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Philippo di Vadi

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Philippo di Vadi Pisano
Born 1425
Pisa, Italy
Died 1501
Urbino, Italy (?)
Occupation Fencing master
Nationality Pisa, Italy
Ethnicity Ligurian
Citizenship Pisan
Patron Guidobaldo da Montefeltro
Influences Fiore de'i Liberi
Genres Fencing manual
Notable work(s) De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi
First printed
english edition
Porzio and Mele, 2002
Concordance by Michael Chidester
Translations Alt. English translation

Philippo di Vadi Pisano was a 15th century Italian fencing master. His name signifies that he was born in Pisa, a city in northern Italy, but little else can be said with certainty about the life of this master. It may be that he was the same Philippo Vadi who was governor of Reggio under the marquisette of Leonello d’Este and later, from 1452 to 1470, counselor to Borso d’Este, Duke of Ferrara.[1] Some time after this, Vadi composed a treatise on fencing entitled De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi ("On the Art of Swordsmanship"); it was dedicated to Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino,[2] and gifted to him between 1482 and 1487,[3] but while this may indicate that he served the duke after leaving Ferrara, there is no record of a Master Vadi being attached to the ducal court.

Vadi was probably an initiate of the tradition of Fiore de’i Liberi, as both his teachings and the format of his treatise closely resemble those of the earlier master. As both Leonello and Borso were sons of Niccolò III d’Este, owner of two copies of Fiore's treatise Fior di Battaglia, Vadi would have had ample opportunity to study his writings.


Additional Resources


  1. For an alternative theory as to the identity of Philippo di Vadi, see Greg Mele. "Interesting information on the Vadi family (Philippo Vadi)". HEMA Alliance Forum. 06 June 2012. Retrieved 09 October 2012.
  2. Vadi, Philippo di. De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi [manuscript]. MS Vitt. Em. 1324. Rome, Italy: Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma, 1480s.
  3. Rubboli, Marco and Cesari, Luca. The Knightly Art of Combat of Filippo Vadi. Document circulated online.