Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 6 September 2021

Arms and armour videos IX: Hans Talhoffer

This video, which I came upon by chance ( or so perhaps the algorithm would have me believe ) is about the manuscript now in the Royal Library in Copenhagen which was compiled by 1459 by the Swarbian knight Hans Talhoffer (1410/15 - 1482+) about fighting techniques and engines of war. What little is known with certainty about his life and series of manuscripts is summarised by Wikipedia at Hans Talhoffer

The video looks at a number of the ideas he includes in this richly illustrated manuscript, including fencing and sword play, judicial combat, siege engines, devices to protect a castle from attackers, a Hussite-type war wagon equipped with a battery of cannons and a fifteenth century frogman’s suit.

In many cases understanding the particular texts and illustrations requires the researchers to fill in the missing links, as Talhoffer himself would doubtless have done with his sales pitch as a combat trainer and those parts of the manuscript that verges on being an arms catalogue.

There are points where the dramatic or slightly breathless overtones of the narrator and, on occasions, those of some of the presenters grate a little, but the overall result is still very good. The researchers know their subject and the results of their experimental archaeology are fascinating, 

The video, which is full of interest, and not a few surprises, can be viewed at The Secret Fight Master Of The Middle Ages | Medieval Fight Book

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