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Dress-sword c.1616

RCIN 67125

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Unlike medieval swords the rapier was designed to be worn with civilian dress in urban environments. The name probably derives from the Spanish ‘espada ropera’ – a sword of the robe, literally a dress sword. It became a highly fashionable accessory worn by gentlemen, indicating a leisured lifestyle with time to devote to the courtly pursuit of fencing. The blade here is unusually ornate – gilded, blued and etched with the royal arms of England and the coronet and feathered badge of the Prince of Wales, as well as mottos in Latin.