Period Resources and Early Combat Manuals

This listing is not exhaustive. It does not deal with manuals published after1600, or 16th.c. manuals that deal solely with the developing rapier style. Nor does it attempt to list all the works that exist only in manuscript. It does attempt to list the works that will be most accessible to the interested reader. Many of these are available from Patri Pugliese in photocopy form, and these are noted below.

Premariacco, Fiore dei Liberi da. Flos Duellatorum in armis, sine armis, equester, pedester. il fior di battaglia di maestro Fiore dei Liberi da Premariacco. Testo inedito del 1310, ed. Franchesco Novati Bergamo, 1902. Flos Duellatorum, or “Flower of Battle” is an Italian manual of 1410. Primarily illustrations with short rhyming captions in Italian. Sections on wrestling, dagger, sword, spear, two handed sword, armored combat, pollaxe, and mounted combat. Considerable discussion of disarming techniques. Two-handed sword (spadone) has the greatest emphasis. An extract is published on the Web.

Anglo, Sydney. "Le Jeu de la Hache. A Fifteenth-Century Treatise on the Teaching of Chivalric Axe Combat" Archaeologia 109 (1991) 113-28. A 15th c. French pollaxe manual, with a translation into modern English. The manual itself was not illustrated, but Anglo uses illustrations from Flos Duellatorum and Talhoffer to show techniques described in the text. A useable and systematic manual.

Talhoffer, Hans. Talhoffers Fechtbuch aus dem Jahre 1467, Prague 1887. Talhoffer exists in a number of manuscripts, and the 1443 and 1459 manuscripts have also been published in the 19th c.. Like Flos Duellatorum, the work consists primarily of illustrations with short descriptions (German, in Talhoffer) and concentrates on the long sword, or two-handed sword, as well as pollaxe, sword, dagger, wrestling, and mounted combat. Talhoffer also covers sword and buckler, as well as some specialized forms for the judicial duel: double-ended dueling pavises used with sword or club, and man in a pit with a club vs. woman with a rock in a sock. Available from Patri. There is an incomplete Talhoffer site on the Web.

Achille Marozzo. Opera nova, Mutinae, 1536. Italian, with some illustrations. Sword with dagger,buckler, or targe, two-handed sword, and various pole-arms, as well as wrestling and dagger play. Available from Patri.

Grassi, Giacomo di. //Giacomi di Grassi, his true arte of defence, plainlie teaching ... how a man ... may safelie handle all sortes of weapons ... with a treatise of disceit or falsinge//. London, Printed for I.I[aggard] 1594. Italian text translated into English in 16th c.. Two-handed sword, poll-arm, and pike, as well as rapier, and rapier with dagger, cloak , buckler, and targe. Available from Patri.


Silver, George, fl. 1599. Paradoxes of defence. Amsterdam, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum; New York, Da Capo Press, 1968. 72 p. illus. In his Paradoxes of defence and Brief Instructions Silver spends a fair amount of time frothing at the mouth about the folly of the newfangled Italianate rapier play, as opposed to the honest English sword. He also has some interesting discussion on the proper use of sword and buckler, two-handed sword, dagger, various pole-arms, and pike. Available from Patri. Both di Grassi and Silver are reprinted in:
βJackson, James Louis, 1916- comp. Three Elizabethan fencing manuals. Delmar, N.Y., Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1972.
βThimm, Carl Albert. A complete bibliography of fencing and duelling, London and New York, John Lane, 1896. xvi, 537, [1] p., 1 l. front., illus., plates, ports. (part col.) facsims. Thimm is good starting point for those who wish to do more research on manuscripts on early combat manuals.

Sources and Works Cited

Anglo, Sydney. Le Jeu de la Hache: A 15th century Treatise on the Technique of Chivalric Axe Combat.

The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts. 2001. 4-6-2003. <www.thehaca.com>

Bower, Murial and Mori, Torao. Fencing WM. C. Brown Company Publishers. Dubuque, Iowa. 1966.

Dilligaf. Lexicon of Polearms. 1999. 4-6-2003. The Creators Group <www.ipass.net/~dilligaf/>

Sir Caedmon macAhern, KSCA, Principality of Gleann Abhann, Kingdom of Meridies. Individual Fighter Practice Drills . 5-1-2000
Gygax , Gary. Unearthed Arcana. 1985

Personal Interviews and Resources

Lord Fredrick the Sullen (Eric Blank), Kingdom of Aethelmearc, Marshal of Fence. Interviews and Training. 1993-1996
THL Tarl Shadowraven McLave (Marc Hall), Kingdom of Aethelmearc, Master of Arms. Interviews and Training. 1999-2003

Original Resources of Unearthed Arcana

Ashdown, Charles, Armour and weapons in the Middle Ages (London 1925); British and Foreign Arms and Armour (London 1909)
Foulkes, Charles, Armour and Weapons (Oxford 1909)
Oman, C.W.C., A History of the Art of War in the Middle Ages (two volumes, London 1924)
Saxtorph, Niels M., Warriors and Weapons of Early Times and Use of Arms and Armor (New York 1934)
Encyclopedia Brittanica, Eleventh Edition (New York 1910-11)