A "Marozzo/Meyer Connection" Myth or Plausibility

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A "Marozzo/Meyer Connection" Myth or Plausibility

Postby A Froster » Sun Oct 24, 2010 1:43 pm

Steven,

I've heard that there is some compelling evidence (although I haven't seen it personally) that Meyer may have learned what he called "Rappier" from Marozzo. As a student of Meyer this is intriguing because it could help our scholars fill in the gaps of what we don't know about Meyer's work (by studying Marozzo). I am curious to read what you might think about this since you are the foremost expert on the Bolognese tradition in our half of the World (at minimum).

Can we say that by studying Marozzo, we are also studying what Meyer was trying to teach the Germans?

Are there any big differences between what they teach (to your knowledge)?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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Re: A "Marozzo/Meyer Connection" Myth or Plausibility

Postby Keith P. Myers » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:43 pm

I'm not Steve, and do not have his expertise. But I can tell you there is at least one MAJOR difference between Meyer's Rappier and the Bolognese Single Sword. Meyer has no passing steps! The Bolognese has lots of passing steps, and oblique steps, and compass steps, etc. Meyer's Rappier seems to go forward and back on a straight line and always with the right foot forward. Maybe Meyer learned a limited amount of Bolognese Single Sword and then simplified it somewhat? Hard to say. But I see more similarities between Meyer's Longsword and Marozzo's Spada da diu Mani than between Meyer's Rappier and Bolognese Single Sword. And we have to ask ourselves.......sword & buckler was the core weapon for Marozzo and Manciolino. Sword & buckler, by Silver's account, was still a major weapon form in England in the same era. Sword & buckler was known to the germans in the same era. So if Meyer learned from Marozzo.....why no buckler? We also have to consider the timeline. I'd have to go back and check my dates, but when Marozzo published in 1536, how old would Meyer have been? Meyer published in 1570, and if I remember right...died in his late thirties to early forties shortly after that. So if Meyer learned something of the Bolognese method, it likely was not from Achille Marozzo. Maybe someone later in the Bolognese tradition? It will be interesting to see what kind of research our Italian friends have come up with. It certainly would not have been unusual for a German master to have studied in Italy. Fiore dei Liberi mentions several Germans that were his students in the prologue to his manual. And Bologna is in northern Italy.....
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Re: A "Marozzo/Meyer Connection" Myth or Plausibility

Postby Steven Reich » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:58 pm

Unfortunately, we can't say one way or the other. I think that one or another fencing historians have claimed this, but I don't know their source--that is, whether it was something documented or just assumed based on some similarities of style. What I can say is this:

If Meyer learned from Marozzo himself, it is odd that Meyer does not include any material for the buckler since it figures so prominently in Marozzo's treatise.

While there are one or two terms that Meyer borrows from the Italians (most notably "Eisenpfort"), nothing of the terminology borrowed is unique to Marozzo/Bolognese. I believe that one reason why Altoni has been considered a "Bolognese" swordsman is from his use of "Porta di Ferro" as a guard--however, there are enough differences that it seems to be more of a cognate (in the same way as Fiore's use of the name) than the result of direct lineage. I believe that the same is true of Meyer's version of the guard (which is actually closer to Altoni than it is to the Bolognese).

In general, it is really hard to say one way or another where Meyer's rappier came from. I see all three of these possibilities as equally plausible:
1. Meyer learned from Marozzo, but integrated the material into his own German system (since the material is definitely organized differently and includes actions and guards not really given in Marozzo or the other Bolognese).

2. Meyer learned from another Italian master.

3. Meyer learned from his master (who himself may have learned from an Italian master or not).

Note that in any case, if Meyer was a student of Marozzo, he must have hand another master at some point--most likely earlier, since his treatise is most definitely a "German" one.

Unfortunately, I can't give an answer that is any less ambiguous. Perhaps someday a scholar will find evidence one way or the other about Meyer's background...

