Bartolomeo Bertolini

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Bartolomeo Bertolini

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 06 Oct 2014 07:03

Carletto,

After having seen your request for sword data in another topic, in connection to the study of Bertolini's two manuals, I'm just wondering what we know about the real life of Bartolomeo Bertolini.

Bartolomeo Bortolini’s Military Career

It certainly is not an easy matter to recall the past military life and quite stunning exploits de guerre (i.e. war exploits) of the Italian veteran Bartolomeo Bortolini – a native of the town of Trento. Modern and post-modern generations are aware that the passing of time has veiled and erased most part of the memories of this man, thus letting historical data disappear in the waters of oblivion. Another significant point opened a contradictory debate. In the beginning of the XIXth century, a dialectic problem was raised in establishing his family origin and his birth identity.

A little bit of incomprehension, nearing the tonalities of a querelle,[1] followed about the true personal indentity of the veteran, certainly a multifaceted misunderstanding between the true Bartolomeo Bortolini and a fairly homonymous Bartolomeo Bortolini – who had major service of distinction in the cavalry regimental force of the Dragoni Regina (army of the Kingdom of Italy).

However, even after being recognized for this minor side of an enthralling and speculative controversy, the information can be an additional cultural specific, and appreciated in the general context of a stout veteran’s life experience. Extrapolation from his military roll and état de services are henceforth provided for a better documentary understanding in relation to the above mentioned subject.

It is known that at early an age Bortolini had entered French service as a volunteer; that he served the Republican cause with the armée du Rhein, and strenuously fought in Vandea. After General Bonaparte’s prominent raise to the laurels of glory (first Italian campaign of 1796-1797), and inspired by his talents, Bortolini followed the French general to Egypt in 1799 and took part in the 1802 expedition to Saint-Domingo under the leadership commandant en chef Charles-Victor-Emmanuel Leclerc, a native of Pontoise.After the tremendous battle with the Austro-Russian army at Austerlitz, in Moravia, Bortolini is cited as a prode soldato (i.e. proud soldier) who accomplished his duty con zelo ed onore (i.e. with zeal and honour). Returning to Italy, he enlisted in the 2nd Reggimento Cacciatori a cavallo Principe Reale – and took part in the 1809 campaign. He distinguished himself at Raab (14 June), and at Wagram (6 July).

In the early stages of 1812, Bortolini was garrisoned in the town of Pavia, and had to leave for the Russian expedition with an artillery unit of the IVth Army Corps. In July of that year, the promotion to the rank of capitano (i.e. captain) ensued; and he was further appointed aide de camp to General Saint Germain by Eugène De Beauharnais, the Viceroy of Italy.

While carrying out headquarters duties, he was to serve as officer attached to the stato maggiore of Count Marmaire,[2] the cavalry commander of the Italian army (IVth Corps) Guard cavalry.On October 1, 1812, Joachim Murat, from the General Headquarters located at Wladimir, signified to Bertolini that he was to receive the cavalry order of the Due Sicilie[3] – due to his personal bravery in action.Worth mentioning, among his many experiences of valour, is that after the battle at the Berezina River, on November 29, 1812,

Bertolini prompt actions saved General Count Domenico Pino and Marshall Nicolas-Charles Oudinot from the assaulting forces of the Cossack cavalry squadrons. Brilliantly supported by his companions in arms, the intrepid capitano even outflanked the Russian artillery pieces, and gained a tactical surprise.After the strategic débâcle and disastrous Russian campaign, the battle-hardened veteran safely reached the Po valley.

From June 1813, Bortolini stayed in Pavia; and was then sent to Lodi, a mild country town (at that time the general depot of the Italian Army cavalry) on the Adda River, where he served in the position of istruttore nella regia scuola di equitazione (i.e. instructor in the royal cavalry school). Time passed, and there followed the nadir of Bonaparte’s military career and the burning defeat at Leipzig, the fall of Paris, and the collapse of the Empire – the abdication of Napoleon at Fontainebleau (April 11, 1814) and the exile to the island of Elba. After the surrender of the mighty fortified stronghold of Mantua (1814), the divisional forces of the Army of Italy were ordered dissolved by Prince Eugène (April 23).

Hearing that Napoleon had escaped from the Elba island, and had landed in southern France, Captain Bortolini left Milano on May 4, 1815 – with a small number of veteran comrades. Via the town of Como, and through the broad conditioning Alpine steps, the seasoned Italian veteran crossed the frontier of Switzerland and finally reached Paris. Victory ensued to the French arms over the Prussians, but the stirring defeat at Waterloo marked the end of an age of expansionism and years-long violation of European political self-determination.

Released from his military oath, and deprived of his military living, Bortolini retired to private life. Because of his new circumstances, he made a living as a fencing master in many locations, notably Lodi, Paris, and Milan.In 1821, he could not restrain his talents, and became an active supporter of the revolution.

On February 10, 1831, after a woman informed on him, Bortolini was arrested in Milano; on April 24, the gendarmi escorted him to Graz (Austrian domains) where he was confined. After some years of compulsory residence, the fiery Napoleonic supporter was transferred to Trieste (1838), and once established in town started writing his mémoires d’ epopée.

He died on January 23, 1871; the mortal remains were buried in Sant’Anna cemetery with the military honours granted by F. M. L. Wezlar, commander of the Hapsburg garrison at Trieste.

