The broad thematic spectrum of the digital show ranges from the biblical decisive battle between David and Goliath to judicial duels in the Middle Ages and student duels in the 18th century. The exhibition can be seen here.
Until the Second World War, the present Gotha Research Library at Friedenstein Castle possessed an extraordinarily extensive collection of fencing books. The core consisted of five illustrated late medieval manuscripts by Hans Talhoffer, Paulus Kal and two unknown fencing masters, including the oldest surviving fencing book in Europe (today Royal Armouries in Leeds, I.33). For what purpose were these martial arts compendia created? How are physical techniques taught? How did the unique collection in Gotha come into being and what role did it play in modern times when it was discovered for German legal, art and sports history as well as for today's very lively movement to reconstruct the historical martial arts of Europe? These and other questions are the focus of the exhibition.
A book on this subject has also been published in the series "Publications from the Research Library". Using illustrated manuscripts and old prints, it takes the reader on a ride through the cultural history of duels, from military duels of decision in antiquity to medieval jousting tournaments and court battles to early modern duels of honour.