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If you lack boldness of heart, you lack everything. Audacity is the virtue that makes this art.
— The Flower of Battle, by Fiore de Liberi

Fiore Furlano de Cividale d'Austria, delli Liberi da Premariacco, better known as simply Fiore dei Liberi, was a Friulian knight, diplomat, and fencing master in the 14th century, famous for writing The Flower of Battle, one of the oldest known manuals on medieval European fencing.

Liberi was born around 1350 in Firuli in Italy, into an upper-class family. He was drawn to training in the martial arts from a young age, and spent much of use traveling and training with various fencing teachers throughout the Holy Roman Empire.

There is no complete history of Liberi's life after his childhood. He emerges in several different historical texts for the next sixty years, which describe him being hired to train soldiers and mercenaries in the art of fencing, or serving in an army during one of the many wars that plagued Italy in the 14th century. At some point in his life, Liberi wrote The Flower of Battle, an in-depth manual describing proper use of the longsword, arming sword, dagger, poleaxe, staff, and other weapons.

The date and location of Liberi's death are unknown.

Battle vs. Miyamoto Musashi (by Pygmy Hippo 2)[]

Akhmerovsky Forest, Russia

Fiore Dei Liberi rested impatiently on a log as he waited for his dueling opponent. The Pope had sent him to fight who Japan considered their greatest duelist. So far, all he had done was be late. Miyamoto Musashi slowly walked up the path with a giant Bokken and Fiore finally had a reason to get up. "Finalmente pronto?" (Finally ready?) "あんまり。" (Not really.)

Even more annoyed at the response, Liberi picked up his Poleaxe and took a swing at Miyamoto who dodged with ease and smacked his stomach with the wooden oar. Luckily the gambeson prevented most of the damage but Fiore was still sent backwards. Musashi laughed at his foe's pain which enraged him even more. Liberi just stabbed forwards and ran...all the way into a tree.

Realizing his horrible mistake, he barely sidestepped the Bokken swing aimed for his head and quickly wrenched the polearm out of the tree. Fiore pushed Miyamoto backwards with the wooden shaft before tripping him up with the lasso. He flipped the Poleaxe to the poisoned back and but yelled in pain as his hand was cut by a thrown Wakizashi. Musashi took the opportunity to get back up and unsheathed his Katana and Jutte as Liberi angrily drew his Longsword.

The two famous blades of Europe and Japan clashed a couple times but Fiore overextended himself in his rage and Miyamoto took advantage. The Jutte trapped the larger blade and tore it out of his hands before the top came off. Liberi stared in shock before his neck was stabbed and he stumbled backwards. Musashi dropped his baton and moved in for the kill but his foe stubbornly refused to die yet.

Fiore used his grappling training to hold back Miyamoto's sword arm while he took a chance and stopped gripping his neck to pull out the Rondel Dagger. Liberi tried to stab Musashi in the face who barely was holding back the Dagger from his eye. Miyamoto used his weight to slash Fiore's already wounded hand just enough to get him to drop the blade and curse him in even more pain.

Musashi went in for the killing blow but made his first mistake as Liberi dove for the Longsword and quickly smashed his foe's chest with the pommel. Bone cracking was heard as Miyamoto cried out in pain for the first time and Fiore aimed for his foe's head next. His guts getting slashed open prevented that and he collapsed to the ground from the massive amount of bloodloss he had endured.

Liberi could only hold his Bastoncello as Musashi retrieved his Wakizashi. When he came back, he chuckled at the pathetic sight. "私はすでに棒を持ってきた。それは大きなものです。" (I already brought in a stick. A big one at that.) "Bastardo." (Bastard.) Miyamoto faked a swing and only got an ineffective swat in response. He grinned as he swung the Wakizashi at Fiore's good hand, permanently disarming him, before the Katana slashed through his neck.

Miyamoto Musashi walked away from Fiore Dei Liberi's dismembered corpse and soon found his Bokken. There was only one thing left to do, leave before the Europeans realized they had lost twice. "今、私のボートはどこですか?" (Now, where is my boat?)

Winner:Miyamoto Musashi

Expert's Opinion[]

Miyamoto Musashi won due to having a better secondary and special weapon along with superior tactics, training, and experience. Fiore Dei Liberi had a much better sword and mid range weapon but his only advantage in X-Factors was having slightly better armor. In the end, the better duelist adds another victory to his legend.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.

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