This guide contains a list of recommended books and online articles for those interested in exploring the world of period rapier combat. For a more complete list of resources and websites concerning period combat techniques please visit the Historic Combat Resource guide available on the SCA’s website:
This guide was written, and is maintained, by Lady Elysabeth (Lissa) Underhill, and it is a work in progress. If you have any comments, suggestions, corrections, or additions, please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The resources in this section present definitions of what a “rapier” is and provide information on the classification of historic rapiers.
- The rapier: facts, factoids and unanswered questions (by Maestro Tom Leoni)
- A definition of the rapier, a description of its parts, and a discussion about the various myths surrounding the rapier and its use.
- The rapier revisited (by Maestro Tom Leoni)
- A follow up to the above article that includes new information learned by the author.
- The Rapier & Small-Sword: 1460-1820 (by A.V. Norman)
- Book (out of print) discussing the parts of a rapier, and classifies in detail the many variation of rapiers that existed in period. Includes pencil sketches and descriptions useful for learning about the way rapiers changed over time and for dating a rapier to a specific period in history. Includes not only the outer guard, but the inner guard, pommel styles, and more.
- European weapons and armour: from the Rennaisance to the Industrial Revolution (by R. Ewart Oakeshott)
- Book with a chapter on rapiers and daggers from the SCA time period.
- A Study of Period Rapiers (by William E. Wilson)
- A brief overview of various types of period blades with pictures
- A Bref Discussion upon Rapiers and their Properties (by Don Garrick Mapmaker (Gregory Stauf))
- Provides examples of period blade measurements (length, balance point, weight, etc) and general trends in the construction of period rapiers.
- Some Examples of Sizes of Rapiers in the Wallace Collection (by Don Terence the Arcane)
The resources in this section discuss and present evidence to show what effect a rapier wound might have on the body. Both modern medical information and historical accounts are included in these articles.
- The Dubious Quick Kill (by Maestro Frank Lurz)
- Two-part article about swords wounds and their possible effects on the respiratory, musculature, skeletal, and nervous systems.
- The Science and History of Rapier Wounds and Deaths (by Iolo FitzOwen and Christian Richard Dupre)
- Summarizes the findings of a 1976 forensics paper on stab wounds, sites historical accounts of rapier injuries, and details the results of tests done by the authors to simulate sword wounds in order to evaluate how accurate SCA blow calling rules are to what would actually have happened in period.
- Medical Reality of Historical Wounds (by Richard Swinney & Scott Crawford)
- Article published in SPADA 2. Discusses some of the unrealistic expectations historic fencers have about sword injuries and attempts to replace those false expectations with more realistic ones.
- A treaties Concerning Leg Wounds and the Foolishness of the Concept of Continuing Combat after Receipt of the Same (by Don Aubrey de Baudricourt and Lord Joachim van den Has)
The resources in this section present information related to the study of a particular style of rapier combat (Italian, Spanish, or English).
The resources in this section provide information about the group known as The Company of Masters of the Noble Science of Defense, a chartered guild, based in London, which offered instruction in many forms of martial arts, including rapier, during the 1500’s and into the 1600’s. This group is relevant for fencers in the East Kingdom because the League of Rapier Academies is loosely based upon this group.
- The Schools of Defense in Elizabethan London (by Jay P. Anglin)
- [Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Autumn, 1984), pp. 393-410: (Journal Article)
This article is available in the JSTOR Database, a scholarly archive of journal articles to which many libraries, primarily academic libraries, subscribe. Talk to a librarian if you need help accessing this resource. Public libraries may be able to obtain this article through Interlibrary Loan. You may also be able to purchase a copy from the publisher.
- The Noble Science: A Study and Transcription of Sloan Ms. 2530, Papers of the Masters of Defence of London (by Herbert Berry)
- Prizes of the London Masters of Defense (by Don Dylan ap Maelgwn)
- The London Masters of Defence- Playing the Prize in Elizabethan England (by J. Clements)
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