Antonio Manciolino, Se opera nova..., 1531

Notes on Antonio Manciolino

One of eight illustrations accompanying the text in Manciolino's treatise
Antonio Manciolino, Bolognais, a écrit ce manuel qui traite, á la manière de Marozzo, de toutes les armes de son époque. "New methods and all of them documented..." A fencing book written by Antonio Manciolino of Bolognais writes in the manner of Marozzo and covers all of the contemporary weapons of the period. Other copies of this treatise can be located at Biblioteca nazionale centrale di Roma, Biblioteca universitaria di Padova or Biblioteca reale di Torino.

Published in 1531, this was the first treatise on swordsmanship published in the Italian language. Antonio Manciolino was a master of the Bolognese school of swordsmanship[ 1 ] and his treatise covers nearly all of the classic weapons of that tradition, including the Assalti of sword and small buckler and the techniques for earnest swordsmanship for the sword and broad buckler or targa, sword and dagger, sword and rotella, sword and cape, sword-alone and two swords. In addition, Manciolino includes material for various polearms including the Partisan, Ronca, Spiedo, and Lance.

The book is comprised of 128 pages including its cover. Illustrations are found only at the beginning of each of its seven sections, each section entitled "Libro Sesto" or Book 6. The first section describing the regulations, principles and other relevant concepts prior to proceeding into each of the "books" sections. The illustrations do not depict any particular techniques, but do provide clues as to what each of the books will address.


  1. Bolognese swordsmanship is also referred to as the "Dardi School" as there are some accounts which describe the Bolognese swordsmanship originator, being both a philosopher and swordsman bore that name.

Other References: (sources included)

  1. The Actions of Sword and Rotella By Steven Reich. All of the actions for the Sword and Rotella in the Bolognese system extracted and organized as defenses and offenses. (Order of the Seven Hearts)
  2. The Dagger Prese of Achille Marozzo Transcribed by Steven Reich.
    The plates for the Dagger Prese from the 1536 edition and transcriptions of the text from both the 1536 and 1568 editions of Marozzo. (Order of the Seven Hearts)
  3. Jherek Swanger's Translations include Books I and II of Dall'Agocchie, Book III of Viggiani, and Books I, II, and III of Manciolino.
  4. An Introduction to the Fundamentals of Bolognese Swordsmanship (530Kb) The pre-class handout for Steve's Bolognese track at 4W 2008. (Order of the Seven Hearts)
  5. Spadone Guards (1.44Mb). All 20 of the plates illustrating the Guards for the Spadone (Sword for Two Hands) extracted from the 1536 and 1568 editions of Marozzo. Compiled by Steven Reich. (Order of the Seven Hearts)
  6. Bolognese Swordsmanship Class Handout (2.08Mb) for the Bolognese Track taught at 4W 2006. (Order of the Seven Hearts)
  7. Sword-Alone Form from page 12 of Giovanni dall'Agocchie's book Dell'Arte di Scrimia. By Steven Reich. The short solo form given by dall'Agocchie as an exercise for moving through various guards combined with footwork to satisfy number four of his Sei Capi Principli of fencing. (Order of the Seven Hearts)
  8. The Essential Actions of Giovanni dall'Agocchie By Steven Reich.
    Near the end of the third day of the first book of Giovanni dall'Agocchie, Lepido asks what parts of the art should a person concentrate on if he must use it in the immediate future and with little time in which to learn. That is, he asks what dall'Agocchie considers to be the bare-minimum knowledge necessary for a man who will use the art of swordsmanship in earnest. (Order of the Seven Hearts)
  9. General Rules and Advice of Giovanni dall'Agocchie By Steven Reich. This is a collection of rules and advice I extracted from the text of Giovanni dall'Agocchie's manual. Some of these points are specific rules for specific cirsumstances; others are general theory or advice. More will added to this in time by T. Leoni. (Order of the Seven Hearts)
  10. The Guards and Some Advice for Sword and Dagger from Giovanni dall'Agocchie By Steven Reich. This contains the guards for sword and dagger as well as four pieces of advice for using the sword and dagger extracted from Giovanni dall'Agocchie's manual. (Order of the Seven Hearts)
  11. Photographs of an original 17th century Schiavona. (Order of the Seven Hearts)
  12. Technical Manual - Spada e Brocchiere A training guide on sword & buckler based on "Opera Nova..." by Antonio Manciolino. (Nova Scrima)

About the presentation: A sampling of a few of the folios are depicted below however, the complete manuscript is available only to registered online library users. Click here or the images below for details on registering with AEMMA and obtaining your Online Library electronic card.

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Copyright © 2009 Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts  (AEMMA)
Released: August 30, 2009 / Updated: October 29, 2009