Fiore dei Liberi: Fior di Battaglia, folio 32r (1410)

(Getty Center, Los Angeles, USA)

A drawing made by either an unknown Italian artist or by Fiore dei Liberi (1350-after 1409). This page comes from the illustrated martial arts manual "Fior di Battaglia" (= "The Flower of Battle"), a book written by the Italian knight, diplomat and fencing master Fiore dei Liberi. This book is one of the oldest Italian martial arts manuals (the German martial arts manuals are older) and shows instructions how to fight with a sword, dagger, poleaxe, mounted combat, baton, spear, unarmed etc. This page in one of the first pages of the book and is known as the 'sette spada' page (= 7 swords). Central on the page stands a man with seven swords around it and 4 animals. The seven swords depict the seven possible offensive strikes: 2x a cut from above left, 2x cut over over the middle, 2x a cut from below and a thrust. The four different animals stand for attributes that a good and honorable fighter must possess:

top: Lynx - Prudence/Cautiousness
right: Lion - Courage
below: Elephant - Strength
left: Tiger - Swiftness

Drawing from around 1410