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Fiore de'i Liberi/Spear vs. Other Weapons

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PD Complete translation by Michael Chidester
Getty Complete translation by Colin Hatcher

Paris Draft translation by Kendra Brown and Rebecca Garber
Morgan Complete translation by Michael Chidester

Morgan Transcription [edit]
Open for editing

Getty Transcription [edit]
Open for editing

Pisani Dossi Transcription [edit]
by Francesco Novati

Paris Transcription [edit]
by Kendra Brown and Rebecca Garber

MS Ludwig XV 13 31r-c.jpg
MS Ludwig XV 13 31r-d.jpg

[11] In this way I wait with the dagger and with the staff:
The staff will make a cover, the dagger will strike you in the chest.
And that which I do with a staff, I could also do with a sword,
Although I could find much stronger plays with the sword.

This master awaits these two with their spears. The Master, who is waiting with a staff and a dagger, sees that the first intends to attack with an overhand strike, while the second intends to strike underhand. Before one opponent attacks with his spear,[1] the Master tilts his staff to the right, similar to the guard Full iron Gate, turning himself without moving his feet nor lifting the staff off the ground. And the Master waits in this guard. As one opponent attacks, the Master pushes the spear aside with his staff to the left, using his dagger too if needed. Following that cover, the Master steps and strikes. Both attackers with their spears will discover that this is his defense.

In the same way, holding fast to dagger and staff,
I delay you while the staff offers cover to me, and that
Dagger strikes the breast. Nevertheless, I drive out everything the sword would have accomplished,
Using the staff. However, we can use the better
Plays herein easily, exercising the nimble shoulders.

For this play, which is of staff and dagger against a lance, the Scholar awaits him of the lance in the Full Iron Gate, turning his body but not moving his feet from the ground nor his staff toward the right side. And as he of the lance attacks the Scholar with his lance, the Scholar advances his left foot out of the way, beating and voiding the lance. And he steps close to him without delay and with the dagger he can strike him. This play he wants to make without fail.











[12] This is the play of the Master who awaits the two opponents with their spears. The Master has a dagger in his right hand, and with his left hand he holds a staff vertically in front of him. He can show you this play, but I will demonstrate it for him. If my opponent had known what to do he could have easily avoided my dagger strike. If he had widened his grip on his spear, and made cover under my dagger (that is, a crossing) with the back end of his spear, then this would not have happened. If he had known how to do this counter with his spear, he would have destroyed me.

Pisani-Dossi MS 15a-b.png

[13] In that way that the previous Master has said,
I strike that one in the chest with the dagger.

This is the play of the Master who waits for those two with spears. The Master has in his right hand a dagger, and he keeps a stave straight in front of him in his left hand. He can do the play in this way. And I do it for him in his place. But if this player knew how to do well, he could have avoided the dagger’s point. If he had lifted his hands with the spear, and with the rest of the spear which remains at the rear-end, he had covered under my dagger, which means crossing, it would not have happened to him. And he could have damaged me with his spear, if he knew how to do this counter to me.



Pisani-Dossi MS 15a-c.png

[14] I wait here with two sticks and a dagger:
The one I will throw at you and with the other I will cover, coming to the narrow,
And quickly I will strike you in the chest with my dagger.

This Master defends with two cudgels against a spear, as follows: when the spear man approaches to attack, the Master with strikes at his opponent’s head with the cudgel in his right hand. Then he quickly strikes with the cudgel in his left hand so as to make cover against the spear, and then he strikes his opponent in the chest with his dagger, as is shown next.

Here, I delay you with two clubs at the same time and also a dagger.
But I will throw the first [club], and I will hold the remaining
Covering limb in that place, when we will both press in.
From here I would strike you quickly, but with the dagger in the opening of the breast.





Pisani-Dossi MS 15a-d.png

[15] That which the Master has said, so do I do,
I have placed the dagger in your chest without trouble.

I show the play of the Master before me. If he had known the counter, he would have obstructed me as follows: he would have lifted my hands with his spear by rotating it under my dagger, and in that way he would have been able to obstruct me and destroy me. So take this, since you know nothing.

