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The following is an English translation (work in progress) by Matt Easton of the prologue to the 'Morgan' version of 'Fior di Battaglia' (version kept by Pierpont Morgan Library in New York USA). 

It is a first draft and is based up the transcription of the Sala d'Arme Achille Marozzo.  Thanks to those who have assisted.

Microfilm or prints of the Pierpont Morgan Library's version of Fior di Battaglia can be bought directly from them, and do not officially appear online.


You will notice a remarkable similarity to the Getty prologue, but there are differences.  Morgan has no dedication to a patron, and so does not mention Niccolo III d'Este at all.  Also intriguingly, where in Getty Fiore says that he has laid out his treatise as directed by Niccolo, here in Morgan he says he has laid out the order of his treatise according to his own intellegence - and we get a different order to the book, starting with mounted fighting first.


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Fior Furlan de Civida dĺAustria which son of Mis. Benedetto, of the noble house of Liberi of Premagiaco [Premariacco], of the diocese of the Patriarchate of Aquilegia, in his youth wanted to learn about armour and the art of combat in the barriers a oltranza (to the death) of lance [spear/lance], pollaxe , sword and dagger and of wrestling on foot and on horse, in armour and without armour. Also, he wanted know tempere [attitude/temper] of iron. And features of each weapon, both in defence and offence, and most of all the matters of combat a oltranza [to the death]. Also other beautiful and secret things which are known by very few men in the world. And these are things very true, and of a massive offence and defence, and things you can not fail in, being so easy to do, which art and teachings were spoken of  above. And the said Fiore learnt of these things from many German masters. Also many Italians in many provinces and in many cities with massive fatigue and with great expense, and by the Grace of God from many masters and students. And in courts of great Signori, Princes, Dukes, Marquises, and Counts, Knights and Squires, in many to promote this art, which the said Fiore was many many times requested by many Signori and Knights and Squires who wanted to learn from the said Fiore this art of arming and of combat in the barriers a oltranza [to the death]. This art he has shown to many Italians and Germans and other great Signori, who had to fight in the barriers. And also to infinite numbers who did not need to fight. And of some of them, who have been my students, who have had to fight in combat in the barriers, I am going to give memory and name of some of them here:

And the first notable and gallant knight was Misser Piero dal Verde [Piero del Verde], who had to fight with Misser Piero dala Corona [Piero 'della Corona'], who were both German. And the battle was in Perosa.

Also the valiant knight Misser Nicol˛ _________ [Borialino?], a German who had to fight with Nicol˛ Inghileso and the field was set in Imola.

Also the notable, valiant and gallant knight Misser Galeazzo delli Capitani da Grimello, called da Mantoa [Galeazzo da Mantova], who had to fight with the valiant knight Misser Brišichardo de franza [Marshal Boucicault of France], and the field was set in Padoa [Padova? Padua?].

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Also the valiant squire Lanzilotto de Boecharia [Lancilotto Beccaria] of Pavia, who made six thrusts [strikes] of sharp-ironed [sharp-headed] lance on horse, against the valiant knight Misser Baldesar, a German, and also had to fight in the barriers and this in Imola.

Also to the valiant squire Zohanni de Baio da Milano, who in the castle in Pavia with the valiant squire ____ [Sram? Gram?], a German, achieved three thrusts [strikes] of sharp-ironed [sharp-headed] lance on horse, and then on foot three strikes of pollaxe and three strikes of sword and three strikes of dagger, in the presence of the very noble Signor the Duke of Milan, and of the Madonna the Duchess and of infinite other Signori (Gentlemen) and Donne (Ladies).

Also to the cautious knight Misser Azo di Castelbarcho [Azzone Francesco di Castelbarco], who one time had to fight with Zohanni di li Ordelaffi (Giovanni di Ordilaffi]. And another time with the valiant and good knight Misser Jacomo de Besen, and the field had to be chosen by Signor the Duke of Milan. Of these and others whom I, Fiore, have taught, I am very content, because I have been well paid and I obtained the honour and the love of my students and of their relatives.

Also, I say that when I taught this art I taught it secretly, so that no other person was present except for the student and some close relatives.

