Fencing grew out of the long tradition of dueling, which has been going on for as long as history has been recorded. It wasn’t until the 15th century that fencing really became a codified thing, the artform that we think of with fencing masters – one that is beautiful and noble. This really began with the publication of the Treatise of Arms by Diego de Valera in 1471.
It’s true that fencing was practiced by royalty across Europe as well by other members of the upper class, although it was also practiced by many tradesmen and lower class men who sought more money, fame and the thrill of the fight. Of course kings are famously the heads of armies, so it was natural extension for fencing to become a big deal for royalty. However fencing has proved to be more than fighting, as the technicality and finesse required to fence effectively is far different that the requirements of the battlefield. Fencing separated the nobleman from the soldier.
But how did this all come about? Fencing as the sport of kings evolved over a long time through many iterations to become transformed into what it is today.