The year is coming to its end, and as much as I hope to see new HEMA books before the end of the month, I prefer to make a list of the publications that came out during 2018 early.
That way, if something new pops up by the 31st of December, we will have something to celebrate!
In publishing it seems 2018 is the year of Fiore dei Liberi – 3 different titles on his works were planned, two of them even on the same manuscript – the Florius de Arte Luctandi, or “the Latin one”. Yep, two translations of the same treatise in one year, ain’t that awesome?
Many other books came out in 2018, some of them offered in both hardcopy and electronic form, some – in one or the other. In this article I will focus on the ones you can easily hold in your hand after a week or two by ordering them online – meaning paid ones that have a paper version. A separate article next week will try to cover free e-books and online resources that were published in 2018.
So, let us start with… Fiore, of course.
The Complete Martial Works of Fiore dei Liberi – Volumes I, II & perhaps III
Tom Leoni and Gregory Mele
The Fiore Megaseries – that is what I started calling this idea when it was presented last year by Gregory Mele of the Chicago Swordplay Guild. Together with well known Fiore translator Tom Leoni, Greg set out to create the ultimate 5 volumes on the Italian master.
Not just translations and some notes, no, instead all the publications have rich and detailed articles providing context for Fiore dei Liberi’s time, the wars, the historical events, the arms and armour he uses. The concept is 4 separate volumes on the 4 surviving Fiore texts, and a fifth one… Now, as it happens with such big projects, there were problems. Vol. I officially came out in the end of 2017, but most people got it this year. Vol. 2 is coming in the spring of 2019. Vol. 3 is officially published and will be here in the beginning of 2019. And that is fine. Believe me, a little extra waiting is worth it – I have seen the first volume.
The Flower of Battle – MS Latin 11269
Richard Marsden and Benjamin Winnick
Another copy of Fiore! This one is by Richard Marsden, well-known former Tyrant of HEMA (his own words, the official title is something boring, like president) as an interpreter, and Benjamin Winnick as the translator. They have focused on the “one in Latin” – Florius de Arte Luctandi, Fiore’s copy that resides in France. And the only Fiore that features coloured illustrations. Marsden announced a few days ago that there will be a spiral-bound reprint for people who want to easily open up the book in class. The original comes in a hardcover.
Pietro Monte’s Collectanea
Translator: Jeffrey L. Forgeng
The Collectanea! We got two translations at almost the same time – one for free from Mike Prendergast and a professional translation by the well-known researcher Jeffrey L. Forgeng. Forgeng is known for his translations of I.33 and Joachim Meyer.
The Collectanea is a unique work, covering everything from fencing with a variety of weapons, with and without armour, on foot and on horse, exercising, medieval philosophy, and a view of the thoughts and practices of Pietro (or Pedro) Monte, a Spanish or Italian mercenary, historian, philosopher and fencing master. There is unique stuff in this book, especially in his wrestling, that is different from what we see in other traditions known till now. And Forgeng’s translation may be a little pricey for a hardcover, but the Kindle version is bearable at 30 bucks.
Introduction to Italian Rapier
Devon Boorman is a well-known Canadian researcher and instructor, one of the leading figures in his country. His school – Academie Duello – is one of the biggest in the world, with over 200 active fencers practicing every month in Vancouver. You can check his videos online, he also offers paid courses with much more detail.
This book is meant to be an essential edition on rapier, with 100s of photos and illustrations and the bold decision to go for a landscape layout. I just wish there was a Kindle version.
The HEMA Scholar
Editor: Johanus Haidner
And yet again from Canada – the Academy of European Swordsmanship, the oldest school in the country, has decided to make an interesting publication. In 225 pages, members of the school write about a variety of topics – interpretations of some masters’ works, selected techniques, basic curriculum, fight theory, and historical fitness techniques. The topics have been gathered from the works they had to write to advance in the internal rankings of the school.
Scotland, the land of broadswords and kilts… well, it was not exactly so in the 18th C. Kilts of some sort were worn by plenty of people and the Scottish were not special in that regard. But their use of wider cutting weapons when the smallsword was just getting popular has a special place in HEMA. Ben Miller covers a couple of historical sources from the period, focused on both of these weapons and other specifically Scottish practices, such as the use of the targe. No Kindle or hardcover edition, sadly. Check it out.
Theory and practice of martial arts
Guy Windsor is perhaps one of the most prolific HEMA writers. The best thing about him is that he posts most of his stuff for free. Not this one, though, and he should not. It is a very in-depth study of the underlying theories behind the practice of martial arts in general, many of the things we often say the treatises lack – how to train, how to teach, how to better yourself as a teacher. And there is a Kindle, regular and hardcover edition of this 350 page volume.
Scorners of death
Christopher Scott Thompson and others
Christopher Scott Thompson and his guys from the Cateran Society have published a system of theirs based on Gaelic sources from the medieval period – sadly not fencing books. They have made their own systems on fighting with arming sword, sword and buckler, two-handed sword and battle-axe, as well as some general fighting strategy and advice. I have to say I am impressed by their balls – publishing your own system based not on a specific fighting source is a bold move in modern HEMA. And this book will surely be an interesting read.
Proper Description of Thrust-Fencing with the Single Rapier
Johann Georg Pascha, translators: Reinier van Noort, Jan Schäfer
There are free translations of Pascha and his rapier works – divided nicely into cutting and thrusting techniques. But having that specific treatise in book form is a good idea, as Pascha goes through his material (Italian rapier taught by a German) quite succinctly, sometimes even too much so. Reinier van Noort and Jan Schäfer are the translators, Keith Farrell is the editor. As Farrell himself informed me, there might be both a paperback and ebook version in the near future.
Naturally, if I have missed something important, please contact me and inform me about it.