Paulus Hector Mair

Paulus Hector Mair (1517–1579) was a German civil servant fencing master from Augsburg. He collected Fechtbücher and undertook to compile all knowledge of the art of fencing in a compendium surpassing all earlier books. For this, he engaged the painter Jörg Breu the Younger, as well as two experienced fencers, whom he charged with perfecting the techniques before they were painted. The project was very costly, taking a full four years, and according to Mair, consumed most of his family's income and property. Three versions of his compilation, and one later, less extensive manuscript, have been preserved.

Paulus Hector Mair
Coat of arms
Born1517
Died1579
Augsburg, Germany (aged 62)
Cause of deathExecution by hanging
OccupationCivil servant
Known forCollecting and compiling Fechtbücher

Not only did Mair spend huge sums on his collections and on his projects, he also had a very expensive lifestyle, frequently hosting receptions for the more important burghers of Augsburg. His own income was not sufficient for this, and during many years, he misappropriated funds from the city treasury, with the supervision of which he had been entrusted since 1541. His embezzlements were discovered in 1579, and Mair was hanged as a thief at the age of 62.

Martial arts compendium

Mair compiled a voluminous, encyclopedic compendium of the martial arts of his time, collected in 16 books in two volumes. The compendium survives in three manuscript copies. The subject matter treated is:

Volume 1:

Volume 2:

Manuscripts

Literature

  • Knight, David James and Brian Hunt. Polearms of Paulus Hector Mair. Paladin Press, 2008. ISBN 978-1-58160-644-7.

See also

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