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Fiore de'i Liberi/Sword in Two Hands/Narrow Play

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Novati Translation Complete translation by Michael Chidester
Getty Translation Complete translation by Colin Hatcher

Paris Translation Draft translation by Kendra Brown and Rebecca Garber
Morgan Translation Complete translation by Michael Chidester

Morgan Transcription (1400s) [edit]
by Michael Chidester

Getty Transcription (1400s) [edit]
by Michael Chidester

Pisani Dossi Transcription (1409) [edit]
by Michael Chidester

Paris Transcription (1420s) [edit]
by Kendra Brown and Rebecca Garber

[No Image]

[48] Here we begin the Narrow Play of the two handed sword, in which you will see all manner of covers, strikes, locks, dislocations, sword disarms and throws to the ground. There will also be the remedies and the counters needed for each situation, whether you are attacking or defending.

Here begins the play of the sword in two hands, the narrow play, the method of breaking all thrusts and cuts, in the which will be every method of covering, striking, and binding, and dislocations, and grapples, and takings of the sword, and beating to the ground in diverse ways. And there will be remedies and counters of every category that should offend or defend.

MS Ludwig XV 13 28r-a.jpg

[49] Because of the way that we stand here crossed,
The play is given to whoever knows more and is swifter:
But since many plays are made from such a crossing,
We will only be making the strongest counters.

We stand with crossed swords, and from this crossing either one of us can make all of the plays that follow. And as I told you earlier, these plays will follow one after the other.

[In the Pisani Dossi, the Scholar is wearing a crown.]

We stand here crossed and from this crossing that we make, all the plays that follow us can be made, and by one of us as easily as the other. And all of these plays will follow, one after the other, as was previously said.

[In the Morgan, the Scholar is wearing a crown.]

MS Latin 11269 26r-c.png
MS Ludwig XV 13 28r-b.jpg

[50] Because of your hilt which I hold in my hand,
I will strike you and your sword will be forfeit to me.

Using the crossing my Master made with his right foot forward, I now complete the first play as follows: I pass forward with my left foot, and I reach over my right arm with my left hand, seizing his sword-grip in the middle, between his hands. And from here I can strike him with either my edge or my point. This grip can be made when fighting with the two-handed sword or the one-handed sword. And I can make this grip by reaching either under or over the crossed swords.

I would strike, and I will hold your sword; restrained by no
Pledge, you conduct yourself so disgracefully
By laws holding me, [which] pierced, you will now die.

From the crossing that the Master has made with his right foot forward, I complete the first play—that is, I step with my left foot and I pass my left hand over my [right] arm and grasp the hilt of his sword in between his hands (in the middle of the hilt), and then I could strike with edge and point. And this catch can be made as easily with the sword in one hand as with the sword in two hands, and this catch can be made as easily crossing under the hands as over.

[In the Paris, the Scholar's sword is in front of his arm.]

Pisani-Dossi MS 22a-c.png

[51] Because my sword has received a blow
And because of this catch, my pommel strikes you in the face.

This is another play that flows from the crossing of my Master. And from that crossing I can make this play and all of the others that follow. In this play I grip my opponent at the elbow as shown, and then strike him in the face with the pommel of my sword. After that I can also strike him in the head with a downward strike before he has a chance to make cover against me.

I strike to your face using this hilt, obviously ferocious.
This because you had knocked the sword using the deepest touch.

This is another play that comes from the crossing of my Master, and as he is crossed, he can make this play and the others that follow after—that is, he can make or grasp the player in this way to strike him in the face with the pommel of his sword. Also, he can strike him in the head with a downward blow before [the player] could make a cover ready.

Pisani-Dossi MS 22a-d.png

[52] This is another strike with my pommel,
Following which the art and the Masters are ready.

This is another pommel strike, which is effective against a man with or without armor. Make this strike quickly if his face is unprotected, and you will certainly hurt him. I can tell you from experience that with this strike you’ll have him spitting out four teeth. From here, if you wish, you can also throw your sword around his neck, as my fellow student will show you next.

This second blow is striking the companion in return using the hilt,
While yet in this place [both] the art and master himself would be speeds.

