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Thibault – Chapter 2

On Proportions

Having apparently dealt with the circle and proportions of the body completely in Chapter 1, Thibault returns to it in Chapter 2, in what feels to me l like a somewhat defensive inclusion outside his main thrust of teaching.

The chapter starts by restating the argument that the measuring stick for all fencing is the human body, but he then feels the need to defend it:

… seeing that this correspondence is so extremely great … perhaps someone will take occasion to suspect that we have accommodated the aforesaid figure to our fantasy, in order to get the desired proportions, rather than simply following the natural truth …

Next he takes up Albrecht Dürer’s Book of Human Proportions and attempts to overlay it on his diagram. Unsurprisingly, it is not a perfect match, and he criticises Dürer for being wrong where there is a mismatch.

And though I cannot say that our sums and Dürer’s are always in agreement, I nonetheless dare to affirm that where there is a disagreement, it is our circle which will settle the question, and correct the mistakes, which are hardly to be avoided by any spirit, however noble, or any judgement of proportions, however exact.

He also returns in more detail to discussions of the dimensions of his ideal sword, and includes detailed notes on how long the sword hanger and cincture need to be as well.

His concluding words in this chapter exemplify Rule Three:

…our way of carrying the sword is not only more convenient than the common one, but also wins the prize with regard to grace and beauty of proportion…beauty consists and reveals itself ordinarily in usefullness itself.

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