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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jan, 2006 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't say that I have formal rapier training, no.
I'm just theorizing from the sword and buckler stuff, and the rapier theory I've read.

Of course there is more to it than jabbing and poking . A lot more.
All I'm saying is that because there are fewer factors and fewer "stages", it is easier to do.
It is probably easier to teach sword and buckler or longsword technique to beginners. But if you give them a basic introduction and shove them of the deep end, they will not be very efficient.
For instance, they will have problems with the multi-stage stuff, avoiding feints, using rapid series of strikes, and the like.

As for the instinctiveness of the block, double time fencing is basicaly the same block, followed by pointing your weapon at the opponent. If you are lucky, he will even step into it himself.
Of course, there is an enormous amount of variation to this theme, minute adjustments of the feet and wrist, the amount of pressure on the blades...
But you might respond correctly to the pressure of his blade on yours, there is a chance he might do something entirely wrong, wich is not the thing you moved to counter at all.

The way I have been presented it is that sport fencer "newbs" win quite a lot of fights just by being unpredictable. Wich again means that it is hard to apply techniques against them, because you don't know what they will do next.
It is a simple concept, with a million varieties.

Rapier fencing is truly science. But science has yet to produce a formula for chaos; it can not describe or explain something it has not experienced.

As such, it really comes into its own when the combatants are fighting with deliberate techniques.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jan, 2006 7:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

But Elling, everything you describe goes for both rapier or for sword & buckler. Happy

As for science, I use the term in the Renaissance meaning, not the modern, and Italian rapier fencing does indeed discuss dealing with the chaos of reality. Any good martial system needs to do that. Fabris, for instance, discusses what both good and bad fencers do, and discusses how to deal with non-standard guards and attacks. More importantly, Italian rapier discusses how to close off lines of attack so that your opponent has to attack in a certain way or else be immediately killed, just like in most other complete systems.

The two-time parry-riposte action, by the way, is not the same thing as the "finding the sword" action of a single time defense (otherwise there'd be no reason to do a two time defense. Happy ), though they are certainly related.

Also, keep in mind that rapier fencing and sport fencing are worlds apart. About the only thing they strongly bear in common is the reliance on the thrust, and the similarities after that are mostly superficial. Rapier has more in common with longsword than it does with modern foil.

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--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


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Stephen Hand




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jan, 2006 10:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi,

I just read through this thread and there are a lot of misconceptions floating around. Let's start with rapiers being a light weapon. On average rapiers weighed more than medieval arming swords. After all they were a foot longer and had a lot of metal around the hand. They could stand up to contemporary swords because they were large robust swords (though there is mention of them breaking in combat).

Rapiers could cut. Every rapier master taught cutting. No, they're not as good at cutting as a medieval arming sword, or a basket hilted sword, but I don't care how a weapon is balanced, if 3lbs of steel is smashed into your head, you're going to know about it. The idea of the "true rapier" which couldn't cut is a modern invention.

The term cut and thrust sword was used historically to refer to the spadroon, a sword developed in the late 17th century as a compromise between the basket hilted military sword and the smallsword. It should not be used for the early rapier of the 16th century (often called the sidesword).

Except in isolated circumstances the rapier was not used in battle. The weapons on the page that Elling posted are not rapiers, regardless of how some museum curator might classify them. The blade makes a rapier, not the hilt. Some of those weapons (mainly later ones) are spadroons. There is a wonderful quote about the English Civil War (where most equipment, at least at the start, was personally owned) "In the time of late troubles rapiers were used by some for a time, and then they were put aside."

To get back to the question; evolution is not a process of improvement. It is a process of changing to best suit changing circumstances. In the 16th century weapons started to be created for purely civilian use. There is a lot of argument about whether the rapier was more or less effective than contemporary military swords. That misses the point. It was certainly less effective than a halberd, but people didn't carry halberds around the street. Increasingly they didn't carry military swords either. The rapier was a weapon that suited the niche that appeared in the 16th century for an elegant civilian sword that was still robust enough to be used against contemporary military swords. Once an environment had been created where duelling was at least partially regulated by social convention and you didn't have to fight haphazard bouts against potentially any other sword then the environment existed where a lighter, shorter sword could be used for duelling, one that didn't get in the way so much. Tis was the smallsword. Again, it wasn't better or worse than the rapier. The environment chaged and the smallsword fitted the new environment better than the rapier.

