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Difference between revisions of "Francesco Fernando Alfieri"

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'''Francesco Fernando Alfieri''' was a [[century::17th century]] [[nationality::Italian]] [[fencing master]]. Little is known about his life, but ''Alfieri'' means "Ensign" which might be a military title rather than a family name. In his fencing treatise of 1640, he identifies himself as a master-at-arms to the Accademia Delia in Padua, and indicates that he had long experience at that time
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'''Francesco Fernando Alfieri''' was a [[century::17th century]] [[nationality::Italian]] [[fencing master]]. He was Master of Arms of the Accademia Delia in his native Padua, most likely from 1632 until some point in the mid 1650s,<ref>Del Negro, Piero. ''L’Accademia Delia e gli esercizi cavallereschi della nobilità padovana nel Seicento e Settecento'' in ''Il gioco e la guerra nel secondo millennio''. Edited by Piero Del Negro and Gherardo Ortalli. Treviso: Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche, 2008.</ref> his predecessors being fellow Paudans: Bartolomeo Tagliaferro and Gaspare Magnanino. While not the first military academy in the Italian peninsula, it is recorded as the first state academy, with generous support from the city's coffers. The academy appointed Masters in only three disciplines: fencing, equitation, and mathematics, famously turning down Galileo Galilei for the position of professor of mathematics in 1610.
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Founded in 1608, the Accademia Delia served as an elite finishing school for the sons of Paduan nobility, a military academy for future cavalry officers, continuing in this form until 1801. The academy's statutes provided for a maximum of sixty students, but in practice there were often fewer. 1632, the year Alfieri began his tenure, bore witness to a difficult period in Padua. In 1631 the city had suffered a terrible epidemic, bringing its population from 30,000 to a mere 13,000, with many of the academy's students losing their lives.
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Nevertheless the academy occupied a position of considerable prestige in Paduan society, and in the entire Veneto region. For example on 18 April 1638, in the year Alfieri published La Bandiera, the academy hosted an extravagant festival, with contests and displays of fencing and jousting. This was watched by thousands of spectators, and concluded with a mass in the church of Santa Giustina, with a musical score composed for the occasion by Claudio Monteverdi.
  
 
In 1638, Alfieri published a treatise on flag drill entitled ''[[La Bandiera (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|La Bandiera]]'' ("The Banner"). This was followed in 1640 by ''[[La Scherma (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|La Scherma]]'' ("On Fencing"), in which he treats the use of the [[rapier]]. Not content with these works, in 1641 he released ''[[La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|La Picca]]'' ("The Pike"), which not only covers [[pike]] drill, but also includes a complete reprint of ''La Bandiera'' (complete with title page dated 1638). His treatise on rapier seems to have been especially popular, as it was reprinted in 1646 and then received a new edition in 1653 titled ''[[L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada]]'' ("The Art of Handling the Sword Well"), which not only includes the entirety of the 1640 edition, but also adds a concluding section on the [[spadone]].
 
In 1638, Alfieri published a treatise on flag drill entitled ''[[La Bandiera (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|La Bandiera]]'' ("The Banner"). This was followed in 1640 by ''[[La Scherma (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|La Scherma]]'' ("On Fencing"), in which he treats the use of the [[rapier]]. Not content with these works, in 1641 he released ''[[La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|La Picca]]'' ("The Pike"), which not only covers [[pike]] drill, but also includes a complete reprint of ''La Bandiera'' (complete with title page dated 1638). His treatise on rapier seems to have been especially popular, as it was reprinted in 1646 and then received a new edition in 1653 titled ''[[L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada]]'' ("The Art of Handling the Sword Well"), which not only includes the entirety of the 1640 edition, but also adds a concluding section on the [[spadone]].
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Alfieri dedicates his ''La Bandiera'' and ''La Picca'' to Lodovico Vidman, whom he indicates was his former student and patron, with ''L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada'' dedicated to Lodovico's brother Martino (''La Scherma'' being dedicated to the students at the Accademia Delia in general). The Vidman (or Widmann) family were an extremely wealthy merchant family, originally from Carinthia in present-day Austria, but settled in Venice. Generous patrons of the arts, in the course of the first half of the seventeenth century they were ennobled first by the Holy Roman Emperor, then by the Venetian Senate.
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{{TOC limit|3}}
 
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== Treatise ==
 
== Treatise ==
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{| class="master"
 
{| class="master"
 
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! <p>Images<br/></p>
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! <p>Illustrations<br/></p>
 
! <p>{{rating|c}}<br/>by [[Piermarco Terminiello]] and [[Caroline Stewart]]</p>
 
! <p>{{rating|c}}<br/>by [[Piermarco Terminiello]] and [[Caroline Stewart]]</p>
 
! <p>[[La Bandiera (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|Transcription]] (1638){{edit index|La Bandiera (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1638.pdf}}<br/>by [[Andrea Conti]]</p>
 
