1572 Dall Agocchie (eng).pdf
[3recto] Preface by Messer Giovanni dall’Agocchie, Bolognese, to his book on the art of
It has always been esteemed laudable to be of use and to do good deeds to others. In
consideration whereof, I resolved to reduce into a brief treatise as much of the
understanding and practice of the art of fencing as I have been able to learn and put to the
test over many years. Nor could this proposal elude me, seeing that many excellent men
have widely written upon this topic, since they have failed to speak of some things which
may be among the most important to know. And because this art is difficult to describe
in a way that can be understood well, one may still come to deal with it anew as it may
always be further elucidated.
As fencing is the chief part of military exercises, one sees that it is conclusively
necessary to men. Given that in times of war we wish to have use of it, what may be
more convenient to us? And among bodily exercises, which is more noble and illustrious
than this one? And since a man may be constrained and forced by the circumstances of
war to exert himself therein, then for what reason wouldn’t anyone seek [3verso] to have
a full understanding of this beautiful and useful profession? I am silent regarding those
bouts of honor which are called “duels”, in which no one may account for himself
honorably, should he be wholly ignorant of this.
In consequence whereof I do not hold these discourses of mine to have turned out
to be useless. I have composed them in the form of a dialogue for their more ready
understanding by whomever in whose hands they arrive. In precisely that fashion did it
pass that I had discussions thereof in Brescia, in the house of the very illustrious Signore
Girolamo Martimenghi, with Messer Lepido Ranieri, a youth of a sensible and virtuous
bearing, who well understands the practice of fencing. After many discussions with him,
both of us being led to the garden, he began to speak thus:
[4recto] THE FIRST BOOK OF DIALOGUES by Messer Giovanni dall’Agocchie,
Bolognese: which deal with the art of Fencing; divided into five days.
INTERLOCUTORS: M. Lepido Ranieri and M. Giovanni dall’Agocchie.
Lep. Messer Giovanni, since this great heat is bothering us and will keep us from
accomplishing anything for several hours, it would seem like a good idea to discuss the
art of fencing to keep us from falling asleep, and so that I could derive some instruction
from your speech.
Gio. Certainly, my Messer Lepido. Since I see your wits to be awakened to virtue, I
would fully satisfy you in that which you ask of me. And so that I may, don’t refrain
from asking me freely, and I will strive to please you with all I know and value, so that I
may satisfy you insofar as I can.
Lep. I truly had the same faith in you, and am endlessly very grateful to you for yours.
And since you place it in me, by your leave I’ll speak of my ideas in order to arrive
confidently at the truth. My desire would be for you to make me understand everything