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Wesley Nilsen




Location: Rosenberg, TX
Joined: 14 Jul 2012
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PostPosted: Tue 28 Aug, 2012 9:36 am    Post subject: Espada ropera & spada da lato (side sword)         Reply with quote

I want to know the differences between the Spanish espada ropera and the Italian spada da lato, besides the different origins. Are there certain things that are common on spada da latos, but not espada roperas, or the other way around? From what I've heard, it sounds like the main difference might be the blade width, since spada da latos seem to have 13th century arming sword-like blades. It would be awesome if I could compare some pictures of historical examples.
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José-Manuel Benito




Location: Medina del Campo, Spain
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PostPosted: Mon 10 Sep, 2012 1:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The expression "Espada Ropera" in Spanish is a term used for a few decades around the year 1500, and, then, was completely abandoned. «Rapier», or «Rapière», persisted in other languages —​​as a loan word— , but it's meanings are different of each country.

In Spanish, I repeat, this term was abandoned and was not recovered until the nineteenth century, by antiquarians, referring to a any type of one-hand sword located between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries (but the small-swords or sabers), without specifying features or function: several purposes (civilian sword, war sword, etc.), several types of blade, and several types of hilt (ring-hilt, bilbo hilt, cup-hilt…). Thus "Espada ropera" in Spanish must be considerate a non rigorous neologism used for convenience; but has no chronological or typological accuracy. Although the Spanish fencers of other times used simply the word «espada» (sword), now, if the discussion is not conversational, we have a better terminology to describe different variants of this weapons (see: http://www.esgrimaantigua.com/node/64 ).

In Italian, as in other languages, there are many more specific terms for different types of swords of those times, as striscia, spada da latto, mezza gabbia, stocco, and so on…

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Bill Grandy
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Location: Alexandria, VA USA
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PostPosted: Mon 10 Sep, 2012 11:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To muddy the definitions even more: "Spada da lato" or "Sidesword" are made up terms based on a misunderstanding of period sources. What everyone calls a "sidesword" nowadays (i.e. a complex hilted, double edged, single handed sword that is good at both the cut and the thrust) in period was usually just called a "sword". Sometimes in period it was called a rapier, which modern people seem to really hate because it doesn't gel with the modern preconceived notion of what a rapier is. Happy

We do know the Italians sometimes used the term spada da filo, which means "edge sword". This was sometimes just the term to differentiate between a sharp weapon and a practice one, but it seems that sometimes it was referring to the style of weapon that people so often call "sidesword". Calling it an "edge sword" makes a lot more sense to me in terms of differentiating it from a thrust oriented weapon.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


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Marko Susimetsa




Location: Finland
Joined: 24 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Tue 11 Sep, 2012 9:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
To muddy the definitions even more: "Spada da lato" or "Sidesword" are made up terms based on a misunderstanding of period sources. What everyone calls a "sidesword" nowadays (i.e. a complex hilted, double edged, single handed sword that is good at both the cut and the thrust) in period was usually just called a "sword". Sometimes in period it was called a rapier, which modern people seem to really hate because it doesn't gel with the modern preconceived notion of what a rapier is. Happy

We need a "like" button here. Consider this post liked and agreed with. Happy
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