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De duello, vel De re militari in singulari certamine (Paride del Pozzo)

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De duello
Questions of Honor and Arms
Pozzo title image.png
Full title De duello, vel De re militari in singulari
Author(s) Paride del Pozzo
Place of origin Napoli, Italy
Publisher Sixtus Riessinger
Publication date 1471, 1476, 1501, 1509, 1515, 1518,
1521, 1523, 1525, 1530, 1536, 1540,
1543, 1544, 1560, 1580
Pages 376 pages
Treatise scans

De duello, vel De re militari in singulari certamine ("On the Duel, or On Military Matters in Single Combat") is an Italian treatise on dueling laws and customs written in Renaissance Latin by Italian jurist Paride del Pozzo and first published in 1471-2. It is particularly important due to its detailed descriptions of dueling laws and customs, which help establish the context of 15th century fighting systems, and also of incidents from specific historical duels, which shed light on how fighting looked in practice.

Pozzo's treatise seems to have been quite popular, published in at least sixteen editions over the subsequent century and translated into three other languages; sections were also lifted by Achille Marozzo and formed one the of core components of his own enormously popular treatise on Bolognese fencing.

Publication History

The Italian edition of De duello, vel De re militari in singulari certamine was printed in Naples by Sixtus Riessinger in the mid-late 1470s;[1] it was originally written and published in Latin, but the publisher is unknown and this edition is typically dated to 1471-2. The Italian text only includes ten of the eleven Latin books (and adds the chapters of Book 10 to Book 9), but most chapters are significantly longer and include material not found in the Latin. The two editions had different audiences, with the Latin being directed at other jurists and the Italian directed at soldiers and princes; the Italian edition appears to be an expanded, revised translation of the Latin.

The Latin text was reset and printed in 1509 and 1515 in Milan, and in 1543 by Benedictum Bonnyn in Lyon, France. There are also two 15th century Latin manuscripts preserved in Bergamo,[2] though it's unclear at this time whether they represent copies of the first edition or Pozzo's own drafts.

The Italian edition was reset, with updated spelling and punctuation, and printed in Venice several times in the 16th century, including in 1518, 1521, 1523, 1525, 1530, 1536, 1540, and 1544. Furthermore, 77 chapters were integrated into Book 5 of Achille Marozzo's 1536 treatise Opera nova; Marozzo's work also saw several editions over the subsequent century (including in 1546, 1550, 1567, 1568, and 1615).

Pozzo's Italian text was translated to Spanish at least twice. The first was in ca. 1501 by Diego Enriquez de Castillo, preserved in two manuscripts held by the Biblioteca Nacional de España, MSS 936 and 944. This translation doesn't seem to have ever been published. In 1544, the Italian was translated to Spanish again and this time published in Seville by Dominico de Robertis, under the title Libro llamado batalla de dos ("Book Called the Battle of Two").

In ca. 1580, the Italian version was translated to English by Thomas Bedingfield and titled Questions of Honor and Arms. This translation is preserved in a single manuscript held by the Folger Shakespeare Library, MS V.b.104,[3] and doesn't seem to have ever been published. Additionally, Sir William Segar wrote a heavily-abridged English edition (source language unclear) titled The Booke of Honor and Armes, which was published in London by Richard Jhones in 1590.


Ir - VIv Table of contents
1r - 27r Book 1 by Paride del Pozzo
27r - 40v Book 2, "On the place of combat or battle" by Paride del Pozzo
40v - 48r Book 3, "On the duel" by Paride del Pozzo
48r - 49v Book 4, "On armaments" by Paride del Pozzo
49v - 54v Book 5, "On the need of a champion" by Paride del Pozzo
54v - 78r Book 6,"On the causes for dueling" by Paride del Pozzo
78v - 112v Book 7, "On noble fights and on [rebrociis]" by Paride del Pozzo
113r - 148r Book 8, "On cases of duels and pacts to fight" by Paride del Pozzo
148r - 168v Book 9, "On capture and redemption in duels" by Paride del Pozzo
168v - 178r Book 10, "On heraldry and unsaying" by Paride del Pozzo
178r - 180v Book 11, "On the decision and appeal in making battle" by Paride del Pozzo


Title pages

1476 edition (Latin)
Pozzo title 1.jpg
1476 edition (Italian)
Pozzo title 1a.png
1509 edition (Latin)
Pozzo title 1c.jpg
1515 edition (Latin)
Pozzo title 1d.jpg
1518 edition (Italian)
Pozzo title 2.jpg
1521 edition (Italian)
Pozzo title 3.jpg
1523 edition (Italian)
Pozzo title 4.jpg
1523 edition (Italian)
Pozzo title 5.jpg
1525 edition (Italian)
Pozzo title 6.png
1530 edition (Italian)
Pozzo title 7.jpg
1536 edition (Italian)
Pozzo title 8.jpg
1540 edition (Italian)
Pozzo title 9.jpg
1543 edition (Latin)
Pozzo title 10.jpg
1544 edition (Italian)
Pozzo title 11.jpg
1544 edition (Spanish)
Pozzo title 12.jpg
1560 edition (Italian)


1501 edition (Spanish)
MS.936 001r.png
1501 edition (Spanish)
MS.944 001r.png
1580 edition (English)
MS V.b.104 003r.jpg

Additional Resources


  1. Bibliographies offer dates ranging from 1470 to 1478, but as Riessinger seems to have only opened his shop in Naples in 1475, it can't have been earlier than that; most bibliographies settle on 1476-7, which is what is assumed in this article.
  2. See entry 1 and entry 2 in the Manus Online catalog of the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico delle Biblioteche Italiane e per le informazioni bibliografiche.
  3. See the record in the Hamnet Folger Library Catalog of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Copyright and License Summary

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

Work Author(s) Source License
Latin (1471) Kendra Brown Index:De duello, vel De re militari in singulari certamine (Paride del Pozzo)
Italian (1521) Michael Chidester Index:Duello, libro de re (Paride de Pozzo)
Spanish (1544) Michael Chidester Index:Libro llamado batalla de dos (Paride del Pozzo)
English (1580) David Kite Index:Questions of Honor and Arms (MS V.b.104)