Cheers
Stephen

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Sam Blanchard




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jan, 2006 11:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Moss wrote:
Wolfgang Armbruster wrote:
Kirk Lee Spencer wrote:
This question always makes me think of the last duel in the excellent movie "Rob Roy."

If you haven't seen it... you should!

ks


I just saw that movie again last night on tv!
I wonder if the last duel is true to the facts. Liam Neeson was using a basket-hilt sword, but I couldn't figure out what kind of sword Tim Roth had in his hands. Don't know if that was Rapier, but it was at least a light cut-and-thrust sword.
The cuts were rather shallow, but Roth was almost twice as fast as Neeson. Excellent footwork there Cool
Maybe he didn't stab him because he wanted to play a little longer Wink
However, that duel was surely much more realistic than those shown in other movies.

Another great and rather realistic movie is The Duelists (at least when it comes to small-swords).


I think it was supposed to be a smallsword, but I can't guess why he attempting all those cuts Confused

My take on his reasons for employing the cut was to torture Rob. Little slashes hurt more than pokes (both being relative, and neither being desirable). Roth's character was a sadist of the first order, and derived great pleasure by causing pain. A single thrust with a smallsword (most likely) won't kill you, neither will a single slash, but several of either will slow you down (especially if you've been beaten and dragged across most of the Highlands, and then plummeted into a river). Bottomline, I think was a desire to cause pain.
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jan, 2006 11:41 pm    Post subject: Re: The Evolution of the Sword         Reply with quote

Jared M. Olson wrote:
Hello again. I have been pondering what little I know about the evolution of the sword and I am quite puzzled by one thing: the rapier. Now, it seems that sword production was limited by and catered to resources, abilities and of course, the state of armor of their day. For the first centuries the evolution makes sense, we being with relatively small, one-handed swords, which proceed to grow in length and cutting ability, and eventually we are left with large two-handed swords for hewing and stabbing alike. So how does the rapier fit into this as the successor to the large swords of the medieval age? I understand that they are quicker and more agile, but could a man with a rapier really stand up to a man with a large sword? And if not, then I fail to understand why the sword took a turn for the worse. My apologies to those who love rapiers, but am confused as to their existence. If anyone can help explain this and explain my error, please do.

Something you have to remember is that the large, two-handed swords were made for use against armored opponents. When firearms became more accurate, and practical, armor became less so, and swords with cutting power sufficient for cutting through chain mail became unnecessary. Lighter, less obtrusive weapons became desirable, as speed began to supercede power. Sword evolution isn't necessarily about getting better, just more appropriate to the surrounding circumstances, as other posters have said.
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Michael Moss




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2006 12:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Blanchard wrote:
Michael Moss wrote:
Wolfgang Armbruster wrote:
Kirk Lee Spencer wrote:
This question always makes me think of the last duel in the excellent movie "Rob Roy."

If you haven't seen it... you should!

ks


I just saw that movie again last night on tv!
I wonder if the last duel is true to the facts. Liam Neeson was using a basket-hilt sword, but I couldn't figure out what kind of sword Tim Roth had in his hands. Don't know if that was Rapier, but it was at least a light cut-and-thrust sword.
The cuts were rather shallow, but Roth was almost twice as fast as Neeson. Excellent footwork there Cool
Maybe he didn't stab him because he wanted to play a little longer Wink
However, that duel was surely much more realistic than those shown in other movies.

Another great and rather realistic movie is The Duelists (at least when it comes to small-swords).


I think it was supposed to be a smallsword, but I can't guess why he attempting all those cuts Confused

My take on his reasons for employing the cut was to torture Rob. Little slashes hurt more than pokes (both being relative, and neither being desirable). Roth's character was a sadist of the first order, and derived great pleasure by causing pain. A single thrust with a smallsword (most likely) won't kill you, neither will a single slash, but several of either will slow you down (especially if you've been beaten and dragged across most of the Highlands, and then plummeted into a river). Bottomline, I think was a desire to cause pain.


