16th century military manuscript

[German military manuscript]. Military treatises.

No place, 1554-1562.

Folio (206 x 297 mm). Three parts written by two different hands on the same paper stock (watermark: hound with a collar). A total of 270 pp. including 5 full-page pen-and-ink illustrations, with geometrical footers to each page. Later half vellum over marbled boards (ca. 1900).


A pretty composite manuscript of the mid-16th century, in the main following closely or styled after the gunsmith manual repeatedly printed by Christian Egenolff between 1529 and 1597. The preface (14 pp., dated "1554" at the end) consists of "Eine lehr so Keiser Maximilian in seiner Jugent durch erfarne treffliche seine Kriegsräht zugestelt ist", an instructional work for Emperor Maximilian also found in Egenolff's book from its 1534 edition onward. This is followed by the first main section: "Büchssenmeysterei von Geschoß, Büchsen, Pülver Salpether und Fewerwergk &c eigentlich zuzurichten, Büchssenmeystern und Schützen zuwissen nötigk" (70 pp.), likewise directly taken over from Egenolff's compilation. The second part is a legal treatise (as in Egenolff's book, though with different content) discussing martial law, entitled "Gerichts Hendell unnd Cautele in malefich Hendelnn Schüldtrechten unnd gastrechten" (72 pp.). The third part is an extensive treatise on a soldier's duties and the oaths to be sworn by the various ranks ("Artickel darauff die Hauptleut [...] unnd gemeine knecht der Ro. Kay. Maj. unserm aller gnedigisten Herrnn gelobenn und schwerenn sollen S. K. M. zu dienen", 114 pp.), going substantially beyond its counterpart in Egenolff's handbook. This is written in a different hand and contains copious explanations as well as five full-page illustrations showing military equipment and devices in red and black ink (fiery arrows, "Wie man eine glüende Kugell inn Holtzwerck schiessen soll", etc.). At the end the manuscript contains an index, military multiplication tables, and legal addenda by various hands, dated 1562, with elaborate geometrical borders.

Provenance: bookplate of the English explorer, horseman, and big game hunter Col. J. Hamilton Leigh (1867-1944) of Stockport. Later in the collection of the collection of Thomas Fremantle, 3rd Baron Cottesloe (1862-1956), commander of the Territorial Army and president of the Society for Army History Research.


Cf. Jähns 653 (Egenolff's manual, 1597 ed.).

Stock Code: BN#51125 Tags: , , ,