The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Fiore dei Liberi and his treatises Fior di Battaglia/Flos Duellatorum c.1410.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby Sean M » 20 Oct 2012 18:17

Michael Chidester wrote:
Sean M wrote:I think that the tenth guard is horizontal Posta di Donna (L, refused) in the Morgan and BNF so I'm not certain what happened there.

I don't attach much significance to the angle of the blade in a given illustration of Donna.

I include it in my catalogue because its an objective variable. Whether or not its an important one is subjective. I am just at the beginning of my cataloguing.

CPenney wrote:Also, a forward-weighted di dona does not exist in the PD. The only thing I can imagine you are referring to is the sword-axe - I will acknowledge that the closest thing it looks like to any of the poste is di dona, but that is not di dona. I suspect the pose is intended to show off the sword/axe, rather than a guard or position.

Well, you're right that the sixth way of holding the sword doesn't name itself in the "short text" couplet of the PD. But we can observe that he is in fact standing in Posta di Donna (as most of those masters stand in a guard whose name we know from elsewhere). And in the "long text" of the six ways of holding the sword, the sixth master calls itself Posta di Donna. Fiore tells us that he has written his book to be as easy to understand as possible, and he makes it clear that readers are supposed to find patterns other than the ones he spells out (although we can debate issues like "should we call the parry perpendicular to the line Posta Frontale?")

CPenney wrote:
Guy Windsor has written (The Swordsman's Companion, ch. 6 note 2) that when he first encountered the Getty manuscript after working on the PD he found that he had worked out most of the contents of the “turns and guards” paragraph, and that he (working from the PD) and Bob Charron (working from the Getty) had come to similar interpretations. Since then I understand they have diverged, but this does suggest that the differences between those two manuscripts are not fundamental. I suspect that there are other cases like this, but you would need to ask someone who was in the community in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


Well, I started in 2001 - does that count? :)

That would depend on whether you met people who had been working independently from different manuscripts and saw their interpretations! Some people work on their own, others have extensive contact with the community. One disadvantage of our passing on knowledge in person is that its expensive unless we live in one of a handful of cities or have jobs that take us to certain SCA events. So I try not to assume that every interested person has that luxury ...

CPenney wrote:
The Italian says "E zaschuna guardia pò fare volta stabile e meza volta." I would need an Italian reader to tell me whether zaschuna implies "each of two" or just "each" but its pretty clearly something like "Et quisque guardia potest facere voltam stabilem et dimidiam voltam." But whatever the exact nuances, its clear that every guard can do volta stabile, mezza volta, and tutta volta because we can get up from our computers and do just that. I see the two guards who talk about theory as exemplars of what two opposed fencers can do, so speaking about them specifically isn't so different from speaking of guards in general.


I think you're being too loose in extrapolating to 'guards in general'. Leaving aside what you specifically mean that all guards can do any of the three turns, if they can do this, as you say, why would Fiore mention only two in that statement? It makes no sense. What I suspect is that he was referring specifically to posta di dona, giving emphasis to the weight-forward version of the guard that he seemingly introduces.

At this point I think its best to bring up the whole passage rather than rely on my memory. Lets look at what these masters say:

Fiore, Getty MS, tr. Guy Windsor 2006 wrote:We are two guards, similar to each other, and one is the counter to the other. Guards that are similar to each other are used in this art to counter each other, except for those that have the point in line (long position, short position and the middle iron door), because when point opposes point, the longer strikes first. What one guard can do the other can also. Each guard can do a stable turn, and a half turn. A stable turn is when one can play in front and behind on one side, without stepping. A half turn is when one passes forwards or backwards, and so can play on the other side in front and behind. A full turn is when one turns one foot around the other foot, one foot stays firm, and the other circles around it. And therefore I say the sword has three movements too: a stable turn, a half turn and a full turn. And these positions are both called the woman's guard. Also there are four things in the art: to pass, to return, to advance and to retreat.


I have italicized the particular statements, and left the general statements in normal font. I don't see a clear statement that exactly these two guards can do the three turns, and I do see a lot of general statements. This whole section from the two poste di donna to the seven blows of the sword is full of lessons which students are supposed to apply to armed combat in general, as when a pollaxe makes a fendente, and medieval people often taught general principles through the use of exemplars. The volta stabile is necessary as the first movement of the cover of the sword in one hand against cuts. All in all, I don't see much basis for restricting the three turns to these two guards, or seeing them as a foreign interpolation. It is always worthwhile to walk through the argument behind a basic part of one's interpretation though!

