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Pedro de Heredia

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Pedro de Heredia
Spouse(s) unknown
  • Governor
  • Captain
  • Fencing master
Nationality Spanish
Influences Girolamo Cavalcabo
Genres Fencing manual
Language Middle French
Notable work(s) Book of Lessons

Pedro de Heredia is the presumed name of a fencing master who taught young schoolchildren and wrote three French manuscripts. The manuscripts do not contain any attributions, but a catalog description from 25 June 1900 attributed one of the manuscripts to Pedro de Heredia for reasons unknown.[citation needed]

The manuscripts do not contain a title, but the plates in one of the manuscripts refers to the work as Le Livre des Leçons ("The Book of Lessons"). It is a French paraphrase of Girolamo Cavalcabo's Nobilissimo discorso intorno il schermo ("Most Noble Discourse on Defense").

The actual Pedro de Heredia was an early 17th century Spanish servant of the king. He married in 1618 and pursued a military career in the Netherlands. He was a cavalry captain by 1630, and in 1648, he became the governor of Leau (now Zoutleeuw), Netherlands. It is unlikely that de Heredia was a fencing master because of his position.



Additional Resources

The following is a list of publications containing scans, transcriptions, and translations relevant to this article, as well as published peer-reviewed research.


  1. According to Lauvernay, fourniment is the powder case of arquebusiers and musketeers (sometimes extended to all the equipment carried). The word is only used once to indicate a place on the body, probably a bit below the shoulder.
  2. Droit can mean "right" or "correct" (as in not incorrect) or "true".
  3. Volter is an Italian loanword of voltare which means "to turn".
  4. Estocade is the French loanword for the Italian stoccata and is used in this treatise as "supination".
  5. Brocade is the French loanword for the Italian imbroccata and is used in this treatise as "pronation".
  6. Caver is the French loanword for the Italian cavare, which means "to dig or to excavate".
  7. Lit. translated as "right-hands".
  8. Estramaçon is a loanword for the Italian stramazzare which means "to fall heavily". It is also French for greatsword.
  9. Credits to Alan Bloniarz for providing context to the word "garatusa" which is a Spanish card game where one discards their cards to win.
  10. Écarté is the French loanword for the Italian technique "inquartata" and means "discarded"
  11. "Derobement" is a modern fencing term to mean avoiding an entrapment of some sort.
  12. "Tirer" is normally translated as "shoot" but in this case I believe "pull" makes more sense.
  13. Gannance is a loanword derived from the Spanish word "ganancia", which means "gain". It is used to describe a situation where your blade is used to restrict the opponent's blade movement. Credit to Tim Riviera for the explanation.
  14. The Spanish word "cortar" simply means "to cut".
  15. Charger means "to load" but is a synonym of "to subdue" in this context.
  16. The transcription has "dedans" placed both before, after, and within the every clause.
  17. The comma makes more sense after "against him", but I kept it in its original place as the transcription.
  18. The period is missing in the transcript.
  19. Palms is a unit of measurement for length based on the length of a hand.
  20. The quarter corresponds to a quarter of an ell. Three quarters are approximately 90 centimeters.
  21. Chassement means "chasing". In this case, it is the back foot chasing the front. In modern fencing, this is known as advancing.
  22. Crèvement means "to burst or to puncture." In the treatise, it is used to describe breaking guards.