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A Timeline of Fencing History

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1200 B.C.

Evidence of Egyptian fencing bouts in a temple near Luxor, Egypt.

476 A.D.

The fall of Rome, bringing heavier and cruder weapons than the short swords and light spears formerly used.

1450 A.D.

European fencing guilds, such as the Marxbruder in Germany, begin appearing.

1471 A.D.

The first known fencing manual is published by the Spaniard Sierge de Valera. The first real fencing techniques are developed in Spain around this time.

1500 A.D.

The Italians begin extensive use of the Rapier, developing fencing technique and popularizing the weapon for dueling.

1553 A.D.

The fencing master Agrippa defines the four fencing positions - prime, seconde, tierce, and quatre.

1567 A.D.

The French Fencing Academy is officially recognized by King Charles IX.

1573 A.D.

The French fencing master Henry de St. Didier publishes the first French fencing treatise, advocating the use of an Epe without a dagger and beginning classification of many attacks and parries.

1575 A.D.

The Italian masters Vigiani and Grassi describe the lunge.

1650 A.D.

Rapiers decline in use and the "fleuret", called a "foil" in English, becomes the training weapon of choice. The right-of-way conventions are invented, making fencing much safer.

1700's A.D.

The Epe becomes the dueling weapon of choice across Europe, and the Sabre becomes the national weapon of Hungary.

1780 A.D.

The French fencing master La Boessiere invents the fencing mask.

1850's A.D.

Italian fencing masters refine Sabre fencing into a non-fatal sport. The Hungarians later develop a superior new school of sabre fencing and dominate the sport until the mid 20th century.

1874 A.D.

The first American fencing school is founded by immigrant French and Italian fencing masters.

1896 A.D.

Men’s Foil and Sabre are present in the first modern Olympic Games. Men’s Epe is introduced in 1900.

1913 A.D.

FIE (The International Fencing Federation) is founded.

1918 A.D.

With the end of World War I, Dueling declines in popularity. The sport of Fencing, however, continues to grow.

1924 A.D.

Women’s Foil becomes an Olympic sport.

1935 A.D.

Electric Epe is introduced.

1950's A.D.

Eastern European countries, such as the Soviet Union, Romania, and Poland, become rising fencing powers, breaking the French and Italian dominance of the sport. The Eastern European style relies more on speed and mobility.

1955 A. D.

Electric Foil is introduced.

1988 A. D.

Electric Sabre is introduced.

1996 A.D.

Women’s Epe becomes an Olympic sport.

1998 A.D.

Advance Lunge comes on-line.

FENCING HISTORY INDEX