Sword is the same age as a firearm. With the advent of the first cannons and guns, the armor ceases to be relevant, and with them the heavy sword that can cut through or pierce the armor ceases to be relevant. Gradually, one-handed swords are replaced by swords, this begins to occur in Spain in the middle of the 15 of the 20th century. More precisely, in the 60 of the 15 of the 20th century, the nobles began to wear blades that were somewhat narrower than fighting swords and had a more complicated guard - the arms appeared to protect the fingers, pass-dan rings (ring on the side of the sword cross or dagger). perpendicular to the axis of the blade), etc. These swords quickly spread among the nobility and nobles: they were lighter than swords, which made it possible to carry them with you all the time; and they turned out to be “more beautiful” - the gradual abandonment of armor (in particular, from plate gloves, which prevented the use of firearms), led to the fact that the swords, to protect the hand, developed complex guards: baskets of metal bands, cups, plates with crosshairs and finger arches - these guards began to be decorated with gilding, stones, chasing, etc. And most importantly, swords allowed not less than swords to protect their lives in case of need, allowed successfully, both to attack and defend in battle. Gradually, the sword spread to almost all branches of the army, displacing the sword. Until the 18 century, the combat sword was in service with both infantry and cavalry until it began to be squeezed out with a sword and broadsword. But not completely disappeared. Even at the time of its dawn, the sword was divided into military and civil. Civilian swords were a little lighter and narrower, often sharpening only near the tip. Such swords were worn as weapons - in spite of lightness, such a sword was just a weapon, and as a piece of clothing. The military wore them in peacetime instead of military weapons, nobles and bourgeois with ceremonial robes, some raznochintsy. Even students had the right to say that it was a duty to wear swords. Practically until the 20 century, swords remain part of ceremonial clothes for nobles, not military weapons of officers (in Russia before 1917, the sword was obligatory for officers who were cuirassiers outside the ranks, generals), for civilians during parade , with parade uniforms wore swords), and weapons for duels. So, somewhere in the middle of the 19 century, the sword becomes a ceremonial, often premium, dueling and sporting weapon.
The sword and its appearance gave a powerful impetus to the development of the art of fencing with long bladed weapons. I don’t want to say that before this, swords were felled without training, as God would put it in his heart, but it was the lightness of the sword that made it possible to invent a whole variety of fencing techniques. There are schools of fencing: Spanish, English, French, German and Italian, each of which had its own characteristics, and whose adherents argued whose school is better. Fencing textbooks are written: for example, Ridolfo di Cappo Ferro "Gran Simulacro dell'arte e dell'uso della Scherma" ("The great image of the art and practice of fencing") of 1610. In each country, fencing knowledge is systematized and supplemented by something new. For example, the first sword fencing systems in Germany and Spain focused on cutting technology, and the principle of “killing with a sharp point, not a blade” appeared in Italy only in the middle of the 17 century, and gradually it was the Italian school that became dominant. Fencing became fashionable, it was studied in prestigious educational institutions. In the reigning houses, and not only, the position of fencing master - fencing teacher appeared. A sword becomes a sign of a noble person, a nobleman, a bourgeois, sometimes a commoner, a defender of a man’s honor in a duel (not only for men, but also for women), being deprived of honor, a man was deprived of a sword - she was simply broken over a man’s head. Sword production was in the same places as the production of other melee weapons. German Solingen, which produced the world-famous cold weapons, English Sheffield, French Tire, Spanish Toledo. The blades were forged, metal handles and tops were cast, guards could stamp or weld. But if in the manufacture of the sword it was enough to be a blacksmith, then with the skier master should have been more versatile. The guards of the swords, and then the blades, were decorated with embossing and carved patterns, gilding, blackened, cast down precious stones and so on.
So, directly the sword itself: a long, relatively narrow blade, double-edged or having only a sharp point; one-handed straight handle with a massive top-counterweight; complex guard, well protecting hand. By the way, different guards are the criteria for the classification of swords created by Evor Okshott. He distinguishes: wicker garda of bands or rods - baskets; garda bowl in the form of a hollow hemisphere; Saccular guards - slightly curved disc; guard loops - in the form of a simple arc, protecting the fingers, and so on. Well, so somehow.
Like almost any object that has been used for a long time, the sword has gone through some way of modifications. First, it concerned the blade - from a rather wide two-edged, to a thin faceted, having only a sharp end. Secondly, it concerned the guard: from a simple cross with a finger arch, to a complicatedly woven basket or a solid bowl, and again to a simple small disk. Historically, many researchers, Okshott, for example, have divided swords into three types:
- reitschwert (literally, “the rider’s sword”) is a heavy sword suitable for chopping blows - it is called the “combat sword”. Appearing in the XV century, this type of sword was the most popular in the cavalry of the XVI century, but from the XVII century begins to be replaced with sabers and broadswords. Although in some countries, Russia, Sweden, was used both in the XVIII century and in cavalry and infantry.
- espada ropera (literally "sword for clothes") - intended for wearing with civilian clothes, a little easier and already combat sword, but with two-sided sharpening. This type of sword was most popular in the 16th century, but from the middle of the 17th century it began to be supplanted with even lighter swords.