This deed having been done, [that] which the master now says will be told,
And however I affix this particular dagger in the breast.



Pisani-Dossi MS 34a-a.png
Pisani-Dossi MS 34a-b.png

[16] Here are three opponents who wish to kill this Master. The first intends to strike underhand, and he carries his spear at the mid-point. The second carries his lance couched and fully extended. The third intends to throw his spear. They have agreed that no one will make more than one strike each. Also they will take it in turns.

Here are three companions who want to strike this Master: the first wants to strike underhand and carries his weapon at the middle of the lance; the other carries his weapon in rest at the full of the lance; the third wants to throw his lance. And they are agreed that none should strike more than one blow per man, and that they should do it one by one.

[17] Even if Rolando and Pulicano were to make me an invitation with lances,
I would await them in this match with spear or with staff;
I will beat their lances and I will strike their heads
As I depart from this guard.

Attack me one after another if you choose. For I am not going anywhere. I am ready and waiting for you in the Boar’s Tusk guard. When the spear is launched against me, whether fixed grip or thrown from the hand, I quickly step off line by advancing my right foot and stepping crosswise with my left foot, beating aside the spear that comes to strike me. Even if I were attacked a thousand times, my defense would not fail me even once. What I can do with my ghiavarina I could also do with a staff or a sword. The defense I make against the spear I could also make against a sword or a staff. My plays are shown next.

If Roland, and likewise Pulicanus and the rude one, would attack me, the foot-soldier
With ashen spear, I would wait while considering,
And on the right he would hold either a javelin or a wild staff.
And I will strike a more furious blow against the spears.
To the greatest extent with this action I would withdraw while striking down the high heads.

Come one by one whoever wants to come, and I will run from no one. Again, I am positioned in the Boar's Tusk to wait, and when the lance will come against me (carried or thrown by hand) I immediately avoid its path—that is, I advance my right foot out of the way and with my left I step on the traverse, beating the lance that comes to strike me such that of a thousand, I couldn't fail to beat even one. This I do with the spear, and with the staff or with the sword I would also do it, and the defense that I make which is against the spear, I could also make against the sword or the staff. I ask that you view the plays that are hereafter.











Pisani-Dossi MS 34a-c.png

[18] I cut you in the head with my spear
From the guard of the Master which is so quick.

This is the play of the Master who waits with his ghiavarina in the Boar’s Tusk for an attack from the three on horseback. To enter into this play he steps off line and beats aside his opponent’s spear. And although he knows this play, I will demonstrate for him that my ghiavarina is so fast that I can strike my opponent with both thrusts or cuts against his head.

Now that lance cuts your gloomy head with a great wound.
And he moves with the caution of a proud master.
[6]

This play belongs to the Master who came before, who awaits him of the horse with his spear in Boar's Tusk. In stepping out of the way and beating as he does, he enters into this play and so that it is understood, I do according to his word and with the edge and the point I could strike him in the head, since I carry my spear with such readiness.





Pisani-Dossi MS 34a-d.png

[19] With the butt I have struck you with my spear,
But I have another point which is even sharper.

This is also a play made by the Master above, who waits in the Boar’s Tusk. In his place I can make this play instead of the other: if he beats aside my spear with his spear, I rotate my spear and strike him with the butt, which is capped with well-tempered steel.

I, the clever one, strike your lips with this hard thrust,
Anticipating renewing a wound with the heavy point.

Again is this the play of the aforesaid Master who was previously in the Stance of the Boar. In his stead I do this, which he also could have done: when the lance is beaten, I turn my spear and I strike him with the butt (since it is well-tempered iron).





  1. Fiore actually writes “When the opponent attacks…” But the guard must be assumed before the attack, not during it.
  2. A tiny note (M, perhaps) may have been removed above “agitando”.
  3. Partially obliterated
  4. To the right of the first two lines, there appear to be three lines of smudgy pencil (most likely M or F), but nothing specific can be made out.
  5. Berthaut has prementum
  6. Or “the precaution of the proud master moves me”.