The longsword or as our old mas­ter Fio­re calls it, spa­da a dui mani, sword in two hands, is, if not the quin­tes­sen­tial hand-held wea­pon, at least the endu­ring sym­bol of chi­val­ry. If ever one finds a pain­ting, or a sta­tue depic­ting a knight, most like­ly he car­ries a longsword in his hand or on his belt.

Com­bat with Sword; Fio­re Fur­lan dei Libe­ri da Pre­ma­riacco (Ita­lian, about 1340/1350 – befo­re 1450); Venice Ita­ly Padua (or) Ita­ly; about 1410; Tem­pe­ra colors, gold leaf, sil­ver leaf, and ink on parch­ment; Leaf: 27.9 x 20.6 cm (11 x 8 1/8 in.); Ms. Ludwig XV 13, fol. 27

Here at SHMS we train the longsword from Fior di Bat­taglia, a fencing manual writ­ten circa 1410 AD, writ­ten by the knight, fencing mas­ter and pro­fes­sio­nal sol­dier Fio­re dei Libe­ri of Friu­li. Fol­lowing his sys­tem you will know how to employ the sword in two hands in and out of armour, in wide and nar­row mea­su­re, or zho­go lar­go and zho­go stret­to. Fiore’s figh­ting sys­tem is one, so lear­ning his way of emplo­ying the sword and how to walk with it, you should know how to fight with a spear, a pol­lax and a dag­ger also.

Com­bat with Sword, Staff, and Lance; Fio­re Fur­lan dei Libe­ri da Pre­ma­riacco (Ita­lian, about 1340/1350 – befo­re 1450); Padua (or) Ita­ly Venice Ita­ly; about 1410; Tem­pe­ra colors, gold leaf, sil­ver leaf, and ink on parch­ment; Leaf: 27.9 x 20.6 cm (11 x 8 1/8 in.); Ms. Ludwig XV 13, fol. 31

Addi­tio­nal lite­ra­ry mate­rial is pro­vi­ded from Phi­lip­po Vadi’s De Arte Gla­dia­to­ria Dimican­di from the 1480’s. This book is anot­her wit­ness in the Ita­lian school of sword­mans­hip and pro­vi­des inte­res­ting insight to Fiore’s teac­hing along with some of the first Ita­lian mate­rial on fencing theo­ry. And God help us, some of our teac­hers might even int­ro­duce some here­tical Liech­te­nau­er doct­ri­nes from north of the Alps in their les­sons!