Also, it happened that when others were present they stayed with Sacramental promise not to divulge the plays they saw from me, Fiore. And most of all I was wary of fencing Masters and of their students. And they invited me, the Masters, out of envy, to fight with sharp and pointed swords in an arming jacket, without any other armour except for a pair of chamois leather gloves, and all this had happened because I did not want to practice with them nor teach them anything of my art. And this accident happened five times, so that I have been requested ['called out']. And five times, for my honour, I have had to fight in strange places, without relatives and without friends, not trusting others, but in God an the art and in myself, Fiore, and in my sword. And by the grace of God I, Fiore, remained with honour and without scars upon my person. Also I, Fiore, told my students who had to fight in the barriers that combat in the barriers is much much less dangerous than a combat with sharp and pointed swords in an arming jacket. Because he who plays with sharp swords, failing just a single cover that hit gives him death. And one who fights in the barriers and is well armoured, and can receive a lot of wounds, but still he can win the battle. Also, it is another thing that rare times [rarely] does anybody perish because they grab and grapple.

Thus I say that I would rather fight three times in the barriers than just one time with sharpened swords, like I said above. And thus I say that the man who fights in the barriers, being well armoured and knowing the art of combat, and having advantages which can be obtained, if he is not valiant and victorious he would like to hang himself, although I can say that for the grace of god never has one of my students has been a looser in this art. They have always remained with honour in this art. Also I, the aforementioned, say that these Signori (Gentlemen), knights and squires, to whom I showed this art of combat, have been content with my teachings, not wanting another master

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than the said Fiore. Also I say that none of these students have ever had a book in the art of combat, but for Misser Galeaz di Manthoa [Galeazzo da Mantova]. Well he said that without books no one can be a good master or student in this art. And I, Fiore, confirm that this art is so long that there is no man in all the World who has such a great memory to be able to remember, without a book, a fourth part [quarter] of this art. So that with only knowledge of fourth part [quarter] of this art it would not be possible to be a master anymore. That I, Fiore, knowing how to read and to write and to draw, and having books in this art and having studied it well for XL [40] years and more, am also not a perfectly good master in this art. Well then that I am held by great Signori, who have been my students, a good and perfect master in this art. And if I say that if I had studied for 40 years law, in politics and medicine as I studied the art of armed combat, I would have been doctor in these three sciences. And in this science of armed combat I had big troubles with strain and expenses, to be even a good student amongst others.

Considering that in this art you can find in the World few masters, and wanting that there be a memory of me in this art I will make a book in all the art and of all the things I know and of iron and of tempere [temper/attitude] and of other things following that we know to do for the better and in order for more clarity. 

Starting the book following my intellect in a way that anybody will know the meaning easily. And we will make comparisons of five things. That is of masters who are in guard. And of masters that are the remedy and of scholars and of players and of counters of masters and of scholars.

These masters that stay in posta, that is guards, consider a posta like a guard. If posta means one is posing against another [an opponent] and a guard it is to say that you guard from an enemy, and often it is to say that posta and guard that forteza [strength/fortress]. That one can hardly break the posta without facing some serious danger on purpose.

These masters that are in guard they are one against the other and not touching one weapon with the other. And these masters will wear a crown on their heads.

The other crowned masters that go after will also wear crowns. And they are called master remedy. Those which play with these masters and with their scholars are called players. And the scholars of these master remedies wear an emblem [garter] under to their knees.

And principia [principally?] follow what master remedy does in the covers and the grips.

And doing many plays that I know master remedy will make until a lot that is found to the contrary of the master remedy and of his scholars. And this contrary will wear one crown on the head and one emblem [garter] under the knee. Because he is the contrary of the master and scholars, he carries many emblems [garters] luy that the master remedy and all of his scholars.

And in other places you will find the contrary immediately after the remedy. And in other places you will find the contrary after all the plays of the master remedy. We know that this contrary is done to the master remedy when contrary breaks all of his plays which covered overo presa ch'ello fava. Following that you find the painting and writing is good, easily their intention is laid down.

And commencing first with horse, of lance, and of sword, and of wrestling. And then after of lance on foot and then of sword in armour and then of sword in two hands, gioco largo [wide play], and then streto [gioco stretto=narrow play], and then play of pollaxe and then you will certainly leave, and then of sword in one hand, and then plays of wrestling on foot and then plays of dagger.

And for this way you will see all the art of armed combat in this book that you can not fail anything much, the text speaking well above the drawn figures.





Translation draft copyright of Matt Easton 2005.

This page was composed by Matt Easton - Last update: 22/06/2005