Monday, December 31, 2012

Meyer 1560

A translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 fighting manual has been published by a member of the Meyer Freifechter Guild.

Addition translations and articles are available at their site. My thanks to Hugh Knight for finding this.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Governess of Morpork

Walk wide of Susan Sto-Helit
A governess second to none
If you're under the bed
Or naughty undead
It's probably safest to run.

Walk wide of Susan Sto-Helit
Her poker is scary and long
If you bump in the night
Best stay out of her sight
Because frightening children is wrong.

Walk wide of Susan Sto-Helit
Her grandad's a difficult one
If you stay on to fight
And leave on the light

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Update: Brian Price, the Misnamed Chivalry Bookshelf and the Authors. Also, Vadi.

It is well to know that of all the books still sold by Brian Price/Chivalry Bookshelf, all of the authors, with two exceptions, continue to have legal issues with Brian Price. To the best of my knowledge, none of them have been paid all the royalties they were entitled to under contract, and frequently they never received any royalties at all. None of them have received unsold copies as restitution.

In particular, while several former Chivalry Bookshelf authors have now recovered remaining unsold copies in partial restitution for unpaid royalties, Price has failed to settle with Luca Porzio and Gregory Mele, editors of Vadi's Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi. This is an excellent edition, but I strongly advise against buying it new from any retailer. None of what you pay will reach the authors at this time.

Used copies currently seem to be reasonably available.

Price is also currently selling works by Hand, Greer, Preto, Rector and Wagner. To the best of my knowledge, all of these authors assert that royalties have ranged from nonexistent to almost nonexistent, and several have asserted that they revoke any right of Price to sell their intellectual property.

A recurring pattern is that these authors overwhelmingly live outside the United States, and so find it particularly difficult to defend their legal rights.

There are only two exceptions to this pattern. One is Brian Price himself. The second is Dr. Bengt Thordeman, who suffers the additional handicap of being dead.

Please, if you have any doubts of this, contact the authors.

Friday, December 07, 2012

In Service of the Duke

In Service of the Duke is a splendid facsimile and translation of a 15th century fighting manual created by Paulus Kal. This large format volume is 15.6 by 13.2 inches, allowing the pages  of the manuscript to be reproduced at the original size. Full color images show techniques for mounted armored combat, armored combat between a mounted man and a man on foot, armored combat between spear and spear, sword and spear, sword and sword, sword and dagger, dagger and dagger, and pollaxe vs pollaxe. Unarmored combat is shown between men armed with clubs and dueling shields, and between a man and a woman, with the man in a pit to make the combat more equal.

Additional pages on unarmored combat cover sword and buckler, longsword, messer, dagger and wrestling. The images are either uncaptioned or give a terse description of the technique.

Besides illustrating combat technique, the images show many variations of the armor of the period, not all of which have survived to the present in physical form.

The reproduction of the manuscript is followed by analysis that relates each leaf to related images and text from other fighting manuals of the period.

This is a deluxe recreation of a luxurious medieval artifact

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Former Chivalry Bookshelf Titles Now Being Sold by Authors

Several books formerly sold by the misnamed Chivalry Bookshelf are now being sold by the authors exclusively through Freelance Academy Press. I own copies of the ones by Tobler and Muhlberger and recommend them.

Here are some reviews:

Deeds of Arms, by Steven Muhlberger
In Service of the Duke, by Christian Tobler
Secrets of German Medieval Swordsmanship: Sigmund Ringeck's Commentaries on Liechtenauer, by Christian Tobler

This is good news!

Sunday, December 02, 2012


vij balistis de vicibus quarum j de baleigne cum j hasepe de novo apparatu

Compotus of Roger de Horncliffe, from 8 Feb. 1 Ed. III. to Mich, 4 Ed. III. in Ministers' Accounts, Bamburgh, V2 1-4 Ed. III. P.R.O.  (1328-29) 

une arbalète à tour, et un tour, et une arbalète de deux pieds et un haussepied.

An ordinance made for the manner in which men will be distributed in the defense of the Castle of Bioule, 1346

2 croichez de fer, 2 baudriez et 2 haucepiez pour tendre lesd. arbalestes.

Inventory of the Movables of the Castle of Vieux-Chateau, 16 August 1370

Item onze garrotz ferrez. Item vignt et quatre garrotz non ferrez; dous haucepiez garniz, dont les sièges sont ou haut du chastel.....Item, un haucepié garni, près la chambre Olivier Dinet.

Inventory of the Castle of l'Hermine, 23 January 1400
Item un haulcepié à tendre arbalestes et un tour à viz
Inventory of the Castle of Blois, 1421
From the above it appears that the haussepied was an engine for spanning large crossbows, mounted on a  frame, but distinguished from the tour, tour à viz, or vice, which seems to have been a screw and handle engine. I conclude from that that it was a frame-mounted windlass like those shown in the 1316 Carlisle charter and Walter de Milimete's 1326 MS.
Such a machine could easily span a two-foot crossbow that otherwise required a man to use the force of both legs while seated on the ground, with the crossbow on the frame at table height. I believe this was the source of the name.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Weapons at Bamburgh Castle: 1328-29

…unius aketon nullius valoris, v. bacinettis nullius valoris, vij balistis de vicibus quarum j de baleigne cum j hasepe de novo apparatu, xij balistis unius pedis de novo apparatu, j cista, iiij bukettis plenis de quarellis pro predictis vj balistis, j arcu, v garbis sagittarum, vij costis pro arcubus, xij costis pro balistis unius pedis quarum iiij nullius valoris, ij costis pro balistis de vicibus, x balistis unius pedis nullius valoris, j teler sine nuce pro balista de vicibus, xxxv quarellis pro springald de novo apparatu, xxviij quarellis pro springaldo sine pennis quarum iiij sine capite, xlvj torches cere in una cista, 1 tortie et xxvj broches cere in una alia cista, xv baudreis quorum iiij sine clavibus, …

Compotus of Roger de Horncliffe, from 8 Feb. 1 Ed. III. to Mich, 4 Ed. III. in Ministers' Accounts, Bamburgh, V2 1-4 Ed. III. P.R.O. .

