Pollaxe – Posta Breve la Serpentina (Short Serpent Guard)

Folio 35 v. a


I am Posta Breve la Serpentina (Short Serpent Guard) and I put myself as better than the others. Those I give a thrust to will be well decorated by my mark. This thrust is strong enough to penetrate cuirasses and breastplates. Defend yourself and I will prove it.


Like its counterpart with a sword in armour, this posta considers itself the best in its class. Delivered with a high mass weapon from the back hip which has its own mass of armour driving it, the thrusts from this posta go directly down the centreline forcing a tremendous momentum through a sharp tip. The claims that it is capable of piercing armour are not an exaggeration. This posta delivers the strongest thrusts from anyone on foot in armizare.

Pollaxe – Posta de Vera Croce (Guard of the True Cross)

Folio 35 v. b


I am Posta di Vera Croce (True Cross Guard) because with a cross I defend myself. And all the art of fencing and armed combat defends with covers of crossed weapons. Find that well I wait for you. In the same way that the first scholar of the remedy master of the sword in armour does, with a pass and thrust, I can do with my pollaxe.


Posta de Vera Crose with the pollaxe gives us a delightful insight into the naming conventions of armizare. The name clearly references the Christian tradition, in which any 15th century Italian would have been thoroughly steeped, of the physical remains of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. Fiore goes on to explain the double meaning in the name, because armizare generally, and this posta in particular, defends by crossing the opponents weapon. The play on words is not a nerdish sense of humour at work, but a powerful mnemonic.

There appears to be an error in the image drawn in the Getty MS here. According to the Pissani Dossi MS, the Florius MS, and the text itself, the right hand should be held palm down, and the left hand, palm up.

On a functional level, this posta is exactly the same as Posta de Vera Crose with a Sword in armour. You can equally visualise the sword acting as a short, light pollaxe, or the pollaxe acting as a long, heavy sword.

In both instances, this posta lends itself very well to an exchange of thrusts. Slide the front foot offline and pass, as described by the Master of Sword in armour. This is naturally followed by a thrust, as shown by the 1st scholar of Sword in armour. For those who struggle with the idea of armizare being a complete system, this text gives us a clear sign that the plays of the Pollaxe and the Sword in armour are quite interchangable.

Pollaxe – Posta di Donna (Lady’s Guard)

Folio 35 v. c


I am Posta di Donna (Lady’s Guard) and I counter Posta Dente di Zenghiaro (Boars Tooth Guard). If he is waiting for me, I want to make a powerful blow by passing the left foot forward off the line and entering with a downward cut to the head. And if he strongly blocks under my pollaxe with his, then if I cannot strike him in the head, I will not miss with a strike to his arms or hands.


The pollaxe posta are based on sword posta. It is interesting that with the pollaxe, Fiore specifically advocates using Posta di donna as a counter to Posta dente di zenghiaro, something never mentioned in the sword section.

This shows a rear weighted stance, with the weapon chambered so far over the shoulder that you should be able to see the head of your pollax out of your peripheral vision. By moving off the line with your front foot and stepping through, you can deliver a tremendously powerful strike.

It will not be a fast or deceptive blow. If your opponent blocks it, you can redirect the head of your weapon to attack your opponents hands or forearms.

Pollaxe – Posta Porta di Ferro Mezana (Middle Iron Gate Guard)

Folio 35 v. d


If Posta di Donna and my Posta Porta di Ferro Mezana (Middle Iron Gate Guard) come against each other, then I know its play and mine. Again and again we have battled with sword and pollaxe. And I say that what she said she can do to me, I can do it more to her than she can to me. Also I say that if I had a sword and not a pollaxe, then I would put a thrust in the face. That is, when he strikes with a downward blow from Posta di Donna, and I am in Posta Porta di Ferro Mezana with a sword in two hands, as soon as it comes in, I advance forward and step off the line under his pollaxe. Then quickly and strongly I enter, and with my left hand I take my sword in the middle and thrust it into his face. So between us, our cunning cannot compare.


Posta Porta di Ferro Mezana translates across all sections of armizare bar horseback and grappling. It has its equivalents from the miniature version of dagger, through to the long range variant for spear on foot. In all cases, it is noted for its ability to deliver fast and powerful thrusts straight through the centreline.

The description Fiore gives here is an interesting one, as it relates more to defending from Porta di Ferro Mezana with a sword in two hands than a pollaxe.

Regardless of this somewhat tangential description, the use of the posta is clear. You can defend from here with strong upward beats followed by a counterattack, or attack directly from the posta with a thrust. This posta shares many characteristics with Posta Dente di Zenghiaro, except it more emphasises direction along the midline.

Pollaxe – Posta Coda Longa (Long Tail Guard)

Folio 36 r. a


I am Posta Coda Longa (Long Tail Guard). I want to counter Posta di Fenestra and I can injure him every time. And with my downward blows I will beat both pollaxe and sword to the ground, and powerfully close to the narrow play as you will find in the plays that follow. Watch them one by one, I beg you.


Posta Coda Longa using a pollaxe is the same in mechanics and application as when making it using a sword in two hands. Take a rear weighted stance. Hold your left forearm close to your body and resting over your centre. With your right hand, extend the weapon behind you. This hides it from view, and allows you to generate plenty of momentum in your blows.

Although it appears to be very open, this is a good stance to wait in, watching your opponent. You can transition to another posta or move to the attack with surprising speed.

This is an excellent posta to move from when entering narrow play. Keep your left elbow locked to your hip. Use it as the pivot point for a strike as you step through. Your strike will be tight and very fast with lots of momentum. This will beat aside anything in its path and cause great wounds.

Pollaxe – Posta de Fenestra Sinistra (Window guard on the left)

Folio 36 r. b


I am called Posta di Fenestra Sinistra (Window Guard on the Left) with my right arm tucked in close. We have no stability. One and the other search for deception. You will think I am going to attack with a downward cut, and I will turn my foot back and I will change my guard. Where I was in the left, I will enter in the right. And I am well placed to enter into the plays that come after.


Although they chamber their respective weapons on different sides, this posta is most clearly derived from posta di fenestra with the sword in two hands. The right hand directs the point of the weapon while the the left drives the power. As well as making cuts and breaks from this position, you are also well set up to deliver powerful thrusts. In this regard, it is functionally identical to posta serpentino lo soprano. All the players in the spear on foot section carry their spears from this posta, albeit on the other side of the body.

Interestingly, the spear on foot section also shows us posta de fenestra sinestra, although there the arms are crossed. Crossing the arms emphasises the defensive aspect of this guard when used with a polearm. By stepping through as you sweep aside an incoming attack, you naturally transition to posta breve la serpentina and easily flow onto any of the pollaxe plays.

It is this ease of transition and testing the opponent that Fiore refers to in the text when he tells us this guard searches for deception. His description of feinting from the left and entering from the right is a clear practical example of this in action.

Posta de Fenestra, regardless of which side you chamber it, is held in place by the arms and shoulders. It is this removal from the bodies core which puts it in the unstable category of posta. This guard is ruled by transition and mobility.