Online Encyclopedia

RAPIER

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 909 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
RAPIER, the name given to two distinct types of sword. Originally the " rapier " (Fr. rapiere) was a long two-edged and pointed weapon with a wide cup hilt, used together with the dagger in fencing and duelling chiefly as a thrusting weapon, the cut taking a secondary position. This was the typical duelling sword of the 16th and 17th centuries. In the 18th century the " small-sword " took its place; this was a pointed weapon only, the " cut " having entirely dropped out, and the dagger being discarded. The word rapier is of doubtful origin. Du Cange (Glossarium, s. v. " Rapparia ") quotes an example of the word used as an adjective to qualify espee as early as 1474, and gives as a conjectural derivation Gr. pairlEely=Lat. caedere, to cut. Skeat (Etym. Did., 1910) follows the suggestion of Diez that rapiere is from raspiere, a rasper or poker, and was a name given in contempt by the old cut-and-thrust fencers to the new weapon. Spanish has raspadera, a raker, and there are several 16th and 17th century quotations alluding to the con-tempt with which the rapier was greeted, and to its Spanish origin (see FENCING and SWORD).
End of Article: RAPIER
[back]
RAPHAEL SANZIO (1483–1520)
[next]
PAUL DE RAPIN (1661-1725)

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.