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.

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