! <p>[[La Bandiera (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|Transcription]] (1638){{edit index|La Bandiera (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1638.pdf}}<br/>by [[Andrea Conti]]</p>
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{| class="master"
 
{| class="master"
 
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! <p>Images<br/></p>
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! <p>Illustrations<br/></p>
! <p>{{rating}}<br/></p>
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! <p>{{rating|c}}<br/>by [[Piermarco Terminiello]]
 
! <p>[[La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|Transcription]] (1641){{edit index|La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf}}<br/>by [[Andrea Conti]]</p>
 
! <p>[[La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|Transcription]] (1641){{edit index|La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf}}<br/>by [[Andrea Conti]]</p>
  
 
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| [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 01.png|400x400px|center]]
 
| [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 01.png|400x400px|center]]
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| <p>'''The Pike by Francesco Alfieri'''</p>
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<p>Master of Arms of the most illustrious Accademia Delia in Padua. </p>
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| {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|1|lbl=i}}
 
| {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|1|lbl=i}}
  
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[[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 02.png|2250x250px|center]]
 
[[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 02.png|2250x250px|center]]
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| | <p>'''Most Illustrious Sir and Honourable Patron'''</p>
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<p>The acquisition by your most illustrious house of the domain of Ortenburg, a most noble county in the Empire in Carinthia, was to me - as your most devoted servant, so joyful that I could not comprehend it in my heart. I was obliged to communicate it to the world with this present book, which as a living testimony of my infinite obligations I dedicate to the immortality of your most illustrious name. </p>
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<p>The gift is small, and greatly disproportionate compared to the greatness of your merits, while in comparison my talents are also meagre. However, they are not without esteem, when they have the fortune to be accompanied by your favour. </p>
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<p>I dedicated my treatise on the flag to Your Most Illustrious Excellency, which you were pleased to enjoy. Although all that can be acknowledged as singular in it is my veneration, my spirit - ever in a tone of respect, gives me hope that you will equally enjoy this brief treatise on the pike. </p>
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<p>The laudable labours of intellect should by every right be offered to Your Most Illustrious Excellency, who for the splendour of the sublime virtues all around you, will at all times be beyond all compare. </p>
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<p>In which gentlemanly art shall you not prevail? Which science, that in arms or civilian life can render one respected, in you does not merit to be admired? I think not to speak at length of your qualities, which is not a weight for my shoulders, I speak with the tongue of all, which is moved only by the truth. May Your Most Illustrious Excellency enjoy, with every peace, the possession of many goods, and be it my glory to be named among those who in perpetuity depend upon your gestures. To Your Most Illustrious Excellency I bow. </p>
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<p>From Padua the 28th March 1641. </p>
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<p>To Your Most Illustrious Excellency</p>
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<p>Your most humble servant</p>
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<p>Francesco Alfieri. </p>
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{{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|3|lbl=iii|p=1}} {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|4|lbl=iv|p=1}}
 
{{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|3|lbl=iii|p=1}} {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|4|lbl=iv|p=1}}
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| [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 04.png|400x400px|center]]
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| <p>'''TO THE READER. ''' </p>
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<p>It was not long ago that you saw my ''La Scherma'' come off the presses. The first essay of my labours was ''La Bandiera''. Now I add ''La Picca''. The book is not long, but it is complete. These days brevity is prized, especially if not due to omission of elements necessary, for the work not to be deficient.</p>
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<p>I have condensed all of the art into a few figures, or at least the true foundations of the art. Subtle and practised intellects may find various innovations which are not here within, but one who has well grasped what I demonstrate will know that they are superfluous, or without difficulty. It has always been my aim to guide students to perfection through clear streets, approved by the good, and not confuse them with contrivances and fantasies, which only serve to waste time. </p>
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<p>I wish to satisfy the desires of all, and if the style or the material is not valid for this aim, I should be pitied all the more, because the intention I had to please the public made me wish for more than I could have. </p>
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| {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|9|lbl=03}}
 
| {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|9|lbl=03}}
  
 
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| <p>'''TABLE OF CHAPTERS: ''' </p>
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<p>On the pike Chapter I</p>
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<p>One the use of the pike Chapter II</p>
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<p>On the difference between the pike in play and in war Chapter III</p>
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<p>On picking up the pike Chapter IV</p>
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<p>On grasping the pike Chapter V</p>
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<p>On marching with the pike at your shoulder Chapter VI</p>
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<p>On arming the pike Chapter VII</p>
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<p>On the raised pike Chapter VIII</p>
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<p>How the captain bears the pike in formation Chapter IX</p>
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<p>On the pike in places where in cannot be raised Chapter X</p>
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<p>On carrying the pike when retreating, etc. Chapter XI</p>
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<p>On sliding the pike, and on the sword Chapter XII</p>
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<p>On the pike and sword in battle Chapter XIII</p>
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<p>On raising the pike to your shoulder while holding your sword in hand Chapter XIV</p>
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<p>On putting the sword in its sheath Chapter XV</p>
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<p>Conclusion of the work Chapter XVI</p>
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| {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|10|lbl=04}}
 
