Fiore dei Liberi: Flos Duellatorum, 1410 (Pisani-Dossi, F. Novati, Bergamo, 1902)
 6  azza in arme - armoured poleaxe
 6.0 quattro poste (four guards)
 6.0.1 posta breve serpentina (guard of the short serpent)

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Posta breve son la serpentina cum la aça in mano,
Se la punta non me mancha e' ti farò ingano

I am the short guard of the snake with poleaxe in hand,
If the tip does not fail me I'll deceive you.

Synopsis: click on image to view larger of the sameThis guard leverages the earlier guard found in unarmoured longsword, and once again, demonstrates the foundational concepts weaving throughout the treatise. The verse accompanying this poste implies quickness and speed, like a strike from a snake. The focus of this guard is the "dag" of the poleaxe, however, given the symbolism with the snake, it may include the "queue" of the weapon as well, depending upon the engagement scenario.

Practical Application: The obvious threatening attributes of the poleaxe is the head and the dag (the tip), and when assuming such a guard, it is clear to the zugadore what is threatening with this postiion. However, the couplete does infer a deception, and makes reference to a snake which implies that speed and a change of the offensive aspect of the poleaxe might materialize. This position offers a base from which to parry an inbound strike from above or from the side by reaching out or extending the poleaxe to meet the inbound poleaxe and parry aside the strike. Continuing with this movement, while stepping forward (the initial parry by engaging with the inbound strike is done without stepping forward), what comes into play would be the queue of the poleaxe which is then used to strike the zugadore. Perhaps this is what Fiore was alluding to in his couplet?

Grip: An explicit description of the guard and grip of the posta breve serpentina follows: The right hand, thumb forward, palm towards hip, grips the shaft approximately 1/3 the length from the queue and held around the hip area. The left hand, thumb forward, palm up, grips the shaft approximately 1/3 to 1/2 the distance from the tip of the dag and is slightly elevated. The left leg is forward, toes pointing towards the zugadore whereas, the right leg is behind with heel slightly off the ground.

example applications/similarities
Reference Page
Fiore dei Liberi, Flos Duellatorum 1410 posta breve, la serpentina (guard of the short serpent) (armoured longsword)
Fiore dei Liberi, Flos Duellatorum 1410 posta breve, stabile (short guard) (unarmoured longsword)


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