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Royal Armouries MS. I.33 (also Tower Fechtbuch or just I.33) is a German fechtbuch from the late 13th century or early 14th century. It is the earliest such manual to survive and is the most complete treatise on sword and buckler.

Physical description

Consisting of 32 leaves of parchment, written in Latin with some German terms and depicts two men (entitled the Scholar and the Priest) engaged in unarmoured combat. Later a woman (Walpurgis) appears in the manuscript.

At some stage a child has doodled on the manuscript and added moustaches and beards to some of the figures.


I.33 lists seven basic wards:

For these there are nine counters:

Modern Reproductions

  • The Medieval Art of Swordsmanship: A Facsimile and Translation of Europe's Oldest Personal Combat Treatise, Royal Armouries MS. I.33 is a reproduction by Jeffrey L. Forgeng and jointly published by The Royal Armouries and Chivalry Bookshelf.
  • Medieval Sword and Shield: The Combat System of Royal Armouries MS. I.33 is an interpretation and companion book to the above, written by Paul Wagner and Stephen Hand, and is also published by Chivalry Bookshelf.