Wiktenauer Update – Johannes Lecküchner

– Posted in: Wiktenauer Updates

The Wiktenauer now has an updated section on Lecküchner. According to the Wiktenauer, Johannes Lecküchner (or Hans Lebkommer; ca. 1430s – 1482) was a 15th century German cleric and fencing master. He was born in the Nuremberg area, and in 1455 he was inscribed at the University of Leipzig. In 1457, he received the title of baccalaureus, and he was consecrated as a Catholic acolyte in 1459. At some point before creating his first manuscript in 1478, Lecküchner was consecrated as a priest. From 1480 until his death on December 31, 1482, he was employed as a communal priest in Herzogenaurach, Germany. Lecküchner dedicated his fencing manual to Philip “the Upright”, Elector Palatine of the Rhine, but the nature of his connection to the duke remains unclear.

Some 19th century scholars had assumed that the name “Johannes Lecküchner” was a corruption of Johannes Liechtenauer, the grand master of the primary German longsword tradition. However, biographical information from historical records, as well as the colophon in the manuscript itself, thoroughly disproves this theory. Lecküchner’s system of messer fencing does, however, seem to be related in some way to the longsword teachings of Liechtenauer from the previous century. His teachings are organized in a similar fashion using similar terminology, and often his epitome is nearly identical to that of Liechtenauer.

Two manuscript copies of Lecküchner’s treatise, entitled Kunst des Messerfechtens (“The Art of Messer Fencing”) are preserved, the Codex Palatine German 430 produced in 1478, and the Cgm 582 produced in 1482. The latter he completed on 19 January 1482, the year of his death. The Cgm 582 mentions in the last paragraph that a previous draft had been produced, which is presumed to be a reference to the CPG 430. Despite the Cgm 582 being the more extensive and elaborate of the two, it is the CPG 430 that seems to be the source for all later repetitions of Lecküchner’s teachings. A slightly abridged version of this treatise was included by Hans von Speyer in the MS M.I.29 in 1491, and similar (but not identical) abridged versions were included by Paulus Hector Mair in his massive compendia in the 1540s and by Lienhart Sollinger in the Cgm 3712 in 1556.

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