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p-rapier-msg - 6/6/08


Period rapiers and tactics.


NOTE: See also the files: fencing-art, bucklers-msg, Silver-1-man, rapier-books-msg, r-tourn-ideas-msg, merch-rapier-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: Ioseph

Subject: Period rapier references available!

Date: 7 Nov 91


The following texts on period rapier combat are available in xerox form

for the prices listed from:


        Patri J. Pugliese

        39 Capen St

        Medford, MA 02155

        (617) 396-2870


I do -not- know if this person is SCA or not.....


Postage is $1.50 for the first item, and $0.50 each additional item.

Note: these are xerox copies of the -primary sources!-



Achille Marozzo "Opera Nova" (Mutinae: 1536)....................$15.00

Camillo Agrippa "Trattato di Scientia d'Arme" (Rome: 1533)......$15.00

Angelo Viggani "Lo Shermo" Vinitia: 1575).......................$20.00

Salvator Fabris "De Lo Schermo overo Scienza d'Arme"

                         (Copenhaven: 1606)......................$25.00

Henry de St. Didier "Traicte...sur l'Epee Seule" (Paris: 1573)..$6.00

Giacomo di Grassi "His True Art of Defense" (London: 1594)......$6.00

Vincentio Saviolo "His Practice, In Two Books" (London: 1595)...$8.00

George Silver "Paradoxes of Defense" (London: 1599).............$5.00

G.A. "Pallas Armata, the Gentlemans Armorie" (London: 1639).....$4.00

G.A.Lovino "Traite d'Escrime (circa 1580) (many illios!)........$7.00

J. Swetnam "The School Of Defense" (London: 1617)...............$15.00




He also offers several more texts, but they are out of period for our use.

I have seen several of these, and they are GOOD!



From: moonman at camelot.bradley.edu (Craig Levin)

Date: 9 Dec 91 18:14:12 GMT

Organization: House of the Moss Rose


        A while back I mentioned that armor was commonly expected to

be worn in a duel in the 1500's. The source that I am using is Dr.

Frederick R. Bryson's THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY ITALIAN DUEL, published by the University of Chicago Press in 1938. On page 48, I quote:


        "...In the sixteenth century, some of the writers {on the code

duello} regarded armor as generally necessary...It was not sufficient,

moreover, that the armor should consist merely of a helmet, a shield,

a cloak, etc..."


        So it is possible that the mask would have been seen as part

of a normal, respectable, settlement of a dispute between honorable

men using rapiers.



Craig\The Moonman\Levin         Alferez Pedro Alcazar, RN (Portugal)

moonman at camelot.bradley.edu     House of the Moss Rose, Barony of

                                Illiton, Middle Kingdom


From: shick at europa.asd.contel.com (steve hick)

Date: 9 Dec 91 17:55:54 GMT

Organization: GTE Contel Federal Systems


There are current in existence some 50 or so manuals of weaponcraft of European

origin, the earliest dates from the 13th century. And just to forestall and

obvious argument, the techniques are very similar to some of those which show

up in the 'earliest' fencing books accepted as such, from Patri's list (eg



For the 13th -14th centuries:


SWORD AND BUCKLER. [MSS In the Royal Library, British Museum.  No. 14, E. iii.,

13th Century  and No. 20, D. vi.]


Anonymus        London  Tower Museum    I-33    14th c.


Johannes Liechtenaur    Nurnberg        Germanische Nationalmuseum      Cod. ms. 3227a  



For the 15th century


Over 40 German MSS


(list available on request, includes 4 or 5 versions of Talhoffer)


At least 1 Spanish MS:


Duarte I, Rey de Portugal (1391-1438, reign:  1433-1438); Regimento para

aprender a jogar as armas.  


At least 1 English MS:


'The Man That Wol' ('On Fencing With the Two-Handed Sword')

[Late 15c poem in Brit. Mus. MS. Harleian 3542]


I recommend that anyone really interested in following this should Email

Jeffrey L. Singman at  Jeffrey.L.Singman at um.cc.umich.edu and order a copy of

Skirmator, and new newsletter covering research on period fencing and






From: GRUENKE at KSUVM.BITNET (Ivan Pietrovich Pevcov)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Olympic vs SCA fencing

Date: 12 May 1993 17:28:15 -0400


Greetings unto those here gathered and especially unto Don Danulf



Recently Danulf posted a message saying (among other things)

>            Fencing tournaments did not exist in our period.


