La Scherma, the art of fencing by Francesco Ferdinando Alfieri  translated by Piermarco Terminiello, Carline Stewart and Phil Marshall of the School of the Sword.

This is a second edition of this translation. 

‘This is the first published English translation of Francesco Alfieri’s fencing treatise: “La Scherma”, first published in Padua in 1640. Alfieri was the Master at Arms at the Accademia Delia in Padua, Italy from 1632. The Delia was a school attached to the University of Padua teaching young gentlemen military skills, mathematics and the martial arts of self defence. It is not widely appreciated that Europe has martial arts traditions that are centuries old. Contained within this book is a description of one of these European combat systems ~ the art of fighting with the Rapier ~ a long, slender, civilian sword designed for self defence and dueling. The ability to wield such a weapon with skill was a matter of vital importance in an age when the defence of honour and, by definition, the immortal soul, could be more important than life itself. Alfieri’s concise system is a very practical and effective way to address this need. It is an excellent resource for all students of historical swordplay and anyone interested in the martial arts of Renaissance Europe. “This work doesn’t ‘merely’ provide new access to a significant treatise published at a time of great transition in Europe, but it offers an opportunity to truly engage with Alfieri through the context supplied in its concise yet informative introduction and copious notes.” – Joshua Pendragon: Guest Curator, Noble Art of the Sword Exhibition, Wallace Collection, 2012′


“In this book I have striven to summarize, as succinctly as I could and as clearly as I have been able, the rules and methods that seemed necessary to me for the practice of the sword, both alone and with companion weapons. Having to describe the many minutiae and particular details of any art is almost impossible in the clarity that maybe it deserves. Nevertheless I hope to have made myself sufficiently understood in this treatise, so any man with some basic knowledge can be capable of what I have described.” Marco Docciolini (1601)


Marco Docciolini’s text is provided in translation into English by Piermarco Terminiello and Steven Reich, with the cover diagram repeated throughout for ease of use.

New Vulpes Title

It’s an exciting day here at the Fox Den and our tails are extra floofy. We are pleased to announce the release of our second Vulpes title. A quick reminder, Vulpes is our HEMA line of books, historical european martial arts. Swords figure massively in all this.

So without further ado, we introduce

Check it out, it’s a fantastic translation of a great fencing manual.

A quick reminder the first title in our Vulpes line is the lost second book of Giganti, missing for four hundred years before Josh and Pim identified and translated it.



Shapeshifters, Sword Play and Industrial Horror

Nearly at the end of November and Fox and Fae just has a couple more minor processes to go through before we get it out to you at long last.

In the mean time the Second Fox Pocket ‘Shapeshifter’ has been released. It’s a dark little volume full of grim twisty tales. Grab it now at lulu!

FS Shapeshifters3 72


We’ve also released our first Vulpes publication, ‘The Lost Second Book of Giganti’ which is available from amazon for an absolute bargain price. There are also a few of the hand leather bound limited editions available over at Spacewitch. We will be able to show you the gorgeous cover going on those very soon.

giganti final cover



We also wanted to draw attention to a submission call over at Spectral Press. Spectral create gorgeous books that are a joy to own and read and we thought this one might be right up your street as writers and readers. After all, who can resist Industrial Horror!

‘You know how chance remarks made by someone often spark off ideas? This is just such a case. Over the weekend, horror writer extraordinaire Adam Nevill posited the idea of industrial horror, which set off a chain-reaction in the sparking brain matter of Simon Marshall-Jones and, after his twitching, writhing body had stilled, he proclaimed that he was going to put together and publish an anthology of such stories. ‘ Read more over at the Spectral site.



Great Expectations

A quick update as we fall inexorably towards November.

It is our plan to get three titles out this November. The first ever Vulpes publication, a translation of Giganti’s 1608 manual on fencing is due on the 15th. In addition both the second volume of Bushy Tales ‘Tales of the Fox and Fae’ and the second Fox Pocket ‘Shapeshifters’ are due out next month.

It’s going to be a busy few weeks at Fox HQ and all being well by the end of November we will be feeling a bit like this.



The Second Giganti

Nicoletto Giganti is one of the most celebrated Italian fencing masters of the 17th century. His widely-acclaimed treatise of 1606 promised a second work, which however was long considered lost or never to have been written.

Nonetheless in 1847 Alberto Marchionni did describe a purported second book by Giganti, outlining its contents in reasonable detail.

