The Gore Street Ward's Pathfinder for Free Scholars
By Journeyman Aelfrythe of Saxony
Originally published in Punta Dritta January AS XL (2006)
This pathfinder has been complied to assist those members of the Society for Creative Anachronism pursuing the rank of Free Scholar in The Royal Guild of Defence, a subgroup of that organisation. These resources have been put together with the help of the Masters of the Guild (the heads of the Guild, those authorised to teach by the Crown) at the Gore Street Ward, and will aid in gaining knowledge of the schools and styles of fencing that are available within the set limits of the Guild (pre -17th century Europe).
Free Scholar: The first ranking in the Guild. A student that has a basic capability in Renaissance fencing but has no in-depth knowledge of the Renaissance Fencing Masters, and has yet to develop a full range of fencing styles or concepts in civilian combat.
Don Francois Henri Guyon, Guildmaster of the Royal Guild of Defence of Lochac
As the information in this area is diverse, you will not find it on one shelf of a library. Try these keywords/ subjects as a starting point in library databases and on the Internet to help with your search.
Names of Renaissance Masters:
* Vincentio Saviolo
* Joseph Swetnam
* Giacomo Di Grassi
* Salvator Fabris
* Hans Talhoffer
* Achille Marozzo
* Camillo Agrippa
* Henry de St. Didier
* Angelo Viggiani
Library of Congress subject headings:
* Fencing- England-History-16th century
* Swordplay-England-History-16th century
* Dueling- England-History-16th century
* Fencing- Europe- Early works to 1800
* Hand-to-hand fighting- Europe- Early works to 1800
* Military art and science- History Medieval- 500-1500
* Combat- History
* Swordplay- History
* Fencing- History
Names of publisher:
* Paladin Press
* Chivalry Bookshelf
* Greenhill Books
* Stackpole Books
* Multi-Media Books
Names of authors:
* William Wilson
* Tony Soper
* Christian Tobler
* Mark Tobler
* Sir Charles Oman
* Mark Loades
* Ramon Martinez
* Alfred Hutton
There are a number of publications available on this topic. These have been recommended for Free Scholars by the Masters of Defence.
Wilson, WE. 2002, Art of Defence: Introduction to the Use of the Rapier, Chivalry Bookshelf, Union City, CA.
An acknowledged instructor in Italian rapier and side sword by the International Master of Arms Federation, this publication offers a practical instruction in the Italians style of fencing. Instructions are accompanied with multiple photos. Include a bibliography with primary and secondary sources.
Talhoffer, H 2000, Medieval combat: A fifteenth-century illustrated manual of swordfighting and close-quarter combat, (ed. & trans.) M. Rector, Greenhill Books, London, in assoc. with Stackpole Books, Mechanicsville, PA.
The first English translation of Talhoffer's Fechtmeister (Fight Master) professional fencing manual of 1467. With a forward by John Clements, the Director of the Historical Armed Combat Association, this book is a catalogue of fencing actions with short descriptions.
Turner, C & Soper, T 1990, Methods and practice of Elizabethan swordplay, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, USA.
This book analyses the only three existing Elizabethan fencing manuals written in English before 1600. As well as being a technical manual, it explores the influence of the rapier on the various social classes and the clash between those following the old style and the new.
Tobler, Christian Henry 2001, Secrets of German medieval swordsmanship: Sigmund Ringeck's commentaries on Johannes Liechtenauer's verse, Chivalry Bookshelf, Union City, California.
This German text, translated into English, provides the converted text, commentary by the author along with a photographic interpretation of the work. This work not only talks about armed combat but also unarmed combat.
Hutton A 2003, The sword and the centuries, Wren's Park Publishing, Ashcroft, Barton-Under- Needlewood, DE13 8BA.
The blow by blow guide to sword fighting in the renaissance style 1992, VHS, Running Wolf Productions, Corsock, Scotland, training aid, written and produced by Mike Loads
This training aid deals with the basic principles of how to fight in the renaissance style. It includes Rapier and dagger, cloak, the target and the buckler, and how a sword should be worn.
La Scherma Italiana: basics of Italian rapier fencing Volume One n.d., DVD, Palpable Hit Productions, Canyon Country, CA, training aid, ed. Mark Petrigac; produced by Anthony De Longis; directed by Ed Douglas; starring Maestro Ramon Martinez.
This DVD is designed to give a working vocabulary of the theory and practice of Italian rapier as it existed by the 17th century.
La Scherma Italiana: basics of Italian rapier fencing Volume Two n.d., DVD, Palpable Hit Productions, Canyon Country, CA, training aid, ed. Mark Petrigac; produced by Anthony De Longis; directed by Ed Douglas; starring Maestro Ramon Martinez.
This is the companion DVD to Volume One. Its purpose it to give applications of the theories and practices delivered in volume one.
Having trouble with the terminology?
The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts (ARMA) presents a list of key terms, phrases, concepts, principles and ideas to encourage the use of proper vocabulary in relation to historical fencing.
Indexing and abstracting services
This indexing service provides information that will improve understanding on what happening in the world of this time; to help Free Scholars put their fencing in context.
Punta Dritta index
An index of The Royal Guild of Defences electronic magazine. Published 6 monthly, article focus on the teaching, practice and research of fencing in the Guilds set parameters.
NOTE: Now contained as separte articles on this website
The discussions on these lists can help answer questions you may have.
This is an email list discussing civilian combat with swords and related weapons from the Renaissance to the Elizabethan period of Western Europe.
This mailing list is used as a forum for discussing the art and practice of European-based classical and historical fencing from the 15th-19th centuries. Only discussion of established schools and styles is welcome.
These sites will help broaden your understanding of Renaissance fencing and its context.
The Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts is a not for profit corporation for the research and study, reconstruction and practice of early period martial arts. The library has access to various other libraries, museums, and institutions pertaining to this area of study.
This is the Australian homepage for the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). On this site you will find the Guild Charter, the current rules for fencing and links to the international SCA groups where you may find out what the fencers in other countries are studying.
Note: You should now go to the Lochac Homepage instead.