   I find that I am constrained to answer this statement for I have

information which may be of interest.  There were a great many

tournaments for rapier-style combat in our period. Examples include;

      i)   tourneys sponsored by the Corporation of Maisters of Defense


     The corporation recieved royal sanction under Henry VIII to

establish rules for fencing as a sport. International tournaments

were held to compare the French and Italian schools of fencing with

rapiers.  The royal sanction was renewed by following royalty

including Elizabeth I.


      ii)  tourneys held at royal request


     Candidates for Maister of Defence were required by charter to

demonstrate skill with a rapier in public tourneys against existing

maisters.  These tourneys were held in several places including, at the

request of the Tudor crowns, Greenwich, Hampton Court, Westminster and



      iii)  tourneys held as public spectacles


     Public tourneys with all types of swords as well as pole arms and

quarter staves were popular in England throughout our period.  By the

end of the sixteenth century they were so popular that period sources

say that the city of London was emptied as people went to attend.


      iv)   Opponents of rapiers in our period reported tourneys


     Sword and buckler man George Silver decried the tournement form of

fence as harmful in that it could not be used in combat. He thought

the "gentle play" of the tournement in which only thrusts and no types

of cuts were allowed was inappropriate.  In comparing this to practice

for duelling he said there was "...much difference betwixt these two

kinds of fights..."



_Edged Weapons_ by Frederck Wilkinson, Guinness Signatures, 1970


_Fencing_ The Teach Yourself Series by C.-L. De Beaumont O.B.E.

   English University Press, 1981


_Foil Fencing_ by Maxwel R. Garret and Mary Heincke Poulson,

   Penn State University Press, 1981


_Paradoxes of Defence_ by George Silver, 1599 available through

   Scholars' Facsimilies & Reprints


"Schools of Defense in Elizabethan London" by Jay P. Anglin

   _Renaissance Quarterly_ v 37 Autumn 1984



   In a related topic, can anyone provide me with sources of

information for "juego de cano", or cane fencing, which was popular

in Spain in the sixteenth century.  Sources I have seen so far

describe it as simulating rapier combat with wooden blades.  There

were tournements held which were very popular.  I would like to

know more of the details involved.  Translation is not a problem.


                 Too late to cut this short, but I'll try


Ivan Pietrovich Pevcov                    Joel Gruenke

Spinning Winds, Calontir                  Manhattan, KS



From: shick at europa.eng.gtefsd.com (Steve Hick, GTE FSD SE Engineering)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: medieval v. SCA fight

Date: 7 Jul 1993 15:51:16 GMT

Organization: GTE GSC Federal Systems Division



FN>There is a discussion going on about blocks done with the basket of

FN>a sword.

FN>Just a thought (I don't have enough info to make it an argument) -

FN>Baskets are period (15th cent.) therefore we do not have to pretend

FN>they are not there.


*> Source, please? I'm not questioning your knowledge, I just thought

*> they were created later than that, so would like to correct my error...


Complicated hilts are a late 15th century adaptation, but a true 'basket hilt' is probably a century later.  

The best source on the development of the sword guard is Vessey Normans "Rapier and Small Sword",

etc, etc..  In this you discover that a small curved ring on the pas d'ane existed from the 14th c.  The hilt

elaboration is probably related to the increased wearing of the sword with civilian dress, which also

occured at this time.





Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: ddfr at quads.uchicago.edu (david director friedman)

Subject: Re: Nature of Rapiers? (was blackpowder)

Organization: University of Chicago

Date: Sat, 2 Jul 1994 14:32:04 GMT


Harald Isenross writes:

"You know, sword collections rarely issue weapon weights,

frustrating.  Can anybody offer me lists  of weights and lengths of

original period swords?"


The best source I know of is the published catalog of the Wallace

Collection. If you know someone with a copy of the _Miscellany_, it

contains an article I wrote long ago on shield and weapon weights,

with the information I was able to get on period swords, rapiers,

great swords, etc. The average ratio of weight to length for the

period rapiers I could find data on was about.8 lb/ft, only slightly

lighter than the broadswords.


You might also want to correspond with Patri de Chat Gris (Patri

Pugliese, 39 Capen St., Medford, MA 02155). He has done quite a lot

of research on period rapiers and period fencing.





