Guy's Blog

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Tag: historical treatise

This is a great week for historical fencing. I spent three full days at the National Fencing Museum with a decent camera and a book-photography rig, taking hi-res images of the cream of their amazing collection of treatises, with the kind assistant of James Hester, and Malcolm Fare (whose collection this is).

I have 122 gigabytes of raw images, that will in due course be processed into a more web-friendly format, and put online for free into the public domain to be used by anyone as they please. You can find the currently available photos on my gumroad account with a little searching.

We have Hope: New Method (1707), Fencing Master (1687), and Advice to his Scholar (1729).

We have McBane (1728), Viggiani (1575), Sainct-Didier 1573), De La Touche (1670), Senese (1660).

And we have goddam Thibault (1628).

Plus eighteen other treatises, dating between 1540 and 1838. The ones I am most excited about are Senese, Viggiani, and Alfieri. But having both the 1610 AND the 1629 editions of Capoferro is pretty cool too. Not to mention the marginalia, like this detail from this copy of De La Touche:

And this is only about 10% of the museum’s collection.

There is a huge amount of work to do to crop, order, rotate, enhance, and otherwise process these files, and if anyone with the necessary skills would like to help, please do volunteer.

Most of these are in Italian, English, and French. But Spanish? We got Spanish: Narvaez, 1672. Russian? We got Russian. Ficher, 1796. And this is an especially good week for German-reading historical fencers, because we have Schmidt from 1713:

This work includes fencing:


And even gymnastics, back when gym horses had heads and tails!

Note that these photos here have been heavily reduced in resolution to be transportable. The originals are breathtaking. I can’t do them justice in this format, but this close-up might give you an idea. Each photo is about 25mb in the raw format.

We have the 1600 Meyer.

And to cap it all, when I got home from the trip, I found a box waiting for me: full of the brand-new German edition of my The Medieval Longsword book.

This was translated by my student Frank Polenz, and published by Wieland-Verlag. You can find it here. The designer has done a stunning job of the interior, and frankly, I’ve never looked so good 🙂 You can see some interior shots on their webpage. Incidentally, Wieland have incorporated this book into their own series of “Schwertkampf” books, so don’t be mislead by the series number; it’s #2 in Mastering the Art of Arms, but #3 in Schwertkampf.

This will go very nicely with Der Mittelalterliche Dolch!

And in other news, I’m wrapping up the final edits to my re-translation of De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi, so it should be here by the end of the year…

Update: my new translation is called The Art of Sword Fighting in Earnest, published in early 2018. It includes an introduction, translation and commentary, and you can get it in fancy full-colour hardback with the facsimile built in, or in paperback in black and white, or indeed as an ebook.

A spot of rapier and cloak in the morning?

I have the enormous privilege of owning an original copy of Salvatore Fabris’s Sienza e Pratica d’Arme, printed in 1606. I bought it from Sr. Roberto Gotti, of Brescia, in 2014. It is in incredibly good condition, and an excellent, clean print. It is still in its original binding. The value of the book comes from two things: the information it contains, and the artefact itself. I own the artefact, it is mine, mine, mine, and woe betide anyone who tries to take it from me. But I believe the information it contains belongs in the public domain. This book is yours. So I asked my friend Petteri Kihlberg to photograph it, and I am releasing those photos (with his permission) free and with no strings attached. If you choose to use them for some commercial purpose (such as printing an edition for sale), then I ask as a matter of courtesy that you give credit where it’s due, but I do not insist on it. I've set it to “pay what you want”, and would be grateful for any donation you choose to give; the more money I have, the more fencing treatises I'll buy, all of which will go online for free.


I want this!

I own this book, but the information it contains is part of your birthright as a human being. I hope you will enjoy it, share it, and make something beautiful with it.

Please share this post so that everyone who wants a copy of the book can get one.

And don't miss my other free books! Marozzo's 1568, Girard's 1740, Seven Principles of Mastery, and many more.

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