Senichev V.

Abstract: The article presents a brief review and the author’s translation of a treatise on fencing «Le Jeu de la Hache» (MS Francias 1996)or “Games with poleax”. This anonymous manuscript in Middle French was presumably written in the 15thcentury by a Milan fencing master at the court of Burgundian duke Charles the Brave (1433 – 1477) and consists of 18 pages (240 x 160 mm) of handwritten text. The treatise is devoted to the only weapon, a poleax, and contains the description of the largest known number of skills and techniques of the weapon usage. The treatise is divided into 78 paragraphs grouped in three parts – an introductory one describing the ways of combat between right-handed warriors and the part showing the specifics of duel between a right hander and a left hander. Generally speaking the treatise was written inaccordance with the tradition developed for such kind of texts at the time – the description of a lunge and opponents’ riposte and counterstroke. The document is unique because it was written in the language and region which were far from the major field the treatise on fencing were usually composed that is mainly Northern Italy and Southern Germany. The treatise has not been translated into Russian yet.  The translation made by the author permits a Russian reader to get information not only on the number of skills practiced in the 15thcentury for the poleax but on the nomenclature of the separate parts of the weapon corresponded with the Russian terms.

Keywords: poleax, fencing, knight poleax, manuscript.