From: rudi3964 at utdallas.edu

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Fencing in the West Kingdom

Date: 8 Jun 1995 10:29:05 -0500

Organization: The University of Texas at Dallas


David Bedno (drseuss at crl.com) wrote:

> Bonetti (bonetti1 at aol.com) said:

> -Well Rex, I don't blame you.  I wouldn't want the most honorable fighters

> -the SCA has to show their expertise during my reign either.  It might show

> -me up.


> "most honorable fighters"? Not if yours is a representative attitude.


> On behalf of myself, my King, and indeed, all heavy fighters, I accept.


> I will gladly meet you with rapier (or whatever kind of dueling blade

> you use) despite my non-proficiency, or in any other manner you feel

> appropriate.  I can't get out of central West kingdom anytime soon,

> but perhaps something can be worked out.


> David ben Avraham Brisk, honorable fighter

> Darkwood/Mists/West


Well said, David.


Unto Bonetti (whose full name I lost):


I, Robin of Gilwell, have in the past challenged heavy fighters who claimed

that honor was to be found in the shape and style of their sword, rather

than in their actions and hearts.  I hereby challenge you for the same



Who do you consider the more honorable fighter, Robin of Gilwell or Robin

of Gilwell?  Don Galen Nicolli or Sir Galen Nicolli?  Duke Sigmund the

the Wingfooted, or Don Sigmund the Wingfooted?  Count Simonn of Amber

Isle or Don Simonn of ....


But enough.


Many people, from taking their ideas about rapier fighting from movies

and absurd 19th century novels, have come to believe that tavern brawls

and street-fighting are the norm for this weapon in period.  We should

try to educate them, but not insult them.  Tavern brawls and other forms

of rough, dishoorable fighting activity, including the illegal duel at

dawn, were the direct results of banning (or simply not granting the

field for) legal, honorable, public duels before the assembled court.


In point of fact, all duelling laws that I have found treated all weapons

alike.  When rapier fighting was banned, so was broadsword fighting.


Note that the first anti-duelling law in England was passed in 1613, and

it was over 100 pages, mostly trying to justify it.  When Francis Bacon

tried a case in 1614, most of the prosecution documents were spent trying

to convince the Star-chamber why it should enforce the law at all.  

[Note:  I'm not guessing.  I have copies of both documents here.]


The last legal duel in France was in 1547.  It was, as was proper, in

front of the entire court and the king.  Unfortunately, the king's

favorite lost and died.  Note that his opponent was tring to get him to

yield, so his wounds could be bound.


Duelling was not made illegal -- the kings simply stopped granting the

field at that point.  Duelling was not made illegal yet. In 1550, Henri

II tried to regulate duelling.  In 1566, Charles IX tried banning

assemblies of people and carying of weapons.  The 1578 law established

procedures, and told the people to try to separate fighters.


Finally, the decisive step was taken in 1599, when a court declared that

"neither by divine nor human law is it permissible to seek or pursue

vengeance other than through the usual channels of law."  Note that one

of the usual channels of law is to petition the Crown for a field.  This

did not become illegal until later.  In 1602 Henri IV signed the first

anti-duel edict.


In Italy, minor nobles granted the field routinely, and most writings on

honor referred to the duel as well.  In 1563, the Council of Trent (a

Catholic committee) made duelling illegal by church law, and said that

nobles granting the field would be excommunicated.  Most Italian nobles

stopped granting the field at that point, but it was clearly still legal

to do so.


In all places, when the nobles and Crowns stopped granting the field,

this led to illegal outside-the-city-walls-at-dawn post-period,

macho-posing-as-honor duels that are so well known from France in the

17th century, England in the 18th, Dixie in the 19th, and Hollywood in

the 20th.



1)  At no time that I know of was there any period law treating sword A

different from sword B, except the law saying all swords in London must

be 42 1/2 inches or less.


2) Banning duels with rapiers, or with any other weapon, is almost

entirely a post-period phenomenon, and has no place in the SCA.


3) Duels with rapiers, as well as exhibitions and challenges, were often

fought before kings and queens in period.


4) The honor, chivalry, and integrity of fighters was never, in period,

something that changed with weapon style.  A man's honor is based on the

shape of his soul, not the shape of his sword.


