Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fior di Battaglia (The Flower of Battle) -- a new and accessible treatment

There are a lot of people pursuing various kinds of  historical re-enactment and re-creation, and I know a great many of them.  One variety I take an interest in is the effort to re-discover the methods and techniques of medieval one-on-one combat.  This not as hopeless a project as you might think.  Starting with the late 13th and early 14th century, there are a number of illustrated treatises.  Interpreting is no easy matter, but hey, that's scholarship for you.

One of the most interesting of these treatises is Fiore dei Liberi's substantial and systematic Flower of Battle.  Just recently Ken Mondschein has published (with Getty Publications) an accessible introduction, The Knightly Art of Battle.  What do I mean by accessible?  Thanks to the support, I imagine, of the J. Paul Getty Museum, which owns a very good manuscript of the work, it has (1) 93 color illustrations and (2) costs only  $14.95.  Yes, that's what it says.

If  you are interested in having this book, here's the link to the Getty shop; and of course you can poke around the web for information and discussion of Fiore and other medieval masters.

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