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The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence (Joseph Swetnam)

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The School of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence
Swetnam title.jpg
Full title The school of the noble and worthy
science of defense. Being the first of
any Englishman's invention, which
professed the said science; so plainly
described, that any man may quickly
come to the true knowledge of their
weapons, with small pains and little
Author(s) Joseph Swetnam
Dedicated to Charles, Prince of Wales
Place of origin London, United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Fencing manual
Publisher Nicholas Okes
Publication date 1617
Pages 198
Treatise scans

The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence is an English fencing manual written by Joseph Swetnam and printed in 1617. This book contains both instructions for the use of weapons, and an in-depth discussion of both proper and improper behavior of those who would wield said weapons, particularly in the context of settling quarrels. The weapons focused on in this book are rapier and dagger, sword and dagger, backsword, single rapier, short sword, and staff.

Publication Information

The first and only edition of The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence was printed in London in 1617 by Nicholas Okes.


A2 - D3 Dedication, Epistles, and Table of Contents.
1 - 15 This first chapter showeth what weapons are chiefly to be learned, with other principal notes worthy observation.
16 - 18 Chap. II. Declaring the difference of sundry means teaching, with a direction for the entrance into the practice with thy weapons.
18 - 28 Chap. III. Fearful examples of murder, with advise to avoid murder.
29 - 31 Chap. IIII. Which showeth unto whom skill belongeth, with the fruits of drunkenness.
31 - 42 Chap. V. The cause of quarrels, and what preparation you ought to be prepared with to answer a challenge.
42 - 52 Chap. VI. Diverse reasons or introductions to bring thee the better unto the knowledge of thy weapon.
53 - 57 Chap. VII. That feare and fury are both enemies to true valour.
58 - 62 Chap. VIII. How the use of weapons came, also the number of weapons used from time to time, with other good instructions.
62 - 67 Chap. IX. Showeth what an excellent thing skill is, with persuasion to all men to forbear the maintaining of idle quarrels.
68 - 74 Chap. X. The tricks of a coward.
74 - 81 Chap. XI. Questions and Answers.
82 - 140 Chap. XI. Showeth of seven principal rules whereon true defense is grounded.
141 - 185 Questions and answers between the master and scholar concerning the staff.
186 - 190 Chap. XII. This chapter showeth the several kind of weapons which are to be played at.
191 - 194 My farewell to Plymouth.
195 - 198 The author's conclusion.


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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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