Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Who is Salvatore Arista?

Since I will soon be releasing translations of a couple of this man's articles, I thought it prudent to explain who Salvatore Maria Arista is and his significance in relation to the Radaellian lineage. To do this, we will turn once again to what Gelli had to say about him in Bibliografia Generale della Scherma:


"As long as Arista, Masiello, Pecoraro, and Rossi do not abandon their theories, the Radaellian will continue to ascend his parable of victory.
Arista was born in Palermo in 1856. At the age of 17 he enlisted into the training battalion in Asti, and in 1873 he dedicated himself to fencing, driven by Roggia and Milanesi, both excellent Radaellians, who had discovered in Arista favourable aptitudes of mind and body for becoming an extraordinary fencer. In Sinigaglia he passed under the direction of Cavalli, who taught him the play of the spada, making him study all day with but few and short rests.
Towards the end of 1875 Arista was invited to Milan by Radaelli, whom he was very dear to, confident of finding in the young disciple a worthy and loyal continuer of his theories.
Arista was sent to Rome in 1876 to the fencing congress and tournament by the Ministry of War to represent the army's Scuola Magistrale, and in the final competition he defeated Baron Miceli, grand champion of the Neapolitan school, which was hurriedly trying to establish superiority over the Radaelli system.
The Neapolitan school was overcome by Masiello, Pecoraro, Rossi, Pagliuca, Scarani, Cerchione, Barraco, and Ciullini; Arista, the main victor, was appointed Maestro by the Military Academy of Turin.
At the 1881 international tournament in Milan, held on the occasion of the National Exhibition, along with Pecoraro and other Radaellians, not only did they and Arista defeat the Neapolitan school again, gathered there in large numbers, but they also affirmed the superiority of the new Italian fencing system over the French system, represented by Ruzé (Paul) and Ayat, and the German system represented by Hartl.
Arista was awarded the prize “best fencer of the tournament”.
Whilst the Radaellians won 15 of the 21 prizes, only 5 touched the School of Naples and one, well deserved, was awarded to the French.
At the end of 1881 Arista went to Trieste, where he and Reich reorganised the training of the Fencing Society, abolishing the Slavic method which had dominated there for about 30 years.
Since 1886 Arista has lived in Bologna, where he applies the Radaellian theories with ever increasing success."

As for his publications on fencing, my translations of the only two that I am aware of (so far) will be posted here in the coming weeks.

As an added bonus, I leave you with an additional photo of this dashing maestro.


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