The sixteenth-century Collectanea of the condottiero Pietro Monte contains some of the most thorough writings that exist pertaining to the use of staff weapons. A detailed study of how these weapons are categorised, contextualised, and used in Monte’s work can, due to their sometimes limited treatment in other fight books, allow for a comparative approach between Monte’s works and those of other fight book authors. Such a study allows for a more complete understanding of how Monte’s work fits in with the wider fight book genre, properly contextualising the Collectanea, and demonstrating to what extent this important but often overlooked text should be considered revolutionary or reflective of contemporary military and martial trends. In this article is discussed Monte’s approach to defining staff weapons, his contextualisation of staff weapons according to military and martial environments, and Monte’s teachings on the use of staff weapons.
Although by far the most popular use of fifteenth century Fight Books in recent years has been their application to the study of Historical European Martial Arts and interpretations of medieval combat, this manner of learning from them was rarely what their creators had in mind. The following paper, relying primarily on the materials produced by Fiore dei Liberi, Filippo Vadi, Hans Talhoffer, and the anonymous author of Le Jeu de la Hache, will address modern practice and its connection to the source material via a study of the diplomatics of fifteenth century Fight Books, that is to say common tropes that are definitive of the genre. This has been done through analysing the roles of three of these; the purposes of introductions, of the use of language relating to the employment of either a prose or poetic structure, and the importance of the relationships between texts and illustrations. Through this application of diplomatics to Fight Books, the paper shall demonstrate how modern claims regarding authenticity are often overstated and in need of moderation.