That is, in brief, the historical argument for fencing. (I will probably

post the SCA argument soon.)


But all fencers and pro-fencing people, please do not insult our

friends.  The divisiveness that they see is their stongest reason to

oppose it.  Those of us who live where fencing is legal know that that

divisiveness goes way down when it becomes legal, but the others don't.  

We have to convince them, AND SHOW THEM, that it is not the strain of

different cultures, but the strain of people who are being stopped from

what they want to do, against the ones who wish to stop them.


Robin of Gilwell/Jay Rudin



From: rudi3964 at utdallas.edu

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Fencing in the West Kingdom

Date: 9 Jun 1995 10:50:46 -0500

Organization: The University of Texas at Dallas


Most noble knight,


I will respond to a few of your comments on my earlier post.


jay hoffman (cheval at netcom.com) replied to me:

> The above is but a sampling of the many examples you cite regarding duels

> in late period, presumably with rapier.  Note that, while I do not

> challenge your provenence, I submit that fighting to settle judicial

> disputes, or to avenge oneself upon another for some insult, is not what

> we do in the SCA.  I agree that it is important to understand the role of

> the duel in period in all its forms, for it directly relates to the whole

> mythos surrounding the medieval trial by combat and its related issues.  I

> do not, however, believe it is desireable to recreate such fights.


Any suggestion to ban the rapier because of its use in judicial duels

should ban a lot of other weapons first.  The reason to bring the dueling

question up was to make clear that:

        A. Banning the rapier is primarily a post-period phenomenon, and

        B. The rapier is the same as all other period hand weapons.

These points stand untouched by your commentary.


I agree that "duelling' should not be a part of the SCA's standard

activity, and in those kingdoms with period fencing, it's not.


> : Duelling was not made illegal -- the kings simply stopped granting the

> : field at that point.  Duelling was not made illegal yet.  In 1550, Henri

> : II tried to regulate duelling.  In 1566, Charles IX tried banning

> : assemblies of people and carying of weapons.  The 1578 law established

> : procedures, and told the people to try to separate fighters.


> This speaks directly to the third point of my thesis -- that we fight on

> the King's field and at His pleasure.  To fight without sanction would be

> anethema in a heavy list -- but for the glory and recognition of our lady

> and our Crown, we would be devoid of inspiration. Imagine the shame and

> embarassment were the King to withdraw his support today.  Refusing the

> field would be sufficient cause as to bring the whole excercise into

> question.


Well, of course.  Nobody that I know has suggested fighting it illegally,

without the king's consent.  I certainly have not.  But your argument

cuts both ways -- while it is not within the SCA's purview to fight

without the king's sanction, fencing becomes very much a part of the

SCA's focus, with all attendant honor, whenever and wherever the king

DOES grant the field.


To suggest that fencing is not acceptable because the king has not

allowed it is quite reasonable -- and so obvious as to not need mentioning.  

But to propose that as a reason why the king should not grant the field

is arguing in a circle.  He should not allow it because it does not fit

because he does not allow it because it does not fit because . . . .


> : In all places, when the nobles and Crowns stopped granting the field,

> : this led to illegal outside-the-city-walls-at-dawn post-period,

> : macho-posing-as-honor duels


> If I am to understand this reference in relationship to your preceding

> citations, rapier duels were, in the main, purely for the purpose of

> exacting retribution outside the law.  This is not consistent with the

> value set currently practiced in the list, and its introduction, even by

> hint of association, sets a dangerous precedent.


Only after it was illegal -- i.e., mostly post-period. The judicial duel

existed with no major change from 501, when established by the king of the

Burgundians (see *The Duel* by Robert Baldick) until the end of the

sixteenth century.  If it's a dangerous precedent, then I can only plead

that the precedent precedes us.  Challenges are done in the fencing

community only in imitation of what they see the heavy fighters do.


Rapier duels, being in no way different from any other duels, existed

purely for the purpose of dealing with matters WITHIN the law for which

there was not sufficient evidence.  Certainly when a greyhound fought a

judicial duel in retribution of his master's murder, it was fought

legally in the presence of the king.  In any event, there is no

difference of honor between a duel fought with rapier, or with

greatsword, or with a dog's teeth.


Actually, rapier fighting existed, in the main, for the purpose of

fighting unarmored opponents.  In war, they still used the greatsword and

pike and longsword, not the rapier.  Since you always wore armor in

tournament, rapiers were not, as far as I can tell, a tournament weapon.  

