The sickle is one of the unconventional weapons detailed in
the massive mid 16th century Opus
Amplissimum de Arte Athetica compiled by Paulus Hector Mair (1517-1579). Three versions of this multi volume
compendium have been preserved: the BSB Cod.icon. 393(1/2) in Latin, Mscr.
Dred. C 93/94 in Early New High German and Codex Vindobensis 10825/26 in both
Latin and German. Mair lived in
Augsburg and was a civil servant and fencing enthusiast, though there is no
evidence that he ever certified as a fencing master.
There has been some debate on whether the techniques of the
sickle and the other “peasant weapons” depicted in the compendium were based on
actual observation of contemporary peasants or speculation by Mair, but in
either case the 16 illustrated pages devoted to the sickle depict and describe
a variety of attacks and counters that include strikes, parries, hooks, disarms