Loano, Francesco Castello 1619.
4to. [xii], 213 [r. 123], p. A woodcut Castello device on the title and final verso.
Gilt red morocco (V. Krafft), gilt outer and inner rectangles, gilt corner fleurons, spine and title gilt, all edges gilt, green silk marker.
Only Edition. This fencing manual is cast as a dialog between master and student in three sections. The first treats the art and sport, discusses the tradition of master at arms, introduces long and short sword and describes the basic strokes. The second details the strategy, geometry, mathematics and maneuvers of offense and defense. Gaiani acknowledges the near total abandonment in his time of the cut and the corresponding dominance of the thrust as a mixed blessing. The final part treats the deadliest mode, mounted fencing, where handling the horse is more important than handling the weapon, where the horse’s impetus gives force to the sword and the opponent must be kept on the right hand and ahead — never behind. Antonio Alfieri shamelessly copied Gaiani verbatim. This was long considered the first book printed in Loano (now known to be preceded by four extremely rare song books). I have found two copies in the U.S. In good condition.
¶Anglo, The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe 9-10, 35, 110, 121, 138-9, 264-6, 268 & 366; Anglo, “How to Kill a Man at your Ease” in Chivalry in the Renaissance ed. Anglo 12; Ayala, Bibliografia militare-italiana 198; Pardoel, The Complete Bibliography of the Art & Sport of Fencing 179; Thimm, A Complete Bibliography of Fencing 109; Castle, Schools and Masters of Fence xxvii & 131; Gelli, Bibliografia generale della scherma 105 (not seen) 105; Fumagalli, Lexicon typographicum italiæ 188; Huth, Works on Horses & Equitation 18; Kelso, Doctrine of the English Gentleman 382.