It was certainly the weapon of choice in court for many great tournament

fighters, such as Sir Philip Sydney.


> Perhaps more important is the romantic ideal that evolved from this

> practice.  


The absolute height of the romantic tournament ideal, in England at

least, was the sixteenth century.  They were newly inspired, as we are

inspired by the recently-published Malory.  More tournaments were held in

that century than in all previous centuries combined.  The pageantry,

splendor, and honor were the main focusses, whereas in earlier

tournaments there were more melees and less individual fghting.  See

*Elizabethan and Jacobean Tournaments*, by Alan Young.


> Where you deride the macho posturing of later models, they were

> drawn directly from the very examples you cite.  


So is Hollywood -- that doesn't mean they got it right. The macho

posturing of Sir Bruce Sans Pitye was drawn from the knightly ideal.  So

what?  The post period illegal duelling was the results of butchers and

common soldiers like Dumas's ridiculous musketeers.  The biggest problem

we have in educating people about the Renaissance is that, without

realizing it, most people's ideas of the Renaissance come from stupid movies.


>          Focusing on dates, rather

> then on eras, is a poor substitute for what is otherwise commendable

> scholarship.  Except in rare circumstances, the calendar does not make

> history, it simply notates it.  True, the age of the rapier and its

> subsequent romanticization has its roots in the sixteenth century; but it

> has little reference to the age of Chivalry and the values we currently

> espouse.


I seem to remember, in another thread, some knight pointing to

Castiglione's *The Book of the Courtier* as a source for understanding

the concepts of honor in the SCA.  It is a sixteenth scentury book.  In

point of fact, the word "honor" meant only the honors people give you --

statues, awards, rank, land, songs, respect, etc. -- UNTIL the sixteenth

century.  You have used the word a lot.  If you meant something internal,

then your ideas are firmly rooted in the sixteenth cetury. According to

the *Oxford English Dictionary* its first use as an internal quality in

English was 1548.  See also *The Point of Honour in Sixteenth Century

Italy* by Frederick Bryson.


> : 3) Duels with rapiers, as well as exhibitions and challenges, were often

> : fought before kings and queens in period.


> : 4) The honor, chivalry, and integrity of fighters was never, in period,

> : something that changed with weapon style.  A man's honor is based on the

> : shape of his soul, not the shape of his sword.


> Here, I believe, you make the most telling arguments in favor of

> fencing.  What examples do you have of 'tournament-styled' exhibitions

> with the rapier.  Were they replacements for, adjuncts to, or completely

> seperate from the 'heavy' tournaments of the day?


Ceratinly not replacements -- the tournaments of the day were attempts to

hold onto the Chivalric ideals.  In fact, trying to hold the Chivalric

ideals in a modern world in a very strong component of sixteenth century

life.  Note that the Masters of Defense were required to qualify with

four weapons, and their provosts with three.


We have NO examples of tournaments fought like SCA tournaments with ANY

weapons, because the SCA tournament format is a purely modern invention.  

Single elimination, double elimination, progressive melees, and

"bearpits" are equally reasonable -- or equally unreasonable -- with any



As far as I know, there were no rapier tournaments.  There certainly were

rapier exhibitions and "Prizes".  These are fought with bated blades by

the way.  Here are a few extracts from the Secretary book of the Masters

of Defense of London:


Item a challenge playde at Grenwich before Kinge Edwarde the sixthe by

Willyam Pascall and vj schollers the same william agaynste all maisters

and the other six agaynste all schollers commers at six kynde of weapons

videlicet the maister at the axe, the Pike, the longe sworde, the backe

sworde the basterde sworde and the rapier and Dagger. . . .


Item a challenge playde at westminster before kinge Philip and Queene

Marie by Richarde White at Tenne kynde of weapons....


Many other items of challenges and prizes, always with several weapons,

almost always with rapier and dagger, targetor cloak.  To become a

Master of Defense, or even a provost, you were REQUIRED to play a prize

publicly. These were quite legal, and accompanied with great fanfare,

drummers and panoply.  They were occasionally done before the Crown, and

always under the aegis of the Letters Patent granted the Masters of

Defense by Henry VIII.


