Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Breve trattato sul maneggio della sciabola by Giovanni Battista Ferrero

Continuing on from last month's non-Radaellian treatise, this week I present a short work published in Turin in 1868 by Giovanni Battista Ferrero entitled Breve trattato sul maneggio della sciabola ("Brief treatise on the handling of the sabre").


Unfortunately I have yet to find any information on Ferrero aside from what he says about himself in his introduction:
"Being disposed towards fencing as a child, I applied myself to it with a zeal and attachment that I myself never could explain; I did my first exercises under talented maestri, like Galletti, Torriani, Speirani Snr, Merlino, and Raffin, and I was breveted from 1858, and as much as was possible I immediately gave myself to the teaching of this art."
Ferrero's stated purpose for this treatise is succinctness and comprehensibility, as opposed to the large, verbose treatises that were common up until then. Despite the treatise being only 30 pages long, it has 19 beautiful illustrations.

Fig. XIX. Rising blow to the external arm

Ferrero gives two guard positions: the "common or Italian guard", which is a semi-extended guard of 3rd, and the "high or French guard", which is a high hanging guard.

Left: Fig. IV. High or French Guard
Right: Fig. V. Common or Italian Guard

This treatise is also somewhat special in that it includes blows to the leg, which is quite rare for Italian sabre treatises from this time.

Special thanks to Biblioteca civica centrale di Torino for providing the photos.

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