Well, I'd say a single thrust most likely would kill you, at least on the long run, due to internal bleeding, infection, the impossibility of period doctors to properly treat such nasty wounds, and the leeches they might give you (that'll just get you killed sooner Razz )
Now, the smallsword often having no edge whatsoever, a cut will scarcely be more than an estramazón, a nasty tip cut that won't really slow you down, unless you get cut in the face.
Come to think of it, the only reference to cutting I've ever found while studying and translating the smallsword manuals was in Liancour's, and that when drawing the sword, he reccomended to slash at the enemy's face if you were too close to him. Not very lethal, but it sure would make him recoil.

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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2006 12:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Stephen,
I agree with almost everything you said.

Stephen Hand wrote:
The idea of the "true rapier" which couldn't cut is a modern invention.


This is kind of nitpicky, because I understand what you mean, but there were indeed rapiers that were edgeless, though these did not exist until the twilight years of the rapier's existence, when the smallsword was the predominant weapon. These edgeless rapiers are essentially really long epees. But your main point is still absolutely right: 16th and 17th century masters clearly advocated the use of the cut for certain situations.

Quote:
The blade makes a rapier, not the hilt.


This is also a little nitpicky, but I don't think that's quite true. It's not just modern curators who classified rapier this way. Case in point: Digrassi's English manuscript translated his "spada" into "rapier". The blade looks like a typical arming sword to me, showing that the term wasn't really concrete even in period. While I understand what you mean, that those swords are not the "classic" rapier of Capo Ferro and Alfieri, I think the terminology for the word rapier is so hazy that some of those swords can indeed be classified as such. (I believe Tom Leoni's got some references of more slender bladed rapiers in military use as well)

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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2006 12:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know it probably needn't be said, but let's keep in mind that Rob Roy is a movie, and not an accurate portrayal of swordsmanship. Happy

I like the movie. I think it's great. I think the sword fight in the end is very dramatic and done particularly well. But it looks nothing like a realistic combat with either of those weapons. (I would consider Archie's sword a transitional rapier, for whatever it's worth.)

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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2006 3:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Hand wrote:
Hi,
The weapons on the page that Elling posted are not rapiers, regardless of how some museum curator might classify them. The blade makes a rapier, not the hilt. Stephen


Someone might have to back to 1650 tell the Swedish army about this, because they issued them all as "Rapiers".
The Hirshfengers and Pallasches of the age has virtualy the same hilt as the rapiers; they are distinguished by thrusting blades only. If you could aslo cut with the blade, that would be a added bonus.
Could be a result of scandinavian military terminology, though. Denmark/Norway does the same, but calles the rapier "Korde" instead of "Verge"

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2006 3:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
But Elling, everything you describe goes for both rapier or for sword & buckler. Happy


Yes, of course.
Just trying to illustrate a point here, not compile 1000 years of swordsmanship into a forum post.
But it there are degrees of diference.
Some of which would have contributed to the rapier taking over as the favoured dueling weapon.


Speaking of sport fencing and movies; In the final boarding scene of Master and Commander, where the doctor joins the fight, he is quite clearly choreographed to fight like a sport fencer; He's not a soldier, after all. Neat little detail...

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2006 5:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling Polden wrote:
Stephen Hand wrote:
Hi,
The weapons on the page that Elling posted are not rapiers, regardless of how some museum curator might classify them. The blade makes a rapier, not the hilt. Stephen


Someone might have to back to 1650 tell the Swedish army about this, because they issued them all as "Rapiers".


I would like to see the evidence for this. Is the term rapier used, or is it some other word that is claimed to be synononous with the word rapier? The fact remains that the weapons used by the Swedish army in the first half of the 17th century are very different to the weapons illustrated in rapier fencing manuals. Rapier fencing as described by the masters who wrote the manuals would not be possible with the Swedish military issue swords. If you can't do rapier fencing with it then it's not a rapier.

