Early history of the modern fencing: sabre, ...

Open to public view.

Re: Early history of the modern fencing: sabre, ...

Postby Barbatus » 04 Jan 2014 22:30

Hi,

AFAIK sabre duels with heavy (cavalry) swords were rare, probably even extremely rare events,

Here's the example of one documented duel with heavy sabres, that took Place in Poznan (today's Poland) between two Prussian officers some time before the world war 1. The duel was fought after some heavy offence and the agreement was made that the victor would take his opponent's head with him. Evidence of this duel is supposedly on display in the museal section of anathomy department in medical university here in Poznan: https://scontent-a-lhr.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/1474531_560367790707197_1213219974_n.jpg.
See how deep the cut went into the cranium. The same blow to the neck would probably decapitate a person, especially if it hit between the vertebrae. And I can imagine a couple of tactical situations in a sabre fight where one of the opponents would expose his neck to a strong cut.
In the 1920s and 30s Polish officers duelled with cavalry sabres quite often, however I haven't heard of a duel that would end with fatality.
User avatar
Barbatus
Private
 
Posts: 26
Joined: 04 Jan 2014 21:33
Location: Poznan, Poland

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 05 Jan 2014 08:16

Barbatus,

First of all, welcome to the forum.
Also thank you very much for the rare and gruesome photo. Memento mori!

I'm more familiar with Hungarian duelling customs, and the local duelling codes, especially those published in the first decades of 20thC, are basically unanimous on the prohibition of using normal army swords (either infantry or heavier cavalry sabres) during duels.
Emil Barta
Nullo modo, amice.
User avatar
Ulrich von L...n
Colonel
 
Posts: 1466
Joined: 24 Nov 2011 13:05
Location: Hungary

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 06 Jan 2014 09:00

Barbatus,

From your introduction I see that you are from Poznan, so it would quite interesting to contact somebody from the Anatomy Museum in Poznan, and get confirmation that indeed this head is still stored there, probably some additional details about the whole duel.
Emil Barta
Nullo modo, amice.
User avatar
Ulrich von L...n
Colonel
 
Posts: 1466
Joined: 24 Nov 2011 13:05
Location: Hungary

Re: Early history of the modern fencing: sabre, ...

Postby Barbatus » 07 Jan 2014 15:51

I used to study there and saw the display couple of times, but can't remember if I saw the unfortunate leutnant's head or not. AFAIR the museum is not open to anyone from outside the university but I will try and contact people working there and see if they have any information on topic.

Boziewicz's duelling code (1919) mentions that a duelling sabre shouldn't exceed 600 grams in weight and should have PoB between 12-15cm as it enables unimpeded manipulation with the sabre for a man of average strength.
Strange because i'm sure that I read descriptions of duels fought with standard issue officers cavalry sabres in the 20's and 30's.
User avatar
Barbatus
Private
 
Posts: 26
Joined: 04 Jan 2014 21:33
Location: Poznan, Poland

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 07 Jan 2014 17:43

... but I will try and contact people working there and see if they have any information on topic.

Great! It might yield some interesting tidbits.
Boziewicz's duelling code (1919) mentions that a duelling sabre shouldn't exceed 600 grams in weight and should have PoB between 12-15cm as it enables unimpeded manipulation with the sabre for a man of average strength.

Almost the same in Hungary: Arlow (1902) said that a duelling sabre shouldn't never exceed 750 g, and average duelling sabres were between 400 and 600 grams, with the width of the blade between 12 and 16 mm. However he pointed out that in certain cases seconds could agree on using cavalry swords, which usually should have the following parameters: weight below 1 kg, width below 20 mm (a normal cavalry sabre at that time was 39 mm wide).

In Hungary duels with cavalry sabres were absolutely rare events, probably the most famous one: in 1887 a lawyer, later he would become famous as writer, duelled with a cavalry officier, seconds stipulated very serious conditions: no bandages, cavalry swords, and the lawyer killed the officer with one cut to his armpit; it is important to point out that the medical personal at the event was completely unprepared to treat such a serious wound.
Emil Barta
Nullo modo, amice.
User avatar
Ulrich von L...n
Colonel
 
Posts: 1466
Joined: 24 Nov 2011 13:05
Location: Hungary

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 10 Jan 2014 15:50

Chris Holzman wrote:Speaking of the Italo-Hungarian connection, do we know who Dr. Sandor Posta trained under? There are a couple video clips of him on youtube, and he looked to be a simply fantastic sabre fencer.