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Re: A "Marozzo/Meyer Connection" Myth or Plausibility

Postby steve hick » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:55 am

Gelli gives that Meyer was a student of Viggiani, without any citation, in his "L'Arte de la Armi in Italia". Gelli has some amazing information therein fencing history, but then, I suspect him sometimes of being loose with facts.

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Re: A "Marozzo/Meyer Connection" Myth or Plausibility

Postby Keith P. Myers » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:30 pm

steve hick wrote:Gelli gives that Meyer was a student of Viggiani, without any citation, in his "L'Arte de la Armi in Italia". Gelli has some amazing information therein fencing history, but then, I suspect him sometimes of being loose with facts.

Steve


Viggiani would make more sense than Marozzo when considering timelines, since he was the last of the written sources for the Bolognese tradition. I haven't looked at Viggiani at all, but I've seen it written that he named the guards differently than the other works. Since he is late in the tradition, is it possible he used far less passing steps.....foreshadowing the coming rapier methods, and that Meyer continued this emphasis? Since he is late in the tradition, has his technique changed enough when compared to Marozzo that he perhaps matches better with Meyer's Rappier?
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Re: A "Marozzo/Meyer Connection" Myth or Plausibility

Postby Steven Reich » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:57 pm

Keith P. Myers wrote:Viggiani would make more sense than Marozzo when considering timelines, since he was the last of the written sources for the Bolognese tradition. I haven't looked at Viggiani at all, but I've seen it written that he named the guards differently than the other works. Since he is late in the tradition, is it possible he used far less passing steps.....foreshadowing the coming rapier methods, and that Meyer continued this emphasis? Since he is late in the tradition, has his technique changed enough when compared to Marozzo that he perhaps matches better with Meyer's Rappier?

Actually, though Viggiani was published in 1575, it was written in about 1560, so Dall'Agocchie was later (published in 1572 when Dall'Agocchie was in his twenties, if we are to believe Gelli). However, we do see the shift--Dall'Agocchie's primary weapon is sword-alone and the only companion weapons he covers are the dagger and the cape. That said, he was probably "behind the times" when compared to the state of rapier. While he doesn't use passing steps as much, he definitely uses them, whereas Falloppia, published only 12 years later in 1584, is a clear "rapier" text (i.e. predicated on the lunge and recovery).

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Re: A "Marozzo/Meyer Connection" Myth or Plausibility

Postby Lee S » Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:46 am

Hi Keith,

Before I start, I would like to say I respect the body of work you have done, and the detailed study and thought you put into your interpretations, however I must respectfully disagree with you on your opinion on passing steps and footwork in Meyer's rappier...

Admittedly, you are correct when you say that the passing step is not covered in this section of the manual. However my current understanding of The Art of Combat, is that Meyers works are a complete system of combat.

A system with interchangeable concepts and principles between the various weapons he covers.

After much discussion and debate among our instructor group, we are currently of the opinion that Meyer already taught the various forms of footwork in the preceding chapters of his book, namely longsword, and dusack.

In his section on the rapier when discussing cutting techniques, he often refers the reader back to the previous chapters on longsword and dusack. (much like he refers to the reader back to the longsword chapter when teaching the dusack)

In both of the first two chapters, Meyer covers various stepping motions, especially the passing step. I believe that he assumes that because the reader has already understood the first two chapters, it would be redundant to cover the same basic material in the third chapter.

Also I am fairly certain that the rapier techniques covered in this section are techniques specific to the rapier... namely right foot forward for the purpose of delivering a thrust from the optimal measure.

In my recent experimentations (which are ongoing) I have found a much higher success rate against sparring partners when combining the techniques found in the dusack section, with the rapier section - Than just using the techniques found in the rapier book alone.

More importantly the style of fight becomes much more fluid and natural, and in effect, seems to have more of a 'bolognese' feel to it.

I leave you with two quotations from paragraphs from the chapter on dusack (p.121) as I believe this sets the tone for the entire book.

1st paragraph:

"Now that I have laid the groundwork with sword combat, next comes the dusack, which takes its basis from the sword, as the true source of combat that is carried out both with one and two hands.... "

2nd paragraph:

"Now since the dusack is so nearly related to the sword, that the greater part of the techniques that are used in the sword with both hands, are executed with very little variation in the dusack with one hand, I will follow the same order in describing it as I previously observed in the section on the sword."

