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cutting vs thrusting[edit]

Anyone know why cutting weapons fell out of favor with the Euros? I was always taught that thrusting puts you off balance but there are advantages to using the point. Is there a general consensus that it us so advantageous that slashing would logically be removed altogether from swordplay? Or was it part of just a useless stylistic trend like many of the other designs of the era? Jarwulf 08:37, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

It is difficult to cite a single reason for the development of the sword from a more cutting to thrusting weapon, but I personally lay the blame (for swords overall) on the development of armour. As chainmail became better and platemail more common and more efficient, swords became designed as a whole to be more oriented on the thrusts, as cuts could not penetrate proper plate armour and may actually be damaged when attempting to do so. So instead, the technique of half-swording was used to sneak the point of a blade in between the tips of armour plates or vulnerabilities in mail. Eventually, the sword became sharply pointed, with a relatively thick cross-section, no longer "excellent" at cutting, but more than capable. This same concept applied both to longswords and other warswords, including broadswords as mentioned below. Eventually, these broadswords became longer and more pointed, losing their edge altogether. Some believe that this evolution is largely a combination of the broadsword and the estoc, a long two-handed edgeless blade made for thrusting. Regardless, the exact classification of a rapier is problematic because of this evolution. Some individuals (and groups) consider any long slender one-handed sword used primarily for thrusting to be a rapier, including many of the rapiers that were relatively broad and decidedly sharply edged (they could cut!) in comparison to their later relatives which had no sharp edges because of the stiff, obtuse geometry. Conversely, others exclude these early variants, naming them "cut-and-thrust" swords, as they did both proficiently, and only leaving the last incarnations of single handed swords with little or no cutting edge, thick blade geometry, and a sharp point as "rapiers". The situation is confused further as period authors use the word "Rappier" or similar to describe and name swords that are not, necessarily by either above description, rapiers. So, to more directly answer your question, I think a relatively strong arguement can be made that the development of armour heavily impacted the role swords played in combat and the manner in which they were used. I believe it can also be subsumed that, to a large extent, developments in the trends of military weaponry (move towards longer and sharper, early wide cutting swords→more narrow thrust-oriented swords) significantly affected the development of civilian (read: rapier) weaponry. (This trend can be observed today with firearms, including brand, calibre, and style - I imagine a lot of people find that "if the military uses it, it's probably what I should use in self-defense, too.")
I should also note that, because the rapier was used as a civilian weapon, style did play a role in its use and, undoubtedly its form. This eventually would lead to the "degeneration" of the weapon to a smallsword something much less daunting than the longer rapier. It should also be noted that, because of stylistic problems, and theories on the Arte of Defense, the rapier did not evolve only in one direction - wide broadswords continued to exist among thin rapier blades, and thin, unsharpened rapiers did exist (though rarely) among the "cut-and-thrust" broadswords. This further confuses the definition, as dates cannot be used as strictly (i.e. "One-handed thrusting swords after 1650" would include a variety of swords, in no way limiting the selection to what one may think of as a "rapier".)-- Xiliquiern 12:20, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
While that does make sense it is still confusing why cutting swords like the calvary sabre would persist in the military while the thrusting rapiers were preferred for presumably unarmored civilian defense. Jarwulf 01:11, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Backswords take advantage of mounted charges-a circular blow doesn't impede a rider, especially in a time where firearms where not that precise to be use while mounted. Consider the transition from blade to firearm was easier on foot that on horse. Later on, blade carried some prestige (think of a mounted dragoon shouting “chaaaaarge”).
David Latapie ( | @) 11:39, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Going all the way back to the beginning of this discussion. First, a properly executed thrust does not 'put you off balance'. The lunge is very stable in the direction of the attack; however, the trade off for the reach is that it is not so stable on oblique lines. Now, as to why cutting weapons fell out of favor in Europe--did they? The cavalry saber persisted up into the 1900s in Europe, as did the dueling saber--quite as long as the thrusting dueling weapons. Why one type of sword persisted was generally a matter of it being suited to the situation for which it was used. Marozzo
  1. longer range
  2. easier to transport than a bulky cutting sword. Lighter, too (we are not talking about military men anymore)
Actually, a typical rapier can be a real annoyance compared to a single-handed cutting sword. It's longer and harder to draw, not to mention that if you're not careful, you're constantly banging into things. Preserving your opponent's life wasn't generally a consideration. Saviolo, for example, specifically says that if you decide to fight a duel, you'd better be willing to kill your opponent. Marozzo
  1. less deadly (important for most duels, although for it being allowed as a a civilian weapon).
All of the Italian masters (and many of the German, French and English) say that the thrust is deadlier than the cut.
  1. a thrusting weapon get stuck in the body, which is dangerous in military combat. Not so in a duel (this is not an argument for the rapier in later time, but against the rapier in earlier times)

Hope this helps
David Latapie ( | @) 11:39, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

29 April 2006 Deleted following: "The rapier was a light and effective weapon on the battlefield when it (or its varients) were used. Due to its light wieght and very sharp edge it was good at sliding under plate mail and thruogh kinks in heavy armor, thin variations like the epee or escot could cut clean through chain mail when well placed. For most of its period of use, the rapier was double-edged, but some later rapiers were single-edged (with a sharply triangular blade) or edgeless. A rapier is capable of both cutting and thrusting attacks, but the thrust is the main attack in all rapier fighting styles." Ventifax 04:23, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

10:13 21 November 2005 Moved rapier instructors to its own page. Added a separate category for rapier instructors to pull it out of the body of the main article. (My opinion is that the main article should refer specifically to the topic of the rapier. Instructors may be a useful piece of information but I see it as secondary.)