CPenney wrote:
I think that last post sounded too authorititive. I think we have more questions than answers right now about the differences between the four manuscripts. But I do think that this model of book production works fairly well and gives a framework for classifying those differences. Some are scribal or dictation errors, some reflect pedagogical and book-design choices by FIore, some reflect changes in Fiore's views, and some are hard to explain like the disagreement between the Morgan and the Getty about what sword is best for Mezzana Porta di Ferro.


I get how book production worked, and definitely appreciate how that can lead to differences (the speling differences between the Morgan and Getty being a great example of that). I'm talking about differences that are clearly choices of content

But the different text for Mezana Porta di Ferro could be a slip of the tongue just as easily as a change of opinion. Either way its surprising. Its interesting that as far as I can tell, none of the three early Fiore manuscripts has had its text corrected, whereas the art has been corrected in spots. Its not hard to find examples of lecturers or politicians who said the reverse of what they were trying to to in public.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby CPenney » 20 Oct 2012 21:53

Sean M wrote:
CPenney wrote:Also, a forward-weighted di dona does not exist in the PD. The only thing I can imagine you are referring to is the sword-axe - I will acknowledge that the closest thing it looks like to any of the poste is di dona, but that is not di dona. I suspect the pose is intended to show off the sword/axe, rather than a guard or position.

Well, you're right that the sixth way of holding the sword doesn't name itself in the "short text" couplet of the PD. But we can observe that he is in fact standing in Posta di Donna (as most of those masters stand in a guard whose name we know from elsewhere). And in the "long text" of the six ways of holding the sword, the sixth master calls itself Posta di Donna. Fiore tells us that he has written his book to be as easy to understand as possible, and he makes it clear that readers are supposed to find patterns other than the ones he spells out (although we can debate issues like "should we call the parry perpendicular to the line Posta Frontale?")


In the Pisani-Dossi illustration, the sword-axe master features:

    The sword horizontal, pointing backwards,
    arms extended forward so that the left arm is essentially straight,
    Both legs straight, and equally weighted, unlike any other posta in the manuscript.
I don't think that looks like anything resembling any version of posta di dona.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby Michael Chidester » 20 Oct 2012 22:00

And yet, Fiore says it is.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby CPenney » 20 Oct 2012 22:18

Michael Chidester wrote:And yet, Fiore says it is.


Where?
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby Michael Chidester » 20 Oct 2012 22:27

Folio 24v of the Ms. Ludwig.XV.13.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby CPenney » 20 Oct 2012 23:50

Michael Chidester wrote:Folio 24v of the Ms. Ludwig.XV.13.


I'm talking about the Pisani-Dossi. The image is substantively different and the text does not mention it in any way. How would you describe the characteristics and martial value of the position illustrated in the PD?
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby Michael Chidester » 21 Oct 2012 00:00

The position is precisely the same, with the exception of the sword dipping slightly behind the back. The only thing that's different is the perspective.

If you're determined to believe that the different witnesses of Fiore's treatise shouldn't be studied side by side, then I'm afraid there's nothing I can do for you.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby CPenney » 21 Oct 2012 00:50

Michael Chidester wrote:The position is precisely the same, with the exception of the sword dipping slightly behind the back. The only thing that's different is the perspective.

If you're determined to believe that the different witnesses of Fiore's treatise shouldn't be studied side by side, then I'm afraid there's nothing I can do for you.


Just keep in mind that they weren't produced with the intention of reading them side by side.

...

I just took another look, and there is *no* way that is a rear-weighted di dona simply drawn from a different perspective. Respectfully, I think you're trying too hard to make it fit into the definition of posta di dona.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby Sean M » 21 Oct 2012 17:31

The important thing about posta di donna is "weapon at your shoulder, point away from the opponent,bones and tendons aligned to deliver a powerful strike or parry." There are a lot of details that vary without changing the nature of the guard, such as whether the weight is forward or to the rear and the angle of the blade. Bob Charette has a nice comparative sketch of Posta di Donna variants from the manuscripts in his book p. 235.