Source:
http://www.napoleon-series.org/research ... lini1.html
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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 06 Oct 2014 07:11

Are these images really from his sabre manual???

bertolini.jpg
bertolini.jpg (103.56 KiB) Viewed 9021 times

"6 Beautiful Plates.
Images taken from Bartolomeo Bertolini famous book on fencing. Edition of 100.
Produced by Bernardaud France.
Designed by Ducardeau
."
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Re: Bartolomeo Bertolini

Postby Carletto » 06 Oct 2014 20:22

Thanks, some of those info I had not found out yet!
The pictures, no, they are not from the manuals I have but they are similar in style and some of them would fit well in the text. The cinch image is pretty a surprise because I've yet to find a single hand to hand technique and I think he belived you end the fight using the tools.
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Re: Bartolomeo Bertolini

Postby Carletto » 06 Oct 2014 20:28

The Bio says Bortolini, though :/ the rest seems pretty accurate and I'd say its him
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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 07 Oct 2014 07:29

Another interesting article about him (published in August 2007):
http://www.napoleon-series.org/research ... olini.html

The whole biography seems a bit controversial to me.
From the above article we have "a handwritten annotation enclosed in the volume entitled Il veterano d’ Oriente (one copy is kept by the Biblioteca comunale di Trento), which was carefully composed by Francesco Faes, a priest, and a descendant from the Bortolini family branch" saying that
Bartolomeo Bertolini, soldier and writer, was born at Trento on the day of 16 September 16, 1782. In 1802 he enlisted in the French army and lasted in the arms the space of 22 years. Once retired to Trieste, he described his military career in the book entitled Il veterano d’ Oriente (Trieste 1839), compiled a story of the Caduta di S. Giovanni d’ Acri ( Trieste 1843) and then another book of contemporary history entitled Il valore vinto dagli elementi nella campagna di Russia etc. (Milano 1869). This last work was done towards the nd of his life. He died on 23 January 1871.

So he died at 89 (1782-1871).

On the other hand the same article quotes the inscription from his grave, in the cemetery of Trieste:
QUI GIACE / BARTOLOMEO BERTOLINI / CAPITANO DEL I. IMPERO FRANCESE / CAVALIERE DELLA LEGION D’ONORE / DECORATO CON LA CROCE DELL’ORDINE / DELLE DUE SICILIE E CON LA MEDAGLIA / AL VALORE MILITARE DI S’ELENA / FU PRODE SOLDATO SUL CAMPO DI BATTAGLIA / NELLA VANDEA A S. DOMINGO IN EGITTO / AUSTERLITZ RAAB WAGRAM / E FINALMENTE NELLA SPEDIZIONE DI RUSSIA / SULLA MOSKOWA E WATERLOO / VISSE 105 ANNI / NON SMENTÌ MAI IL SUO CARATTERE GUERRESCO / NELLA FEDE IN DIO ONNIPOTENTE / IL 23 GENNAIO 1871 SPIRÒ / LA DESOLATA CONSORTE MARIA NATA BOSSINOVICH / A PERENNE MEMORIA D’AFFETTO / QUESTA MODESTA LAPIDE BAGNATA DI PIANTO / QUI POSE.

According to the commemorative plate he died at 105.

NB.
The article in the OP was published in November 2007.
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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 07 Oct 2014 07:41

I have started to gather information on Bartolini after reading a Hungarian article which says that an Italian fencing master, Bartolomeo Bertolini, aged 92 visited Pest-Buda (the name of Hungarian capital before three separate towns - Buda, Pest and Óbuda - were unified as Budapest) in 1857, held a fencing exhibition (academy) and challenged several local fencing masters.

To be honest I'm highly sceptical that a 92-year-old person could successfully challenge fencing masters in their prime, say somewhere between 30 and 50.
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Re: Bartolomeo Bertolini

Postby Carletto » 07 Oct 2014 21:50

Maybe he challenged them at some other game, who knows? However, considering it was Bertolini, I'm not at all surprised.
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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 08 Oct 2014 06:56

"...other game..."
Pétanque?? :wink:

On a more serious note.
We do know from different articles that Bertolini was an old guy then (in 1857), and he fenced with several fencing masters, sometimes successfully. However it seems that he deliberately declared himself older than his actual age. Probably partly as an excuse, partly as a PR trick to impress the public.

Carletto,
Are you planning to upload a couple of images from his books, just to give us a general impression of Bertolini's fencing style?
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Re: Bartolomeo Bertolini

Postby Carletto » 09 Oct 2014 20:38

It's two manuals, actually, sabre and straight sword.
I would not upload images for two reasons:
1) they do not give you an idea of the fencing style and can be actually misleading (I mean Bertolini's images, specifically)
2) I can publish or share only if I alter the book enough that it is no longer the original

As a matter of fact, I would like to give you the whole thing, with translation of the technical parts. This will take time and I cannot do it all in one go.
Considering it's
1) sabre single combat on foot
2) sword VS sabre single combat on foot
3) sword VS sabre or spear combat on horseback

It's just a matter of deciding what to publish first
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Re: Bartolomeo Bertolini

Postby Carletto » 09 Oct 2014 20:47

Well, the sword manual doesn't seem to impose the same restrictions as the sabre one, so, what the hell

Image
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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 10 Oct 2014 05:39

Superb!
Let's wait for your translation.
The first two parts - sabre on foot, sabre vs sword on foot - are especially interesting topics.

PS.
To be honest I couldn't imagine that an image from a 19th century fencing book could be *really* misleading, especially for people who have seen & studied dozens of such books in the past years. Also it seems that images from Bertolini's book are rather good.
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Re: Bartolomeo Bertolini

Postby Carletto » 11 Oct 2014 18:33

I sterted it today (sabre on foot), now, I need some time and my damn right hand to cooperate :/ but I hope to finish in less than a year time.
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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 13 Oct 2014 06:16

Carletto,
Great! I'm looking forward to seeing your translation.
Good luck!
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