NOTE 15:32 18 November 2005 Arzach 2 - Is there a reason you moved Maestro Andrea Lupo Sinclair and Ramon Martinez in a list that is alphabetical?

I personally question why it is necessary to make a list of instructors under the rapier heading, but I'm not going to be the one to remove the entire list. Perhaps a separate article is in order?

NOTE 18:54 18 October 2012 i think thrusting is better because its like the rapier is an extension of your arm though it can get stuck Edited last April 10 2003, Ken Mondschein, -The previous version was a little small, and a little off in its facts and implications. I made a page on European dueling swords a little more thoroughly (though I lost the references section, I'll have to recreate it).

-In this process we lost a minor reference to the estoc, which properly belongs as an inspiration for the rapier.

the librarian

The European dueling swords page is commendable, but gives little detail as how to recognize a rapier from quite a long way away. Maby the swords should be given their own articles, as the mode of operation and construction varied quite considerably through time, and instead have a European dueling page covering th social and historical aspects of this use of the weapons? --Anders Törlind

-Thank you. I would dearly love to get photographs or perhaps diagrams showing cross-sections, etc., though once you starting discussing variations you can go for a huge distance. The early rapier is just a thinner broadsword; then it starts getting longer and develops its own specialized contruction techniques and becomes the standard rapier, at least a meter long. And then it shrinks again as it transitions to the smallsword. And of course all along there were numerous schools of fencing with similar or widely variant ideas; many of these schools are known only by name.
-I do think the previous Rapier entry had grown redundant.
--Also, the evolution of the dueling swords, which forms a separate path from the evolution of military weapons and is a technical rather than a social field, deserves its own article. the librarian

-I rewrote this page to be actually factual and ended up reconstituting it as European dueling sword. Someone enamored of their own prose and unable to distinguish fact from fancy restored it, and I see that just modified it to be internally inconsistent. Since I'm not going to get involved in a childish editing war, I will merely list a few glaring problems:

  1. A rapier is a ... two-edged The earliest rapiers ('cut and thrust' rapiers) were two edged, but edges were deprecated and mostly abandoned in later rapiers.
  2. The rapier developed at the very end of the 16th century...The rapier became popular in Europe in the 16th century the recently added internal contradiction. The rapier arose in 1500 and became obsolete around 1680.
  3. In parallel to the rapier, other weapons were developed for use in war in response to the increasing protection offered by fully articulated plate armour. This has nothing to do with the topic. Also, the estoc is widely cited as an inspiration for the rapier.
  4. the rapier, in various modified forms, gained usefulness on the battlefield this is news to me. However, it is often cited that the popularity of rapier-style basket hilts mounted on other types of swords has falsely given the imppression that rapiers were present on the battlefield.
  5. The rapier is capable of both slashing and thrusting attacks only the early rapier is much use for slashing. This is mostly true because the balance and center of percussion of the rapier--way out towards the point--and the tiny sweet spot of the rapier made it ineffectual for slashing.
  6. The rapier's slimmer cousin, the foil, is the sword most often associated with the duels of honour No, the foil is a nineteenth century invention, when duels were obsolete or conducted with firearms. So the "duels of honor" which were depicted were conducted with rapiers or smallswords.
  7. depicted in literature and movies however it is certainly true that teh foil was more familiar to modern audiences, ligter and easier to wield, and more beautiful in its motion, so it was often used anachronistically in movies.

-the librarian

I have read several Italian and German fenching manuals from the 16th and 17th century and examined the drawings in countless more. While there is a definite perference for the thrust in most of them, at no time was the cut ever discounted as a viable tactic. Furthermore, it would be nonsensical to think that someone fearing for his life would give himself such an obvious disadvantage as to not use a blunted weapon.

I am not familiar with the estoc, but I find it highly unlikily that it is the inspiration for the rapier. It certainly wasn't used by the Bolognese school of fencing and is wholely incompatible with the techniques taught by Achille Marozzo or Capo Ferro.

As for being ineffectual at slashing, I find that claim to be downright laughable. As I said above, all of the fencing manuals that I've seen from the 16th and 17th century taught the use of the cut. While I seriously doubt one would be hacking off many limbs, that isn't exactly necessary either. Much like a modern kitchen knife, the later masters taught that the effectiveness of the cut comes more from drawing the blade than it does from the initial impact. Grauenwolf (talk) 02:20, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Come now, Librarian! No need to get overly defensive: If an article contains errors, by all means go ahead and correct them! Removing information, however, has long been a no-no on the wikipedia, and as I still saw a use for an article about a rapier (being a rather famous sword type in and of itself) I simply reinstated the article, hoping that you would perhaps correct it. Oh, well. --Anders Törlind

As far as I'm aware, librarian's comments above are correct. I made the changes and moved some text around. I'm afraid I had to delete some phrases that were just totally not true (as far as I know), but I tried to put the respective information in some other sentence. English is not my first language, and neither am I an expert in rapiers (I've trained the use of one for about a year, that's all), so I'd be happy to have typos and mistakes corrected. -- Janka

Just two notes about some statements above:

  1. A rapier is a ... two-edged The earliest rapiers ('cut and thrust' rapiers) were two edged, but edges were deprecated and mostly abandoned in later rapiers.

