Gran Simulacro: Introduction

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From the Manuscript

Translation

TO THE GRACIOUS READER RIDOLFO CAPO F. DA CAGLI.

It is not my intention to hold you at bay with pompous and splendid words, in the recommending to you of the profession of arms that I practice. It is extolled in the due order of its merit, for which it is greatly prized and honored, and always praised, and the greatness and valor are commended of those who worthily carry the sword at their side; among whom today shines gloriously the Most Illustrious Signor SILVIO Piccolomini, Grand Prior of the Religion of the Knights of Saint Stephen in Pisa, and General of the Artillery and Master of Chamber of S.A.S. because not only is he endowed with full and marvelous advantage of that of the sword, but also of every other chivalric art, as his heroic actions by the same, to the wonder of all, clearly make manifest. But to turn to the sword, I say it is the noblest weapon above all others, in whose handling the majority of the industry of the art of fencing is honorably employed; therefore according to my judgment, the carrying of arms does not alone constitute the entire work, and that is not what makes the essential difference between a completely valorous man, and a vile and cowardly one, but as well the profession that someone practices to know how to employ them valorously in legitimate defense of himself and of his homeland, which no one truly can do with honor, if he has not first humbled himself, and placed himself under the law and rules of the discipline of fencing. Which, in the manner of sharpened flint, and honing valor, reduces him to the apex of his true perfection. The reason being that this science is laudable and so overly precious, that rather it would be a hopeless work to want to undertake the task of recounting all of its excellence; I do not believe that any rebuke must fall upon me, because I have set myself to press it into terms of undoubtedly brief, infallible, and well ordered precepts, avoiding as much as possible the blind and dark confusions, the deceitful and fallacious uncertainties, and burdensome and ambitious long-windedness. Now, even as through recognition of my weak faculties, I do not presume to have the joy of success of the full response to the fervor of my most ardent desire, so am I assured that my sincere and cordial labor has not turned out to be accomplished in vain, deferring such to comparison to those who dealt with the same topic before me. Considering that such thing relied upon the virtue of that by whose favor all graces descend unto us, I hope fervently, by these more faithful instructions of mine that may serve no less useful and delightful to you than showy ones, for a small particle of that sweet display of the true glory, that it pleases the graceful spirits always to courteously offer to one who with sincerity of heart goes perpetually laboring in their honored services.

GENERAL TABLE OF THE ART OF FENCING

  1. First chapter, of fencing in general.
  2. In the second chapter is contained the definition of fencing and its explanation.
  3. In the third is embraced the division of fencing, and is treated of its first part, which is posed in the understanding of the sword.
  4. In the fourth is treated of the second part of fencing, and of measure.
  5. In the fifth is discussed tempo.
  6. In the sixth is treated of the posture of the body, and chiefly of the head.
  7. In the seventh is treated of the body.
  8. In the eighth, of the arms.
  9. In the ninth, is treated of the thighs, legs, feet, and of the pace.
  10. In the tenth, is discussed defense, and the guard.
  11. In the eleventh is treated of seeking the narrow measure.
  12. In the twelfth is treated of striking.
  13. In the thirteenth, of the dagger.
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