Note that it includes both "heavy" and "rapier".  Note also that it is

legal, sanctioned by the Crown (as an Elizabethan, I do not focus on just

the king), public, and honorable.


The oath in their book requires them to swear to be true to the church,

loyal to the Queen (the oath was written down in Elizabeth's reign),

"alwayes to be ready to Spende bothe your lyfe and your goodes In the

Sarvis of the quens majestye", "...loving trueth, hatinge falcehod", in

"any kynde of play at Weapons touching our science, you shall without

respect favor or hatred of either partye, saye speake and geve true

Judgement ...", "you shalbe Mercifull, And Whearas you happen to have the

vpper hande of your enimye That is ta saie Wthout Weapon or vnder your

feete or his backe towards you, then you shall not kill him savinge your

selfe harmelesse without daunger of Death...", etc. The Provost's oath

is similar.


If somebody were to suggest that prizes and challenges as above be

allowed, but not tournaments, it would be hard to argue against.  Of

course, to be consistent, such a move should also require that no

elimination tournaments be held in heavy, either. Elimination tourneys

are a compromise, on both fields, to staisfy 20th century ideas about the

results of competition.


In Ansteorra, we have two annual tourneys fought as closely as possible

to the period style, with challenges, melees, etc.  Nobody is

eliminated, and the victors chosen by the ruling nobles. While both the

Tournament of the Nine Worthies and the Tournee de Lyonesse must make a

few concessions to reality, the fact is that such tournies do work, and

no fencers bring fencing equipment.  I certainly left my rapiers at home

when I was chosen one of the first Defenders of Lyonesse,.


Rapiers don't belong at such tournies, and everybody accepts that.  But

they are as reasonable (or as unreasonable) at elimination styles

tournaments as rattan.  Many Ansteorran events have both tourneys.  (Two

years ago, at the Defender of the Tor, I won both the heavy and the

rapier lists.  I can safely say that there was no difference in the

honor, goals, or actions between the fighters on one field and the

fighters on the other.)


>  What is it about the

> practice of rapier that gives us insight into the honor we

> currently express on the heavy field, or what more does it bring to our

> recreation that helps us to further understand our own ideal?  


Same honor, same goals, same insights, same joys, better scholarship.


I learn the SCA's version of sword and shield skills, because our

ancestors left no good books on the use of this weapon. But I can actually

learn the period rapier skills from the period teachers, because we have

the books.  I have read di Grassi and Saviolo, and I am trying to translate

Aggrippa (it's not easy -- I don't know Italian).  With my rapier I can

actually fight in a documented period style.


And I'm not alone.  The period techniques were a focus of the last Known

World Academy of the Rapier, and this fall's Bryn Gwlad Baronial

Championship tournament will focus on period technique, rather than mere

victory.  There is simply no heavy equivalent.  (Not quite true -- I have

read some period Pike and Halberd technique -- in di Grassi and in Swetnam,

both books primarily about rapiers.)


Another advantage, by the way, is that a larger percentage of our Peers

and Nobles have actually been on the field and dealt with blow-calling

and other field honor.  My lady fenced for a very short time, and

understands the fighter's mentality by experience.  While following the

archery thread, and as a person who will never allow herself to be hit

with rattan, she never misunderstood the fighters' points the way the

"non-contact archers" sometimes did.  She stopped fencing, of course.  

All people who don't want to train hard in an athletic endeavor do.  But

she has some experience that has served her well while ruling the barony

of the Steppes or sitting in Pelican circles.  Is this of value?


Note also that Ansteorra has very little trouble with "non-contact

lights" since there is a way for less hardy people to participate in

fighting activities without trying to force fighters to change what they



> I do not deny the right to honor due the fencer.  But like the archer, I

> see its practice as very different than that sought by a heavy.  


You have, legitimately, asked for my documentation.  May I do the same?  

Please explain what sources that you have read indicate that the Masters

of Defense and their provosts, or the Elizabethan knights who used

rapiers in one place and greatsword in another, or the German Marksbruder*

and Federfechters, practiced honor very differently.  Of course, if you

mean that they considered a honor to be an intrinsic value that someone

held whether they were honored for it or not, then you are correct.  In

that case, please explain why you think this attitude is not already part

of the SCA, and why it shouldn't be.


*That's right -- the largest group of fencing masters in Germany were called

the "Marks Brothers".  Go ahead -- have fun with it.