Rapier has definitively a two edged sharp blade. But it has not to be confused with the earlier Spada da Lato (Sidesword) in use before it, more cutting oriented therefore with a broader sharp blade.

  1. The rapier developed at the very end of the 16th century...The rapier became popular in Europe in the 16th century the recently added internal contradiction. The rapier arose in 1500 and became obsolete around 1680.

This statement is not accurate. Rapier was in use until the end of the XIX century in Italy, in many different shapes but still fulfilling the basic criteria of what is a rapier. -- Arzach 2

No, it wasn't. The court-sword, smallsword, epee, and even duelling sabers were used in the 1800's, but not anything I, nor academia, would classify as a rapier. Sethwoodworth 18:32, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

omg people like it matters, any info i get that gets me a good grade on my project is all i and every other teen cares about. history aint completly acurate sometimes, deal with it! you people are freakin out over a stupid sword that no one realy cares about. did you know theres a whole word outside your house? go explore it! and stop being nerds in history. here do me a favor, get off this site now, open a news paper and find out about the more important problems the rest of the world has, jesus you people are so sad its pathetic. grow up and get a life! -Soccerboi-16

This page is for the discussion of the subject at hand -Soccerboi-16. Many of us want greater accuracy than what an average HIGH SCHOOL teacher would demand. Wikipedia should be held up to the same standards as other Encyclopedias, not to the standards of some teenage brat. I'm surprised you even visited this page, since this is a discussion page for a "stupid sword" nobody cares about. If you are uninterested in this particular area then that is fine with me, however, there is no need to go out of your way to tell other people they should be uninterested in this area. Contrary to your beliefs, many of us do have "lives" and are quite aware of current events (probably far more so then you). It seems someone who randomly goes into the middle of academic discussion pages (about fairly obscure topics too) and preaches about how the participants have "no lives" and should "grow up" doesn't have many (possibly any) other productive things to do with their time. Honestly, stop being so immature. -Anonymous-

Here's an idea: Saviolo (1595) taught cutting with the rapier. Swetnam (1617) emphasized the thrust. Perhaps someone with access to more manuals than I could go through them and list the ones that cut and those that don't. If there is a fairly clear cutoff, then we can say that until the year 16xx, rapiers were used for thrusts and cuts, and by the year 16yy, the use of the edge had mostly disappeared from instruction manuals. --Triskele Jim (talk) 20:49, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Commertial Links[edit]

Might I suggest we move Darkwood armory to the top of the commetial links list? They are usualy the de-facto rapier and sidesword manufacturer for custom swords. Relik's is simply a reseller for an indian factory (one of many) and the last isn't wide spread beyond it's personal section of the sca rapier market. Darkwood also has a wider selection than the other two. What is the standard here? Is there a wiki policy already on the concept?


This article gives information on the length and breadth of a rapier, but how much does an average rapier weigh? Marksman45 07:36, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

My understanding... no more than 3 pounds. 1 Kilo seems about right.Dave (talk) 07:02, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Rapier beginnings[edit]

I'd like to adjust the beginning dates for rapiers, which are a bit off. The first use of the term rapier was in 1474. The spanish refered to it earlier as espada ropera, around 1469. The Italians claim that they invented rapiers even earlier, however the Italians called it only spada, "sword," so verifing their claim is a little harder. 1450 - 1460 for the Italians.

I'll add some references, but a quick Google search for "rapier 1474" has a lot of relavent hits, so this might effectivly be "common knowledge" and left uncited. The earlier dates I'll try to track down. --- Markspace 23:06, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

  • A number of sites identify the word rapier used in a French manuscript in 1474 as derived from the Spanish term espada ropera. These I think come from [Encyclopedia Of Arms & Weapons]. I have a copy and that's the explaination there. Pubsblished 1986. --- Markspace 23:28, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  • This article on [[1]] seems to have a second tack, but it also gives the date for the word rapier as 1474. Just one more... --- Markspace 23:36, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
don't be stupid, rapier has nothing to do with espada ropera but is the english render of "rapière" as most of the english words are renders of french words. french words orginates in many manguages including latin and greek. Louis R14 22:36, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
  • I can't understand why you difference between "ropera" and "rapier". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:53, 13 April 2013 (UTC)
They are two different words. The question is why one should equate them.--ZarlanTheGreen (talk) 15:59, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Obviously, they are the same word from different languages. Just to note, the french word "rapière" has no meaning in french other than rapier because it comes from the spanish "ropera". The same thing happens with the word rapier in english. But in spanish ropera means "of clothes" or "dressing" and has a clear meaning. So from an etimological point of view it is clear. Yes, espada ropera has also the meaning of a sharp older sword (often the words have more than one meaning), it sometimes happens because there is always an older term when importing words, but the rapier is a espada ropera however you want to look at it unless you are blind. I am not saying that the rapier was first made in Spain, I dont know that, I am just saying that the swords are obviously the same and that the term is spanish in origin. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:08, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