Yes, another (legal) doctor: dr. László Gerentsér (1873-1942).

It seems that he was a really good teacher, and was able to formulate his vision of sabre fencing in a very clear and enjoyable way. His book A modern kardvívás (Modern Sabre Fencing) was published in 1944, two years after his death by Béla Bay, another excellent fencing master and Imre Rajczy, Olympic champion, both were his pupils.
Emil Barta
Nullo modo, amice.
User avatar
Ulrich von L...n
Colonel
 
Posts: 1466
Joined: 24 Nov 2011 13:05
Location: Hungary

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 10 Jan 2014 16:04

Gerentser.jpg
Gerentser.jpg (186.43 KiB) Viewed 16273 times
Emil Barta
Nullo modo, amice.
User avatar
Ulrich von L...n
Colonel
 
Posts: 1466
Joined: 24 Nov 2011 13:05
Location: Hungary

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 14 Jan 2014 06:03

Do we know why two guys are positioned in a very peculiar manner, almost behind the fencers in this picture from Müller's manual (1847)?

Image
Emil Barta
Nullo modo, amice.
User avatar
Ulrich von L...n
Colonel
 
Posts: 1466
Joined: 24 Nov 2011 13:05
Location: Hungary

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 14 Jan 2014 06:16

A nice selection of fencing weapons:

sword_models.jpg
sword_models.jpg (101.26 KiB) Viewed 16245 times

From: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=20731
Emil Barta
Nullo modo, amice.
User avatar
Ulrich von L...n
Colonel
 
Posts: 1466
Joined: 24 Nov 2011 13:05
Location: Hungary

Re:

Postby Andreas Engström » 14 Jan 2014 09:16

Ulrich von L...n wrote:Do we know why two guys are positioned in a very peculiar manner, almost behind the fencers in this picture from Müller's manual (1847)?

If someone reads greek, I think it's referred to on page 75.

http://reader.digitale-sammlungen.de/de ... 00097.html

-Andreas

PS. My uneducated guess is that they are some type of Grieswarten. Seconds, poised to jump in and break the bout if something goes wrong. Holding their sabres like that provides a bit of cover when going in and is a good starting position if you want to quickly block the combatant's weapons.
User avatar
Andreas Engström
Brigadier
 
Posts: 1560
Joined: 22 Mar 2006 13:40
Location: Göteborg, Sweden

Re: Early history of the modern fencing: sabre, ...

Postby Alex Kiermayer » 14 Jan 2014 17:48

These are seconds, placed in the typical German manner. In modern Mensur the seconds assume a similar position.
Alex Kiermayer
Corporal
 
Posts: 67
Joined: 05 Sep 2006 12:04

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 16 Jan 2014 15:47

Andreas & Alex,
Thanks for the clarification.

My initial thought was that they assumed this rather strange position in order to prevent fencers from moving backward.
Emil Barta
Nullo modo, amice.
User avatar
Ulrich von L...n
Colonel
 
Posts: 1466
Joined: 24 Nov 2011 13:05
Location: Hungary

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 16 Jan 2014 15:50

http://swinglargo.tumblr.com/post/23497314387

Chronophotograph of sabre fencers from the late 1800s (pre cinema)
By Étienne-Jules Marey (posted in May, 2012)
Emil Barta
Nullo modo, amice.
User avatar
Ulrich von L...n
Colonel
 
Posts: 1466
Joined: 24 Nov 2011 13:05
Location: Hungary

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 16 Jan 2014 15:56

An interesting presentation by Krisztina Nagy (Trnava, 2013):

Safe Outcome of the Sword Duel
Emil Barta
Nullo modo, amice.
User avatar
Ulrich von L...n
Colonel
 
