Nineteenth Century French Military Sabre: Sport, Duel and War Fencing - by Julien Garry (APD6/2)

pp. 3-35

Abstract – Numerous treaties and methods regarding fencing are known today, either written by experts, veterans of sword-masters, or by the ministry or war and its branches: the schools of Joinville and Saumur. Some are destined to horse riders, others to officers. Each of these methods has its own particularities and, due to the abundance of treaties, discerning the qualities, the flaws, and the overall interest of a specific method can seem complicated. An attempt is made below to answer: why were the methods of French saber in the nineteenth century conceived and Why were they made this way, and what connection do they share with the French military world. These texts are compared and analyzed to uncover their function regarding the Army. From this analysis, three types of fencing will emerge, sometimes opposite, sometimes complementary; war fencing: conceived to be applicable on the battlefield – duel fencing (that was less official but still popular in nineteen century France) – and finally, recreational fencing, most often taking the form of a sport.

Keywords – sabre fencing; French military fencing; nineteenth century

Technical elements in Hungarian sabre fencing manuals - Matyas Miskolczi (APD6/2)

pp. 207-211

Abstract – This research aims to collect technical elements identified in Hungarian sabre manuals. At the current stage of research they were assembled in a table, creating a map of elements. The research itself is in an initial phase, this research note is here to share first results.

Keywords – sabre, Hungarian, map of technical elements, research note

Supplementary material online

The sabre in 19th century Greece - by Georges Zacharopoulos (APD6/2)

pp. 175-188

Abstract – Abstract – This article gives a brief overview on Greek sabre sources with a special focus on Philipp Müller’s and Nikolaos Pyrgos’ treatises. The article does not aim to give a complete list of treatises neither to analyze the any of the mentioned books in details – rather it aims to give an insight in those two books which might have had the most important impact on the development of the Greek sabre fencing in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

The Sabre in Spain through Fencing Treatises - by Manuel Valle Ortiz (APD6/2)

pp. 175-188

Abstract – The sabre was introduced to Spain and other Hispanic countries from abroad, leading to the establishment of a Spanish sabre school based on the principles of Destreza. Several types of fencing books can be found. There were books on sabre instruction for the army and navy with simple techniques but also more developed works designed both for officers’ fencing and duelling and or for civilian duelling, and later for sportive entertainment. There are a considerable number of extant treatises, mainly available in continental Spain but also in the Americas. Many of the authors were army or navy officers who were also teaching in military institutions. The evolution of sabre fencing is followed until the beginning of the twentieth century.

Keywords – Sabre, Destreza, Spanish school, bibliography

Shashka in late XIX – XX c.: Outline of Russian Combat Techniques - by Ruslan Urazbakhtin (APD6/2)

pp. 125-173

Abstract: In the late XIX c., when most Western European armies in the discussion about cut and thrust strikes finally gave priority to a thrust, Russian Imperial Army adopted Eastern weapon – shashka, with Caucasian and Asian origins. Despite its late adoption and not Russian origins, shashka quickly became a national weapon. It transformed a lot under the influence of Western European saber. It dislodged all other long-bladed weapons in Russian army and even in the national memory so that nowadays average Russian calls all curved blades “shashka”. This weapon became a symbol of Russian Cossacks and all late Russian cavalry, almost the last long-bladed weapon used at war. This article is aimed to study techniques of fencing on shashkas of Russian Cossacks and soldiers in XIX – XX c., well-preserved in fencing and cutting manuals, as well as army statutes of this period. The author makes an attempt to verify the popular idea that shashka was not used for fencing at all, that it was designed only for cutting and smashing, without any parades, thrusts, feints, tactics. At the beginning of the article a weaponological review of shashka is done. Its distinctive features, origins, types, characteristics are considered.

Keywords: shashka, saber, Russia, Caucasus, Cossacks.

Sweat and Blood: Swordsmanship and sabre in Fribourg - by Mathijs Roelofsen and Dimitri Zufferey (APD6/2)

pp. 103-123

Abstract – Following a long mercenary tradition, Switzerland had to build in the 19th century its own military tradition. In Cantons that have provided many officers and soldiers in the European Foreign Service, the French military influence remained strong. This article aims to analyze the development of sabre fencing in the canton of Fribourg (and its French influence) through the manuals of a former mercenary (Joseph Bonivini), a fencing master in the federal troops (Joseph Tinguely), and an officer who became later a gymnastics teacher (Léon Galley). These fencing manuals all address the recourse to fencing as physical training and gymnastic exercise, and not just as a combat system in a warlike context.

Keywords – Sabre, Fribourg, Valais, Switzerland, fencing, contre-pointe, bayonet

The evolution of German Cut Fencing in the 19th century viewed through the works of Friedrich August Wilhelm Ludwig Roux - by Alex Kiermayer (APD6/2)

pp. 77-101

Abstract – This article takes a look at the characteristics of German civilian fencing with cutting swords in the 19th century, especially the style taught by the Roux family of fencing masters. One of the most prominent members of this family was Friedrich August Wilhelm Ludwig Roux. By comparing his early work Anweisung zum Hiebfechten mit graden und krummen Klingen and his later work Deutsches Paukbuch one is able to discern some of the changes in German Hiebfechten or fencing with cutting weapons during the 19th century, in particular on the students’ duelling ground.

Pour l’honneur? Duelling in the army of Napoleon - by Bert Gevaert (APD6/2)

pp. 39-76

Abstract – Duelling and Napoleonic history go together like a horse and carriage. Though strictly forbidden and disliked by Napoleon, duelling was a very frequent phenomenon in the Grande Armée. It is even possible to speak about a ‘duellomanie’, which caused many (deadly) victims. Nevertheless, for various reasons soldiers crossed blades and duels went according to certain unwritten rules. After an official invitation to go to a certain place at a certain time, a duel, fought with specific weapons, took place under the watchful eye of seconds. Sometimes these duellists wanted to kill their opponent, but in many duels the only intention was to cause a (light) wound. Although duels were honourable and a symbol of masculinity and bravery, they also caused many soldiers to die, not for their country, but in a fight without purpose.

Keywords – saber; blade; smallsword; spadroon; Napoleonic warfare; Napoleon; duelling; Material culture; Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA); History