Little is told by the current state of research about the author of of the first known printed book explaining Liechtenauer’s teaching: Andre Paurnfeind (Pawrnfeyndt, Bauernfeind, Paurenfeint). In the first article of this series on his fencing with a single handed weapon I will provide some background about the man.

In current literature up to 2016 Andre Paurnfeind is listed as to stem from Ernstbrunn (or is at least related to the village near Vienna), and that he had been enlisted in the Vienna University for 1513.

But I have not found any document proving that the Freyfechter lived and studied in Vienna in 1513 or stems from Ernstbrunn. This was brought into the science literature by Friedrich Wilhelm Karl Waßmannsdorf at the end of the 19th century.  Up to today there had been no new research done on the man himself. [see Bauer ACTA]

There are Pawrnfeind (or people with a similar name enlisted in the Vienna University). The name is quite common in the 15th and 16th century. It is even found in the latin form of Rustiminicus. (Markus Bauernfeind of Mondsee, who studied 1496 in Vienna and 1498 in Kraków, who lived in Vienna from 1510-1528).

By the preface of his book we know that Andres Pauernfeind called himself a “Freyfechter czu Vienen in Oſterreich / nach kaislerlicher begreiffung vnd kurczlicher verſtendnuſzn”. His book was also printed 1516 in Vienna. So Paurnfeind had indeed connection to the capital of Austria. But he probably never lived there for a longer time.

The family of Paurnfeind in Salzburg

The origins of the Paurnfeind family in Salzburg are unknown.
The proposed hypothesis that the family has some relations to a family with the same name in Lienz (140km from Salzburg) is not founded on any documents. The hypothesis was built on the fact that Jorg or Georg Pawernfeindt, 1525 town judge of Lienz [see Lienz entry no. 143] had a son named Hanns.

The literature tells us that the first Paurnfeind near Salzburg we have records of is Hanns Paurnfeind. He owned a house and a transport company at the place Kuchl, Gollingen, 25km on the trading-route to Salzburg. His son Nikolaus Paurnfeind (* 1601, † 1649) was a weapon smith at the same parish, his son Christian Paurnfeind (* 1655, † 1718) was a member of the Salzburg city council, and his son Johann Christian (* 1687, † 1768) became lord major of the city [see Oberer,  and Aigentler-Boltzmann]. It is to note that the family in Kuchl lives up today at the place.  The last time it was spelled as Paurnfeind was in 1825 [see Salzburger Zeitung].

The question is: Is Hanns Paurnfeind of Kuchl the son of the Georg Paurnfeind of Linz?

We know that Hanns Paurnfeind lived still as a citizen of Lienz in 1527, while at the same time a young man with the same name lived in Kuchl near Salzburg as a waggoner [see Lienz entry no. 148]. Georg Paurenfeind continued to be a Burger zu Lienz in 1537. It  seems unlikely that Georg’s son Hanns is the same man like the one near Salzburg.

More interesting for us is, that in the year 1503 a man named “Anndre Pawrenfeindt” witnessed the signing of a document [see Lienz entry no. 117]. It is the only time the name could be found in the archives of Lienz. The name “Andre” is very prominent in Lienz because of the city’s main church St. Andre which is the cities main church since at least the 13th century. So it is no surprise to find a popular pre-name to a popular sure-name in the city. The parish St. Andre belongs to the archdiocese of Salzburg.

Looking again at the quality of research and the idea that the first Pauernfeind in the Salzburg area is the “son of Georg Paurnfeind of Lienz”, we do better an own research. And indeed there had been Paurnfeind before that time: a soldier (Fußknecht) named Georg Pawernfeint worked for the Archbishop of Salzburg in 1485 [SbgE AUR 1485 VII 22]. We find Wolfgang Pawrnfeindt being a Kastner in 1496 [SbgE AUR 1496 V 28]. And another entry of Georg Pawernfeindt, but this time in 1387 (which seems very unlikely) [SbgE AUR 1422 V 11]. We find Niklas Pawernfeind in 1517 [SbgE AUR 1517 V 16] and many more. The family name appears more than once in the region and to good percentage in in the service of the archdiocese.