You need to provide evidence, to back up your claims.
As far as I can tell, there is no one who has been able to make a clear, undeniable, case for the true etymology of the term "rapier". "Espada ropera" is a valid suggestion, for where the word "rapier" comes from, but not the only one ...and while the word "rapière" may not have any other meaning than "rapier" in modern French, that doesn't mean that it didn't have a different meaning in the past.
Also, the terms used back in the day, are generally relatively diverse and vague.
One word could be used for many types of blade, and many words could be used for the same thing ...and this becomes even worse when you consider that a word might be used for one thing at one time, but used for a different thing at a later/earlier time. This becomes further complicated when you consider the multiple languages. Thus what was called "rapier" or "ropera" in a certain time, in a certain language, in a certain country, might have nothing in common with what was called "rapier" or "ropera" in a different time/language/country.--ZarlanTheGreen (talk) 15:21, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
The term "espada ropera" includes the meaning of "rapier" as well as other edged swords. It is not a different sword to have a different wiki page or an early stage of the rapier as the wiki wrongly states (and misleads the readers for no reason). Because at that time, the term "espada ropera" could be used in Spain for any sword that could be carried by civilians as part of their clothes and just excluded those reserved for the military use, but nowadays the term has only the meaning of rapiers as well as edged rapiers. Also, if you can provide any document of any given time in which you can find the words "rapierè" or "rapier" referring to other thing than a sword I would like to see it (out of curiosity). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:34, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
"The term "espada ropera" includes the meaning of "rapier" as well as other edged swords. It is not a different sword to have a different wiki page or an early stage of the rapier as the wiki wrongly states (and misleads the readers for no reason)."
So you claim ..but do you have any evidence for that? Historical usage won't count, for anything other than the etymology section. It is modern use, among modern sword scholars, that is relevant here.
"but nowadays the term has only the meaning of rapiers as well as edged rapiers."
Evidence please.
"Also, if you can provide any document of any given time in which you can find the words "rapierè" or "rapier" referring to other thing than a sword I would like to see it (out of curiosity)."
Well if you check the etymology/origin sections of well respected dictionaries...
That should be more than enough. Do you still have any complaints?--ZarlanTheGreen (talk) 17:50, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't dissagree with the oxford dictionary at all. The word rapière might be an adaption of "rape", which I think it is, but that doesn't mean it is its origin at all. For example, in spanish the word for the voulge (a pole arm) is guja or buja. "Guja" is an adaption of "aguja" (pointed) but its origin comes from the french "vouge" or "voulge". In the case of the rapière it is easier to see the evolution. "Ropera" (spanish)->"rapera"(changing a vocal you adapt the word to have a meaning in french of rasp)->"rapiere" (to give it a french suffix)->"rapier" (for an english word). But even with the changes, from ropera to rapiere there are only 3 different vocals, taking out a vocal for the english term "rapier". Not like in my previous example from the french "voulge" to the spanish "guja" where almost all the letters where changed, but still, the origin of guja is voulge.
About its meaning we must see if along the history they have been trully different blades or not.
In the couplets of Juan de Mena's "Coplas de la panadera" - 1445-1450: the term "espada ropera" appears. It also appears in the documentated inventory of Alvaro de zuniga in 1468. It appears to be that the french term rapière first appears in the late 15th or early 16th century. But the edge of the sword is not removed from the swords until the late XVI century, so both swords were always edged when the terms appeared.
In Giles Duwes' "Introductorie for to lerne to rede, to pronounce an to speake Frenche trewly" - XVI century: la rapiére is translated as the "spannyshe sworde".
And in the New English Dictionary published in 1888 we can see the following definition of Rapier: Originally, a long, pointed, two-edged sword adapted either for cutting or thrusting, but chiefly used for the latter. In later use, a light, sharp-pointed sword designed only for thrusting ; a small sword.
Thus, the edge is not a difference between the swords rapière and the ropera and the ropera is not an early stage of the rapière or the rapier. So rapière, rapier and ropera, all had the meaning of being edged in the begining, same words for the same swords. The meaning for an only thrusting sword is modern.
Ewart Oakeshott in his book "European Weapons and Armour" (1980), a must read, supports this idea: page 136 - "The Spaniards of the late fifteenth century, finding that they could go about armed with these swords but without armour in comparative safety, began to call such weapons espadas roperas, 'swords of the robe', worn with ordinary civil dress. Early in the sixteenth century, when this practice had spread across Europe, the French condensed the name and called the weapon la rapiére, which the English further mutated to 'rapier'." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:42, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
"The word rapière might be an adaption of "rape", which I think it is, but that doesn't mean it is its origin at all."
No, but it could be ...or it might not.
"About its meaning we must see if along the history they have been trully different blades or not."
If you are still talking about the etymology: No, we don't.
Experts have looked into it, and they have found that they cannot ascertain what the exact etymology is.
We as Wikipedia editors are only supposed to relate what the experts have found, and not to come up with our own research (see WP:Original Research).
Your citation of Oakeshott is trumped by the multitude of various dictionaries and other sources, that cite other possibilities and state that the true nature of the origins of the term "rapier" is uncertain.
If you are talking about what the words mean today: No we don't. The historical usage is irrelevant.
"But the edge of the sword is not removed from the swords until the late XVI century, so both swords were always edged when the terms appeared."
I don't understand why you are talking about edges being there or not.
Rapiers have edges.
It is the small sword, that lacks edges, not the rapier.--ZarlanTheGreen (talk) 01:55, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

External links[edit]

I modified the links to reflect the authors who wrote the articles rather than what web sites hosting the articles. These articles were written by men, not by the web site that host the articles!


