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Questions and Answers About the Rapier As a trained fencer and a martial artist who has studied swordplay sinceand worked out vigorously against all styles of weapon fighters, I feel confident enough in my understanding to offer qualified opinions on weapons and their use. I Breaking clean essay questions own an extensive library of books on Renaissance swords in six languages.
As a teacher as well as researcher, I have a good grasp of what students want to know about this subject. What kind of sword is a rapier? The best answer I can give is that the true rapier is a long, narrow, rigid, nearly edgeless single-hand thrusting blade with a thick, tapering cross-section and very narrow and sharp point.
There is no question rapiers vary in their shape, length, and width and especially in their hilt configuration. But rapiers are generally thin, light, fast, and well-balanced thrusting swords intended for unarmored single-combat. The definition of the Breaking clean essay questions as a form of Renaissance sword differs among various authorities on historical arms.
The various historical terms for rapier referred to a slender cut-and-thrust sword capable of limited slashing and slicing blows and equally suited to military or civilian use.
Eventually however, it came to mean exclusively a long and slender thrusting sword with virtually no edge. Why is there some misunderstanding about what a rapier is? There is often some confusion over exactly what kind of sword is really a rapier because classification of swords was never something that was exact, since historical swordmakers and swordsmen didn't go around labeling their weapons for us.
They did not categorize them the way we do today by appearance, but instead defined them more based on their function and capability. But modern arms collectors and arms curators have typically labeled nearly any blade with a close-hilt that wasn't clearly a cruciform Medieval sword as being a "rapier" even though this was not the case historically.
Modern swordmakers have also followed this habit and it has added to the confusion surrounding the weapon. Change in sword forms over time has been more like a tree with several branches growing out and declining while new branches formed.
This was a process of innovation and adaptation to new circumstances and needs. What are real rapiers like? While it is difficult to make specific generalizations about any class of swords, and the rapier is no exception, there are certain attributes and qualities about them that I can offer comments on.
Further, I have looked at these weapons from the perspective of a fighter, as a martial artist and fencer familiar with the historical ways and results of using them. I also own about a dozen different makes of historical reproduction swords, and have test-cut extensively with them on raw meat and other materials.
So, I have good basis by which to compare rapiers. How do real rapiers handle? They were not the least bit cumbersome. As both a student of Medieval swords and a former sport fencer, I can declare with authority that these weapons were not slow or clumsy to wield.
With few exceptions, I have no doubts whatsoever that nearly every rapier technique described in the historical sources and then some could be executed effectively with most all of these weapons.
What kind of blades did rapiers have? Like any other sword, the variety of rapier blades is considerable, as all sorts of designs were being experimented with at the time which creates confusion about them now and makes classification of them very difficult.
Rapier blades varied considerably in length, thickness, cross-sectional shape, and edge sharpness. Many of these rapiers are hard to completely distinguish from the varieties of military cut-and-thrust swords then in use. But nearly all are rigid, quite narrow, and become thinner toward the point and, rather than flattening out, many actually become oval or round in cross-section at the last quarter or last fifth of their length.
Their weight was concentrated in their hilts, thereby facilitating an agile point to make rapid long-reaching stabbing attacks.
Rapier blades are relatively thin but have thick cross-sections. Some rapier blades are of flat diamond or triangular shape capable of holding a shallow edge, while other cross-sections are thicker hexagonal, octagonal, or four-pointed star-shaped with virtually no sharp edges.
These various cross-sections were all simply efforts by sword makers to produce a light and very stiff blade. Rapiers may have thick, squared off and blunt ricassos the blade portion just above the hilt or be wide and entirely sharp at this portion.
There is substantial historical evidence for rapiers breaking during fights in bodies and against other weaponsand I have held several real ones that had broken or even bent points. I have broken enough different kinds of modern blades myself, both by accident and in testing, to have a good idea of the force required.
Of the some 70 or so real rapiers I've looked at by hand, there was considerable diversity in the geometry of their blades.What is a “smallsword” and how did it descend from the rapier? By the mids, as fashion, firearms, and necessity altered the need for personal self-defense weapons, the long bladed, large-hilted rapier fell out of general use.
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