| {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|10|lbl=04}}
  
 
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| <p>'''On the Pike by Francesco Ferdinando Alfieri'''</p>
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<p>Chapter I</p>
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<p>Man is by nature difficult to content. To take away the opportunity for conflict, the lands were divided, and domains introduced. Each began by recognising their own, and almost all at once, either to protect theirs or to occupy that of their neighbour, they came to war. For war they discovered weapons, and among the first was the pike. All things, at the beginning are rough, and bit by bit are improved. In this manner the pike was initially used without the refinement to which it has been distilled. Before iron was discovered, the shaft was armed with sharp stones, bones, and similar materials apt to harm, and in this way they fought. </p>
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<p>Having discovered iron, it was placed at one and by many peoples at both extremities, in the form that was believed most piercing, and strongest in attack. Its length and width varied depending on how more or less robust were the nations who used it. The Assyrians were the first, who in the opinion of many serious authors carried them in war, this province having had the first kingdoms and lordships. The Jews, whose armies blossomed because the great prophet Moses had learned from God, ordered their units armed with the pike, as clearly seen several times in the Bible. The battles they fought in Palestine, against those condemned by divine justice to be defeated by the chosen people, were conducted by armies who fought with polearms. The Persians also used it, and honed their skill in wielding it, as the great commander Cyrus, alongside military discipline, introduced the art of training. </p>
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<p>After the Persians, the glory of arms flourished in Greece. They too held it in esteem, as you see from the lives of Palamedes, Philopomenes, Miltiades, Themistocles, and other warriors of great renown: Athenians, Lacedaemonians, and Thebans. Philip of Macedon, who learned expertise at arms from Lysis, <ref> According to tradition Lysis of Taras was both a student of Pythagoras and teacher to Epaminondas, although since this would make him impossibly old perhaps two historical figures were conflated. Epaminondas was a renowned Theban general from whom Philip learned in his youth, as a hostage in Thebes. </ref> formed his phalanx armed with polearms, with which his son Alexander the Great subjugated little less than the world. The Republic of Rome, in all of its virtues superior, including in the power it held on earth, had its "hastati", and with this weapon the name of its legions inspired terror. </p>
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<p>But to approach our times, omitting to recall Uguccione dalla Faggiola, and in particular the famous Castruccio Castracani, who propelled the military disciplines forward having been long neglected, the Swiss will always be immortal for their pikes, with their skill in using them, having been the arbiters of victory in Italy. Everyone knows the level they rose to, when the wars became more merciless for the state of Milan; which was stripped from Ludovico il Moro, his son Maximillian, Luis XII the King of France, and Francis I. Because the Emperor took every effort to return the Sforzas to the duchy, there followed the celebrated feats of arms at Novara, Bicocca and elsewhere, which will stand as eternal testimony to the valour of that free nation of thirteen cantons. Therefore, none can doubt the antiquity, nobility, and marvellous effect of the pike; and it is very certain that as such should be considered this art, and that worthy always of praise shall be those, who wishing to follow the fortunes of war, undertake with every care to learn it. </p>
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{{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|11|lbl=05|p=1}} {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|12|lbl=06|p=1}} {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|13|lbl=07|p=1}} {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|14|lbl=08|p=1}}
 
{{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|11|lbl=05|p=1}} {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|12|lbl=06|p=1}} {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|13|lbl=07|p=1}} {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|14|lbl=08|p=1}}
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| <p>On the use of the pike</p>
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<p>Chapter II</p>
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<p>To make good use of the pike it is necessary to know its length and nature. Regarding its length, ordinarily it is nine ''braccia'',<ref> The ''braccio'' (plural: ''braccia'') was an Italian pre-metric unit of measurement. Its length varied by region, although the Venetian and Paduan braccio appear to have been approximately 68.3cm. This was would make Alfieri’s pike approximately 6.12 meters (or 20 foot) long.</ref> as to its nature it should be made of smooth ash, the wood well-seasoned. </p>
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<p>In earlier times it was carried without defensive arms, to be wielded with more agility, and because people had not become so ingenious in attack. However, since in this manner it wounded only at a distance, and if the enemy closed it was not possible to resist his impetus, every hope having been placed in the polearm, through experience it became clear that used in this way it was of little consequence. For this reason, soldiers were further equipped with a rather short and broad sword, to be quick and apt for cutting, and also a dagger, a much-esteemed weapon at close quarters. </p>
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<p>Also, since pikemen serve to form the body of the troops, and to absorb the clash and impetus of horses, in order not to be scattered they nowadays cover themselves with their tassets, <ref> Plate armour designed to protect the upper thighs.</ref> bracers, gauntlets, gorgets, and morions, <ref> A type of helmet, first used by the Spanish, usually with a flat brim and a crest from front to back.</ref> such that half of their body is well-armoured. Because of this they can easily thwart attempts and efforts of the enemy, all the more so if the garrison stretches out on the sides of the battlefield, being lines of as many musketeers as the pikes can cover. </p>
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<p>The pike should therefore be of a determined size, in proportion to the stature and strength of the men, bearing their defensive arms, which without impeding the soldiers increases their confidence and disposes them to fortitude. </p>
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{{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|15|lbl=09|p=1}} {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|16|lbl=10|p=1}}
 