Conclusion and hypothesis

It is evidently that a family of Paurnfeind had a house and business near and in Salzburg with bounds to the archbishop, eventually serving him as a soldier. There is no entry of a man named “Andre” or alike in the records of this family. It is possible but not likely that the same family had been citizen of Lienz (140km away). At least the name Georg Paurnfeind being father to a Hans may happen more than once in the region. The popularity of the name “Andre” in Lienz points to the city as well. Another link is that the namesake church in Lienz belonged to the archdiocese of Salzburg

The logical hypothesis would be that the Pauernfeind family stem from Lienz and had business and houses in Salzburg earned by services to the archbishops. They owned a house first in Kuchl, later another in Salzburg. Andre Paurnfeind was born to the Lienz family but went into service of the upcoming bishop in Salzburg like some of his ancestors.

This hypothesis is far away from being solid. With the name Paurnfeind and its variations occuring so very often, it seems extremely difficult that we will have a rocksolid case here. But the name “Andre Paurnfeind” is very rare, which makes it more or less a case.

The Bishop who needed a well trained guard

Andre Paurnfeind (Andre Paurenfeyndt) was according to his own words a Trabant (a personal guard) to Cardinal Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg. This is demonstrated in the coat of arms on the first page of his Fechtbuch, which is flanked by two personal guards in the typical Trabant uniform and arms of the early 16th century. Cardinal Lang von Wellenburg, 1522Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg was a sibling of a rich Augsburg family, who made his career in the Roman Catholic Church. In this time this was often in combination with a career in politics. Matthäus was extremely ambitious. He planned his career step by step like a military campaign. Using money and the beauty of his sister Apollonia [see Bianca Sforza]. He started by getting the Vicar of Gurk, knowing that by the death of the current prince-bishop, he will inherit the title. With climbing up the ladder of nobility he went into diplomatic services for King and Emperor at the end of the 15th century. He hoped this will earn him the title of the Bishop of Augsburg, his hometown. He did not get this title, but a bunch of others and became really wealthy and a cardinal in 1511 by pope Julius II. This enabled Matthäus to try the trick of heritage again. He lend 40.000 Gulden to Emperor Maximilian who talked pope Julius in promoting Matthäus to the Coadjutor Bishop of Salzburg in 1512. It worked out fine. 7 years later the current bishop died and Matthäus becaume the archbishopof Salzburg. Fun fact that Matthäus was consecrated the very same year. He wasn’t even a clergyman before (while holding a bunch of titles in the church).

The Salzburg patricians were not happy with this man from outside now ruling the city. They did not like him as a Coadjutor bishop and they hated him as their archbishop. We would wonder nowadays why the people in Salzburg did not like a clergyman. It is about a huge amount of taxes they had to pay to the church. Salzburg was a wealthy city and Cardinal Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg wanted to get as rich as possible, and spend his money on luxury. In 1523 the first military confrontation of the Burger against their cardinal was won by Matthäus. 1525 the peasants revolted and besieged the Hohensalzburg. The peace treaty with the peasants was broken by Matthäus, who acted as a real “Bauernfeind“. The uprising and war ended in 1526 with army of knights of the Swabian League under Georg von Frundsberg coming to Salzburg.

Cardinal Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg was a sworn enemy of the church reformation. The peasant had destroyed the riches and some reformation had to be done in regard of organisation and he established clerks in the cities offices. But his rights and taxes as a bishop had not been touched in a serious manner. He died as a wealthy man in 1540.

 The Vienna – Antwerpen connection

Matthäus Lang was a quite successfull diplomat. His biggest achievement was the participation in arranging the Habsburg-Jagiellonian marriage 1515 in Vienna. The negoations started in 1504 and the festivities took place in July 1515 in Vienna. The extraordinary costs had been estimated to 200.000 Gulden. To set up the final contract of marriage took another year. Due the fact that Ludwig and Maria had been just 9 years the real marriage was done 6 years later.