Cheers
Stephen

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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2006 6:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Moss wrote:

Well, I'd say a single thrust most likely would kill you, at least on the long run, due to internal bleeding, infection, the impossibility of period doctors to properly treat such nasty wounds, and the leeches they might give you (that'll just get you killed sooner Razz )
Now, the smallsword often having no edge whatsoever, a cut will scarcely be more than an estramazón, a nasty tip cut that won't really slow you down, unless you get cut in the face.
Come to think of it, the only reference to cutting I've ever found while studying and translating the smallsword manuals was in Liancour's, and that when drawing the sword, he reccomended to slash at the enemy's face if you were too close to him. Not very lethal, but it sure would make him recoil.


Lethality of the wound really depends on placement and circumstance. I've seen quite a bit of discussion on this topic on this and similar forums that seem to come to the conclusion that destroying the CNS is the only sure instant stop. If anybody really wants reference I'll see if I can find some of the threads.

As for infection, any wound, cut or thrust, can get infected (although lung punctures are a bad thing).

Guess the point of my reply is that its really very difficult to make generalizations about lethality of cuts and thrusts without framing the situation in question more carefully. I have no rapier experience, but in my limited longsword play I've come to respect both. Cuts can deliver incredible trauma surpisingly fast. Taking off both of your opponent's hands with a cut, often a surpisingly vulnerable target (my favorite), really reduces quality of life assuming survival. Same for taking off heads, and arms, legs and large parts thereof. Thrusts can also be very unpleasant as well. They are not something I recommend stepping into, even when training.

Bottom line is that I think both can be effectively applied, and I'm not convinced cut or thrust is superior. Maybe with more training and experince I'll change my mind. Its happened before.

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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2006 7:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Moss wrote:

Well, I'd say a single thrust most likely would kill you, at least on the long run, due to internal bleeding, infection, the impossibility of period doctors to properly treat such nasty wounds, and the leeches they might give you (that'll just get you killed sooner Razz )
Now, the smallsword often having no edge whatsoever, a cut will scarcely be more than an estramazón, a nasty tip cut that won't really slow you down, unless you get cut in the face.
Come to think of it, the only reference to cutting I've ever found while studying and translating the smallsword manuals was in Liancour's, and that when drawing the sword, he reccomended to slash at the enemy's face if you were too close to him. Not very lethal, but it sure would make him recoil.

Sorry, I meant to say that a single thrust would not instantly kill you (in most cases). In the case of this movie (Rob Roy), the smallsword was sharpened at least towards the tip. Tim Roth's character used a flamboyant fighting style that seemed to be a combination of Spanish rapier and cut & thrust, and was designed to play with his opponent, inflicting pain for a long while before finishing him off. At this point in the movie, Rob Roy had been, as I said, severely beaten, abused and dragged across the countryside for days, then had fallen off a bridge into a pretty fast river, and then hiked across country for many miles. After this ordeal, 6 or 7 slashes to the arm and torso slowed him down pretty effectively. My post was only in response to the movie reference, as I have no practical experience with smallsword or rapier, but have studied a little of the theory.
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2006 9:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Hand wrote:
The fact remains that the weapons used by the Swedish army in the first half of the 17th century are very different to the weapons illustrated in rapier fencing manuals. Rapier fencing as described by the masters who wrote the manuals would not be possible with the Swedish military issue swords. If you can't do rapier fencing with it then it's not a rapier.


What about Meyer's "rappir"? This is clearly not the same sword that illustrated by Fabris. I would never perform a schielhau with a Fabris-styled rapier, but Meyer uses it to oppose an oberhau in the same way Liechtenauer uses the strike against a "buffel". You could clearly use Meyer's techniques with those Swedish military swords.

I understand and agree with your overall point that these aren't the same thing as the swords depicted by later masters, but I'm disagreeing with the use of terminology, which is the least important part. Happy

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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan, 2006 11:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Meyer's rapiers have long slender blades which if the users are 5'9" would be about 39" long. The standard Swedish cavalry swords under Gustavus Adolphus had 32" blades the same shape and size as an Oakeshott Type XV. If you're telling me that these swords are rapiers, then you're either telling me that the hilt is what makes it a rapier, which is absurd, or that an Oakeshott Type XV is a rapier, which is doubly absurd. A cursory look at a few plates from Meyer shows me that I wouldn't dream of trying his style with a Swedish cavalry sword. These were short broad bladed swords which tapered rapidly to provide a powerful thrusting point ideal for finding gaps in armour and piercing buffcoats etc. They were not rapiers by any definition.

