The longsword or as our old master Fiore calls it, spada a dui mani, sword in two hands, is, if not the quintessential hand-held weapon, at least the enduring symbol of chivalry. If ever one finds a painting, or a statue depicting a knight, most likely he carries a longsword in his hand or on his belt.

Combat with Sword; Fiore Furlan dei Liberi da Premariacco (Italian, about 1340/1350 – before 1450); Venice Italy Padua (or) Italy; about 1410; Tempera colors, gold leaf, silver leaf, and ink on parchment; Leaf: 27.9 x 20.6 cm (11 x 8 1/8 in.); Ms. Ludwig XV 13, fol. 27

Here at SHMS we train the longsword from Fior di Battaglia, a fencing manual written circa 1410 AD, written by the knight, fencing master and professional soldier Fiore dei Liberi of Friuli. Following his system you will know how to employ the sword in two hands in and out of armour, in wide and narrow measure, or zhogo largo and zhogo stretto. Fiore’s fighting system is one, so learning his way of employing the sword and how to walk with it, you should know how to fight with a spear, a pollax and a dagger also.

Combat with Sword, Staff, and Lance; Fiore Furlan dei Liberi da Premariacco (Italian, about 1340/1350 – before 1450); Padua (or) Italy Venice Italy; about 1410; Tempera colors, gold leaf, silver leaf, and ink on parchment; Leaf: 27.9 x 20.6 cm (11 x 8 1/8 in.); Ms. Ludwig XV 13, fol. 31

Additional literary material is provided from Philippo Vadi’s De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi from the 1480’s. This book is another witness in the Italian school of swordmanship and provides interesting insight to Fiore’s teaching along with some of the first Italian material on fencing theory. And God help us, some of our teachers might even introduce some heretical Liechtenauer doctrines from north of the Alps in their lessons!