{{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|15|lbl=09|p=1}} {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|16|lbl=10|p=1}}
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| <p>On the difference between the pike in play and in war</p>
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<p>Chapter III</p>
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<p>Since many only enjoy criticising, some will say right at the beginning that there is pike for combat, and pike for play. I know very well that in the field, in front of the enemy you do not think of pomp, or to show your dexterity, nor your grace, nor do you arrive at certain actions that serve to delight more than to wound. </p>
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<p>But we are permitted to ask these people whether such knowledge of handling the pike is advantageous; whether the art of thrusting without entangling and confusing yourself facilitates superiority. Knowing the tempo and when to exploit it, being ready to use the haft in different ways, and putting your hand to the sword are essential elements in war, and these are learned primarily in the academies, where they demonstrate the methods that you practise in play. It is impossible to know how important and useful it is to a soldier, to grasp all that can be done with the weapon, that by its election must be the instrument of his honour, and of his fortunes. </p>
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<p>If someone completely new is deployed, and it is necessary to fight somewhere narrow, you cannot see anything more ridiculous and useless; if he wishes to put his hand to his sword and his pike falls, or if he must change face he will crash into and harm either his line or those close by. In the end it will not be good either for him or his captain. This does not happen to one who is practised in the art, because one who possesses what is most difficult also possesses what is most straightforward in the same art. </p>
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<p>However, one who knows who to make the pike fly, how to make it slide and run in every direction will not tangle himself up, nor give occasion through his harm to be mocked. They are therefore different, but in play you encompass everything that is necessary in war, where only those who know make progress. Because as the saying goes, nobody has doubts in something they know to have learned well. To attain this knowledge, you must practise, and you must commend that which makes you familiar with those precepts that conduct you to your aims. Sweat in the more difficult things, to delight in them, so they turn out more to your liking, malleable to your thoughts. </p>
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| rowspan="4" | [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 05.png|400x400px|center]]
 
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| <p>On picking up the pike</p>
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<p>Chapter IV</p>
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<p>I arrive at the demonstrations, and at the figures, which teach much more effectively than discourses, because seeing the designs of the postures, and the methods that you must observe to imitate them, lifts all doubts that could emerge from weakness in learning. </p>
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<p>Here, we must firstly learn how to lift the pike from the ground. This can be achieved equally with the forehand as with the backhand, as is universally observed. However, you must ensure to grasp the pike firmly, and raising it in the air should be accomplished in a single indivisible tempo, holding your body straight, without twists, and having lifted it, with your hand in place, it should slide close to your right thigh. </p>
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<p>If the pike is resting against a wall, in order for it not to tumble, or to avoid grasping it with two hands with no little inconvenience, it can be picked up in two ways. Either you place your left foot at the base so that it stays still, as the French do, or with your right foot to the same effect, as is customary for the Spanish. </p>
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<p>Remember to be graceful with every motion, ensuring to grasp the pike by keeping your thumb extended under the haft, with your right hand situated level with your sword. </p>
 
| {{section|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf/20|1|lbl=14}}
 
| {{section|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf/20|1|lbl=14}}
  
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| rowspan="3" | [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 06.png|400x400px|center]]
 
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| <p>On grasping the pike in order to march</p>
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<p>Chapter V</p>
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<p>In wishing to march with the pike raised, as shown by the figure, three tempi are necessary in order to raise it. </p>
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<p>The first is to lift the pike enough that it is a little higher than your head, holding the pike with your left hand in line with your flank. </p>
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<p>The second is performed by hoisting the pike up to the given level, quickly bringing your right hand to the butt. </p>
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<p>The third consists in bearing the pike entirely with your right hand, with it resting between your arm and shoulder, as is clear from the design. </p>
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| {{section|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf/22|3|lbl=-}}
 