This is another strike of the pommel and it can be done quickly; if his face is uncovered then do it without fear, because it may be done armored or unarmored. You will bore four teeth from his mouth with this play (as has been proven), and if you wanted, you could throw the sword to his neck as does the Scholar who is after me.

Pisani-Dossi MS 22b-a.png
MS Ludwig XV 13 28v-a.jpg

[53] I send you to the ground in this match;
I have not failed to thrust my sword to your neck.

As the student who preceded me told you, after doing the previous play I now put the sword-edge into your neck. And from here, if I discover that you have no neck armor, I will easily cut your throat.

I, the great one, throw you to the ground, you anticipating something,
I am not cheating to put the sword to your neck using this action.

From the play that came before me and as the Scholar has said, I have placed my sword at your neck and I could cut your throat well because I feel that you do not have an armored collar.

[The Morgan and Paris resemble the Getty, but the Scholar's right foot is inside of (behind) his opponent's right foot.]

Pisani-Dossi MS 22b-c.png

[54] From the right cover I have caught you so well,
That I will lay you out on the ground.

A covering more on the right foretells when I will catch [you] by the throat;
You, sad, are then laid out into the dark earth.

This play is made in this fashion: that is, that one goes with a middle blow against a middle blow to his left side, and then quickly goes to the narrow with a cover. He throws his sword to the neck of his companion, at the same time grasping his right hand with his left (as you see depicted here). He can then throw him to the ground without fail, thrusting his right foot behind [the player's] right.

MS Ludwig XV 13 30r-b.jpg


This play is performed as follows: against a crosswise strike from his left, you meet it with a crosswise strike of your own from your left.[2] Then you quickly move to close range under cover, and then throw your sword around your opponent’s neck, as you see drawn here. From here you can easily throw him to the ground.

[In the Pisani Dossi MS, the Scholar's right foot is outside (in front) of his opponent's right foot.]

During a similar play, we bring you down into the deep earth.
I will accomplish this also; nevertheless I myself <I> remain on my feet.

This is another catch to throw someone to the ground, sword and all—that is, that this Scholar crosses with the player on the right side and steps into the narrow; he pinches the right elbow of the player with his left hand, and then quickly he throws his sword to [the player's] neck, grasping his own sword at the middle (his right foot behind the right of the player). In this way, he throws [the player] to the ground with little honor.

MS Ludwig XV 13 29r-d.jpg

[56] If he covers from his right side, seize his sword with your left hand as shown and strike him with a thrust or a cut. Then after striking him hard, if you wish, you can drop your own sword and cut his face or neck with his own sword, in the manner shown by the student in the next picture.[5]

This is another method of throwing someone to the ground, and it is done in this fashion: the Scholar crosses with the player on the right side and comes to the narrow. He grasps the sword of the player with his left hand (passing the middle of the sword), …

[Text accompanies subsequent image.]

Pisani-Dossi MS 22b-b.png

[57] I have in hand the catch that I have sought with you
For throwing you to the ground with your sword.

Following on from the play of the student before me, I cut my opponent’s face with his own sword, then force him to the ground. Here I am demonstrating just how effective this art really is.

I undertake with my hands the special taking for a
Long time, so that I am able to pitch you, miserable one, into the earth.

…and immediately he throws his sword to the ground and thrusts the player's own sword to his neck, grasping the hilt in the middle—that is, between the hands of the player—with his right foot behind [the player's] right. And in this fashion he throws him to the ground with his own sword.

Pisani-Dossi MS 23b-a.png

[58] This is the cover of the backhand
For making plays of the greatest deceptiveness.

Pisani-Dossi MS 23b-b.png

[59] From the cover of the backhand have I enclosed you here:
You will not be defended from the narrow play nor from strikes.

Pisani-Dossi MS 23b-c.png

[60] This is a strong catch that comes from the backhand:
You are finished striking and your sword is lost.

Cod.1324 21v-a.png
MS Ludwig XV 13 29r-c.jpg

[61] If he covers from his left side, grab his left hand including his pommel with your left hand, and pull it upwards and backwards. From there you will be able to strike him with thrusts and cuts.