Note that your earlier posts on the archers focused on the high value of

meeting your opponents directly, letting them call blows, and the

exchange of honor between them.  While I did not, unfortunately, save

your posts, I will state that all that you asked for on the field, the

fencers have, save that we fight for the Queen, rather than the King.


>  Unlike

> the bowman, however, who can, through simple means, explore the medieval

> aspects of his art independent of the heavy; the fencer's ideals are born

> of a different age -- a time that, while fascinating in its own right,

> must needs find its own place outside the SCA.


A time that is well-defined by its tournaments focusing more on

individual fighting than melees, a time when the ideal of Chivalry was

at its peak, inspired by the recent publication of Malory, a time when

they were consciously attempting to hold onto the flavor of the Middle

Ages even while beset by modern forces, a time when all warriors could

consider themselves loyal to the Crown first, not the local fiefholder, a

time when the pageantry of the tournaments led to people coming as

Arthurian knights or Turkish Pirates, so there were costumes and personas

from many different times and places, a time when honor was discussed and

considered IN WRITING so we can follow their ideas, a time when honor

came to mean an inner quality, rather than statues and awards as it did

in the Middle Ages, a time when Tournament knights would fight on foot,a

time which is undeniably "pre-seventeenth century European culture" per

our charter, ....


In short, a time which fits both the SCA ideals and the SCA practice

at least as well as, and probably better than, the Middle Ages.


And a time which HAS found its own place inside the SCA.


Robin of Gilwell/Jay Rudin



From: bryn-gwlad at eden.com (10/18/95)

To: bryn-gwlad at eden.com

RE>Rapiers and Fencing in Period


I wanted to clear-up a few items in threads I have recently seen regarding the

timeframe in which Duels, especially with smallsword or rapier, occured. The heydey of these was probably between 1550 and 1600, if the writings of the masters are any indication. One of the most definitive works on the Arte of Defense (or "fence" as we now know it) was published by an Italian master, Giacomo diGrassi, in 1570 and again in 1599.


The earliest books on fence appear sometime between 1529 and 1536. This timeframe is certainly within the before 1600, or 1650 depending on your reference timeframe listed as the SCA upper limit. An excellent resource about fence can be found on the Web at http://mac9.ucc.nau.edu/fencing.html and I highly reccommend this  site to anyone interested in period duelling and fence.


According to the information provided through this resource it would appear

understandable why there would be much confusion over acceptance of the duel. While most, if not all, Western European countries allowed legal, judicial duels, quite a few of them frowned very heavily upon non-sanctioned duelling. England is well known for this attitude and that dicotomy may be why "conflicting" sources exist on how acceptable duelling and rapiers were in that country.


Italy is a different story, but for a much better explanation I would prefer to let you all draw your own conclusions by visiting the above site.


Lenny Zimmermann (a not yet SCAdian)

zarlor at acm.org



Subject: Re: BG - Rapier Melees

Date: Sun, 21 Feb 99 11:46:38 MST

From: Chris and Elisabeth Zakes <moondrgn at bga.com>

To: bryn-gwlad at Ansteorra.ORG


>On 16 Feb 99,, David Marsh wrote:

>> I have found references to huge melees with wooden sticks upon

>> the bridges of most glorious Venice but as brutal as these mock battles

>> where the use of real weapons seems to be right out.


>If anyone is offended by rapier melees, they are cordially invited to

>not participate. Feel free to hold out for when we have pike and

>shot available.


Don Dore:

>Having not researched the issue, I have no period references to

>melees with rapiers (real or bated) save for literary references,

>such as Romeo & Juliet by some English guy. However, I can

>assure you that playing a tournament in the way that pleases a

>lady, or a noble, is period.


I'm getting into this a little late, but here's a couple of items *I* have:


Saviolo describes some 2-on-2 bouts in "Of Honor and Honorable Quarrels".


In the records of the London Masters of Defence, there's a line which says

"there played against Gregory Greene, John Evans and Richard Smyth against

Ffrauncies Calvert, John Blinkinsopp and our scholars against theirs."

This is a challenge apparently played between the masters or provosts of

two different schools; I'm not sure if "our scholars against theirs" is a

series of one-on-one bouts, or a grand melee. It was fought in the presence

of Queen Elisabeth.


        -Tivar Moondragon


<the end>

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