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Maestro Fiore dei Liberi
Victorian Martial Arts
Other Italian Masters



FILIPPO VADI, c.1480's

Filippo Vadi was a fencing master who came from Pisa and wrote a manual for Duke Guidubaldo of Urbino. He wrote this some time between 1482 and 1487, and this places his work some 70 or more years later than Fiore's. We currently know nothing else about Vadi as a person. 
His treatise, now stored at the National Library in Rome, has many common features to Fiore's book, and it seems that there is common material between Vadi's book and the Pisani-Dossi version of Fiore's manuscript. Many of the techniques seem exactly the same as in Fiore's manual, while others are very similar, perhaps only being different in artistic representation.
The differences however make the book far more interesting. The differences range from actual application of techniques, to the position of various guards, to fundamental structural differences: Vadi's treatise has no mounted section, and unlike any of the three versions of Fiore's book, Vadi's book starts with sword and finishes with dagger.
Vadi's prologue closely echoes some of the material from Pisani-Dossi's prologue, but also adds completely new material that gives us a new perspective.

An English translation and colour reproduction of Vadi's treatise by Luca Porzio and Greg Mele is available to buy and there is also an Italian publication on the same source by Marco Rubboli and Luca Cesari.

You can also view more pictures from Filippo Vadi's manual at the ARMA website


This source survives as some hand-written, apparently un-published notes in Ravenna.  The source as a whole appears to be in the Bolognese tradition and to date from the end of the 15thC or the beginning of the 16thC.  It covers a range of material in some detail and stands apart from the known Bolognese sources for including pollaxe techniques (which are quite similar to Manciolino's bill plays), gripping the sword like a bastard sword, sometimes in two hands, and the use of a left-hand gauntlet, as well as some of the more usual Bolognese material (such as sword and buckler).  Sala d'Arme Achille Marozzo have more information online in Italian.


Antonio Manciolino is another important Italian fencing master for whom we have a treatise surviving. His 'Opera Nova' of 1531 survives in many copies. Manciolino was part of the Dardi/di Lucca school, based in Bologna, and associated with the University. Manciolino and Marozzo's appear to have been contemporaries, though Marozzo seems to achieved greater fame. On some topics Manciolino is a clearer source than Marozzo, though it is unillustrated. 

We thank the great efforts of Jherek Swanger, who has put online an English translation of the first third of Manciolino's Opera Nova of 1531.

Also we thank Craig Pitt-Pladdy, formerly of Schola Gladiatoria and now living in Italy, for his great works translating more of Manciolino into English - this can be found on the HEMAC site.

ACHILLE MAROZZO, 1532 (and republished many times afterwards)

Marozzo's 'New Work' (Opera Nova) was published repeatedly through the 16thC from the 1530's onwards and into the 17thC, such was the fame that this book achieved.  He has been described as the greatest of Di Lucca's students and his treatise covers a massive range of material.  Marozzo and Manciolino differ in details, as two individual Masters normally will, but are clearly part of the same lineage.

PDF download

Giovanni Rapisardi's observations on Marozzo

PDF English translation


Viggiani wrote Lo Schermo around 1550, but it was not published until 1575, 15 years after his demise, by his brother in Venice.

A User's Guide to Lo Schermo by Jherek Swanger.

Book Three of Viggiani's Lo Schermo by Jherek Swanger.


Another Bolognese Master in the Bardi/Dardi/di Lucca tradition - He dates from perhaps a generation later than Marozzo and Manciolino, and while his art has obviously evolved, he shows a great degree of continuity in the Bolognese tradition; at a time when the rapier treatises were started to predominate in Italy he is still using a much more cut and thrust style.

William Wilson's work-in-progress translation into English is here


I have deliberately not included any of the rapier treatises (which date from the middle of the 16thC onwards).


Contact: schola-gladiatoria@hotmail.co.uk

Last update: 28/10/2007