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Meyer Translation Project Home Page

Welcome to the

Joachim Meyer Fechtbuch of 1600

Translation Project

This site will serve as a point of contact and shared resource for participants in the project. As we progress with the transcription and translation, the results will be posted on this page for review and comment. The site will also include pages with information on German grammar and history, historical fencing, and an on-line discussion forum for commentary, queries and analysis of the ongoing translation. I will act as moderator and facilitator of the project, but it will require a group effort to succeed.

Meyer's book was first published in Strasbourg in 1570, and is entitled A Thorough Description of the Free, Knightly and Noble Art of Fencing, Showing Various Customary Defenses, Affected and Put Forth with Many Handsome and Useful Drawings by Joachim Meyer, Free Fencer of Strasbourg. The edition we will be working on was published in 1600 in Augsburg by Michael Manger.

This Fechtbuch is 457 pages long with 72 beautifully illustrated plates. It contains a wealth of information on the Western Martial Arts. Meyer provides in-depth coverage on longsword, dusak (the peculiar, machete-like training weapon imported from Bohemia), rapier, dagger, hand-to-hand, halberd and staff fighting methods of the German School of personal combat of the late Renaissance. His book represents the acme of 200 years of the Kunst des Fechten, the "Art of Fighting".

STEP ONE in the process of translating this remarkable book into English is to compile a list of all the participants. If you are interested in participating in this Project, please e-mail the Home Page at ASAP with your name, affiliation, email address, snail mail address (IMPORTANT - we need your mailing address to send you pages for transcription), website, phone number, fax, etc. Also, indicate whether you want your name or contact information shared with the group at large or not.


Once all the information is received, I will post a list of participants, so we can all see who we're working with on this important undertaking!

STEP TWO involves the transcription into electronic format of Meyer's Fechtbuch. A working knowledge of German is helpful, BUT NOT NECESSARY. I will send 10-15 pages of text to each participant. Please transcribe your pages into Microsoft Word and email the transcription to the Home Page or put it on PC-compatible disk and mail it to Mark Rector, 2657 W. Medill, Chicago, IL 60647. As the transcriptions arrive, they will be converted to HTML and posted on the site for review and discussion. We'll continue to work in this way until the entire book is transcribed and on-line.

Transcription Instructions

STEP THREE is the preliminary translation of the Fechtbuch. Again, participants will be assigned pages to work on. Knowledge of German will be appreciated, but is not essential: even a literal, word-by-word translation using a dictionary will be helpful. As with the transcription, the translated pages will be placed on the site as they are returned.

STEP FOUR is the proofing, polishing and publication of the translated material. This project should be considered a WORK IN PROGRESS, making this valuable information freely available to all practitioners and scholars of the Western Martial Arts.

Check this website often for updates and information. Thank you for your participation!

Mark Rector
Meyer Translation Project Coordinator


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