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Opera Nova (Achille Marozzo)

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Opera Nova
A New Work
Opera Nova Marozzo.jpg
Full title A New Work by Achille Marozzo of Bologna,
General Master of the Art of Arms
Also known as The Art of Arms of Achille Marozzo of Bologna
Author(s) Achille Marozzo
Illustrated by Hans Sebald Beham (?)
Dedicated to Count Rangoni
Place of origin Bologna, Italy
Language Italian
Genre(s) Fencing manual
Publication date 1536, 1540s, 1550, 1567, 1568, 1615
Pages 296 pages
Treatise scans

Opera Nova ("A New Work") is a Bolognese fencing manual written by Achille Marozzo and printed in 1536.[1] This is the most extensive treatise on the Dardi (or "Bolognese") school of Italian swordsmanship, as well as one of the most influential fencing manuals of the 16th century.

Publication History

Opera Nova was first printed in Modena in 1536 by D. Antonio Bergolae, featuring woodblock illustrations possibly engraved by Hans Sebald Beham.[2] The treatise was reset and reprinted in Bologna in the 1540s, and reprinted again in Venice in 1550 using the original typeset. In 1567-68 it was reprinted in Venice again, but this time based on the 1540s Bologna printing.

Perhaps owing to the popularity of the 1567 publication, a revised edition was created by Marozzo's son Sebastiano and published under the title Arte dell'Armi di Achille Marozzo Bolognese ("The Art of Arms of Achille Marozzo of Bologna"). This edition featured corrections to the text (but omitted additions made in the 1540s printing) and replaced the woodblock images with smaller copperplates by Giovanni Battista Fontana; it was printed in Venice by Antonio Pinargenti in 1568-9, and reprinted in Verona in 1615.

Four of the blocks from the first edition were used by Carlo Giuseppe Colombani to decorate his 1711 treatise L'Arte maestra.

A third edition was produced in 1999 by Giovanni Rapisardi and published in Padova by Gladiatoria Press under the title Achille Marozzo, Opera Nova dell'Arte delle Armi. This edition reproduces the woodblock prints from the first edition, but features a modernized version of the text from the second edition. It also includes book two of Giovanni dall'Agocchie's treatise Dell'Arte di Scrima Libri Tre as an appendix.

In 2018, it was translated to English by W. Jherek Swanger and self-published under the title The Duel, or the Flower of Arms for Single Combat, Both Offensive and Defensive, by Achille Marozzo. That same year, a translation of the first book was self-published by Tom Leoni under the title Marozzo Book 1.

Various other editions of the text that have been reported in literature but never confirmed. Jacopo Gelli's fencing bibliography makes reference to an edition published in Venice in 1517, of which a copy resided in the R. Biblioteca Pisana,[3] but this edition has never been found or mentioned by any other author. In 2016, Roberto Gotti published a description of a set of 17th or 18th century prints from the original woodblocks to which a date of 1529 was added; Gotti speculates that this may have been added based on a date inscribed on the blocks themselves, which would suggest an earlier edition in or around that year.[4] Finally, there are a few references in bibliographies to a French translation of Marozzo's work titled Livre d'escrime pour apprendre a tirer de l'espée et de toutes armes blanches, published in Lyon in 1580 by Pierre Mareschal,[5] but there is no known record of any copy and these references seem to be spurious.


Ir - VIIv Preface and Dedication by Achille Marozzo
1r - 14v Introduction, Sword and Buckler by Achille Marozzo
15r - 54r Side Sword, Sword with Secondary Weapons by Achille Marozzo
54v - 80v Greatsword by Achille Marozzo
81r - 90r Pole Weapons by Achille Marozzo
90v - 125r Dueling treatise by Paride del Pozzo (fragment)
125rv Advice on dueling by Achille Marozzo(?)
125v - 148r Unarmed vs. Dagger by Achille Marozzo


Digitally restored and painted images © Heidi Zimmerman, Draupnir Press; used under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.

Cover Pages

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Woodblock Images (1536)

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Copperplate Images (1568)

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Additional Resources

  • Gotti, Roberto; Daniel Jaquet (2016). "Two late flying prints informing on the artist involved in the Opera Nova of Achille Marozzo and on the date of an original (lost) edition?." Acta Periodica Duellatorum 4(1): 213-220. doi:10.1515/apd-2016-0007.
  • Leoni, Tom (2018). Marozzo Book 1. Self-published.
  • Rapisardi, Giovanni (1999). Achille Marozzo, Opera Nova dell'Arte delle Armi. Padova: Gladiatoria Press.
  • Swanger, Jherek (2018). The Duel, or the Flower of Arms for Single Combat, Both Offensive and Defensive, by Achille Marozzo. Self-published.


  1. According to page 148.
  2. Gotti 213-220
  3. Gelli, Jacopo. Bibliografia Generale della Scherma. Florence: Tipografia Editrice di L. Niccolai, 1890. pp 126-130.
  4. Gotti 213-220.
  5. See, for example, Blanc, Joseph. Bibliographie italico-française universelle. Vol. 1. Milan: L'auteur, 1886. p 1438.

Copyright and License Summary

For further information, including transcription and translation notes, see the discussion page.

Work Author(s) Source License
Images Opera Nova (Achille Marozzo) 1536.pdf
Public Domain.png
Images (Side Sword) Restored by Heidi Zimmerman Draupnir Press
Transcription Index:Opera Nova (Achille Marozzo)