Vincentio Saviolo

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Fencing master Vincentio Saviolo (d. 1598/9), though Italian born and raised, authored one of the first books on fencing in the English language.

He arrived in London from Padua in 1590. John Florio described Saviolo's fencing school being, in 1591, "in the little street where the well the sign of the red Lyon." It was described by George Silver as being "within a bow shot" of what was later the Bell Savage or la Belle Sauvage, at this time "Savage's inn, otherwise called the Bell on the Hoop" ( Inns and Taverns of Old London by Henry C. Shelley, 1909), on Ludgate Hill. His particular nemesis among the Masters of Defence of the English school was this George Silver, who wrote his own book to attack Saviolo's systems.

Vincentio Saviolo, his practise, in two bookes, the first intreating of the use of the Rapier and Dagger, the second of Honor and honorable quarrels. London, printed by John Wolfe, 1595, undertakes to instruct in the rapier fencing techniques of his day. As was ordinary in that day, it was structured like a conversation between Saviolo and an imaginary student. The careful reader will notice the absence of the lunge.



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