MS Latin 11269 28r-b.png


In order for you to be able to overthrow my sword, with the left hand
You have come. But here also, you yourself will die by means of the counter.

[This Master appears to be missing his crown.]

Pisani-Dossi MS 23a-c.png

[63] In this fashion I have bound you so well
That you would be trapped in armor or without:
And your sword will be useless against me;
I make this counter of the taking of the sword with certainty.

If I am crossed at Narrow Play with someone, I can quickly make this move[6] to prevent him from attacking me by taking my sword, or a lock.

This is another counter against the taking of the sword, and it can be made readily and quickly in this fashion. When one comes to cross with you and steps or advances close with his left foot forward, then grasp his hand at the wrist with your left hand (from under his hilt) and turn his sword toward your left side in such fashion as is depicted here. And thus you strike him in the chest, or in the belly, or wherever he likes least.

MS Ludwig XV 13 28v-d.jpg

[64] When I am crossed I move to the Narrow Game, and I place the hilt of my sword between your two hands. Then I push your two hands upwards so that your sword is high. From here I throw my left arm over your arms from the left, binding[7] them with your sword pinned under my left arm. Then I will strike multiple times until I am exhausted. The student who follows me will show you what happens next.

Pisani-Dossi MS 23a-a.png
MS Ludwig XV 13 29r-a.jpg

[65] I locked your arms with my left arm,
And this play is better armored than unarmored:
Also, I counter the taking of the sword,
According to where Master Fiore put me.

The student who is before me has completed the play which I said to do. Your arms have been bound in ligadura mezana (middle bind). Your sword is prisoner, and it can not help you. And with mine I can cause you a lot of injuries. Without doubt I can put my sword to your neck. I can immediately do the play which is after me.

MS Ludwig XV 13 29r-b.jpg

[66] This play follows on from the previous one, where the student struck his opponent multiple times while using his left arm to keep the opponent’s arms and sword pinned. Now I throw my sword at my opponent’s neck as depicted. Then I throw him to the ground to complete the play.

MS Latin 11269 28v-a.png
Pisani-Dossi MS 23a-d.png

[67] I have locked your hand with my sword,
And I will give you a bargain with many strikes to your head;
And I make the counter to the middle taking of the sword:
This bind I have made which arises thus.

On my sword I enclose the palm. You, miserable, also endure many wounds
To the crown of your head. But whatever I bring about
Myself, I make the counter[8] with the sword. And it has very much superior
Power in the bind, because it furnishes very many deeds.

MS Ludwig XV 13 28v-b.jpg
Pisani-Dossi MS 22b-d.png

[68] I have hindered your sword with my arm,
And I have fixed the point of mine in your face:
And I make the counter to the takings of the sword
And all the various other narrow plays.

When I am crossed, I pass with a cover, and I injure you in your arms in this part. And this thrust you get in the face. And if I advance the left foot, both your arms will be bound. Or, that in the other play after me of grabbing you, you are bound at the sword by the hilt's retention.

From the crossed swords I pass with cover and bind[9] your arms as shown, then I thrust my sword into your face. And if I advance the left foot forward I can bind both your arms. Or alternately I can do the play shown next, where I bind your sword by gripping your cross-guard.[10]

[In the Paris, the Master is missing his crown. In the Morgan and Paris, the Master has his hand in position but hasn't grabbed his opponent's arm.]

Pisani-Dossi MS 23a-b.png

[69] I have trapped your sword by the hilt,
And I will make you a great bargain with my edge and my point:
Also, I am the counter to the sword in the raised hand;
I can strike you and you are not able to touch me with the sword.

This is the grip that the student before me said to do to you. I can injure you without danger. I retain your sword's hilt, I will give you cuts and thrusts cheaply (with no risk?). And this play breaks all sword-disarms, and doing it immediately spoils the narrow play.

[In the Getty, the Master is missing his crown.]

I, the very strong, seize your sword in the cross[ing].
From here I would pierce you, already gloomy, with the
Cutting point. And I am called “counter of the sword”, raising
The hand higher. And I prevail to strike a bargain openly with your limb.
You will not be able to touch the sword with any violations.