I handled some early German rapiers in the Wallace Collection in 2004 and they're very thick and quite heavy, well suited to Meyer's "Liechtenauer for rapier" style. They're also quite unlike the Swedish cavalry sword of the Thirty Years War.

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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan, 2006 12:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Hand wrote:
If you're telling me that these swords are rapiers, then you're either telling me that the hilt is what makes it a rapier, which is absurd, or that an Oakeshott Type XV is a rapier, which is doubly absurd.


I'm saying neither of those things. I'm saying that the word was ill-defined in history. We can't absolutley say what people in period considered a rapier because it doesn't seem like they agreed on a definite term themself. What Saviolo called a rapier, what the English translator of DiGrassi called a rapier, what Meyer called a rapier, what Swetnam called a rapier, what Victorian scholars called a rapier, what modern scholars call a rapier all seem to be different things. It is funny how Capo Ferro and Fabris, as well as many of the classic rapier masters that used the version which most people think of, never used the term. Happy

From the page Elling referenced, what's this sword?
http://www.armemuseum.org/foremal/blankvapen/...01670.html

The blade looks strongly like a short rapier to me, though admittedly it's hard to say from photographs.

This one may be broad at the base, but doesn't seem outrageous to fence in Fabris's style. Granted, I don't know without handling it, but the design isn't out of the question:
http://www.armemuseum.org/foremal/blankvapen/varja/ca1600.html

Or what about this one:
http://www.armemuseum.org/foremal/blankvapen/varja/1640-tkav.html

I wouldn't classify it as a rapier, but is it really so different from this rapier shown in Meyer?:
http://www.thearma.org/pdf/meyeroutside1.jpg

I personally assume when people say rapier that they mean a long, thrust-oriented weapon with a complex hilt from the Renaissance, and that's generally what I mean when I use the term. I assume that's what you mean when you say rapier, and because of that, my point is largely irrelevant. But I'll still argue that just because we moderns might agree on the definition of this term, that doesn't mean historically it was always so.

But now I'm continueing to derail the topic, so maybe I should drop out of this. Afterall, like I said, the only thing I disagree with you about is the use of the term, and that's the least important part. Happy

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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan, 2006 1:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:
Michael Moss wrote:

Well, I'd say a single thrust most likely would kill you, at least on the long run, due to internal bleeding, infection, the impossibility of period doctors to properly treat such nasty wounds, and the leeches they might give you (that'll just get you killed sooner Razz )
Now, the smallsword often having no edge whatsoever, a cut will scarcely be more than an estramazón, a nasty tip cut that won't really slow you down, unless you get cut in the face.
Come to think of it, the only reference to cutting I've ever found while studying and translating the smallsword manuals was in Liancour's, and that when drawing the sword, he reccomended to slash at the enemy's face if you were too close to him. Not very lethal, but it sure would make him recoil.


Lethality of the wound really depends on placement and circumstance. I've seen quite a bit of discussion on this topic on this and similar forums that seem to come to the conclusion that destroying the CNS is the only sure instant stop. If anybody really wants reference I'll see if I can find some of the threads.

As for infection, any wound, cut or thrust, can get infected (although lung punctures are a bad thing).

Guess the point of my reply is that its really very difficult to make generalizations about lethality of cuts and thrusts without framing the situation in question more carefully. I have no rapier experience, but in my limited longsword play I've come to respect both. Cuts can deliver incredible trauma surpisingly fast. Taking off both of your opponent's hands with a cut, often a surpisingly vulnerable target (my favorite), really reduces quality of life assuming survival. Same for taking off heads, and arms, legs and large parts thereof. Thrusts can also be very unpleasant as well. They are not something I recommend stepping into, even when training.

Bottom line is that I think both can be effectively applied, and I'm not convinced cut or thrust is superior. Maybe with more training and experince I'll change my mind. Its happened before.


Indeed, but I believe we don't quite understand one another. When I said the thrust would kill, whereas the cut wouldn't, I was merely talking in the context of the smallsword, which has no cutting ability whatsoever. Cutting with a longsword is a very good thing -- cutting with a smallsword may seem rather stupid.