In the Pisani-Dossi illustration, the sword-axe master features:

    The sword horizontal, pointing backwards, (just like Posta di Donna la Sinistra a few pages later in the PD ... that guard is rear-weighted, but to strike it must do a volta stabile and become forward-weighted)
    arms extended forward so that the left arm is essentially straight, (in order to hold a weapon with a very long grip)
    Both legs straight, and equally weighted, unlike any other posta in the manuscript. (except the way of casting a long thrust on the same page and Tutta Porta di Ferro, Posta di Donna Sinistra, and Posta Breve on the next few pages of the PD! In general the PD shows higher stances than the Getty or Morgan ... cp. their treatment of the First Master of the Sword in Two Hands)

I think its certainly possible that one or more of the Getty, Morgan, or PD is a copy, but I don't see a lot of evidence for this, and if they are copies they seem to be very close to Fiore in space and time. The art style is north Italian and circa 1410, the script and dialect are plausible for that date and time, and the art and text are largely consistent. We know more about the production of these books than we do about many manuscripts. I know that Guy Windsor, Sean Hayes, Bob Charrette, and Theresa Wendland have done extensive comparative work on the manuscripts; to the best of my knowledge none of them sees signs of foreign interpolation beyond art style and possible influence from the patron or intended recipient. Bob Charron and Brian Stokes might, but I'm less familiar with their interpretations.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby Michael Chidester » 21 Oct 2012 18:16

The fact that none of them match the physical descriptions of the only two copies that we know for certain once belonged to Niccolo says to me that they are more likely contemporary copies which were made independently of Fiore. Or at least, the Getty and PD probably are; the Morgan could be an autograph for all we know. The Florius is almost certainly a third=party copy, and since it shares certain characteristics with the PD I suspect that it was made either from that manuscript or from its source.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby CPenney » 22 Oct 2012 00:59

Sean M wrote:In the Pisani-Dossi illustration, the sword-axe master features:

The sword horizontal, pointing backwards, (just like Posta di Donna la Sinistra a few pages later in the PD ... that guard is rear-weighted, but to strike it must do a volta stabile and become forward-weighted)


The the sword-axe drawing might conceivably show mid-strike? I don't really buy that, but it is certainly a notion that has crossed my mind in the past.

arms extended forward so that the left arm is essentially straight, (in order to hold a weapon with a very long grip)


Well, posta di dona of the poll-axe in all of the MSS are drawn very consistently with examples from the sword section. The size of the weapon do not seem to be a problem there.

Both legs straight, and equally weighted, unlike any other posta in the manuscript. (except the way of casting a long thrust on the same page and Tutta Porta di Ferro, Posta di Donna Sinistra, and Posta Breve on the next few pages of the PD! In general the PD shows higher stances than the Getty or Morgan ... cp. their treatment of the First Master of the Sword in Two Hands)


That's fair. I suppose there is a slight weight shift forward, though it is subtle.

I think its certainly possible that one or more of the Getty, Morgan, or PD is a copy, but I don't see a lot of evidence for this, and if they are copies they seem to be very close to Fiore in space and time. The art style is north Italian and circa 1410, the script and dialect are plausible for that date and time, and the art and text are largely consistent.


Well, based on the correspondence of the text, the Getty and Morgan are undoubtedly related. It is possible that they were both based on a now-lost exemplar, but if not, I think that the Morgan was copied from the Getty. I cite of the sentence at the end of the Villain's Strike which is complete the Getty, and cut mid-sentence in the Morgan.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby Michael Chidester » 22 Oct 2012 01:14

CPenney wrote:Well, based on the correspondence of the text, the Getty and Morgan are undoubtedly related. It is possible that they were both based on a now-lost exemplar, but if not, I think that the Morgan was copied from the Getty. I cite of the sentence at the end of the Villain's Strike which is complete the Getty, and cut mid-sentence in the Morgan.

There are a goodly number of plays in the Morgan which are not found in the Getty, but whose text is consistent with the rest of the descriptions. The Getty could not have been the only source, so either they were both copied from an earlier manuscript or the Morgan was copied from both the Getty and said older manuscript.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby Sean M » 22 Oct 2012 01:19

Michael Chidester wrote:The fact that none of them match the physical descriptions of the only two copies that we know for certain once belonged to Niccolo says to me that they are more likely contemporary copies which were made independently of Fiore. Or at least, the Getty and PD probably are; the Morgan could be an autograph for all we know. The Florius is almost certainly a third=party copy, and since it shares certain characteristics with the PD I suspect that it was made either from that manuscript or from its source.

