Royal Armouries selling sponsor copies of the world’s oldest surviving fight book!

Royal Armouries selling sponsor copies of the world’s oldest surviving fight book!


Looking for that perfect summer read? Look no further! Put down that copy of “The Help” and take a look at Manuscript I.33, the world’s oldest fight book. To sponsor this excitng project, the Royal Armouries is selling 124 sponsor copies at a discount.

There will only be 750 copies worldwide made in three editions and provided on a first-come-first-serve basis with the starting price of a sponsor edition at £600, plus a £25 packing and delivery charge for those located in the mainland UK. The Royal Armouries special edition will set you back a bit more, £750. The Exemplary edition, for the hard core collector, is priced at £1500 and there are only 26 copies of the book. The Exemplary Edition copies will be bound in a special cover of folded veined vellum over quarter sawn oak boards. The cover will be hand-tooled in gold and blind embossed with a fourteenth-century design and with a figure taken from the manuscript. In addition, the companion volume will be quarter leather bound in calf over archival board covered in a heavyweight paper featuring a design from the original manuscript. The solander box for the Exemplary Edition will be designed to easily convert to a lectern for presentational use. At this level, delivery is included.

A little bit about the book…

Royal Armouries Manuscript I.33, also known as the Tower Fechtbuch or the Walpurgis Manuscript, is one of the oldest known manuals of swordsmanship in the world. The 64 page manuscript is richly illustrated, depicting a priest instructing a scholar and describing, with text and verse, a system of combat with the sword and buckler (a small round shield). The text is in Latin with some technical terms in German describing action and general pointers.With the growing interest in historical martial arts Manuscript I.33 is a great aid to scholars and swordsmen alike.

The manuscript is being loaned for exhibition to the Wallace Collection in London. In preparation for  this Olympic year, the book has been rebound and three levels of facsimile in limited editions are available for sale to the general public. The proceeds will be used to maintain and develop the Royal Armouries’ collections.Each copy of the manuscript will come complete with a companion volume containing a full transcription and translation of every page and a new introduction by Dr Jeffrey L. Forgeng.

Dr Forgeng is the Paul S. Morgan Curator at the Higgins Armory Museum in Worchester, Massachusetts. He rediscovered the
manuscript lying almost unknown in the Royal Armouries’ library at the Tower of London and translated it. He is the world’s foremost authority on the manuscript since it’s initial publication in 2003.


For more information, please click here to visit The Illuminated Fightbook


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