Johannes Lichtenauer

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Sitting fencing master, probably representing Liechtenauer, fol. 2v of von Danzig's fechtbuch (1452)

Johannes Liechtenauer was a 14th century German fencing master. The martial arts taught by Liechtenauer, especially the swordsmenship, dominate in Germany from the late 1300s to the late 1500s.

MS 3227a

  • Jung Ritter lere / got lip haben frawen io ere / So wechst dein ere
    Uebe ritterschaft und lere / kunst dy dich zyret und in krigen sere hofiret
    Ringens gut fesser / glefney sper swert unde messer
    menlich bederben / unde in andern henden vorterben
    Haw dreyn und hort dar / rawsche ym trif ader la farn
    das in dy weisen hassen dy man siet preisen
    Dorauf dich zosse alle ding haben lenge unde mosse
    Und was du wilt treiben by guter vornunft saltu bleiben
    czu crust ader czu schimpf / habe froelichen mut mit limpf
    So magstu achten und mit gutem mute betrachten
    Was du solt fueren und keyn im dich rueren
    Wen guter mut mit kraft macht eyns wedersache czagehaft
    dornoch dich richte gib keynem forteil mit ichte
    Tumkunheit meide vier ader sechs nicht vortreibe
    mit deynem oebermut biss sitik das ist dir gut /
    der ist eyn kuener man der synem gleichen tar bestan
    Is ist nicht schande vier ader sechs flien von hande
    [fol. 18r]
  • Translation: Young Knight learn to love God and revere women so that your honour grows. Practice knighthood and learn the Art that dignifies you, and brings you honour in wars. Wrestle well and wield lance, spear, sword, and dagger manfully, whose use in others' hands is wasted. Strike bravely and hard there! Rush to strike or miss. Those with wisdom loath the one forced to defend. This you should grasp: All arts have length and measure. Whatever you undertake, use deliberation. In earnest or in play, be of good cheer and vitality, so you may be attentive and with good courage ponder what action you should take, so that none may touch you, since good courage and strength make your enemies hesitate. Keep in mind to give no-one any advantage. Avoid foolhardiness, do not attempt to match four or six opponents at once. Restrain your ambition, this will benefit you. He is a courageous man who can stand against his equal, while it is no shame to flee from four or six.


  • David Lindholm & Peter Svärd, Sigmund Ringeck's Knightly Art of the Longsword, Paladin Press (2003), ISBN 1-58160-410-6
  • Christian Henry Tobler, Secrets of German Medieval Swordsmanship (2001), ISBN 1-891448-07-2
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