Book Review: The Art of Fencing


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19 December 2019
Author: Joshua Pendragon/Piermarco Terminiello

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There’s a rare treat here for anyone interested in the history of fencing and fighting with arms in general. Camillo Palladini created a manuscript on fighting techniques, not just with rapiers, but also swords, polearms and other hand weapons, in the 16th century. The original has been stored in the De Walden Library at the Wallace Collection in London, off-limits to researchers and the general public because of how fragile it is. This book, produced by the Wallance Collection and the Royal Armouries in Leeds, offers an English translation opposite a reprinting of the original Italian, often with reproductions of the actual pages of the manuscript itself. There are 46 red chalk illustration reproduced, of which only three have ever been seen in print before.

What’s, perhaps, surprising is that the translations are easily understandable today, making this both a nice coffee table book, but also of interest for students of fencing and re-enactors looking for authentic swordplay moves.

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• Unicorn Publishing
• ISBN 978-0-9480-9296-1
• 260 pages • Hardback • £55

Reviewed in the Armourer February 2020 issue