Destreza das Armas

About a hundred years ago, a man named Sousa Viterbo –poet, archaeologist, historian, journalist– undertook the major task of writing a portuguese bibliography of fencing books, which he published under the title «A Esgrima em Portugal: Subsídios para a sua História».

While the text gathered all the sources he knew at the moment of publishing, Viterbo kept researching and unearthing new fencing treatises during his life. Many of these findings he noted down in small scraps of paper which he kept between the pages of his own copy of the «Subsídios». We have managed to locate this specific exemplar, and from the notes Viterbo's left within its pages traced back the whereabouts of the sources not listed within the printed copy.

It is one of these hiterto unpublished manuscripts which we now present: «Destreza das Armas», a compilation of portuguese Destreza translations and original texts.


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Product ID: 532 SKU: 0010 Category: Tags: , ,

The book’s contents are:

  1. Prologue.
  2. Diálogo entre o Mestre examinador em a Phylosophia, & Destreza das Armas, & o Discipulo pedindo o grão de Mestre, em que se declarão as 100 Concluzões ou formas de saber (a translation into portuguese of Modo facil y nuevo para examinarse los maestros, by Luis Pacheco de Narváez).
  3. As Dezoito Contradiccções âs Venidas, que se uzão da Commua Destreza
  4. As 100 Concluzões de Saber da Destreza das Armas fundada em Sciencia (which, together with the previous section, is a translation of Las Cien Conclusiones by Pacheco).
  5. Emsino de Mestres na ciencia philosophica da destreza matematica das armas (translation of Método de enseñanza de Maestros en la Ciencia Filosófica de la Verdadera Destreza Matemática de las Armas, by Diaz de Viedma).
  6. Tratado das Lições da Espada Preta e Destreza que hão de usar os Jogadores dela (a copy of the treatise of the same name, written by Thomas Luiz, which was published independently).

The translations of Pacheco (sections 2,3,4) are attributed to Luiz Seixas de Fonseca ( «once master of King Alfonso & King Pedro, may God bless [Them? Him?]») without citing the original author. The translation of Emsino de Mestres (5) is attributed to Luis de Chexes of Fonçeca, perhaps the same person as before, again without citing the original author (Diaz de Viedma). The Lições da Espada Preta form the genuinely Portuguese content –they aren’t attributed to anyone, but neither is the original author listed (Thomas Luiz).

The Pacheco sections are divided by illuminated covers, drawn with considerable work and a wide range of colors, which we reproduce. For aesthetic considerations, we also created two pages inspired on these to mark the beginning of the following sections, but took care to make clear that it is a modern creation.

This book is, for those who study fencing in Portugal, an invaluable reference of the fundamental texts of the Verdadeira Destreza as they were read by contemporary masters. Along with the Oplosophia, Lições de Marte and the Manuscrito da Espada they constitute a knowledge corpus strongly connected with the canon of the Verdadeira Destreza which is at the same time autonomous and displays its own traits.


Denís Fernández Cabrera, Manuel Valle Ortiz

Published in

Santiago de Compostela : AGEA, Edizer, (Sacauntos)


Luiz de Seixas de Fonseca







Physical description

Papel marfim de alta gramatura. Capas em cartolina vergê.


AGEA Clássica

Original date

Fins do S.XVII

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