I came to this page whilst tying to find information on the UK Rapier surface to air missile (Rapier_missile). Maybe some sort of "could also refer to" is needed?

Brainz42 08:37, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Capo Ferro vs Capoferro[edit]

Although this might be more for the Capo Ferro page here on wikipedia, the most credible spellings that i can find and know all agree on the Capo Ferro spelling.

Scans of Capo Ferro's original text I see no reason to dispute how he spelled his own name.

The Capo Ferro Translation Project

The recently published Italian Rapier Combat: Ridolfo Capo Ferro

While Capoferro may be a modern translation of his name, it would be more correct and returns the most correct results on google, to use Capo Ferro in the beginning of the article as it is used in the rest of the article and in the reference materials also linked to in this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Vectorb (talkcontribs) 18:49, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Actually Capo Ferro is the 'modern' transcription of his name. Again, look here:

He spelled his own name as one word, as is apparent from Latinizations of his name, and references by other masters of the time. It wouldn't be more correct to spell it as two words, doing that just perpetuates an error made years ago by part of the English-speaking (and more importantly, Italian-ignorant) WMA community. Don't quote the title of a poor modern translation: Italian Rapier Combat: Ridolfo Capo Ferro Clearly the translator of that book had only the crudest of Italian skills--his translations are clunky at best and often times plain wrong. Yet, you'll take that over Jacopo Gelli's spelling? That is Gelli, who was a fencing historian and bibliographer who also happened to be a native Italian speaker? Do you read Italian well enough to make that judgement? Others who do side with Gelli. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Marozzo (talkcontribs) 20:21, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

While I dont call a reference to another questionable wiki page a strong reference, I don't deny that it could be either one. The main point is that this page reflect the best information. We should not have his name spelled two different ways on the same page. We can not change the reference books including his own original text. I see that you have added the name confusion to his wiki page and that makes sense and where the difference should be noted, however on this page I think that it should be listed to match the reference material that we can link to. Alternately I dont see any reason to discuss Capo Ferro's opinion of the rapier over any of the other masters anyway and we could just rewrite without him. How would you best reconcile the difference? It should not stay as it is. Vectorb 22:01, 22 October 2007 (UTC)
On the matter of his own original text, on the front page his name seems to be spelled as two words. However, is that a purposeful space, a mistake by the typesetter, or just "drift" of the characters? However if you look at his portrait, you see his name in Latin: Rodulphus Capoferrus. If his name was two words, the declension rules of Latin would mandate (I think) Rodulphus Caput Ferrus that is, there would have to be agreement of the case endings (even if 'caput' is not correct, 'capo' is clearly not correct in this case). Now disregarding Jared Kirby's translation and unpublished, amateur translations, we're left with Castle's spelling "Capo Ferro" and Gelli's spelling "Capoferro". In this case, I would have to side with Gelli since 1. he was a native Italian and 2. his book is far more complete in terms of a fencing bibliography. Now the only other books I can think of that might match these in terms of completeness are Thimm's fencing bibliography (of which I don't have a copy yet) and Sydney Anglo's The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe. However, Dr. Anglo also spells it as one word. Also, the original copies that the Library of Congress owns (they own three different editions) are listed as 'Capoferro' being the author. Finally, the modern spelling of the surname (it still exists in Italy) is 'Capoferro'.Marozzo 01:04, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Modern practitioners[edit]

User please stop saying that there are unbroken rapier traditions. Although there have been a number of claims, not a single living person has ever produces a clear line back to one of the rapier masters. Ranp 14:52, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Actually, based on Jacopo Gelli, it appears that there is an unbroken line back to the Marcelli dynasty of the 1400s, which leads up to the program at SJSU, although this would have to be verified in other sources. However, even if it is true (and it does seem very likely that it is), it really doesn't mean that any of the techniques have survived intact (as any graduate of the program will admit)--certainly the program doesn't teach anything about the systems of swordsmanship used in the 1400 or 1500s. You can start to see the seeds of classical technique and pedagogy in the treatise of the late 1600s (especially Marcelli), but that is a far cry from legitimacy that some other schools claim to have. Clearly no "living rapier system" has existed for a few generations at best.Marozzo 16:12, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Someone is still editing the article to say that there is unbroken lines to rapier masters. This person neither states who has such an unbroken line nor do they state their name. If someone makes the claim of an unbroken line then please cite who they are and supporting documentation. If there is nothing to cite then please do not edit the article.Ranp 16:48, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Relocated image[edit]

I relocated the image of the rapier from the first section to the opening, for better formatting. I hope nobody minds --DFRussia 04:06, 26 October 2007 (UTC)


On the history page of this article the User stated that " internet editorial by John Clements is not citable evidence. This looks to be free advertising for ARMA." I want to point out that this article currently has two other references to Internet articles. Plus, there is even a reference to a class hand-out by Tom Leoni. Citing the article by John Clements is cleary within the standards used throughout this article.

