A Gentleman's Guide to Duelling is a beautifully illustrated, lyrical guide to duelling etiquette in Elizabethan England. Its author, Vincentio Saviolo, was one of the great Italian fencing masters and a contemporary of William Shakespeare. In the 1590s, both Saviolo and Shakespeare were based in London's Blackfriars; Shakespeare's use of Italian fencing terminology in Romeo & Juliet is no surprise as it was written shortly after Saviolo's book was published. Originally published under the title Of Honour and Honourable Quarrels Saviolo's guide is devoted to the art of settling a duel in a gentlemanly manner. It was written in a time when honour, virtue and codes of behaviour were of grave importance; and the rapier was seen as ideally suited to settling the disputes of a gentleman. In this new edition, fencing expert Jared Kirby has updated the Elizabethan language in order to make it more accessible to today's reader and has added explanatory annotations.
Preceding the guide is the most comprehensive biography on Saviolo ever compiled: many misconceptions about his life have been spread for hundreds of years and Kirby has gone back to the primary source material to finally uncover the truth.