This is a sidelight on the Natio Germanica in Siena, before and around the time Capo Ferro was active as a fencing master at the local university. Other than a brief scene provided in Esch, this article is mostly background as to the presence and influence of German students. Unlike Fabri and the Germanica in Padua, we have not been able to locate specific vectors who may have continued or expanded Capo Ferro’s method abroad.
by J. Christoph Amberger
In Capo Ferro’s Siena, the members of the Natio Germanica were known colloquially as forestieri—meaning “strangers” or “foreigners”—and consisted of High and Low Germans, Scandinavians, Bohemians, Poles, Carinthians, Styrians, and Lombards from every corner and recess of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. They occupied the Casa della Sapienza, a former paupers’ hospital that had been converted into a dormitory for foreign students in 1415. The Casa also had living space, lecture and disputation rooms for 30 Sapieanzani who stayedfor a term of up to seven years.
A recent find supplements our understanding of late 17th-century fencing practice in the Franco-Germanic cultural sphere.
—by J. Christoph Amberger
The identity of the author, Lieut. Johann(es) Schalch, remains elusive: While he may be related to the 18th-century Swiss painter by the same name, thus far, no additional biographical information has been located to properly place him in a more detailed historical context.
Some modern martialists spend so much time arguing what the martially-minded duelist of yesteryear would have never done, it would seem that European Martial Arts, especially of the 17th and 18th centuries, was something for ultra-cautious, risk-adverse middle-aged veterans wearing leather soles on a freshly waxed floor while carrying a stack of Wedgwood china. And yet, period literature yields interesting indications that things were not what they seem…
From the late 1600’s until the first decade of the 20th century, the Kreussler method of thrust fencing dominated the use of the foil and “Rappier”. Here are four representative varieties of the weapons used…
Despite their distinct dislike for things Catholic and South European, Elizabethans were suckers for Italian fencing techniques and concepts of honor and dueling.
Some of the most prominent figures of the cultural elite of the period engaged in Italian-style swordplay. Among them was the poet Christopher Marlowe, whom we’re catching on an Indian summer afternoon on the outskirts of London, sword in hand, and ready to engage in moderate mayhem… Continue reading →
Who’d have thought that university archives would ever change their time-honored policy of keeping non-academic riffraff out of their collections—and even throwing their rara open to the Great Unwashed?
The Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, where I spent many a semester doing things other than visiting libraries, has recently put a copy of Salvatore Fabris’ “Italiänische Fechtkunst” online…Continue reading →