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Arms & Armor
Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi: 15th Century Swordsmanship
of Master Filippo Vadi
trans. by Greg Mele and Luca Porzio
$59.95 / Chivalry Bookshelf
The late-15th century court of the little Italian state of Urbino
was one of the places where the light of the Renaissance shone
most strongly. From this tiny principality came artists such
as Raphael and Pietro della Francesca, the architect Bramante,
Castiglione's Book of the Courtier, and a fencing master
named Filippo Vadi, who left us a detailed treatise on how these
gentlemen and scholars fought with their swords.
Vadi's work on fighting with longsword, axe, dagger, and wrestling
both in and out of armor, was hand-written in the late 15th century.
As such, it was previously only available in a 2001 modern Italian
edition edited by Marco Rubboli and Luca Cesari. Greg Mele and
Luca Porzio have finally brought this book to an English-speaking
audience. The result is not perfect; the images could have been
of higher quality and the translation unavoidably goes astray
in a few places, but it is one of the better publications in
the rapidly growing corpus of western martial arts.
One particular strength of this translation is that somewhat
obscure figures of speech (such as what it means to "take
the rose from the thorns") are explained. Additionally,
the original manuscript is reproduced alongside the English translation,
so one can check Mele and Porzio's work-and their interpretation
of Vadi's art-for oneself. The introductory material, which places
Vadi and his work in context, is also rather good, and any student
of history or historical martial arts will, no doubt, find it
If you are interested in historical fencing or just the cultural
accomplishments of the Renaissance, Arte Gladiatoria is
well worth its expensive price tag.
Click here to order:Arte
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