…one aketon of no value, five bassinets of no value; seven screw crossbows, one of them of whalebone, with one new hasepe, 12 new one foot crossbows, one chest and four buckets full of quarrels for the aforesaid 6 crossbows, one bow, five sheaves of arrows; seven staves for bows; twelve prods for one-foot crossbows, four of them of no value; two prods for screw crossbows,  10 one-foot crossbows of no value; one tiller without a nut for a screw crossbow, 35 new springald quarrels, twenty-eight unfeathered quarrels for a springald, four of them without heads; forty-six wax torches in one chest, and fifty torches and thirty-six wax tapers in another chest; fifteen belts (for spanning crossbows), four of them without hooks…

Translation: Will Mclean 2012

Inventory of the Castle of Montgomery: 1301

Transcriptum indenture inter dominum W de Leyburn recipientem et dominum Bogonem de Knoville liberantem Castrum Montis Gomeri.

Memorandum quod die Lune proxima post festum sancti Luce Evangeliste anno regni Regis domini E. xxix° Bogo de Knoville liberavit domino Willelmo de Leyburn Castrum de Monte Gomeri cum omnibus rebus in eodem contentis, videlicet cum tribus prisonis de Scotia1 per dominum Regem ibidem prius missis. Liberavit etiam eidem xiij galeas parvi valoris,  xxviij capellos ferri parvi valoris, xx. balistas lesas et x. milia quarellorum pro balistis unius pedis, et j miliare quarellorum pro balistis duorum pedum iij bandrellos pro balistis duorum pedum, et ij viceas pro balistis extendendis. Item liberavit eidem iij balistas cornuas ad viceas integras et unam lesam, et iij balistis cornuas ad ij pedes, & duas ad unam pedem de dono domini Bogonis ad opus Principis. Item xij targias et iij. scuta parvi valoris, et unum incudem et j martellum et ij  sufflettos parvi valoris.  Item liberavit eidem iij par cooptorum ferri et ij testeras ferri et v. loricas1 cum capite et v. sine capite de veteri opere cum pluribus defectibus. Item j molam ad manum sine hoper, j ollam eneam, et j craticulam, xvj. par firgearum  et iij cathenas ad pontes trahendas. Item de ornamentis Capelle liberavit eidem unum par vestimentorum integrum cum corporalial iij manutergia debilia et terciam partem unius antiphonalis et terciam partem unius gradate et unum cofrum predictis ornamentis imponendis, et ij. cruettos et unam pixidem' et unam campanam pendentem in capella, et iiij"r cistas cum coopturis et iij sine coopturis et Iij dolia vacua.

Transcript of an indenture between lord W. de Leybum receiver and lord Bogo de Knoville deliverer of the Castle of Montgomery.

Be it remembered that on Monday next after the festival of Saint Luke the Evangelist in the 29th year of the reign of our Lord King Edward, Bogo de Knoville delivered to Lord William of Leyburn the Castle ot Montgomery with all things contained in the same, namely with three prisoners of Scotland previously sent there by our Lord the King. He also delivered to him 13 helmets of little value, 28 kettle hats of little value, 20 damaged crossbows and 10,000 quarrels for crossbows of one foot, and 1,000 quarrels for crossbows of 2 feet, 3 bandrellos for crossbows of two feet and two screws for spanning the crossbows. Also he delivered to the same 3 complete horn crossbows with screws and 1 damaged, and 3 horn crossbows for 2 feet and 2 for one foot of the gift of Lord Bogo for the use of the Prince. Also 12 targes and 3 shields of little value and 1 anvil and 1 hammer and 2 pair of bellows of little value. Also he delivered to the same 3 pairs of iron (horse) coverings and 2 iron testiers and 5 hauberks with headpiece, and 5 without headpiece of old work with many defects. Also 1 hand mill without a hopper, one brass pot and one grill, 16 pair firgearum and 3 chains for drawbridges.

Also of chapel ornaments he delivered to the same one whole pair of vestments with a corporal, 3 worn towels  and the third part of an antiphonal and the third part of a gradual, and one chest receive these ornaments, and two cruets and one pix and one bell hanging in the chapel and 4 chests with covers and 3 without covers and 3 empty casks. [Oct. 23rd, 1301]

Bandrellos: probably belts with hooks for spanning crossbows, related to the French baudrier.
Testier: head protection for a horse
Screw: In this context a machine with a screw and handle for spanning a crossbow
Firgearum: Unknown

Cott. MS. Brit. Mus. Vitellius C. x. fo. 154.  Translation by Will McLean, 2012

Excerpta historica, or, Illustrations of English history. 1833. London: Bentley. p.22