On the other hand, its unlikely that any of the extant manuscripts was copied from one in the d'Este library in 1436 either, due to differences in size (in particularly, the one of 15 small folios would be hard pressed to contain as much as our Morgan does today, and its likely that the Morgan has lost folia in the past six hundred years; the one of 58 large folia is either bigger than the PD or Getty or contained less units per page). So if we assume they are copies, we have to postulate yet another manuscript which existed in the early 15th century but was later lost. This is not unlikely, but it is hypothetical. I need to research manuscript dedication practices circa 1400.

CPenney wrote:
I think its certainly possible that one or more of the Getty, Morgan, or PD is a copy, but I don't see a lot of evidence for this, and if they are copies they seem to be very close to Fiore in space and time. The art style is north Italian and circa 1410, the script and dialect are plausible for that date and time, and the art and text are largely consistent.


Well, based on the correspondence of the text, the Getty and Morgan are undoubtedly related. It is possible that they were both based on a now-lost exemplar, but if not, I think that the Morgan was copied from the Getty. I cite of the sentence at the end of the Villain's Strike which is complete the Getty, and cut mid-sentence in the Morgan.

The Morgan also has material not present in the Getty, like the section on the three types of crossing or the paragraph where the lance boasts about its prowess (I am not sure, but I think that the Tom Leoni Getty-Morgan concordance only covers units in the Morgan that correspond to ones in the Getty). It is also missing some things like the concept of a Counter-Counter master. Remember that Fiore could probably recite both the 'long text' and the couplets whenever he felt like it, adding and subtracting and rearranging as he went, although he probably didn't have it as pat as he thought he did. To me, it looks like the Morgan and the Getty derive from different exemplars or different dictation.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby CPenney » 22 Oct 2012 02:11

Sean M wrote:The Morgan also has material not present in the Getty, like the section on the three types of crossing or the paragraph where the lance boasts about its prowess (I am not sure, but I think that the Tom Leoni Getty-Morgan concordance only covers units in the Morgan that correspond to ones in the Getty). It is also missing some things like the concept of a Counter-Counter master. Remember that Fiore could probably recite both the 'long text' and the couplets whenever he felt like it, adding and subtracting and rearranging as he went, although he probably didn't have it as pat as he thought he did. To me, it looks like the Morgan and the Getty derive from different exemplars or different dictation.


I think the Morgan and Getty have far too much text in common to imagine they were independently produced. They each have bits that the other doesn't, but the Getty, I think has more of these.

I definitely have an interest in the process of how the books were produced (I have a background in Medieval Studies, though not specifically on 15th century Italy). The point I was trying to make, though, is the simple fact that these differences exist. Furthermore, in most cases, they do not actually contradict each other, though in some cases they do, to a greater or lesser degree. What I'm really wondering is how people approach this in terms of how you integrate all four MS into your interpretation of Fiore.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby CPenney » 22 Oct 2012 02:29

Michael Chidester wrote:There are a goodly number of plays in the Morgan which are not found in the Getty, but whose text is consistent with the rest of the descriptions. The Getty could not have been the only source, so either they were both copied from an earlier manuscript or the Morgan was copied from both the Getty and said older manuscript.


I think your last sentence raises an interesting point. The way that the differences between the Morgan and Getty are sprinkled through the texts leads me to believe that this is not a case of simply combining elements from two different originals. I can't imagine a reasonable explanation for that.

What about Florius? How closely does the text match the P-D? I've wondered if the text was a Latin translation of the P-D, and if there were any significant differences between them.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby Joeli » 22 Oct 2012 14:07

Sean M wrote:I think its certainly possible that one or more of the Getty, Morgan, or PD is a copy, but I don't see a lot of evidence for this, and if they are copies they seem to be very close to Fiore in space and time. The art style is north Italian and circa 1410, the script and dialect are plausible for that date and time, and the art and text are largely consistent. We know more about the production of these books than we do about many manuscripts.

