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Diogo Gomes de Figueyredo

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Diogo Gomes de Figueyredo
Born ca. 1600
Died 30 September 1685
  • João Gomes Quaresma (father)
  • Diogo Gomes de Figueyredo (son)
Patron Prince Theodoszio
Genres Fencing manual
Language Portuguese
Notable work(s)
  • Oplosophia e Verdadeira Destreza das Armas (1628)
  • Memorial Da Prattica do Montante (1651)

Dom Diogo Gomes de Figueyredo (d. 1685) was a 17th century Portuguese soldier, diplomat, and fencing master. Little is known about his early life, but it seems likely that he studied fencing from a young age. He notes in his first treatise that he studied under a Diestro named Gonçalo Barbosa. His military career started in 1626, when he embarked from Lisbon with the royal armada and shipwrecked in Gascony. Figueyredo continued in the military through the Portuguese War of Restoration (1640 - 1665). He commanded in at least three of the five major battles in that war, and was credited for the victories at Montijo and Linhas de Elvas; he was also involved in many of the smaller encounters in the war, including the defense of the town of Almeida. Figueyredo also served the crown as master at arms, including instructing the young Prince Theodoszio in fencing.[1]

Aside from his martial pursuits, Figueyredo was a renowned writer and poet. In Templo da Memoria, Manuel do Galhegos applauds him as such to celebrate the Dukes of Bragança. Barbosa Machado cites one ode that comes from Memorias Funebres dedicated to D. Maria de Athaide and a song in Panegyrico which pays tribute to the death of Field Marshall André de Albuquerque.[1]

Perhaps it is no surprise, then, that Figueyredo is the author of at least two fencing manuals. He composed the first in 1628, titled Oplosophia e Verdadeira Destreza das Armas ("Hoplosophy and the True Skill of Arms",[2] MS Vermelho.nº.91). This is a rapier text following the Carrancista tradition of la Verdadera Destreza. His second treatise, written in 1653, was Memorial Da Prattica do Montante ("Memorial of the Practice of the Montante", MS 49.III.20.nº.21). In contrast to his earlier work, this treatise focuses on the montante (greatsword), a weapon that was the centerpiece of the older esgrima antigua ("ancient fencing") tradition which the Destreza supplanted. This abandonment of the new Spanish art in favor of traditional Iberian fencing is thought to be symbolic of Figueyredo's loyalty to the cause of Portuguese independence.[1]

Figueyredo's activities after the war are unknown; ultimately, he died on 30 September 1685 and was buried in the convent at Trinidade.


Additional Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Myers, Eric, and Hick, Steve. Memorial of the Practice of the Montante. The Oakeshott Institute, 2009. Retrieved 24 November 2010.
  2. For a discussion of the meaning of "hoplosophy", see Lois Spangler. "Destreza: On the meaning of Oplosophia". Storytrade, 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 This is the order of the original, but they are likely transposed, and should be revez and talho instead.