Il Fior de Battaglia: Ms Ludwig XV 13


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Description of the Product

The manuscript of Il Fior di Battaglia (Ms Ludwig XV 13) is in the Getty Museum, Los Angeles. It is dated to about 1410, and was written by Fiore dei Liberi in Italy. The book is a complete representation of the Art of Arms (armizare), on foot, on horseback, in armour, out of armour, wrestling, dagger, sword, spear and pollax. Even wrestling on horseback! The book is written in Italian, and there is no translation, introduction or commentary included in this edition.

Fior di Battaglia, Flower of Battle, is a valuable source of information for the students of historical martial arts, but it is a fine tome even if you are only interested in the realistic, accurate and elegant medieval artwork. During the Renaissance, as in nowadays, people read books to learn new skills what we now call as do-it-yourself or how-to guides. Il Fior di Battaglia was made to be a how-to guide to battle. One of the cornerstones of training a young noble nobleman during medieval times was in swordsmanship and combat training and wealthy parents could order a book written by the master to assist in learning these important skills if they couldn’t get the master himself to teach.

Books like this were very expensive during the Middle Ages as each book had to be written and drawn manually from start to finish before the invention of printing press. We can tell that Fior di Battaglia was a popular book as four different versions have survived till our times and we also have knowledge that there have been more additional copies.

We have made one change to the current binding. It is obvious from the content that folio 38 should be bound between folia 14 and 15, so we have placed it there, but retained the folio numbers for the convenience of modern scholars accustomed to the current page order as bound. We have produced this facsimile from scans in the public domain, which you can find online at It is as close to the size of the original manuscript as possible with current print-on-demand technology. Our intention in publishing it is to produce an affordable reproduction that duplicates as closely as possible the experience of handling and owning the original, but at a reasonable price.

This is indispensible reading for any scholar of medieval history, swordsmanship, medieval and renaissance combat, or re-enactment.

Publisher: Spada Press. Hard-cover, 98 pages.

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- Joe Richardson

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