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Eric G.




Location: Arizona
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Nov, 2012 9:11 pm    Post subject: Meyer Rapier vs. Bolognese cut and thrust sword         Reply with quote

Hello friends,

I thought of something today and I was wondering if any of you would have a substantial answer for me.

Premise 1: the rapier of Capo Ferro style fencing is a long narrow blade, used almost exclusively for thrusting.

Premise 2: the rapier used by Meyer is much more cut-oriented than the rapier of Capo Ferro. Perhaps one might say that it is even more focused on the cut than the thrust.

Am I good so far? So here's the big question: what is the difference between a Meyer rapier and a cut and thrust Bolognese side sword? Are there any practical differences? Or perhaps the differences are found not it the blades but in the level of hand protection?

If I have missed the mark in some aspect please feel free to expound. Happy

Eric Gregersen
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Marko Susimetsa




Location: Finland
Joined: 24 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Thu 15 Nov, 2012 3:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The problem here is mainly the modern researchers' obsession in categorizing everything. Swords were not categorized this way historically and the differences in swords were based mainly on regional variations, preferences, local history and needs. Cut&thrust sword is especially a modern term.

A heavier, sturdier blade (e.g. rapier that can be used for cuts as well as thrusts) is preferable in the battlefield, while a long, thin blade may be good to have in a "civilized" duel.
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Eric G.




Location: Arizona
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PostPosted: Thu 15 Nov, 2012 3:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So is your answer that there is no answer? I'm not asking for an Oakeshott-style classification of these two kinds of swords, but I would like to know what differences there were between them. Are there clues we can follow dating back from period art from the manuals? Or perhaps from period weapons? Certainly Germany and Italy had some distinctions in their swords, especially for these two systems, right? From what I have seen (which is art from Meyer's manual and art from Capo Ferro's manual, but no Bolognese art) the Meyer rapier and the Capo Ferro rapier are super different. I do have a practice HEMA side sword that my instructors tell me is suitable for Bolognese side sword, but when I compare that to what I see in Capo Ferro, I feel like Meyer's sword is more of a side sword than a rapier.
Eric Gregersen
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Knowledge applied is power.
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Marko Susimetsa




Location: Finland
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PostPosted: Fri 16 Nov, 2012 12:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One must remember that Meyer preceded Capo ferro by several decades and that this was a period during which the art of sword was developed in different ways in different parts of the world (i.e. it was becoming a sport, rather than a survival skill in many regions).

Meyer based his manual on rapier on earlier Italian masters, who focussed on cuts (more than Capo Ferro did a few decades later). It is therefore likely that his form with rapier is suitable to use with heavier rapiers that were more usable in cuts than some lighter rapier variants. These heavier swords might easily be nowadays categorised as cut&thrust swords.
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Marko Susimetsa




Location: Finland
Joined: 24 Nov 2006
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Posts: 149

PostPosted: Fri 16 Nov, 2012 4:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's an article that deals with the issue pretty well:

http://www.thearma.org/rapierglossary.htm

In short, it is not necessarily a difference in the sword, but in the way it is used (fighting style ~ local tradition).
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Alen L




Location: Ljubljana, SLovenia
Joined: 20 May 2010

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PostPosted: Wed 21 Nov, 2012 12:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The main difference is that Meyer does not use the index finger on the ricasso and therefore does not have anything to protect it, so the crossguard tend to be simpler, with only a side-ring. Otherwise, both are cut-and-thrust swords, and you could most probably use both schools of swordsmanship with a bolognese sword effectively. Less so with Meyer's rappier, as it wouldn't protect the index finger.

But, if a modern name must be given, both can be considered side-swords. Meyer's rappier is not a rapier. Razz
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