The occasion for the exhibition is the extraordinarily extensive fencing book collection of the Gotha Research Library, which, however, suffered significant losses during the Second World War. The core of earlier times was formed by 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). The broad thematic spectrum of the exhibition ranges from the biblical decisive fight between David and Goliath to judicial duels in the Middle Ages and student duels in the 18th century. In this way, one can get to know many different facets of the universal phenomenon of duels.
In the talk, Daniel Gehrt and Sixt Wetzler provide insights into the digital exhibition and discuss the following questions on the basis of richly illustrated manuscripts and historical prints: For what purpose were these martial arts compendia created? How were 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 the history of law, art and sport in Germany as well as for today's very lively movement to reconstruct the historical martial arts?
Daniel Gehrt has been working as a research assistant at the Gotha Research Library since 2004, cataloguing early modern manuscripts. In his spare time, he is involved in martial arts. Sixt Wetzler, a proven researcher and expert on historical martial arts, is the director of the German Blade Museum in Solingen. He practices various martial arts and offers workshops throughout Europe.
Further information, including technical information, can be found on our website at: https://www.uni-erfurt.de/forschungsbibliothek-gotha/bibliothek/aktuelles/kulturelle-veranstaltungen/gothaer-bibliotheksgespraeche.
Picture: Gotha Reserach Library, Chart-B-00982_00068v.