Thoughts on the Role of Cavalry in Medieval Warfare (Jack Gassmann) - APD2(2014)

Citation Information: Acta Periodica Duellatorum. Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 149-177, ISSN (Online) 2064-0404, December 2015


This article explores the role of cavalry in medieval warfare starting
with it’s origins in the Carolingian age, examining how cavalry was used as a
strategic asset within the context of the period on at an operational level, as well
as the tactics they were likely to have employed. Due to my interest in both
medieval warhorses and mounted combat research into the context and use of
medieval cavalry was a natural by-product. Using primary resources such as
first-hand accounts and period artwork as well as secondary literature, the article
summarizes the findings of my research. Most historians, despite the recognition
that field-battles were not the heart and soul of medieval warfare, still judge
medieval cavalry by their performance within them. My findings show a much
greater concentration on small unit actions, both in armament and organization,
with cavalry centred on chevauchées on raiding and subduing castles in swift
commando type take and hold missions. The diversity of mounted forces are
also examined in the context of the lance and the integration of mounted
crossbowmen and bowmen for combined arms tactics.

Medieval Hunting as Training for War Insights for the Modern Swordsman (Richard Swinney) - APD2(2014)

Citation Information: Acta Periodica Duellatorum. Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 179-193, ISSN (Online) 2064-0404, December 2015


Since antiquity, hunting (the pursuit of large game with dogs, swords,
spears and bows) has been advocated as the best means of training men for war.
The cognitive, psychological and physical demands of hunting in this fashion
develop a fundamentally different skill set from that of standard modern Western
Martial Arts training. Still legal in the United States, hunting wild boar
employing medieval weapons and methods provides insights into
swordsmanship readily available nowhere else.

Analysis of a Feder (Ferenc Rádi) - APD2(2014)

Citation Information: Acta Periodica Duellatorum. Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 255–273, ISSN (Online) 2064-0404, DOI: 10.1515/apd-2015-0020, December 2015


This paper covers an analysis in the cross section of sword fencing and the field of analytical mechanics and computer analysis. It aims to get answer to following questions in case of a normal blow with a feder on another feder: where are critical cross section/sections, where is the biggest stress, might the feder maybe break or not?

To inspect this question a model for the feder was created in a reliable, realistic, simple and closed form. Modeling a single blow acceleration and speed state at the chosen time will be calculated. Based on this input data equations and conclusions from the analytical mechanics were applied, where D’Alamberts principle is used. Results will be validated by finite element computer aided modeling and also applied on specified real life cases.

Organization and Regulation of Fencing in the Realm of France in the Renaissance (Olivier Dupuis) - APD2(2014)

Citation Information: Acta Periodica Duellatorum. Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 233–254, ISSN (Online) 2064-0404, DOI: 10.1515/apd-2015-0019, December 2015


During the nineteenth century, many sources were published about the regulation of fencing in Renaissance France. Comparing those sources shows significant though incomplete uniformity in the formalities observed in the training of students of fencing, particularly in the process followed by the neophyte in his passage to mastery of the art of defence.


The Bolognese Societates Armatae of the Late 13th Century (Jürg Gassmann) - APD2(2014)

Citation Information: Acta Periodica Duellatorum. Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 195–231, ISSN (Online) 2064-0404, DOI: 10.1515/apd-2015-0018, December 2015


The Bologna archives preserve the bye-laws of 24 „armed societies”, dating from between 1230 and the early 1300s, written in good notary Latin. Though known to exist in other Italian city-states, only few non-Bolognese armed society bye-laws are preserved. These armed societies had disappeared everywhere by the Late Middle Ages.

This article explores the function of these armed societies and the feudal law aspects of the bye-laws - was their function predominantly military, social or political? Why did they suddenly appear, and just as suddenly disappear?

