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Snippets of Sainct-Didier

La Croix de Maine 1584There’s two famous members of the Sainct-Didier clan. The most well known is Henry de Sainct Didier, the author of the fencing manual I’ve translated. The second, earlier one is Guillaume de Sainct Didier, a twelfth century Provençal poet.

Here are the relevant entries from the catalog of Count of La Croix du Maine’s library, published in 1584. The full title of the book is The First Volume of the Library of the Lord La Croix Du Maine, which is a general catalog of all types of authors who have written in French for the last five hundred years and more until today. It’s 560 pages of short articles about the books, their authors and other interesting and related snippets of information. The catalog was maintained and added to — five volumes in all — by the counts of La Croix du Maine, south of Le Mans in France, until the time of the Revolution.

This is the entry for Guillaume de Sainct Didier:

Guillaume de Sainct-Didier, gentleman, native of the region[1]pays of Velay, Provençal poet in the year 1185.

He translated from Latin into Provençal rhyme the Fables of Aesop.

He further wrote a fine treatise on fencing.[2]In this, the author appears to confuse Guillaume with Henry. There is no known fencing manual from this date or having Guillaume as its author.

He died in the year 1185 or thereabouts.

There is a very memorable meeting of things found:[3]C’est une rencontre bien memorable de ce que il se trouve that another gentleman of the same surname, of the same quality, and of the same region, having four hundred years after the death of the above-mentioned Guillaume, wrote a fencing book in Paris, ten years ago, as we shall discuss in his place.

And a little later in the catalog is his presumed descendant Henry:

Henry de Sainct Didier, Provençal gentleman, great natural philosopher and one of the most esteemed of his time, for fencing well with all types of weapons, of which he wrote a treatise in order to teach fencing, containing the secrets of the first book of the sword alone, mother of all weapons, printed at Paris the year 1573 by Jean Metayer and Mathurin Chalange, and being sold at Jean Dallier’s shop[4]chez Iean Dallier on the Pont Michel at the White Rose.

He dedicated this book to the last Charles IX.

I spoke of the said Henry de Sainct Didier here-above, when I made mention of Guillaume de Sainct Didier, particularly that between these two there is something worthy of note, namely,[5]scavoir c’est (repeating that which I said here-above which everyone may not have read) that both((l’un et l’autre)) wrote a book with the same subject or argument, namely, fencing and that both have the same surname of Sainct Didier, both gentlemen and born in the same province, and there is only the difference of time: because this Guillaume flourished the year 1174 and this one flourished and is yet living [in] this year 1584, making four hundred years between them.

He printed other books after it touching on his understanding of fencing, and further touching several other wonderful secrets[6]beaux secrets of nature, in which he uses all his time[7]tout son plaisir.

Notes   [ + ]

1. pays
2. In this, the author appears to confuse Guillaume with Henry. There is no known fencing manual from this date or having Guillaume as its author.
3. C’est une rencontre bien memorable de ce que il se trouve
4. chez Iean Dallier
5. scavoir c’est
6. beaux secrets
7. tout son plaisir