A Gentleman's Guide to Duelling: Vincent Saviolo's Of Honour and Honourable Quarrels

A Gentleman's Guide to Duelling: Vincent Saviolo's Of Honour and Honourable Quarrels

by Vincentio Saviolo


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A Gentleman's Guide to Duelling: Vincent Saviolo's Of Honour and Honourable Quarrels by Vincentio Saviolo

‘A humorous and instructive guide to Elizabethan etiquette which should interest gentlemen of any century.’ James Shapiro, author of 1599: A Year in the Life of Shakespeare

‘An excellent reference tool for scholars and a wonderfully practical one for historical fencers, fight directors and actors seeking information or inspiration on swordplay in the 16th century.’
Richard Ryan, Fight Coordinator for Sherlock Holmes I & II, Troy, Stardust and The Golden Compass

A Gentleman’s Guide to Duelling is a beautifully illustrated, lyrical guide to dueling etiquette in Elizabethan England. Its author, Vincentio Saviolo, was one of the great Italian fencing masters and a contemporary of William Shakespeare. In the 1590s, both Saviolo and Shakespeare were based in London’s Blackfriars; Shakespeare’s use of Italian fencing terminology in Romeo & Juliet is no surprise as it was written shortly after Saviolo’s book was published.

Originally published under the title Of Honour and Honourable Quarrels Saviolo’s guide is devoted to the art of settling a duel in a gentlemanly manner. It was written in a time when honour, virtue and codes of behavior were of grave importance; and the rapier was seen as ideally suited to settling the disputes of a gentleman.


Kirby's book will be a welcome addition, not only to collections on sword, rapier or duel techniques in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but also to any of those interested in the culture and the concept of honor in the period more generally. It may also find its way onto the shelves of more than one Shakespeare and Elizabethan Drama scholar.
Medieval Warfare Magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781848325272
Publisher: Frontline Books,
Publication date: 03/05/2014
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Acknowledgements ix

Introduction xi

Editor's Note xvii

Part I Biography of Vincentio Saviolo 1

The Man Behind the Words 3

Padua 5

The Military Man 8

Saviolo Jumps the Channel 11

Saviolo the Teacher 15

Finding Saviolo's School 19

Saviolo the Author 28

Saviolo's End 31

Saviolo's Legacy 32

Part II Of Honour & Honourable Quarrels: The Second Book 35

The Preface 38

A Discourse of Single Combats with Some Necessary Considerations of the Causes for which they Are Undertaken 39

A Rule and Order Concerning the Challenger and Defender 66

A Conclusion Touching the Challenger and the Defender, and of the Wresting and Returning Back of the Lie, or Dementy 82

Of Injury, of the Charge, and of the Shame 104

Of the Inequality of Noblemen, and Chiefly of Commanding Lords 147

Touching the Satisfaction that Ought to be Made between Knights 161

The Nobility of Women 179

Appendices 191

Appendix A A Transcription of the Section on Saviolo in Florio, Second Frutes 193

Appendix B A Transcription of the Section on Saviolo in Silver, Paradoxes of Defence 197

Bibliography 203

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