1572 Dall Agocchie (eng).pdf


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that you know about this exercise, and to clear up every doubt that may occur to me,
[4verso] since I know that you know how to do so, and can do it readily.
Gio. My M. Lepido, you honor me much more than I merit, and I don’t know whether
I’ll be able to satisfy all your expectations once put to the test. Nonetheless, so that you
may understand how much love I hold for you, and wish to do for you, begin to explain
your intent to me, and I will promptly attend to your every demand.
Lep. I have striven with all my power and employed all diligence to understand the
discussions of men of arms regarding fencing. But I have heard so many, and always
such differing opinions on the topic, that I’ve been unable to achieve my intent, although
I fixed my mind upon it, greatly clouded and inflamed with the desire to understand it.
Never before was an occasion presented to me to be able to do so as there is now, whence
I hope by your means to be fully satisfied therein. Accordingly, I wish to know whether
in the art of fencing a fixed rule can be given that can direct a man to its true
understanding.
Gio. To tell the truth, ever since my childhood under the discipline of the finest Masters
up until this time I have always sought to know it. But owing to the differences (as you
say) that I see there, and because of the low esteem in which it is held, I discuss it
unwillingly. Nonetheless, as I’ve been sought out by you, whom I greatly wish to satisfy,
and must, I will give my opinion in part.
Lep. I ask rather that you give it in full since the ampleness of time permits it.
And first, how did it emerge that such a worthy art should be held in such low esteem?
{Why the art of fencing is so little valued.}
Gio. Regarding this question, as various persons speak variously about it, I’m among
those who hold the opinion that it arises [5recto] for no other reason than that many,
unaware that this art of fencing is the origin and foundation of the military art (and
deriving this name from “trifle”, as it is commonly held) take no care to learn it, and
disdain it as irrelevant to their profession.
Lep. Explain to me, I pray you, the reason why it’s the foundation of the military art.
{Why fencing is the foundation of the military art.}
Gio. One can interpret this name in a general or in a particular sense. In general, for
any sort of militia. In particular, for one-on-one combat. But any time that it’s not
expressed otherwise, one must take it to refer to one-on-one combat. In general, then, (as
I told you) one takes it to refer to any sort of militia, since the military art consists of
nothing other than in judiciously and prudently defending oneself from the enemy and
harming him, whether in the cities, or in the armies, or in any other place; because this
word “fencing” means nothing other than defending oneself with a means of harming the
enemy. Thus it is clear that it can be taken generally for every kind of combat.
But taking it specifically, for one-on-one combat, it is manifest that it is part of, or
rather a ladder and guide to, the art of war, as many times it is necessary to employ this