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Classification Sword
Time Period ca. 1450 - 1650
Avg. Length 44" (111.8 cm)
Avg. Weight 2 lbs. (0.9 kg)
Blade Type Narrow, double-edged, tapered
Hilt Type One-handed swept, with pommel

The espada ropera was a sword developed in the mid-15th century in Spain. The name referred to swords worn by civilians, as opposed for those meant for battlefield use. Compared to earlier swords, the espada ropera was lighter, thinner, and more ornate. It was first mentioned in an inventory of Don Álvaro de Zúñiga in 1468.

Contents

Overview

The espada ( espade lit. sword ) ropera was the forerunner of, and in Spain a contemporary of, the rapier. In fact, the French term épée rapière is a derivative of espada ropera. The espada ropera distinguishes itself from the rapier in that its blade, though thin, could be used to make effective cuts. These swords were manufactured in Toledo.

It is a sword that stands between a rapier and a long sword and it is also considered to be the starting point of the light-blade lineage. Espada ropera has a cross-guard and despite the fact that the sword is narrowed it maintains an effective cutting edge.

Dimensions

In comparison with other swords of the 15th century, the espada ropera is a narrow and long sword. They have a weight of 2 to 3 pounds (0.91 to 1.4 kg), a blade width of about 3 to 5 centimetres (1.2 to 2.0 in), and a blade length of 80 to 130 centimetres (31 to 51 in).

Origins

The name of this sword "ropera" (Spanish: espada ropera) means "sword of the robes". This is why it is considered to be a dress sword, mainly civilian clothing and not very often worn by warriors.

According to Claude Blair (a keeper of metalwork; helped by other authors wrote a series of publications concerning the early metalwork) the etymology of the term "espada ropera" probably comes from Spanish: ropera, which means "wearing"; or it may also be the word Spanish: raspar, which means "to scratch". This is why experts consider the espada ropera to be more a clothing accessory than a weapon. Although its country of origin is Spain, the name was used through Europe.

Although not in fashion during the Middle Ages, the wearing of swords became very popular in Europe during the 15th century.

In The Book of the Sword by Richard Francis Burton, the origins of the espada ropera are traced from prehistoric time through the formation of the Roman Empire. The author concludes that the thrusting ability of the espada ropera made it advantageous over cutting swords when engaged in on-one-one combat.[1] It may have been used on the battlefield for that purpose only; otherwise, the espada ropera was used exclusively for the settling of personal disputes with duels.

See also

References

  1. ^ Burton, Richard (1884). The Book of the Sword.  







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