Paradoxes of Defence was first published in London in 1599. It was written by George Silver, an English gentleman, who was appalled at the influx of Italian rapier fencing into England, and set out his arguments in favour of the traditional English weapons: the short sword, the short staff, the forrest bill, the morris pike, and all manner of additional arms such as daggers, bucklers, and targes. He rails against the fashionable new style on the grounds that it is both dangerous to the practitioners, and of no use in warfare.
Whether he was right or wrong, history was against him and the fashionable Italian rapier took over. But his work offers a vital window into the theory and practice of martial arts in England in Tudor times, and ironically provides much of what we know about several Italian rapier masters: Rocco Bonetti, Vincentio Saviolo, and Jeronimo Saviolo.
The modern pronunciation audiobook comes in two versions, with and without musical accompaniment. Harp music is John Dowland’s Battle Galliard, played by Andrew Lawrence-King. You can download the zip files of mp3 files, or if you prefer, get the audiobook from Bookfunnel with the special link provided. In this version the text has been modernised and edited by Guy Windsor (working from Steve Hick’s original transcript), and narrated in modern pronunciation by Jonathan Hartman.
We have also produced a version read by Ben Crystal in Original Pronunciation.
The text has been published as a companion volume to the audiobook version. It is available as an ebook and a large-print paperback. Click here for details.
Compare and Contrast:
If your interest is mainly in the difference between Modern and Original pronunciation, we have a sample pack with clips from both editions, the ebook, and the recording of John Dowland’s Battle Galliard.
The Harp Music:
Andrew Lawrence-King recorded John Dowland’s Battle Galliard as a musical accompaniment to the book. Clips from the Galliard have been used to enhance the audiobooks, and you can also get the entire recording with either audiobook and with the sample pack.