Dienstag, 10. April 2012

Hec sunt guardiae in dimicatione videlicet - Interview mit Brian Stokes über die italienische Handschrift 'MSS 1020'

In der italienischen Handschrift 'MSS 1020' (ursprüngliche Herkunft höchstwahrscheinlich Florenz um 1425-1450) wurde von Brian Stokes vor kurzem eine Passage entdeckt, die überschrieben ist mit den Worten: "Hec sunt guardiae in dimicatione videlicet" (zu deutsch etwa: "Hier sind die Posturen des Kampfes").

'MSS 1020' ist eine Handschrift in italienischer Sprache, die vor allem Bibelzitate aus dem Alten und Neuen Testament, weiterhin eine "mappa mundi" (Weltkarte), eine Liste von "Dies Aegyptiaci" ("Ägyptische Tage" ist ein Volksaberglaube, er bezeichnet die Unglückstage des Monats) und verschiedene formelle Anrede- und Umgangsformen enthält. Inhalt und Aufmachung des Werkes lassen darauf schließen, dass die Handschrift als eine persönliche Gedächtnisstütze von ihrem Besitzer erstellt worden ist. Umso interessanter ist in diesem Zusammenhang die Nennung von Fechtposituren in einer Passage der Handschrift. Als möglichen Besitzer der Handschrift kann man Giovanni degli Albizzi (1385-1411) vermuten  (Hinweis auf fol. 157: “Reverendo in christo patri domino Johanni de Albitiis...”, vgl. Textmanuscripts). Die Albizzi waren bis in die Mitte des 15. Jahrunderts hinein eine der einflussreichsten Familien in Florenz.


Fechtgeschichte sprach mit Brian Stokes über seine bemerkenswerte Entdeckung.

Fechtgeschichte: How did you discover the book?

Brian Stokes: Many of my evenings are spent culling through lists of manuscripts.  This particular find came from a listing of manuscripts for sale.  In the offering sheet it referred to a section in MSS 1020 as "Rules of Fencing."  However, what caught my eye was a reference to "Guardia Falconis" in line 6 of this work.  The only other reference I have seen to this guard was in Vadi's work so I knew that this was something new, especially since this manuscript dates between 1425 and 1450.

Fechtgeschichte: How comprehensive is it?

Brian Stokes: Not very.  It is simply a listing of guards and counter-guards, much like I.33.

Fechtgeschichte: How is it structured?

Brian Stokes: It is a listing of guards opposing one another.  It was one page (specifically 104v) in a pocket book carried around by someone who was probably acting in a diplomatic role.  I surmize this due to the inclusion of a section within the work which details the appropriate way to address visiting dignitaries.  Apparently the original owner of the work decided it was important to keep a listing of the guards that he knew, which brings up another point - someone must have taught him.  Was there a school of fencing in Florence in the early 1400's?  I guess I need to look at the city records to see if there was.

Fechtgeschichte: Can you please describe some of the book’s contents, for example regarding the types of weapons covered or fencing styles, etc.?

Brian Stokes: This work is too short make a clear determination but I believe that it is referencing a sword and buckler system, particularly with the reference to the guard "sub ascella".

Fechtgeschichte: How do you classify the book concerning the history of European fencing?

Brian Stokes: It is probably the oldest reference from an Italian source to reference sword and buckler.

Fechtgeschichte: Are there similarities to other works dating back to the 15th century (e.g. Fiore,  Vadi)?

Brian Stokes: There is no apparent connection between the work of Fiore (which is my focus of study) and this work.  It is something entirely new.
Fechtgeschichte: Last but not least: Can you please tell our readers a little about your person?

Brian Stokes: I am a wealth manager by practice and an attorney.  I am presently working on my master's in history and am looking forward to starting my PhD in either history or law. I started with Olympic fencing in 1972 and began training in a form of Iaido in 1979.  In 2000 I was awarded a 6th degree black belt in the system.  However, in 2002 I was admitted into the Suio Ryu of Iai Kenpo(tm), one of the oldest extant martial traditions of Japan (c.1610AD).  This tradition is a multiple weapon system, including naginata, shakujo, katana, waki, kusarigama, amongst others.  Very complete and very, very historically accurate.  It was in about 2002 that I also ran across the work by Fior of Friuli and immediately became his disciple. After 40 years of martial arts I could immediately tell from the Getty manuscript how magnificant his tradition was.  He truly understood the mechanics of the body relative to the use of a weapon as demonstrated again and again by the drawings that appear in his works.  I was so transfixed by his art that I founded the Schola San Marco(tm) a school devoted to this art, which I practice daily. 

Mehr über die Handschrift ‘MSS 1020’:

Brian Stokes hat eine Transkription und englische Translation (zusammen mit Matt Galas) des Abschnitts über das Fechten aus ‘MSS 1020’ angefertigt: Hec Sunt Guardiae in Dimicatione Videlicet.

Weitere Informationen zur Handschrift bieten Textmanuscripts.com (bibliographische Informationen, Herkunft, Inhalt) sowie eine Diskussion zu diesem Thema auf Swordforum international.