When comparing the images, you speak of Pisani Dossi. Wouldn't that be a bit dangerous, as we only have a soon hundred year old copy of it by Novati. Any confusion between these two could be quickly cleared by being able to have a look at the PD original, but from what I've understood nobody's seen it in HEMA, and we don't know how faithfully the art is copied from PD to Novati. There are claims that the line shading in the facsimile is in 20th century style, even though the hand writing is in 15th c style. Sorry, I don't carry a reference to the source that made this claim, and I haven't studied art history myself to make a comment about the trustworthiness of Novati images, but I'm sure that some of the more dedicated scholars can dig up the reference.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby Michael Chidester » 22 Oct 2012 14:47

CPenney wrote:What about Florius? How closely does the text match the P-D? I've wondered if the text was a Latin translation of the P-D, and if there were any significant differences between them.

There are a number of plays in the Florius which are not found in the PD (with at least one that's entirely unique), and the sequence of plays is reminiscent of the Morgan, not the PD and Getty. The text is similar to the PD in places (and the two Latin pages in the PD are identical), but different in others.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby Bulot » 22 Oct 2012 16:53

Hey, I'm a bit behind on this thread (away from the computer for two days), but I'll try to catch up with you here :

Chris wrote:that one guard is not like the other - the implication seems to be that those six represent speciality poste, for specific purposes (throwing, defending the dagger, defending the throw, etc.)


I don't think the point of these 6 guards is to demonstrate combat positions as much as showing ways of holding the sword, respectively the throwing hold, the one handed hold, the "long thrust" hold, half-swording, two-handed hold and the sword-axe. Emphasis in each of these guards is on "Prese de spada".

Only the PD, to my knowledge, states that the 12 guards stand one against the other - Fiore mentions it up front, and reiterates the point when he shows di dona on the right for the second time, which he describes as standing before boar's tooth.


That's true (if we ignore the layout of the guards in the rest of the treatise), but here are two facts that may influence your way of seeing things :
-In all the treatises, the 12 guards are facing each other.
-In the florius, facing guards are placed on the same floor, sometimes close enough for their swords to cross.

I think you're being too loose in extrapolating to 'guards in general'. Leaving aside what you specifically mean that all guards can do any of the three turns, if they can do this, as you say, why would Fiore mention only two in that statement? It makes no sense. What I suspect is that he was referring specifically to posta di dona, giving emphasis to the weight-forward version of the guard that he seemingly introduces.


I think Sean is right. My opinion is this specific paragraph is'nt about just Posta di Donna, it is a general statement about all guards in the art, taking Posta di donna as an example, for the following reasons :

-It is the introduction to the two-handed sword section, why would he give us anything but general statements ?

-the text is very clear about this geralization of its statements :
"E zaschuna altra guardia in l’arte[...]" : "And each other guard in the art"
"E zaschuna guardia pò fare[...]" : "And each guard can do"
("zaschuna guardia" has not the same meaning as "'trambe le poste")

-When Fiore describes the volte, he says "sword has 3 movements".

I just took another look, and there is *no* way that is a rear-weighted di dona simply drawn from a different perspective. Respectfully, I think you're trying too hard to make it fit into the definition of posta di dona.


I do agree with Chris on this. I don't think the sword/axe hold of the sword from PD is Posta di Donna.

Everywhere Posta di Donna is explicitely mentioned (back weighted or forward weighted) the position of the arms, and of the point of the blade is very consistent : the blade does not point backward.
I really think Posta di Donna is closer to Zornhut than Vom tag. (more or less exactly the same as finestra, except that the blade goes behind the head).
Plus, it makes more sense regarding to the master's ability of PdD to throw thrusts simply by lifting his arms above his head.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby Michael Chidester » 22 Oct 2012 17:11

Bulot wrote:Everywhere Posta di Donna is explicitely mentioned (back weighted or forward weighted) the position of the arms, and of the point of the blade is very consistent : the blade does not point backward.

What? The blade always points backwards.
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Re: The Getty versus the other manuscripts.

Postby Bulot » 22 Oct 2012 18:22

Well either my english is limiting my ability to express myself, or we are not looking at the same pictures.

Here's what I mean :

Image

The sword is always pointing in the (very general) direction of the opponent. Not directly at him, but clearly not backward either.
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