- smallsword (literally "small sword") - was an even lighter version of the sword with a short blade. Appearing in the middle of the 17th century under the influence of the French school of fencing at the end of the 16 of the 20th century, later it practically superseded other types of swords. It was this type that became an exceptionally thrusting type of swords, even with a blade it was inconvenient for them to chop because of the low weight. Most of these swords had a faceted hexagonal blade, which was replaced by a triangular cross section with the valleys, which can still be seen in a sports sword. By the way, the lightness of this type of sword allowed to “painlessly” lengthen the blade and swords of almost one and a half meter appeared.
Well, now directly the second part of the topic: "Sword or rapier?"
To begin with, a quote from the "Three Musketeers": "... broke away from Athos when he saw Kayuzak's sword fly off twenty paces. D'Artagnan and Cauzac simultaneously rushed after her: one - to get her back, another - to take possession D'Artagnan, more agile, ran first and stepped on the blade.Kayuzak rushed to the Guardsman who had been killed by Aramis, grabbed his rapier and was about to return to D'Artagnan, but on the way he jumped on Athos, who managed to translate during these short moments spirit ... "So, judging by the text, let it be artistic, in one m Este, at the same time and, practically, in one kind of troops, there are two types of weapons, judging by the name. Kauzak loses his sword, and raises the rapier. What is it, the mistake of the author or translator? Or do people from the same kind of troops have different weapons? Are there differences between the sword and rapier? So let's try to figure it out. The most common opinion is that a sword is a weapon that can be chopped and stabbed, a rapier is only a piercing weapon. A modern swordsman, without hesitation, will respond in the same way. A tetrahedral rapier in cross section, without pronounced cutting edges, which only piercing blows are allowed, and a sword that has a flat triangle in cross section, with a hint of sharp edges that allow you to emphasize a chopping strike. But this is a sporting weapon. And what about old weapons? If we turn to literature, artistic and scientific, we will see descriptions of chopping blows with a rapier or just the piercing technique of working with a sword. Sometimes the rapier is described as something double-edged and wide, and the sword, as something narrow, with only a sharp end. Again inconsistencies.
To understand, you need to look at history. More precisely on the first name of the sword. In Spain, in the 15th century, "espadas roperas" - "sword for clothing" - appeared Many researchers make two mistakes in the translation of this name: they translate "espadas roperas" or as "a sword for civilian clothes"; or translated as "sword for clothing." For example, such a translation is given by John Clements, well-known in the circles of historical fencers. And, on the basis of this inaccurate translation, wrong conclusions are drawn regarding the sword and rapier. But the word "espadas" comes from the Latin "spata" - the sword, the so-called long cavalry sword of ancient Rome. And “for clothes” means “clothes, not armor”, not civilian clothes, since the concept of “civilian clothes” did not exist yet. After reading carefully “espadas roperas”, it is easy to see that the words “sword” and “rapier” are two parts of this name: “espadas” - sword, “roperas” - rapier. In many languages these two names simply do not exist: in Spanish, the above described weapon is called “espada”; in Italian - “spada”; in French - "epee"; the English use the word "sword" - sword: court sword - court sword, town sword - city sword, scarf sword - sword for sash, small sword - small sword, to denote a sword in relation to more massive English swords; in German, the word "degen" refers to everything that we used to call a sword or rapier. Practically, only in Russian they use these two names, in other languages they use only one: either "rapier" or "sword". Yes, and these names - teams, among the swords or rapiers there are also names of their own - papperheimer and Valon's sword, for example, komishelard - a type of sword, in which the 1 / 3 of the blade was much wider than the rest of 2 / 3. Even if these conclusions based on the analysis of the names are erroneous, it is very difficult to argue with the collections of museums in which the exhibits are kept with similar, clearly piercing-cutting blades, which are different only in the form of a guard, but sometimes called sword or rapier. At the same time they are made in different countries and at different times, and for weapons, their changes and development, and 20 years - a lot.
In the photo with various guards, all four types of weapons are called rapiers, without looking at the fact that only 3 and 4 blades can be called piercing, and the first two blades have pronounced slashing blades. Strange, right?
Here, five types of blades: two clearly chopping, one something in between and two thin piercing. But they are all called rapiers.
So, we can safely make the assumption that, in Spain in the 15 century, piercing-chopping light swords, which later differed only by the guard and blade length, can be called a sword and a rapier at the same time, and not to be mistaken. Because, initially, the sword and rapier is the same. And it is possible that the first name was just a rapier. And the confusion arose later, when at the same time the “old” slashing-piercing swords-rapiers and the “new” exclusively piercing swords-rapiers began to exist. Later, these names were entrenched for sports weapons, in order to emphasize the differences in the structure and principle of action of swords and rapiers. The most interesting thing is that it is rather difficult to prove or disprove my conclusions based on the writings of gunsmith specialists, so I don’t refer, for example, to von Winkler, Okshott or Bekhaym in this matter - their opinions on this matter are very different. And some researchers call swords or rapiers and estas with konchars — only sharply piercing swords (although this is simply ridiculous — the sword appeared when the armor began to disappear, and the konchar or estk appeared to pierce this armor itself), and the ancient narrow Irish swords made of copper and bronze .