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Ben Welch




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Mar, 2010 12:33 pm    Post subject: Venetian Swordsmenship?         Reply with quote

Being such a war like culture, I'm suprised I haven't heard of any specific fighting style attributed to the Republic of Venice. Is there such a thing? If anything I'd assume it would just be an off-shoot of the Bolognese style.
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Mar, 2010 12:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Its worth remembering that "styles" are always an abstraction. There were lots of individual masters, some whose approaches were very similar (like the different masters in the Bolognese tradition), and we know about a few of these because they wrote books or were mentioned in books.

Giacomo di Grassi published a book on fencing in Venice in 1571, but I'm not sure if he was born or lived in Venice. Niccolo Giganti is one Venetian master who published a book. Tom Leoni has just published a translation of his rapier manual.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Sat 27 Mar, 2010 12:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ironically, you ask this question almost right after the release of the new book Venetian Rapier by Tom Leoni, which is largely a wonderful English translation of the fencing treatise of the Venetian Nicoletto Giganti. You can find it at:

http://www.freelanceacademypress.com/

(*edit: Sean beat me to it!*)

You'll find that Venetial rapier would also be similar to Milanese rapier, and so forth throughout Northern Italy. While different masters had different takes on specific elements of their arts, you can still generally look at Italian swordsmanship from a specific time period from a fairly holistic point of view.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Ben Welch




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Mar, 2010 1:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting, I've never seen Nicoletto Giganti's works (not that that means anything I've had limited experience with the masters.) However when I asked the question I was leaning toward military treatsies. Venice was a military powerhouse, I would find it unlikely that a country that was seen as a threat the the whole of Europe would not have recorded it's fighting culture. I do understand that most armies were hired mercenaries but still there had to be some government forces.
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Greg Mele
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PostPosted: Sat 27 Mar, 2010 5:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben Welch wrote:
Interesting, I've never seen Nicoletto Giganti's works (not that that means anything I've had limited experience with the masters.) However when I asked the question I was leaning toward military treatsies. Venice was a military powerhouse, I would find it unlikely that a country that was seen as a threat the the whole of Europe would not have recorded it's fighting culture. I do understand that most armies were hired mercenaries but still there had to be some government forces.


Viggiani also published in Venice, but was teaching an offshoot of the Bolognese school.

Greg Mele
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www.freelanceacademypress.com
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Boris R.





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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 5:45 am    Post subject: Re: Venetian Swordsmenship?         Reply with quote

Ben Welch wrote:
Being such a war like culture


no they weren't, they were a culture of Merchants. and of the kind that would sell everything to everyone.
even in Shakespeare's time they were infamous as betrayers of trust, stabbers of the back, and breakers of oaths.
but warriors they were not, as they would rather pay others to do battle in their name.

Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 10:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben Welch wrote:
Interesting, I've never seen Nicoletto Giganti's works (not that that means anything I've had limited experience with the masters.) However when I asked the question I was leaning toward military treatsies. Venice was a military powerhouse, I would find it unlikely that a country that was seen as a threat the the whole of Europe would not have recorded it's fighting culture. I do understand that most armies were hired mercenaries but still there had to be some government forces.

You're right that Venice had a powerful militia (and parts of their land empire provided soldiers too). But I don't understand whether you want to learn about the Venetian army and navy, or about fencing in Venice.

Most books on the martial arts claimed that they taught something useful in war, although in practice they usually focused on the formal duel. There isn't a lot of information on the simple training with military weapons which was probably more common, probably because it was so widely available that nobody would buy a book about it.

I don't know much about books on warfare published in Renaissance Venice, so I can't help you there. There is a modern book by J.R. Hale and Michael Mallett if you're interested though.
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Ben Welch




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 10:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My main intrest is army/navy over civilian fencing. My main question is wether the military trainers took time to write any information down as a record of their own teachings. As I said before I'd expect this to be similar to the Bolognese style in many way.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Apr, 2010 2:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben Welch wrote:
My main intrest is army/navy over civilian fencing. My main question is wether the military trainers took time to write any information down as a record of their own teachings. As I said before I'd expect this to be similar to the Bolognese style in many way.


Well, then, in that case you'd probably be better served by looking at military drill manuals rather than fencing manuals. In the drill manuals dating from the 16th century onwards, especially in the sections for the pike, you'll sometimes find some basic guidelines for the use of drastically pared-down methods of swordsmanship--not quite whole swordsmanship systems in themselves, but probably more accurate for a military impression except if you're trying to play the part of a relatively high-status personality (such as an officer or a gentleman volunteer).
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