 Sources d’histoire médiévale 39 (Paris: CNRSéd 2009).

  • Forgeng Jeffrey L The Illuminated Fightbook: Royal Armouries Manuscript I.33. 2 vols (Dorset: Royal Armouries and Extraordinary Editions 2013).

  • Forgeng Jeffrey L The medieval art of swordsmanship : a facsimile & translation of Europe’s oldest personal combat treatise Royal Armouries MS I.33 (Union City: Chivalry Bookshelf 2003).

  • Hester James ‘A Few Leaves Short of a Quire: Is the “Tower Fechtbuch” Incomplete?’ Arms & Armour 9 (2012) 20-24.

  • Leng Rainer Hella Frühmorgen-Voss Norbert H. Ott Ulrike Bodemann Peter Schmidt and Christine Stöllinger-Löser Katalog Der Deutschsprachigen Illustrierten Handschriften Des Mittelalters Band 4/2 Lfg. 1/2: 38: 38. Fecht- Und Ringbücher C.H. Beck (München: Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften 2008).

  • Morini Andrea and Riccardo Rudilosso Manoscritto I.33 (Rome: Il Cerchio Iniziative Editoriali 2012).

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