Fiore dei Liberi: Flos Duellatorum

Spada longa in arme (Armoured Longsword)

(58) Posta sagittaria (Guard of the archer)

"Io son posta sagitaria la çentille,
Per ferir e courir non son nient uille"

"I am the archer guard of the sentinel,
I will not cowardly run and nothing will injure me."

Interpretation/Notes: Given the reference to "sagitarius" or the archer, it brings to mind images of a great archer, able to inflict wounds at distance from a stationary position, hence the "sentinel". Given the tone of the verses with references to a standing offensive/defensive position of an archer, the second verse implies that this guard may be an excellent defensive position resulting in its deployment of thrusting from a relatively stationary position. Click on the image on the right to view a larger image of the plate.

Practical Application: The German references below are only remotely similar to this particular guard stance. The German manner of gripping the blade is with an over-hand grip as opposed to the under-hand grip as illustrated by Liberi. The Getty's version of the text appears to indicate some movement with respect to throwing the "great thrust". However, in these verses, assuming the sentinel is correct, would imply that thrusts would be delivered without the need to take a passing step forward. Taking the archer into consideration, and working through this physically, the initial targeting with the left hand is released as the right hand with force throws the thrust against the opponent. This manner of thrust would be immediately followed by close-quarters combat. However, there are no other references by Liberi to simply throwing the sword and possibly releasing it and therefore, is inconsistent with his armoured approach. Through the posta's application in practice, the great thrust is entirely viable and can be devastating when delivered with force. This same posta can easily deploy a parry against an inbound thrust similar to that of the posta breve serpentina.

In practice, it was thought that the deployment of such a guard was the "last ditched effort", however, the text implies that this may in fact, be an opening to giocco stretto in which the wielder would immediately open with the guard of the archer, and throw the sword towards his adversary, and rush in to engage in close quarters combat. The thrown sword makes for a very effective distraction, providing a moment in time for the wielder to move in quickly. The injury incurred by the receiver is a "bonus".

Grip: For the purpose of clarity, the grip configuration is explicitly described. Right hand: palm down, thumb forward (inside); Left hand: palm up, thumb forward (outside). This is consistent with the illustration in the Getty's version.

Reference Hyper-links
Reference Page
Anonymous, Cod 11093 c1550 plate 11 - bottom half
Anonymous, Cod 11093 c1550 plate 23 - top half

The Getty's text...

Posta sagittaria son per nome chiamada,
grandi punte e' zetto passando fora de strada.
E si me ven contra colpo o taglio io fazzo bona coverta e subito io fiero lo mio contrario.
Questa si é mia arte in la qual non svario.

Posta Sagittaria

The name of this is called guard of the archer,
I pierce you through from this way with a large quiet point.
And I overcome your strike or cut, I make a good cover (protection) for myself and immediately I injure my adversary.
This one is my art for the likes of which there are not many.

Guard of the archer

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: October 8, 2003