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Scienza d’Arme (Salvator Fabris)

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Lo Schermo, overo Scienza d’Arme
On Defense, or the Science of Arms
Lo Schermo, overo Scienza d’Arme Fabris.jpg
Author(s) Salvator Fabris
Illustrated by
Place of origin Copenhagen, Denmark
Language Italian
Genre(s) Fencing manual
Publisher Henrico Waltkirch
Publication date 1606, 1619, 1622, 1624, 1650, 1672,
1676, 1713
First english
Leoni, 2005
Pages 256 pages
Treatise scans

Sienza e Pratica d’Arme ("Science and Practice of Arms") or De lo Schermo, overo Scienza d’Arme ("On Defense, or the Science of Arms") is an Italian fencing manual written by Salvator Fabris in the 1590s and printed in 1606. It treats the use of the rapier, both solo and in conjunction with the cloak, dagger, and rotella shield; it also discusses unarmed defenses against the dagger. Fabris's treatise is one of the most influential rapier manuals in history, reprinted many times and copied or expanded by numerous other authors.

Publication History

Scienza d’Arme was first printed in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1606 by Henrico Waltkirch. It was based on Fabris' earlier manuscript treatise Scientia e Prattica dell'Arme (GI.kgl.Saml.1868.4040). The text was rewritten in a more flowery style, and the artwork of the manuscript (which was drawn from life) was redrawn in an exaggerated, neoclassical style. It included a title page and portraits engraved by Nicolaus Andrea of Flensburg, coat of arms and most illustrations by Christian IV's court artist Jan van Halbeeck, and additional illustrations by Francesco Valesio. In 1624, Pietro-Paolo Tozzi reprinted the treatise in Fabris' native Padua under the title Della vera pratica et scienza d’armi, libri due, pera di Salvatore Fabris.

The first translation of Frabris was in 1619, a German edition published in Leiden by Isack Elzevier under the title Des Kunstreichen Italiänische Fechtkunst ("The Illustrated Italian Art of Fencing"); this version also replaced the elaborate copperplate engravings of the original with rudimentary woodblock figures. This edition was reissued in Nuremberg in ca. 1650. In 1672, Fabris' work was translated into Latin and published in Württemberg.

Also in 1619, Jacob de Zeter published the first parallel text edition of Fabris' work, including both French and German versions of Book II, under the title Escrime Novvelle ov Theatre ("New Fencing or Theater") in Vienna; two further editions were printed in 1622 and 1624. (This first parallel text was a compendium beginning with Nicoletto Giganti's 1606 treatise Scola, overo teatro, leading some later writers to label Giganti a plagiarist.)[1] In 1676, Johann Joachim Hynitzsch published an Italian-German parallel text in Leipzig, Germany, entitled Sienza e pratica d’arme; this edition included a new preface by Hynitzsch in which he denigrates all prior German translations (including the 1619 edition and the works of Hans Wilhelm Schöffer and Sebastian Heußler), but he omits book II of Fabris' work. This edition was reprinted in Leipzig in 1713.

Fabris' treatise was translated into English by Tom Leoni and published through Chivalry Bookshelf in 2005 under the title Art of Dueling: Salvator Fabris' Rapier Fencing Treatise of 1606; this was reissued through Lulu.com in 2016. In 2010, it was translated into Spanish by Eugenio Garcia-Salmones and published under the title La esgrima o la ciencia de las armas.


1 - 76 Book 1 part 1 - Rapier by Salvator Fabris
76 - 133 Book 1 part 2 - Rapier and dagger by Salvator Fabris
134 - 149 Book 1 part 3 - Rapier and cloak by Salvator Fabris
151 - 218 Book 2 part 1 - Rapier by Salvator Fabris
218 - 242 Book 2 part 2 - Rapier and dagger by Salvator Fabris
243 - 256 Book 2 part 3 - Grappling, dagger, and cloak


[Images available for import.]

Additional Resources


  1. This accusation was first made by Johann Joachim Hynitzsch, who attributed the edition to Giganti rather than Zeter and was incensed that he gave no credit to Fabris.

Copyright and License Summary

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

Work Author(s) Source License
Images Nicolaus Andrea of Flensburg, Jan van Halbeeck, Francesco Valesio Fægtekunstens Venner
Public Domain.png
Transcription Index:Scienza d’Arme (Salvator Fabris)