Italian school of swordsmanship

Italian school of swordsmanship - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Italian school of swordsmanship

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Italian School of Swordsmanship
Pisani Dossi Ms. 16r.jpg
The sette spade Diagram from the Pisani facsimile of the Flos Duellatorum (fol. 17A). The four animals symbolize prudence (lynx), celerity (tiger), audacity (lion), and fortitude (elephant).
Also known as La Scuola Della Spada Italiana
Focus Weaponry
Country of origin Italy Italy
Creator Historical
Famous practitioners Fiore dei Liberi, Filippo Vadi, Achille Marozzo, Antonio Manciolino, Angelo Viggiani,
Descendant arts Modern Fencing
Olympic sport No

The term Italian school of swordsmanship is used to describe the Italian style of fencing and edged-weapon combat from the time of the first extant Italian swordsmanship treatise (1409) to the days of Classical Fencing (up to 1900).

Although the weapons and the reason for their use changed dramatically throughout these five centuries, a few fundamental traits have remained constant in the Italian school. Some of these are the preference for certain guards, the preoccupation with time (or "tempo") in fencing as well as many of the defensive actions.

Of especial influence was the Dardi school of fencing with the spada da lato in the 16th to early 17th centuries, which gave rise to the classical early modern of fencing with the rapier, including Elizabethan Fencing in England and the French school of fencing in the 18th century (which in turn developed into modern sport fencing).

Late Medieval/Renaissance

The earliest known Italian treatise on swordsmanship and other martial arts is the Flos Duellatorum (Fior Di Battaglia/The Flower of Battle) written by Fiore dei Liberi around 1409. Fiore's treatise describes an advanced martial arts system of grappling, dagger, short sword, longsword, pollaxe, and spear. Another important treatise, De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi, was written by Filippo Vadi sometime between 1482 and 1487. Although different, Vadi's work appears to be based upon Fiore's earlier work. It has been suggested that Vadi's style of swordsmanship represents a transitional phase between that of Fiore and the later Bolognese masters.1

Renaissance/Baroque/Pre-classical

The 16th century saw the publication of various works generally focused on the so-called cut & thrust sword, although these works often contained significant instruction on other weapons. A general survey of the 16th-century Italian manuals shows instruction for the following weapon or weapon combinations in at least one published manual:

The most significant group of authors from this time were those from the Bolognese school and it included such masters as Achille Marozzo, Antonio Manciolino, Angelo Viggiani and Giovanni dall'Agocchie. However, there were other Italian authors not directly associated with the Bolognese school including Camillo Agrippa (who has the distinction of codifying the four guards—prima, seconda, terza and quarta—that survive to this day), Giacomo di Grassi who wrote a manual in 1570 which was translated into English in the 1590s.

With the 17th century came the popularity of the rapier and a new century of masters, including Salvator Fabris, Ridolfo Capoferro, and Francesco Antonio Marcelli. Unlike the manuals of the previous century, those written for in the 17th century were generally restricted to covering only the rapier being used alone or with a companion arm (such as the dagger, cloak or rotella). By the end of the 17th century, the manuals begin to take on a more classical character in both the terminology and the presentation of the techniques.

Classical

Although there is a considerable gap in extant Italian treatises, between 1696 and 1800, we can see from the earliest 19th Century treatises that the style had changed very little during that period. The only changes were the addition of certain techniques suitable for the somewhat lighter blades of the dueling swords typically used in 1800 as compared to the rapiers typical for the end of the 17th century (compare the techniques presented by Bondì di Mazo in his 1696 manual with those in the 1803 manual of Giuseppe Rosaroll-Scorza and Pietro Grisetti). Even at the beginning of 19th century techniques for coming to grips were still being taught and the use of the dagger as an accompanying weapon was still discussed (although not as a prominent and popular choice).

By the end of the 19th century, the immediate ancestor of modern fencing had developed with its familiar pedagogy and collection of techniques and theory. At this time, the two predominant schools within the Italian tradition are the Radaellian (after Maestro G. Radaelli) and the Neapolitan. In 1883 the Italian Ministry of War selects the treatise by Neapolitan Masaniello Parise to be the official syllabus of the newly founded Scuola Magistrale of fencing; now called Classical Italian Fencing, Parise's teachings survive to this day almost unchanged, although many of Radaelli's saber teachings were incorporated.

Modern

Today, the Italian school of swordsmanship is carefully preserved both in Italy and abroad. In Italy, official fencing schools such as the National Academy (Accademia Nazionale) certify masters in both historical fencing and modern fencing based on careful adherence to the principles of Italian swordsmanship. Abroad, the Italian style is cultivated by professional institutions such as the San Jose State fencing program (California, USA), where Maestro William Gaugler ran a program largely based on the Classical style of Parise. The Italian style is also being taught by a few independent classical fencing schools throughout the USA. Some fencing schools and clubs are looking to revive it, and some instructors have the Italian school of fencing in their lineage, such as Maestro Ramon Martinez, whose own teacher learned from Maestro's Greco and Barbasetti.

