The principal masters upon whom Forteza draws are, in chronological order:

Anonymous (aka "the priest")

This anonymous work, now resting with the Royal Armouries in Leeds and known as I.33, is the earliest known work on swordsmanship. It deals only with sword and buckler techniques. It is illustrated, with most plays done by the priest (who provides what passes for a narrative voice) and the scholar. Late in the manuscript a third character appears: Walpurgis, a female swordfighter.


Anonymous (aka "Doebringer")

Ms. 3227A is the first work which refers to the teachings of Johannes Lictenauner (among others) who is the founder of a long-lived school of German swordsmanship. Doebringer's name appears in a list of masters within the work, which has led some to ascribe the text to him.

It is unclear whether the author wrote these commentaries on Lictenauer's work or simply copied them from another work as the book is a collection of various sorts of material and is not just a fighjting treatise.

Whatever its source, this text provides the first recorded instances of certain basic concepts such as timing and the importance of "feeling" in the sword.

The text is not illustrated.

The Lictenauer tradition is well known through a variety of works from the Fifteenth century and later. Masters in the tradition include Talhoffer, Ringeck, and Paulus Kal.


Fiore Furlan dei Liberi

Most of what we know about Fiore Furlan dei Liberi comes from the prologs to his works. It appears that he was born sometime around the middle of the fourteenth century and served as a soldier during the 1380s. He became a fencing master and fought duels with other fencing masters because he wouldn't teach them his secrets. In the early fifteenth century, he composed an illustrated book, possibly organized according to the ideas of his patron Nicolo II, Marquis D'Este.

We have four works by Fiore on Armizare (the Art of Arms) known to be extant. All deal with multiple weapons and all use an iconographic system to codify the techniques and counters. Two are formatted like many later manuscripts, starting from mounted combat and proceeding through longer ranged weapons to shorter. The other two start with wrestling and work up to mounted combat.

One of these latter two, Fior di Battaglia, which resides with the J. Paul Getty Museum, is the most complete and strictly organized of his works. This one is our primary reference for reconstructions.