The chronology of fencing books

At various points discussions have surfaced again and again, which question the chronology of the fencing styles and schools of late medieval and renaissance times. The question, who could have been the first fencing master and who “invented” a certain kind of fencing, leads often to a discussion on the chronology of fencing books. This ignores a simple fact: all fencing books are more or less products of compilation and/or plagiarism. The percentage of innovation and invention in such a book is vanishingly low. This is due the fact that the art of fighting is older than the art of writing. Thus the claim of uniqueness is always in question regarding the contemporary work of the said authors and masters. Most fencing books were created in the high age of the masters where the art – if successful – had been spread already. For us today the books and the art within is unique, but only because it is not part of our everyday life. So we seek out to find a chronology of unique works where in fact there had been only an evolution of common ground with some extraordinary peeks. The task to create a chronology is more than difficult. A lot of effort has been done to find dates and places of origin. But the accuracy of these dates is more than questionable for at least two reasons: 1....

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