User, you appear to have a personal issue with both John Clements and ARMA. That's OK. However, it is not ok to delete a section of an article just because you don't like the message or the messager. By the way, who are you? Ranp 19:51, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

The internet essay that you link to cites absolutely no evidence, and as such represents the opinion of one man. This is fine for a forum or op-ed section--but it has no business being in an encyclopedia article. Your statement in the Modern Practioners section violates all three Wikipedia article policies: "No original research;" "Neutral point of view;" and "Verifiability." I do not care about the other links/references you mention, as they are not cited within the actual body of the article--only at the end under "External Links." Feel free to delete them or do whatever else you wish, if you think they violate Wikipedia policy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:11, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

As is clearly seen in the history of the article and in this discussion page your real issue is that you wanted to state that there are unbroken rapier traditions. When you were called on this false claim you made a Staw Man out of the reference that was provided, using it as justification for deleting the whole section. I have once again re-inserted the section but without the reference. There is no justification now for you to delete the section. Please note that the statement "there are no unbroken traditions reaching back to the time when these arts were put into martial practice" is a negative, thus it does not require a reference. If you want to state that there are unbroken rapier traditions then you MUST provide a clear reference to clear evidence.Ranp 21:32, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I will be looking at removing the other Internet references. Since such references are a real issue for you, please feel free to help removing them.Ranp 21:32, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Maestro d'armi Sean Hayes recently stated that: " of living tradition in "historical" weapons require that the burden of proof be on the claimant. When someone claims to have been taught a complete survival of an historical weapon, that's an extraordinary claim, and it requires extraordinary proof" ( In other words, saying that there are no unbroken rapier traditions does not require proof, rather it is the claim of an unbroken rapier tradition that requires clear proof. Therefore, I have removed the [citation needed] tag from the line "unlike some eastern martial arts, there are no unbroken traditions reaching back to the time when these arts were put into martial practice".Ranp 23:35, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree about the unbroken rapier tradition. We can state this pretty clearly: let's say, for the sake of argument, that the lineage of the Marcelli line actually continues uninterrupted to the San Jose State University fencing program. Now this actually appears to be likely based on an entry for Marcelli in Jacopo Gelli's fencing bibliography. Even if this is true, it doesn't mean that anyone alive--even if he attains the Maestro certification from the SJSU program--has any direct technical knowledge of how to use the rapier (and pre-rapier, the Marcelli line goes all the way back to 1500). After all, the U.S. Marine Corps has a lineage over 200 years old, but there certainly is no unbroken tradition on using a muzzleloader or cutlass.Marozzo 00:55, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Nominated for Deletion[edit]

Given that the user Oglach98 (another nameless person) has not made a single contribution to Wikipedia I find it completely ridiculous for him/her to suggest that this article be deleted. If I was to take a wild guess I would say that this is related to the "unbroken tradition" issue. In any case, I am removing the Nominated for Deletion tag. A Nominated for Deletion tag should only be added by someone with real authority on Wikipedia or someone who has at least made significant contributions to Wikipedia. Ranp 17:07, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

See guidelines in the deletion tag: "this notice must not be removed, until the discussion is closed." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Oglach98 (talkcontribs) 19:00, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Oglach98, why don't you start by letting us know who you really are. Why hide behind a an account that has made no contributions to Wikipedia? Are you the same person as User Please tell us specifically why this article should be deleted? Ranp 21:36, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
This nomination for deletion is completely bogus. Both sides of the issue (or multiple views) can be presented. However, the base position, that there is an unbroken tradition of rapier techniques is the one that needs to be supported with evidence--something that has never been presented. If those who claim that would provide some reasonable evidence, most of the community would be reasonably open-minded. The problem is that [b]no evidence[/b] has been presented other than the circular kind: "I'm a rapier master and I say the tradition exists and you have to believe me because I'm a rapier master." Even in the most extreme case, all references to living rapier traditions, pro and con, could be removed rather than just deleting the whole article.Marozzo 22:40, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

AfD notice[edit]

This article was subject to an AfD debate. The result was speedy keep. J Milburn 19:46, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

Vandalism: Deletion of Information[edit]

The user Dingleberry1117 deleted very valid and important inforamtion from the article without explaining his actions. That information has been re-inserted. Given that Dingleberry1117 has not edited a single other article in Wikipedia it appears that his actions were nothing but another simple case of vandalism in which any reference to or by John Clements or ARMA are deleted without reason.Ranp (talk) 16:59, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

I removed the statement "However in the Historical Fencing community his view is widely criticized for lack of historical evidence" that was inserted by the user Dingleberry1117 for two reasons. First, where two views on rapier classification (ie, the view of Tom Leoni and the view of John Clements) are presented in breif statements it makes no sense to insert an undocumented rebuttal statement. Second, the statement was actually inserted to appear that John Clements was say the statement about his own work. Again, given that the user Dingleberry1117 has made no other contributions to Wikipedia his/her actions can only be view as an attempt to take a cheap shot at discrediting John Clements rather than as a valid attempt to improve the article. If the user Dingleberry1117 is truely interested in improving the article then let him/her start by stating clearly who they are.Ranp (talk) 16:22, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Another round of vandalism by the user Dingleberry1117.Ranp (talk) 18:14, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

And another round of vandalism by the user Dingleberry1117Ranp (talk) 14:13, 18 February 2008 (UTC)