| {{section|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf/22|3|lbl=-}}
  
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| <p>On marching with the pike at your shoulder</p>
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<p>Chapter VI</p>
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<p>To carry the pike at your shoulder, the following rules hold true. Your elbow should not be forced, therefore being neither too high, nor bent towards the ground, because one is weak, the other is not very graceful. Your hand should be held quiet far from your shoulder, with your left bent into your flank. In this manner you can change face, and move the pike while turning your body, without disordering yourself. </p>
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<p>If you must pass before some prince, or minister and official of war, you show your respects in the following manner. First you shift your view, and when you are before them you lower your gaze, turning your body somewhat towards them, pulling your right leg behind, and bending your knee, while maintaining the gravitas required by the military. </p>
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| {{section|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf/24|1|lbl=18}}
 
| {{section|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf/24|1|lbl=18}}
  
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| <p>On arming the pike, or placing yourself in guard</p>
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<p>Chapter VII</p>
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<p>After having demonstrated how you pick up, and raise the pike, and how you march with it, we arrive at the action used to wound. </p>
 +
<p>To keep your body well-structured, you should keep your left foot forward. Your right hand holds the haft at the butt, and with your other hand level with your chest your arm is bent in an arc, your elbow having to support the pike. You can also extend your step, and having extended your strike you should always withdraw your left arm to the given position, returning to the same guard in which, whether the enemy is pressing or retreating, you step. </p>
 +
<p>If you must change face, you move your right foot forward, and having lowered the butt to the ground, you raise the point in a straight line, thereby coming to a stop in this posture. If you wish to change face without changing your step, while performing the same motion with the pike, you switch hands, such that in place of your right you find your left. </p>
 +
 
 
| {{section|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf/26|1|lbl=20}}
 
| {{section|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf/26|1|lbl=20}}
  
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|-  
 
|-  
 
| rowspan="2" | [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 09.png|400x400px|center]]
 
| rowspan="2" | [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 09.png|400x400px|center]]
|  
+
| <p>On the raised pike, for staying in formation, or else on parade, and stepping</p>
 +
<p>Chapter VIII</p>
 +
<p>How the pike must be held while in formation, or on parade, is evident from the figure, and without uncertainties. However, how you walk with the pike is not observed in the same manner everywhere. The Spanish use a wide step, which is the custom of the ancients, the French use a much smaller step, which is followed in modern times. Either method can be defended as good, but a moderate step, which is neither wide nor narrow, is far superior to both. </p>
 +
<p>In employing this method, the soldier must be advised to keep his body straight, his arm bent, and for the pike to anticipate his right foot. It accompanies it in every way, such that in beginning to step, the right arm is extended, and in bringing forward the left foot it comes back, without raising the haft too far from the ground, with your hand always adjusted to your shoulder. Without exceptions this method is comfortable, and very natural, as you can understand from the figure. </p>
 +
<p>If it happens that you must revere a prince or general, in this case, having stopped, you will pull back your left leg (as the most free), and slightly bend your knee, with military gravitas. During this entire action keep the pike fixed and immobile, and having finished return to your step. </p>
 +
 
| {{section|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf/28|1|lbl=22}}
 
| {{section|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf/28|1|lbl=22}}
  
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|-  
 
|-  
 
| [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 10.png|400x400px|center]]
 
| [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 10.png|400x400px|center]]
|  
+
| <p>How the captain bears the pike in formation</p>
 +
<p>Chapter IX</p>
 +
<p>We should learn from the figure opposite the proper manner for a captain to bear the pike in formation, which is ordinarily practised in one of two ways. The first is to carry it on the shoulder, which makes it very heavy. The second is the hold it the middle of the haft, and this is new, practised by the guard of the King of France, to be comfortable, useful, and prompt in attack; and to display various skills by bring your hand to the butt, then to the point, making the pike slide from one to the other, depending on the inclination of its wielder. Such curiosities accrue credit, and love towards the solider, and are very useful by serving as testimony that you are proficient in the use of your weapons. </p>
 
| {{section|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf/30|2|lbl=-}}
 
| {{section|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf/30|2|lbl=-}}
  
 
|-  
 
|-  
 
| [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 11.png|400x400px|center]]
 
| [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 11.png|400x400px|center]]
|  
+
| <p>On the pike in places where in cannot be raised</p>
 +
<p>Chapter X</p>
 +
<p>The sites where arms are used are not always of the same nature: combat may occur in the open countryside, or sometimes in the woods. If in guarding a location you are forced to drag the pike, your options for holding it are reduced to only two. The first is with your right hand close to the point. The second is with both hands, seeking to keep your thumbs extended along the length of the haft, this is useful for operating it with grace, which is the soul of everything we do in this profession. It is carried short in this way, and in line with your flank, the circumstance not allowing you to stand in the act of attacking. </p>
 +
<p>If you must stay inside a gateway or another site, in order to wait for others to pass and demand their names, an office for those on sentry duty, you can still win and take control of your enemy’s weapons; a thought worthy of any honourable soldier; who deserves to be preferred to others insofar as he exceeds them in the use of such arms in which the hopes of progress are placed. However, it is always necessary to practise, and to train in academies, so you can readily employ them as the need requires. To know how to wield them in any location, and to extract from the art that defence which is acquired through play. </p>
 +
 
|  
 
|  
 
{{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|32|lbl=26|p=1}} {{section|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf/34|1|lbl=28|p=1}}
 
