Fiore dei Liberi: Flos Duellatorum, 1410 (Pisani-Dossi, F. Novati, Bergamo, 1902)
 4 spada longa - longsword
 4.1 poste (guards)
 4.1.2 posta de dona click to hear the Italian text, pulsativa1 (guard of the woman)

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Io son posta de dona soprana e altera
Per far deffesa in zaschaduna mainera
E chi contra de mi uole contrastare
Piu longa spada de mi conuen trouare
I am the supreme and proud guard of the woman
For I can make a defense for every strike
And that counter of mine will contrast yours
You should find a much longer sword than mine.

Synopsis: Fiore writes high praise for the posta de dona as being the "supreme" guard which implies that this guard is an extremely effective guard from which to counter any of the blows potentially received. Another suggestion is that the guard is positioned on the right shoulder, which during that period, the "right" took a higher precedence than the "left" and therefore, may be referenced as such (i.e. posta de dona distreza or guard of the woman on the right). He writes that this guard can defend against any strike delivered and that the only possible way to defeat a blow from the posta de dona is for the zugadore to attack with a longer sword! This suggests that the deployment of a blow from this guard will result in the sword not only defending its wielder but also positions the sword offensively against the zugadore upon its completion. What may be derived from this blow is achieving a relatively offensive posta such as the posta breve or the posta longa at the conclusion of the placing the wielder in a highly effective offensive position which effectively places the zugadore at extreme disadvantage.

Application: Referring to Fiore's introduction, it further supports the notion of transitioning from one posta to the next posta because of the natural and flowing ease with which to move from the previous tuta porta de fero to this posta de dona. The manner to transition from the porta de fero to the posta de dona is a simple matter of shifting one's weight to the rear foot (the right foot) while retaining the left foot oriented towards the zugadore while raising the sword from the lower right up and continuing to position the grip over the right shoulder until the blade is somewhat parallel to the wielder's back. On the other token, transitioning from the posta de dona to the porta de fero is the reverse, shifting the weight from the rear right foot to a more equal distribution across both feet and dropping the sword as depicted in the porta de fero.

Secondly, a strike from the posta de dona can also terminate in a thrust rather than a cutting strike. The manner to deploy a thrust would require the wielder to deliver a downward strike against an inbound strike to achieve the posta breve without having to move ones feet but with a volta stabile2 or simply turning on the feet without moving their positioning, and achieving the posta breve against the inbound strike and then taking a step forward to deliver the thrust. This movement would require approximately "time-and-a-half" to deliver both a defense and offense.

Although the plate illustrates the posta de dona with the back facing the previous posta, from a practical perspective, one would never expose one's back to a potential attack, and certainly, Fiore is not depicting the master exposing his back to the zugadore as this would be inconsistent with all other plates in the treatise, and therefore, the illustration's orientation was simply to adequately exhibit the proper positioning of the sword behind the back which would've been extremely difficult to communicate if illustrated in any other orientation.

example applications/similarities
Reference Page
Hans Talhoffer 1467 (tafel 31) From the bind...

  1. pulsativa refers to where one must deliver a counter attack (cut or thrust) as a cover in order to survive an attack concurrently while taking a step. This info was derived from the Getty's version of Liberi's treatise.
  2. volta stabile refers to turning on one's feet without moving their position with respect to the zugadore.

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Released: December 2, 1999 / Last modified: February 5, 2009