I've removed some critique of the description from the Description section. I thought the comments were valid, but the way to fix the problem is to fix the problem with appropriate re-writes-- not to throw in some criticism mid-section. Beastiepaws (talk) 05:57, 17 November 2008 (UTC)


Pappenheimer links to this article, that is not good because the pappenheimer hilt is of minor importance in this article, while other articles exist like: the Pappenheimer family, general Pappenheimer (from the 30 years war). It needs a disambiguation page, but I do not know how to make one so I'm signalling it here, maybe someone can take care of it? (talk) 15:01, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

you mean like this: Pappenheim (disambiguation)? If you want to make a disambiguation page for Pappenheimer, be bold.
Since pappenhimer hilts were also used on swords of war, it might be appropriate to have a page titled "Pappenheimer hilt" with a few pictures and links to Rapier and Sidesword.
By the way, the 30 Years War commander you speak of was Gottfried Heinrich Graf zu Pappenheim, not General Pappenhiemer. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Triskele Jim (talkcontribs) 17:15, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I found out you are right. However, where I live the name Pappenheim is mostly known from a quote in Friedrich Schiller's play Wallenstein ("Daran erkenn' ich meine Pappenheimer"). I believe it is due to sloppy translation that we often take the name of the general to be "Pappenheimer" instead of Pappenheim. So when I was looking for information on this man, I was surprised to arrive on a page about rapiers. Especially now that I found out about the existence of an actual Pappenheimer family that was executed for wichcraft. (talk) 07:30, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

"Raper" vs. "Rapier"[edit]

I noticed that "rapier" was misspelled as "raper" in most instances in this article. This looked like obvious vandalism to me. (Ha ha, raper, very funny... not.) Just to be thorough, I checked with Google to see if "rapier" is ever commonly spelled "raper" and didn't find any evidence. Also, the edit seems to have been made by an anonymous person who left no comment or explanation for the edit. So I reverted "raper" back to "rapier". I didn't change the word "raper" in a block of Latin text; I think that is correct.

Changing "rapier" to "raper" seems like the sort of vandalism that may be repeated. Watch out for it in future. Steveha (talk) 07:17, 1 August 2009 (UTC)


I removed L'Abbat from the list of rapier schools, as he's normally regarded as a smallsword master. (talk) 21:00, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

merge Spada da lato[edit]

I think we should merge Spada da lato here, as the Spada da Iato and Espada ropera are just early rapiers. Tinynanorobots (talk) 02:37, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

This is not the case. Side swords co-existed with rapiers throughout their period. While the early rapiers were edged, this type of sword was intended as a weapon suited to both war and civilian use. See ARMA's glossary, especially the section under "cut & thrust". (Association for Renaissance Martial Arts-- highly authoritative source that has contributed significant scholarship to the field).
If you have a specific source you'd like to share to support your proposal, please do. Wellspring (talk) 04:07, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, that source helped me understand a lot, although there is still a lack of clarity on what a Spada da Iato or Espada ropera is. In fact, Espada ropera seems to be Spanish for rapier. There are obviously two basic types of swords. "Thrust" and "Cut and Thrust" It seems in English, it is generally excepted that a rapier is a thrusting sword. I don't think that it is generally accepted that Spada da Iato or Espada ropera are exclusive or preferred English terms for types of cut and thrust swords. Only it is mentioned is that they are sometimes used to refer to both what is now known as a rapier, or a cut and thrust sword. After all, the original terms don't describe how they were used, but how they were worn. Actually, I can't find a translation of ropera besides rapier. Anyway, I am looking for some more detailed sources on side-swords/ cut and thrust swords. Tinynanorobots (talk) 15:42, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, what terms people historically used, for which type of swords, was generally rather vague and imprecise. Nowadays, the terms "spada da lato" and "cut and thrust sword", refer to a specific type of sword, and rapier to another (though there is some disagreement on the border between them), but historically...
As to the source, it is from ARMA who are a relatively small, and very insular, HEMA group. A group which strongly and radically disagrees with the wider HEMA community on many issues. As such, what is said in their glossary, doesn't necessarily reflect what is generally accepted by modern sword-related communities (be they HEMA groups, sword collectors, historians, sword-smiths etc).--ZarlanTheGreen (talk) 08:05, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
So, it is ambiguous. What should we do with the articles, because they are in a poor state now. I mean there does seem to be a consensus that a rapier can be strictly defined, but not much info on side swords and the what not.Tinynanorobots (talk) 20:46, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
In what way could what I said, be interpreted as it being ambiguous? Historically, it's been ambiguous, but not the way it is used now. The wikipedia articles should reflect modern usage, with historical usage being mentioned as an aside.--ZarlanTheGreen (talk) 08:47, 6 March 2013 (UTC)


This article claims "It is important to remember that the word "rapier" is a German word to describe what was considered to be a foreign weapon", citing the work of Joachim Meyer. It should be noted that many regard Meyer's "rappier", to be a very different weapon to the rapier.--ZarlanTheGreen (talk) 17:28, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

Who and how so?--Triskele Jim 16:40, 31 October 2012 (UTC)
The HEMA community in general. Meyer may call it a "rappier", but its not what we would now call a rapier (mind you, our modern terminology isn't always the same as the, far less consistent, period terms). If you want evidence of this opinion, I've found many a forum post (in HEMA forums), where this opinion is clearly seen as an obvious fact:
...and, though not referring to a work of Meyer's, but rather that of Mair:
--ZarlanTheGreen (talk) 10:13, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

rapier cup style sword[edit]

