Half Sword stance at Byzantine fresco of 1310 AD in Mystras (South Greece)

Scholae Palatinae


By George E. Georgas, Fencing coach, Pammachon and Historical Fencing Instructor

Translation from Greek language Mr. Aggelos Pilidis.

 Many thanks to my teacher, Mr Kostas Dervenis for the photos of his trip to Mystras.

Screenshot 2016-08-19 01.45.22Mistras, the Byzantine castle-state of the Paleologos family near Sparta. It was built by Guillaume II de Villehardouin in 1249. After the battle of Pelagony, that took place in September 1259 between the Empire of Nicaea and the alliance of the Despotate of Epirus, the Principality of Achaea and the Kingdom of Sicily, it changed hands. As the Chronicle of the Morea describes, the Empire of Nicaea, led by the brother of emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos, Ioannes Palaiologos, and Alexios Strategopoulos, clashed with the allied armies of Michael II Komnenos, Duke of the Despotate of Epirus, Guillaume II de Villehardouin, leader of Achaea, Ioannes Duce of Thessaly and Manfred Hohenstaufen of Sicily.

The alliance was made…

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The Dance of the swords

Scholae Palatinae

By George E. Georgas

Who said that only the Chinese hide their martial arts in the form of dance such as the ‘Chinese opera’? Instead here in Greece there are many war dances that unfortunately remain unknown. For example here we have the ‘dance of swords “that through him the Cappadocian learned the martial art of sword in secret from the Ottomans.They learned it through dance and the learn from this way not only the guards but also the footwork.

Dance of the swords dancing in Farasa ofCappadocia.
“Ο χορός μο τα δρα τα μασαίρε” as it was called by farasiotes and dancers masairati. It’s war dance, dancers with large sabers and thus, as a pretext, the farasiotes practiced in martial art of sword in case you need to face the Turks or Cettes.

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