Italianated, Mr. Silver?

In “Paradoxes of Defence,” George Silver frequently tirades against the Italian fencing masters and the “Italianated” English masters, with their “Italianated, weak, fantastical, and most devilish and imperfect fights.”

It is therefore interesting to note the 4 “chiefest” variable guards as laid out by Silver:

Stocatta: which is to lie with your right leg forward, with your sword or rapier hilt back on the outside of your right thigh with your point forward to ward your enemy with your dagger in your other hand extending your hand towards the point of your rapier, holding your dagger with the point upright with narrow space between your rapier blade and the nails of your dagger hand, keeping your rapier point back behind your dagger hand if possible.

Or he may lie wide below under his dagger with his rapier point down towards his enemy’s foot, or with his point forth without his dagger.

Imbrocatta: is to lie with your hilt higher than your head, bearing your knuckles upward, and your point descending toward your enemy’s face or breast.

Mountanta: is to carry your rapier pummel in the palm of your hand resting it on your little finger with your hand below and so mounting it up aloft, and so to come in with a thrust upon your enemy’s face or beast, as out of the Imbrocatta.

Passatta: is either to pass with the Stocatta, or to carry your sword or rapier hilt by your right flank, with your point directly against your enemy’s belly, with your left foot forward extending forth your dagger hand with the point of your dagger forward as you do your sword, with narrow space between your sword and dagger blade, and so to make your passage upon him.

Let me repeat those for you: Stocatta, Imbrocatta, Mountanta and Passatta. All used incorrectly (just like Swetnam), but all very much Italian. In fact, Silver’s description of the Stocatta guard is similar to  Swetnam’s “Stokata.”

Who’s Italianated now, Silver?

Published in: on January 9, 2009 at 7:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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