Maciej Talaga

Do you even Zornhaw? A set-theoretic Approach to HEMA reconstruction, by Maciej Talaga and Szymon Talaga - APD6/1(2018)

pp. 151-182


The present paper is focused on proposing a positive solution in regard to HEMA reconstruction methodology. Firstly, it starts by identifying main factors behind difficulties in communicating, validating, and evaluating competing interpretations (or motion reconstructions) among different scholars and practitioners. Then, principles of the set theory as applied to the humanities are presented and explained through examples related to the HEMA studies. This is followed by a description of a proposed methodological framework, called the Set-theoretic Method, which has been devised so as to be applicable on its own to the whole process of interpretation (motion and tactical reconstruction) or as a supplement to the previously published ADVISE method, where it acts as a bias-reducing procedure, especially during comparative stage (i.e. the ‘External Input’ stage in ADVISE). Finally, the method is illustrated with a case study – a comparative analysis of the Zornhaw glosses in the ‘Codex Döbringer’, ‘Codex Danzig’, and ‘Codex Ringeck’ followed by exploration of ‘Flos Duellatorum’ by Fiore de’i Liberi in search for an analogy for Zornhaw.
Keywords: research methodology; fight books; set theory; reconstruction; interpretation.

A Kampfschwert from the 15th century – a reinterpretation of the so called 'Teutonic estoc' from the Princes Czartoryski Collection in Cracow, Poland (Maciej Talaga) - APD 1 (2013)

Acta Periodica Duellatorum. Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 7–27, ISSN (Online) 2064-0404, DOI: 10.1515/apd-2015-0007, Mai 2013.


The paper aims at reinterpreting the so called ‘Teutonic estoc’ (inventory number: MNK XIV-49) from the Czartoryski Princes Collection, Cracow, Poland. Due to the weapon’s unusual construction it has been necessary to draw up precise documentation - written, drawn and photographic. It has been supplemented with research in historical sources and scholarly literature on the subject.

The results obtained indicate that the researched weapon is not a typical estoc. It seems that it is a specialized anti-armour sword (Kampfschwert in German) designed for fighting against a heavy armoured opponent in judicial combat.

If this conclusion were correct, the ‘Teutonic estoc’ from Cracow would be the only known artefact of this kind to have survived from the Middle Ages. In order to falsify this hypothesis the artefact’s authenticity has been examined. An analysis of Royal Inventory records spanning from the year 1475 to 1792 and younger remarks about the researched weapon in press, private letters and scholarly literature has been conducted and briefly reported hereby. Its results seem to indicate that it is not a hoax.