I purchased a cup rapier from the estate of a collector. Unfortunently all his wife new about the one I got was that he brought it back from Europe probably 50 years ago. The only marking I can find on it is at the base of the hilt just under the cup engraved into the sword is the forearm of a man holding up a christian gothic style cross in its fist. Is anyone familiar with this makers mark?

thx Cooper552012 11-8-12 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cooper552012 (talkcontribs) 02:59, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Done away with medieval armour?[edit]

This is blatantly false. Conventional metal armour persisted until the 19th century, as it was more than adequate against firearms until the advent of the conical bullet and even then was sufficient against small arms. During the renaissance it did get substantially lighter due to a change in tactics, and more often than not armour was reduced to just a helmet and cuirass, but it still persisted. The complete lack of truth behind this combined with the lack of citation makes me suspect this was just snuck in by somebody with no knowledge in the matter who wanted to insert their bullet-worshipping nonsense into an article that couldn't possibly justify it. (talk) 08:58, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

It's a common belief. I think it would be more accurate to say the rapier was a civilian sidearm, and would not normally be used against armor. I'll need to find a citation for this, though, unless editors are willing to replace an implausible, uncited statement, with a more plausible but still uncited statement?--Triskele Jim 15:33, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Off-Hand Weaponry[edit]

This may be a good source to draw from for the expansion of the "Off Hand Weapons" section: (talk) 13:30, 16 April 2014 (UTC)spudman2

Some random SCA group (or the SCA, in general) does not count as a Reliable Source. I see no reason to regard them as reliable sources for information about rapiers or rapier fencing ...or any arm or armour, or the use thereof.--ZarlanTheGreen (talk) 14:01, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
This [2] seems an authoritative site on the rapier although has a copyright warning at the bottom. REVUpminster (talk) 14:58, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
Well... ARMA are a small, insular group. They are generally considered unscholarly, bad at citing their sources, dogmatic and... undiplomatic. They have many views, which pretty much all others in the HEMA community disagree with, and find no basis for. Granted, there are many more areas, where there is agreement, but a lot of the disagreements are on fairly significant and fundamental issues.
I'd say that they count as an unrepresentative fringe group. Any authority they have, is strictly within ARMA itself, and their expertise is self-proclaimed. Others outside of the group, do not accept them as a good or trustworthy source. Thus I would not really count them as qualifying as a Reliable Source.
Furthermore, whilst John Clements has looked into rapiers a bit, it's nevertheless not really his area.--ZarlanTheGreen (talk) 16:05, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

WP Cutlery[edit]

"WikiProject Cutlery, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of knives, swords, and blades"; this would seem relevant to this article as it is to other articles on types of sword.--Johnsoniensis (talk) 15:16, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

Are you aware what cutlery means? Swords cannot be called cutlery, by any stretch of the imagination. Since when are rapiers used to eat, or cook, food?--ZarlanTheGreen (talk) 01:56, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
The WP Cutlery's scope is not restricted to the meaning of the single word "cutlery"; "WikiProject Cutlery, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of knives, swords, and blades"--Johnsoniensis (talk) 09:45, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
You like to quote "WikiProject Cutlery, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of knives, swords, and blades", and yet... Where does it say that?
The WikiProject does mention "bladed weapons" though ...which is a flaw in the WikiProject. An I have brought up in the projects talk page.--ZarlanTheGreen (talk) 19:42, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

For those that haven't checked the above mentioned discussion in the projects page: The issue has been resolved, with the project changing its name to "Blades", rather than "Cutlery".--ZarlanTheGreen (talk) 17:38, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

Dubious source[edit]

Here's the part of the text which I'm concerned about;

Its development began at a time period when the need for a lighter and faster sword became mandatory thanks to the introduction of firearm use in warfare and the corresponding de-emphasis on heavy armor.

First of all there's a consensus in the world of Historical European Martial Arts that lighter blades are not automatically faster. The cited source: is based on an article written in 1996 and unfortunately features some outdated beliefs about arms & armor. We read lines like "The knightly harness was now a liability, and with its demise followed the decline of weapons designed to combat it–the mace, the war hammer and swords whose efficacy depended as much on percussion as on edge." - which is basically nothing more than repeating the myth Medieval swords were blunt and heavy for breaking through armor and crushing bones. Nothing of it is even remotely accurate. Also lines like "Since armor was no longer a consideration, and the rapier's design allowed for a much wider range of movement, the new competition became one of vying philosophies of defense, or, as the term evolved, 'fence.'" - reveal an outdated point of view, ignorant of Late Medieval/Renaissance fencing manuals & treatises and mobility of original 14-16th century plate armor armor as well. --Gladifer (talk) 19:56, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

I agree. On all points.
Frankly, looking at the source, it doesn't really qualify as a WP:Reliable source, either, so... I'll remove that statement.--ZarlanTheGreen (talk) 03:51, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Sadly, most sword related articles on Wikipedia tend to be rather... flawed. (to put it nicely) Still a lot better than any other encyclopaedia, though.--ZarlanTheGreen (talk) 03:56, 24 May 2014 (UTC)