Fiore dei Liberi: Flos Duellatorum

Sword Techniques in Armour

(63) Cum lo mantiner in terra io te mando... (With this hold I condemn you to the earth...)

"Aqui te guastor le man per uegner a ligadura,
Aquella ch'e si forte che de arme niente cura."
"Cum lo mantiner in terra io te mando,
E cum la punta mia te andarò guastando."
"Here your hand is ruined because I tie you up (uegner?),
Being smart is strong because little do I care of your weapon."
"I condemn you to the earth with this hold,
And with my point I will continue to damage you."

Interpretation/Notes: A difficult translation given there doesn't seem to be a direct translation of the word uegner. However, using the illustration as a guide, the verse on the left indicates that the threat from a potential strike is immediately nullified ("...your hand is ruined...") because of the master's pressing in with his shortened-sword and therefore, has little concern of the opponent's weapon. The verse on the right has a more violent tone, given that the master definitely intends to take his opponent down to the "earth" and is able to continue to damage or injure the opponent with the point once he is on the ground.

Practical Application: This particular maneuvre (left illustration) is a relatively popular deployment in practice. A very simply technique to deploy by pressing into the opponent who has the "standard" grip to deliver a blow. The leverage offered by the shortened-sword enables the master to easily press the opponent's own sword against his own body thus nullifying the sword as an offensive weapon. Secondly, it is critical that the footwork is correct when deploying the press, such that the master's right leg is behind the opponent and therefore, continuing with the press, the opponent will trip over the master's right leg. This deployment can be invoked from either cross guards.

This classic pommel hook can be seen in numerous German fechtbuchs and is also quite popular in practice. Footwork is critical in order to maintain equilibrium by positioning himself (the master) behind the opponent, right leg forward and hook the opponent's neck with the pommel from the front and bearing down on the opponent directing him over the master's right leg. Of course, once the opponent has been "condemned to the earth", the master can further injure the opponent with a thrust to the face/body with the point. This technique works best when one initiates this deployment from the guard of the bastard cross or posta di croce bastarda.

Reference Hyper-links
Reference Page
Anonymous, Gladiatoria 1425-1475 pommel hook

Translation and interpretation by David Cvet. For queries on Liberi's 1410 treatise (Pisani-Dossi version), contact or
Copyright © 2001 Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts (AEMMA)
Released: December 2, 1999
Last modified: July 22, 2002