New Salle: Queen City Classical Fencing

We are proud to announce that we have formed a new sister organization to determine if there is interest in starting a classical fencing salle in Springfield, MO:

Queen City Classical Fencing.

Our hope is to cultivate interest and focus that eventually leads to smallsword instruction.

Please visit us at our site or on social media, and consider liking and sharing to develop a presence. It would be greatly appreciated.
Posted in Announcement, Midwest, Missouri, Salle, USA | Leave a comment

Study Smallsword Treatises

Use the “Study” or the “Explore the Timeline” links in the menu bar above to read historic treatises or to learn about smallsword developments.

Save

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2021 American Smallsword Symposium

The American Smallsword Symposium has been scheduled for 11-12 September, 2021. The event will be held entirely outdoors at the Carlyle House in at Alexandria, VA. There is ample parking, several hotels, and B&B’s in town. Early reports indicate the focus will be on Angelo this year. More details will be forthcoming. Check the American Smallsword Symposium group on Facebook and check back here for updates.

Posted in Symposium | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Epic Study & Interpretation of the 1805 Manuel de Brea’s Destreza-Fencing Treatise

André Hajjar Sesé has released his English interpretation of de Brea’s 1805 destreza manual, Principios Universales Y Reglas De La Verdadera Destreza Del Espadin… on his blog, Destreza Nova. La Verdadera Destreza refers to the Spanish school, a school of rapier uniquely rooted in geometry, philosophy, and an amazing use of footwork. For the uninitiated, it may appear somewhat like a geometric alchemy.

Some may argue that Destreza is tangential to the study of the smallsword, and there is some merit to that argument. However, one can consider Destreza somewhat as an ancestral cousin of the smallsword. Regardless of where you fall in this argument, there is no doubt that a smallsworder of the French or English school could easily have crossed swords with a Spanish practitioner. To that end, I offer you Angelo’s plate 43 from his 1783 publication:

Angelo’s Plate 43 (1783): The Spanish Guard Mark’d A Attacked by the French Guard.

Hajjar Sesé interpretation has focused on the practical use of the Spanish school while omitting the mathematical and philosophical components. His efforts are substantial, resulting in a nearly 100-page publication.

We have added a citation to our Study page that links to Destreza Nova’s publication page, in part due to the expectation that filenames will change in the future as Hajjar Sesé addresses errata. The citation and link is also presented below.

de Brea, D. M. A. (2021). Principios Universales Y Reglas De La Verdadera Destreza Del Espadin, Segun La Doctrina De Francesa Italiana Y Española, Dispuestos Para Instrucción De Los Caballeros Seminaristas Del Real Seminario De Nobles De Esta Corte, por su Maestro D. Manuel Antonio de Brea, Maestro Mayory Examinador de Todos los del Reyno. [The Epic Study & Interpretation of the1805 Manuel de Brea’s Destreza-FencingTreatise]. (A. Hajjar Sesé, translator).  Québec:, Canada: destrezanova.ca. [English]
(Digitally sourced from destrezanova.ca here).

The original Spanish version of de Brea’s 1805 manuscript has also been added to the SmallswordProject.com’s online resources. It can be accessed via the study page or at the the link below:

de Brea, D. M. A. (1805). Principios Universales Y Reglas De La Verdadera Destreza Del Espadin, Segun La Doctrina De Francesa Italiana Y Española, Dispuestos Para Instrucción De Los Caballeros Seminaristas Del Real Seminario De Nobles De Esta Corte, por su Maestro D. Manuel Antonio de Brea, Maestro Mayory Examinador de Todos los del Reyno. Madrid: La Imprenta Real. [Spanish]
(Digitally sourced from Biblioteca Digital Hispánica, Biblioteca Nacional de España here).

elegant-classical-page-rule_02

Posted in Historic Text | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Escrime Mont Royal

Escrime Mont Royal
Escrime Mont Royal (EMR), located at the NDG Community Center in Montreal, offers both modern & historical fencing. Within its approximate 120 members, 21 participate in the Historical Fencing program. Early French Smallsword is their main weapon; Basket Hilt & French Cane being secondary weapons under study.
Kévin Côté is the head Instructor for the Historical Program.

Posted in Canada, Montreal, North America, Salle | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Louis XIV French Classic Smallsword

This early French smallsword (ca. 1655 C.E.) has few parallels.  Its style reflects early French Classicism from the reign of Louis XIV, and was likely made in Paris.  Its hilt features ornate foliage and figure motifs executed in gold inlay, and a faceted pommel.  Its length measures 41″ (104.1 cm) overall with a blade length of 34 1/2″ (87.5 cm).  The fullers on both sides of the blade are marked, “XX INTE X DOMINE X ESPADERO X” with an anchor-like cross at the forward end of the groove followed by three flat indents. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum, accession no. 2011.63.

