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Paradoxes of Defence (George Silver)

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Paradoxes of Defense
Paradoxes of Defense.jpg
Title page of the first edition
Full title Paradoxes of defence, wherein is proved
the true grounds of fight to be in the short
auncient weapons, and the short sword
hath the advantage of the long sword or
long rapier, and the weakness and
imperfection of the rapier fight displayed.
Author(s) George Silver
Dedicated to Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Place of origin London, England
Language English
Genre(s) Fencing manual
Publisher Richard Field (for Edward Blount)
Publication date 1599
Pages 72
Treatise scans

Paradoxes of Defence is an English fencing manual written by George Silver and printed in 1599. It was written as a reaction to the foreign fencing masters that had begun teaching in England during Silver's time, and seeks to explain why their teachings were flawed and inferior to the native English fencing traditions that Silver espoused. He wrote a second volume entitled Brief Instructions upon My Paradoxes of Defence which outlined his preferred method of fencing according to the English style, but for unknown reasons it was never published.

Publication History

Paradoxes of Defense was published in London, England by Edward Blount in 1599. A presentation manuscript was prepared for the earl, which is preserved as Additional MS 34192. Paradoxes was reprinted in 1898 in a new edition that incorporated Silver's Brief Instructions upon My Paradoxes of Defense, edited by Cyril G. R. Matthey and published by George Bell and Sons.


A3r - A6v Dedication To the Right Honorable Robert, Earle of Essex
1 - 3 An Admonition to the Noble, Ancient, Victorious, Valiant, and Most Brave Nation of Englishmen
3 - 12 Issues with claimed Swordmasters
12 - 26 The Acquisition of Skill
26 - 27 The Principles of Fighting
27 - 44 Of Weapons and Vantages
45 - 47 Questions and Answers between the Scholar and the Master
47 - 56 Of Skilled Men and Valiant Men
56 - 62 Of Rapiers and Poniards
62 - 63 Conclusions
64 - 72 A Brief Note on Three Italian Teachers of Offense


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Additional Resources

The following is a list of publications containing scans, transcriptions, and translations relevant to this article, as well as published peer-reviewed research.


Copyright and License Summary

For further information, including transcription and translation notes, see the discussion page.

Work Author(s) Source License
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Transcription Early English Books Online Index:Paradoxes of Defense (George Silver).pdf