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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan, 2006 1:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey guys; throwing myself ito the fray here!

The naming of swords in historical times is confused at best in many instances.
This has been remarked on many times.

The "Rapier" is very much afflicted by this.
The Swedish arms historian Heribert Seitz writes about the history of the naming of thrust and cut &thrust swords.
It seems the actual naming would vary between areas and times.
The Rapier, Rappir or Rapper is known in Sweden in the mid 15 hundreds.
An inventory of King Gustav Wasa 30 october 1548 mentions "12 rappirer".
The same weapons can be differently named by sender and receiver: the same year (1548) the court sent 46 "rappirklingor" (rapier blades) and 40 degenklingor (degen blades) for refurbishment, while a remark in the margin notes: "or 86 degen blades". It seems "Degen" and Rapier" could be used with the same meaning.
Also in 1548 the royal armoury sends "20 degener" to the captain of an army unit who notes that he has received "20 rapperer".
In the swedish material names as Degen, Stickeswerd (=thrusting sword), Spitsig (pointy) värja, Stodeigen (sto=thrust) and Rapper all occur and covers much the same meaning.

We get further confusion in swedish as we also use the word "värja" to describe both rapier like thrusting weapons and clear cut&thrust swords. "Värja" is an ancient swedish word for "fending", "to fend" or to "defend one self". It was used in medieval times to describe all sorts of hand held weapons. In the 16th C it came to mean sword-type weapons with cut and thrust capability. To translate "värja" to english we could perhaps say: "fending sword"

Heribert Seitz makes an analysis of the entymology of words related to cut and thrust swords.
I translate parts of his text in his book "Svärdet och värjan som armévapen" (the sword and the "värja" as army weapon):
"Degen can be traced from medieval latin "daga, dagger, daggerius" and other forms. In medieval Italian and Spanish we find "Daga", in French "Dague" and in Swedish and Danish "Daggert". All these are synonyms for short sword or long dagger.
The etymologic development relates to the specificaion of a lighter an originally shorter weapon than the sword. The term "Degen" can be showed at earliest in east german areas around 1400." End of quote.

"Värja" and "Degen" were used with the same meaning. "Degen" and "Rapper" were also used to describe the ame weapons.
We can see that they covered weapons that were slim and pointy but had some cutting potential. It was not alien to see "Rapperers" being used in a military context.
There is also the word "Kastill" that denotes a weapon with a wery long and narrow blade excusively for the thrust. In sweden this was a status weapon for use among the highest nobility. A few early weapons have survived remaining in contex in armouries and are examples of what we today recognize as early forms of rapiers.

We can see how there was confusion or flexibility as to the naming of the sword/värja/degen/rapier in the 16th C.
The swords used in the 30-year war by the swedish forces were called "värja" or "degen" by their contemporaries, but perhaps also rapier or rapper. Some of these weapopn would by us today be called "rapiers": those wepaons used by officers (most have long narrow blades primarily meant for thrusting, but with some cutting potential, while some have rather broad blades very good at cutting).

It is also obvious when we see these weapons surviving today that two swords with similar outline can have very different charachter in cross section and edge. Some are thick and stiff (and heavy) while others are thin and flexible with very fine edges. It is near impossible to different one from the other from a full length photo in a publication.

The question wether the rapier (what we today call "rapier") can cut or not is impossile to ansver as it would very much depend on the individual weapon. The enormous variation in blade types assosciated with the rapier further complicates the question. It seems however that most types would have rather good capability to make horrific cuts in flesh, even if they would not amputate.
Some blades are close to true swords while others are like combinations of fishing rods and filé knives.
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Martin Wallgren




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan, 2006 2:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Is there any clasification like Oakeshots refering to the swords discussed here?
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan, 2006 2:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin Wallgren wrote:
Is there any clasification like Oakeshots refering to the swords discussed here?

Not like Oakeshott's as far as I am aware, due to his typology being about blade properties, but The Rapier & Small-Sword: 1460-1820 by A. V. Norman has an exhaustive typology of hilts, pommels, etc.

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