In 2012 Joshua Pendragon (as Guest Exhibition Curator for the Noble Art of the Sword exhibition at the Wallace Collection in London) and Piermarco Terminiello, determined that the 1608 edition of Giganti held in the Lord Howard De Walden Library, is none other than the volume promised by Giganti in 1606, and described by Marchionni.

This is the only known extant copy, of a work whose very existence had long been considered no more than a rumour. A book sought after and anticipated for centuries.

This find is significant for scholars and enthusiasts of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) worldwide, and for Fox Spirit the treasure hunt of its rediscovery is equally compelling. We are very proud and excited, after centuries of obscurity, to present you with the ‘lost’ work of a great Italian master, fully illustrated, in complete English translation.

giganti final cover

On Giganti’s First Book of 1606

The entirety of Giganti’s treatise is a wonderful masterwork of the art of fencing. Giganti’s ready, clear and complete intuition; the fantastic simplicity of his actions and the spontaneity of the various movements; the refined artistic feel which reveals itself in every detail of the extraordinary work, are qualities that place Giganti in the most elect rank of writers on arms.  – Jacopo Gelli (1890)

It must be said that for the quality of its writing, Giganti’s is one of the very few classical works of fencing to have been held in regard by men of letters . . . the treatise is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best of the first half of the seventeenth century. – Carlo Bascetta (1978)

On the Second Book of 1608

In this, my first book on fencing, I propose to discuss only two types of arms: the sword alone and the sword and dagger. I will leave all manner of other weapons for future books, which God willing, I will bring out as soon as possible. – Nicoletto Giganti (1606)

… we should not make promises [we can’t keep] to the curious … Nicoletto Giganti promised to publish a second book, but it cannot be found. – Giuseppe Morsicato Pallavicini (1673)

In 1608, from the press of Giovanni Fontani of Pisa, came forth a second book of fencing by Niccoletto Giganti in which he deals with the use of the single sword, sword and dagger and also the sword and rotella, the sword and targa, the sword and buckler, the sword and cape, the dagger alone, the dagger against the spear and the dagger alone against the sword. Subsequently he discusses grabs to the weapon and pommel strikes to the face, and of other grapples advising to put your left hand over the hilt of your opponent’s sword. He proposes executing the passata sotto in the tempo in which your opponent performs a cavazione on the line of terza. Finally he discusses a new guard with the sword and dagger with the left foot forward, suggesting that he proposes to publish another book where he will teach all of the actions possible with the left foot forward. This treatise is illustrated with 53 figures, very badly drawn and likewise engraved; nevertheless his treatise is filled with very useful teachings. – Alberto Marchionni (1847)

His promised second work never materialized – Sydney Anglo (2000)

 … according to Gelli, Giganti did fulfill his promise to write a subsequent book on single sword and sword with a variety of companion weapons … To my knowledge, this work has not yet resurfaced. – Tom Leoni (2010)

The discovery of an apparently unique extant copy of Giganti’s legendary second book is certainly a remarkable achievement … The release of a body of work from a great Renaissance master, thought lost (or never to have existed) for hundreds of years, is very exciting indeed, and a major new contribution to the modern effort to rediscover the lost arts of defence. – Tobias Capwell (2013)

About the Discovery

We suspected the 1608 edition in the Howard de Walden Library might be Giganti’s rumoured second work, and not a simple reprint of his 1606 treatise. But we had to check to be certain.

Holding it for the first time, I can only describe the feeling as being overcome with awe. In my hands was a book which until then I wasn’t sure had ever even existed. Without realising, I gripped the pages so tightly I risked tearing them, and afterwards I was still quivering in exhilaration.

But having flicked through the plates, and recognised that they precisely matched the description given by Marchionni, we knew that Giganti had indeed kept his word, and that this ‘lost’ second book had finally been unearthed.

-Piermarco Terminiello

The Howard de Walden Library was lost to the public sphere for decades in a barn in Berkshire until an amazing series of events led to its reemergence in the 1990s. That amongst this unearthed treasure trove is found this lost gem compounds the improbability of such a find to the nigh impossible. This is akin to finding a lost Spanish galleon in which lie the arms of the Venus de Milo. That Giganti’s work  happens to be a good read too is also nice.

-Joshua Pendragon


Tony Lane interviews Piermarco Terminiello