{{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|32|lbl=26|p=1}} {{section|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf/34|1|lbl=28|p=1}}
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| [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 12.png|400x400px|center]]
 
| [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 12.png|400x400px|center]]
|  
+
| <p>On carrying the pike when retreating, and changing face during the retreat</p>
 +
<p>Chapter XI</p>
 +
<p>Battles are uncertain, some are won and some are lost, and it often happens that you must flee. Arriving at this juncture, standing in guard to fight, you abandon the pike with your left hand. Keeping it in your right, with the same grip, you merely have to turn your back, leaving behind your arm as you see in the design. </p>
 +
<p>If you wish to stand firm, and change face, you turn your body, and quickly bring back your right foot, and in rotating your arm you raise the pike in the air. By meeting it as it falls with your left, you come to be in guard. These actions are possible with many embellishments: sliding, throwing, half-throws, and other contrivances, which are typical in academies. </p>
 +
 
| {{section|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf/34|2|lbl=-}}
 
| {{section|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf/34|2|lbl=-}}
  
 
|-  
 
|-  
 
| [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 13.png|400x400px|center]]
 
| [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 13.png|400x400px|center]]
|  
+
| <p>On sliding the pike, and on the sword</p>
 +
<p>Chapter XII</p>
 +
<p>In this design we see the method for sliding the pike back, until it rests on your left hand near the head. The soldier finds his left flank forward, and wishing to avail himself of his arms, and not abandon them, flips over his left hand, which he must use to pass the pike over his head. With this motion he returns to his natural posture, holding the pike, and after can easily put his hand to his sword, without disordering himself by drawing it over his left arm, without moving his feet. </p>
 +
<p>In this way he can easily employ both of them together, to better resist, and fight with the advantage of two weapons, which is obvious to those who know how important this is, and who dedicate themselves to the military arts. However, the prudent never have their fill of practising and learning: demonstrating their strength and agility by throwing the pike in different ways, letting it slide from the point down to the butt, and extracting a thousand new discoveries, all contributing to the completeness of this art. </p>
 +
 
| {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|36|lbl=30}}
 
| {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|36|lbl=30}}
  
 
|-  
 
|-  
 
| [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 14.png|400x400px|center]]
 
| [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 14.png|400x400px|center]]
|  
+
| <p>On the pike and sword in battle</p>
 +
<p>Chapter XIII</p>
 +
<p>Here we demonstrate the use of the pike with the sword. It takes great skill to slide the pike as needed, back and forth with your left hand, a member which itself is weak and poorly disposed, rendered able only through practice. In switching arms, you perform various slides of the pike, always staying in good order, the weapons ready to defend and attack; whether advancing and pressing the enemy, or retreating.  Nor will they impede you changing face, and executing what is suggested by good judgement and necessity, when the solider does not have to change course in these two extremes.</p>
 +
 
 
| {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|38|lbl=32}}
 
| {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|38|lbl=32}}
  
 
|-  
 
|-  
 
| [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 15.png|400x400px|center]]
 
| [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 15.png|400x400px|center]]
|  
+
| <p>On raising the pike to your shoulder while holding your sword in hand</p>
 +
<p>Chapter XIV</p>
 +
<p>The material in this chapter reveals many new discoveries, such as simultaneously changing face and switching hands, sliding, launching the pike, and everything that constitutes the art.</p>
 +
<p>The present method is very proper, quick, and the surest of all. The solider finds himself as shown in the design. Wishing to raise the haft he must lift his elbow level with his shoulder. With it firmly in place he will quickly pass his hand under his neck, and he will grasp the pike by turning his palm. Then he extends his arm, and the haft falls to the ground with ostentatious grace.</p>
 +
 
 
| {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|40|lbl=34}}
 
| {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|40|lbl=34}}
  
 
|-  
 
|-  
 
| class="noline" | [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 16.png|400x400px|center]]
 
| class="noline" | [[file:La Picca (Alfieri) 16.png|400x400px|center]]
| class="noline" |
+
| <p>On raising the pike to your shoulder while holding your sword in hand</p>
 +
<p>Chapter XV</p>
 +
<p>All professors labour to develop what has been discovered, or to refine it. We have demonstrated the progress of the art, without too many subtle niceties, which are difficult to represent without being verbose, and which can only be learned under the discipline of someone teaching. </p>
 +
<p>We are at the last lesson, and this one in itself is very clear, even though it has its particularities, in many regards not very common. I know that in any place where you find the pike, that without abandoning it you can sheath your sword. However, having it raised, resting straight on your shoulder, keeping the butt by the point of your foot, as presented by the figure, staying nicely firm and tight, is a method with much grace and great facility. </p>
 +
<p>Afterwards you are free to take the pole depending upon on your intention and the occasion, and with the sword at your side you can adopt a regular stance, and with a gravity that does not show affectation, you can make peace with your labours. </p>
 +
 
 
| class="noline" |  
 
| class="noline" |  
 
{{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|42|lbl=36|p=1}} {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|44|lbl=38|p=1}}
 
