Well I’m kinda back. I’m only allowed to pick up my sword for 15 minutes at a time, but I have my strength coming back to most of my body and I’m on a lot fewer drugs, so my head is much clearer. This means that I can get back into some of my studying. After my work with Saviolo I very much wanted to move on to Joseph Swetnam. So it’s time for that now. With Saviolo I found that I didn’t like his writing style as much as I did Di Grassi (though I liked the content more), so it’s interesting to me to see Joseph Swetnam’s style which seems very different from the earlier masters. I’ll be writing this as I go through his Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence which was published in 1617.
Similar to Di Grassi and Saviolo I’m reading Swetnam in the original. This is the big reason why I’m starting with the English masters and not the Italianate ones. I would like to get a grounding in the thought of the time rather than read it through the eyes of a translator.
First Di Grassi published his work in 1570 (translated into English in 1594) and Saviolo published in 1595. I still think that Saviolo’s work is derivative of Di Grassi’s, and subscribe to the thought that Di Grassi’s manual was taught in Saviolo’s school before his own manual came out. I did find a number of parallels between Saviolo’s work and dall’Agocchie’s work which came out a few years prior.
Joseph Swetnam published in 1617 – 22 years later. Saviolo should thus be a completely new generation of fencing. His work is more likely to be derivative of Fabris, Giganti, and Capoferro but from an English perspective.
Ok, those are my assumptions. Now for what I pull off wikipedia.
- Swetnam was a misogynist, but as I”m not looking into his pamphlets and am instead reading his fencing manual, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
- He had been the fencing master of Prince Henry who passed away five years before the manual was published
- His manual includes Rapier, Rapier & Dagger, Backsword, Sword & Dagger, and Quarterstaff
- It also includes moral advice related to combat
- Swetnam prefers fencing from long measure – it’s a good thing my new blade is in
That being said, to the text.
I’ll be using this one: http://tysonwright.com/sword/SwetnamSchooleOfDefence.pdf which is a scan of the original.
After finishing the first section I realized that it was 2000 words long. A bit much for a post. So I’ll be breaking it up into multiple posts. Please see the next post for the preface.
If you would like just a quick once over of Swetnam I highly recommend this blog post: http://roy25booth.blogspot.com/2007/09/joseph-swetnam-master-of-defence.html
I’ll be updating this as I go so it is a landing page for the rest:
- Preface to the Reader
- Preface to Peers
- 1. The First Chapter Shewing what weapons are chiefly to bee learned, with other principal notes worthy of memory
- 2. The Second declareth the difference of sundry mens teaching, with other directions
- 3. Three fearfull examples of murder
- 4. The fourth Chapter sheweth unto whom skill belongeth, also the fruits of drunkennesse
- 5. The cause of quarrels, and with what preparations you aught to be prepared withall to answer a challenge
- 6. This Chapter sheweth divers reasons or introductions to bring thee the better into thy weapon
- 7. This Chapter sheweth that feare and fury are both enemies unto true valour
- 8. And this Chapter sheweth how the use of weapons came, also of the manner of weapons used from time to time, with other good instructions
- 9. This Chapter sheweth what an excellent thing skill is, with a persuassion to ailmen to forbeare the breeding or maintaining of idle quarrels
- 10. This tenth Chapter sheweth the trickes of a coward
- 11. This eleuenth Chapter is of questions and answers betwixt the master and the scholler
- 12. The twelfth Chapter sheweth seaven principall rules, whereon true defence is grounded.
- Now next followeth the skill of weapons, and first the true gard of rapier and dagger for the defence either of blow or thrust (part 1)
- Now next followeth the skill of weapons, and first the true gard of rapier and dagger for the defence either of blow or thrust (part 2) – Three manner of waies for the holding of a Rapier
- Now next followeth the skill of weapons, and first the true gard of rapier and dagger for the defence either of blow or thrust (part 3) – The manners of a passage
- Many other gards following with a description thereof at the rapier and dagger
- The rules and gard for the single rapier
- The gard at baske-sword
- Severall gards at the staffe or pike
- Questions and answers betwixt the master and Scholler concerning the staffe
- A sure gard and very easily to be learned at the sword and dagger
- Certaine resons why you mast not strike in fight with no weapon
- A brief of fower principall points for thy continuall memory
- The authors opinion concerning the short sword and dagger
- A gard for the short sword and dagger to encounter against a rapier and dagger
- Questions and answers betwixt the master and scholler concerning the gouernment of the tongue
- The authors opinion concerning the ods that a tall man of stature hath against a little or a meane man of stature, and the ods that a strong man hath of a weak man
- Certaine observations for a scholler or any others
- The severall kind of weapons which are to be plaid with
- The authors farewell to Plimoth
- The authors conclusion