Differences in the Guards between Anonimo Bolognese and other Masters

The translation for Anonimo Bolognese is available as a paid course by Ilkka Hartikainen, so I’m going to avoid full quotes. Spend the 15 bucks, it’s worth it. The order is as presented by Hartikainen (presumably the same as the text).

Guardia di Testa – Head Guard

Nothing new here if you’ve been reading my blog. Both arms straight forward towards the enemy, the sword hand slightly lower than the buckler. There is an admonishment about not raising the hands above shoulder height which comes across much stricter than Manciolino’s text.

Guardia Alta – High Guard

Key differences is that Anonimo has you aim the sword straight back, while the illustrations in Marozzo show the point straight up or slightly back.

Unstated elsewhere, Anonimo has you keep your legs straight and “not bent in the slightest”. If in the narrow version, he has both, there are no more than four fingers between the feet.

Guardia di Lioncorno – Unicorn Guard

Pretty much the same as dall’Agocchie, except of course he includes the buckler which is also pushed towards the face.

Guardia di Faccia – Face Guard

Here he stresses that the arms be no lower than the shoulders. Otherwise it is the same.

Guardia di Sopra il Bracco – Over-the-arm Guard

In this passage Anonimo is much more explicit than the other masters. The elbow of the sword arm must cross the buckler arm almost at the elbow.

You could interpret the sword’s position as I.33’s Third Ward (Left Shoulder), however nothing else matches. Anonimo instructs your to push the bucker outwards strongly towards the face, and have no more than “a palm wide” between the feet with only a slight bend to the front knee.

Anonimo also instructs you to point the shoulder at the enemy, but doesn’t say which one. I’m assuming the right, since the right foot is forward.


When compared to Manciolino, the only concrete difference is that Manciolino has both a narrow and wide version, wherein Anonimo is limited to the narrow.

Guardia di Entrare – Entering Guard

This guard is not well described, so we can’t use it to settle the differences between Marozzo (true edge down) and dall’Agocchie (true edge right). None the less, it does have some useful advice:

  • Arms straight forward
  • Point towards the face
  • Right foot forward with the knee well bent
  • Right foot is “placed lightly”, which I would read as keeping most of your weight on the rear foot.

Guardia di Sotto il Bracco – Under-the-arm Guard

Like Manciolino, the sword arm is explicitly placed in the armpit, not just anywhere under the buckler arm. Anonimo references Sopra il Bracco for the footwork, which means narrow only versus Manciolino’s either.

Porta Alta di Ferro – High Iron Gate

Anonimo explicitly aims the point at the face, otherwise the text seems to match Marozzo’s illustration. Key points include the hilt at the height of the tip of the thigh and the right shoulder towards the enemies breast. As in the illustration, both knees are bent.


The buckler should be “held in front of the tallest point of the shoulders”. The text doesn’t say if it should be somewhat out to the side as in Marozzo or pushed forward as in other guards. Either way, it is meant to protect the head.

Porta Stretta di Ferro – Narrow Iron Gate

Anonimo has you lower the sword hand from Porta Alta di Ferro to the top of the knee. We are told that the buckler is pushed forward to protect the arm (suggesting that Marozzo’s illustration is the correct interpretation for the pervious guard).

Manciolino says that the buckler should be at shoulder height as with Guardia di Testa, but that isn’t necessarily in conflict with Anonimo’s instructions.

Porta larga di Ferro – Wide Iron Gate

Anonimo is more explicit about the hand going between the knees, otherwise it’s the same as Manciolino.

dall’Agocchie is slightly different. While Anonimo and Manciolino have you drop the point towards the ground, dall’Agocchie only has you lower it somewhat.

Cinghiara Porta di Ferro Alta – Wild Boar Iron Gate High

This is not described elsewhere, though hinted at.

Anonimo uses a great step to the left, with the left knee well bent and the right straight. The sword will be straightened towards the face (makes me think of Punta Riversa) and the buckler defends the head.

Cinghiara Porta di Ferro Stretta – Wild Boar Iron Gate Narrow

Again, the other masters don’t really described this one.

Anonimo says that it is the same as the Alta version, except the hand is lowered to be in front of the left knee.

Cinghiara Porta di Ferro Larga – Wild Boar Iron Gate Wide

As above, but the point goes towards the ground and the hand moves inwards slightly so that the blade goes across the left knee.

Coda Lunga e Alta – Long and High Tail Guard

Anonimo adds that the hilt should be “no higher than where the humeri [the shoulders here, I suppose]” (translator’s note) and that the left foot will “stop under a somewhat bent knee” with a large step.

The right foot forward version is mentioned later with no changes other than foot position.

Coda Lunga e Stretta – Long and Narrow Tail Guard

Same as above, but with the hilt knee high.

The right foot forward version is mentioned later with no changes other than foot position.

Coda Lunga e Larga – Long and Wide Tail

As above, but with the point down.

The right foot forward version is mentioned later with no changes other than foot position.

Coda Lunga Lunga

This is the same as Coda Lunga e Distesa (Long and Outstretched Tail).

The right foot forward version is mentioned later. In addition to the change in foot position, he says this one has the buckler pushed forward. (Does this mean the buckler is retracted with the left foot forward? If so, why?)

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