The Case of Rapiers

THIS consisted of an exact pair of swords, one for each hand, and they were kept together in one and the same scabbard; they were somewhat similar to those used in bucker-play. The study of this method of fence is recommended by Marozzo, Di Grassi, and others, for the reason that it is difficult, and is, moreover, very little understood, and might therefore be exceedingly useful in a serious fight in the lists. [The only duel I've heard of that actually used case was fought "with more courage than skill". It was an extremely rare thing to see anybody use if their lives were actually on the line.--bjm]

According to Marozzo, the combatants engaged with the most advanced sword held in quarte, and the other in tierce:

But Di Grassi advises a somewhat different attitude, the rear-ward sword being held in a sort of prime, while the other was kept low, with the hand a little in advance of the side:

The position of Marozzo is perhaps the most preferable. Di Grassi lays much stress on "finding" and dominating with the advanced sword one or another of the enemy's weapons. The advanced sword was generally used for defence, and sometimes for feinting, while the real attack was made on the pass with the other sword.

The term "within" [in the combinations] signifies the part in the middle, that is to say, between the two swords.


The Parries

The parries were practically the same as our modern ones, the main difference being in the names they were known by. In describing the play, therefore, I shall employ for the most part the names as at present understood. We have, then, sixte or tierce, and octave or seconde (the ancients used the true and false edge indiscriminately), to protect the outsied; and quarte, septime, and if need be, the primes to cover the inside.


[Combinations]

[It is notable that Hutton specifically states that the following are "of Marozzo"--perhaps he felt he could not improve upon the original in this case.]

The lessons of Marozzo for the Case of Rapiers are as follow:--

1 On guard. Left foot advanced. Right sword in tierce. Left sword in quarte.

     M.                                       P.
Show and opening above left
  sword, and with the right
  sword cut false edge under
  his left arm.                    Parry seconde with left
                                     sword, and return point
                                     at his face with right
                                     sword.
Parry sixte with left sword
  pass and point at his body
  with right sword

Recover by passing backwards, holding both your swords extended towards the enemy with their points crossing, and resume your guard.

2. On guard as before.

     M.                                       P.
Show and opening at left leg       Cut a mandritto at the left
                                     thigh with the right sword.
Parry octave (or seconde)
  with left sword, and riposte,
  either mandritto at left cheek,
  "coup de Jarnac," or a point
  with the right sword.

N.B.--If P. cuts a riverso at the thigh, it must be aprried with septime. Seconde is the best parry for the "coup de Jarnac".

3. To draw a riverso. On guard as before.

     M.                                       P.
Advance right foot.                Cut riverso (cut 4) at his right
                                     thigh with right sword.
Parry low prime with left
  sword, and with the right
  sword give a riverso at his
  right cheek.

Recover as before.

4. On guard as before.

     M.                                       P.
With left sword feint a
  thrust within, pass right
  foot, and give "Jarnac"
  with right sword.                Parry seconde with left sword.

Recover as before.

5. On guard as before.

     M.                                       P.
With left sword give riverso
  within at his left arm,
  pass right foot, and give
  with right sword either
  point at side or mandritto
  at leg.

Recover as before.

6. On guard as before.

Turn left sword to tierce
  and engage his left
  sword with it on the
  outside, feint with it a
  thrust over the sword at
  his head, pass and give
  a mandritoo at his thigh
  with right sword.              Parry seconde with left sword.

Recover as before.

7. On guard as before.

Feint false edge at advanced
  hand with left sword,
  pass and give riverso at
  thigh with right sword.        Parry septime with left
                                   sword, and riposte
                                   riverso at right cheek
Parry quarte with left sword       with right sword.
and give mandritto at left
cheek with right sword.          Parry sixte with left sword.

Recover as before.

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