Cheers,
Lee S. Smith
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Re: A "Marozzo/Meyer Connection" Myth or Plausibility

Postby Steven Reich » Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:00 am

Kevin Maurer wrote:Well said Lee. this is a great thread and i love the NoVa-Assalto forum !

If we are to believe what Egerton Castle said about Meyer, than this might be relevant
[...]
Although i don't place too much emphasis on the fact that Egerton Castle claims Joachim Meyer is a Marxbrüder, i have only found that said later than castle's works. Maybe he mis-identified this from a Plate? He has only speculation based on his knowledge of the Original Fencer's era. How much did he know? was it enough to extrapolate the similarities between Meyer and Viggiani? Whose school was said to have flourished in Venice from 1555-1563. hmmm. Agrippa? HMMM..
It will be interesting to someday pin this down. Exactly who may have been an influence to Joachim Meyer with regards to the Rappier.

The thing is, all of the guards and attacks that Castle attributes to Viggiani and Agrippa are well-known in all of 16th century Italian fencing. The "punta sopramano" as a term is used in pretty much all of the Bolognese sources as a synonym for the imbroccata, and the form of the attack itself (i.e. the overhand thrust) is used in all of the Italian sources of the 16th century. Likewise, that particular guard of the Sword and Dagger, also exists in all of the 16th century Italian literature that covers it (I wouldn't even identify it as Agrippa's, since I'm Bolognese-centric, I'd describe it in those terms). In fact, I'd be more surprised if they *didn't* appear in the other literature as they are such fundamental positions (i.e. a thrust is going to be overhand or underhand, and a point-forward guard of that form is going to be in every system for single-hand sword there is).

The problem is that Castle (et al.) would find one little detail and use it to form a sweeping conclusion about lineage. It's like saying that every system of single-handed swordsmanship with a hanging parry must be derived from German Messer because that is the earliest one-handed system we know with the handing parry, or that every system of sword and buckler with a guard that has the sword-hand under the buckler-arm is derived from I.33 because that is the first system that describes it. Clearly, many of these positions and attacks exist in multiple systems because they are common or even indispensable.

Looking at the Italian material (i.e. multiple traditions/lineages), I think that it is unlikely that we will ever pin down what Italian school influenced Meyer without some sort of attribution by Meyer (i.e. if he said who he studied with or in what city he studied).

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Re: A "Marozzo/Meyer Connection" Myth or Plausibility

Postby Lee S » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:42 am

Hello all,

Steve - from my studies of italian swordsmanship, I agree with you completely. Your example of the imbrocata is entirely appropriate, as it is a technique used through all of the later period rapier stuff that I have access to as well, I consider the overhand thrust pretty much a universal technique as it can be used with a variety of weapons. Versions of this technique are even found in contemporary knife combat manuals.

I am certain versions or identical descriptions of the imbrocata exist in the many manuals that I have not even had the opportunity to open yet.

As for Castle - my guess is that he only had limited resources when it came to the manuals, by comparison to what we have now. I am certain he did not have access to even a 3rd of what we have. Mostly due to advancements of technology (ie the internet)

From my perspective, I think the meyer position documented by castle looks closer to marozzo's depiction of porto di ferro e stretta (at least my understanding of this guard), than it does agrippa's 4th guard.

If we go 40 years into the future, capo ferros third guard with sword and dagger is almost the same position shown in the picture.

So i think its pretty safe to say that terza, or porta de ferro, or what ever we wish to name it... is pretty much a universal position.

Cheers,
Lee S. Smith
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Re: A "Marozzo/Meyer Connection" Myth or Plausibility

Postby Michael-Forest » Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:40 am

Very interesting discussion; don't have much to add, except this small detail:

Eisenpfort, or some variation on it, is found in Paurnfeindt's treatise published in 1516, so if it was borrowed from the Italian, it was borrowed much earlier than Meyer.
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