What was Sicilian fencing like?

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What was Sicilian fencing like?

Postby admin » 24 Apr 2006 15:04

VILLARDITA, Giuseppe.
Trattato della scherma siciliana, etc.
Palermo: Carlo Adamo, 1673.
http://www.antique-swords.co.uk/

I like swords more than you.
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Postby J Marwood » 24 Apr 2006 15:50

There is a book out there on sicilian knife, but I believe the legitimacy of it is questioned.

There was a reference on the western arts yahoo group to 'Cajun Fencing' from Louisiana (L'epee de bayou) (basically a request for info). Has anyone else heard of this?
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Postby Monster Zero » 24 Apr 2006 16:31

3 books now on the Sicilian knife: http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showt ... p?t=163768

The legitimacy is questionable, but it seems to have been accepted by the folks over at bladeforums.com
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Postby J Marwood » 24 Apr 2006 16:42

They get very much poo-poo'ed at SFI.

I keep meaning to pick them up though as it could well be interesting. I remember reading some stuff when I did my degree about experienced and well-trained Sicilian assassins being brought to the US to work. Apparently they were famed for the garotte and the knife but I've never managed to find out more.
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Postby Monster Zero » 24 Apr 2006 16:45

I have the Sicillian Blade 2.

It's more a historical fiction novel with the Benedicara info that Paladin didn't publish in the first one.

Haven't read it yet...

I have 4 2-foot high stacks of books to read and that's one of em in the queue.
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Postby Paul » 24 Apr 2006 16:47

J Marwood wrote:I remember reading some stuff when I did my degree about experienced and well-trained Sicilian assassins being brought to the US to work. Apparently they were famed for the garotte and the knife but I've never managed to find out more.

Then again being an assassin is more about getting close unnoticed and finding the weak spots (like Fairbairn) than about the knife "duelling" which I associate with traditional knife methods (like the Manual del Baratero). Btw, given the link between Sicily and Catalonia the knife techniques might have been similar. Just a guess...

I have no idea what the focus of this book is. It has been a long time since I read those threads.
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Postby Carlo » 24 Apr 2006 18:57

Hi Matt,
I may be looking in that direction in the future, although my rapier studies have not been satisfying and Italian sabre appeals to me more at the moment.
Anyway, quoting other Italian sources, southern Italians retained longer than northern's swords, basically, in the South swords remained rapier like, while the North transitioned to smallswords.
For what I've seen, late renaissance and post renaissance fencing in Italy tends to make use of techniques that are not, as far as I know, much praised elsewhere (like the impuntata and the ubiquitous controcavazione). Parries evolve into different forms and some authors praise the parate di picco (the most violent ones), but this is true for those authors that base their fencing on the parry-riposte over the single time play. But this latter point is again weapon related, more than mindset related: why you employ the same geometry in a different fiming with different kinds of thrusting weapons shouldn't be much of a mistery, nor generate the belief that the two do not compare.
Most late renaissance and post renaissance stuff I've seen seem to depart very gradually from certain rapier axioms, and certain ones are never lost.
In particular, the idea that touching the other guy's sword will initiate a fatal exchange, and that the way in which you get in contact with the said sword is a vital parameter never seems to disappear. Whereas we note that in the English tradition the engagement is, in a certain lapse of time, considered a "safe" situation.


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