By George E. Georgas
The book of Phillip Muller with title ‘Theory and Practice suggestion of swordsmanship’ was one of the first Greek book about the art of fencing which published in Greece. The book was published at 1847 at the fledgling kingdom of Greece.
We did not know much about Phillip Muller. We know that he came to kingdom of Greece with the staff of the king of Greece Otto to staff and trained the fledgling Greek tactical army of the kingdom of Greece. Phillip Muller was maître d’armes and he was teaching saber at the Royal military school of the kingdom of Greece. He was teaching military saber with the principles of the Bavarian army.
The cover of book ‘Theory and Practice suggestion of swordsmanship’
The King of Greece Otto (Otto Friedrich Ludwig von Wittelsbach) was prince of Bavaria and son of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. King Ludwig was great supporter of the Greek war of independence and friend of Greeks. When was choose that his second son (Otto) crowned as King of Greece, the Bavarians sent in Greece with the new king 3.850 soldiers, Bavarian officers and volunteer Germans to cadres the tactical army of the kingdom of Greece. The officers that cadres the army called Königlich bairischen Hilfskorps and one of them was Phillip Muller. After the disband of the irregular Greek army, many of them join the tactical army of Greece and they construct two ‘skirmishers’ battalions (in Greek: ακροβολισταί) where in time joined volunteers from Peloponnesus and Central Greece. Also there were foot soldiers with Greek and Bavarian origin at the beginning and after the 1840 there were only Greeks. Every battalion had 6 companies of 120 infantry each of them. Leader of each battalion were warlords of the Greek war of independence and Bavarian officers. At the artillery there were only foreign officers and Bavarians.
At the book ‘Verordnungsblatt des Königlich Bayerischen Kriegsministeriums’ it seems that Muller arrived to Greece with the Königlich bairischen Hilfskorps.
Other data of Phillip Muller that we know is that he married a Greek woman and he learn to speak and write the Greek language as his own. Maybe he earn for the Cross Metal of knight (Ritterkreuz) of second class and finaly before he became instructor of the Royal military school of the kingdom of Greece he was serve in artillery as officer.
Muller was focus in his book only the art of saber. He gave to us detailed data for how to distinguish a good sword and how to maintain it. He also give the description of guards, footwork, attacks, feints and other material that has to do with the art, but this that he makes me particularly impressed by his approaching of the left handed fencers and above all his approach about the fencers that they does not know the art. He call them artless. He wrote about them in the chapter wit title ‘artless’:
‘Artless is he that when he fence he follows only his physical momentum of his soul, without knowing the rules of the art.’
Also I have to say that he gave to us to his book a detailed program of exercises and saber techniques.
Finally the plans designed by K. Sigel. K. Sigel was statuary.
George E. Georgas is the founder of the Hellenic Academy of Historical European Martial Arts ‘Leontes’. He is certificated fencing instructor of the Hellenic Fencing Federation and also national referee of the Hellenic Fencing Federation at the epee. He is instructor of Meyer Freifechter Guild with the rank of Fecther and he is the Guild Unterhauptman for Greece. He is also member of Learn Sword Fight (Gladiatores). He is in the Administration Council of the ‘Pammachon’. He is also instructor of weapon fighting of the Association of Historical studies ‘KORYVANTES’. He is studying the ancient Greek and Byzantine warfare, such as the use of rompaia, spathion and paramirion types of swords and other weapons such as the spear. He is also give stage fighting lessons to the theatrical team ‘The Blue Rose.’