The Historical European martial arts (HEMA) and the Western Martial Arts (WMA) communities in Europe and the United States have a large number of researchers reconstructing the grappling, dagger, rapier, short sword, sword & buckler, longsword, pollaxe, and spear systems of ancient masters, such as that of Fiore dei Liberi, Filippo Vadi, Achille Marozzo, Salvator Fabris, Ridolfo Capo Ferro, Francesco Alfieri, etc. In the United States, scholarship and reconstruction of the techniques of the Italian fencing masters was initiated by the founders of various HEMA schools and academies, such as Brian R. Price of the Schola Saint George and Bob Charron of St. Martin's Academy (both studying Fiore dei Liberi), and Gregory Mele of the Chicago Swordplay Guild (studying Vadi). Similar study has been carried out by Matt Easton, founder of London's Schola Gladiatoria and Guy Windsor, of Finland's School of European Swordsmanship. The reconstruction efforts of these scholars give the martial arts community a chance to learn fencing with full-size, full-weight weapons such as the longsword, the single-handed sword, the spadone, the rapier and many others.

Lineages

Although Classical Italian fencing is practiced and preserved in several places around the world (see above), there are no masters who can trace their maestro-pupil lineage to earlier than the second half of the 18th century. There are marked similarities and an obvious consistency between what was taught in the late 17th Century and the early 19th, but it is impossible to trace and call out a direct master-student relationship.

Treatises

Some treatises by Italian masters:

Medieval/Early Renaissance
Renaissance/Baroque
Classical

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.scribd.com/doc/104396013
  2. ^ Rubboli and Cesari (2005) date this work to 1500-1525. Leoni and Reich of the Order of the Seven Hearts date it to "about 1550" (2006 class handout){[1]}

Literature

  • Battistini, A., J. Venni and M. Rubboli, eds. Monomachia - Trattato dell'Arte della Scherma di Sandro Altoni Francesco. Rimini: Il Cerchio, 2007. Print. ISBN 88-8474-147-5
  • Leoni, Tomasso. The Art of Dueling: Salvator Fabris' Fencing Treatise of 1606. Union City, Calif.: The Chivalry Bookshelf, 2004. Print. ISBN 978-1-891448-23-2
  • Leoni, Tomasso, tr. The Complete Renaissance Swordsman: A Guide to the Use of All Manner of Weapons ~ Antonio Manciolino’s Opera Nova (1531). Wheaton, IL: Freelance Academy Press, 2010. Print. ISBN 978-0-9825911-3-0
  • Leoni, Tomasso, tr. Venetian Rapier: The School, or Salle ~ Nicoletto Giganti's 1606 Rapier Fencing Curriculum. Wheaton, IL: Freelance Academy Press, 2010. Print. ISBN 978-0-9825911-2-3
  • Mele, Gregory D., ed. In the Service of Mars: Proceedings from the Western Martial Arts Workshop 1999–2009, Volume I. Freelance Academy Press, 2010. Print. ISBN 978-0-9825911-5-4
  • Porzio, Luca, tr., and Gregory D. Mele. Arte Gladitoria: 15th Century Swordsmanship of Master Filippo Vadi. Union City, Calif.: The Chivalry Bookshelf, 2002. Print. ISBN 1-891448-16-1
  • Rubboli, Marco, and Luca Cesari, eds. L'Arte Cavalleresca del Combattimento - De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi di Filippo Vadi. Rimini: Il Cerchio, 2001. Print. ISBN 88-8474-023-1
  • Rubboli, Marco, and Luca Cesari, eds. Flos Duellatorum - Manuale di Arte del Combattimento del XV secolo di Fiore dei Liberi. Rimini: Il Cerchio, 2002. Print. ISBN 88-8474-079-7
  • Rubboli, Marco, and Luca Cesari, eds. Anonimo Bolognese - L'Arte della Spada, Trattato di scherma dell'inizio del XVI secolo. Rimini: Il Cerchio, 2005. Print. ISBN 88-8474-093-2.
  • Rubboli, Marco and A. Battistini, eds. Opera Nova di Antonio Manciolino. Rimini: Il Cerchio, 2008. Print. ISBN 88-8474-176-9
  • Windsor, Guy. The Swordsman's Companion: A Modern Training Manual for Medieval Longsword. Union City, Calif.: The Chivalry Bookshelf, 2004. Print. ISBN 1-891448-41-2
  • Windsor, Guy. The Duellist's Companion: a Training Manual for 17th Century Italian Rapier. Highland Village, TX.: The Chivalry Bookshelf, 2006. Print. ISBN 1-891448-32-3

External links