"Fiore dei Liberi of Cividal d'ostria was born sometime between 1340 and 1350 born in
Cividale del Friuli, a small town on the river Natisone in Italy. Given that he had written the treatise "Flos Duallatorum" between the years of1409 and 1410, and that according to the information in the prologue of the manuscript, he had been practicing the art of swordsmanship for 50 years at the time of his writing, the birth year is an estimate. With the exception of what is written in the prologue of this treatise, very little is known about Fiore dei Liberi. The illustration on the left depicts a portion of the prologue. What the prologue does describe is that his family is of noble origin, however, but not well placed. He initially learned the art of swordsmanship as a child and young man in his village where he fought in friendly assaults and duels as was the custom in that period. However, in order to d^^^zzx^JiiSr learn the art fi'om the best of his time, he left i* " < his village and went to Germany to learn and
W^''"1 train in swordsmanship under the direction of the scholar Johannes Suvenus (a former scholar of Nicolaus con Toblem). The knowledge he acquired under Suvenus' direction elevated Fiori dei Liberi to a master swordsman of his time. He participated in numerous battles in and around Italy for the last 20 years of the 14 th century. In 1383 he fought in Udine on the side of the town during the civil war. In 1395 he was in Padua for a duel and four years later in 1399 he was in Pavia. Little is known of his life and deeds around this time until the beginning of 1400 when he entered the court of Niccolo III d'Este, Marquise of Ferrara, as the master swordsman. He acquired a commission in the early 1400s as a master swordsman on behalf of Signore di
Ferrara. He then began to write the manuscript for the nobility on behalf of Signore di Ferrara. In 1410 Fiore dedicated his treatise to his Marquise. After 1410 there are no records of his life or of his death." Massimo Malipiero: "Medieval Swordfighting".
Flos Duellatorum, or 'Flower of Battle' is primarily composed of illustrations with short rhyming captions in Italian. Sections include wrestling, dagger, sword, spear, two handed sword, armored combat, pollaxe, and mounted combat. There is also a considerable discussion of disarming techniques. Longsword, dagger and grappling has the greatest attention in the manuscript. The figure on the bottom of the previous page is an example of one of the illustrations that depicts the posta de coda longa or long tail guard.
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