Reprint of the 1895 edition. Oversized Octavo. Book xliii, 599  p. front., ports. As suggested by the continuing power of the myths of swordfighting knights and adventurers, the fencing tradition is rich and storied. Like fellow Olympic sports archery and javelin, fencing has its roots in ancient combat. Around 1200 BC, the Egyptians began the custom of fencing for sport, as seen by images in decorative reliefs from that period depicting knobs on the end of weapons, earflaps and other protective garb. Sword craftsmanship evolved through the ages, from the short, wide swords favored by the Greeks and Romans to the heavy two-handed broadswords in vogue during the age of chivalry. After the advent of gunpowder and firearms, armor became obsolete and lighter swords gained popularity as the sidearm of choice for European officers and gentlemen. The Italians, Spanish, and French all claim parentage for modern fencing, but throughout Europe during the Renaissance the discipline took on the aura of high art, with masters refining and passing on to a select few their secret techniques. In the 18th century, treatises appeared in print setting forth the current system of rules and scoring, and prescribing the foil, a metal mask with eye slit, and protective jacket or vest as equipment for use. The rules were intended to simulate real combat while protecting the safety of the combatants. "Conventions" were subsequently adopted to limit the target area of the body and providing for a "right of way" for attacks. This is the second edition, much expanded and more rare than the original edition of 1890. Besterman 2139 citing 2000 titles.
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