Matthäus Lang who was blamed to be more absent of Salzburg then doing his job as a coadjutor bishop, is reported to have done excellently in the negoations in Vienna. His appearance in Vienna at the Fürstentag coming back from Bratislava is well documented [see A-K, p 14, p 432]. In 1517 Matthäus Lang travelled to Antwerpen [see A-K, p 122] again in the service of the emperor. Of all this we know because of Riccardo Bartholini (Riccardus Bartholinus Perusinus), who was in the entourage of the Cardinal in Vienna and Antwerp. He was entitled Poeta Laureatus by the emperor in Antwerp [see Poets Laureate].

The journey of the the diplomat of the emperor Matthäus Lang would not be of interest if his Trabant, Andre Paurnfeind would not have eventually be at his side. His book “Ergrundung Ritterlicher Kunst der Fechterey” was first published by the printer and publisher Hieronymus Vietor in 1516 in the Weihenburggasse in Vienna. Vietor moved to Krakow one year later, nevertheless the book was a full success and was translated into Walloon Language (French) as “La noble science des ioueurs d’espee” in 1538 and published by Willem Vorsterman, a extremely successful publisher from 1504 until 1542 in Antwerp. Willem Vorsterman printed books in Latin, various dialects of German or Dutch, Walloon, and French. He published the translation of Luther’s Bible into Dutch in at least five editions (which was probably nothing Cardinal Matthäus Lang would have love to see).

Matthäus Lang was like other catholic humanists bibliophilic. He loved art and books and had a lot of money. The design for his throne by Albrecht Dürer may give an impression of the wealth the cardinal was ready to spent on art. He was also known for acquiring old books and paying for writing new ones.

Thus it is no surprise that he may have encouraged his fencing master Andre Paurnfeind to work on a book, illustrating the art of fencing. With the connection to publishers in Vienna and Antwerp the production of the book was easily set up. The production in Vienna was made around 1515 while Matthäus Lang had been there. It may be the case that Willem Vorsterman in Antwerp had in 1517 already a copy of the book in hands. Why it took 20 more years to be translated and published is unknown to me.


[Lienz] Regesten des Stadtarchivs Lienz, Tiroler Geschichtsquellen, Herausgegeben vom Tiroler Landesarchiv Schriftleitung: Landesarchivdirektor Univ.-Prof. Dr. Fridolin Dörrer, Nr. 5, Innsbruck 1978

[Bauer ACTA] “Insights into the layout work on the illustrations of Andre Paurnfeindt’s Fight Book of 1516 published by Hieronymus Vietor” in “Acta Periodica Duellatorum, Research note 99”, HEMA studies at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds, July 2016,
Matthias Johannes Bauer, University of Duisburg-Essen

[Oberer] Die Bürgermeister in Salzburg von 1433-1840, Oberer, 1840, p 102-103

[Aigentler-Boltzmann] “Hochgeehrter Herr Professor! Innig geliebter Louis!: Ludwig Boltzmann, Henriette von Aigentler, Briefwechsel”, Ludwig Boltzmann, Henriette von Aigentler, Böhlau Verlag Wien, 1995, p. 18

[Salzburger Zeitung] Kaiserl. Königl. privilegirte Salzburger Zeitung, 1824, ed. 80

[Bianca Sforza] Bianca Maria Sforza (1472–1510) Herrschaftliche Handlungsspielräume einer Königin vor dem Hintergrund von Hof, Familie und Dynastie von MMag.a phil. Daniela Unterholzner, Innsbruck, 2015

[A-K] A-K‚ Deutscher Humanismus 1480-1520, A-K, Walter de Gruyter, 8 May 2009

[Poets Laureate] Poets Laureate in the Holy Roman Empire, John Flood, Walter de Gruyter, 1 Jan 2006