[Florius, de arte luctandi]. -- -- manuscrits. Flowers of Battle: Florius De Arte Luctandi (Complete Martial Works of Fiore Dei Liberi, a Master-at-arms at the Turn of the Fifteenth Century) [Gregory D. Mele. MS Latin , Bibliothèque nationale de France. Florius de Arte Luctandi ("The Flower of Battle", MS Latin ) is an Italian fencing manual translated from a treatise authored by Fiore de'i Liberi and probably created in the s or 20s. This manuscript is generally referred ‎Provenance · ‎Contents · ‎Gallery.


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The Masters of Dagger as seen in Florius The dagger section in the Pisani Dossi and Getty copies begins with four verses offering broad principles of dagger fighting, with illustrations of men depicted with allegorical representations of these principles.

The Morgan copy does not include florius de arte luctandi combat in its current state, but Florius has this page. In the Florius version, the figure who in the other copies holds a pair of disembodied arms here only holds up his own empty hand, and the man being trampled in the lower right register has not been colored.

But the most striking thing, when these pages are considered alongside each other, is that Florius and Pisani Dossi both enclose the verse captions in banners that curl up to the right of each figure the Getty version is more consistent with the format of other pagesand that the text is nearly identical—both, in fact, are in Latin.

The words are almost entirely the same and the transcriptions come out nearly identical, but the two versions are abbreviated in different places. This may suggest the two editions were copied from a common original: The Dagger Masters page from Novati Florius stands apart from the other three copies in an important and ultimately frustrating way: Florius has no such introduction, no colophon, no frontispiece—in fact, the title we call it by does not appear anywhere within the parchment pages comprising the original material.

It is unknown whether the title was bestowed by the creator of the manuscript on a component now separated, or if it was added florius de arte luctandi these later readers or collectors to encapsulate the contents as a Latin version of Fior di Battaglia—although Flos Duellatorum, the Latin title used in the Pisani Dossi copy, is a more reasonable Latin rendering of the Italian title.

It is interesting, although perhaps not significant, that each version of the title represents the combat knowledge contained within a little differently.

Florius de Arte Luctandi (MS Latin 11269)

Two of the Italian manuscripts, those now held in the J. Paul Getty Museum and in the Pisani Dossi collection, do share a similar order of sections for the sections they have in common ; the third, the Morgan Library copy, is in a roughly opposite order, and this is the one most similar to Florius in organization.

Codicology The manuscript itself seems physically unremarkable; it is written on parchment in dark brown ink, and the illustrations are drawn in finer lines of a similar color.

The verses all begin with the same symbol in red or blue, also seen florius de arte luctandi the Getty copy and the first few leaves of the Morgan, but this red and blue paragraph mark is a fairly common feature of medieval manuscripts in general. Verses from the lower registers florius de arte luctandi 3r top and 36v bottomshowing several unusual letter forms in the scribal florius de arte luctandi.

Index:Florius de Arte Luctandi (MS Latin ) ~ Wiktenauer ~☞ Insquequo omnes gratuiti fiant

A paper flyleaf was added before and after the 44 original parchment leaves; the florius de arte luctandi paste-down has a Pontchartrain bookplate, as well as a later plate florius de arte luctandi the LATIN designation. This plate also has a red smudge crossed through with a black X in the high-resolution images, the remains of a small red adhesive dot present when the manuscript was scanned previously.

The script, as it turns out, is fairly distinctive: Italian Semigothic, a transitional hand between the Gothic and Humanist styles which was in use from the late fourteenth to early fifteenth centuries, but most popular in the earlier part of this range.


The verse at the top of page 31v shows abbreviation markings, unknown characters, typical medieval punctuation, and unidentified damage in the second line. In my transcriptions, I have used brackets to indicate where I add letters to render a word with the spelling that would be used by a modern dictionary, 8 although when these letters florius de arte luctandi part of an abbreviation I leave the brackets out.

Regarding the creation of the manuscript, we have only guesses. In some places, part of an illustration extends into the area occupied by the text; in these places, extra space is left between words to allow space for the projecting drawing, although at least one page does have the text continue right across the artwork.

This would tend to point to the illustrations already being on the page when the text was written, which was not the typical order for manuscript creation. The title we know it by does not appear within the original contents, but was florius de arte luctandi inscribed on the flyleaf in the seventeenth or early eighteenth century.

It is also interesting that the illustrations in Florius match those in the Pisani Dossi copy so closely in style and content, while it can hardly be said that the text is an exact translation.

We posit that perhaps, in recognition of the importance of precision in the images, the blank pages were taken to the location of the original and the illustrations were meticulously copied, florius de arte luctandi then the verses were memorized, summarized, or otherwise incompletely recorded, to be translated later.


Three pages have tiny alphabet letters written above words suggesting a reading order, which Clemens and Graham describe 9 as being used by chancery correctors to show where the order of words in a copy florius de arte luctandi from the order in the original. While we certainly believe Florius was created from another manuscript, we have generally assumed it to be a translation from an Italian work, not an exact copy of another Latin text.

It is perhaps most likely that the annotation method used by correctors and Florius de arte luctandi readers was employed, rather briefly, by a reader of this text who was neither—but without more information, and more research, nothing can be said with certainty.


Perhaps the most tragic damage is the least obvious; that the segno has suffered more than any other leaf can hardly be questioned, but it is the only page where original content has been rather deliberately destroyed.

On closer examination, at least several pages also appear to have warping from water damage; many pages have stains, drips, florius de arte luctandi smears that more specifically suggest spills. In some cases, attempts to minimize damage from the spill actually made the situation much worse; the segno and at least one interior page have significantly reduced readability because water-soluble ink has smeared across the page in the act of wiping a spill away.

These verses from the top of page 2v topthe top of florius de arte luctandi 12v centerand the bottom of page 5v bottom show wear, spills, smears, notes, word-pairing dots, and annotations.

Wear and dirt are one sign of use, but much more charmingly, some readers have made notes while they worked.

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