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Royal Armouries Museum

The heart of the art of combat

Exploring medieval manuscript I.33
10th May - 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

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This conference will focus on one of the most famous treasures in our collection and the world’s oldest known surviving fight book – Royal Armouries manuscript I.33.

This beautifully illustrated manual of swordsmanship is dated to about 1310 and is a stunning work of late medieval art.

Our conference aims to provide a multi-disciplinary understanding of I.33 and may consider such subjects as the codicology, language, art history, arms and armour and the fighting techniques illustrated in the manuscript.

We will also attempt to put I.33 in context with other sword and buckler traditions, art in medieval fight books and the participation of women and clerics in fencing.

Our keynote speaker is Dr Jeffrey Forgeng, the foremost authority on the manuscript, and editor of the recently published Royal Armouries facsimile, The medieval art of swordsmanship.

Conference programme

9:15-9:45      Registration (Tea & coffee provided)

9:45-9:55      Welcome address

9:55-10:35     Keynote: The heart of the art of combat – Jeffrey Forgeng

10:35-11:15    Liber vetustissimus: Reception history of I.33 – Antti Ijäs

11:15-11:55    The context of I.33 – Stuart Peers

11:55-13:00    Break (Lunch is not provided)

13:00-13:40    Didactics and methodology of I.33 – Herbert Schmidt

13:40-14:20    Up is down: Some hypotheses on how to interpret perspective in I.33’s illustrations – Cornelius Berthold & Ingo Petri

14:20-15:00    Viking age round shields and high medieval bucklers: The emergence of the sword & buckler tradition in Scandinavia – Rolf Warming

15:00-15:20    Break (Tea & coffee provided)

15:20-16:00    Religat calcat: The system of binds in I.33 – Dieter Bachmann

16:00-16:40    Walking the work – Dave Rawlings

16:40-16:50    Closing remarks

17:00               Museum closes

Download the conference flier (pdf, 1.44 MB)

Conference tickets £20

Sword and buckler training seminar

The conference will be followed by a practical training seminar on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 May, hosted by Kunst des Fechtens (KDF) and the Society of Combat Archaeology. Tickets cost £60 and can be booked through KDF.

Limited edition I.33 sword

A Royal Armouries curator-approved replica sword is being manufactured in partnership with Albion Swords. A limited number of presentation sets will be available. To register your interest and to receive pre-release information please join our mailing list.