Fiore dei Liberi: Flos Duellatorum

Spada longa in arme (Armoured Longsword)

(55) Posta di vera croce (Guard of the true cross)

"Io son posta chiamata uera crose,
Che a mi tagli e punte niente nosé."

I am the guard called the true cross,
Because cuts and thrusts can do no harm to me."

Interpretation/Notes: Liberi calls this the guard of the true cross which obviously has religious overtones relating to the crucifix implying that this guard is an exceptional or the definitive one to protect the wielder from any harm. Click on the image on the right to view a larger image of the plate.

Practical Application: There are two readily apparent attributes of such a guard. The first is the wielder's orientation with respect to its counterpart guard, the posta breve serpentina. The wielder has the sword pommel oriented towards the opponent and his stance is such that the body is held sideways, reducing the breadth of a visible target for thrusting from the perspective of the opponent's posta breve serpentina.

The second attribute is the stance itself, which is illustrated with the wielder's weight bearing down on the leading left foot while the trailing foot is positioned on the toes ready to leap into action in order to parry against an inbound thrust or cut. The orientation of the sword enables the wielder to quickly hook the inbound thrust with the pommel, and while hooked, rotate the sword around the hook bringing the point of the sword bearing upwards on the attacker concurrently for a thrust to the face or throat while the wielder is rotating his body on the trailing right foot and passing forward with the left towards the attacker. If the attack is a cut, a similar rotation of the body and footwork will ensue, however, the inbound cut will be parried with the wielder's blade quite possibly resulting in cross-weapons and therefore, close-quarters or possibly deploy a thrust to the face or throat. The angle of the parry would be deployed with the pommel around the hip area or raised overhead to parry a fendente cut from above and thrusting to the face or throat. It is of interest that the next illustration would be a posta serpentina soprano.

Grip: For the purpose of clarity, the grip configuration is explicitly described. Right hand: palm down, thumb forward (inside); Left hand: palm up and to the right, thumb forward (outside). The Getty's version is somewhat unclear. The orientation of the forearm and wrist suggests that the thumb is forward as is illustrated in the PD version, but it is not entirely conclusive. With the thumb forward and palm up offers a smooth transition from the posta breve la serpentina to the posta de vera croce. Secondly, this posta offers a smooth and easy transition in terms of grip placement, to the posta serpentina lo soprano with a simple change in the orientation of the body, and chambering the longsword further back, i.e. posta breve, la serpentina ==> posta di vera croce ==> posta sagittaria.

Reference Hyper-links
Reference Page
Anonymous, Cod 11093 c1440 pflug
Anonymous, Gladiatoria 1425-1475 pflug - variation
Hans Talhoffer, Fechtbuch aus dem Jahre 1467 1467 gewappnete ort

The Getty's text...

Posta di vera crose ch'è contra ti voglio fare.
In mi le tue punte no pon entrare.
De ti me covrirò in lo passare che farò,
e de punta te ferirò senza fallo che ti e le altre guardie pocho me pon fare tanto so bene lo armizare che non posso fallire lo incrosare,
che in lo passar e in lo incrosare e in lo ferire,
l'arte questo a non fallire.

Posta di vera crose

I desire to make the guard of the true cross because it is a counter to you.
I put aside your point it cannot enter into me.
For I make a move to you because I cover myself,
and the point to wound you without error and because to you the other little guard makes me such a good armoured fighter because I will not miss a strong cross,
that in the pass and in the cross and in the strike,
this art will not miss.

Guard of the true cross

Translation and interpretation by David Cvet. For queries on Liberi's 1410 treatise (Pisani-Dossi version or the Getty's version), contact or
Copyright © 2001 Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts (AEMMA)
Released: December 2, 1999
Last modified: September 16, 2003