Fiore dei Liberi: Flos Duellatorum

Spada longa in arme (Armoured Longsword)

(57) Mezza porta di ferro (Middle iron door)

"In porta de fero io son la meçana,
A butar grande punte sempre son uana."

"I am the middle in the iron door,
I always cast aside your thrown large point."

Interpretation/Notes: Liberi indicated in his treatise that most, if not all techniques illustrated can be accomplished in armour. This definitely applies to the middle iron door. The verse indicates, similarily as the unarmoured middle iron door that an inbound thrust is easily parried aside. The verses do not elaborate on the footwork and therefore, the assumption is that the same principles of the unarmoured middle iron door apply with the armoured middle iron door as well. Click on the image on the right to view a larger image of the plate.

Practical Application: The illustration depicted for this guard is exactly similar to the unarmoured middle iron door except, of course, for the armour. Therefore, the deployment of this guard will follow the same technical maneuvres as described earlier, however, further examination is warranted given the Getty's text below.

The greatest emphasis is placed on the thrusting capabilities of this guard inconjunction with moving off-line. The piercing of the ribs while stepping off-line with the left foot while twisting the blade ensures that a cover is in place (false-edge upwards) and plant a thrust into the ribs or any other upper target on the torso. This maneuvre makes for a very good entry into 1/2-sword or spada mezana for giocco stretto fighting provided the point acquires its "sticky" target, i.e. the point is planted somewhere in the upper body (the need to actually pierce the ribs is not critical), and then move forward, grasping the blade of the sword, and engage in 1/2-sword with the opponent, and all the while, force is continuously applied behind the sword ensuring its "stickiness".

Reference Hyper-links
Reference Page
Fiore de' Liberi 1410 Mezza porta di ferro (Half Iron Gate - unarmoured)
Fiore de' Liberi 1410 Denti di cinghiale (Guard of Boar's Tooth)
Hans Talhoffer 1467 (tafel 2) Twisted Cut and Low Guard
Hans Talhoffer 1467 (tafel 16) Guard of the Iron Door (Low guard)
Giacomo di Grassi 1594 The Low Ward
Giacomo di Grassi 1594 (13.3) Of the Defense of the Low Ward at Two Hand Sword

The Getty's text...

Porta di ferro la mezana son chiamata perché in arme e senza e fazo le punte forte,
e passarò fora d'strada cum lo pe' stancho e te meterò una punta in lo volto,
overo che cum la punta e cum lo taglio enfra li toi brazi à intrado per modo che io te meterò in ligadura mezana in quella ch'è denanzi penta e nomenadad.

Porta de ferro la mezana

I am called the middle iron door because in armour and without I can make strong thrusts,
and I step aside with my left foot to pierce you as I turn the point,
in so much so as, with the point or with the edge enters there, through your ribs, as an entry point, in such a fashion as I can put you in a half binding hold, in which can give excrutiating pain and {nomenedad}.

Middle iron door

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 18, 2003