{{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|42|lbl=36|p=1}} {{pagetb|Page:La Picca (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1641.pdf|44|lbl=38|p=1}}
 +
|-
 +
|
 +
| <p>Conclusion of this work</p>
 +
<p>Chapter XVI</p>
 +
<p>There were the brief lessons that I promised, and here is the summary to which I alluded at the start. I did not speak at length in my explanations, to avoid repeating the same things many times, and because in a sense the figures speak for themselves. My spirit is great, but my strength betrays me. Nonetheless I wish to show you in another book the "spadone", the use of hafted weapons at the barriers, the use of the poleaxe, and of sabres. <ref> Alfieri published his treatise on the spadone in 1653, unfortunately there is no evidence the other works suggested here were ever produced.
 +
 +
The reference to the sabre is noteworthy, since the earliest technical coverage of the sabre in an Italian treatise by Marcelli in 1686, over forty years later. Alfieri refers to the sabre in the plural as sable, the singular of which would be sabla. This is much closer to the Spanish word sable, or the Polish word szabla for example than to the modern Italian term sciabola, or the term Marcelli uses (sciabla), which arguably suggests connections outside the Italian peninsula.</ref>  In the meantime, receive this sign of my affection, and if I was not able to delight you much with words, perhaps you will find me more practised in action. </p>
  
 +
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{{master end}}
 
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! <p>{{rating}}<br/></p>
 
! <p>{{rating}}<br/></p>
 
! <p>[[La Scherma (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|Transcription]] (1653){{edit index|L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1653.pdf}}<br/>by [[Andrea Conti]]</p>
 
! <p>[[La Scherma (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|Transcription]] (1653){{edit index|L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1653.pdf}}<br/>by [[Andrea Conti]]</p>
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! <p>{{rating}}<br/></p>
 
! <p>{{rating}}<br/></p>
 
! <p>[[La Scherma (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|Transcription]] (1653){{edit index|L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1653.pdf}}<br/>by [[Andrea Conti]]</p>
 
! <p>[[La Scherma (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|Transcription]] (1653){{edit index|L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1653.pdf}}<br/>by [[Andrea Conti]]</p>
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! <p>{{rating}}<br/></p>
 
! <p>{{rating}}<br/></p>
 
! <p>[[La Scherma (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|Transcription]] (1653){{edit index|L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1653.pdf}}<br/>by [[Andrea Conti]]</p>
 
! <p>[[La Scherma (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|Transcription]] (1653){{edit index|L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1653.pdf}}<br/>by [[Andrea Conti]]</p>
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! <p>{{rating|C}}<br/>by [[James Clark]]</p>
 
! <p>{{rating|C}}<br/>by [[James Clark]]</p>
 
! <p>[[L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|Transcription]] (1653){{edit index|L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1653.pdf}}<br/>by [[Andrea Conti]]</p>
 
! <p>[[L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada (Francesco Fernando Alfieri)|Transcription]] (1653){{edit index|L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada (Francesco Fernando Alfieri) 1653.pdf}}<br/>by [[Andrea Conti]]</p>
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  | source link = https://sword.school/articles/la-bandiera/
 
  | source link = https://sword.school/articles/la-bandiera/
 
  | source title= The School of the Sword
 
  | source title= The School of the Sword
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| work        = Translation (Pike)
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| authors    = [[Piermarco Terminiello]]
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== References ==
 
== References ==
  
{{reflist|1}}
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{{reflist|2}}
 
{{DEFAULTSORT:Alfieri, Francesco Fernando}}
 
{{DEFAULTSORT:Alfieri, Francesco Fernando}}
 
{{Early Italian masters}}
 
{{Early Italian masters}}

Latest revision as of 16:20, 18 November 2020

Francesco Fernando Alfieri

Portrait from 1640
Born 16th century (?)
Died 17th century
Occupation Fencing master
Nationality Italian
Patron Lodovico Vidman
Genres Fencing manual
Language Italian
Notable work(s)

Francesco Fernando Alfieri was a 17th century Italian fencing master. He was Master of Arms of the Accademia Delia in his native Padua, most likely from 1632 until some point in the mid 1650s,[1] his predecessors being fellow Paudans: Bartolomeo Tagliaferro and Gaspare Magnanino. While not the first military academy in the Italian peninsula, it is recorded as the first state academy, with generous support from the city's coffers. The academy appointed Masters in only three disciplines: fencing, equitation, and mathematics, famously turning down Galileo Galilei for the position of professor of mathematics in 1610.

