Fiore dei Liberi: Flos Duellatorum, 1410 (Pisani-Dossi, F. Novati, Bergamo, 1902)
 4 spada longa - longsword
 4.1 poste (guards)
 4.1.12 posta de bicornio click to hear the Italian text, instabile1 (guard of the two horns)

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Posta de bicornio io me faço chiamar
Si io ho falsitade asay non men domandar
I am simply called the guard of the two horns
Your false request to me will not spoil what I have

Synopsis: The first line of the couplet clearly names this guard as a "two horned guard", and is illustrated as positioning the sword in-line with the line of attack between the wielder (the master) and his zugadore with the sword raised to the top of the wielder's chest. The second line of the couplet proved extremely challenging, as Fiore did tend to re-arrange the text to improve the "rhyming" of the couplets. The second line appears to indicate that should the zugadore attempt to feint with the wielder, the feint will not spoil the original intent or plan held by the wielder. It suggests that the master is able to detect a feint and not fall prey to such a trick and remain focused on his original intent.

Practical Application: In practice, this particular guard is found to be quite effective against either thrusts or cuts. The grip as illustrated appears odd, but it can be easily achieved by beginning with the short guard and rolling up the sword to the position as illustrated. This position will provide instaneous opportunities to deploy a frontal guard on either side against a downward cut ending in a thrust to the zugadore or to achieve a guard of the window against the same cut or thrust from above, resulting in a thrust to the zugadore. The text suggests that this guard position may invoke some action on the part of the zugadore believing that the two horned guard would not be effective against anything thrown, resulting in the possible early demise of the zugadore.

example applications/similarities
Reference Page
Fiore de' Liberi 1410 posta breve (short guard)
Fiore de' Liberi 1410 posta frontale o corona (frontal guard of the crown)
Fiore de' Liberi 1410 posta de finestra (guard of the window)

  1. instabile in which to delivery a successful blow (thrust or cut), one must take a full step (a passing step). This info was derived from the Getty's version of Liberi's treatise.

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Released: December 2, 1999 / Last modified: February 23, 2009