Posts: 1466
Joined: 24 Nov 2011 13:05
Location: Hungary

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 17 Jan 2014 16:22

Hartl_1885.jpg
Hartl_1885.jpg (99.97 KiB) Viewed 16071 times

"The illustration was published in 1885 in the French, Le Journal Illustre. They are the famous women students of Maitre Hartl from Vienna. They traveled all over Europe and the United States giving demonstrations."
From Jeannette Acosta-Martinez's FB page.
Emil Barta
Nullo modo, amice.
User avatar
Ulrich von L...n
Colonel
 
Posts: 1466
Joined: 24 Nov 2011 13:05
Location: Hungary

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 21 Jan 2014 16:24

There are several depictions of Hartl's female students holding a dagger in icepick position while fencing with a regular foil. This so-called Neapolitan fencing - a foil and a dagger in this awkward position - is a genuine fencing lineage or just Hartl's own invention?
Emil Barta
Nullo modo, amice.
User avatar
Ulrich von L...n
Colonel
 
Posts: 1466
Joined: 24 Nov 2011 13:05
Location: Hungary

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 27 Jan 2014 09:31

A while ago (at least one year ago...)
Chris Holzman wrote:Which begs the question that I'm curious about, and that I know Russ Mitchell would be super curious about - what was K.u.K. teaching, and do we know how it compared to what might be seen in the Honved in late 19th early 20th century?

One possible answer:
Systematisches Lehrbuch für den Unterricht im Säbelfechten aus der Hoch-Tierce-Auslage co-written by Captain Gustav von Arlow (Arlow Gusztáv in Hungarian) and First Lieutenant Litomysky (1894)
http://books.google.hu/books/about/Syst ... edir_esc=y

It seems that this book details the KuK fencing from high tierce position as taught at the k.u.k. Militär Fecht- und Turnlehrerinstitut (the Institute of Military Fencing Masters and PE Instructors, kind of Austrian Aldershot, the Army School of Physical Training), before the arrival of Barbasetti.
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/K.u.k._Mil ... erinstitut

Later Arlow left the army, learned and taught the Italian sabre fencing, and in 1902 wrote a super Hungarian book on it (basically a synthesis of the new Italian system and the old-style Hungarian sabre fencing), which is available at scribd.
Emil Barta
Nullo modo, amice.
User avatar
Ulrich von L...n
Colonel
 
Posts: 1466
Joined: 24 Nov 2011 13:05
Location: Hungary

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 27 Jan 2014 09:35

Hoch_Tierce_Auslage_1894.jpg
Hoch_Tierce_Auslage_1894.jpg (20.17 KiB) Viewed 15864 times

From Arlow & Litomysky's book (1894)
Emil Barta
Nullo modo, amice.
User avatar
Ulrich von L...n
Colonel
 
Posts: 1466
Joined: 24 Nov 2011 13:05
Location: Hungary

Re: Early history of the modern fencing: sabre, ...

Postby Alex Kiermayer » 27 Jan 2014 11:11

Is Arlow`s book (German edition) downloadable in Hungary?
Alex Kiermayer
Corporal
 
Posts: 67
Joined: 05 Sep 2006 12:04

Re:

Postby Chris Holzman » 27 Jan 2014 17:01

Ulrich von L...n wrote:There are several depictions of Hartl's female students holding a dagger in icepick position while fencing with a regular foil. This so-called Neapolitan fencing - a foil and a dagger in this awkward position - is a genuine fencing lineage or just Hartl's own invention?


It is nothing I can recall in the literature - and I've read most of the important/known works from the late 17th century in the Naples/Sicily (Due Sicilie) area, though I don't claim to have read them all or to have perfect recall. That said, there is a huge hole in Italian fencing books from the end of the 17th century until the beginning of the 19th century, so I suppose it could be something from the 18th.
--
Chris Holzman
Moniteur D' Armes
"[T]he calm spirit is the only force that can defeat instinct, and render us the masters of all our strengths." -Capt. Settimo Del Frate, 1876.
Author of "The Art of the Dueling Sabre".
Chris Holzman
Staff Sergeant
 
Posts: 220
Joined: 17 Mar 2006 20:44

PreviousNext

Return to General Historical Martial Arts

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests

cron