Here I am making the bind that the previous student told you about, and from this position I can strike you with impunity. I have your sword bound by its cross-guard, and from here I can strike you with both cuts and thrusts. In addition, if done quickly this play can defeat all attempts to take my sword, and if it is done quickly enough it will defeat the opponent’s Narrow Game.

[In the Paris, the Master is missing his crown.]

MS Ludwig XV 13 29v-b.jpg

[70] This play is taken from the first play of the First Dagger Remedy Master, who places his left hand over the opponent’s wrist[12] to take the dagger from his hand. In similar fashion the student here places his left hand over the opponent’s right forearm, rotating it outwards to remove the sword from his right hand…[13]

Using the sword to strike back, I become acquainted with your very own shoulder,
Or I would pierce you, or even at once I would confine this <that> arms.

MS Latin 11269 27v-c.png


…Or from here he can transition to a middle bind, as shown in the second play of the above-mentioned First Dagger Remedy Master.[15] And that bind belongs to this student.[16]

How prudently I drive your very own shoulder and sword by means of [their being]
Joined together. And soon I am able to strike a bargain with you.

Pisani-Dossi MS 23b-d.png

[72] You wanted to lock my sword under your arm
But the counter makes evil come to you here.

I am the counter to the student who preceded me, if he tries to use the second play of the First Dagger Remedy Master against me that you heard about previously, and this is how I am done. And when I do this play I doubt you will be able to remain on your feet holding your sword.[17]

You wanted to confine the sword under your very own deceptive
Shoulder. I am the counter, and this overthrows you to the greatest extent.

MS Ludwig XV 13 29v-d.jpg

[73] I am also a counter to the student who tried to use the second play of the First Dagger Remedy Master against me.[18] From the previous picture, if I now start to cut into his throat, he will stand up a little, and then if I move quickly, I can throw him backwards to the ground.

Pisani-Dossi MS 24a-a.png

[74] From the cover on the right side, thus have I caught you:
My sword will be in your face, and you will be laid out on the ground.

You will be on your back again on the earth, and my sword will hold
Your face. This thoroughly teaches the covering of the powerful right.

MS Ludwig XV 13 30r-c.jpg
Pisani-Dossi MS 24a-b.png

[75] This taking of the sword is called Above;
Which was made a thousand times and more by Fiore Furlano.

This is a high sword disarm. With my left hand I pin his hands, while at the same time I press forwards against his blade with the grip of my sword so that he loses his grip on his sword. Then I will deal him several good strikes. The student who comes after me will show how this play finishes with the opponent’s sword lying on the ground.

That movement by which I rob the man during the playing with the sword
Is called by nearly all “the high on the right” in close fighting weapons,
Which I, Florius, myself demonstrated by many exchanges.

This is the taking of the sword from above: with the hilt of my sword I push forward and with my left hand I grasp his arms in such a way that it would serve him well to lose his sword. And then the Scholar who is after will make a bargain with great strikes. This play he demonstrates as the sword of the player is positioned on the ground.

[In the Paris, the Scholar reaches in front of his opponent's sword, and his foot is outside of (behind) his opponent's.]

MS Ludwig XV 13 30r-d.jpg

[76] Following the disarm performed by the student who came before me, you will feel your sword fall to the ground. And now there is no question as to whether I can strike you.

Because of the catch of the Scholar who came before me which I have made, your sword has fallen to the ground. You can feel that I could thus make you truly wounded.

Pisani-Dossi MS 24a-c.png

[77] Here I make the taking of the sword in the middle,
And I will give you grief with my sword or yours.

This is how you do the middle sword disarm. The rotation of the opponent’s sword is the same as in the first disarm, but the grip on his arm is not the same.

[In the Getty, the Scholar's left foot is outside (in front) of his opponent's.]

I immediately execute the “middle sword taking”
Blow, pressing your limbs using a raging sword,
Either with my own, or by chance yours, which you rely on to be present.

This is the taking of the sword from the middle: whoever knows how to make such turnings of the sword makes this one just as the first is made, save only that the catch is not the same. The first taking of the sword binds both of the arms, but I do not want to have such trouble so I separate one arm and hand from the other. He is not so strong that he could hold [his sword] and keep it from falling. As was said above, I am the taking of the sword from the middle, which was made a thousand times by Fiore Furlano.

