One of our favorite medieval sword masters is Fiore die Liberi, who wrote the 14th century treatise known as Fior di Battaglia (The Flower of Battle) for longsword. There are four known copies of this manuscript, and part of the delightful rush of scholasticism on Western Martial Arts has been the translation of this manuscript and subsequent fervent interpretive discussions (sometimes with swords in hand, of course).
Fiore wrote the manual to an audience that was versed in basic mechanics of sword fighting, and there is a deficit of instruction in the Sword Fighting 101 regard, which has put scholars in the position of relying on the line art to assist in the canonical plays. Some, like this one which is based on the Remedy Master of the first play of the dagger, are pretty easy to figure out.
Others, like the counter to this play, get a little more complicated. Somehow you get from the above to the below in a couple of steps. It’s like a medieval version of Twister, but with sharp pointy objects.
There are a number of excellent books on Fiore’s treatise (including Ken Mondschein’s The Knight Art of Battle). What has made Fiore afficiandos worldwide very happy these last few weeks is that the Getty Center has finally released high quality scans of every page of their copy of the Fior di Battaglia to the public.
The Flower of Battle – Getty Center – MS. LUDWIG XV 13
When we gather and nerd out about sword fighting, it’s old hand-worn copies of these pages that we’re passing around.
After a brief break for the holidays, we’re back with a new Foreworld SideQuest. This one is called The Beast of Calatrava, and is available today from 47North.
After a battle left Ramiro Ibáñez de Tolosa’s face terribly disfigured, the knight of the Order of Calatrava abandoned his sword for a pastoral existence. But his beastly appearance horrifies all those who cross his path—with the exception of his adoring and pregnant wife. Can he keep Louisa and their unborn child safe from the war that is coming to Iberia?
As Ramiro prepares for his child’s birth, Brother Lazare of the Cistercian order searches for a means to inspire men as he travels with the crusading Templars. He seeks swords of legend—named blades carried by heroes of old–believing such symbols have the ability to rally men in a way no king could ever accomplish. But when he learns of the stories told of the mysterious monster that haunts the Iberian battlefields, he wonders what sort of power this new legend might contain—the legend of a man whose scarred face and cold demeanor cannot hide his heroic soul.
Written by our resident work-horse, Mark Teppo, The Beast of Calatrava kicks off 2013 with a bang. This is our fifth SideQuest (check out the releases category of the blog for the rest) for those who are keeping track. 2013 is going to be an exciting year for the Foreworld Saga, and we hope our readers enjoy the steady stream of content that we’ve got planned.
In fact, let’s celebrate the new year of Foreworld stories. The ebook versions of Book One and Book Two are on sale for $2.99. If you haven’t started in on the epic story, now is the time. Book Three comes out in less than a month.