How did they fit into Bologna’s constitution - how did they relate to the civic authorities, the guilds? How did these armed societies operate? Who were the members? What arms did they have? Did they participate in the warfare between the city-states, the battles of the Lombard League and the Holy Roman Empire, the struggles between the Emperor and the Pope, the feuds between the Ghibellines and the Guelphs?

Liegnitzer, Hundsfeld or Lew? The question of authorship of popular Medieval fighting teachings (Daniel Jaquet / Bartłomiej Walczak) - APD2(2014)

Citation Information: Acta Periodica Duellatorum. Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 105–148, ISSN (Online) 2064-0404, DOI: 10.1515/apd-2015-0015, December 2015


In numerous 15th and 16th century Fightbooks several sets of teachings appear alongside the glosses of Liechtenauer’s Epitome on armoured fighting and fighting on horseback (Harnischfechten and Rossfechten) often enough to be considered auctoritas on these subjects. However, their authorship from various witnesses are attributed to different authorial figures - Andreas Liegnitzer, Martin Hundsfeld, Jud Lew.

From 1452 until 1570, a number of diverse teachings are ascribed to them or faithfully reproduced without attribution: the most widely copied include the entitled Shortened sword for armoured hand and Shortened sword from the four guards, sword and buckler, dagger, wrestling and fighting on horseback. By a comparative analysis of existing witnesses, and by establishing the filiation tree of the related sources, we attempt to determine their original authorship. The analysis also yields additional conclusions regarding the influence of these authorial figures on other texts, proposes the filiation tree of the examined witnesses and presents the attempted study as a model for further research.

Thibault and Science I. Measure, Distances and Proportions in the Circle (János Majár/Zoltán Várhelyi) - APD2(2014)

Citation Information: Acta Periodica Duellatorum. Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 67–104, ISSN (Online) 2064-0404, DOI: 10.1515/apd-2015-0014, December 2015


In this paper we investigate the basic mathematical and philosophical tool of Gérard Thibault d’Anvers, the Circle. One of our main goals was to describe the Circle with coordinate geometry, and to estimate the rate of accuracy of his work. Furthermore, we also wanted to test the statements made by Thibault in his fencing manual, Academy of the Sword [Thibault, 1630; Greer, 2005]. To do this, we compared his observations and calculations with the results of available modern day and historical anthropometrical data sets. Based on our results, we also want to give some practical information about Thibault system for the fencers who study his art in our time.

The guild and the swordsman (Jean Chandler) - APD2(2014)

Citation Information: Acta Periodica Duellatorum. Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 27–66, ISSN (Online) 2064-0404, DOI: 10.1515/apd-2015-0013, December 2015


Guilds have a well-established association with the fencing systems of medieval Europe, and the phenomenon of guilds has been the subject of a great deal of new academic research in the last 20 years or so. A thorough summary of the recent scholarship on guilds and their structure and history will help provide context for what may be loosely described as armed guilds. Though armed guilds have not yet been the subject of a proper systematic analysis, it is possible to tentatively identify four types. Combining the summary of ‘civilian’ guilds with the emerging evidence of armed guilds, including the fencing guilds, may help us better understand the social relevance of martial arts in medieval and Early Modern Europe. This may in turn contribute positively to the ongoing efforts to interpret the medieval fightbooks.

The Neapolitan School of Fencing: Its Origins and Early Characteristics (Charles Blair) - APD2(2014)

Citation Information: Acta Periodica Duellatorum. Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 9–26, ISSN (Online) 2064-0404, DOI: 10.1515/apd-2015-0012, December 2015


The Neapolitan school of fencing, which received official sanction after the reunification of Italy in the nineteenth century, originated in the seventeenth century. It was originally best known as a system of sword and dagger fencing. It is documented as such in both Italian and Spanish sources during the reign of Carlos II and the War of the Spanish Succession (1665-1714). This article discusses the evidence from both sets of sources during this period, comparing and contrasting the Neapolitan approach to previous, contemporary and subsequent approaches in order to provide the necessary historical context for its origin and development.