Maestro Fiore dei Liberi

Prologue (Pisani-Dossi, 1410)

Fiore dei Liberi of Cividale d'Austria was born sometime between 1340 and 1350 born in Premariacco in Friuli,

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The coat of arms of Premariacco, click for more details
a small town next to the river Natisone
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An image of the first page of the prologue found in the Pisani-Dossi version of Flos Duellatorum. Click on image to view larger of the same
in Italy. Given that he had written the treatise "Flos Duellatorum" between the years of 1409 and 1410, and that according to the information in the prologue of the manuscript, he had been practicing the art of swordsmanship for 50 years at the time of his writing, the birth year is an estimate. With the exception of what is written in the prologue of his treatise, very little is known about Fiore dei Liberi. The illustration on the left depicts a portion of the prologue. What the prologue does describe is that his family is of noble origin, however, but not well placed. He initially learned the art of swordsmanship as a child and young man in his village where he fought in friendly assaults and duels as was the custom in that period. However, in order to learn the art from the best of his time, he left his village and went to Germany to learn and train in 
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An image of the "sette spada" or "seven swords" found in the Pissan-Dossi version of Flos Duellatorum. This illustration depicts all of the sword angles of attack and defense. Click on image to view larger of the same
swordsmanship under the direction of the scholar Johannes Suvenus (a  former scholar of Nicolaus con Toblem).  The knowledge he acquired under Johane's direction elevated Fiore dei Liberi to a master swordsman of his time. He participated in numerous battles in and around Italy for the last 20 years of the 14th century. In 1383 he fought in Udine on the side of the town during the civil war. In 1395 he was in Padua for a duel and four years later in 1399 he was in Pavia. Little is known of his life and deeds around this time until the beginning of 1400, he entered the court of Niccolo III dEste, Marquise of Ferrara, as the master swordsman. He acquired a commission in the early 1400's as a master swordsman on behalf of Signore di Ferrara. He then began to write the manuscript for the nobility on behalf of Signore di Ferrara.  In 1410 Fiore dedicated his treatise to his Marquise. After 1410 there are no records of his life or of his death. It is believed that he died some time before 1450.

Prologue, courtesy of video created by his company "Compagnia de' Malipiero", entitled "Medieval Swordfighting: In the Style of Fiori de' Liberi of XIV Century", produced by Arte Video, and distributed by By the Sword.

Flos Duellatorum, or 'Flower of Battle' is primarily composed of illustrations with short rhyming captions in Italian. Sections on wrestling, dagger, sword, spear, two handed sword, armored combat, pollaxe, and mounted combat. Considerable discussion of disarming techniques. Two-handed sword (spadone) has the greatest emphasis. The figure to the right is an example of one of the illustrations that depicts the formal angles of attack found in his treatise.
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Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts (AEMMA)