Angelo Viggiani – Were Rapiers Sharp or Blunt?

Angelo Viggiani opens his discussion on learning to fence with an arguement about the construction of swords.

Argument for sharp on one side only

  • The sword will be stronger and safer
  • You can use your left hand to increase the strength of the attack – Could he be referring to half-swording in the longsword sense?
  • If the blade is beaten back into your face you won’t get hurt

Argument for sharp on both sides

    • If your blade is beaten into your face, it is your fault, not the swords
    • It isn’t as safe, but has greater opportunities to attack.

Argument for sharp from the center to the point

  • Again, you can place your left hand on the blade

Argument for sharp from hilt to point

  • A sharp false-edge forte is “quite opportune” when in crossed swords.
  • Double-edged swords were in fashion in the time of David, as per the Bible
  • They are rarely seen (circa 1575)

Terminology Notes:

Half-swording in German fencing means holding the sword like a short spear with one hand on the blade itself.

Half sword in Italian fencing means when the swords are crossed. To reduce confusion, I will translate this as “crossed swords” wherever I see it.

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