Fiore dei Liberi: Flos Duellatorum

Spada longa in arme (Armoured Longsword)

(59) Posta di croce bastarda (Guard of the bastard cross)

"De posta de crose io son bastarda,
De far soy zoghi non son nient tarda."

"I am the guard of the bastard cross,
There is nothing slow when I make this play."

Interpretation/Notes: Liberi makes reference to the "bastard cross" which probably is meant to describe that the "business end" of the sword with respect to the opponent is not the point, but rather the pommel and hence, the "bastard". However, there are significant difference between the grip on the blade (the posta di vera croce has the left grip with palm up, the posta de crose bastarda, the left grip is oriented with the palm down) and the orientation of the body with respect to the opponent. Liberi writes that the posta de crose bastarda is "from" or possibly derived from the posta di vera croce which may indicate that one can change quickly from one posta to the next posta with little effort. The second phrase sets the context for the posta, in which the posta is intended to be deployed very quickly and which implies that the effectiveness of the deployment is dependent upon how close the wielder is to his opponent. The closer the better, and while the body and pommel is oriented towards the opponent, it is less threatening than a point which may result in closing in towards the opponent in order to deploy quickly. Click on the image on the right to view a larger image of the plate.

Practical Application: Despite the potential threat from the companion posta sagittaria, the opportunity with this guard is that it is relatively quick, and should the opponent throw his sword, the guard can deflect the trown with the pommel end of the sword, or the forte very quickly. This action then presents to the opponent the pointed end of the sword as a result of the torso rotating in order to parry the in-bound sword. This places the opponent in a less than desireable position. This posta is also quite effective in countering the other posta in which it hunts for the holes found in the opponent's stance, i.e. those areas called the "crotch" between the hand grip and the sword. The posta can deploy an offensive by plunging the pommel of the sword into these holes, if from below, then lift up and around to disarm or tie up, or from below, pull down and around for a disarm or tie up. In any of these tie-up cases, the point of the sword can easily and effectively come into play.

Grip: For the purpose of clarity, the grip configuration is explicitly described. Right hand: palm down, thumb towards the tip (inside); Left hand: palm down, thumb towards pommel (inside). This is consistent with the illustration in the Getty's version. This posta is a logical transition from the posta serpentina lo soprano given the grip configuration, i.e. posta serpentina lo soprano (opponent forward, head and point oriented foward, left leg forward) ==> posta di croce bastarda (opponent behind, no change in foot placement, rotate on the feet so now left leg back (tutta volta), longsword brought down with grip high, point low, no change in grip configuration).

Reference Hyper-links
Reference Page
Anonymous, Gladiatoria 1425-1475 pommel hook
Anonymous, Codex 11093 c1450 guard of the bastard cross
Anonymous, Codex 11093 c1450 bastard cross parry
Anonymous, Codex 11093 c1450 another guard of the bastard cross

The Getty's text...

Posta di crose bastarda son di vera crose,
zò che la pò fare volontiera lo fazzo.
Bone coverte e punte e tagli fazo per usança sempre schivando gli colpi fora di strada.
E di miei colpi fazzo grandissima derada.

Posta de crose bastarda

I am the guard of the bastard cross from the true cross,
know that I do this stance easily.
Well covered (well guarded) I stab and cut to make you bleed always avoiding (deflecting) the blows out of step.
And with my blows, I do significant damage.

Guard of the bastard 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: October 20, 2003