IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 1603: Rediscovering Historical European Martial Arts, I

Thursday 12 July 2012, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Université de Genève / Historical European Martial Arts Coalition (HEMAC)
Organiser:Daniel Jaquet, Unité d'histoire Médiévale, Université de Genève
Moderator/Chair:Karin Verelst, FUND-CLEA, Department of Mathematics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Paper 1603-aHistorical European Martial Arts and History: Some Methodological Reflections
(Language: English)
Karin Verelst, FUND-CLEA, Department of Mathematics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Military History
Paper 1603-bTo Promote the Real Thing or What the Audience Expects: Musings from a Museum Working with Historical Weapons Use
(Language: English)
Claus Frederik Sørensen, Nyborg Castle, Museums of Eastern Funen, Denmark
Index terms: Archaeology - Artefacts, Military History
Paper 1603-cCombat or Contest?: Fighting and Fencing in Middle High German Literature
(Language: English)
Rachel Eleanor Kellett, Independent Scholar, Witney
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - German, Manuscripts and Palaeography

In the past ten years there has been a growing interest in the historical evidence concerning the practice of martial arts throughout medieval Europe. Medieval martial arts systems were used for a wide range of purposes, from preparing for a judicial duel, to sparring for training and entertainment purposes in the late medieval ‘institutionalised’ fencing schools. These different applications are all governed by equally varying systems of rules. This interdisciplanary session provides an overview of the recent researches into, and active promotion works on the display of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA). Including History, History of Art, History of Literature, Archaeology (classic and experimental), and Museography. These studies are mainly based on investigations focusing on the so called Fechtbücher, ‘fightbooks’, technical manuals which codified the martial gestures both with text and illustrations, from the early 14th to the late 17th centuries. Researchers also draw on other material and textual witnesses, like arms and armour, literary and normative texts, and a wide corpus of illustrations studied in context. What are the best methodologies to pursue these studies? How to follow, in reading, writing or reconstruction, these gestures and the rules structuring them? What can we learn about the societies that produced these gestures, and how should museums display them today?