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Pedro Monte

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Pedro Monte
Born 1457
Died 1509
Nationality Spanish
Patron Galeazzo da Sanseverino
Notable work(s)

Pedro Monte (Pietro Monti, Pietro del Monte, Petrus Montius; 1457-1509) was a 15th century fencing master, historian, and philosopher. His nationality is unclear, and researchers are divided on whether he was Spanish[1] or Italian[2] by birth. Regardless, he made his career in Italy, probably attached to the court at Milan, and published his treatises in Latin. Monte is mentioned in various period texts, most notably Baldassarre Castiglione's famous treatise Libro del Cortegiano ("The Book of the Courtier"). Castiglione described him as "the true and only master of every form of trained strength and agility", and also mentioned that he instructed Galeazzo da Sanseverino "in wrestling, vaulting, and handling various types of weapon".[3] That he was well known as a master at arms is further attested by a note Leonardo da Vinci wrote to himself to consult Monte over his attempts to calculate the trajectory of a dart thrown from a sling.[1] It is speculated that Monte died in the Battle of Agnadello in 1509.[citation needed]

Monte seems to have written at least three treatises in the 1480s,[citation needed] but while his De Dignoscendis Hominibus ("On the Dignity of Man") was printed in 1492 (potentially the first book ever published on martial arts),[4] the rest don't seem to have been published until his death in 1509. These include De Singulari Certamine Sive Dissentione ("On Single Combat or Dissension"), and the extensive Exercitiorum Atque Artis Militaris Collectanea ("Collected Martial Arts and Exercises"). Two manuscripts of some of Monte's work also exist, the Spanish MS a.IV.23 and the Italian MS alfa.T.7.25, but their relationship to the Latin texts (as drafts or later translations) is unclear. Unfortunately, despite his prestige and the extent of his writings, Monte's teachings don't seem to have had any impact on the development of Italian fencing styles.

Sydney Anglo states that

"No master was more comprehensive [in his writings] than Pedro Monte in 1509. He not only deals with wrestling, dagger fighting, the use of long and short lance, two-handed sword and the single-sword on its own or in combination with various types of shield and buckler and cape; he also discusses the various types of pole arm such as the partisan, the ronca, spetum, and halberd. He examines in detail fencing and wrestling on horseback, along with various types of mounted lance combat; treats physical exercises such as running, jumping, and vaulting; provides a little encyclopedia of contemporary arms and armor; and finally places the entire corpus of material within a broader context of the art of war."[5]


[Pending transcription]

Additional Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Anglo, Sydney. The man who taught Leonardo darts. Pietro Monte and his lost fencing book. Antiquaries Journal LXIX, 1989. p 261-78.
  2. Fontaine, Marie-Madeleine. Le condottiere Pietro del Monte, philosophe et écrivain de la Renaissance, 1457-1509. Geneva-Paris: Slatkine, 1991.
  3. Castiglione, Baldassarre, and Opdyke, Leonard Eckstein. The Book of the Courtier. New York City: Scribner's, 1903.
  4. Anglo, Sydney. The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000. p 194.
  5. Sydney Anglo. The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000. p 26.