Fiore dei Liberi: Flos Duellatorum, 1410 (Pisani-Dossi, F. Novati, Bergamo, 1902)
 5  spada longa in arme - armoured longsword
 5.1 gioco arme (armoured plays)
 5.1.5 posta di croce bastarda e punta de la faccia (guard of the bastard cross and thrust to the face)

click on image to view larger of the same
O de la man mancha tu lassara' la spada
O tu andara' in terra cum si fata intrada
Questa presa me fa seguro de tua spada:
La mia se e libera, la tua si e inpresonada;
E lo quarto çogho ch'e in l'arte de la aca
La spada in arme de quello zogho se impa├ža.
Of your left hand you attempt to cut with your sword,
But your fate has you going to the earth.
What hold on me can you do with your sword,
But for me is freedom, for you is an impression,
And the 4th play because in this art of -aca-
The sword remains in service for whatever plays despite an impass.

Synopsis: click on image to view larger of the sameThe left verse proved very difficult to translation, specifically with the words such as lassara and intrada. A certain amount of extrapolation was required and leveraging the illustration, the master deploying a pommel hook concurrently with his right leg behind the opponent's left leg is definitely in a good position to take the opponent down to the earth terra.

The verse on the right proved even more challenging, firstly because there are 4 lines, and secondly, Liberi seems to be pontificating on the virtues of this art in a manner of a master instructing his student with "perls of wisdom". The reference to the 4th play may be one to the 4th play in the armoured illustrations (the sling), but its relevance is not clear and therefore, the confidence is low that the verse actually refers to that play.

Practical Application: The maneuvre described by Liberi is very similar to the previous illustration except for the master is not entirely behind the opponent and who has strategicall placed his right leg behind the opponent's left leg. Given this positioning, the deployment of a pommel hook while the opponent is attempting a hook with the hook of his sword, by deploying the pommel hook under the opponent's left arm, renders the point hook inviable. This essentially prevents the opponent from forcing the point downwards to engage the hook, meanwhile, the master has successfully placed the pommel hook onto the right junction of neck and shoulder and combined with good foot placement, the master is able to take the opponent to the earth terra.

The verse on the right instructs the student that regardless of the situation one is in, should one reach an impass with the opponent, the sword must remain in "service", meaning that the sword can still be an offensive weapon despite having the impression that an stale-mate has occured in an engagement. Here, Liberi illustrates the point hook deployed by the opponent and which appears to be relatively successful, yet, the master is able to simply position the point to the opponent's face resulting in an unsuccessful take-down by the opponent for fear of driving the point into this face. It is not critical foot placement by the master, except for the positioning of the sword.

example applications/similarities
Reference Page
Anonymous, Gladiatoria 1425-1475 pommel hook


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Released: October 21, 1999 / Last modified: March 08, 2010