Swordfit from Medieval Valencia

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    Sequitur Regimen conditum a Petro Fagarola in artibus et in medicina magistro quod ab ipso fuit missum a civitate Valencie ad civitatem Tholosanam duobus filiis ipsius studentibus in ipsa civitate Tholosana degentibus anno domini millesimo CCCm04 Xo quinto.

    Here follows the regime established by Petro Fagarola, master of arts and of medicine, which was sent by him in the city of Valencia to his two sons in the city of Toulouse, students living in that city of Tolouse, in the year of our lord 1315.

    University students in the middle ages usually started their studies around puberty (I don’t have references to hand). For Hans I will translate the bits on fitness.

    Si velis cotidie aliquem locum ambulare mane et vespere fac, et, si est tempus frigidum, si potes currere, ventre vacuo curre, vel saltim festinanter ambula, ut calor naturalis vivificetur. Ignis enim cito scingitur si non commoveatur vel eventetur. Ventre tamen pleno non est currendum sed suaviter ambulandum ut cibus ad fundum descendat stomachi.

    If you want to walk in some place daily, stay and do your vespers (!), and, if the season is cold, if you want to run, run with an empty belly, or at least walk quickly, so that the natural warmth will be kept alive. For fire is quickly extinguished (scingitur) if it is not stirred up and aired. But with a full belly, do not run, instead go for a gentle stroll so that the meal can descend to the bottom of the stomach.

    Si non potes extra hospicium excitari aut quia tempus non patitur aut quia pluviosum, assende ter vel quater gradarium festinanter et in camera bacculum ponderosum grossum ut gladium habeas et modo cum una manu modo cum alia quasi sgrimando moveas donec fere fatigis, hocque plurimum valet ad calefaciendum et fumositates per poros egrediendum et alias superfluitates consumendum. Similiter saltare exercicium est, eciam cantare est exercicium pectoris, et si hoc feceris habebis menbra sana, intellectum sanum et memoriam, et vitabis reuma. Similiter ludus pile. Omnes hii inventi sunt non pro ludo sed exercicio. Labor autem nimius est vitandus in continuo usu.

    If you are not able to exercise outside your residence, either because the season (tempus) does not permit it or because of rain, climb three or four steps / flights of steps quickly and keep a weighty club as large as a sword, and move it sometimes with one hand, sometime with the other as if ‘skirmishing’ (sgrimando) until you are almost worn out, and this is very valuable for warming up the body and driving out fumes through the pores and consuming other unnecessary things. In the same way, jumping (saltare) is exercise, also singing is an exercise of the chest, and if you do this you will have healthy limbs, a healthy mind and memory, and you will avoid an excess of humours (vitabis reuma). In the same way, ball games. All these things have been established not as games but as exercise. Too much work is harmful without a break.

    Probably 90% of the people who ever used a sharp weapon in combat learned to use it with sticks or sharps (chopping wood, unmaking game, digging ditches, etc.) Sticks were approved by Vegetius, but by the 15th and 16th century some Europeans were using blunt steel weapons or shaped wooden, whalebone, or leather daggers and swords.

    Source: British Museum, MS. Sloane 3124, fol. 74r-77r (formerly in Montpellier)

    Thorndike, Lynn (1931) “Advice from a Physician to His Sons.” Speculum, Vol. 6, No. 1 (January 1931), pp. 110-114

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Philologus.
    Hans Hellinger

    Love it! This is great stuff!

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