Posted in Art, Weapon | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plate from Liancour, 1686, pg 25

Examine Liancour’s 1685 manuscript by downloading a pdf (in French) on our Study Page.

Posted in Art, Historic Text | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

McArthur’s 1780 Manuscript Transcribed

Jamson and Crawley have teamed up to transcribe and digitally present a legible edition to McArthur’s 1780 smallsword manual.  Crawley states, “McArthur is the most accessible smallsword treatise for starting out yet the least available” so he and Jamson have made it available via the Smallsword Symposium.  The SmallswordProject.com mirrors it here with permission to help disseminate McArthur’s work.

McArthur, J. (1780). The Army and Navy Gentleman’s Companion or A New and Complete Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Fencing.  Displaying the Intricacies of Small-sword Play and  Illustrated by Mathematical Figures and Adorned with Elegant Engravings after Paintings from Life, Executed In the Most Masterly Manner Representing Every Material Attitude of the Art A New Addition Revised with a Glossary and Improvements.

Download and study McArthur’s text and dozens others published from 1580 to 1880 from our study page. View the antecedents and major developments of smallsword evolution on the timeline.

Posted in Art, Historic Text | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rococo smallsword with foliate and spiral motifs, ca. 1755

Rococo smallsword with foliate and spiral motifs, boat-tail coquille, and gold-inlaid blade. German or Dutch, ca. 1755. Gold, steel. Blade length 30 3/4″ (78.2 cm); weight 16.4 oz. (465 g.)

Posted in Art, Weapon | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Angelo’s Plates I-XV from Escrime in the Encyclopédie, 1765

Angelo, demonstrating the 5th position of the salute, Plate 14, 1763.

Domenico Angelo rocked the fencing world.  He was an Italian trained in France, appointed as Royal Fencing Instructor by George II where trained the future King, George III, in escrime.  In 1763, working with artist Gwyn Delin, he published L’Ecole des Armes in London, entirely in French. It featured clear wording and beautifully detailed plates which came to be the definitive fencing manual, much to the dismay of French fencing masters. Angelo went on to publish a bilingual edition of L’Ecole des Armes in both French and English in 1765.

Denis Diderot, 1767, by Louis-Michel van Loo

In that same year, Enlightenment thinkers Diderot & d’Alembert selected and published Domenico Angelo’s L’Ecole des Armes as the authoritative text on fencing, publishing it as Escrime in the Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers.   The original Delin plates were republished at composites with multiple images per page.

Henry Angelo by Mather Brown ca. 1790.

Domenico Angelo’s son, Henry Angelo (an accomplish fencing master himself) went on to republish his father’s landmark work in 1787 as The school of fencing: With a general explanation of the principal attitudes and positions peculiar to the art.

Below are images captured from document scans of Angelo’s 1765 Escrime in Diderot’s Encyclopédie.

 

 

Works Cited

Angelo, Domenico & Angelo, Henry. (1787). The school of fencing: With a general explanation of the principal attitudes and positions peculiar to the art. London.
(Digitally sourced here from Schola Gladiatori’s Schola Forum)

Diderot, D., & d’Alembert, J. L. R. (1780).  L’Encyclopédie. [26], Fabrique des armes, escrime : [recueil de planches sur les sciences, les arts libéraux et les arts méchaniques, avec leur explication]. [Facsimile]. Paris: Inter-Livres. [French]

Posted in Art, Historic Text | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hanns Osterle, Bladesmith, Nuremberg, 1569

Hanns Osterle, Bladesmith, Nuremberg, 1569. Tempera on parchment. Artist unknown. Courtesy Die Landauerschen Nürnberger Zwölfbrüderstiftung.

Although rapiers ruled the day and transitional smallswords would emerge a century later, this image of Hanns Osterle, a Nuremberg bladesmith at work in 1569, offers a priceless glimpse into history. Osterle sits in front of his anvil and strikes his hammer on a red-hot blade which he holds with pliers. More blades are in the hearth in the background, on the ground, and on the table. Several blades have tangs and fullers formed.

Perhaps Hanns Osterle’s workshop sounded something like this:

 

Works Cited

Anonymous, 1569. Tempera on parchment, 298 x  207. Courtesy Die Landauerschen Nürnberger Zwölfbrüderstiftung. Band 1. Nürnberg 1511-1706. Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg, 279.2° Folio 48 verso (Landauer I).

Posted in Art | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment