Continuing on from last week…. If you’re coming late to the party, you should start here (where I explain what this project is all about, describe my decision making in the transcription and translation, and so on). Unless you are already familiar with Fiore, and are looking for a specific play, then starting at the beginning is the best way to go.
The sixth play is simplicity itself: push the elbow.
The text reads:
Qui ti posso ferire denanci. E questo non mi basta, per lo cubito che io ti penco, io ti faro voltare per ferirte di dredo, e la spada al collo ti poro butare, si che di questo non ti poray guardare.
Here I can strike you in front. And this does not satisfy me; by the push that I have given to your elbow, I will make you turn to strike you from behind, and I can throw my sword to your neck, and you won’t be able to defend against it.
By controlling the elbow, you can prevent them from parrying your strike. By pushing it, you can turn them to strike from behind. The seventh play shows this continuation. The text reads:
Per quello zogo che me denanzi per quello modo ti faro voltare e subito la spada mia ti butar al collo. Se io non te taglo la gola di pur che io sia tristo e follo.
By this play that is before me, in this way I make you turn and immediately throw my sword to your neck. If I don’t cut your throat, I would be a sad fool.
This is how I do it:
The 8th play is interesting; it’s basically a breaking of the thrust (which I’ll detour into in a moment).
The text reads:
Tu mi zitassi una punta e io la rebati a terra. Vede che tu sei discoverto e che ti posso ferire. Anchora ti voglo voltare per farte pezo. E di dredo te feriro in quello mezo.
You threw a thrust at me and I beat it to the ground. You see that you are uncovered and I can strike you. Also I want to turn you by pushing you. And I will strike you from behind in the middle of that [turn].
We turn the page to the 9th play to find the results of the elbow pushed mentioned in the 8th play:
Per la volta che ti fici fare penzando ti per lo cubito, a questo partido so’ vegnudo ben di subito, per cason ti butar te in terra, per che tu non fazi, ne a me ne altruy guerra.
By the turn that I have made you you, pushing your elbow, I have come to this play immediately, for the purposes of throwing you to the ground, so you will not make war with me or anyone else.
Here is how I do them:
Notice that the parry is different- you must keep your hand low and whip the blade over theirs, middle to middle and drive it to the ground. How do I know that? Well, practice, but also this, the 11th play of the master of the zogho largo crossed at the middle of the swords, shown on f26v:
The text reads:
Questa sie unaltra deffesa che se fa contra la punta, zoe, quando uno ti tra una punta come to detto in lo scambiar de punta in lo secondo zogo che me denanzi che se de acresser e passar fora di strada. Chossi si die far in questo zogho salvo che lo scambiar de punta se va cuz punta e cum gli brazzi bassi, e cum la punta erta de la spada come ditto denanzi. Ma questa se chiama romper de punta che lo scolaro va cum gli brazzi erti e pigla lo fendente cum lo acresser e passare fora de strada e tra per traverso la punta quasi a meza spada a rebater la a terra. E subito vene ale strette.
This is another defence that is done against the thrust, so, when one thrusts at you as I said in the exchange of thrust, in the second play that is before me, one advances and passes out of the way. So you must do in this play except that in the exchange of thrust you go with the thrust, and with the arms low, and with the point of the sword high, as I said before. But this is called the breaking of the thrust, that the scholar goes with his arms high and grabs the fendente with the advance and pass out of the way, and strikes across the thrust about at the middle of the sword to beat it to the ground. And immediately goes to the close plays.
The action is completed in the next play, the 12th:
Lo scolaro che me denanzi a rebatuda la spada del zugador a terra, e io complisto lo suo zogho per questo modo. Che rebattuda la sua spada a terra, io gli metto cum forza lo mio pe dritto sopra la sua spada. Overo che io la rompo o la piglo per modo che piu non la pora curare. E quisto no me basta, che subito quando glo posto lo pe sopra la spada, io lo fiero cum lo falso dela mia spada sotta la barba in lo collo. E subito torno cum lo fendente de la mia spada per gli brazzi o per le man come depento.
The scholar that is before me has beaten the sword of the player to the ground, and I have completed his play in this way. Having beaten the sword to the ground, I place my right foot with force over his sword. Either I break it or I grab it in a way that prevents him from recovering from it. And this is not enough for me, so immediately that I have put my foot over his sword, I strike him with the false [edge] of my sword under the beard in the throat. And immediately return with the fendente with my sword to the arms or the hand as is pictured.
Isn’t that wonderfully specific? The false edge in the throat under the beard. This action, a roverso mezano, naturally leads into a fendente, which you can do to the head (as Fiore shows later), or to the arms or hand, as you see…
Here’s how I do that:
This is pretty straightforward. The next three plays are continuations from here, but I’ll leave them for when I translate that section, as they are not needed for understanding the 8th play of the sword in one hand. But, it does look like I’ll have to cover the 9th play of the second master of the zogho largo here, as Fiore mentions it in the text… ok, here goes:
Questo zogho si chiama scambiar de punta e se fa per tal modo zoe. Quando uno te tra una punta subito acresse lo tuo pe ch’e denanci fora de strada e cum l’altro pe passa ala traversa anchora fora di strada traversando la sua spada cum cum gli toi brazzi bassi e cum la punta de la tua spada erta in lo volto o in lo petto com’e depento.
This play is called the exchange of thrust, and it is done like this, thus. When one strikes a thrust at you immediately advance your foot that is in front out of the way and with the other foot pass also out of the way, crossing his sword with with your arms low and with the point of your sword up in the face or in the chest as is pictured.
Note the repeated ‘cum’, ‘with’. A common scribal error. Not secret messages from beyond the grave, ok? The instructions couldn’t be clearer, could they? I do this play like so (continuing onto the 10th play, which I'll cover later on):
I’m often asked about the difference between German and Italian medieval longsword sources. Here’s the big one, as far as I can see: Fiore tells us exactly what to do, and organises everything into a consistent and coherent system. The German sources… don’t.
Next week's post will complete the plays of the sword in one hand, and the week after that I'll summarise this section, and put its core action, the parry from the left, into some historical context with later Italian and German sources. I was thinking of putting these posts together into a pdf for you once I complete each section; would that be useful? If so, let me know in the comments below.
Just a gentle reminder: if you want me to see and respond to your comments on this material, you need to put them in the comments section on this site, or email me. I won't see it on crapbook, twooter, or the like. And, if you want to encourage me to get on with the rest of the treatise, then a tip in the tip jar would go a long way to persuading me you're finding this useful!
This project is being published in stages. You can get part one, The Sword in One Hand, as a free PDF by subscribing to my mailing list below, or buy it in ebook format from Amazon or Gumroad. You can get Part two, Longsword Mechanics, from Amazon or Gumroad too!