Military Wiki
Espada ropera
Type Sword
Service history
In service c. 1450 - 1650
Weight avg. 1.0 kg (2.2 lb)
Length avg. 111.8 cm (44 in)
Width 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2.0 in)

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.


The espada ropera (lit. "dress sword") was the forerunner of, and in Spain a contemporary of, the rapier. The French term espee rapiere 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. Modern tests have shown it capable of cutting cleanly through a pig. These swords were manufactured in Toledo.

It is a sword that stands between a Baroque period rapier and a late medieval arming sword and it is also considered to be the starting point of the light-blade lineage. The espada ropera has a cross-guard and despite the fact that the sword is narrowed it maintains an effective cutting edge.


In comparison with other swords of the 15th century, the espada ropera is a narrow and long sword. They have a weight of 0.90 to 1.4 kilograms (2.0 to 3.1 lb), 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).


According to Claude Blair, the etymology of the term "espada ropera" probably comes from the Spanish language: ropera , which means "wearing"; or it may also be the word Spanish language: 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.

See also


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