Founded in 1608, the Accademia Delia served as an elite finishing school for the sons of Paduan nobility, a military academy for future cavalry officers, continuing in this form until 1801. The academy's statutes provided for a maximum of sixty students, but in practice there were often fewer. 1632, the year Alfieri began his tenure, bore witness to a difficult period in Padua. In 1631 the city had suffered a terrible epidemic, bringing its population from 30,000 to a mere 13,000, with many of the academy's students losing their lives.

Nevertheless the academy occupied a position of considerable prestige in Paduan society, and in the entire Veneto region. For example on 18 April 1638, in the year Alfieri published La Bandiera, the academy hosted an extravagant festival, with contests and displays of fencing and jousting. This was watched by thousands of spectators, and concluded with a mass in the church of Santa Giustina, with a musical score composed for the occasion by Claudio Monteverdi.

In 1638, Alfieri published a treatise on flag drill entitled La Bandiera ("The Banner"). This was followed in 1640 by La Scherma ("On Fencing"), in which he treats the use of the rapier. Not content with these works, in 1641 he released La Picca ("The Pike"), which not only covers pike drill, but also includes a complete reprint of La Bandiera (complete with title page dated 1638). His treatise on rapier seems to have been especially popular, as it was reprinted in 1646 and then received a new edition in 1653 titled L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada ("The Art of Handling the Sword Well"), which not only includes the entirety of the 1640 edition, but also adds a concluding section on the spadone.

Alfieri dedicates his La Bandiera and La Picca to Lodovico Vidman, whom he indicates was his former student and patron, with L’arte di ben maneggiare la spada dedicated to Lodovico's brother Martino (La Scherma being dedicated to the students at the Accademia Delia in general). The Vidman (or Widmann) family were an extremely wealthy merchant family, originally from Carinthia in present-day Austria, but settled in Venice. Generous patrons of the arts, in the course of the first half of the seventeenth century they were ennobled first by the Holy Roman Emperor, then by the Venetian Senate.

Treatise

Additional Resources

References

  1. Del Negro, Piero. L’Accademia Delia e gli esercizi cavallereschi della nobilità padovana nel Seicento e Settecento in Il gioco e la guerra nel secondo millennio. Edited by Piero Del Negro and Gherardo Ortalli. Treviso: Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche, 2008.
  2. This passage is later self-plagiarised by Alfieri in the introduction to his treatise on the spadone of 1653.
  3. Although taken somewhat out of context, Alfieri appears to be referring to Numbers 21:8: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole” (King James Bible).
  4. Here Alfieri employs a practically untranslatable idiom “tenero di sale”, which refers to a dish lacking in salt but also ironically to a foolish, naïve or credulous person. The translator has replaced this with an approximately equivalent English idiom.
  5. Note the use of fencing terminology to describe actions with the flag, which continues throughout the treatise.
  6. Montanti (singular montante) in fencing terminology refers to rising blows.
  7. Literally “totally covered”, this describes a guard or posture in which your opponent has no direct line of attack, as demonstrated for example in chapters XXV and XXXIV of Alfieri's 1640 treatise on rapier fencing.
  8. Note that this final plate is simply reused from chapter I.
  9. Again this passage is later self-plagiarised in the conclusion to Alfieri's 1653 treatise on the spadone.
  10. According to tradition Lysis of Taras was both a student of Pythagoras and teacher to Epaminondas, although since this would make him impossibly old perhaps two historical figures were conflated. Epaminondas was a renowned Theban general from whom Philip learned in his youth, as a hostage in Thebes.
  11. The braccio (plural: braccia) was an Italian pre-metric unit of measurement. Its length varied by region, although the Venetian and Paduan braccio appear to have been approximately 68.3cm. This was would make Alfieri’s pike approximately 6.12 meters (or 20 foot) long.
  12. Plate armour designed to protect the upper thighs.
  13. A type of helmet, first used by the Spanish, usually with a flat brim and a crest from front to back.
  14. Alfieri published his treatise on the spadone in 1653, unfortunately there is no evidence the other works suggested here were ever produced. The reference to the sabre is noteworthy, since the earliest technical coverage of the sabre in an Italian treatise by Marcelli in 1686, over forty years later. Alfieri refers to the sabre in the plural as sable, the singular of which would be sabla. This is much closer to the Spanish word sable, or the Polish word szabla for example than to the modern Italian term sciabola, or the term Marcelli uses (sciabla), which arguably suggests connections outside the Italian peninsula.