[In the Morgan, the Scholar's left foot is outside (in front) of his opponent's.]

Pisani-Dossi MS 24a-d.png

[78] This is the taking of the sword from below:
It will be made well by whoever is a gifted Master in the art.

This is another sword disarm, named the low disarm. The low disarm is performed in a similar way to the high disarm, with the same rotation of the opponent’s sword, following the same path. With your right hand you press his blade forwards, making his sword handle rotate upwards, and you must keep your left hand on his handle as it turns.

The sharp sword is seized thus in the lower position,
Because a skilled person in this art would make anything endure.

This is another taking of the sword, called Below: make this one in the same way as you do those from above and from [the middle][21]—that is, with a turn of the sword. This one follows the way of the others, with the right hand carrying forward a full rotation with the hilt, and the left hand should follow with a full turn.

Pisani-Dossi MS 24b-a.png

[79] I take this sword for my own:
I will do you villainy with a rotation and a taking.

Here’s another way you can take his sword if you are crossed at close range: put your right hand above his and grab his sword at mid-blade keeping it upright, then immediately drop your sword to the ground. Now with your left hand you grab your opponent’s sword under the pommel, and turn it to his left.[23] Then immediately your opponent will be forced to release his sword.

I consider the sword to be mine, which you certainly see.
And by means of turning, I would certainly provide shame for you.
And also I would draw back using my very own hands, unless the fates disagree.

This is another taking of the sword, and it is done in this way: that when one is crossed in the narrow, the Scholar should thrust his right hand under his [sword] and grasp that of the player at the middle or above, immediately releasing his own sword to hit the ground, and with his left hand he should grasp under the pommel of the player's sword and give it a full rotation to the right, and then suddenly the player will have his sword lost and the Scholar, righting [the stolen] sword with a half turn, can strike the player.

  1. The compound subject in the Latin necessitates the plural comparison, but would be rendered with a singular in English.
  2. I’ve added some language here to make the description understandable.
  3. Word bisected by sword.
  4. Added later: "ego".
  5. Fiore actually writes “per lo mood ch’è depento”, “in the manner shown”, but this move is actually not shown until the next drawing.
  6. A presa is a grappling move, a grip (hold) or a grapple.
  7. Fiore uses “ferero” which translates as “strike” or “wound”, but this is clearly a bind.
  8. While contra is not normally a noun and contrario has been the noun for counter thus far, it seems to work best here to make contra a noun.
  9. Again Fiore actually says “fiero in gli toy brazzi”, “I hurt your arms”. But the move is a bind.
  10. “Elsa”, “elso”, “elzo”,”elço” are all variations on the word for “hilt”. But the picture clearly shows the bind is around his sword blade and the grip is made on the opponent’s cross-guard, not his sword handle. Hence I have translated “elzo” as “cross-guard”.
  11. "a farlo subito" appears twice, but neither is struck out.
  12. Fiore actually writes that you grip him “below the dagger” Fiore means you grip the opponent’s dagger arm around the wrist. This play is taken from the dagger play at Getty 10v-a. I’ve changed the language to make this understandable.
  13. I’ve again added some language here to make this play more understandable.
  14. Added later: "eum".
  15. The second play of the First Dagger Remedy Master (the middle bind) is found at Getty 10v-c.
  16. “Ligadura” translates as “bind”, or “lock”, as in binding or locking a joint so that it cannot move. By “That bind belongs to this student” Fiore means that it is this student from this position who could demonstrate it for us.
  17. Meaning he is going to drive you forwards face first into the ground. Note, this counter is also seen in the dagger plays and is taken from Getty 10v-d.
  18. Meaning another counter against the student in Getty 29v-b.
  19. Corrected from "o" to "i".
  20. "se fa ad... sono inguali" partially effaced.
  21. Text says "from below", but appears to be referring to the previous two sword-takings.
  22. Added later: "scilicet".
  23. Fiore says “a man riversa”, which means “to the left”. The turn however is clockwise, which is to your right. That means HIS left.
  24. Word bisected by sword.
  25. Word bisected by sword.
  26. Word bisected by sword.
  27. Word bisected by sword.