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  • By JBT Emmons
    Jul 1, 2019
    Francesco Marcelli’s _Rules of Fencing_, published in 1686, is one of the most important fencing treatises in the Italian tradition. It’s one of the core works on Neapolitan fencing, not only in terms of how thoroughly Marcelli explains the particularities of the southern school, but also as a book which retained its significance far after the author’s time. His influence is obvious from Terracusa e Ventura’s True Neapolitan Fencing (1725) to Masiello’s Italian Fencing (1887). In some ways Rules of Fencing bridges older models of fencing manuals with those which came after—like say Marozzo, Marcelli covers additional weapons of his time (rapier, smallsword, dagger, and sabre), but the specificity and thoroughness of his system reads more like works of the 19th/early 20th century. Chris seeks to provide as much of the author’s ideas, language, and expression as possible. This is difficult, and can ring a little oddly in modern ears, but the advantage is that he gives the reader a... More > closer approximation of the original. It’s always clear if and when Chris’ voice interjects—this is important for anyone keen to keep clear what is Marcelli, and what is not. There are also notes, a short overview of historical context, and brief explanations, from guard positions to less common terms such as the “scommosa.” As important as Marcelli’s Rules of Fencing is for students of Italian fencing, it is equally important for any fencer truly interested in the concepts of the Art. Devotees of rapier will have more to chew on than most, but any fencer, Olympic or Classical, historical or SCAdian, will appreciate the degree of specificity, the completeness of Marcelli’s presentation, and the author’s use of illustrations. Perhaps one of the most valuable features of the Rules of Fencing is the way in which Marcelli breaks down complex ideas. As a quick example, in Ch. VI of Book I, Marcelli treats tempo. He starts with a short statement about when a student should learn it and why, then explores what other authors have said, from de Carranza to Alfieri, and finally provides his own insights into this core universal of fencing. There is a lot there to consider, and this is as true of Marcelli’s notions of universals (timing, distance, judgment) as it is in his explorations of particular techniques, their application, and the various contingencies that arise between fencers of different temperament and skill. JBT Emmons Sala delle Tre Spade< Less
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Product Details

First Edition
Christopher A. Holzman
June 10, 2019
Hardcover (casewrap)
Interior Ink
Black & white
1.69 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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